My whole life has been happiness. Through all my misfortunes, I did not plan anything. Life was there for me, and I accepted it. And life, whatever came out, has been beautiful to me, and I love everybody.
Tags: Jazz, Louis Armstrong
Posted: Saturday, August 10th, 2013 at
Tags: Jazz, Louis Armstrong9 Comments »
“If we all get as old as Methuselah, our memories will always be of lots of beauty and warmth from gage. Well, that was my life and I don’t feel ashamed at all. Mary Warner, honey, you sure was good and I enjoyed you ‘heap much.’”
Yes, perhaps over a long enough period of time and if one achieves tremendous success all the bitter memories will fade and the memories of good times will grow stronger to provide a warm glow in old age. And there was nobody more deserving of such comfort than Louis Armstrong. But there’s been an awful lot of people from that part of Uptown with nothing but bad memories, growing old in Angola and waiting for death.
But the remarkable thing about Armstrong was that was happy when he had nothing, long before he was famous, so it really isn’t a case of a life of success making an unhappy person into a happy one.
And as long as I am discussing him An Extravagant Life is a fantastic book.
He never had nothing. He had music.
I know, a different kind of possession than you’re talking about, but still relevant.
I agree Louis Armstrong was indeed a remarkable man. He did have a good spirit. I have always greatly admired him because he was willing to fight for what he believed in and take risks for people who were less fortunate. But I also wonder about other musicians whose stars burned bright at first but who somehow never reached the big time or who enjoyed some success but flamed out and never got it back. New Orleans seemed to be filled with people, especially musicians, whose best times were behind them. I sort of wonder how some of them look back on their lives now. Are their difficult days made easier by memories of good times and young love as Louis Armstrong’s were or are they haunted and made bitter by thoughts of a great future that never materialized? Qui sait?
But definitely one of your better quotes of the day. Thanks.
I was among people who eventually made it (for certain values of making it) during portions of my life. I never have and doubt I ever will. I can tell you my bitterness, which is real, makes a nice accent for the good memories which vastly predominate. And maybe “It’s not too late bloom and twist your fate and become a rock solid kind of dude,” as Patterson Hood puts it. We’ll see how it goes.
As Brother Wayne Kramer, who would have as much right to bitterness as anyone, once said:
Not that i want to turn back the clock
Back to the day when dogs could talk
Were doing righteous work, we cannot be stopped
Back in the day when dogs could talk.
Not that they didn’t stop us. And not that that they did, either, in the long run. Like I say, we’ll see how it goes.
“One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.” ― Sophocles
That quote is framed, sitting on my dresser where I’ll see it every morning when I get out of bed. Not because it’s profound. Rather the opposite–to remind me how wrong it is. We are NOT doomed to appreciate the good in our lives only when it’s finished. It’s our own choice. Every morning I choose to remind myself of Lou Gehrig’s famous words–”Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Pops is tops.
He probably truly felt that way, and that’s fantastic. Objectively, this is how we must carry on! However, alas, yes I must write, that then there are those of us for whom such calm and steadfast positivity clambers clumsily over a tenuous grasp on objectivity. Armstrong here seems as good a Moses as any though, to follow through the mist.
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