- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Headed for the Subway Home

Pervis Jackson, the founding Spinner who cemented the deepest of foundations for my favorite group ever [1], has died at the age of 70 [2]. He was diagnosed only days ago with liver and brain cancer. Pervis was performing as recently as July.

If you know the strangely parenthesed No. 24 Song of All-Time [3], “They Just Can’t Stop It The (Games People Play),” you know Pervis. He’s the part where you hear “Twelve forty-five… [4]” a time check that descends so low, it could be rolling into an East River tunnel. That’s Pervis’ voice, getting your attention and resonating for me an echo of October 2000, the month of the Subway Series. It wasn’t going so well, that particular set of baseball games, but the mere thought we were in it, that we were alive for the championship of the world in those crisp fall nights, gave me more comfort than the final outcome generally permits me to admit. I didn’t go to any of what stand still as the final World Series contests in the history of Shea Stadium, but I could imagine getting on that 7 to Woodside and getting off for the LIRR as I had on so many late nights in so many seasons before: headed for the subway and, in my case, the railroad home — the Mets, like the Spinners, reminding me that I guess I’d find love, peace of mind, some other time.

The games people play. They just can’t stop it.