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As a jazz record, Traveling Mercies is very much a product of its post-millennial times, but it still comes across as highly individual. Its value will be lasting". All About Jazz correspondent Mark F.

Turner observed "Potter possesses a strong tenor sound, which is throaty and deep with meaning, but it's a real treat to hear him on bass clarinet, flute, and odd instrumentation such as the reed organ. Combine this with exceptional compositional skills, and choice musicians; Traveling Mercies is a cut above the rest". Not all reviews were as enthusiastic. At this point, Potter fronting a band with quick reflexes on daring material, minus concept and gimmicks, would be more than welcome" [5]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chris Potter.

Traveling Mercies - Song Title

Finally, the people who have heard of the great works of this rabbi, come to bring their sick so that they might receive healing from Jesus. In this chapter of Mark, nothing seems to stand still. Perhaps that is the case for most of us in our busy lives. I believe it is certainly the case for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It moves, it pushes forward, it reaches out into new places and to new people.

Therefore, if we wish to be faithful disciples and join in among those places where God is already at work in our lives and in our communities, then we too must be a people who are willing to be on the move. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear.

When I look back at some of these early resting places--the boisterous home of the Catholics, the soft armchair of the Christian Science mom, adoption by ardent Jews--I can see how flimsy and indirect a path they made. Yet each step brought me closer to the verdant pad of faith on which I somehow stay afloat today. The buildings rose up out of the water on the other side of the bay, past Angel Island, past Alcatraz. You could see the Golden Gate Bridge over to the right behind Belvedere, where the richer people lived; the anise was said to have been brought over at the turn of the century by the Italians who gardened for the people of Belvedere.

Tiburon, where I grew up, used to be a working-class town where the trains still ran.


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Now mostly wealthy people live here. It means shark in Spanish, and there are small sharks in these parts. My father and shy Japanese fishermen used to catch leopard sharks in the cold green waters of the bay. There was one palm tree at the western edge of the railroad yard, next to the stucco building of the superintendent--one tall incongruous palm tree that we kids thought was very glamorous but that the grown-ups referred to as "that ridiculous palm tree.

It was silent and comical, like Harpo Marx with a crazy hat of fronds. We took our underpants off for older boys behind the blackberry bushes.


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They'd give us things--baseball cards, Sugar Babies. We chewed the stems off the anise plants and sucked on them, bit the ends off nasturtiums and drank the nectar. When I was five and six, my best friend was a Catholic girl who lived about fifteen minutes away, on foot, from our house--kids walked alone all over town back then. I loved the Catholic family desperately.

Traveling Mercies

There were dozens of children in that family, or maybe it just felt that way, babies everywhere, babies crawling out from under sofas like dust bunnies. We only had three kids in our family; my brother John, who is two years older than me and didn't like me very much back then, and my brother Stevo, who is five years younger than me, whom I always adored, and who always loved me. My mother nursed him discreetly, while the Catholic mother wore each new baby on her breasts like a brooch. The Catholic mama was tall and gorgeous and wore heels to church and lots of makeup, like Sophia Loren, and she had big bosoms that she showed off in stylish V-necked dresses from the Sears catalog.

My mother was not much of a dresser. Also, she was short, and did not believe in God. She was very political, though; both she and Dad were active early on in the civil rights movement.

My parents and all their friends were yellow-dog Democrats, which is to say that they would have voted for an old yellow dog before they would have voted for a Republican. I was raised by my parents to believe that you had a moral obligation to try to save the world.

Some Thoughts on Faith

You sent money to the Red Cross, you registered people to vote, you marched in rallies, stood in vigils, picked up litter. My mother used to take the Greyhound out to Marin City, which was a terrible ghetto then, and volunteer in an after-school program for boys and girls from impoverished families. She tutored kids in reading while other grown-ups worked with them in sports. My mother majored in the classics in college. She always brought along little paper candy cups filled with the fanciest candies from Blum's or the City of Paris to give to the children after their lessons.

It used to make my father mad that she'd buy such expensive candies, but this didn't stop her. My Catholic friend and I used to spend hours sitting on the couch with the latest Sears catalog spread across our knees, pretending that we got whatever was on our side of the page. I played this game with anxiety and grief, always thinking that the better dresses and shoes were on my friend's pages and that I would have been OK if they had just been on mine-- and if I'd had her tall stylish mother, with the wonderful cleavage showing like the bottom of a baby in her low necklines.

I knew I was not pretty because people were always making jokes about my looks. Once, at a pizza joint, a stranger had included me in a collective reference to the Catholic children, and you would have thought from the parents' outrage that he had included a chimpanzee. And I knew I was not OK because I got teased a lot by strangers or by big boys for having hair that was fuzzy and white.

Also, I got migraines. I got my first one midway through kindergarten and had to lie down with my face on the cool linoleum in the back of the room until my father could come get me.

My friend and I gathered blackberries from the bushes in the train yard, and her mother made pies. She made apple pies too.

Journeying Mercies: Tuesday Was Gone

We peeled each apple with precision, aiming for one long green spiral of peel, and my first memory of watching someone be beaten was on a night after we'd prepared apples for pie. My Catholic friend and I had been left with a baby-sitter and all those babies, and after we had sliced up and spiced the apples, we'd gone to bed without throwing out all those green snakes of peel, and I awoke with a start in the middle of the night because my friend's father was smacking her on the face and shoulders, fuming alcohol breath on the two of us in our one twin bed, raging that we were slobs, and I don't know how he knew to beat her instead of me because I don't remember there being any light on.

We both cried in the dark, but then somehow we slept and in the morning when we woke the mother was frying up bacon, a baby slung over her shoulder, and the dad was happy and buoyant, thunderous in his praise of the pie now in the oven. It was Sunday morning and I got to go to church with them. All the children got dressed up. The parents looked like movie stars, so handsome and young, carrying babies, shepherding the bigger kids, smooching in the car.

I loved every second of Catholic church. I loved the sickly sweet rotting-pomegranate smells of the incense. I loved the overwrought altar, the birdbath of holy water, the votive candles; I loved that there was a poor box, and the stations of the cross rendered in stained glass on the windows. I loved the curlicue angels in gold paint on the ceiling; I loved the woman selling holy cards.