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Monday, 28 February 2011

Let It Roll

By Marcia Mayo who blogs at Well Aged With Some Marbling

Portland Oregon Waterfront

There are moments in life when you just feel lucky, when the confluence of time and place and experience and event bring you to an occasion that’s purely sublime. That's what happened to me last summer

The time was early evening; the place was the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival; the experience was an evening spent with two of my grown children; and the event was the chance to hear Little Feat for ten bucks and two canned goods (being Portland).

With me at my advanced age, it had to be early and it had to be easy. I no longer like to stay up late and I don’t look forward to much of anything enough to go to much trouble to take part in it.

But the band was playing at 6PM and I was in Portland anyway and the kids were willing to drive me and park me and help me navigate the crowd. And then there was Little Feat. Little Feat is part of my history.

I grew up in a family with much happiness and great humor but very little music. I remember my daddy playing church music on the radio on Sunday mornings, more to annoy us than anything else. And then there were my begrudgingly-taken piano lessons on Wednesday afternoons.

I remember my mother introducing me to a recording of Flight of the Bumblebee and Daddy’s favorite song being Alley Cat, which he kept wanting me to practice so I could play it at his funeral. Sadly, or most likely fortunately, my daddy died and was memorialized without me at the piano.

One of the things I truly loved about my ex-husband, when I met him, was his passion for and understanding of music. He introduced me to Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Rickie Lee Jones, and so many others.

One of those others was Little Feat. I don’t have much of an ear for music and very little rhythm in my soul, but there was something about that particular band that spoke to me. I think it was the syncopation, rhythm so compelling I was able to get over myself and become lost in it.

And so, in a perfect storm of cosmic forces, there I was with two of the people I love most on earth, caught up again in the magic of Little Feat. I cried with the first chord of Dixie Chicken and stood mesmerized through Fat Man in the Bathtub with the Blues.

When they started up Let It Roll with that unforgettable hallmark frenetic whoosh, I screamed so loudly even the dancing dervishes stopped whirling to look at me. And at that point, I remembered my friend playing leg guitar to that particular song on the road to a University of Georgia football game some time in the mid 80s, and it seemed like yesterday.

There I was again dancing and moving, dare I say grooving? Who cared that I was 60 and had arthritic knees and a throbbing toe?

I certainly wasn’t the youngest person there, but I wasn’t the oldest either. After all, the band started up in 1969, just a year before I met my eventually-to-be ex-husband, so their emergence and my musical education and appreciation grew throughout the same decades.

It wasn’t until after I got home and saw my picture with my loose-skin-spot-speckled arms raised in Feat-struck appreciation that I remembered my age.

For a moment, I felt just a tad short of ashamed, thinking I shouldn’t have been there at my age, not acting my age with a little disorderly conduct in a public place. And then I thought: screw it. I was having fun and doing something I enjoyed with people I love in an absolutely gorgeous setting and it’s a night I'll always remember.

Despite my loose skin, I am a lucky woman.

Marcia Mayo

Rock 'n Roll Arm of Shame. I wonder if Stevie Nicks has this problem. It could explain the shawls.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


cosmic forces win the day!
Joy cannot be held back.
I'm with you.

What is it about men always introducing their women to music. Both my husband and another long-term relationship taught me so much about music. Just about all the music I love comes from my knowing those two guys.

And you know, we all moan our loosening skin, but wouldn't it be so uncomfortable if our skin got tighter as we aged? So maybe we're all just getting really comfortable in our skin.

Hey, if you're at Portland Blues Festival again next year, come on over to the zydeco stage. I'll be there dancing Friday night and from noon to closing on Saturday, as usual. Most of our arms flap, too, but it doesn't slow us down any!

My theory is "go for it as long as you can". Cheers and keep at it.

Wonderful story as usual Marcia.......

Hey you earned those arms, you!
You introduced me to Little Feat after your concert when you blogged it, and for that, ma'am, I am profoundly grateful.
Fat Man in the Bathtub With the Blues remains one of my alltime VERY favourites and with 4,000 pieces on my IPod, that is saying somethin' girl!
Feck the arms. Stay with the music.

loved your story, and every time I start to think that I may look old and foolish I just remind myself that I have but this one life.

And I have always loved rock, and I plan to dance until I die.


I would die a thousand deaths if someone snapped a picture of my arms raised like that, but, you know what--nobody looks at other peoples arms at a good concert. Oh, if anyone ever does snap a picture of my arms, I'll send it to you and then you feel much better about your arms.

Olga, I was so embarrassed when I saw that picture, but then I remembered what Ronni is trying to help us with - we are what we are and who we are and we don't need to hide. So I screwed up all my courage and decided to post the picture on my blog and now on here. It still hurts when I look at it though.

One more thing: I wanted to shoot my son who took the picture.

Love it - the joy & celebration and the music and memories. Those body changes - remember you have earned every bit of the changes and besides it gives you character. And what a character!!

About the arms, quoting my almost 50 yr. old daughter, "Get over it!" I've got 15 yrs on you and I can guarantee, you'll learn to ignore body changes you can't help for the sake of "living it up" when and wherever...'cause, guess what? No one who matters is looking!!

Oh,Marcia,we are not looking at your arms! We are busy googling Little Feat so we can hear "Fat Man in The Bathtub With The Blues".

Your arms look fine to me as long as they are keeping time with the music that you like
so much and you having fun waving them around.

You've got it just right. You are a lucky woman.

You rock Marcia, and you look fine. My darling grandgirls like to pinch up the skin on my elbows and tell me they are making smiley faces. O' God! But it makes me laugh and I think says something about the good intimacy with our various offspring. And, maybe they won't be surprised sometime eons from now when their elbows have ruffles.

LOVE the blog and the picture! I laughingly suggested to my 54-year-old eldest that I ought to retouch the wrinkles out of a recent picture, and she vehemently objected "Mom, you're a great-grandmother--you should LOOK like one. Don't do it." So I didn't! And Mary's right--you have earned those arms, doing wonderful things.

You are an inspiration, Marcia. I hope I never remember to act my age and always allow myself to be swept away into the spirit of the moment. I don't understand why we feel bad after stepping into happiness but I'm recommitted to stop feeling ashamed of my joy. Your story reminds me what a folly it is to do so. Thanks.

Hey, your arms look just fine to me. I have a beer belly and skinny arms with skin so loose they look like chicken wings. But if I were at a jazz concert I would be unable to stop tapping my toes and swaying my body to the beat and I have 25 years on you. Go for it!!!

Loved the whole piece...Little Feat also introduced to me by a guy, I think I was 43/45..an old husband left town but left all his Chet Atkins & George Jones, but rock n roll and blues always my passion...Men and music, who knew? The outside concert idea sounds so wonderful..When I am forced to have to clean, I go through all my albums and play THE BAND until I am sure my neighbors want to slash their wrists, too bad..my children used to laugh when their friend's parents mentioned the loud music because they never believed it wasn't them, but their mother, who was blasting Otis Redding and Sam Cooke..Music makes any task better..On aging, I think I chose to be here with all the "extra skin," liver spots, bp meds than not enjoying the music...
I spent two days in Portland for a conference once and thought it was a beautiful, clean, very friendly place..nice to think I now know someone who lives and writes there..lucky you...

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