I was in full philosophical mode yesterday: it was my 60th birthday. Friends went quickly into ‘hailing the milestone’ mode. I wasn’t up for that. Each day is a milestone and I’m glad for everyone, not really understanding why the one coinciding with my birth is so special as to negate the rest.
Anyway, like it or not, I had to be all business. I was traveling to Nassau to watch my daughter play in a football tournament. She’d started her packing from the weekend. She’s learning about planning. I packed in the morning; I’ve done this gig a few hundred times. That took about 15 minutes.
As I got ready, a wave of nostalgia hit me and pushed my musical memory button. I then spent about an hour searching online clips that marked my eclectic musical journey. I barely scratched the surface with the selection. As I recalled singers, songs, lyrics and riffs, I wandered along the path that got me to this latest birthday.
My mind moved from the trends that were developing in Jamaica in the early 1960s, through England and the USA in the 1960s-90s, onto Africa, back to the Caribbean. I know a lot of professional musicians and rubbed shoulders with them in my youth. I never gained their mastery of instruments and singing, though. So, I was more a frustrated musician than a good player. However, I often told myself that it’s not possible to be very good at everything. I was a pretty good sprinter and footballer. So, I rest contented that sport was more my metier and I’m still not yet done:)
The short musical journey was fun. Every now and then a notion hit me, such as a clear liking for falsetto singers, like Curtis Mayfield then and Frank Ocean now. I also had to acknowledge how being thrust into Europe formed my tastes. English rock music gets as much space in my heart as does most forms of Jamaican music. I love Led Zeppelin and Cream and King Crimson and Yes and Free, and more. But, I love Buju and Bob and Beres and Jimmy and The Upsetters and Sizzla and Chronixx.
Anyway, the journey didn’t end, though my pending flight put sharing it on hold. I was happy to see many friends finding affinity with the choices. It’s a project to be continued.
I headed to the airport. My daughter’s school group was mostly checked in already. I left them to do their thing. One of the ladies at security check couldn’t understand why I was leaving my child behind. I explained. She didn’t know girls played football in Jamaica. I suggested she check out the information on the Reggae Girlz. Stunning what passes people. I went to a quiet spot on the lounge and read messages and had a snack.
Boarding was simple and the travel was uneventful.
I had only carry-on luggage. The Bahamas vets arriving flights from Jamaica closely and bags usually take nearly an hour to arrive. That’s to be avoided. Also, long lines in Immigration don’t add to my general ladidahness.
Years of IMF mission travel honed my experience in shortening airport procedures and I use that. So, I was headed to my rental car about 30 minutes after landing.
I was due to stay with some of my in laws and met them at the airport coming back from a trip. All was set. I left my kid to go to meet her host family and headed to my digs.
I was not in expectation mode and happily settled into the sound of crying 2 month-old and happy 4 year-old. It was a nice contrast to being on the edge of old fogeydom.
A friend sent a message asking that I send back news of what life was like the other side of 60. I’ve met others who’ve ventured there and lived to tell the tale.
I’m just listening to a cock crowing behind some bushes on a Bahamian island, and watching live tennis from Australia on an iPad. A Swiss is playing a Serb and a man with Thailand roots but a plummy English accent is umpire. That’s indicative of what has happened over the decades.
New day. New dawn. The rock rolls on.