Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Low Lands

 "We were robbed," Carl said slamming his fist on the kitchen table. The salt and pepper shakers and utensils rattled.

Jen jerked and squinted at him. She finished drying dishes. Slowly she walked to the table and sat across from Carl. "What do you mean?" She said calmly sensing some inner frustration.

"Look at us! We're over sixty and live in 1950 something trailer in the middle of nowhere. We have no friends, no kids, nothing."

"How were we robbed?" she said.

"We both could have gotten degrees when we were in school, taught someplace and be retired, but we listened to idiot radicals like Dylan, Baez, Lennon. We thought we would all become one. We thought we could all live as equals. We bought their music, went to their concerts, and swallowed their ideology. They were nothing more than rainmakers, frauds! They all ended up with millions and we ended up with nothing."

"That was long ago," she said. "We had plenty of time to do things differently."

"But we really believed," he said emphatically. "You made and sold bead necklaces and I sold vegetables at a roadside stand. Was that supposed to show 'the establishment?' We found a better way?"

"We thought we were doing the right thing," she said.

"We should have known when we went to San Francisco to hear Dylan," Carl said. "I saw him on the street a couple of days after the concert and I asked him what was the meaning of Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands? He looked at me like trash and said 'Whatever you want it to be,' and then said, 'Get away from me.' I idolized him so much that it didn't occur to me that I was a nuisance."

"We talked about this before," she said. "He probably thought you wanted an autograph."

"I had no pen or paper," Carl said. "He was afraid I wanted a hand-out."

"You might have scared him," Jen said. "Look what happened to Lennon."

"Yeah if Lennon would have lived how many more lives would he have ruined and how many more millions would he have made?"

"Take it easy," Jen said.

"We know the truth, Jen," he said. "We know the truth. That was the day I knew we was robbed. They took our money and my dignity."

"But we have each other," she said stretching her arm across the table and holding Carl's hand.

Carl looked into her green eyes not noticing the weather-worn wrinkles surrounding them. "You are my sad-eyed lady."

"We were young, full of hope, and idealism," she said. "Weeks became years and years decades and here we are." She sighed and admitted, "Sure, we were robbed."

Carl patted Jen's hand and smiled. He got up and walked to the door and turned. "But I still have you." She watched him walk outside and work in the garden. Jen sat at the table, smiled, and began stringing beads.

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