4TT Gets Personal: Big Ups, Big Downs
Hi there Tracksters…
Soooo, I’ve been a bit distant lately and I’m sorry for that. I have missed you terribly and my ego hopes that some of you at least noticed my absence. This past month I have been faced with the realness of how quickly and dramatically life can change. It’s been difficult even to find solace in music, which is something I never thought possible. On top of the sudden loss of a dear friend, Ken Phebus, whom I wrote about earlier, I am having to say goodbye to a dear companion. And all of this is mixed up with the joy of welcoming a new life into the world.
It’s time to get cathartic, share my joy and pain, get reaquainted with music and get really personal.
Annie’s Having A Baby, The Midnighters (1954)
First things first: A new Trackster is on the way. That’s right Anne (that’s me) is having a baby! 12 weeks along and everything is going swimmingly, aside from the total exhaustion I have felt for the past 3-4 weeks. I was fortunate enough to avoid morning sickness but the fatigue made finding the motivation to do anything besides sit and watch The Price is Right damn-near impossible. Maybe the total reality of the situation has not sunk in yet, but the thing I am most anxious about is the notion of my belly button turning inside out. No offense to the outties out there, but I like my innie and would like to keep it that way. Plus, it seems like that would hurt. I suppose there are other painful aspects of having a baby that I should be more concerned about, but this is where my head’ s at at the moment. The other major decision to be made is not what to name the baby, but rather what the first song I want my baby to hear is once he/she arrives. Some Chopin? Stevie Wonder? The Beatles, George Harrison or John Lennon? It’s an important issue and all suggestions are welcome. (I turned off “comments” due to the ridiculous amount of spam, but post your thoughts on the 4TT facebook page.)
Whip It, Devo (1980)
The greatest contributing factor to my absenteeism was the heart-sickening news that my soul-companion/adventure-buddy/more-than-just-a-dog, Devo, has an aggressive form of Lymphoma and that our days are very limited. The good news is she feels great right now. In fact, you can’t even tell that she is sick, and due to the nature of this type of cancer she will feel mostly that way until the day comes to say goodbye.
When I first met Devo, the Whippet-Mix (get it?), she was a super-skinny, hyper-active stray that found her way into my life at a time when both of us needed some love and affection. She needed physical saving and I needed emotional rescue. Originally, she was adopted by my roomates who neglected to give her the exercise and discipline she needed. I grew fed up with the jumping (She would literally hurdle the couch. Repeatedly.) and running (imagine a crazed-out, bugged-eyed dog pulling high-speed donuts in the living room), so I took matters into my own hands.
I would take Devo to Montara Beach early in the morning when no one else was there. With the exception of a staircase, the beach was enclosed by cliffs but was long and sandy. I didn’t have to worry that she didn’t come when I called her name, the point was to let her exhaust herself, then she would become putty in my amateur dog-training hands. Whippets are akin to Greyhounds, and watching Devo run at full speed was a sight to behold. She would scream down that beach, Cheetah-like, stretching her back, all fours off the ground. It’s been a few years since she’s been able to hit that fifth gear, but seeing her run is still one of my favorite things.
Naturally, we bonded through this whole experiment, and whether my roommates- Devo’s original adopted parents- liked it or not, Devo and I developed a closeness that has only grown stronger over the past 10 years. The caring and affection shared between Devo and I paved the way for my heart to heal, and I truly believe that without her I wouldn’t have been open to receiving the love of the man I met 9 months later-the man who eventually became my husband. Devo is usually the focus of much attention at any social gathering, and made lots of friends at Choices Oakland, a program that supported adults with developmental disabilities, with numerous birthday party appearances and one Halloween spent dressed as Mr. T. She even had an honorary position at a stationary company called Hello!Lucky, where she gained a reputation for her mad staring contest skills and the ability to fall asleep standing up.
There is no pet more packed with personality, no face more expressive, and no unconditional love comparable to what Devo has delivered into my life. Had she not come into my life, there would have been an unnamed emptiness, and when the times comes for her to leave, there will be a hole that will only heal with time and the knowledge that having given love to, and received love from this little doggie, both of our lives were richer.
Devo – Whip It by Dan_of_the_Land
Forgive the Two Track Testimony this week, they are two pretty poignant ones though and I’m emotionally drained. I’ll be back next week with a full four tracks for your listening pleasure. Also, if you got what it takes to come up with a Four Track Guestimony (and I know you do) get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.