Friday Firesmith – The Favorite One

I know her well; she’s a good person, a responsible citizen, caring and kind, and it’s not like anything is going to change that. But the one thing about FB becoming so ubiquitous in our lives is that we tend to become insulated to what we are revealing, like those people who pick their noses in their cars. With FB, we tend to show what we want people to see, that is, our children, our pets, our nice things, our food, and pretty things, or ugly things. Funny things and sad things, but a good person, a really good person, might make a mistake and show a little too much.

It’s like a photo of a woman sunning on a towel, who raises her head up just enough to get a photo of the surf in the background, perfectly framed as a background for her smile, eyes aglow in happiness at being on the beach. But she’s topless and has raised up just a bit too far, and the photo is there for far too long to delete it and feel safe.

But this isn’t about nipples, and it shouldn’t be, for there is nothing indecent or vulgar about nipples, it’s just that we have been made to believe that it is. In a true and perfect world, the photo would be a photo, and that would be the end of it, as well it should be, but we all know it is not.

Then there are other photos that she shows. She has three sons, all gifted and smart, all of them good people, like their parents, but only one of them turns up on a regular basis on his mother’s FB. One of them gets a lot of photo time and the other two who are just a little younger than the firstborn. They do get some time in the photos with their mother, but they are not The One.

Were it just the number of photos, the frequency in which he is alone with his mother, perhaps that would not be an indication he is the Favorite, but the expression in her eyes, the smile, the happiness of being with the Favored One, the thrill of being near the Scion, the part of her that will live on forever, is what ices it. With Him, is when she is happiest. With the other two, she is merely happy.

I’ve never met a parent who would confess to it but I have always had a favorite dog. That’s as close as I’ve gotten to having kids, but I have noticed that some parents tend to favor one child over the others. Yet each one of them, when I have questioned this, tells me they love each child exactly the same, equally, always, but I suspect at the end of the day this is not true.

Sam, the Happy Hound, was the younger dog to Bert the Beloved, and I never mistreated Sam, and he was well taken care of and he was very much loved, but Bert was my Favorite. I do not think Sam suffered from not being the Favorite.

For those of you with kids or those of you who were once kids (yes, that means everyone) did you have a Favorite, or were you a Favorite? Do you think this is more common than people believe and do you think it is harmful?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
5+

Friday Firesmith – Irma

The thing about a really big hurricane spreading death and destruction everywhere is that it will, with a certainty, bring out the very worst and the very best, in human beings. As the forecasts pushed the bull’s eye closer and closer to the Floridian coast, more and more people began what would start as an evacuation and end as an Exodus. Unlike those who saw Katrina coming, those who foresaw what Irma would bring, fled, and fled hard, and fled early. Northbound I-75 into Georgia became packed with cars and truck, packed with people and belongs, fleeing for their very lives.

Immediately, gas stations rushed to jack up their prices to the very margin of robbery, and people rushed to pay the price before all fuel tanks were sucked dry by those who were fleeing. Traffic just off exits, Two, Five, Eleven, Sixteen, Twenty-two, and Twenty-nine, the first exits in Georgia, became snarled knots of angry and frustrated human beings. Fast food places were packed, hotels had no vacancies, and gas station lines stretched out longer and longer.

Yet there were people, common people who could expect no compensation for their efforts, out trying to help. Off of State Route Seven, someone set up a table and chairs and propped up a sign that said simply, “Free Food for Evacuees” and they gave out sandwiches until they ran out of food themselves. The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County gave away their entire stock of Powerade that had been donated to them for a 5K to linemen headed into Florida. The local churches pushed their chairs and pews to one side and laid out cots, endless rows of cots, for those people who could not find any room at any inn. Men with big trucks and chainsaws cleared local roads when the winds came. People volunteered for help in shelters, and the word went out as the winds picked up and the rain pounded down, “We have room, we have food, we will help.”

 

I met a man who fled the storm, his name was Ray and he had picked up and left Florida two days before the storm hit. Ray had seen this sort of thing before, and rented a room in Valdosta a week before the storm, and had rented it for two weeks. Ray and his wife had never been to South Georgia and didn’t know what to expect. The people, Ray told me, were unusually nice, friendly, and helpful. He asked me if this sort of thing was common, and I told him it was, and that he and his wife would be safe here. They had plenty of food in their cooler, and they had brought some canned goods. If the power stayed on and if they could still get food in stores, was there somewhere they could donate what they had brought?

 

By nature, I am a Hermit, and the ill that my species has done drives me to live in the woods alone, and with no one but trees and dogs as company. Yet as I stood in my backyard after the storm had passed, looking at the downed trees and the debris, I realized that like nature, human beings both wreck and they help, they destroy and they heal, and they, in the worst of times, can be the best that they can be.

 

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
9+

Friday Firesmith – Peace and Quiet, and the Stars at Night

Back in the 1990’s, a friend of mine lived in Atlanta and he said the traffic up there was like watching your soul dehydrate one traffic light at a time. He went through a long list of lights, and he started naming them, and as each one changed with him still trapped on the wrong side of the light, he would rename the light. Robert the Red, Father of Bob, the Red, followed by Elizabeth the Red, followed by… When he told me this story I began to have some serious concerns about his sanity and after he moved out of Atlanta the following year, he told me he had begun to feel as if living in the city had affected his ability to reason. He came to visit me once, out here at Hickory Head, and even though by then he lived in a smaller large town, the silence of the country drove him a little nuts.

The first thing he discovered is that at night, it gets dark here, and it stays dark until the sun comes back up. He knew this already, of course, but in Atlanta, there is always light, perpetual and nonstop light, and in his apartment, the lights flooded through his windows at night, banishing true darkness away.

We sat in lawn chairs in my yard and looked up at the night sky and it awed him more than a little. Each constellation was clearly visible as well as the blur of the Milky Way. The conversation died several times as he sat in silence trying to come to terms with the idea of so much vastness being so close. The owls and the crickets seemed to be the only creatures in the night not stunned by the sight. I went to bed and left him in the yard and after a couple of hours he came in and stumbled around trying to find the sofa. It is really dark in my house at night.

The next day he spent most of his time visiting friends in Valdosta but he came back to drink beer and sit in the yard, and to look at the sky. A thin crescent moon joined us later, and the beer we were drinking caused him to wonder why he was putting up with life anywhere there wasn’t a view like this. Slow internet connections would be the first thing that got people these days, and maybe the idea of the nearest store being thirty minutes round trip, or going to see a movie would take about an hour, one way.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and a lot of gas money as a payment to live past where there are any stores or shops or people. Most of the people who have come to visit, love the country but they don’t love it so much they’ll move out of somewhere else to be there.

Sometime, in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have to write about what’s happening out there, beyond the Spanish Moss that hangs from the trees in my yard. I’m going to have to address some of the things that are happening outside my starlit world where it’s possible the loudest thing I hear all night is a dog snoring. Before I do though, I’d like to have just a little more time to enjoy the peace I’ve discovered and paid for, before I have to say things that I feel must be said, and do things that I feel I must do, and all I can hope for is that at some point in time, I can go back to the lawn chair in the yard, and sit in peace again.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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Friday Firesmith – The Lion and the Cobra

Back in 1986, I met a very young woman who started out being a friend and it turned into something far different one night. She introduced me to some of her friends, and at a party one night one of those friends was listening to someone I had never heard of before, a young Irish singer named Sinead O’Connor. It was O’Connor’s first album and only one person there had even heard of her before.

“The Lion and the Cobra” O’Connor’s debut album, was, and it still is, a raw and majestic, a manic and thoughtful, an energetic and soulful, masterpiece that drives and beats and soars. Step into it at your own risk for you’ll never be quite the same. I wasn’t and I never will be.

By 1990 the woman I knew was long gone, regrettably perhaps, but O’Connor stepped into the breach once more and released her most famous work, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”. With the impressive and breathtaking album, which would bring her fame and fortune, also highlighted her deep divisions with the mainstream of humanity which culminated with her spot on and righteous attack on Pope Paul II on SNL, in 1992.

From personal experience, I can tell you that attacks on religion aren’t always considered to be freedom of religion from those who are religious.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, O’Connor suffered terribly from the abuse of alcohol and depression. Her personal life became a roller coaster and she has been married four times to date.

On 8 August 2017, less than a month ago, Sinead O’Connor posted a twelve-minute video on Facebook claiming that she is living in a motel in New Jersey, and contemplating suicide. The video is a tough watch, especially for those of us who, back in 1987, listened to this woman scream her way into our hearts.

Take twelve minutes of your life and watch the video. It’s ugly. It’s not the same person, you will tell yourself, who let a tear slip down her face while singing, “Nothing Compares 2 You”. Allow yourself to believe that substance abuse is a personal choice and she got herself into this mess, and she blew a brilliant career, too. Indulge, if you care to, in the luxury of out of sight out of mind thinking, once she’s dead. Another spoiled rich singer, burnt out and flamed out, and so the story goes.

Except it doesn’t.

Now, take twelve seconds of that video, pick any twelve seconds, of that video, and instead of seeing a woman pleading for help because she’s mentally ill, instead pretend there’s a human being right in front of you who is bleeding out because they’ve been cut.

Why is your reaction to a mental illness so different than one where someone has a congenital heart defect? Why is someone who is bleeding out from their soul so very different from someone with hemophilia?

Do this now: Go find someone who’s lost a wife, or a husband, a son or a daughter, a loved one, a friend, a brother or sister, a mother or a father, and sit down and tell that person that suicide is a choice only, and that mental illness is something anyone can work their way through, and you have no sympathy for that sort of thing when there’s substance abuse involved.

Not interested? But were you leaning towards those thoughts during the video?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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Friday Firesmith – The Mexican Nukes

Back in 2002 or 2003, I worked with a guy who was convinced that 9-11 was an event planned by the CIA to declare martial law and take our guns from us. The “take our guns from us” thing took a life of its own during the Obama years even though there were no guns taken from anyone. That didn’t matter to those who feed on Conspiracy Theories. All that really matters is there be a theory made from whole cloth and for that theory to address some deep and dark fear. The more baseless these fears are the deeper they seem to be. Like people being afraid of snakes.

Seriously, this guy poured a six-inch slab for a doomsday bunker, stocked it with about fifty thousand bucks worth of guns and ammo, and inside that bunker is enough room for he and his family to stand around and stare at the guns. He’s been gone for a while, went off to another part of the world to work, but today he came back.

And he tells us there’s a nuclear missile, left over from the Cuba Missile Crisis of the early 60’s, which is now pointed at the United States. This missile, whose existence is known only to those who believe in this particular theory, is down in Mexico. Who has it, why they have it, how they hide it, why Mexico is allowing this one nuke arsenal to exist, and how this all connects to the attempted assassination of Ronal Reagan and the price of sugary soft drinks in Belgium is a bit complicated. But he has all the time in the world to explain it all to anyone who will sit down and listen.

I won’t. I simply haven’t the time.

Also, this man knows the exact count of missiles that are located in North Korea and can tell you how many of them are pointed at US service personnel in South Korea. He knows the location of the secret Korean launch sites that are hidden from satellites and he can tell you which US cities are most likely to disappear “under a mushroom cloud”.

And then there is this, like an Amway Scheme for Bunker Bros, this guy can get discounts on survival gear if he can talk other people into buying their products. There are drinking straws that will eliminate 99.9% of all biological agents, sarin gas, and the odor from a Wal Mart bathroom. There are radios that are immune from the “EMP pulse weapon” that North Korea has smuggled into the United States. And there’s a gas powered electrical generator that is so quiet you have to have a special tester just to know if it is on or off. There are clothes with special dyes that hide you from night vision and infrared scopes. There are MRE’s and dehydrated food by the pallet. There’s everything you need to protect yourself for what is going to happen soon, very soon, in fact, next week at the very latest, and maybe yesterday. There is everything you need!

Except, perhaps, reason.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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Friday Firesmith – The Great Depressed

What this nation has lost, and the loss is grievous, is the generation who survived the Great Depression. My father was born in 1933, and my mother was born in 1938. Both of my parents lived in the aftermath of the Great Depression, and during the Second World War. The Great Depression was a time of extreme poverty for most of the people in the United States and World War II was a time of rationing and of hard work. My maternal grandfather died in 1970, and my paternal grandfather died in the 50’s. But both my grandmothers lived to be 90, and both of them were people shaped by the Great Depression.

When I was a teenager I was set to work in the fields. I threw watermelons with grown men who needed the job to keep their families fed and off welfare. We started work at dawn and we worked until it was too dark to see, and we did this six days a week until all the watermelons in a three county area were all harvested. I made seventy dollars a week.

I didn’t have the time or the energy to worry about my mental state of mind. For that matter, no one I knew did either. When it rained we would all crawl under the trucks like dogs and sleep until the rain had passed. I came home covered in dirt, mud, watermelon blood, insect bites, and exhausted. I also slept very well at night, usually from about nine at night until six in the morning, and woke up ready to go. But, you see, I never had a choice. My mother couldn’t afford to have me sitting idle all day long and doing nothing but enjoying my Summer vacation. What other kids got to do wasn’t something I could indulge in being envious over. I had to work. It wasn’t something that was an option.

My grandmother helped work the farm she shared with my grandfather, and she also ran a country store. I can remember when they got running water in their house, and the electricity consisted of a single bulb in each room, hanging from the ceiling, with cloth insulated wiring. Everyone had a garden, most people had some job, some skill, that they used to make extra money somehow, and everyone helped their neighbors.

When I ventured into Construction Management, it was the first job, first real job, that I had ever had that required more thinking than physical labor. I did more sitting than lifting. I did more paperwork than I did manual labor. I made a hell of a lot more money, and I never had to get out in the cold or the heat or sleep under a truck anymore. At the same time, I started having problems sleeping. I slowed down and I gained weight.

The last big project I worked, and it was over seven miles long, I never saw the first group of kids, running around exploring the activity. Hell no, I didn’t want them there, but at the same time, where were they? Inside, playing video games and watching instead of doing. In the fields now are people who traveled hundreds of miles to do the work the children of America are not required to do, cannot do, and will not do.

What is really striking to me, what is going to be fatal, is that children today are too lazy to play, and they are losing play as an art form, as a way of communicating with other children, and of pushing their bodies past a normal limit.

The children of the Great Depression had no choice but to live sparely, eat simply, and work, and play, hard.

What we have now is the children of the Great Depressed. We are a nation sad from the lack of purpose in our lives and spring in our steps. While our grandparents worked for a better life we were simply handed that life, and we have no idea what to do with it, and we have no appreciation for it.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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Friday Firesmith – Binged

When cable became available back in the early 1970’s I never thought it would catch on. After all, television was free so who would pay for something that a simple antenna could pull from the air? And television wasn’t exactly a big deal to me back then. We got three channels. It’s was pretty exciting, however, when something really good came on. But mostly, there were vast time slots that had soap operas or old movies. It was better to be outside playing in the woods than sitting in front of a television.

I was ten or eleven years old when one of my friends was sitting in front of his color television, and his family had one of the first, and he would rather have sat there and watched an old “Gunsmoke” rerun than go out and toss a football. The divide between television people and the Anti-television people began that day with me.

I went from 1982 to 1992 living without a television in the same house with me. I lived with one between 1993 and 2010. After my last one died in 2010, I haven’t replaced it. A lot has changed since then.

When a person could rent a VHS movie there were always the late fees and the quality of the movie just might be second best. When Netflix began their DVD service, that was a good thing, really. But then came all the different services where movies, and then television shows, and then self-produced series could be watched on demand. Suddenly, binge watching became a thing. People missed work, came to work sleepy, or simply came to work and kept watching on their phones. There was no stopping this, it seemed.

The shows, “The Walking Dead”, “Breaking Bad” and “The Game of Thrones” seem to be the top binge watched shows. I’ve seen one episode of GOT, one episode of TWD, and not a single frame of BB. Yet I can tell you what all of them are about to a certain degree. People cannot stop talking about these shows, even when you express disinterest or feign death. To be honest, I had a friend who told TWD episodes with great clarity and really good story telling skills, but as far as actually watching it, no, I cannot.

It’s six in the morning, Thursday, August the 10th, the birthday of Robin McAllister, The Woman From Possum Holler. I’ve written about Robin before, long ago, and likely she’s married with kids and grandkids and is living without a second thought about a life she lived when she was nineteen years old. The only difference, the very only difference between the story of Robin and myself, and your story, your life’s narrative, is that I’m writing mine down, explaining what happened and why, and when, and you’re watching.
This doesn’t make me smarter or better or in some way more interesting than you are, no, not at all. The difference is I’m not buying into the idea that my time is well spent appreciating someone else’s story. Think about it; if you spend as much time writing as you did watching television just how well would you write? What stories would you tell? What has happened to you, and someone you once loved, that would strike a chord in someone far away?

Read some of the comments that people write when responding to my stories. You can see it. You can feel it. You can experience their lives in far fewer words than I use. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s magic.

And if you so choose, it is yours.

You are nineteen, or twenty, you are in love, where is that person now? Do you remember the birthday of this person?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
7+

Friday Firesmith – Lost In Divorce

The porch swing was my first object lesson in divorce. Two friends of mine were splitting up, and I had known them both before they were married. They had two kids, and that’s when it sucks the most, and they slipped from getting a nice, quiet, easy, bloodless divorce to one that was sad, and it was ugly. They began to fight over money, then furniture, and then the damn porch swing, and the kids wound up watching their parents pay two divorce lawyers enough money to pay for a year of college in one day.

Get this: They didn’t even have a porch. The swing was in a storage shed.

I wound up with my sister’s two labs from her marriage. They’re giant dogs and they dig. I don’t like them very much but I am one of the few men who can say they got something out of a divorce they didn’t lose anything in.

I got off light and I know it. I lost one of the two trucks, the one she drove, and she had pretty much driven it into the ground anyway. The woman was hard on machines, I tell you. Other than that, there was some weirdness; she stole some CD’s that I knew she didn’t like or already had one of. She also lifted a drawing done by a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure she meant to destroy the drawing because it was a nude of a woman, and she was jealous of anything female and human. She also stole my yard rake.

Alcohol and I have had a lot of deep discussions about why a woman would take a yard rake, and why I didn’t say to myself when she and I were just living together, “That’s the type of woman that would take a man’s rake and never look back.” But that thought never surfaced before the rake went missing. And so I sat there one night, wondering at what point the woman thought, “My life sucks so bad I’ll take his rake, and that will show him.” But show him what? Rakes are relatively inexpensive things, like the CDs she took, and only the drawing couldn’t be replaced.

I made a list of the CDs she took and I replaced them, slowly.  I made a point of recovering the music I had lost, and I bought a new rake, a metal rake, one of the high-end yard rakes, that was gluten free and cordless, too.

None of this addressed the why. All the alcohol drowned the senses, numbed the feeling that I had been wronged, without looking the issue in the eye and asking the question of how someone I married morphed, somehow, into a rake stealer.

Just as the process of marriage, the ceremony, the public announcement of the union, the combining of possessions, the sharing of a bed and bodily fluids, makes two people one, the process of divorce divides. The lawyers, the paperwork, the public admission of defeat and giving up, the empty space, opens up a gap that is filled with petty feelings that rush into the vacuum. And rakes go missing.

What did you lose in your divorce?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
5+

Friday Firesmith – The Road To The Wildlife

In front of my house, there is a driveway that runs through the front yard. It runs from east to west, true, from the paved road to my neighbor’s house by the lake, and we’ve shared it in perfect peace for over sixteen years now. He hunts, owns a lot of land around here for that reason, but I do not hunt, and so he’s happy about that. There’s a relative of his that owns some land out here, too, but we see him only very rarely, for he is even more reclusive than I. There is a ninety-five-year-old woman who is everyone’s aunt, and she lives in the house closest to the road, and she takes care of a man we all call “Uncle” but he’s pushing ninety himself. There’s a bevy of relatives who come to cook and clean for them, and to spend the night sometimes. But that wraps it up as far as human beings out here. I can go days without seeing anyone else if I choose to do so.

Back to the dirt driveway in front of my house. When my neighbor isn’t around, and mostly he isn’t, I use the dirt road to see who has come around during the night. I know all the dogs around here so I was surprised to find this track in the early morning dew.

I’ve got two Black Labs that are pushing over one hundred pounds, each, and this track was every bit as large as the ones they leave. But clearly, some very large dog passed through during the night. My neighbor, burly dude that he is, owns a toy poodle.

Large dogs aside, I’ve seen smaller canid tracks that had to be of a coyote and even smaller ones that must have been made by a fox. The Coyotes and I have formed a truce of sorts, and despite the misgivings of some humans, I intend to keep the peace as long as they do. The foxes come in two colors; both red and gray. I’ve seen more grays out here in sixteen years than I have reds, but the reds are always the most stunning to discover. (by the way, I discount the idea of the large dog track being a wolf)

Wild pigs and armadillos have dug in my yard on a regular basis, you know.

I caught a fleeting glimpse of a bobcat one night as I turned on the outside lights, and went out to look at the tracks but the cat left very little for me to see. They’re stealthy as hell, bobcats are, and I’ve seen two in sixteen years. Or the same one twice.

Once, there was a snake track, wide and winding, and I knew whatever it was, it nearly had to be venomous. But we’ve dealt with that before, too.

There have been many turtle tracks, odd looking things they are.

You can see a hole where the turtle dug a hole but didn’t lay eggs.

There have been two turtles that made an impression; the first is the one that made those tracks and was a soft shelled turtle. The other was a massive alligator snapping turtle who was not amused at the camera.

One alligator left tracks down the road. Just keep on keeping on, dude.

What’s the oddest wild animal that showed up at your place? (emus and peacocks do not count)

Take Care,

Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
5+

Friday Firesmith – Don’t Judge A Band By Its Cover

I don’t travel often and I don’t travel well. Just finding a pet sitter is a bitch because I have two pony-sized Black Labs, and I have two Pits. My normal sitter was out of town, the one someone loaned me bailed on me, and I have to go to Rover.com to find someone, at the last moment, who would drive out to the middle of nowhere to feed four dogs and to spend some time with them. That turned out, in the end, to be the easy part. I found a woman who clearly loved dogs and the dogs loved her.

This was my first road trip with the woman I’ve been dating for a while now. We were invited to go see an Eagles cover band and hang out with her sister down in Florida. We started out well, but then I-75 locked down on us because of a wreck. “Right, get off this exit, we’ll go around,” this woman tells me and she digs down into her cell phone and starts navigating like a boss. We popped out of the backroads a half hour later in front of a major wreck and didn’t lose that much time at all. I bring this part up because of the next part.

We got terminally lost.

Siri and her GPS both agreed that we were to go left, turn right, turn right, turn right, and finally we discovered we were being sent in a circle that landed up in a part of the town that we decidedly didn’t want to be in. The venue was nowhere in sight. We arrived fifteen minutes deep into the concert, strangers had stolen our seats, and we were ushered into two empty seats behind a wooden wall that was a meter tall. The wall was there to prevent us from escaping and to keep my knees tucked against my chest.

The venue was an old high school auditorium and the sound system sucked. The drums were too loud, the vocals sounded tinny, and the place was filled to capacity with aging hippies who loved the Eagles back in the 70’s and 80’s. The audience was balding, fat, drunk, and wait, no, that was me, nevermind, but I was one of the younger people there.

Okay, sound system aside, the band, whose name I never did discover, (they do covers, I’m not sure they have a name) wasn’t doing half bad. The crowd was easy and sang along with the more popular songs, but still, the sound system was killing them, or they just weren’t that good to begin with, I couldn’t make up my mind.

So there towards the end, the lead singer, one guitarist, the female background singer, and one of the other guys in the band, got together at the front of the stage, and I knew what song they were going to take a swing at before anyone else did.

“Seven Bridges Road,” I said aloud, and I was right.

If you want to make a complete and total idiot of yourself, Seven Bridges is a good song to attempt. The harmonies in this song, when done right, is an awesome thing. I could see this going badly for this group of people, and I could see it lasting for far too long, and ending only after half the people in the audience sold their souls to Satan to keep it from lasting a moment longer.

The lead singer did this countdown thing with one hand and then the four of them nailed that mother down.

“There are stars
In the Southern sky
Southward as you go….”

OH, MY GOD!

“There is moonlight
And moss in the trees
Down the Seven Bridges Road”

Those four people, with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and without microphones laid it down. They clearly had practiced this song until each and every singer could weave his or her voice in with the others, flawlessly.

The audience, at first screamed, went wild, and then hushed. The voices demanded a silence where the pauses spoke as loudly as the lyrics and the lead singer, with his hand motions, as adept as any major symphony conductor, led them through Seven Bridges Road and they owned it, owned every second and every word of it, and when the song ended everyone there stood up and cheered and screamed.

That one song made the entire experience worth it. That one song told me these were people skilled beyond where they were playing. That one song convinced me to take another shot at hearing them live again, and I will.

Take Care,
Mike

Seven Bridges Road

 

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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