“Mr. Original”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

They were stopped
Staring
Eyes glued to an mysterious old brown, wooden box
Young family of four wandering the antique market
My lens watched.

“Is that an old music box?”, the 12-year old boy asks his Dad
Raises iPhone at arms length and silently takes a photo
“Google it on your Mac”, says Dad.

The 10-year old sister
grasps Blackberry
Remembers old collection of love songs that Mom had saved since she was a teenager
Music was on something called a cassette
Mom cried as she tried to untangle the pile of crinkled tan tape covering her garage floor.

Dad suddenly remembers
Stack of used 8-tracks
Stuffed in sagging cabinet
His untidy study.

“I remember your Grandma
Had large black discs with small holes”, Mom says
Big cardboard covers
Lots of songs on them
She called them 33’s.

“Oh yeah”, Dad says.
“Remember Grandpa’s stacks small black discs with big holes in them?”
I played frisbee with them.
The labels said 45 rpm.

“I sure wish your Great Grandpa was here”, Mom says
He played a tenor saxophone in a jazz band at Princeton
He had blacks discs with small holes that went ‘round and ‘round real fast
Called em 78‘s
He played songs by Paul Whiteman and Bix Beiderbecke
The music was scratchy.

“I was a little boy at your Great, Great Grandpa’s house”, Dad says
Old, wooden music box like this one in the corner of their living room
Crank on it
Faded old black and white photograph of them sat on top of the music box
They were young
They were dressed up
They were dancing
Great Great Grandma was wearing a short dress with fringe on the bottom
She looked like she was hopping around
Her legs were bent like twigs at the knees”

With a sprinkling of grey hair, I raised my Nikon
With slumping shoulders, this aging photographer slowly slinked into the shadows of Buenos Aires.

“Call of Terror”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

USA.
Auburn, New York
4:12 am.
January 9, 1955.

The brass ringer bell on our rotary phone screams and screams and screams outside my bedroom door.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I’m in deep sleep.

Ring. Ring Ring.

I am only 14.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Old enough to know only bad comes with a call in the black of night.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I’m into horror movies.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I am terrified.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Slapping bare feet rip down the wooden hallway.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Total silence.

A mind-piercing scream rips through my bedroom door. I leap from my sheets. I tear open my door. I’m face to face with my Mother. Wracking in tears. Sucking for air. Eyes wide with terror.

“Maudie”, Mom gasps. The hospital. Her five-month old daughter. Dead. I wrap my arms around Mom’s heaving, sagging shoulders. Mom and I cry.

Please Lord. There is an order to birth. An order to death. Our children are not to die first.

A jet black old rotary in an antique store in Buenos Aires evokes a 50 year old painful memory of an ice cold January morning in upstate New York and the value of life.

“‘Round And ‘Round”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

“Want to play around?”, she coos in your ear.

Only in this wild, funky, music saturated town, where the jest and the joke are commonplace, are you musically and mischiefly entertained by a pair of 33s dangling off a pretty woman’s neck.

What a sassy town!

“Tacking Up”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

The rusted weathered barn door creaks open.

The old Gaucho hears the snort from Old Paint’s stall.

Barn dust and bits of hay flutter through shafts of light from the holes in the roof.

Time for tacking up Old Paint for another five-day ride on La Pampas searching for lost cattle.

The old Gaucho slowly shuffles to the tack room. Rough, gnarled hands fumble through fifty-six years of jumbled, worn, stained tack hanging from paint peeling wooden pegs; saddles, stirrups, halters, bridles, hackamores, reins, bits, harnesses, breastplates, martingales, spurs, hoof boots and horseshoes.

Old Paint holds his head up. Snorts again.

“Cut ‘em out”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

After years of hugging the horn of a sweaty leather saddle, dust, dirt, grass, sand and roping the thick necks of bulls on the rich Argentina plain known as La Pampas, the Gaucho’s dear old weathered friend comes home to rest at the end of the ride.

“The Race Is On”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

The race is on
Here comes pride up the backstretch
Heartaches a-going to the inside
My tears are holding back
And tryin’ not to fall
My heart’s out of the running
True love’s scratched for another’s sake
The race is on and it looks like heartaches
And the winner loses all.

Thank you for the words and music, legend George Jones.

“Fierce Ball”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Tune in to Club Atletico Boca Juniors!

A fierce professional football team in the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires.

One of the most popular and most successful football teams in Argentina, and one of the most successful in the world, having won 43 official titles.

A Club with a tough history founded over 105 years ago by five Italian immigrants.

If you can even find a ticket, get it.

Grab a hard hat.

Gear up with combat clothing.

Grasp a cold beer
Grasp a case.

Climb into Boca’s home stadium’s trenches for another rough rivalry game.

Boca Juniors Game Day!
Bloody nose
to
Bloody nose time!