Last night, my worlds collided.
|Cooking hot dogs with napalm|
I got married within two months of my graduation from art school. Soon my wife and I bought a house and not long after that, our son was born. Then there was work and vacations and taking out the trash and parent-teacher conferences and funerals and family get-togethers and... you know... life. I continued to listen to music, both old favorites and keeping up with new releases. I also continued to go to concerts, first with my wife and then with my son, as our tastes in music began to parallel. But still, Dead Milkmen shows were never on the bill. Then, the band broke up in 1995.
Readers of my blogs (this one and my illustration blog) know about my unusual hobby. Not one to collect stamps or participate in strenuous sports, I latched onto visiting cemeteries. Creepiness aside, it is a pretty cool diversion. Cemeteries are quiet, peaceful sanctuaries, with some of the older, historical ones boasting magnificent landscaping and breathtaking sculpture. To date, I have spanned the country and visited over two dozen graveyards, sometimes accompanied (not always willingly) by my wife, sometimes going solo.
At the end of August, the reassembled Dead Milkmen announced an outdoor show at — of all places — historically-certified and recognized Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. I chuckled to myself at the combination of performance and venue and how it smacked of the typical absurdity for which the Dead Milkmen were famous. Surprisingly, my wife suggested that we go. "Jeez!," I responded to the invitation, "I didn't know that would be something you'd be interested in." For thirty years, that woman has kept me on my toes! Next thing I knew, I was purchasing tickets. It was going to be two great things that go great together — like a punk rock/funereal Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
When I arrived home from work, I was greeted by a cooler that my wife had prepared and packed with bottled water, sandwiches and snacks. I quickly changed my shirt and we headed out for the show. Mrs. P, a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Dead Head, seemed genuinely excited. We picked up our tickets at a make-shift "Will Call" table and started off, along with other patrons, on the winding path through the grand burial ground to the predetermined stage area set up just outside the ominously named "receiving vault." We chose a suitable piece of grass, just a few feet in front of a headstone inscribed with the birth and death dates of Ralph and Mildred Young, who, sadly, would be missing the show by 30 years. I began the task of setting up our chairs, as the stage crew made last minute adjustments to lighting and other rigging.
|When the crypt goes creak|
Even if it took thirty years.