Writer guy here had the knives out. I had a weekend built for sarcasm, opportunities to mock myself and everyone my age (or older) in the process; I was going to become the great American humorist based on this weekend alone! You should have heard the blog writing itself in my head: funny, self effacing and poignant, Mark Twain reincarnate… Only, my heart got in the way.

It started Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Orlando. Teresa and I went to see this wonderful show called Classic Albums Live. It’s a group of  sensational studio musicians who travel the country playing the records of my youth, “note for note, cut for cut.” I’d seen them before and, while the show doesn’t have the usual spontaneity of a live concert (you know what the next song or even note is going to be) it is still amazing to see good artists at work. This time they did Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and they nailed it. After the  album they took a break and came back for a set of other Beatles tunes, which they also nailed. It was high energy, exciting and even moving. Damn- some of the Beatles songs were works of art! (Yes, and some were pretty much shit). The fourteen piece band, with full string and horn sections, rocked the night away. Ahh, rocked the night away…

We Boomers were around when people started rocking the night away, we were the rock and roll generation. We  bludgeoned society using youth as our weapon as if we invented it. We trusted no one over thirty and sought to create a new world, with new rules. Except, here we were: old, grey, and listening to music that was almost fifty years old. Fifty years old! If we’d have listened to fifty year old music when Sgt. Pepper came out, we’d have been listening to music from before Prohibition. That wasn’t going to happen!

So, I had the knives sharpened, I was going to point out that trading on youth doesn’t seem to be the best long term strategy, I had Beatles parody lyrics at the ready, “Will you still change me, will you still wipe me, when I’m 84?” Yup, it was time to do what I do every so often, poke the bear, even if I am wearing the bear suit.

But, you know what? Despite a few unfortunate ponytails on men, it wasn’t a bunch of people chasing lost youth; it was a bunch of people enjoying some really good music, out to have a nice night out. There were families there, with several generations together, all enjoying themselves, it was a night where people were just happy. Happy to remember the past, grateful to still be around to relive it. There were sparks of magic in the air. It was, somewhat to my disappointment, not a night for cynicism.

Sunday afternoon we went to see Hope Springs, the Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones movie about a long married couple going through marriage counseling. The previews portrayed the movie as a comedy or perhaps, as Rolling Stone (who ought to look in the mirror) called it, Geezer Porn. To be sure, it had some laughs and Meryl Streep did some things I wouldn’t have expected to see her do. But Hope Springs is a serious movie, about two people doing the best they can, two people looking for something to latch on to, two people trying to remember happiness, searching for hope. Sure, the movie delves into the couples’ (lack of) sex life, but it deals with far deeper issues in a sensitive and direct way. It speaks to anyone who has ever been in a relationship at a crossroads, it asks, “what do we do when the only thing holding us together is habit?”

The characters of Hope Springs are boomers too, they traded on youth once. They had hope, they had love, they had passion. They got lost.

I’ve been lost, been at crossroads, I couldn’t be cynical about this movie either. I know what it is like to look for happiness, to latch onto hope. One of the exercises suggested by their therapist (the horribly miscast Steve Carrell) was to remember when they fell in love, to describe their most exciting time together. Sometimes, all we need is a reminder, a spark, even if it is from a long time ago. Teresa and I have been to couples retreats, we know what it is like to find the spark again.

And, I think, that’s what the Beatles show did, it brought back some good memories, hidden behind the great sound and musical craftsmanship was a concert hall filled with sparks.

After all, regardless of our age, we are all doing the best we can. We all need something to latch onto, a reason to get out of bed in the morning and sometimes, habit just isn’t enough.

As another rock and rolling boomer, Bruce Springsteen, sang, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.”

I was happy to be an old guy at a rock concert on Saturday, happy to be seeing a movie about an almost failing marriage with my wife. Instead of being cynical this weekend, all I feel is grateful.

Here comes the sun doo do doodo; it’s alright.

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