The Resurrection of Nancy Pies


Recently this somewhat cryptic message arrived in my email box, forwarded from my buddy, Betsy...


On Sunday, August 31, 208 (day before Labor Day)

To remember and celebrate Dave Yarnall and...

To avoid all of us only seeing each other at funerals –

There will be a gathering of the Turks Head/Cabaret clan 

On the banks of the Brandywine

Anytime after 1pm

Bring booze and a side dish – I think we’re roasting pig!!

Please contact me with any other email addresses or phone numbers

You all know who should come


I particularly liked the line "You all know who should come," because, strangely enough, I did know who should come.

Back in the day...a long, long time ago, I used to play music in a little hole in the wall bar called The Turk's Head Cabaret.  Sometimes I played with my band, sometimes I was one of the chick back-up singers and sometimes I was just a patron, watching other musicians like The Melton Brothers or George Thorogood and the Destroyers.


The Turk's Head was no wider or longer than a row house and attracted a diverse audience that included college students and bikers who somehow all managed to get along.

It was my college home away from home, thanks in large part to a guy named Kenny, who took over the management of the tiny club and made it into "the" local venue for new and emerging bands. 

The details are sketchy now, thirty years later, but I do remember eating my first authentic Vietnamese food at the Turk's Head, courtesy of a tiny, immigrant woman Kenny wisely hired.

And I will never forget that my dad came almost every time I played. He'd sit at the big front row table, surrounded by my girlfriends, wearing his Episcopal cleric's collar and beaming up at me as I sang, like he was the proudest father on Earth.

Hanging out at the Turk's Head was like playing dress-up with my soul. I was always trying on various incarnations of my growing-up self and yet, no one ever made me feel foolish. 

Acceptance like that is hard to come by- Which probably explains why I've never been tempted to attend a high school or college reunion...but this one...well, it's mighty tempting.

Tonight I dug the old guitar out from under the Eldest Unnamed One's bed, pulled down the dust-covered notebook full of lyrics and played until my voice got hoarse and my fingers felt raw.

It was not pretty.  Apparently, playing and singing are not at all like riding a bike.  While some things do manage to come flooding right back, it's not the good stuff. 

But unlike trying to fit into a size 6 for the high school reunion, I don't feel at all discouraged by my lack of musical ability.  Hell, it didn't seem to bother anyone back in the day, so why should it matter now?

It's a hell of a long way to drive for a party, but for the girl who still lives somewhere inside me, it feels very necessary.


Beth said...

Wow, what a special place...and what a special Dad. :-) I love the image of your Dad beaming up at you. It IS rare to find a place where you can discover who you are that is so accepting and nurturing. In fact, we've been looking for a CHURCH like that, but so far haven't found it! Seems like that's what a church should be...maybe they could learn some lessons from the Turk's Head clan!

And, yes, by all means, GO!


krisis said...

This is a fascinating window into you that I had no idea existed!

Our creativity migrates. I used to write lots of fiction - notebooks and notebooks full of it - and now I can't even settle on an outline for a short story. But I'm in a band with the person who used to read all of my stories.

I think you should go.