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  • Lance Mannion
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Flatiron Dante

Nice description of the scene -- I spent many years in Syracuse before I fled to warmer climes, and your vignette brought me back. Even in the Summer, as you describe, it's hard for Syracusans to shake the weatherbeaten look (and outlook), though the late Summer up there can be beautiful. BTW, Carver wrote a number of stories in Syracuse. Also, (and forgive me if I've asked you this before) have you read any George Saunders? He's another Salt City writer. Fred Exley is another from the area, though he wrote about Watertown (talk about weatherbeaten). Speaking of good bands up there, did you ever see Dave Hanlon's Cookbook?

Exiled in NJ

Lance, you have that wonderful knack of bringing back moments that resonate in both your head and mine. Your story brings back a warm Sunday evening at a church in Center City Philly, hearing the Chestnut Brass Company. If these five men and women ever come nearby, take Matt to see these remarkable musicians [and friends of mine], and say 'hello' to Jay, the tuba player.


I would say that this post itself is the start of a short story. Beautiful writing, sir -- lots of evocative detail.


When I was a 9 year old boy in Winnipeg (1952) my father took me to my first professional baseball game between the local Gold Eyes and the team from Minot, ND. What astonished me was the fact that nearly all the players were black...I had seen perhaps one black person prior to that experience. My dad proceeded to explain the issue of race in America and said that judging people on the basis of race or color was a very, very bad thing. So I walked down to the dugout area, shyly said hello to a few players, and they gave me a couple of old balls, and a cracked bat. The kindness these ballplayers showed to a lily white kid has remained with me to this day.

Lance, I hope your son still wants to be a musician.

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