The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Feeling Alive


The day started with a rush of appointments. A therapy appointment at 9 AM with an overlapping 9:30 AM appointment at the vet. Jacob dropped me off and took Boots. She had healed and her ear was clear—knock on wood. When I finished my appointment, I headed to the Dor-Stop Restaurant to meet Jacob and his friend. I took pictures as I walked and tried to call Jacob as I got close to the restaurant. My phone shut off. I turned it on; it lit for a minute and then black. Foolishly, I tried again and again completely draining the battery. I plugged it into a portable charger and waited. I pulled the black screen out every so often to check for life. Finally, I asked some young women to use one of their phones. I was irritated as the punctual person who is waiting for the person who is known to be the last-minute or late arrival. But I was worried too, a honed-in worry now. He didn’t answer the text or call; then the women were called to a table. Finally, he and his friend arrived; and I waved to the women indicating my son had finally arrived.

Over coffee, Jacob told the story of their delay. They passed a cop in Duquesne who pulled out behind Jacob driving my little red car. He followed for a while, changing lanes as Jacob did. Then he turned on his lights to pull him over. He asked, “Why are you trying to speed?” Is that strange wording, “trying to”? He asked for the IDs for Jacob and the car, and then he asked for the passenger’s ID. Why? What did he do? He asked who owned the car and after checking the authenticity of the documents, he released Jacob with a warning about the 35 mph speed limit. Am I just more suspicious of motives now? There’s the part of me that whispers that I see things where there’s nothing, and then the other part that screams you missed things that were always there.

In the evening I met friends at the Benedum for the 60s Rock and Remember Live! featuring Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Dennis Tufano from the Buckinghams and Terry Sylvester from The Hollies. My friends were true diehard fans of Gary Puckett and The Union Gap and these artists sharing the memory of spending babysitting money on albums. My friend treasures the albums that she holds onto without a turntable to play them. Both she and her husband had persevering memories of certain songs. My memories are not as vivid of 60s songs as 70s. But I have many of these oldies in my iTunes library. I felt so vitally alive and happy in the past, present and future sitting there with friends. My friend whispered, “We should have gone to Woodstock.” Oh, how I wish! Perhaps one big regret of the 60s that might have changed my life that summer before college.

I swayed as those in front and behind me did and raised my arms in the air to clap along and joined in to sing Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, part of Peter Noone’s tribute to Pittsburgh and country music, perhaps as popular as rock ‘n roll here. We laughed at his limber parody of Mick Jagger strutting the stage. We ended with audience engagement singing lyrics of I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am. I sang it to Jacob later, repeating lyrics easy to remember. At last, a song he didn’t know. We stayed to get pictures and autographs from Gary Puckett. People brought their own albums to have autographed decades after release. My friend already had Peter Noone’s autograph from another concert at The Palace Theater. We stopped to compliment Dennis Tufano’s voice as he was leaving beside us. Terry Sylvester seemed to be missing from the signing. A great time was had by all♥.

Was it all people my age trapped in the nostalgia of the past? No. The host asked for millennials to give a shout out, and they had enough numbers to be heard. ‘Spread the word’ he said. The 60s were a happening time.

Just some of our playlist last night:

This Girl is A Woman Now

He Aint Heavy

Dream Lover (tribute by Trufano to Bobby Darin)

The Air That I Breathe

Lady Willpower

Hey Baby

Don’t You Care

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

I’m Henry the VII, I Am

I’m Into Something Good


Listen People

End of the World

and more.




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