Zorba’s Dance

January 4, 2014

Today I saw Llewyn Davis…

the movie by the Coen Brothers …. Greenwich Village in 1961…

a folk singer struggling with Life ….to accept himself and create the being he wants……but frustrated primarily by the roadblocks he throws up against himself…..

Ulysses’s search for himself …….that we all take……

there is one point in the film when he (Oscar Issac) with Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan….are singing Peter Paul and Mary’s”Five Hundred Miles”…..

well I was flooded by a wave of emotion that took me to tears

….I flashed back to my sister Daidie playing the guitar….something I had forgotten how well she played ….

….and this brought back memories of a dear friend Dutton Foster and his playing the accordion under the shadow of the Matterhorn in Zermatt back in late 50’s ..or was it the early 60’s…..an extremely artistic man who back then painted fabulous railroad cars….

Daidie had a crush on him ……

she climbed the Matterhorn…something thank God I was too young to do with my Father…… I was in awe of her …..

Peter Paul and Mary were such an influence on me…. it takes me back to the 60’s ……my struggle for identity….

a time when I was in love with Sherry…and with my roommate Tom…at Carleton College….

I did NOT know I was Gay….my emotions were all over the soccer field….

The BIG question………what and where I was going with my so young but important-not-to-let-anyone down Life……

Sherry and I had spent time together because of a Zen Buddhist class we took from Bardwell Smith….probably one of the most influential classes I have Ever taken in my Life…….

…it was about this time of year…..Tom and I bought Sherry a puppy for Christmas….(which you were not allowed to have in a dorm room)…

she named it “Happy”….

she always seemed to be so miserably happy….well we all were at that point in our lives……..

Sherry and I one afternoon walked downtown for lunch…..(Northfield Minnesota)

coming back were lost in our own individual funk….

when we approached the bridge over the Canon River…she said “Lets go down and sit under and watch the river flow…”

….the river was frozen in many spots…snow was every where……

We sat shivering next to each other ….lost …..in ourselves…..

I was staring at one particular rock in the rapids…..for some time….that seemed like hours……

When….all of a sudden …..

It turned INTO a dove that raised its wings and took flight…….

I started to laugh as did Sherry….

it was a HUGE weight lifted suddenly off our shoulders……

we walked back to campus laughing ….. ran into a friend…Mike …. he was lumbering down to town…he said “WHY are you both smiling so much…..”

we could not answer….

it was one of those Zen moments you can never explain or ever experience again……………

It was not long after that….my roommate Tom…..the 3 of us had been drinking….he was down on himself…and bolted out to walk in the “Arb”…(the college’s nature preserve)

a bit later …we followed … were not sure where he went……..I went around one side of the football field as Sherry went around the other side…

……I was freezing and worn out…when I found him he was swearing and kicking a tree stump……..

I said “Skins WHAT in the Fuck are YOU doing…….Sherry is searching for you..if you care anything for her…go look for her…….”

In trying to run back through calf deep snow…I lost my boot…….thinking FUCK both of them…..

when I got back to the room … I drank a whole bottle of Courvoisier ….and passed out…

when I awoke….Sherry and Tom were in our shower…

they were singing…

It was then I realized I had to leave college for all of our sakes …..-even though I was a semester away from graduating……

Love was killing me as it was the two of them……

I will NEVER forgetting telling the Dean of Men … WHY I was leaving….

that it was for my love of a man and a girl….he stammered ..(not AT ALL UNDERSTANDING the Heart)….spewing policies…and what a mistake I was making throwing my life away………………….

thank God my Father was in Vietnam…and my mother in India)

On the campus bulletin board (no internet back then)…advertised my skis, my dorm frig, etc …merely saying “After the Wine and The Dances ”

I jumped into the Datsun Roadster that my bother-in-law….wonderful Dave Donnelley had given me …back when NO ONE was allowed a car on campus…….

my luggage was strapped on the back…by rope ..as bungee cords had yet to be invented….

as I motored by Chicago…..I heard on the radio that Martin Luther King had been shot…..

I was Totally, totally devastated…..like I was when Kennedy had been murdered………………

my Ulysses search for myself ……took years to realize….

my Zorba dance for LIFE will NEVER end…..

One Response to “Zorba’s Dance”

  1. thskinner said

    That truly was a helluva time, Rob. Here I had graduated from a military high school with honors, and now, confronted with what the Vietnam War was truly about – not communism taking over the world but a small country seeking independence, first from France thinking the U.S. actually meant what we said in signing the Geneva Accords – realizing that was not something I could kill for, but not knowing what to do since I couldn’t pursue my plan of veterinary school – should I join Mike and go to Canada? go to jail to “make a point”? And what do I do about my/our love Sherry? And somehow I’m supposed to be getting through those last semester courses and cramming for the comprehensive exams – and then you tell me you’re leaving.

    I really struggled with your departure. Hell, I was closer to you than any one on this planet. And I hated to see your unhappiness. I felt like shit that I was at least part of the reason though I didn’t know what was going through your mind. But at that time i couldn’t even deal with myself, and didn’t know what to do about your plan to leave. And I was worried that you would get drafted since you weren’t in school but somehow you escaped that. Then your letters, after you left, in a way, were reassuring. It seemed like the decision was right, you were making it okay, even having some fun as you wrote about skiiing, people you were spending time with.

    So I applied for the Peace Corps and asked to go to Vietnam so at least my service would be constructive. The PC said no to Vietnam, but could go to the closest country, Thailand, so I quickly signed up. Then off to Hawaii for training. In the meantime, you had come back to Carleton. I was glad for you though I didn’t understand how you did it. But God, it was hard to leave Sherry. She promised she would come visit me before I actually left for Thailand and we set a date that I would call her to confirm final arrangements. Hawaii was beautiful but I was too fucked up to enjoy it. Finally, the date came and I called Sherry. I had checked out places we would go to for those couple of days she would be there, and dreamed about them with her. Then I called her as planned. Her roommate answered. Judy said Sherry wasn’t there. I didn’t understand. We had planned this phone call for months. Then Judy said Sherry was spending the night with you.

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