Juxtaposition is the placement of two things (usually abstract concepts, though it can refer to physical objects) near each other. (from Wikipedia.com) What’s that even mean?
Ok, here is an example of a juxtaposition in my world:
As soon as I heard Victoria Vox was coming to Dusty Strings for a concert I was “in”. Victoria is a marvelous ukulele player, has the voice of an angel, and judging from her YouTube channel, appears to be a lot of fun. I even convinced my wife Susan to come along and enjoy the show with me…
Ah, but first there was this little “work” trip to Spokane the week before the show. Since I would be gone all week we decided to swing down to Fremont and pick up our tickets as we headed out of town and across the state. I’ll get back to that later…
Saturday night finally arrives and we are standing outside the music shop waiting for the doors to open at 7:00 PM. Actually, I convinced Susan to leave plenty early so I could grab the best seats in the house and we stacked up in line at about 6:40 pm and it looked like we were about 13-14 people back. Sweet!
Did I mention that one of the true joys of ukulele music and ukulele players in general is the whole “make peace with the world- play your ukulele” kind of attitude. Something about the tiny little instrument just say, “easy brah”, “don’t take yourself too seriously”.
So, a few minutes before the doors were about to open a whole bunch of ukulele lover’s (yep, everybody brought their ukes to the show) walk up and see the line extending all the way around the building. Rather than go to the back, about 6-8 of them just blend into the front of the line. I think to myself (and quietly whisper to Susan) I personally know guys that would stab a person for cutting in line. (Author’s note: in a past life I worked in a prison. It was common practice for an inmate to get himself “shanked” for such an offense).
Chill-lax… I tell myself. This was the Fremont District, not the State Reformatory. Ok, only a slight difference, I’ll give you that, but juxtaposition number one.
Within a few minutes we were sitting in the front row and I was totally engrossed in the performance. The MC’s were Kate and Steve and they delighted the packed house with beautiful little duet before they introduced Kimo.
This man was a true gentleman and a wonderful musician. His introduction focused on the peaceful and loving nature of the ukulele. Ukes’ Not Nukes’ That kind of stuff. While I listened, completely absorbed in Kimo’s masterful playing style, my mind wandered back to the previous few days in Spokane…
I was there to teach a law enforcement firearms instructor workshop. How to engage criminal suspect’s shooting at the police from within vehicles, how best to penetrate heavy objects the suspect may be hiding behind…that kind of stuff. As if we ever needed to be reminded how dangerous the world is for officers and deputies, at about 1610 hours on day two of the class we get word that a dangerous, career criminal, who had been released by a judge to attend drug rehab, rather than be tried on the heroine trafficking charge that would have kept him in prison for decades, had shot shot two Spokane County Deputies on a traffic stop.
Instantly it is an all hands on deck response and many of the officers flooded out of the class to respond to the crisis. One of my co-instructors was the Tactical Flight Officer for the Sheriff’s Department Air Unit and he was out the door and airborne within minutes…
The above image shows us practicing skipping rounds under a car and shooting through glass barriers with a rifle. The helicopter is SCSO’s Air 1, and the center photo is from the Air Unit taken during the chase.
Well the good news is the deputies survived, all be it with serious injuries. The bad guy, after car-jacking a Honda from an 87 year-old lady and driving at 110 MPH northbound into the southbound lanes of traffic, was eventually stopped by a determined and courageous group of law enforcement professionals (it was a miracle no other citizens were killed). The suspect’s car was “spiked” by the cops, he crashed and shot himself in the head as the police approached.
Back to Kimo…Love, peace, and kindness flowed out of this man. Juxtaposition number two.
From the front row we could see Victoria’s ukuleles lined up on instrument stands waiting to go to work. Her tools of the trade were a work of art. OK, there was a certain degree of art to my tools too.
Juxtaposition number three…
Soon it was time for Victoria Vox to perform and the audience lover her. Her energy and enthusiasm, as well as her wonderful sense of humor thrilled the crowd. She sang several original tunes, a few classic cover songs, and did an award winning number that she wrote in french. It was absolutely… she was absolutely… delightful!
Here, have a listen and see for yourself:
I have been a loyal customer at Dusty Strings for, I don’t know, a couple of decades. Maybe longer…
Many years ago I recall the music shop had a slogan or ad that read:
Acoustic Music Enriches Your Life!
How true, my friends, how true!
Here are a couple more images from the evening.
So there you have it. A little ukulele music and the world is back in balance. Thank you Dusty Strings, Kimo, Victoria… and everybody else who enjoys the magic of the ukulele.