Drummer points the way

July 31, 2008

“You just changed the course of my son’s life,” I tell Phil Bondy.

Phil’s a young guy pounding away on a full drum set at the corner of Northeast Alberta and 13th in Portland. Atticus, who turns three in less than two weeks, is enthralled.

The occasion is Last Thursday, the once-a-month event when the stores and galleries on Alberta stay open late, artisans and vendors hawk their stuff on the sidewalk, and a festive atmosphere envelops everyone.

Two guys on stilts walk by. A young man and woman are holding up posters asking motorists not to drive on Alberta.

It’s past Atticus’ bedtime. Our food has taken forever at Tin Shed because of the big crowds. (He watched a bluegrass band at the restaurant.) But Atticus wants to stop on our way to the car and listen to the drums. Suzame and I consent.

Phil hands him a drumstick. Atticus beats on the stack cymbal with a nice rhythm but timid stroke as Phil’s hands move in a blur. Atticus might stay all night if we let him.

“Let him bang on pots and pans,” says Phil, who’s between bands and practicing to improve his guitar playing. As we leave, he reaches down by his bass, unzips a black bag, and hands Atticus a pair of drumsticks – to keep.

An hour later, Atticus is asleep in his bed, clutching the sticks.