Show Your Magic

I think this was the name of some variety of art show that was held in this shop on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall (a restored historic district and pedestrian mall) a few weeks ago. The day I was there the door was locked and looking inside the place I could see it was empty except for some ladders, paint buckets and boxes.

And I could also see an old telephone—the old corded type with a big, clunky base and key pad. The phone was wired to the wall—apparently it was in use at one time. Can you even buy those phones anymore? 

The phone was off the hook. The way the light came through the big window and glass door, the old phone lay at the apex of a triangle of sunlight—a transient pointing of light to the past or communication with the past. 

Is that what the show that had been there was about? And what was the connection to magic? 

I couldn’t sort it out so I just walked on—and found myself humming, “Do You Believe In Magic?” Written by John Sebastian and originally performed by the Lovin Spoonful the song was released in the summer of 1965. 

In preparing to write this post I watched a grainy old black and white video of The Lovin Spoonful performing the song while kids danced.  A lot of the guys wore jackets and ties, almost all the girls wore their hair the same way—long and straight. Their dance moves seemed both silly and out-dated but at the same time had a sweet, unaffected exuberance and innocent sexuality. Most of the kids in that video were probably close to the same age as I was at the time—20. And like me, if still living, they would be in their 60s now. I wonder how they remember this song. 

In 1965 I was two years out of high school and still in the Army (back in those days we had the draft—everybody had to serve). I was transferred from Alaska to Texas around the middle of that year.

I was released from the Army in early September of 1966 and started college a few weeks later. The song was still getting a lot of air-play and to this day remains part of the sound track for my freshman year. The lyrics of the song (for those of you who aren’t familiar with them) tout the “magic” of popular music to engender happiness—of the joie de vivre sort I guess. 

I read that cryptic statement—“Show your magic to the world you’re in,” and walked away humming, “Do You Believe in Magic?”—on my 65th birthday—forty-five years after the song was released. But for a moment I was 21 years old again and trying to decide between talking to a girl or getting to class on time for a change. 

For me that’s part of the magic—time-travel and communication with some beautiful days that happened a long time ago. 

And the other part is the world I am in at this moment–the magical world (for old guys like me) of the internet community and the opportunity to share these thoughts with those of you kind enough to take a few minutes to read them.

How about you—do you believe in magic? And if so—are you sharing it?

Here’s a You Tube link if you want to see the video and listen to the song. Enjoy.

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