A decade or so ago, I was an elementary-school teacher. One of the highlights for me, believe it or not, was sit-down lunch each day, like Miss Clavel, at the head of a table of twelve 7-to-14-year old girls who sported prim navy-blue private-school uniforms. You can imagine the conversations, the table manners, the food rejection.
One day, to get the lunchtime discussion in gear with my young charges, I offered an ice-breaker. "Did anyone watch some of the Patriots' football game last night?'"
A number of girls nodded and mumbled; but the sweet second-grade pixie next to me bounced in her seat and piped up proudly. "My brother James was at the Patriots game," she cooed.
"Oh, that's nice. How lucky for him," I replied in my matronly best, secretly wondering what on earth a young boy was doing at a late-night football game on a school night. "How old is James?" I ventured.
"Umm, " she paused, glanced at the ceiling, wrinkled her brow briefly, then replied earnestly, "Fif-ty-twoooo."
Oh. That James! I understood immediately (via the faculty grapevine) who she was. Her famous brother hadn't merely attended the game, he had sung at half time: James Taylor was her half-brother.
At that point I had already been a James Taylor devotee for over two decades. Fortunately I mustered the cool discretion not to ask her prying questions at the lunch table. She had already given me his age (which may have been off by a few years); I didn't need to probe for more info.
Several years later, my then-16-year-old daughter convinced me to take her and a few teen friends to a James Taylor concert in a huge stadium outside Boston. A mammoth event, far different from the intimate JT campus concerts of my college days. This one was not an experience that I would want to repeat, spending two fuming hours just to exit the parking lot after the concert. Nevertheless, I was pleased that James Taylor's music appeal spanned at least two generations.
So, I was surprised and delighted the other day to pass by the poster at the Cafe/Tabac across the street announcing a James Taylor concert on Sunday, April 6 at the famed music hall l'Olympia in Paris. If tickets are still available, you know where to find me that night.