Thursday, September 17, 2009

Revisiting the Vinyl Cafe

So after my love affair with Stuart McLean's Home from the Vinyl Cafe, as you know I went to PBS and got 2 more Vinyl Cafe books. They were both delivered pretty quickly, and I delved into the first immediately. The first book in the series to have arrived was Vinyl Cafe Unplugged, so that's the one I went with. The book continues to follow Dave and Morley's family the most closely.

Dave and Morley's life continues to be a series of misadventures. I laughed out loud and could only picture too clearly certain members of my own family when Dave decides to put in a new outlet in the kitchen for Morley. The two of them have been putting money in a savings account for years and not touching it, and while Dave has his eye on a car, Morley wants to do renovations to the house. Dave is convinced he can put in the outlet himself (Morley wants an outlet near the table so they don't have to jump up and down to make toast every morning) and thereby distract her from the goal of renovating so he can buy his car.

Morley leaves the house and when she returns, she finds a broken window, 15 holes in the wall, the sink is chipped, and a bunch of hot and sweaty guys are eating pizza in the dark. I laughed until I cried.

Such is the tenor of the majority of the stories in the book. But what finally sold me lock, stock, and barrel on McLean's genius was the final chapter of the book. It is a story of how the baseball coach of Dave's youth has died several years earlier and his widow is only just feeling up to writing a letter to Dave, who happened to be one of Art's favorite kids.

Art is not a character I recall encountering in the previous book. The Vinyl Cafe is actually a series on Canadian public radio--McLean being Canada's version of our Garrision Keillor. So it's possible that Art has shown up in the radio series. I definitely don't recall him from the books, however.

Reading the letter from Art's widow to Dave had me in deep mourning for a character I didn't even know. The little things that Art and his wife shared, little things they did for one another, it really moved me. It inspired me to think of my own marriage and how if something happened (God forbid!) I would miss the General bringing me a glass of water after a work out and getting him one in return, how I would miss 5:15 when the back door opens, all the little things in a marriage that make it one big wonderful thing.

And I lay in bed and wept. And then the General realized something was going on. I'd like to say we shared a moment, but in fact, we did not. The moment was totally broken by the fact that he put his hand on me and felt that I had on a really old pair of underwear that is way too big. And he began to snicker. This turned into a full blown belly laugh, which infuriated the living hell out of me. The more he laughed, the harder I cried, furious and never did I feel so alone in my life. (I was feeling particularly melodramatic at this point.)

So to eek my revenge, I did the only thing I possibly could--I put my cold hands and feet on his warm back.

And he got up, went to the office, got the heavy Navy blanket, brought it back and covered me up, tucking me in just right. It was with great delight that I then snuggled in with him and fell fast asleep.

0 pearl(s) of wisdom: