Last Saturday I took a trip back into the past as Kathy and I, with another couple, went to the King’s Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to see former heartthrob Dion of Dion and the Belmonts and Ronnie Spector. The theater has been restored to its former glory, a baroque palace. So, Dion, who is now in his seventies, comes out on the stage, wearing a beret, a white goatee, sunglasses, and New Balance sneakers, which everyone over 60 seems to wear a lot. He still sings “Run around, Sue” and “The Wanderer”, but he is not the same Dion, who grew up singing on street corners.
What I also noticed was that Flatbush, where the King Theater shines as though it’s brand new, is not the Flatbush of the “Lords of Flatbush” anymore. It is so West Indian that we could not find any restaurant that wasn’t. I was not in the mood for West Indian food, but we finally found a place with its grill out on the sidewalk and a narrow alleyway that took us to its dining room. It was a simple setting, and the menu offered jerk chicken, jerk chicken, and more jerk chicken. There was also coconut shrimp and jerk chicken tacos.
I settled in, ready for an unpleasant experience, but I was pleasantly surprised. All the food was inexpensive, and it was unusually good. I like being surprised, and that is what the evening ended up being, one big surprise.
This guy, who somehow got old, could still belt out the songs, even though it’s obvious that he has changed. The neighborhood no longer has soda fountains and hamburger joints, but it does have great Caribbean food, like jerk chicken. I guess it’s another lesson in what life is all about. Change, death, and resurrection and renewal. Dion has come out with a new album (CD), still trying to be creative, and Flatbush is fast becoming what real estate people call one of New York’s next hot neighborhoods.
Somehow, as we drove away from those streets, I was introduced again to not only how life changes, but how people respond to what they have to deal with. Dion still wants to sing and create a new sound, Flatbush doesn’t want to disintegrate but wants to be become a neighborhood that serves its inhabitants in a new way, and while the Irish and Italians and the Jews once went to see the Dodgers in Ebbets Field, its new inhabitants bring a whole new dimension to that legendary place. America is a great place!
Join me this Sunday as we look around the neighborhood of or soul to discover the way we need to change and respond creatively to the gift of life that God gives us.