“Mojave Classics”

Listening to my iTunes collection, I remembered in a flash why I’d called one certain playlist the “Mojave Classics.” It is, I promise you, a tale most improbable.

You see, back in 1990 a number of us decided to caravan down to the Mojave Desert for a weekend of shooting and relaxation. There were several of my friends and their wives, and me and my good friend Sharon. But there was a catch.

The girls insisted that it’d be great fun to have a formal dinner down there, right out in the middle of nowhere. That meant dressing up. That meant tablecloths and a fancy formal dinner. Oddly, none of the men objected. I was appointed to put together suitable music for our evening in the desert. For our special dressy occasion, I chose formal Classical, selected mostly from around the renaissance period.

Try to picture us there after dark in the Mojave. We men dressed up in semi-modern suits and ties and western boots. We sported western hats and impressive period sidearms. My single-action, ten-inch barrel .44 magnum and holster hung prominently below my suit jacket. The ladies dressed closer to the style of a hundred years ago, in full, flowing costume-style ball gowns and old-fashioned bonnets. They did a great job.

Our long table was covered with white linen, place settings of real silverware, a ham, sliced cold cuts and vegetables, and the mandatory wine bottles. Candles and lanterns lit the scene well. A wonderful time was had by us all. In no time we were “well on our way.”

Given that we were car-camping, we weren’t really that far from the access road that brought us there. Mind you, all this time, the boom box was blaring out my classical baroque and pipe-organ music.

We saw car headlights approaching up the road. At just that point, JS Bach’s “Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Scrhitten (Cantata BWV 78)” started playing.

Now, this stately music is still far too lively to be played in a church. It is just right for the entertainment of a king or duke who can afford to keep a pipe organ and entire brass band ensemble on call in his castle, impressing and entertaining two hundred guests and visiting nobilities.

As that car approached our camp, it slowed down. Windows rolled down. It stopped. Shocked faces appeared in the car windows. Jaws dropped. It was as if they had all just seen ghosts from the past. They drove on again, very slowly, quietly and respectfully. They’d just witnessed¬† something to tell the grandchildren.

Great memories are priceless. We can carry them forever, wherever we go. Sometimes a simple trigger event like a song on a playlist can summon a whole feature-length memory like it was just yesterday.

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1 thought on ““Mojave Classics”

  1. Correct words to Old Friends, Mary Mccaslin
    (Mary McCaslin)

    I saw an old friend the other day, in San Francisco, by the bay.
    It took me back to only yesterday, the years somehow let slip away.
    We laughed and talked about the days gone by, and brushed a tear away with a sigh.
    We promised not to let it be this long, like the old refrain from an old, old song.

    Remember old friends we’ve made along the way.
    The gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.

    Looking back it makes me wonder, where we’ve gone and how long we’ll stay.
    I know the road brings rain and thunder, but for the journey, what will we pay?
    I often think the time get crazier as this old world goes ’round and ’round,
    But just the memory makes it easier, as the highway goes up and down.

    Lately word’s been coming back to me, there’s a few I will no longer see.
    Their faces will be seen no more along the road, there’ll be a few less hands to hold.
    But for the ones whose journey’s ended, though they started so much the same.
    In the hearts of those befriended, burns a candle with a silver flame.

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