Saturday, September 29, 2007

heard ambulances, tonight, after i'd come home from the mix, carterville, where our latest gig was. sat on the stoop for a while waiting to see if the ambulances came around to where i could see them, our street; they seemed very close, but i could never see them. my guess was, they were about a half mile away when they stopped.

checked the bed to see if my teenager was home, and he was, or at least appeared to be; at wal-mart i'd gotten the other guy adapters to adjust to life in france, and was therefore just late enough that the first one fell asleep waiting. i'd let some of them down, i realized- because i couldn't get home early enough to at least start a movie (the fifteen-yr-old is in the habit of falling asleep in almost all movies anyway, as they aren't interactive enough- or maybe it's just that i'm picking the wrong movies)...the others, because i was gone being a fiddler, most of a saturday evening.

in the wal-mart parking lot i'd been dunned by a young black guy, supposedly 400 miles from home (chicago), with family and friends, stranded down here, and i'd given him a couple of bucks since i figured, it could have been me. it was most of what i'd made at the mix, though it was an interesting night musically, recorded by the place, but poorly attended by the town of carterville. the weather is absolutely gorgeous now; summer is on the brink of fall; the leaves begin to turn, but it's still warm in the days, and fall's clear light shimmers on crab orchard lake on the way over there...all the world's wiser cultures have holidays now- they enjoy the splendor, the shout-out of nature's "show your colors" month- but we wait until january to take our month off, and have, instead, our busiest season now. the papers pile up; students fill up the weblogs which i then have to grade; other demands take up my precious time and force my grading into the wee hours. but worse, a summer of postponing playing outside, being outside with friends & family, thinking, it's so wretched out, in summer, so steamy and uncomfortable, but now it's beautiful, and i have no time.

things will clear up a bit, even if i have to wait for thanksgiving, which is still mild and nice here, still a touch of color. things will clear up, but my kids will be older, or will be gone, or will have passed right through the stages they're in now- the ones i wanted to celebrate. one makes his s's backwards...draws batman drawings with serious frowns roars like a lion- that's what we should do with him on hallowe'en- i'm sure- one's into the new halo 3, and the next is suspended in france, needing the adapter i just got him...three of my wife's are married or getting married soon....and finally, the oldest is blogging away, sipping wine at the edges of the continent.

i say this because a cousin, oldest of my cousins, has a brain tumor, and things are looking bad. i missed my chance to see him earlier in the year, but it was a slim chance, life being as busy and crowded as it is, so i haven't seen him in years. among the things that fall by the wayside, with my present lifestyle- a game of ball, outdoors with the boys- regular contact with distant cousins & parents- ability to be more involved in planning, such things as hallowe'en, a care package, or a birthday party; even more regular blogging, which has been good for me, and led to all kinds of stories, and active, semi-productive writing...i've been set back a little, disorganized by one of those colds that sneaks in through a two-year-old in the new school year, when everyone's in his face and they exchange colds like you would exchange a handshake at a welcome reception. and this has left some things scattered, some things undone, some things not tended to very well, including the people in my life, but also a truck, suspended across town, unsold, about to turn 40, a few piles of homework, laundry and dishes, and a garage in complete disorder.

way out in the country today, where we'd gone for a little fresh air, and a view from atop a water tower, i pulled the van a little too far forward, put a scratch in the bumper, and ripped a plastic plate-holder in the front. it was nothing, of course, a mark i can live with, but it rattled me, as if i'm driving around in my sleep, or not knowing where the bumper is. what are the limits? can't seem to give up blogging, which i love in spite of its inherent dangers (and in spite of my inability to fill them up with fantastic pictures, like jose and peg); can't give up music, which pulls together my spirit. my cousin's setback has really brought it home to me. most of us are too busy to even go out there- and even if we could, it would be a lousy time- we couldn't even really play a good tune, in the limited time available. maybe i should get in touch with my bumpers, drive more carefully- and be grateful those ambulances don't toll for me. life goes on, as the cd, and the song go- but, you either learn your lesson, or you don't. i am really really sorry, craig, and i need to find a way to tell you how i feel. a hallmark card doesn't seem to be satisfying the feeling.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ok here it is- Jack...latest in the wal-mart series.
here's to a new blog by an old friend, robert russell.

-have been out of internet access for about four days, for reasons known only to verizon, but partly because we didn't realize that rebooting/replugging was part of the experience. set me back a little on the blogging; i'll try to catch up. even now, the old computer, on which i wrote my story, has trouble with blogger's homepage....what's up with that?

-more about this later- gig at the mix (carterville) on sat.

Monday, September 17, 2007

had the pleasure of playing on stage with brian kelso crow, a well-known local irish musician, and randy auxier, another, so, it could be said to be the high point of my musical career. in case i die in a car crash tomorrow, let it be known that i've also played with dave lynch, joe kristan, eric andrus, mary ellen durfee, tom hensold and lisa zee, as well as my present band consisting of candy davis, joel aud and jen friend aud. a motley crew, but, it makes for a colorful resume, and, as i told brian, i'll be bragging about it all my life. the last six horsehairs on my bow gave out when i not only forgot to loosen it, but also left it on stage, to be brought home by candy and only returned to me today. some poor horse will now sacrifice his/her hairs, but, on balance, it's all for a good cause, as was the concert.

i'm back to work on the wal-mart series, if only because i'd like to get twelve printed in time for the holidays, and also because my class is again studying w-m as a cultural icon. they're doing surveys (two)- which should be interesting- there's also one on starbucks, and one on guns & crime (will provide url's later)...and, i might get some material out of it. only need two more stories to make a twelve-pack- one for each month- but i could in fact stop at ten, and have a pretty decent book, if only i could take some time, read what i've made, and brush it up. but time has been a precious commodity lately. it's midterm week, and, i'm not sleeping so much. should have one for you soon, anyway, i promise.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


7:30-9:30, FRIDAY
Cousin Andy's Coffeehouse
Church of the Good Shepherd, Orchard Street, Carbondale (more specific directions at link)
Benefit for the Heifer Project

Featuring Yours Truly, and the
Parsley Sagebrush Band...

By the way, listen to my cult classic "Long Way to Centralia" and others
at our long-loading MySpace...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

pouring down rain here, which if i'm not mistaken, is quite unusual for early september. kind of a bad deal for the balloon festival, and for everyone trying to get out and get some hard boating in on the last weekends before it turns. we- i and the younger boys- drove once more to st. louis, this time because my wife had sociology meetings- and spent wild times in a fancy hotel, a wild kids' museum and all parts between; it could be that the most important part of the trip was a short reprieve from a fishbowlish town where the #1 sport is taking ourselves too seriously, well, that and football maybe. i am not as good a kid-watcher as my vast experience and wisdom should make me, but it could be that i'm simply too old to be on top of every sharp trick that a couple of young devils can play; it seemed like, a couple of times, they were at least a half step ahead of me. i am helped considerably by the fact that they are so cute, that everyone notices them immediately, there's no way they can do something really bad, and not have someone see. and people generally sympathize with me, seeing how badly i'm outflanked- and help out, or at least, give me the benefit of the doubt. that's quite a handful ya got there, they might say, or something like it. they're at tough ages- five and two- yet, it's fun to listen to them, let them tell me their version of events. the little guy likes to sing the alphabet song, but he misses a few letters (my favorite is elbow-you, or w)- the older one is just learning knock-knock jokes. mostly they just cause trouble- in the hotel lobby, in the pool & hot-tub, in the buffet, in the museum, in the van, on the street, in the restaurant sundae-counter, in the shadow of the arch, and at the small-town casey's gas station. altogether, though, i'm lucky, and i know it, because i'm hanging around with people who are good-looking, and so passionate about what they do.

Friday, September 07, 2007

due to upheaval of house furniture and temporary sleep arrangements, i've had to be afc (away from computer) at my usual blogging times. in addition i've had many trips to st. louis, to airport, to ball game, to airport again, as family members came and went. My stepson in CA is now married- Congratulations, Eric!....while Justin is safely arrived at universidad catolica del oeste- in angers, france. his experience will be somewhat like that of my students, who study language all day long and live in a completely new environment, and try to keep from falling into angry babbling/mumbling about the host culture and its ideosyncracies.

The coming and going has made me much more familiar with the local roads, in particular 127, going up through fields that are being harvested as we speak, an occasional corn husk floating down into the road like a surfer on car fumes. the farm implements are monsters on a two-lane road- but we also saw a semi just driving straight across a field that was so dry it could easily hold it. after last night's drenching rain maybe it won't be that way. tonight i go back on the same road- this time to the ballpark hilton, where my wife is attending a conference....another weekend in the loo.

justin was stranded an extra twelve hours in st. louis, at a seedy motel, where i'm sure he became depressed and wondered what life had come to, when the sign on the bars of the window of the motel operator say, i absolutely never carry more than $25 at a time...this doesn't inspire the confidence to go out looking for a barbeque sandwich. but, it may make finding a new place, outside of paris, an adventure. something to appreciate, marvel at, wonder why we hadn't found it before.

bon voyage!