Saturday, July 14, 2007

Snapshot From the Road Trip

No, not an actual picture but just a little flash of life on the road.

We are filing onto the bus to make the trip from L.A. to Palm Springs. I am minding my own business, taking a biography of Alexander the Great which was written in the 1870's by an American autodidact. I oversee the loading of my harps onto the bus and follow them in and choose a seat. I figure to settle in, read, maybe nap for the couple hours of riding until we reach the resort and concert hall where we will play two sold out shows to crowds of 1,200. So far, the tour has been great fun. Here in L.A. I was joined by the beautiful April and we have been having a great time together. Every time he sees April walking from place to the place the other guitar player starts to sing the Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About a Mover" under his breath. April notices this and is her usual gorgeous, merciless self about it, sometimes pausing to do a little hitch thing with her hip just to hear the sharp hiss of him sucking wind.

I am settling into the seat, give a glance to April to see if she wants for anything when StarLady plops right down next to me and without any preliminaries says "Is everything OK with you?" I say "Of course. Why do you ask?" StarLady says "You haven't said a word to anybody for at least three days. I was wondering if somebody had made you angry or something." April is by now laughing quietly and tells StarLady "It took me a couple of years to get used to that with him. He's an Apache to the bone about that. He doesn't talk much, that's all. If he was pissed off, trust me, EVERYBODY would be knowing."

StarLady smiles her enigmatic and etherial smile which just doesn't quite reach her legendary blue eyes and says "Alright. I was just wondering." I figure it's time for me to say something and take her hand in mine, give it a quick gentleman's kiss and say "I am having a wonderful time playing for you. It's great to get a job where I am able to say that I'm making real music and not just money. Thank you for calling me."

Her smile broadens but still stops short of her eyes telling you that they believe. We do the first show in the early evening. Palm Springs shuts down early on a good night so we have to have at least one early show for the geezer set. After the show I am sitting backstage with April and icing my wrists down with bags held in place by ace bandages. StarLady is passing by with her daughter, an actress, and a couple of thoroughly spoiled grandchildren in tow. Our eyes meet. I smile and say "You were superb tonight BossLady darlin'."

She blows me a quick kiss and smiles from the inside all the way out.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why ice on the wrists? What's the damage that's so severe harping inflames them, or is that a common occupational hazard of harpers?

- oddjob

5:03 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

ick,to the boss lady, but i understand.

bad thing, wrist damage.
my kid's got her master's in pt.
wrists are delicate things.

be well.

5:19 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i went through a totally obsessive run of practicing back about twelve years ago. i was newly clean, just getting into the whole sober single parent scene. i ended up practising to the point of developing carpal tunnel inflammation which required three surgeries to put right. since then, i have laid off of the obsessive/compulsive practicing and treat myself to a good ice session after i have performed or practiced any more than an hour. it wasn't the harps that did the damage but rather going from the guitar to the banjo to the mandolin and back to the guitar without giving myself time to rest. in the words of the surgeon who was treating me "don't you think that twelve hours of continuous playing is a bit much?" frankly, i had to agree. i also told him that one simply cannot reach and maintain the level of playing that i do without a certain degree of obsession. i did tell him that i would, from that point on, try to keep it on the prudent side of human endurance.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Now, why am I not surprised to learn an addict has the ability to obsess over practicing to the point of developing carpel tunnel syndrome? :-)

- oddjob

8:33 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

sometimes prudence is one of the hardest things to practice. : )

7:43 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, it's that whole substitution concept of addiction. very common, and very seductive. after all, something like practice shows work ethic and other noble sentiments. i was driven. and there lies the rub. the biggest gift of recovery is my ability to make a sober assessment of my situation and act accordingly. needless to say, i had not attained this at that point. the scary part was to face the very real possibility of having allowed obsession and compulsive behavior to end my career or sentence me to a life of even more chronic pain.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

true, and wise of you to understand that.

we have a place here where this "reverend" supposedly caters to teenagers with addictions.

bullshit. he replaces one addiction with a jesus addiction. sends the kids to shopping centers to collect money for his facility.
gets clients and cash from the state and is a nasty man from everyone that has had to deal with him as to plumbing or car repair etc. foul mouthed too for a man of god!

you seem to have come a long, long way to to understand yourself well.

my dad was an alcoholic. sweetest guy when sober, would literally give anyone in need whatever he had, but when he drank(and he drank a lot)beer, he would get terribly, well...

he stopped drinking when i was 30.
i never thought i'd live to see the day. a lot of damage was done by then, but he tried and that counted a lot. i know it was hard and he lost a lot of his old time friends. takes guts.

i think you are very brave.
be well.

2:52 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

Palm Springs shuts down early on a good night so we have to have at least one early show for the geezer set.

That would be my show!!

3:23 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I am such an idiot. You probably already figured that out, right? I was thinking your wrist got burned by the strings on the harp. I was picturing how I burned my wrist raw learning archery in school.

Who is starlady?

5:36 AM  
Blogger BlondeSense Liz said...

Are you drinking enough water? Water seems to have a good effect on eliminating my carpal tunnel inflamation. But I have to ice my wrists and neck almost daily to be sure that I don't become incapacitated. No matter what I do, it seems to be excessive. I had to put down the guitar for over a year, but now I have a good chiropractor and ice bags.

5:45 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

liz: i have learned the essential part adequate hydration plays with most inflammation. i take care to keep that well managed. i also have found that taking an aspirin a half hour before playing helps to reduce the after pains. and ice. i have become an ice demon. also, i've found there are certain guitar necks that are better than others (read stratocaster/martin/ovation) when it comes to playing comfort. but mainly it all comes down to being aware of my body signals rather than ignoring them, and taking appropriate action when the signals are received.

11:14 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

sherry: i have the germ of a post working about the abject failures i have found in "faith based" recovery places. it might just bubble out while i'm playing beach bum

11:16 AM  
Blogger BadTux said...

Ibuprofen generally works even better than aspirin. I have knee problems and before I start on some activity that is going to stress ye olde knees, take an ibuprofen. Then another one four hours later. No guarantees, but better than the alternative, which leaves me barely able to hobble (waddle?).

5:30 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

hi, mb. i think it's a grand idea but you'll get some crap i'll bet!

i can't understand how the guy here has been in operation so long or how he gets kids sent there by the courts either!

i'm sorry but turning kids into robots for any deity is not a better thing, except that there aren't dead or damaged from an overdose.

to me, it's slave labor to send them out to solict funds.

thankfully they haven't been out recently but i think that's because of so much rehab and new construction where they used to solicit.

9:12 AM  

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