By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — I only have one working windshield wiper, which is probably the result of trying to use them to swipe away layers of ice –usually without much success — this past winter.
Because the non-working wiper is on the passenger’s side, and because I won’t have time to get it addressed until after Sofia starts back to school in a few weeks, I’m just keeping an eye on the weather forecast and doing rain dances.
We could use my wife’s Honda Civic for long drives, but it’s so cramped in there that it leaves my back aching for days.
So, I was within my rights to have Sulu signal a yellow alert when a few sprinkles appeared on my already scratched windshield on the way to the American Music Theater in Lancaster Monday evening to see Loretta Lynn in concert.
Life is tough with only one windshield wiper, but nowhere near as tough as it is when you live in A country where too many around you have one working brain cell.
We were fortunate Monday. We sort of out-drove the rain and made it to our seats, front and center and in the fourth row (why can’t I get those for Springsteen or U2?).
As we looked upon the stage, with the rain coming down much harder outside, the stage was figuratively set for an ideal night.
All in all, Sofia would have rather been at home playing with her American Girl dolls and watching her reruns of reruns on the Disney Channel, but she will thank us one day for taking on the tour of legends.
It began last December, when we saw Bob Dylan from the nose-bleeds SEATS? at the Academy of Music and continued this summer with Gordon Lightfoot at the Keswick and Lynn on Monday.
Plus, unlike Lightfoot, we figured this would be a short concert. Lynn, after all, is 83 years old – making her the oldest performer I’ve seen (not counting my grandfather, Poppie, who played just about any string instrument that was ever made).
Much to our chagrin, a warm-up act, Walker County, was announced. I warmed up quick when I saw the two sisters, Cutie and Pie, in the three-piece band. They were pretty talented, too, playing more of the Americana country that I enjoy. Pie, the singer with Maria McKee-type pipes, said they would be in the lobby during intermission selling their CD and signing autographs and was “hoping to meet all of y’all” out there.
Sofia professed an interest, and I gladly volunteered to take her to their table – at intermission.
But there was no intermission.
After Walker County exited stage left, Lynn’s “kids” — 51-year-old twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, and 62-year-old son Ernie — did a few ditties. Then, Lynn came out onto the stage to a lot of the justifiable pomp and circumstance due an icon. There were a few pauses in the action, as other members of the group did some songs to give her a rest.
But, more or less, Lynn rolled through her hit songs to a crowd so long in the tooth – and as white-skinned, and haired, as the driven snow that damaged my windshield – that I felt as young as Sofia.
She did the two songs I knew and liked enough to download on iTunes – “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) and wrapped up “Coal Minter’s Daughter.”
All in all, a cool experience.
But it had to be tarnished.
Toward the end of the show, Lynn said Ernie , who already ruined a tender moment about the death of Conway Twitty with some sort of quip that earns a yahoo strips in a trailer park, wanted to make a political statement. He hollered out “Trump” and the crowd roared with approval through their dentures while stomping their canes.
Something didn’t connect, but everything fell into place.
We were in America – and relatively close to home – but on a distant planet. Cancel the yellow alert and beam me up, Scotty. No intelligent life down here.
We just listened to this woman, a great American rags-to-riches success story (read the book, see the movie … or at least Google her) – roll through many of her self-penned songs that, for their time, gave voice to working class women before it was fashionable – and those who felt a connection with that music, whether they had also been wronged by their man or came from humble beginnings, roared their approval for a billionaire candidate who started his personal race about a foot from the finish line because he was born into wealth.
How and why could this be?
Won’t wasted too much time scratching the hair of my goatee.
The same reason that President Obama, despite the fact that it was him – and not Reagan, or anyone named Bush, that gave the Coal Miner’s Daughter with little formal education the Presidential Medal of Freedom — meets with derision.
Racism, plain and simple.
To me, something about Trumpmania is a bit Hitleresque. Not saying he is Hitler, but there are parallels – with the scape-goating of an ethnic to tap into people’s fears – that should not be ignored.
We didn’t defeat Nazi Germany in World War II to become Nazi Germany in an era where more than a 1,000 veterans of that war die per day.
I first thought about this uncomfortable parallel watching Trump babble – in a football stadium, no less – in front of a crowd with the combined wealth of his shoelaces in Mobile, Alabama a few days back.
It hit home in the American Music Theater in Lancaster Monday night when Ernie Lynn did his thang.
And from that moment on, the show was over in my mind.
Some of the other guys in the band did a passable cover of “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” but I was feeling anything but peaceful and easy, especially with my daughter being exposed to that nonsense.
When Lynn finished singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” there was a moment of indecision in the room.
Was it over, or was there an intermission?
The side doors opened, the house lights went up.
Right on cue.
At Sofia’s insistence – she is the alpha of the family – we went to the lobby to find the girls from Walker County.
Their real names are Sophie Dawn and Ivey Dene (their daddy, Billy Walker, plays guitar and helps write the tunes) and could not have been any nicer, posing for a picture with Sofia and signing an autograph.
When I wished Sophie Dawn good luck, and told her how good they sounded, she put down what she
was holding and shook my hand and thanked me.
All good, and we have a young band to root for, but it could not erase the sour taste.
We played the Walker County CD on the way home, and didn’t say much as we listened. When it ended – it’s an EP (only six songs) – Laurie and I discussed the scenario and how it related to the state of the country.
One of Sofia’s new pop idols, Becky G, came on the radio — Disney Channell, which now one of my presets (gulp) — and Laurie mentioned that the Mexican-American teen who went to work at age 9 to help parents who were struggling – likely as much as Loretta Lynn’s were — had recently written a song in response to Trump called “We Are Mexico.”
I’m sure it’s not my kind of music, but it’s the type of message we need to send.
Perhaps, while we are taking Sofia to see as many older musical icons while they are still standing, she has a role model with her finger on the pulse of a divided country.
When Trump entered the contest, I laughed. When he surged to the top of the polls, I chuckled.
I figured he would divide the GOP enough that the way would be paved for a Democrat – hopefully Bernie Sanders, but not likely (more to do with his ethnicity than being a “s-s-s-socialist”) – to win the election next November.
Now, I’m not so sure. Now, I really think this guy can win.
Before Obama even had a second foot through the door of the oval office, haters started hating, saying they wanted their country back.
To put a spin on Lynn’s aforementioned hit, I fear Trump may just be man enough to take my country.
I would say I don’t get it.
Sadly, I do.
And this joke isn’t funny anymore.
I may only have one working windshield wiper, but I can see clearly now.
It’s not a pretty picture.