I remembered those places, and those faces.

Scrolling through Facebook — through the “fun in the sun” Fourth of July photos — in my office on Monday morning, I couldn’t help but have this feeling of longing to see and interact with friends and family celebrating the holiday weekend back home in Upstate New York.

It’s the hardest part of this gig.

As a journalist for just about a decade, I’ve been lucky enough to interview and photograph hundreds of folks, from all walks of life, that, perhaps, I may have never had the chance to interact with had I pursued another career path.

I look forward to it these days.

Calling my dad at the end of the day. With my parents still living in my native Upstate New York, I find myself dialing the old man almost every night, just to shoot the bull. With our conversations normally hovering around the matters of the day — politically and socially — we then knock it down a notch, talking about sports, family, or simply telling one tall tale after another, usually with some hearty laughter echoing from the other end of the line.

I’m exhausted.

I think y’all out there reading this can attest to the pure exhaustion — of body, mind and soul — these last couple of years. If the presidential election wasn’t physically and emotionally draining enough, it feels like every morning I get up, well, it’s another go-round on this rollercoaster of an administration, of a modern world struggling with its identity and priorities.

Editor’s Note: After heading to his native Upstate New York last week to give the eulogy at his aunt’s funeral, Garret was also asked to marry off his best friend, Andy, this past weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee. Andy and Garret crossed paths almost five years ago when both relocated to Waynesville for work at the same time. Being strangers in a new town (Andy moved from Knoxville), with no familiarity nearby, they became fast friends, ultimately best friends. About a year later, Andy met and began dating Ashley, the love of his life. He then relocated to Knoxville, with Garret visiting the couple often. When Andy proposed to Ashley, he decided, being an only child, to ask his father to be his best man. With that, Andy and Ashley then asked Garret to be the officiant, who would bring them together in holy matrimony in front of their closest friends and family members. Below is the speech Garret wrote and gave in front of the congregation before the rings were exchanged ...

The roaring of the plane engine shook me awake.

Coasting into the skies over Newark, New Jersey, the flight was headed to Knoxville, then it was another hour-and-a-half car ride back to Waynesville. It had been a long week, and an even longer year, as I sipped my screwdriver and got lost in my thoughts.

It came as a shock that has had a ripple effect within music circles around Western North Carolina and beyond.

I didn’t know what to say.

Standing in the doorway of the music venue, he said it so casually. 

It was during the first sip of my second beer when it struck me.

“Let’s go see Dave Davies.”

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