DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A SUNDAY LETTER TO A BLOGGER-FRIEND

GROVE PARK INN--ASHEVILLE, NC


LETTER TO A BLOGGER FRIEND


Saturday afternoon, I sent a message to blogger friend Catherine Vibert
who lives in Asheville, NC. Halfway through the message, I realized this was my blog for Saturday night/Sunday. So here it is.

Consider it just an Email to/from a friend, which, after all, it IS!
Only read this if you have time to listen to a self-centered old guy reminisce. The venue is Brevard and Asheville, NC and summer 1952. It is about a "lost love".

The conductor of Cincinnati Symphony had befriended me, and sent me and my violin to Brevard Music Camp (it was called then). Goal was for me to gain experience in playing lots of different composers, and become groomed for a position in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

There I was, a farm boy just graduated from "Hahh Skou", traveling out-of-state for the first time. I promptly was booted from the Music Camp for drinking beer. (Maybe that's where we got the term "boot camp"?) Also unappreciated were my attempts to teach the younger camper-musicians how to freeze beer, and drink what's left, and ounce-for-ounce receive a much greater effect/benefit.


Anyway, I got back into the camp, and good graces of the staff, by pretending humility to the Director ((Dr)James Christian Pfohl), etc., and did my job well, playing violin in all the functions, and traveling around the most beautiful state of NC in the adult (read: "drinking") orchestra.

We performed symphony concerts several times in "The Great Hall" at Grove Park Inn. I spent a memorable eight-week summer in the area, even talked "Southern" when I left. Back on the farm they could no longer understand my words.


The most memorable event of that summer of '52 was the occasion of my falling headfirst and headlong--and deep--in love (for the seventh time?--just a guess!). But as I look back, that girl Sondra (Sonnie) Wishart could easily have been my wife for all these years--not that I have regrets. This is simply "memory lane" after all.

What a lucky woman--Sonnie! She might have been put through the chaos of hell itself as I burrowed and buried myself into alcoholism. Certainly she would have left me after the usual ten years of begging, pleading, counseling, slapping and fighting.
PLEASE NOTE: I don't DO those things any more! I wouldn't even know HOW.

Back to remembering, though--the hillside, that knoll surrounding Grove Park Inn, where acres of soft grass were kept green for as long as possible. It was there, in broad daylight, we did become passionate, and performed "all but", ya know? How else would I know the grass was "mattress-soft"?

There followed six weeks of my (don't really know about 'her') being so in love, as to have been willing to die for this girl, the love of any dream I could have imagined. Sonnie stayed as the subject of my dreamworld for a number of years after. She lived in Asheville with her aunt.

Today I have no idea if she is alive even, and ours is a short-story long discarded from my arsenal of dreams.
I pray today that Sonnie is as blest as I, with a spouse who cares for, shares with, and loves her, with a big heart of gold!

Prayer Girl and I have been married (next Wednesday, May 27) for 18 years! That's nearly a record for both of us. It is certainly a record if we are reporting "happiness" ratings. And I love my Prayer-girl! THAT'S for the record.

I love others also--a lot! It might even seem like I throw the word "love" around a bit--that may be true, but I DO mean what I write and/or say! After all is said and done, what is there else.......but LOVE!


And yes, I did become a symphony violinist. These days I play strolling gigs, club dates, weddings-on-the-beach, funerals, and at least two masses every weekend at St Elizabeth Seton in Naples.

I love LOVE my Alcoholics Anonymous Program and the AA membership. I love my Higher Power, God, and I love my families.


And on top of all that, I love especially the regular--and not-so-regular--bloggers, in-and-out-of recovery, who are an endless source of help for me and my still sometimes screwed-up thinking.
While we all are in this "love-fest", why don't we make a plan to stay sober another day--like maybe today???

Peace, and (of course!) Love,

Steve E

10 comments:

Linda S. Socha said...

Ah Steve. This is such a beautiful and loving post that I am smiling through tears. Not only is the content heart felt but I totally love the Grove ParK Inn.It is a reality fantasy in my heart also. I first discoverd it in the early 1980's..What a treasure...It is such a joy to know you played there
Thanks for this one dear
Linda

Ed G. said...

I know we in a program of honesty don't use the term love lightly...

Love 'ya Steve...

Blessings & aloha...

Catvibe said...

Steve, it is an honor to be the thought that inspired this beautiful memory to flow from you. I love how people inspire one another all the time in this little blogging world we have made and that we play in. Play off of and build on each other's ideas. Spark emotions from the past, and turn it into beautiful and inspiring prose. You are a gem Stevaroni.

Mary Christine said...

My brother lives in Brevard. It is very pretty. Those must be some beautiful memories.

Shadow said...

looking forward to saying 'happy anniversary' to you both on wednesday. in the meantime, have a super sunday!

Prayer Girl said...

This blog is bound to bring up memories of "first loves" for many readers.

I remember:
My first blind date
My first hay ride
My first kiss
My first reaching for a gold ring from a merry-go-round horse
My first "magical night"
My first headfirst, headlong, deep falling in love.

All these happened on the same sweet summer night with my first "true love", Ed.

Today I am still creating memories that I will hold forever. You are part of my creation for today - sweet memories!

ME

Indigo said...

Beautiful serenity in these memories dear friend. I do indeed remember my first love. He was the strong hand that pulled me out of the muck of sour and ran over eggplant left in the road from the fields. I was 15 he was 20. Recklessly I had fallen off the back of the wagon heading back in after a full day of working the fields. I'm smiling now thinking of the slime that coated my backside and dripped from our hands as he pulled me up to my feet. He could of continued riding on with the tractor, but jumped ship when he saw me tossed off the back-end. That was a summer of memories and my last in those fields. What happened is much too long to leave in comments. I often think about him. (Hugs)Indigo

JOE TODD said...

Just found your blog and will be visiting on a regular basis one day at a time

vicariousrising said...

I love all the love you have to share.

I also like the point you made about how our paths brought us to where we are -- and how fortunate we are to be in the wonderful places we find ourselves today... SOBER!

Akannie said...

Stevie,
I lived in Hendersonville and East Flat Rock for a decade ! In fact, just left there to move back "home" here to Illinois, 4 years ago!!

Greta post. Happy Birthday (belated) and I have sure missed reading you!! But now the garden's all in and I can stop and breathe!!

xoxoxox Anniek