One more "Foggy Morning" Story
One more "Foggy Morning" Story
BLOG: IN THE FOG,
THEN OUT OF THE FOG
A Bit Of Background:
Many moons ago I played violin in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. After one season of particularly drunken experiences, I decided I might just chuck it all and resign (before I got fired, of course--you know how we are?). However, I did not have the intestinal fortitude to carry out the action: standing in front of the Maestro, saying, "I quit!"
So the next best thing was to pave the way, so to speak. So, early one foggy morning, I woke up on the river (and that experience is heavenly, by the way!), gathered all my symphony orchestra 'uniforms', and put everything together in a pile on the front deck of my scow, THOR. THOR was 32' long, 10' beam, 12-ton, double-hulled plywood boat. It was powered by a Willys 60 hp engine, with a 2-1 reduction gear. It was as powerful as a 'dwarf'-tug. Had all the comforts of home, I mean things like a toilet, shower, kitchen--yeah, like I needed a kitchen!
It was 6:30 AM, and I was drunk out of my mind, but I do remember (and was informed of) a few things. By the way, my wife of the moment witnessed the whole thing. NOTE: My recollection is that I met her (for the first time) the night before in a riverfront bar, and we got married there an hour later. The bartender officiated. It was a lovely wedding -BIG GRIN!!! The honeymoon--and the marriage--lasted until noon the following day. Our whole relationship, from first moment to the last final heaving breath had a life of fewer than 12 hours. Thank God! And then she wanted "Alimony!" -grinning-a-roni.
A ceremony was in the making, since I intended to drown my past into depths of the Ohio River. At 7 AM on the dot, I laid my full-dress suit (white shirt, white bowed tie, stiff vest, silk black socks, patent leather black shoes (they sunk right away). Following that menagerie was the next act, my formal 'afternoon' suit, regular black shoes, four-in-hand grey tie, white shirt, keys to my locker at Music Hall, my Union card, and several things I cannot remember.
Of course, this action-packed earliness of the day left me without 'suitable concert attire'. To this day I thank God that I didn't have my violin on the stack of throw-away stuff that morning. One thing was left on my list of ugliness that day--breaking the contract with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. I did this with a letter to the manager, and the Maestro--I could not, was not man enough to face them. Conductor sent me a real neat reply, which I have kept, urging me to reconsider, saying how much he'd miss me, etc. I believe his main concern was finding a suitable replacement.
Four years after this incident, the orchestra enjoyed a TEN-WEEK tour to many countries in Europe, Asia...literally around the world. A few years later the musicians were making about $80,000 a year! That was my first lesson (NOT learned!) regarding our common phrase, beautiful, and so true: "Stick around until the miracle happens!".
My memory bank displays to me, even unto this very day, the following scenes.:
1. An eerie picture of my clothing floating lazily downstream in th fog, on top of the slimy, oily, filthy Ohio River waters....(I used to make coffee out of river water, scoop it up, boil it, drink, ahhhh! Never figured out what were those little flecks of whiteness in the water!)
2. The look on the face of my 12-hour bride, as she settled for a quart of Bacardi Rum (Dark) in lieu of alimony...
3. The feeling of complete FREEDOM, having shed my lady, my symphony job, and any reminders. Also I had enough money for a few weeks of booze, and I could always wheel-and-deal for some Valium, Librium, or any of the 'ums families of pills.
4. Two quarts of Smirnoff hidden under the generator housing on the roof on my shanty: emergency stash ONLY!
5. A climb up the hill to see what celebrities (the mayor of Front St and Bridge Ave, e.g.) were vomiting at the Do Drop Inn during early afternoon, and if any geezer was buying a 'round' for the house.
6. That sudden gleeful realization that my violin was still on board.
7. One full vodka bottle was still factory-sealed--my BREAKFAST for the following day. What COULD else--in the whole world--matter? You said W.H.A.T.???
Then God took over, brought me to my knees, and subsequently to Alcoholics Anonymous. AA took all that wonderful stuff away from me, and gave me what? Well.....GOD! SOBRIETY! COMPASSION! HAPPINESS! PEACE! SERENITY! LOVE! HEALTH! YOU! And God gave back to me......................ME! Thank You!
Love you bloggers, and now I'll arrange for some time to read and comment your stuff, on which I thrive....OH! so much!
It's been a busy, tiring, FUN, and "Filled-With-Blessings" week--I MEAN that! Now I'll get back to normal, but thank You, God--for the abnormal!