Musical Mary

Music was our strongest common thread before parenthood. We introduced and reintroduced our favorites to each other and discovered hundreds of new acts together.

There’s hardly a song I hear that won’t tug on that thread.

She would call me an absolute goof for how much I liked Queens’ “Princes of the Universe,” but I rocked it out with my sons in the car today, windows down, heads banging away, and the volume up high enough for Heaven to hear.

Then I thought about how empowering the lyrics are for my sons. In a world that seems to either forget us or fight us, this is the kind of message I want for my boys.

Princes of the Universe

Here we are, born to be kings

We’re the princes of the universe

Here we belong, fighting to survive

In a world with the darkest powers

Heh

And here we are, we’re the princes of the universe

Here we belong, fighting for survival

We’ve come to be the rulers of you all

I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings, yeah, yeah

I have no rival, no man can be my equal

Take me to the future of you all

Born to be kings, princes of the universe

Fighting and free

Got your world in my hand

I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand

We were born to be princes of the universe

No man could understand

My power is in my own hand

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, people talk about you

People say you’ve had your day

I’m a man that will go far

Fly the moon and reach for the stars

With my sword and head held high

Got to pass the test first time, yeah

I know that people talk about me, I hear it every day

But I can prove them wrong ’cause I’m right first time

Yeah, yeah

Alright, let’s go, let’s go, ha ha

Yeah, watch this man fly, wooh

Bring on the girls, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon

Here we are (here we are)

Born to be kings, we’re the princes of the universe

Here we belong

Born to be kings, princes of the universe

Fighting and free, got your world in my hand

I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand

We were born to be princes of the universe (universe, universe, universe)

-Queen

God bless and thank you for reading,

Jason

Dragon Slaying at Mountain Jam

My elder son woke early with me this morning and we talked about heroes and monsters as coffee percolated on our camp stove.

That was enough to make the entire day a success.

Then there was scrapple, kite flying, and friend making.

Saturday was won before the sun reached its apex or we got to the festival grounds.

The afternoon is progressing and more stories are being made. Bella’s Bartok just blew our socks out of our boots and I came into the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum to find some wifi and found Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” playing.

All is right in my world.

God bless and thank you for reading,

Jason

Morning One at Mountain Jam, Bethel, New York

The shape of the muddy old field betrays its use as farmland at some point, but narrow tire ruts and spray-painted plots indicate a loosely plotted campground. It’s not quite Mad Max (too much water for that), but we’re very fortunate that attendance seems to be well below expected levels. Dozens of vehicles, including ours, had to be towed last night and the tow truck driver abandoned those who weren’t within reach of his tow line from the access roads.

Luck continued its presence as we put flesh to the avatar of a Facebook friend and found a spot with friendly neighbors. My sons are experienced campers and were invaluable in setting us up in the rain. That I was the last in the tent last night to find our bedding in order and hardly a drop of mud to be found is an unqualified miracle.

After setup, my younger was beset by hangriness and I didn’t know if we’d make it to the festival grounds for music and exploration, but once the chocolate and caffeine of his hot cocoa kicked in, we were ready to rock.

In great contrast to the ill-staffed, poorly-lined, and half-swamp conditions of the camping, the Bethel Woods Arts Center venue is manicured. Falling and fountain water features, ski-resort-style lounge areas, rolling landscape, paved walkways, permanent vending structures, and plenty of staff make for a comfortable atmosphere. Although, there are different courtesy vendors and it is difficult to determine which colored shirt to seek out for which information and there aren’t physical maps or programs (that I’ve yet found). The Mountain Jam app is the only way to navigate space and time and there is no public wifi (again, I’ll be hunting still). It’s all too thoroughly modern.

I’m in luck again as the first few acts don’t interest me and these three Z Boys love mastering their surroundings.

We walked much of the property before the sun went down and got on the ferris wheel to get a real look at the place after dark. With the cost of the show and the camping, I had hoped the ferris wheel would be free (as I have had that experience at at least one other fest). At $5 a ticket, I don’t know how many times we’ll be riding.

The highlight of the evening for my sons (aside from the hot cocoa), was Suitcase Musik, a floor-level DJ who welcomed spectators to join him behind his, you guessed it, suitcases full of digital sound-making machines to create songs on the fly. He was engaging and generous and my older boy had the look of a toddler pressing his fingers into perfectly moistened mud as he learned and worked the various tools.

Late-night revelers didn’t disturb us and the morning is intermittently warming up as the sun fights thick, ash grey clouds. I’ve got my percolated coffee and my sleepy heads are sleeping.

All is right in my world.

God bless and thank you for reading,

Jason