As part of the Reel Music Series at the Portland Art Museum on Feburary 7th there will be a screening of MY WAY. The film according to description in the NW Film Center paper amusingly examines the appeal and staying power of the popular antheum to individualism “My Way” was recorded by over 140 artists including old blue eyes, Mr. Frank Sinatra as well as Sid Vicious and David Bowie.
This song has always hosted a strange stubborn significance in the my family’s history. It started with my granddad naming his boat, a 15 foot pale yellow Bayliner, My Way. It was always his way.
Always always always. Come to think of it that pale yellow was his way too. At six years old I was made to visit the ShopRite Supermarket on Rt. 52 while he waited outside in the big yellow Lincoln to fetch him a lemon maringue pie. Scared out of my mind it was really my first all alone adult purchase and when it came down to it shoprite was out of lemon maringue and he had to settle for key lime and shit he wasn’t down with no key lime pie.
Back to the boat. It was on this boat the Bob Noble’s stubbornes caught up to him in the form of a backbreaking injury that would haunt him till his dying days.
My pop William K., had just purchased his own pleasure cruiser a used later model Bayliner named after the primetime sitcom of the day starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard - Moonlighting. In the spirit of deadly father son competition they decided to race along the mighty Hudson full throttle with the Newburgh-Beacon bridge as the finish line. I, along with my brother and grandmother stood witness with My Way taking to stern and bow every blow the Hudson could deliver. My grandma stood stiff embracing us in the cold river spray while grandpa fought to maintain the knottage that it would take to overcome pop’s new skiff. He fought a tireless fight insisting that his skiff could beat the new boat without hesitation. And so we watched speechless and breathless as My Way plowed full steam into wave after wave. Each encounter with whitewater would send the passengers, specifically those under 50 lbs, momentarly thurst into weightlessness- a thrillingly teriffying 3 secound ride only to end with the steern of the boat crashing down with the impact of its full tonnage against the water.
A small boat coming down hard and fast on the cresting river waves was no match for Bob’s old back. Standing stiff at the oversized metal wheel trying to take the impact in his tired old knees the back broke. What does that mean? Crushed vertebrae… slipped disks… ad infinim. I’m no doctor but the howl of an old reltives pain is unmistakeable. It is that howl and pale yellow that I see with every line in My Way.
My Way, I did it my way.