And So it Goes (A Saga Unfolding…and Unfolding…)
JUNE 6, Wednesday
Got home Wednesday night from Kerrville. io was having a sleep over at a friend’s house, so Lily, Lance and I watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus until we were loopy tired. It was fun to introduce Lily to the dead parrot skit.
JUNE 7, Thursday
After the girls finished with their art classes for the afternoon, I decided bowling sounded like a good family night out. iolana was not so sure. In fact, she was adamantly not sure and declared she was NOT going, so three of us were excited about bowling and one person was not happy in the least and cried while putting on shoes, cried while walking to the car, cried in the car, and stopped crying when we got to the bowling alley and said, “Can I play? I want to bowl! It’s FUN!” immediately after I had just typed all the names into the computer. So, it was four people bowling after all, and what a BLAST we had! Everyone was bowling well, although Lance seems to have a stiff right arm, and can only bowl very straight lines. Still, he has a lot of power, and power pays off! Color of our bowling balls: I was green, Lance was black, Lily was
turquoise and io was neon, swirly pink. We also got some quality air hockey and race car driving in, too.
JUNE 8, Friday
Our friend, Mollie (nanny/assistant/college graduate as of May/sunny faced surfing intellectual super friend) helped out with the girls this morning as Lance and I flew off to D.C. for my mini-gigs with John Gorka in Virginia. A day alone together….on a plane! With books!
And clouds! And we were going someplace…together! Woo-hoo! I told Lance, “You have to go with me on this one. We can have some time together…” Cuz we don’t get a lot of alone time, he and I. Well, I mean we get alone time, but not A-L-O-N-E time for more than, say, an hour, or when everyone, including us (ok, him, since I’m usually up all night) are sleeping….blah blah!
So we got to D.C., got our rental car, drove into pick up my brother, Carlton (real estate whiz manager of commercial buildings/suspender wearer/bright/political conversationalist/father of rescued dog and cat/very nice human being/excellent brother) and Celeste (Mohawk represenative/fashion icon/huge smile/excellent interior designer/bangle collector/super sister) for dinner. It was 8:30. Celeste did not want to go as she had been traveling all week, so Carlton, Lance and I go to The Diner, which, once again, did not fail in the food department.
My goodness. I had a grilled portabella salad, and the portabellas were stuffed with feta and grilled red peppers, all on top of a variety of cool, refreshing greens. Mmmm…..Everyone in the diner was either covered in tattoos and face piercings, or talking REALLY LOUDLY LIKE THIS RIGHT NEXT TO US SO I HAD TO KEEP SAYING WHAT WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME but it was still a ton of fun.
JUNE 9, Saturday
Richmond, VA with John Gorka (http://www.johngorka.com)
Slept in until 9 (8 am Texas time…an entire hour past what we usually get at home)….ah, the bed was SO LUXURIOUS! I love staying at Carlton and Celeste’s house. All the rooms and ceilings are painted this buttercream, so the whole house is soooooooooooo incredibly relaxing. I could lick the walls. Except the living room, which is painted steak blood red. Hmm.
Ok, got up. Went to eat at ANOTHER diner, this one being an authentic one called Frankies or Phil’s or Danny & Rose’s All American Diner or something like that…can’t remember….and Celeste went and we all had some yuks and caught up on life and ate MORE delicious food. I wanted a milkshake. Did not get one.
Lance and I headed on to Virginia, and got to the Shady Grove Coffeehouse where I met Scott Hammer and Pete Defur, two of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet. Pete actually reminded me of Rich Upton, the KMFA DJ here in Austin whose song “Someone” I sang on “Toddler”, and Scott just made me smile. They made us feel very welcome…did my sound check after John, whom I hadn’t seen since 1996’s Folk Alliance, and then we had just said “hey!” in the hall with 56,000 other folkies all around buzz buzz laughter uh-huh etc going on…
John still wears that sleepy, happy smile. He is looking a little frazzled in the hair (which he still has all of it), just even more bed-headed than usual. And when I asked where his black shoes with red shoelaces had gone, he magically pulled them out of the bag, flipped them over and said, “Sears. Diehards. These are the best!” I never realized his shoes left the impression “DIEHARD” if he were to walk in soft dirt. Wow. That was a cool moment.
So, I performed for 120 people, and everyone was attentive, very nice, and could they clap! I told them they made me feel extra special, like I was at Carnagie Hall…! Then, after I was done, I went out in the hall to wait by the cd table, but I guess they decided to bring John right on, so it was just me, Lance and some volunteers meandering around, getting odds and ends tied up around the coffee and cookies….when a single woman in yellow made a beeline right up to me and gave me what for concerning the song I had just sang in my set (about the mother of the young man who murdered the 32 people at Virginia Tech). I didn’t know what to say. She laid in to me, telling me something about how I wouldn’t write a song about one of the terrorists, would I? I was looking her in the eyes, she was so angry and upset, and I didn’t know what to say, I was so upset that I had hurt her somehow, and off she went, back into the theater, and it all happened so FAST, and I turned to Lance and I felt all shakey and wrong and I burst into these slow tears…I just….wow. I have never had this happen before…and the song….I had only sung the song to talk of this mother’s grief, of the grief of ALL of it…and I wish I could have said to this woman, no no…I hear your anguish, but I think you were not clear on what I was singing…please forgive me….but she was gone, gone inside to hear John, and there was no where to look when another woman appeared (was she standing there the whole time? I think so…yes, she saw the whole thing) and before I knew it she had folded me into her arms and whispered, “I went to Virginia Tech. That song is beautiful. Some people are just raw right now…” And she was an angel, and then Lance was talking quietly to me, but I felt all disoriented and sad…We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Peter, who happened to come out, and he said they want me to come back, and I was appreciative and then I apologized if I was inappropriate to sing the song because I had not even thought “I’m in Virginia….take extra thought and love into your words…” I had just been myself and the song was calling in my heart to sing out….And Peter was kind and said no no no the song was fine, beautiful, there will always be one person in a crowd who disagrees with an artist…remember that…He said…remember….
by Sara Hickman
No flowers for this funeral
No one here on the phone
I am living in fear
I am broken and alone
The anguish of my broken heart
Can never be compared
To the loss and anguish others feel
And the other mothers share
I’m not sure what went wrong
Was it something I said?
These words keep spinning through my soul
And I’m not sure what I could have done
Cannot find the words
His eyes were dark, he seldom cried
But we told him he was good
And he never played with a single soul
In our neighborhood
My mind goes back so long ago
When he first came into this world
I gave birth to hands, and a sweet small mouth
Nine months of mystery revealed
And I fear that I will go insane
From this evil ghost I bear
He will always be remembered as
The one who held the gun
But to me he was
My feet have grown so heavy
They are sodden with my tears
Mixed with the loss of reason
That was lost within his years
And I fear that I will go insane
From this evil ghost I bear
He will always be remembered as
The one who held the gun
But to me he was my son
He will always be
He will always be
JUNE 10, Sunday
with John Gorka http://www.johngorka.com
Harris Creek Acoustic
After we left the gig the night before, Lance and I needed some down time. I was feeling raw and tired, and he was starting to get an upset tummy, so we went down the street and saw “Knocked Up” after I had droned on and on about how PERFECT it is, so we had a quiet evening laughing ourselves silly in the theatre, and then getting to the hotel and crashing….
We woke up, drove on to Hampton, and what a lovely town! Kelly Murphy owns the home that hosts this lovely gig, and I thought I was supposed to arrive at noon, but we found the home at the end of a long, winding road nestled in marshes and forest land, and knocked on her door at 11….to which we were informed that not only were we the EARLIEST musicians to ever arrive, but we were actually TWO hours early, cuz we didn’t need to be there until 1 pm. But that was cool, cuz Lance needed to lay down, he was feeling very unwell by then, and I caught up on some email, met Kelly’s terrific mom, her boyfriend, her cat and dog and prepped for a BOB FM radio recording by warming up and practicing my guitar upstairs. Jim, the sound man, arrived eventually and set up the sound equipment, and it sounded A+++!
Hunter arrived, had a great interview with him….sang three songs and chatted about growing up in Houston, art school, making music, my influences, etc. We were laughing, and I just really enjoyed myself.
Kelly made the yummiest food….man. It was coos coos and pasta with chicken (or tuna? Am I turning into Jessica Simpson? Or one of the Simpsons, in general?) so had some food, and around then, went up for a little nap with Lance. Before I knew it, Kelly was downstairs, calling my name, and I opened the bedroom door, and their were people seated in the balcony section, right next to the door, smiling at me, and I looked over the railing and the house was packed with seated people…Kelly was introducing me! Ha ha! I ran down the stairs and the fun began. From sleep to live performance in 3.2 seconds flat! Zoom!
This show was so lively, and the audience was so receptive and present, I just had a blast. All the worries from the night before evaporated, and Jim was such an excellent sound man, whoo! I was flying around like Mariah Carey on steriods….there was nuthin’ I couldn’t sing, the way he made me feel on that mic. How is it some sound people make you soar, and others fall asleep at the wheel? Or don’t know where the wheel is? Or haven’t invented it yet? I dunno, but Jim had the wheel under his control, I tell you what.
There was a standing ovation at the end, and I was floored with joy. I felt like I had been adopted by a large family of intellectual funsters.
Lance and I hung out in the kitchen while John played, and he is such a master of timing, whether he is being self-deprecating, funny or touching. He can capture a moment and wrap his honey dark voice around it and take you there. Which is funny, cuz he talked about meeting Mavis Staples at a festival they both performed at, and THAT would be a combo, the two of them singing a duet. That should happen. That would rock. Anyway, Lance had never seen John, and really enjoyed his show. I’m glad we got to experience that together. It was nice to be able to rest my arm around his shoulders and just sit together while someone was sharing their music with us. Ah, romance is always a full glass when music is present….
Then, the house was cleared, and another round of shows, and I was blessed to sell out all of my remaining MOTHERLODE cds second show
(sold 31 second show…yes!!!) and then it was a madhouse… people were milling around, laughing, talking, asking questions, telling me stories about what the songs had brought up for them, and that was really gracious of John to give me time to sell cds….and then him casually walked back out on the stage, started to sing to get everyone back in their seats….
Lance and I had said our goodbyes to John and Kelly and Steve and Jim earlier, cuz we knew we’d have to start driving the 3 1/2 hours back to
D.C for the next mornings flight, so we got out to the car, where Lance had just seen deer……the drive went faster than I thought….we listened to the iPod and Little Stevie’s Garage Band radio show….Lance and I were laughing and enjoying the music…it was really dark on that drive!
Could not find a hotel anywhere near the airport when we finally got within distance. They were all $295 or $229….!!! We tried telling the clerks that we would only need the room to sleep in for about six hours, but the lowest we could get anyone down to was $179…so we drove farther out, and found a hotel for $129…I asked Lance to take some of the cd money and offer the guy $100 in cash…and, bless him, the guy behind the desk made it work, and finally, Lance and I got into our hotel room…as I was brushing my teeth, I heard, “OH NO!”
Lance had found a TICK on his shoulder. Ucky!
I pulled on that thing and it was like Lance’s shoulder was the rope…tug tug tug tug TUG…I could not believe how strong the tick was, holding on with his teeny-tiny teeth…Lance said it wasn’t hurting, but, man…it had to have! Off popped the tick, and his little legs were wiggly; I dropped him in the sink (the tick, not Lance.) We watched it wander around, a blood-sucking creature, looking for flesh in a giant white
ceramic land. I apologized to the tick and told him I had to wash him away, now, and then WHOOSH! on came the cold water and SWOOSH! down the drain he went.
Ticks….shudder…they are just…..ick! Fascinating, but icky-ola!