Thinking about firsts….part 2

I wrote about 7 “firsts” a year ago. Some fond memories there.

Only one First this time. A sound.
A sound that is unmistakeable, and not just the first time it’s heard.
It’s the power. All that power. The sound of an ocean is a beautiful sound.
The first time I heard it was almost 47 years ago.

I had been at Ft. Bragg only a few weeks. I didn’t know the guy with the brand new Firebird all that well. Or the fellow riding shotgun. Dave and Dale, respectively.
The former a sergeant, back from Vietnam and with some high level security clearance job. Dave was a classic southern gentleman.
The latter a short timer; an E-2 who had been busted a few times. Dale was a classic bay area hippie.
Each of us had our own preferred drug: beer for Dave; weed for me; hallucinogens for Dale. We all enjoyed sharing; Dave was generous with his hash.
Some of the details of the trip are quite foggy. That woulda been the case days later, but some of the details seems like it was yesterday.

January 1, 1971 was on a Friday. It was just about 500 miles from the JFK Center for Military Intelligence to Daytona, Beach. An easy 10 hours if you can’t hit the road until after 5 on New Year’s Eve, and if you wanta make some stops along the way for refreshments and to feed your head. Just over 7 hours if you drive it with purpose, which we did on the return trip.

The three us welcomed the new year somewhere on I-95 in south Georgia. We made it to hotel row in Daytona Beach at about 3 in the morning that 1/1/71.
No reservations. The trip had been relatively impromptu after all.

Dave went in alone to secure a double room, not that there would be all that much sleeping in the 60 hours or so that we’d be in town.
Dave had this authoritative presence, so we expected securing a room to be a snap. He was a responsible driver too, all things considered.

After Dave had been rebuffed a few times (in spite of his smile and charm), we set a rendezvous time and place at 6 am at a Denny’s.
He continued the quest for a room, with Dale passed out in the back seat.
I headed to see an ocean for the very first time.
It was dark as I approached the Atlantic for the first time. At 22 and fresh out of Basic Training, 800 miles away from home…I was finally going to see an ocean!!

I heard it before I saw it.
I could discern the movement of the waves before I saw it.That sound was awesome….and awe inspiring.
It still is.
I can just sit and listen to it. Morning, noon or night. Anytime. Any place. Any weather.
Listen. Just listen to the power.

You are what you listen to, but I am NOT OCD….

…I am however a HUGE fan of the RPT button.

A quick scan of my 2017 journal found over 30 instances of a entry like this: “what it means was on repeat”
Or this one: “that earworm will not go away….and I’m liking it.”
More than 30 songs “on repeat” in 2017. Several of them probably had Shelly cringing.

I like to see bands live multiple times too. There are several that I’d see back-to-back-to-back if the opportunity should present itself. Some of them are on the list of 6 bands that 1 saw multiple times in 2017.

I’m a lyrics guy. At least 2 songs from each of the 6 made the 2017 RPT list. Bands listed alphabtically.  Line or two of lyric from the song that was On Repeat.

“Quit taking the jobs that rob you of your powers so you can buy more shit you don’t have time to use…” from Quitter.
“Things happen, that’s all they ever do…” from “Things happen.”

Drive by Truckers
“But don’t look to me for answers, Cause I don’t know what it means…” from “What it means.
“When he reached the gates of heaven he didn’t understand…” from “Two daughters and a beautiful wife.
The true story behind this song is so very, very sad.

Jason Isbell
“It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever, Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone…” from “If we were vampires.” (This is one sad love song.)
“If there’s two things that I hate, It’s having to cook and trying to date….” from “Codeine.”

“If Heaven is guilt, no sex and no show, then I’m not sure if I really want to go…” from “Wages of sin.”
“Older than I used to be, younger than I’m gonna be…” from “Long gone long.”

Ryan Adams
“Come pick me up, Take me out, Fuck me up, Steal my records…” from “Come pick me up.”
“The lines on my face are like a map of my sins…” from “Trouble.

Tedeschi Trucks
“I was running from the past, My heart was bleeding and it hurt my bones to laugh…” from “Midnight in Harlem.”
“You gotta feel the pain, you got to see the suffering, gotta hear the cause…” from “It’s so heavy.”
That’s just over a third of the songs that I had On Repeat this year.
4 other RPTs stand out for me.

Band of Horses is still on one of my bucket lists. That particular list is “bands to see with Shelly.”
Lyric: “But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do...”
Father John Misty writes some of the strangest lyrics. This under 3 minute song has a great title and some doozies.
Title: Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)
Lyric 1: “I wanna take you in the kitchen, Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in…”
Lyric 2: “You left a note in your perfect script, Stay as long as you want, I haven’t left your bed since…”
He also wrote one of my all time favorite songs: “When you’re smiling and astride me.
And then is this one from a guy that I’ve wanted to see for over 40 years.
“…All that we have is each other and that’s all that I’ll ever need…” from “Family” by Joe Walsh. He was the opening act for Tom Petty in Little Rock back in March.

I had several Petty songs on repeat in 2017. And lots of others on RPT since picking up his first album in 1976.
We had only been in Corvallis for a few months. Money was tight. There are LOTS of stories from that Bi-centennial year…another time.
That first album had a couple of RPT tunes…not just for me…for millions of people: “Breakdown” and “American Girl.”

The Petty tune that I listened to the most in 2017 is one that he only played live a few times. He wrote it soon after his Mom died.
“What about the broken ones?
What about the lonely ones?
Oh honey I’m having trouble letting you go…”

Yes indeed.
Tom Petty died almost 3 months ago, and it’s still troubling me.  I am having trouble letting him go.  Glad I was able to see him 5 times.  I was hoping for half a dozen.

Let there be music.
Let some of it be on Repeat.
Be. Just Be.

It’s a Christmas Letter…you’ve been warned

The following went to quite a few folks via e-mail.  Most of them will also get a JibJab.

I hope your 2017 has been a good one. Mine has been pretty awesome. I’m a lucky guy.

1/1/17 began with coffee, waffles and the hair of the dog with friends at my favorite breakfast place here in Springfield, MO. We welcomed in the year at the late show by Big Smith at the Gillioz.
In lots of ways that pretty much sums up my 2017: music and friends; friends and music. Plus roadtrips.

I could call the conversation in my head in early March an epiphany. It was on a long walk alongside Sinking Creek at Echo Bluff S.P. I decided that if a band that I wanted to see was playing within 4 hours of me that I’d buy tickets. What happened next is referred to as “Ticket Buying Thursday” in my journal.
That day I bought tickets to: Dawes at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa; Joe Jackson at the Uptown Theater in KC; Tom Petty (with Joe Walsh opening) in Little Rock; and Tedeschi Trucks (with Hot Tuna and the Wood Brothers opening) at The Amp in Rogers.

Three of the highlights of 2017:
1. My friends Tom&Gloria came from Atlanta in early June to attend the 13th Annual Rock House Summer Festival. The next day the four of us headed to Piney River Brewing in Bucyrus, MO for an afternoon with Bob&Jeff of The Rainmakers.
2. In July my son met us in Golden and stayed with us a couple of nights at an AirBnB. Joseph, Shelly and I saw The Avett Brothers (with Shovels and Rope opening) at Red Rocks. He and I had a couple of rambling late night chats.
3. In October my recently retired-from-NASA “rocket scientist” friend Troy and his better half Kathy came in from Floriduh and went to a show with us at The Rock House. The next day the four of us watched the Hawgs get spanked by Auburn in Fayetteville. Troy gave us the tour and showed us his name etched in the walk.

There were lots of other highlights:
A road trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Mesa Verde. One of the highlights was meeting up with my cousin Allison and her family in Alamosa, CO as they headed home and we headed for Leadville.
Daily walk-and-talks on the phone with my 91 year old Dad. Lots of reminiscing. Lots of talking hoops. He and I saw several games together….fun times.
A 5 year “Meet-aversary” for me & Shelly.
Bought myself a new car…a Prius4.
Weddings for both of Shelly’s sons.
Lots and lots of concerts in lots of different venues.
House concerts. 🙂 and 🙂 again.
Digging in the dirt and harvesting veggies from my garden boxes.
Attending quite a few basketball games, which included watching some “one and dones.”

Not many lowlights this year, and they were really just blips:
My new car got creased when some guy backed into it less than 2 weeks after I bought it. JEEZ.
Some cretin(s) broke into the Prius while we were on our roadtrip.
The thieves stole all the manuals to the car….and the backpack that I used as a tackle box. Even though I haven’t fished all that much recently, that was the probably the worst thing that happened to me in 2017. I had some “old faithful” lures in the backpack that had moved to Orygun with me when I left Missouri in 1976…never expecting to live in the ShowMe state again.
I didn’t make it to OR in 2017. Hopefully I can get back to where my heart is in 2018.
I didn’t have as many conversations with friends as I would’ve liked. Left quite a few voice-mails or sent texts that were never returned. Bummer.

Looking forward to 2018 being “SSDD”: friends & family, music, roadtrips, garden, hoops, “walk-and-talks.” NOTE: there will be a birthday party in mid-Sept as I wrap up my 70th trip around the sun. Whodda thought that I would ever live this long after all the stupid things I’ve done. More on that later….

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. All the best. Keep in touch. Hug the people you love. Be. Just Be.