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The renewal of Hope..

by | Nov 15, 2020 | Hope, renew, Santana

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Transitioning the project from Research to FSD included my boss changing into our division, and physically moving from New York to DC where our headquarters was.  His choice of offices was a small marketing office that was in Crystal City mostly used for reps that went to the Pentagon – two stops north on the Blue Line, and accessible to National Airport, one-stop south. It was a very frequent flight from various places across the country, including down from Ithaca regularly.  As my work pivoted more toward marketing and away from manufacturing, my boss suggested that I consider relocating there, and as such, the family and I were driving the 5 hours south for a Spring Break when the kids were 5, 4 and 2 to check out the area. I had selected a hotel in Tyson’s Corner that had an indoor pool, and we had just found out it was being rebuilt…. 

.. and therefore closed for the entire week.  It was one of many frustrations for the week as I tried to “work” and “entertain the family” – reminiscent of the balance that many working parents have been trying for the last 9 months. I was lucky that Beth stepped up and found many activities to entertain them during meetings that are less memorable than the times I was able to break away.  We toured around the area along with many other families that were in for the own Spring Break tours of the Capital, the Smithsonian, the Jefferson Memorial, and many other iconic locations.  It was interesting that my memory of those March days is how “warm” they were compared to Ithaca.  One thing all of us were convinced of driving back north was no Hope we would ever move there… 

After 3 Platinum albums, including a Number 1 with Santana III and No One to Depend On, success was here for everyone in the band. Some used their newfound prosperity to turn to ‘better drugs’ in a typical “Behind the Music” storyline.  And as with all successful teams, there were varying stories of who was “most” responsible, and that tension was now starting to affect their recordings.  Some members encouraged Carlos to take charge of what had mostly been a collective you see so vividly in their early live shows, and that resulted in increased tensions.  He had also continued his arc towards jazz, particularly Fusion that was continuing to grow around him. His fourth album would come out in 1972, and marked his turning directly towards spirituality, jazz, and a totally different path.  40 years later, it is seen as a masterpiece by many… and when the band came apart with Greg Rollie and Neil leaving (a story for the week after next.)

With all of the coming and going, I tried my best to maintain some sense of “normal” on the weekends, which meant going to church as a family. We tried the Methodist Church but it didn’t really work. Most of the churches were in the same physical area, so we walked across the street one Sunday to the Presbyterian Church (predestined of course….) and immediately felt welcome. It is hard to describe to others, but believers know what we are talking about. The congregation was welcoming, the music was great, and most of all the minister always gave us something to think about all week. Some of my best memories are from that season – although only 18 months, it felt like he prepared me/us for the next phase of our lives…

… along with the Parenting Class we went to.  Kids, like success as a musician, sound a lot more fun than sometimes they are.  And, we had one that literally screamed all the time – unless we played a specific Raffi tape – which was turning me into a Mass Murderer with each additional repetition. Here, in the safety of the church, older parents said “.. Oh – he just has so much to say, and can’t talk. As soon as he does, you will have a DIFFERENT problem, but this is completely normal”.  Those simple words renewed our Hope, and allowed us to power through that phase. 

And our minister left us with a live demonstration of what Hope looks like.  During one of his Sermons, a woman started screaming at him from the back of the church.  Not in her right mind, he still took time to stop.. come down from the pulpit, approach her, and try his best to talk with her… and when she left the church she directed an usher to follow her and try to get her back for some additional conversation… and then led us in a prayer for her, and for us.  Hope… and renewal… live and unplugged.  Not clean, often through screaming… but it is there. My prayer is you, your teams, and our country –  find our renewal this Sabbath day, led by this beautiful spiritual offering from Carlos… I pray for you – All the Love Of The Universe. 



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