Lindley for Breakfast
In about 2003 or so, David Lindley came to Santa Cruz to play at Palookaville, a wonderful club downtown that is no more. The night was a disaster that wasn’t…for some reason, electric power failed utterly downtown that night. Events and gigs were cancelled throughout the Pacific Mall area…except at Palookaville where scores of fans found candles; and David and Wally Ingram, in the very best show biz tradition declared that the show would go on. This was not a small club; capacity was about 300 to be fire marshal-legal, which meant that with someone like David, there were likely to be 350 people there. The only “electric” lights in the place were the automatic battery powered backup emergency lights, supposedly to be used to help people exit the venue. But nobody left. We were there for a show, and David was there to power on. Wally wrapped strands of gaffer’s tape around barbeque stickers to make low volume drum sticks; David decided to go full acoustic, not even a battery powered amp for him; he understood that the crowd would turn their ears up to hear him. Some folks made special candle reflectors out of aluminum foil so David could see his Weissenborn lap steel strings. The result? An evening of total musical magic.
I’d known David for several years by that time, and he was kind of “Uncle David” to Jessica and my son, Elias, who was about seven at the time of this gig. We’d invited David over for breakfast the Sunday morning after the gig, fully knowing that the show had really taken it out of him…doing a full show to over 300 people…with NO pa system. This was strictly old school. Eli was elated, ecstatic, totally over the top that “Uncle David” would be coming over, and even though we prepared him…”the show was really tough last night; he might not want to talk much; we’re just trying to support him with good food while he’s on the road”, etc., Eli was just over the top.
So, having recently been introduced to the concept of knotting string, Eli decided to design and build a “Lindley trap”. Eli got up early and got to it with a design that was something between a fish net and a spider’s web…a lace of string starting at the front door that was to entice David inward, but not allow egress. Yes, keep Uncle David around forever! Well, could we possibly object to what Eli had in mind? NO!
David arrived with his tour manager; Jessica made a splendid breakfast; David admitted to how difficult the gig had been while it was yet triumphant, and discussion ensued into many subjects. Eli had gone back to his room, apparently to contemplate; bear in mind that he was maybe about seven years old, but of a thoughtful nature since birth. Then Eli came back into the living room with a question on his face. We all acknowledged his curious look, and he said, “Uncle David, I have a question. What do you think of the Shroud of Turin?” What the fuck! My kid who is barely in grade school just asked Lindley about what? The Shroud of fucking Turin? I don’t think the subject had ever even come up in the household, though I certainly admit intellectual interest. How is it that Eli has even heard about it, much less developed curiosity about the thing? But there we all were, chins on chests, and so ensued a conversation in which David expressed his belief that the Shroud of Turin was a forgery done by Leonardo Da Vinci, and there was the most rational conversation you could imagine…catalyzed by a seven year old who is now twenty one…and still asking those questions.