Jim Trainer

10 Years Stayin’ Young

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I am large, I contain multitudes.”-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

I got into town just before midnight on a warm and balmy night in 1999.  The skyscrapers of Houston rose up on me as I climbed the hill from the train yard.  “I am a long way from home.”, I thought, and I was free.  I got up on stage at the club and I poured myself a mugfull of Evan Williams white-label.  “Houston.”  I said, and the crowd was with me.  They were with me until I had spouted all my words and finished the mug of 100 proof. 

It all came back to me walking down La Branch on Sunday.  Ruby Wring and her Texas Rollergirls were competing against the Houston Roller Derby.  I was playing a show at Café Mango’s that night and we were meeting up with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in 10 years.  When we got out of the car and began walking, it wasn’t just a memory that came back to me, it came over me.  With a memory, it’s kind of linear, you remember something that happened like you’re reading it off a page.  This was a feeling-and not just any feeling.  I felt the same exact way I felt 10 years ago, succinctly, and hadn’t felt since then.  The exotic warmth of Houston in November and the giant reach of anonymous skyscrapers downtown took me back to a fearless time in my life when I was walking tall down these city streets for the first time. 

We met Josh outside George R. Brown Convention Center.  We walked around checking out all the souped-up and shined cars on display for Autorama.  We cheered Ruby on as she and the TXRG beat the Houston Roller Derby 120-108.  We hung out at Lucky’s for the afterparty.  Throughout the day and into the beer-drunk night it was revealed:  we are still game. We’re still up for the next adventure.  We’re older now but that doesn’t matter any more than it did then.  By the end of this whole adventure me and my friend were confessing our love for each other.  I know it’s silly to have fondness for an old oil-town but I do.  Because when I got off the train back then I knew I had made it.  It must have been 12 degrees when I left Philly.  Not only was I doing a two-week, 8-city spoken word tour, I was making friends.  And the thing about friends is, when you see each other again it’s like no time has passed. 

Rachel from Philly joined us that night at the show.  I had an audience with members from:  Alabama, Houston and San Antone, Vermont and Philadelphia.     

When we left Houston, I watched the skyscrapers drop away.  “I’ll be back.  We’ll see you soon.”  Texas 10, the musical highway.  How comforting it is to know there are other heart-lights out there, beacons really.  They’re with me when I’m walking down 6th, I feel them out there, and I contain multitudes.  This feeling of  connection, it doesn’t make the world smaller, it somehow makes me bigger.  There’s more room out there and there’s more room in here.  It’s anti-small town walls closing in.  It’s everything.

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  1. 1999.. oh how I remember you.

    • And oh how we were remembering YOU. The circle has been joined and we are in the Magic. EBell was laying this Whitman quote on me when I got back, and now I’m using it to go back. Sychronicity=Connection.

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