It’s always a looming feeling; something hanging over your head that you know is just coming right down the road at you. And before yah know it, you’re packing your bag and double checking things, and making sure you’re all ready to go, because it’s finally time. The night before I left, I had a quiet-calm overtake me- a very serene feeling as I was wrapping up cables, folding t-shirts, packing away road food. I was doing everything so carefully, and precise, and my mind wasn’t racing a mile a minute. And I wasn’t even worried about leaving. Before I knew it, it was time for my last night in my own bed for several weeks. I had no problem falling asleep.
The next morning, which is now yesterday, I had my truck partially all packed, and just had to throw my bag of clothes and other things, and my guitar of course, into the space behind the seat. I had a fresh travel mug of coffee, Dylan’s “Love & Theft” on the stereo, GPS set on Maryland, and I was gone.
It was all smooth sailing, and a relatively cool morning until I hit New York City. It occurred to me, as I ran into the two hour traffic congestion I was about to embark upon, that I probably should have tried to avoid the city. Oh well, what’s passed is past, and now I’m in Virginia.
I’m not kidding when I said I was inching along in that 95 degree (with humidity) traffic slop in New York for about two hours. At one point, I was sitting there so long that I was able to put on the e-brake and change outta my pants and into my shorts. Well, I should say that right as I got my pants off, the traffic started again, and I had to drive for a short while in my Fruit Of The Looms. Eventually I got to another dead stop, and was able to throw the shorts on and drive the rest of the way a bit cooler, and with bare feet too. (Oh yeah, my a/c is broken and I’m touring the south…)
After much toil, and a few pitstops, I had arrived at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt MD in one piece, and with 10 minutes to spare until set-time. I changed out of my shorts, as I have had a strict no-shorts-on-stage policy for quite some time (ha!), and I was off.
I played from 7-9 pm at this cafe which serves micro-brew beer, Lebanese food, and hosts roving musicians such as myself. I had a great time playing, though the beginning of the set was a bit shakey since I had driven 10 hours in the hot sun with no AC…but alas, I adapted.
I was right off stage at about 9:05, and before I knew it, one of the staff was giving me the tips I had played for, and folks were putting chairs up on the tables and turning off lights. Guess it was time to go…Luckily, a nice deadhead couple offered up their guest bedroom to me! Yes!! To find a willing stranger at a gig who offers their home to you is a total blessing, and a big help on the financial front. And good company too!I followed them back to their home in Takoma Park Maryland, while the rain beat down hard. I kept worrying about staying close to their Honda, since I didn’t even catch their names or get a phone number! But I am quite the driver, I think it runs in my family…I made it to their house, and was greeted by a giant Saint Bernard named “Bertha” Hello Bertha.
A neighbor came over, then another, and before I knew it we were all drinking moonshine, absinthe, and playing guitars as the humid night rolled on. We traded songs and played strange solos and bluegrass tunes, while Bertha longed for attention. Soon enough, it was time to retire to the guest bedroom, and await another day and another town. Woke up sorta fresh and sorta rested, had a quick shower, wrote a short thank-you note, and I was on my way to Virginia. Tonight, I play at Baines Books in historic Appomatox Virginia from 6-8 PM. Check back tomorrow for a blog of day two!
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