Sometime last year, John and I hosted my old college friend (hence, but maybe not that obviously so, Jersey girl) Amy Berridge for an extended weekend. Amy always brings stories and her (now) well-travelled mandolin. And denim, fleece, toys for Lulu, an appetite, and pure down-home-ness.
Amy is an amazing writer, who set off to Canada after college (a place probably not chosen by accident, since her favorites songwriters Joni Mitchell and Neil Young hail from the place) for a graduate degree, and maybe more importantly, some focused mandolin home-schooling and musical roots steeping.
I have enjoyed so much good music over the years with Amy. She is just one of those magical people. Mostly off grid. But tuned in. Aware of her place on Earth. A student and a true believer. A fan and a participant. An prarie-economist as well, who often speaks of prepping for the “revolution.” Jokingly, guns and goats and guitars. Survival. But then she laughs and tosses all that aside and moves back into moment, and we go deep into whatever we are listening to (or playing).
She has the most amazing ear, and the most amazing heart. A few days after she left us, we received a package which held three things: a simple pasted-on cartoon card, a CD of mix-tape-type tunes, along with her famous, super-enjoyable “liner notes”… some songs that reminded her of our visit.
This isn’t the first gift of music and time and place I have received from Amy. It is just the one that represents this last trip. Always anticipated, her gifts of music and prose and joy and wonder are more than just received and read: they are well played and preserved (like any good piece of correspondence that defines a time and a place would be). They are a travelogue of our friendship, in a way.
To get off “autopilot” when sifting through mail by way of receiving this kind of “gift” of a thank you from a friend is like a return to life. Time to pause, and read and enjoy and care again. And revisit a weekend, and mark it for keeps with music and interpretation and memory….
I’d probably post this on Amy’s social media outlets if she had them, but she is decidedly staying off all of that. She prefers an email. Or a phone call. Or an actual visit! So, we will get planning some real time together soon. And wishing the same to all of our friends.
P.S. Here is one of Amy’s picks, Django’s Minor Swing (and if you like this, Django Reinhardt on Pandora should make you happy too):
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