Monday, December 14, 2015

This Is a Roller Coaster Time of Year and Life

Many times I have wondered out loud at the situations in which I find myself.  Last night I was part of a Christmas sing-along atop Mt. Helix in La Mesa.  La Mesa is really just El Cajon west, in my book.  I don't know where one stops and the other starts.

The view of the city and surrounding area is spectacular.  Kind of an uppity neighborhood, even though the part at the top is a park.  It is a large amphitheater.

The band, with my ex-marine pal Chris, and Emily, and Nam vet Richard, which is called Valor and Lace somehow pulled me into this event.  It was organized by the head of the West Coast Country Music association, James.  I think that is what it is called.  James has his own band and I think they do well playing country covers.

Like Enter the Blue Sky, V and L play a lot of originals.  Not nearly as many, or as much material overall, but Chris and Emily have been adding stuff at an impressive rate.  They have been improving at an impressive rate.

It is my belief that some people have an intangible quality that draws people in and makes them special performers.  I do not think it can be taught.  Chris has that.  And Emily is rather a treat for the eyes as well.  She also has good singing potential.  Even so, and even with Richard's killer dobro, myself on harmonica, Chris is the guy you want up front.  Plus Richard and I are way older.

I tend to need these things to fight what I suppose is out of control depression or maybe the mind muddling that goes with MPNs and the pill I take to combat it.   Whatever it is, it is physically gripping and mentally paralyzing.  We have been down that road a million times.

This Christmas thing was very disorganized.  Other than Chris three other frontmen were involved. Two of them mostly play one man acts.  They are very good, but not so in tune with playing with others and being good back up.  Chris has probably not even a tenth of their experience but he came off as more the professional in my mind.

Richard and I were off to one side with a bass player, just watching as those guys dropped the ball when they weren't the front--kind of tossing one another under the bus, as near as we could tell.

Somehow it managed to work out in the end.  People had song books and sang along, and the rain we feared waited until we were gone.

What turned things around and saved the day was when someone had the idea of inviting all the kids on stage to join in. There were tons of them.  A couple of ladies had a barely walking toddler and one maybe four years old.  I gave the lady with the littlest one my mic and coaxed the kid into making some noise, once he tired of licking the mic.  The other kid wanted no part of it.

It changed my mood.  I was barely fit to be in public when the thing started, but left a temporarily upbeat person by the end.

We had no practice.  Only one meeting in which the front men seemed to vie for dominance.

I have to say, I have become far more impressed with Marines than I ever was.  I am not fond of military things, or never was. But here I am, in the thick of Wounded Warriors and who knows what.  And their kindness to me when it counts is somewhat touching.

They understand I have been playing with Sande's group and have loyalty there.  Sande is a little nervous I think.  That is nice to be sought after, but the fact is we are not doing my songs and I am there to make them sound good, and keep out of trouble.  So, it is hard to just not play with anyone other.

There was some Christmas song that included a solo being thrown my way.  I had it nailed and seeing the look of pride on Chris' and Emily's faces was heartwarming.  Some of the other front guys just let the backing chords almost die out, but I was on it enough that it did not throw me off.  Oh, yea, and some people in the audience gave me applause.  That was cool.  No other leads or solos got that in mid song. See?  I have an ego, too.  But I don't take that stuff too seriously.  I just love affirmation, praise, and love.  I'm inwardly a basket case and I hope to fix that before I die.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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