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The Tapestry of Circumstance
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Song #16 of 100 Days of Ukulele 2022.

This is the second year I’ve participated in 100 Days of Ukulele. People all over the world are doing it, and we have a page on Facebook. We upload a video of us playing any song of our choice, with or without accompaniment. I succeeded in this project last year, and it’s one of the first things I’ve ever been able to truly “finish” as a large project, though I write all the time. It’s hard to finish big projects, harder than one would think even though I always love to play the ukulele and sing any chance I get. Some days fly by and you don’t realize until late into the evening that you have not posted your song yet, and you scramble.

For the past two nights, I’ve been able to talk my boyfriend Savoy into accompanying me on his flute, and it sounds wonderful. He even plays some solo parts with me. Ukulele and flute mix well together, and it’s so much fun for me to not just be a “solo act.” I mean, I’ll do that no problem, but it’s not as fun. I miss playing with a whole group of people because that’s what I truly love. But for now, the flute and ukulele definitely work for me. It took me two years to talk Savoy into being seen on social media, as in Facebook. He’s not on any social media, although he’s appeared in quite a few videos on Youtube over the years because he’s been a professional drummer for over 40 years. Usually, he’s playing the drums, which is where he feels the most comfortable, in the background, keeping the beat for everyone. But he also loves to play the flute as well.

We even have a groovy background and colored lights as a background, so it’s psychedelic and colorful. We’ve done several songs together now, “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan, “Things We Said Today,” by the Beatles, and a few days later “Tuesday Afternoon” by the Moody Blues, and last night “Under the Boardwalk.”

Playing “Under the Boardwalk” with Savoy brought back a flood of memories of Santa Cruz, California, one of my favorite places. When I still lived in the Bay Area, I’d wake up early Saturday mornings (which shocked my kids, they’re like, MOm is waking up early on a weekend day for something?) and I’d drive to the beach by the harbor where I’d meet around 100 or more other ukulele players. Nothing like playing at a beautiful beach with others, many others. Some people brought other instruments like guitars, or even recorders, or this one chick would bring a keyboard and plug it in at the coffee shop close by. We had conga drums and someone always played bass…it was like being with kindred souls, lots of fun, eclectic, colorful people of all ages, although dominated by the old hippies, sort of like me I guess.

Then I remembered how my Dad used to take my brother and sister and I to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk often though we lived in San Francisco. It was about an hour and a half drive, and so worth it. For me it wasn’t just going on the rides, especially the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, my favorite, but it was about just being at the beach and hearing the waves as I sat on a Ferris wheel. We would also play on the beach and run around. What a perfect time that always was.

Then, just last November, I visited my son and grandkids in Santa Cruz. My son Jeremy usually works way up north in Lake County, but his company sent him to Santa Cruz for a few months to work on a big project. They actually paid rent at an incredible, beautiful apartment by the ocean where you see the best sunsets. He said he would’ve had to pay almost $4,000 a month for it, because allowed dogs, and he had to bring two of his dogs with him, not to mention his fiance and their two-year-old son Isaak. His older kids, Charlotte and Jeremiah, also spent lots of time there. I visited them there for a week and watched the sunsets every night with my grandson Jeremiah. And we could see the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the distance and the beach by the harbor. It was a tapestry of circumstance that we were there.

On the last night there, Jeremiah said while we walked on the beach as the sun slipped into the ocean. “This is the last time we’ll be here on this beach together, Grandma Mary.”

I felt sad hearing that from my wise grandson.

“You never know,” I finally answered as we watched the sun slip into the ocean.

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