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December 18, 2016 / thackersam

Leon Redbone and Other Stories

Perhaps by now you understand how my mind works. The tangent thing. I think of one thing that leads to another thought, oh and possibly one or two more and then I write something that has nothing to do with the first thought, and so on. I have no albums, tapes or CDs by Leon Redbone, but let me use him to demonstrate.

It’s Christmastime, no matter what we celebrate or don’t celebrate, that’s what this is. And during this time of year we are bombarded with Christmas music, as I was, and probably you too, today. Fortunately, at least for me, the hot song this year is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and I don’t mind so much. Except for Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” it’s all Christmas music, even the seasonal songs that are weather related. My two favorite holiday songs fall into that last category.

“Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” has always had me singing along until I realized there was a verse about clowns, and I’ve developed a dislike of clowns. Rock Hudson singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Mae West on the Academy Awards (before my time, thank you) would make anyone really appreciate the song as I do. Now, if you will follow me in the bend in Tangent Road, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is thought by some to be a tale of a man infringing on a woman’s right to say no. But she knows she ought to say no, no, no sir, and does not. Does she even want to? I’ve always thought of it as a tale of seduction, and done nicely, I think.

Leon Redbone’s (we’re here – everybody out) 1981 timeless classic, “(I Want to be) Seduced” celebrates the need for seduction, that is made all the more enjoyable by his unusual voice and appearance. I am not exercising to Leon Redbone music, and may know only a handful of his songs, but at one time he was running for a local office and it is during a campaign speech, if memory serves, that he said, “I’m too young for Medicare and too old for women to care.” And that’s why we’re discussing Leon Redbone tonight.

Part Two – It’s All About the Bourbon

I wobbled home Friday night having had just enough bourbon to make me cross from the tipsy to the wobbly side. The venue for this year’s office holiday party was at the restaurant on the Hudson closest to us that is slightly recessed inside the park. As a group of us walked the short way through the park I made note of how I would exit later, knowing that I had a date with Jack. I live on just a bit north of where we were, but had never walked through this particular park at night. Plus I would be alone and in a special condition.

Upon the recommendation of the new guy in Marketing, I tried Bulleit Bourbon and had been looking forward to doing so. If you remember, Jack and I have a tenuous relationship, and he is only allowed in my home in small doses, or larger at Thanksgiving when I make my infamous bourbon balls. The bartender served me a healthy sized glass of the new bourbon, not quite a double, and I grabbed a mini slice of pizza from the server who passed me with a tray of them so the alcohol had something to land on. With all its faults, and there are many, my company does throw a nice holiday party, and those who attend are rewarded with an AMEX gift card.

So I come, I drink too much and shove the passed hors d’oeuvres in my mouth and wait for the gift card. The new bourbon was okay, but the second and third drinks were all Jack. I think the bartender was impressed with my drink of choice, and I hope I didn’t disappoint him by leaving the last one only half consumed. I loathe the boomby boomby loud disco enhanced music, and left my colleagues to dance the night away, taking one of the foam covered glo-sticks being handed out.

The park, usually filled with tourists, was void of anyone, and without my glasses, I plotted the course to the other side, guessing correctly each time I maneuvered around the metal fences that seemed to have no purpose whatsoever other than to provide me with an obstacle course. After making it all the way home, I realized that while it was only 8:30 when I ventured through the park, it was perhaps a reckless thing to do and it reminded me of the more reckless behavior of my youth. Yes, it was mildly reckless as it’s not a dangerous nor secluded park, but I like the fact that I made it through successfully with only my glo-stick for protection, and what I assume would be a nice clear yelling voice and the willingness to have a would-be attacker thinking I was too nuts to deal with.

On a related note, Trouble-Buddy, whom you may remember from past stories of youthful recklessness, is a food-editor, and has a lovely blog on her local NPR radio station. She asked for my recipe for bourbon balls, and recently published the article and instructions all about them. It’s short so take a look. I do have to clarify that you mix the coating, which is no set amount, you have to play it by eye, on a flat rolling surface. I have an old plastic cutting board that sucked as a cutting board but has been a dedicated instrument in the annual rolling of the balls. LINK.

Cool, huh. But dammit, her editor changed one word in the opening sentence. I wrote “I have been making these damn balls for more than a quarter of a century now” and the editor censored the damn and replaced it with the word “bourbon,” changing the flavor, if you will, of the article and changing my voice. It’s just one damn thing, but is it editing or censorship? Damn is probably one of the most innocuous things a New Yorker could say. I would understand if I had said I had been making these fucking balls, which I was tempted to do as the original article had a bit more innuendo, or even if I had written goddamn balls. Could be a difference between New York and North Carolina, although it is an NPR station, but I would have been happier with “Gosh-darn” balls. And that is all I’ll say, as I do thank TB for including the article, and urge others to take a look at her wonderful site.

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