Saturday, January 26, 2008

ftx 10

FTX 10 - December 1st, 2007

The rains all week were torrential and unrelenting. The waters from the grey sky slicked the roads and people as the temperature dropped. By the end of the week it was like the world had emptied out, everyone inside something else – dark silhouettes behind fogged glass.

I was worried and nervous that our ftx event in echo park would be washed out like our santa monica one had earlier in the year. (although rescheduled for the perfect day!)

But my friends had faith and I knew I couldn’t, no make that wouldn’t, change the date. There were too many important things about to happen. My great friend leslie (#46) was about about to have her first baby in less than a week and yet she was gutsy enough to still want to play music alongside her husband shel at our getogether.

Geoff (#7) was out of town for work but his family lovingly offered to drive down to help me out. The help I needed was the whole key to the event for me. Daisy Mae (legendary ftx #1 and brown pup extraordinaire) was going to be attending her first ftx! This girl had changed me for the better and more than anything I wanted her to feel the love I have received in no small part because of her. The time for only having her picture on display at an ftx was at an end.

So weather be damned. This wasn’t the time to throw up. This was the time to throw down!

I didn’t sleep most of the night and was up early to see the bright crisp sun stretch out across the blue blanket sky.

I had my funky ftx echo mix ready to go! Hell even the theme from ‘The Warriors” made it onto it.

I had the support of #23 in Melbourne and #36 in Morocco, each representing their gang colors across the globe.

I had #6’s parents, Dee & Tony, who had just driven in from Tennessee.

I had surprises like Cristina and Jovin (#45) both of whom I didn’t expect to see. Jovin even called me from around the corner telling me he couldn’t make it as he leisurely strolled into the park, flute in hand.

But mainly I had Daisy Mae. And she had flowers in her hair.

As you’ll soon see Daisy’s smile couldn’t get any bigger.

Echo Park, in a mainly Hispanic area of Los Angeles, usually has a mix of homeless as well as families. The lake it surrounds is inhabited with ducks and lotus flowers as children fish alongside parents. On weekends paddle boats glide around the vertical towers of shooting water from the center of the lake.

Probably because of the storm the park was emptier that morning than when I had scouted it beforehand. But as with every ftx it became what it was supposed to be – a celebration of friends and friends to be.

I’ve known Dalton, my friend Geoff’s nephew, since he was very young. At least I thought I did. But on the morning of December 1st I was amazed. This guy who has always called me “Uncle Shyam” became the heart of ftx echo park for me. After eating his toast he immediately got to work. He dunked bred. He chased down people to offer up ftx. He didn’t leave my side. Even when we tiredly got home that afternoon he spent almost an hour cleaning my stove and griddle. All unasked for. All appreciated. As he was leaving with his sisters and mom to go home, he turned and told me wasn’t going to call me “Uncle Shyam” anymore. From now on I was “Brother Shyam”. And he, although he didn’t know it at the time, would always be called by me FTX #49.

In the end there was music at the park. And the smell of buttery cinnamon toast. There was laughter and hugs. At one point I listened as Patty Griffin’s song “Heavenly Day” played. Her one and only love long. A song she wrote for her dog. And I knew without having to see her that Daisy was happy.

Which is all I ever wanted.

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