Mondays with Mike: Should old acquaintance be forgot

January 4, 2016 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by
That's young Esther.Knezovich Nee Latini.

That’s young Esther Knezovich, nee Latini.

Awhile back I mentioned these holidays have been harder for me than usual. I’ve always loved them, but this year, I’m happy to see them go.

Here’s why: Beth broke her hand. That sucks for both of us. I miss my mother, my father, and my sister. And in the past few weeks three people I care about and I like a lot lost a parent. Two of those parents were not spring chickens, one was too young. But what’s too young? It sucks. It hurts. Your world is different from that point on.

And all this reminded me of my mother, who died December 9, 1992, two days after her birthday. And that reminded me of how my mother would get a little psycho every holiday season. Well, a lot psycho. And that reminded me of learning why—or probably why.

Esther’s first husband (my father was her second and last)–Belden Anderson, a strapping guy from Oklahoma who’d I’d give anything in the world to spend ten minutes with, was badly burned in an oil refinery fire in Bakersfield, California before Christmas in 1953. Third degree burns, most of his body. He told my mother that he had a knife in his jacket pocket. He asked her to find the jacket, and the knife, and use it to kill him. He lived two or three weeks that way. My sister was six months old. I didn’t exist.

My mom was the craziest, toughest person I’ve ever met. And that’s saying something.

Happy holidays!

Seriously, though, back to our friends who lost parents and how their lives are different forever now. One of them is about the age I was when I lost my father. The others are contemporaries. But again—is there a good time?

Thanks Roy and Company

Thanks Roy and Company

Then last night, we went to The Jazz Showcase. Roy Hargrove—on whom Miles Davis has nothing—was playing an all-ages show at 4:00 p.m. So there were kids. And all colors, and all ages. A packed house.

Roy comes at the end of every year for a kind of residence. It’s a gift.

I have never ever seen a better live performance. Any genre. Any club. Any arena. I’m not kidding. The individual virtuosity combined with unselfishness, well. I don’t know how to put it. Beautiful. It about brought me to tears. It was human-made awesomeness on par with The Grand Canyon. Or the ocean. I’m not kidding. You can ask Beth.

And I thought, it’s not all bad. It’s worth striving. It’s worth practicing.

Happy New Year friends, and keep at it.

Heidi Thorsen On January 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

Mike and Beth, Happy New Year! I hear you loud and clear. Life is a bit like boot camp – always preparing you for what lies ahead. I am right in there with aging, failing parent, wondering it these two strong people will be here next year; watching anxiously as my twenty something sons try to make their way in this world, one with a visual disability; and I try to navigate the new chapters in my life with vision loss. Sometimes it really sucks, but then sometimes life sings beautifully. Thank you for being part of that chorus that helps my soul to sing again. You and Beth are a treasure and beacon of light for many.

Sheila A. Donovan On January 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

Mike, I lost a cousin and had some friends’ close relatives pass. It seems the holidays bring death as well as birth. Life is sometimes the blues, or a mournful dirge, then slips into a joyful symphony. May the rest of the year be a symphony for you and Beth.

Sharon Kramer On January 4, 2016 at 11:36 am

thanks mike. Lots to think about in your column.

Lois Baron On January 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Thank you, Mike. As usual, insightful and moving. Lots of things hurt and many can’t be changed, but then there are moments of pure transcendence – things done simply for themselves – often in art, that remind us what it’s all about. Or maybe not about, but give us incredible joy. Lois

Carolina On January 4, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Sad about Beth’s hand and happy about the jazz We want to bring the kids to an all-ages show. Hey have you ever read Baldwin’s story “Sonny’s Blues”? Transcendent!!

Monna Ray On January 4, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Mike and Beth,

I’m glad you got to enjoy that wonderful performance. And I hope and pray Beth is healing. Last night I went with a friend to the Community Renewal Chorus’s concert at St Alphonsus (sp?) church on Wellington. The church has high vaulted ceilings and great acoustics. It was a performance that at times sent a shiver through me it was so beautiful. So thank God for beautiful music.

P.S.: I’d like to have heard your concert too. Monna

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