The Ugly Hour…

It happens every morning.

One of my favorite songwriters is a singer/instrumentalist/violin-repairer in Delaware named David Bromberg. His work is usually described as quirky, but that diminishes the human relevance of his lyrics. Mr. Bromberg wrote a song called “The Ugly Hour” that has stayed with me for twenty years since first I heard it. The ugly hour, as Mr. Bromberg describes it, is “…the times I was a fool in my own eyes; the times I broke a rule I knew that I should honor; the times I turned my face to keep from looking at my lies.” Sounds pretty grim – not much to celebrate there.

Let’s keep looking, though.

Today in 1605, the first edition of EL INGENIOSO HIDALGO DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA (book one of DON QUIXOTE) by Miguel de Cervantes was published in Madrid. That is certainly worth celebrating.

Our brave and befuddled knight, however, must face his own “ugly hour” when he faces the reality of his reflected image in mirrors. His visions and fantasies and impossible dreams melt in the heat of that verity – much like my own visions and fantasies and dreams must negotiate with the real guy I see in the bathroom mirror each morning. Talk about an ugly hour! Still sounds pretty grim, but hang in there with me.

These last few days we’ve been hearing and thinking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I think Dr. King held up a mirror to my entire country and insisted that we face an “ugly hour”. But where Cervantes and Bromberg suggest the aftermath of dealing with that moment is a return to a reality, while more truthful, is less glorious than the dream, Dr. King declares the opposite. He fiercely detailed the flaws and failures of our past. Then he just as fiercely painted a future based on his “dream” of curing the flaws and amending the failures and walking hand-in-hand into a better future populated by our better selves. Was his dream an “Impossible Dream”? Perhaps. But I would prefer to fall chasing that dream, than prosper living uninspired days of being less than our best selves. No “ugly hours” or mirrors need stop our dreams, though we will continue to need that morning “reality check” to correct our course along the way.

To me, that’s worth celebrating. And today we shall…

Thank you, Dr. King.

Drink 4cast 4 2day

We’ll make this one for my favorite errant knight.

Don Quixote Cocktail

1 oz. Durango Tequila

1 oz. Guinness Stout

Mix and shoot

Now go find a windmill to fight!




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