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The Fabric of Life - Voice of Midnight

I didn’t know you before I was 14 years old, really

Voice of Midnight

Don’t want to go too soon
Don’t want to stay too long
Don’t want to go too quick into the night
Don’t want to linger on and on

Don’t want to leave you a mess
Don’t want to cause a fuss
Roll me into the hole
And cover me up

I’d like to know when it’s coming
Just a little time to prepare
When the voice of midnight comes
And into oblivion I stare

There’s no one waitin’ on me
No heaven or hell
The only vow I make
To live true and die well

And when I’m gone, that’s all
I’ll be blowin’ in the wind
Up to the great beyond
Back to where we begin

Will I hold onto the courage
To say goodbye to a life so dear
When the voice of midnight comes
Will grace overcome fear

I was born under a lucky star
And I’m thankful every day
And I know that in the blink of an eye
It will all be taken away

Maybe an open field
Under the stars and moon
With the smell of the land and the air
And not some hospital room

I’ll take my comfort in song
To the bittersweet end
I’ll gently take my leave
Safe in the memory of friends

I’d like to know when it’s coming
Just a little time to prepare
When the voice of midnight comes
I hope you will be there

Slaid Cleaves - Hot Summer Nights, Sherman,TX    7-5-2001

Slaid Cleaves – Hot Summer Nights, Sherman,TX 7-5-2001

I didn’t write that.  A poet with a guitar by the name of Gurf Morlix penned it.  Slaid Cleaves included it on his new CD Still Fighting the War which Scrappy Judd Newcomb produced.  Most likely those names mean nothing unless you are a student of the Texas Music Scene.   It means plenty to me since Slaid Cleaves and I  Slaid Cleaves, my BFF Cait and I have history.

The Summer of 2001 was the summer of Cait’s musical epiphany. It was also the semester of my life when I went from being someone she didn’t want to sit with at the football games to a cool dad.   Ya know, sometimes the stars just do align perfectly.  From that summer until she joined the Air Force we haunted all the classic Texas Music Venues.  It was something we each loved and we did – together.  When Big Bro was in town, he made it a trio but it was always me and Cait and we made ’em all.  Once she turned 16, she was allowed by Texas law to got to the honky tonks with me.  Gotta love Texas,  right?  So we would traipse out to Sons of Hermann or The Granada or Dan’s Silverleaf where there were shower curtains for doors on the women’s bathroom stalls.  We even made it down to Floore’s Country Store in Helotes once and Cait knew the words to James McMurtry’s entire set.   I didn’t have the pesos to rent even a cheap hotel room back then so we slept in the back of Cait’s Celica in a picnic area off 287 on the way back.  I did have enough money to buy 2 Floore’s t-shirts.  I don’t wear t-shirts with writing on them much these days  but I still wear that one.  The memories flood back each time I slip it over my head.

Gonna be Big Doings down at my folk’s place this Thanksgiving.   Cait and young Henry are making the scene as is My Bro and most of his crew.  Thanksgiving has always been my Mom’s favorite holiday and Miss K and I are looking forward to a break after a too-long stint on the gates.  I think we will stick around to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday the first part of December.  I figure I am much of a puzzlement to my parents and the other nieces and nephews.  Several of the younger crew are old enough now to be caught up in the fabric of the Corporate Beast.  Some of them are old enough to remember when I trod that same path.  I am sure the younger ones have been regaled with tales about their Crazy Uncle. Perhaps they wonder at my fall from grace? Or maybe, even now, they envy a lifestyle with no cubicular definition.  I enjoy having a phone I am not compelled to answer at a superior’s behest.

Back in the Shiny Shoe days when the EX-wife was still THE wife, she had a sister who chose to have a childless marriage. She would have been a fabulous mother as evidenced by the fine job of Aunt-ing she has done with my two.   The first life revelation I can truly call my own happened during this time; and partly because of her station in life.  I came to believe that our purpose in life was to take care of our children and make sure they were fully prepared to take our place in the cycle of generations.  Even though I bear all men and nature cheerfully most times, I only became focused on the true task when my mind became clear.  I do not believe I am a puzzlement to my children.  They get it;  I truly believe I have afforded them clarity of purpose and a morality that falls to task without hesitation.  For many years, my parents felt they had failed me in some fashion because of my raucous and tumble life.  When I shed the shiny shoes, they feared I had descended to a depth which would unequivocally drown me.  In the last half-decade they have resolved their concerns as far as I can tell.  Nobody can script your life. When you look in the mirror, you must be able to honestly say ‘I am here, at this place in my life, due to my own actions and decision.’  There can be no peace without that clarity.

Since I am being so introspective this fine Sunday, First Day of Fall, morning,  these lines come to mind from My Symphony

To be worthy not respectable,
And wealthy, not rich


Would be that I am worthy in the eyes of the people that I love,  a man could strive to attain much less yet never see the goal realized.


End Note: Slaid Cleaves’ new release Still Fighting the War.

One night, years past, Cait and I were at Sons Of Hermann in Dallas. Sons is an old school fraternal lodge in an area that has seen its’ best day. The first floor is the dining room, bar, kitchen and bowling alley. Upstairs is the ball room. Cait and I attended many fine concerts there but one stands out above all others.. Slaid and his band closed the night by stepping down off the bandstand sans instruments and microphones. They sang Feel the Blues Movin’ In by Del McCoury in crystalline pure a cappella harmony that remains with me in vivid imagery to this day.


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3 comments to The Fabric of Life – Voice of Midnight

  • Richard

    Between your words of reflection and imparted Slaid Cleaves music it’ll be hard pulling on my boots and getting on with the chores at hand. Good stuff, both. Thanks and happy first day of fall to you too.

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  • joel

    I kinda like this emo Andy . . .

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  • Nancy1340

    Oh my! SOH, if those walls could talk……

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