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Saturday, December 27, 2008

I got a date with my favorite chair!

A Tribute to Be

She told me that she tried Kale once and hated it, I said she must come down to dinner with us I will cook for her Kale that she would really like … I never got to do that but for years I have been meaning to do it. Last year we again had our Thursday C BSO tickets …I looked across to the right balcony searching for her so I can wave that we will meet for drinks during the intermission at our usual place….I did not see her …twice we went but did not see…had she changed her seats ..maybe she no longer did the Thursday C series, no impossible! This is her favorite, I knew for sure.

Grace, simplicity, generosity of spirit, true inner beauty these are the adjectives that come to my mind whenever I think of her. I am not sure if we met for the first time in 1981 or in 1991 …we were both never really sure, we shared the stories of the people of 1981 but we just couldn’t remember if we really met or not…. somehow this gave our relationship a head start to an earlier time. Eventually as I settled in Boston in the early 90’s I really got to know and work with her and she introduced me to the Boston Symphony and I too become a Thursday C series devotee.

To my knowledge Jazz was not really her thing, it was classical music and the Opera to which she was truly devoted. As we left the office one snowy evening I was telling her about my new found love for Louis Armstrong, so we sat briefly in my car listening to

Pardon the smile on my face my friend
Dreamin' of reachin' my journeys end
I'm headin' straight for my hearts desire
Gee, it's good to know I'm near the home fire
All of the folks that I love are there
I got a date with my favorite chair
With every step every hope grows higher
Didn't know how much I missed the home fire
The noises, the TV, the rusty old pipes
The cat always teasin' my dog
The neighbors, the quarrels, the screaming of kids
For the first time in years I'll sleep like a log
Heaven is waiting for me, my friend
Seven or eight dreams around the bend
And if you're ever in town inquire
We'll be glad to have you share the home fire
We'll be glad to have you share the home fire

In my mind this will always be a song I associate with her. I am not sure she really liked it or even liked listening to it that snowy day. I will never know for sure, for she only mostly let us know her agreements, her approvals, her support and rarely passed negative judgments. If she hated the idea of Kale again, she never said it, if she hated Louis Armstrong she never said it.

We once discussed one of these office type big framed paintings; I did not like the empty chair in the beautiful garden, it looked sad to me, it made me feel a loss … to her she saw it inviting …it was hers to take.. come and sit and enjoy. In my head, I have this image of the next BSO concert and her seat by the right balcony is empty with a spot light on it. Seiji Ozawa is back from Vienna for the occasion to conduct, he enters and goes directly underneath the right balcony and bows …the whole orchestra is up looking in the same direction and they give their most devoted fan a big bow ..no applause ..no words, just the simple respectful bow; this is what she deserved and this is what she would have wanted, no words, no fuss, no inconvenience or irritation to the other guests.

Ayman S. Ashour

December 27, 2008

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