Does Your House Have Lions?

"One day in the late sixties, I was on the phone with Rahsaan and mentioned to him that just that day I bought a house.
He responded by asking, "Does your house have lions?"
I said, "What?"
He said, "Lions, you know like in front of a museum or the post office. You know, concrete lions. My house has lions. Get a house with lions."

--Joel Dorn

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dec. 5th--a shared date

My birthday and the day that Rahsaan died.  I've never been sure what to make of this coincidence.  Rahsaan's friend, the poet Betty Neals says, "It's a gentle sign." 

 This isn't the clearest picture but this is at the 75th b-day tribute I threw for Rahsaan at the Elephant Room in Austin this past August.  (L-R is Dorthaan, Betty Neals, and my mom, Liz).

This was taken shortly before Dorthaan got up to speak.  She told the story of when we first met:  "May was chasing everybody in New York, from Elvin Jones's wife, and I would run into people and they'd be like, 'This May lady from Austin is looking for you.'  And I'm like, 'Well, I'm NOT hard to find, I work at WBGO!"  Anyhow, when I finally met her, I was realized, 'Oh my god, she's just a kid in college!!!'  And for those of you who believe in the universe, May and I were meant to meet.  May was born on Dec. 5th--not the same year, but that's the anniversary of Rahsaan's death.  So the universe told me that May was a special person."

Of course I was blushing in the audience--still star-struck over meeting Dorthaan all those years ago.  And even though I've been working on this book for like a hundred years now, I'm still amazed by the crazy luck, or whatever you want to call it, that brought me to Rahsaan.  If I hadn't taken that jazz appreciation class in college, if I'd skipped class that day, if I'd never heard him:  I can't imagine.

As Joel Dorn once said to me on the phone, "Do you have any idea how rare it is that somebody like him got to somebody like you?"  I do.  And I thank my lucky stars every day.