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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why "You Must Take Your Chance"?

Some of you have asked me about "You Must Take Your Chance" .......why did you pick it for your blog name?  Here's the story but I must warn you, it has a sad ending:

Since I fancy myself a writer, a poet no less, I have fallen in love with this certain jeweler who engraves in tiny, tiny beautiful letters, poems and pieces of poems, onto her original design, precious metal jewelry--necklaces, bracelets, earrings, baby spoons, etc.  It's expensive, $100-something to several thousand-something.  But the pieces are at once delicate and powerful.  And very special.  So no wonder.  You've got to check out her website:  Jeanine Payer

The first thing I bought from Jeanine was a necklace for Steve: A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself. That's how I hold your voice. -Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks.

Pretty cool, huh?  Do you get the deeper meaning .....our long-distance relationship, we talk on the phone all the time, his voice??  Steve cried when I gave it to him ......have I mentioned, yet, how much I love him?  And if any of you ever figure out who he is, and find his picture all over the internet, you will find three consistencies: his bass is strapped on, the ball cap is on, and the necklace is on.

Then my darling nephew was born so he got Jeanine's Simple Spoon: But then there was a star danced, and under that I was born. -William Shakespeare

Now really, REALLY perfect is that?

(Disclaimer: I have to be honest, this bracelet is actually the last thing I bought from Jeanine this past June, but the story is better if I tell you about it now.)
This was Thing One's high school graduation gift from me: Wonders happen if we can succeed in passing through the harshest danger; but only in a bright and purely granted achievement can we realize the wonder. - Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Stephen Mitchell.
I hope he doesn't lose it cause it cost a fortune.  PS--And I hope Ex doesn't find his way to this blog cause he'd have a cow.  Ex is practical and lacks the stomach for "heirloom gift giving"--I call it.

 And now, the crux of the story, which most of you have probably figured out.  Finally, I bought something for myself from Jeanine.  This bracelet: You must take your chance. -William Shakespeare.

And the story is one of those snapshot memories in my mind that I will never forget.  You know those times in your life when there is a completely unexpected "profoundness" imbued in a moment that makes it unforgettable?  I know you have them too.  Those times are what makes life worth living if you remember to remember them at your lowest moments ......

SO, I was in San Francisco visiting Steve.  Which is where Jeanine Payer's studio and retail store are located!  Every time I'd visited Steve before, it was too hectic and I couldn't convince him to make the time to locate her shop in the middle of SF, the city in which I'm COMPLETELY entranced  and would do anything for and forgive all.  The same city Steve says, and half-believes, he couldn't care less about.  (I mean, hey, he grew up there)  He plays regularly in these fabulous dives, er bars, that have literally been there since the Gold Rush.  No lie!!!  Whenever I accompany him to The Saloon, between North Beach & Chinatown, or the Gold Dust Lounge at Union Square, neither of which seem to have been renovated since 1849, I literally WILL those walls to talk to me! (They haven't yet ...)  Just the stuff I've seen there on the occasional occasion these past four years could fill a book.  Think about the one-hundred and fifty-six years before that!!!  Did I mention that Steve doesn't think these places are nearly as fabulous as I do?  He's completely jaded because parking is a nightmare, the pay sucks, and the customers are not the "characters" I'm charmed by, they're just drunk a-holes.  In Steve's defense, I do get why it isn't so exciting--it's his life.  But it's exciting as h*ll for me--it's my vacation!

But finally, one January a couple of years ago, I convinced him to drive into the city a little early so he could drop me off at Jeanine Payer's before she closed, and then later, I'd take a cable car down to Lou's Pier 47 Restaurant and Blues Club at Fisherman's Wharf where he was playing, to meet him.  I wasn't planning on buying anything at Jeanine's.  I was just going to look.  I really did believe that.  Who was I fooling???  Obviously just myself because Steve didn't look the least bit surprised when I showed up at Lou's later that night with my beautiful You Must Take Your Chance -William Shakespeare bracelet on.

But the "moment" happened after I left Jeanine's very hip & very cool (no surprise there) shop.  And no, I didn't get to meet Jeanine, just a darling shop clerk who did a great job helping me pick something out and taking my money.  So now it's just after dusk.  I have to find the nearest cable car hop-on/hop-off point and I'm nervous because I've never done it ....only seen it a thousand times since I was four years old on the Rice-A-Roni commercials.  Does the cable car even stop????  What if I hop-on and miss???  I mean really, there must be a technique?  And you can't ask any city-dweller .....they only look at you like you just crawled out of some "hick"-hole.    

Somehow, I managed to "board" in one-piece and figure out how to pay the "conductor?" without causing too much commotion or attracting too much attention to myself.  There I am, in San Francisco, by myself, on a misty not too cold January night, sitting on a freakin' cable car!  Sitting!!  Suddenly I realized, what am I SITTING for??  Aren't cable cars for cheerfully "hanging off" of?  While a bright brass bell rings incessantly, and everyone (the conductor, the passengers, and any poor pedestrian not lucky enough to be riding on that happy cable car going by) sings "......Rice-A-Roni .......the San Franciso treat!!"

So I stand up and do my best to "hang off" without getting reprimanded by the conductor.  And my new bracelet, hanging off my arm hanging onto the brass pole while I'm hanging off the cable car, glints in the mist, in the moonlight, in the city lights, You must take your chance. -William Shakespeare

THAT was the moment......

The sad ending happened one day, late last winter, when it fell off my arm, somewhere, and I didn't notice.  I keep waiting to find it by just "coming across" it .....maybe under the seat in the car?  Or in a potted plant?  In the lint catcher?  It must be somewhere!  But as of this writing, it is still gone.

I've been trying for a long time to start this blog.  It represents more than I care to entail now--I will plug away at those things in future blogs.  I've been thinking about what to call my blog.  One day it came to me when I was looking at my bare arm, missing that gentle reminder ........yes, that's it ......You must take your chance.


Pat said...

Bravo! A wonderful story.

Kensi said...

wonderful story, Laurie....I'm really enjoying this!

Andi said...

Laurie - thanks for commenting on my blog and leading me to you! What a wonderful, yet melancholy story. But you know, things happen for a reason, maybe this blog would not have started if it was for the losing of the bracelet...

I look forward to checking your space out by being a frequent visitor.

Laurie said...

Thanks guys!

Jenn said...

Great story Laurie -- and we (including Spencer) love the spoon!

C. Beth said...

Congrats on the new blog! I wanted to let you know I'm glad you put the "blogging with discipline" button on it. Best of luck!

(Oh, and I like Steve, not Pus. I voted.) :)

Laurie said...

Thanks C. Beth! Yep I think "blogging with discipline" is a great blog to stumble upon when you're a new blogger like me! It'll be my daily reminder that it doesn't have to be perfect every day; just has to be and that's what matters. Thank-you so much!!!!

jen said...

Bless you. This is an amazing story. I had no clue what hte sad ending would be. I believe this is a brilliant hashtag for Twitter - are you on Twitter? Have I mentioned this before? Your blog is a gift. Many thanks to Andi for the long ago introduction, which I ignored too long. =/

I love Shakespeare. I, too, had a bracelet. My God. We never forget the bracelets. I wonder why. Mine was purchased in NE Oklahoma - at a small estate sale. My mother bought it. It was from Austria. The loss of it is a sad story, too, and I haven't thought about that in 15 years. Now, you've inspired me to write about it.

One of my goals for the New Year is to read more blogs by writers and poets. This will be a more regular stop, I promise you that.

Blessings in the New Year,

p.s. - the rice-a-roni part - one of the funniest cultural references I've read yet. luved it!!

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