I’ve loaded and unloaded my car and pickup dozens of times.
It’s been months since I’ve completely unpacked my bag.
Please don’t look in my closet. I don’t even want to look in my closet.
Anyway when you live in the middle of nowhere, pretty much everywhere you need to go involves a road trip. So it’s a good thing I’ve had years to master hours of car time. Sunflower seeds. Coffee. An updated play list on my iPod. A mental list of the most convenient places to stop for fuel. Not a bit of hesitation about singing at the top of my lungs, even when pulling up next to you at a stoplight. Windows open when the weather’s nice and the time is right.
The road to and from this place is early mornings, peaceful and dewy, running-late afternoons and evening sunsets where I don’t really feel like it but I’m going.
Some of my most creative times have been behind the wheel of my car, alone out there somewhere on a road in the midwest.
Some of my scariest have been out there too. Blizzard and tornado watches, black ice, flooding and miles and miles of antelope and sagebrush fields with an emptying tank and not a gas station for miles.
In the last few weeks my road trips have involved the men from my hometown band. It’s nice to have a pickup full of voices and stories about the old days playing in bar bands and bowling alleys. I welcome the company in the car and beside me playing guitar.
And it’s nice to have a crew that understands the life of a musician is mostly just an absurd train of events that involves setting up on flatbed trailers as a thunderstorm rolls through town, hauling around and hooking up sound system after sound system, laughing off requests to play “Smoke on the Water, ” to turn it up, to turn it down, to play something faster, or slower or something we don’t know. It’s good to know that this group won’t mind if a gig doesn’t quite turn out the way we planned, or the night drags on into morning, or we have to haul our guitars through a foot of mud to the stage. It’s alright. Because sometimes it’s great, and the harmonies are on and the audience is swaying and singing along and you know that they know that there’s more to music than the miles we’ve put on to get here and home in one piece.
So when you get back to the ranch at 3:30 in the morning only to wake to a call that the cows are in the neighbor’s wheat field, you don’t complain, you just take a swig of coffee, pull on your snap shirt and boots and head out the door to saddle a horse and bring them home.
Because it’s the life I chose. The one I write about and sing about and bring with me when I go.
Coming Home: Freedom sometimes means settling down
By Jessie Veeder
August 4, 2013
Music and miles, late nights and cows with terrible timing…
And it’s good.