Friday, January 3, 2014


Once upon a time, I really, really, really loved a man that loved music.  A lot of incredible things resulted from 9 years of loving him, all of which are in a scrapbook of concert tickets or in my iTunes database.  All he brought me was music, and for a long time, I couldn't forgive him for not giving me more, when I gave him everything I had.  

Now, though...  Well, hindsight helps.  As does maturity and a general disdain for fucking holy-martyr-omg-you-amazing-woman-you-gave-up-everything-for-love syndrome.  Because that, friends, is bullshit.  But that is also not the point.

The point is, he gave me music.  A LOT of music.  Most of which I fell in love with, dissected, ate for supper, analyzed, and adored.  He gave me Steve Perry, and Petra, Triumph and Rush.  Oh, Rush.  He gave me Bela Fleck and Steve Morse, Linda Ronstadt and Olivia Newton John and even Sarah Brightman.  He gave me Allison Krauss and Sam Cook, Dream Theater and Queensryche, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill.  I will say it is possible that I might have found some of these myself, but I didn't.  He gave them to me.

We spent our weekends on road trips.  We drove from Charlotte to Jacksonville, Norfolk, Atlanta (many times), Knoxville.  We saw these bands, and Survivor, and then saw them again, then drove to the next stop on the tour and saw them again, again.  We drove to New York to see Pat Matheney, then to Memphis for the hell of it.  All for music.

But another thing he gave me was Kansas.  I'm not talking about "Dust in the Wind," Kansas.  I'm talking about "Bells of St. James," Kansas.  "Miracles Out of Nowhere" Kansas.

While we were together, we saw them, I think, 13 times.  The first time was in a bar that I was too young to get into.  There were festivals and street concerts, orchestral performances and bar gigs.  The last time I saw them, David Ragsdale had joined, and That Guy kind of knew Ragsdale, and we hung out a little.  Steve Walsh handed me the mic for a verse of Carry On My Wayward Son, I shit you not.  It was in a pool hall, maybe 150 people there, and they were STILL PLAYING POOL, but still.  I sang with Kansas.  Boom.

And then I grew up.  Moved to Georgia, and That Guy was supposed to, too, only he didn't.  It took me a long time to realize that he wasn't coming there, not ever.  My Janie went through the meager collection of his things that I had, with Heather's help, and they trashed his stuff.  Gave it away, threw it away.  I just sat there, but I'm glad they did that.

I kept the music, but stopped the road trips.  I still listened, to all of it.  Some really GOOD FRIEND songs, and I was not about to let him steal those away.  But the concerts stopped.  Oh, I went to see Olivia a couple of times, in lovely, refined, wine-friendly settings, but that was it.  Over the years, the occasional notice has passed my way.  "Starship performing This Saturday," and I would think, "Maybe..." But then there would be a little boy who needed attention or a tae kwon do tournament, or $13 in the bank account, and I just let it all go on without me.

Last year, my dad and Sam and I went to see Rush.  Yeah, shut up.  You might cry too if all those ghosts were around you.  But you still love it.

Tonight, some friends took me to see Kansas.  I admit it, I looked for That Guy. It seemed impossible that he wasn't there.  The ghosts were everywhere, from putting on Rock and Roll clothes until I got home, alone.  Happy, oh, the concert was unbelievable, but...

If any of you ever see That Guy, tell him thanks for the music, and that I wish him well.  Tell him Ragsdale has gotten BETTER (if that is even possible), but I didn't go groupie after the show.  Tell him I sing, now, like a lot, and like...  Not bad.   And tell him I saw his ghost tonight, and it was all okay.  I am okay.

I have new friends who are up for an occasional road trip.

Also, I'm fucking smoking hot.  Big mistake.  Huge. 

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