There is a strong desire for a Mindfulness of our Ancestors. Here is the last week of the year, the ending of the first decade of the new century, and a little further distancing from the 20th century. Indeed, western civilization has made its baby steps into a new millennium of media. And yet, old ideas take so long to relinquish themselves.
Time is a wondrous thing. The more I get, the more I want – it seems. (Maybe.) Time allows for greater awareness and deeper understanding. Time also has the tendency to expose our shortcomings. We remember what we haven't done, what we cannot do again, and what we would have done differently. Nevertheless... we do; and time flows on. We must be doing something right, right...?
Dear Reader, I thank you again for joining me here. I take this opportunity to consider what our Ancestors would say of us, now. Daniel Moses Barker was what we just might call, a “bridge man.” He straddles time and seasons; running the gauntlet... riding the rough & rocky road to Gloryland – all on a stream of consciousness that extends far beyond his 85 years of breathing
Sylvia Barker, “The Daughter” had an inscribed bronze plaque cemented into the red brick exterior of 1027 Chartres Street – the birthplace of Danny Barker (the rear dwellings known as the “slaves' quarters.”) Never short of a turn of phrase herself, Sylvia described her father with these words:
'African-American Creole guitar and banjo player, songwriter, singer, author, historian, teacher, storyteller, humorist, actor and painter. Jazz Hall of Fame member, Recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Music Masters Award and numerous other honors. Played on over 1,000 records of Jazz, Swing, Blues, Bebop, and Traditional. Husband of legendary singer Blu Lu Barker.'
All that I will say on the matter: Danny Barker was raised
by Creoles. La Famille Barbarin.
Old Danny seems to be carefully approaching the words to describe his grandfather, Isidore Barbarin – whom Danny was close to from the age of around seven; after his mother remarried and took her son home to the 7th Ward from the Barker household in the quarter.
Isidore Barbarin (born September 24th, 1872) was a highly respected fixture of the Downtown Orleans Parish community. Danny tells us more... in the chapter entitled, Isidore Barbarin – from the pages of, A Life In Jazz.
Isidore was an easygoing, cool-tempered man. He had fathered nine children: five girls and four boys. I guess behind all that child raising it was a natural attitude for a man to be callous to just about anything, especially excitement.
It is easy to understand how Danny would have a clear picture of looking up to this man.
Isidore was a light-colored man about six feet tall, always neat and well-groomed. He wore dark suits tailored to his exact measurements, and soft black shoes. He had extra-large brown eyes which were very piercing and always looked everyone in conversation in direct focus.
Isidore Barbarin played cornet and alto horn and worked with the mighty Onward Brass Band. Danny states rather plainly.
At the Barbarin home the main topic of daily conversation was music.
'Son do' brings everything he's got to the table.
One day at lunch time, which was every day from twelve to one, my grandmother served my uncles and myself at the large table. As soon as I received my plate I picked it up and went over and sat with my grandfather, Isidore, blessed my food (which my uncles never did), and started a conversation about music then horses. He spoke and answered my questions and did some explaining. All was very quiet and I looked around at my young uncles and my grandmother, who was standing with her hands on her hips looking at me in utter surprise. My uncles were laughing silently at my nerve - “sitting at the king's table.” My grandmother said in French, “Now I've seen everything.” I kept up the serious questioning until the meal was over. My grandfather said to my grandmother in French, “That boy's got plenty sense.”
Here's to time... and patience... and sense.
Here's to being... raised right.
Peace & Pops,
Maison Musique, New Orleans
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