Sunday, September 6, 2009

My "Poookie-Eyed Baby" ain't a baby no more.

Back in 1986, I found myself spending 8 hours or so in the waiting room of Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach with my friends TC Tahoe and Loren Christopher Michaels awaiting the birth of Loren's daughter. I was 23 years old.

This is that daughter of Loren Michaels and Lynn Splendid now. Ashley Cara Michaels...she's 23 years old.

What an odd rift in the time-space continuum, that she could be 23 years old suddenly, when I don't think I'm done being 23 yet.

Back then, I was pretty tight with this family. After Loren and Lynn's divorce, Loren got custody of me and I continued getting to be a part-time "Uncle" watching Ashley grow into a fine, smart and sweet girl through the very beginning of her "Tween" years.

She seemed to like everything. She liked reading, art, science, sports. I knew she was gonna be alright in this world.

During the days of Ashley's infancy, Loren and I were pre-occupied with writing songs together. I didn't play an instrument at the time, so I concentrated on lyrics, while Loren would collaborate lyrically with me and be the "axe" man. That's hip musician talk for "guitar player".

This is my buddy, Loren, "back in the day".

One night, Loren and Lynn had some engagement to go to, so in their youthful folly said, "Hey, let's get that stumble butt Jeff to babysit Ashley for us.". And they did. And I did.

It was a restless evening for the infant Ashley. You know the kind, when the child is just too tired to fall asleep? Try as I might I couldn't get her to stop crying and go to sleep. I wore out every lullaby my parents had taught me, nothing worked, so I began singing a new one I thought up out of my own head. I shoved together every comforting thing you might say to a child, and somehow it came out in rhyme.

After about 43 verses and a couple reprises, Ashley fell into blissful (for me or her you ask? I'm not sure) slumber.

That night when Loren and Lynn arrived home, I sang the song that could knock their baby girl out should she ever get this "pookie-eyed" tired again. Loren pulled out his guitar and a real song got born. Possibly the first I ever wrote beginning to end on my own.

Here's the song.

About a month ago, after about 8 years of estrangement (funny how things happen) I happened to find my old buddy Loren on that "finder of things past" FaceBook, who then hipped me to find Ashley (unseen in about 12 years) and then her Mom Lynn (possibly 20 years?).

Ashley and Lynn.

Ashley's grown into a young adventuresome woman. She's spent some time over on the "right" coast in Manhattan. Spent time in Europe, Africa and other places around the world.

She recently raised money for Greenpeace by walking from Newport Beach to San Francisco. Just the thought of that trek makes my feet sore. Good on ya girl!

Lynn, Ashley and family are leaving southern California in a few weeks, to begin the next chapter of their lives in Napa, California. Facebook got me back together with them in the nick of time, before they headed out.

I'm glad I found you again Lynn. Thanks for dinner last night and good conversation.

Ashley, I'm very proud of you. Keep having adventures and keep learning about all the beautiful places and people of the world. There is a place where the sidewalk ends...but you can fly past that boundary. You're not pookie-eyed or a baby anymore, but you'll always be my "Pookie-Eyed Baby" anyhow.


Anonymous said...

JEFF!!!! I Just saw this I feel so loved!!! That is the sweetest thing and I'll forever cherish pookie-eyed baby and no doubt all the good memories with you and dad singing in the kitchen in costa mesa. Love you!!Ash

Jeff Overturf said...

I love you, Ashley...keep having adventures and always be able to sleep safely and soundly.

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