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The three of us arrived at the Backstreet, a local one-of-kind sandwich shop, where our friend Luigi Canario plays ambient guitar music on Wednesday nights. Luigi is a classical guitarist who used to play in a band called Sterno and the Flames when we was kids. A lot of local folk of legend were involved with that band.
So, aside from listening to Luigi's musical stylings, we knew that he would let us do something during one of his breaks. We each did a song. Billy C sang I Go to Pieces. I sang I Wanna Be Like You. Blowhard Canary sang Don't Think Twice. Then, we sang I Shall Be Released. The crowd ate it up.
Princess Canary then came up and wanted to sing Amazing Grace with us. We had sung this a capella at one of our rehearsal's at Mom's apartment. We tried playing our instruments this time, but we were not tuned and we couldn't agree who the culprit was. I tuned my uke to Billy's (my uke was losing its tuning because the pegs need to be adjusted), but things were still not happening. Blowhard sounded out of tune to me. But what we really need to do is rehearse these things. Also, Princess needs to join us more because she has a really sweet voice.
My childhood friend Curt (not a Canary) came in with his lovely wife Joanie and an older couple after we had finished the songs we sang well. During Amazing Grace, the older gentleman walked up to the stage and began clapping either with us or for us, I'm not sure.
Later, when I joined their table, he began talking to me and I learned that he was from Denmark. I couldn't figure out much of what he was talking about beyond that. It wasn't a language barrier. Rather, he had trouble putting his thoughts together. At one point, he had me touch the side of his head, where, under his hair, I felt a pronounce dent. It became clear that he had had a severe head trauma of some sort and that he had been explaining to me how it happened and how the doctors had treated it. At that point, his wife asked whether I understood that her husband was a stroke survivor and his head injury took place when he fell from said stroke and that he had to re-learn how to speak and do almost everything else.
I then learned that he had been the most prominent architect in town and had signed the plans of almost every major building project in town, including the cross at the top of Mt. Rub, most of the schools in town, the refurbishing of Mission Inn, the Museum of the Desert, and many many more.
I sat and talked (actually listened) to him for at least an hour--having to really work my deciphering antennae extra hard. In addition to talking in numbers (he had been an excellent mathematician), he also had a problem with gender referents. When Curt had left to go talk to Luigi and the other Canaries, he asked Joanie, "Where is your wife going?"
There were times when I don't know what he was saying at all. But he was a nice man--very cheerful. His wife even said that, although he sometimes made her crazy, he was always so sweet to her, both before and after his stroke, that she felt lucky. Sometimes stroke victims' change of personality can bring out the worst in them.
I capped off the night by taking a look at Curt's electric car. It's a Ford Think, which has been discontinued for a long time now. He bought it from a car dealer in San Diego. It looked like a golf cart. Good for surface streets, but not allowed on the freeway--but, these days, getting on the freeways doesn't get you anywhere very quickly anyway.