My first love. Baseball.
The quintessential American pastime. The thing of which childhood dreams are made. The playing grounds of heroes, either ready to be made or already part of the centuries-old lore surrounding a game that knows no bounds in its depths of imagination and sheer ability to capture yours.
It was right around the third song or so that the goosebumps kept appearing.
Up and down my arms, the raised hair and skin resulting from the massive sound and stage presence of the Foo Fighters, the saviors of rock-n-roll in the modern era, one could easily surmise.
For a moment, I thought the dog was going to charge me.
Running along the quiet back country of Southwest Georgia, dirt roads that make up most of the escape routes into the abyss ‘round these parts, I could see the small creature out of the corner of my eye. Once I realized he had stopped at the end of the driveway, my primal instincts disappeared, my eyes aimed further down the bright dirt path my feet playfully and joyously jogged atop.
Three pickup trucks. One stretch of highway.
Since 2005, I’ve routinely traversed a never-ending stretch of Interstate 81 from north-central Pennsylvania into Eastern Tennessee. Some of the trips were for business, others for pleasure, with every single trek one of personal reflection amid a wide-spectrum of the beauty — physical and spiritual — that is singular to the identity of America.
I’ve never shot a gun.
Nope. Not once. I come from a family of gun owners. I’ve held plenty of guns. I’ve even attended a handful of gun shows. And I enjoyed learning about each one, the feeling of history and power within my fingers. But, I’ve never shot one. No interest, really. Honestly.
I can’t remember a time without him and his band’s music in my life. It’s always been there, just like Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson have always been there for my parents’ generation. I grew up on the sounds of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. We all did. Every single one of us, whether we realize it or not.
It’s the internal struggle.
Do you participate in life and soak it in like a sponge being dropped into a bucket of water, or do you simply walk to the side and stay out of the way of the trials and tribulations hurled at those who aim to find and achieve some semblance of success?
He suggested two. I bought three.
Standing in the small main office of the Woodsmoke Campground in Unicoi, Tennessee, I grabbed the three bundles of firewood and tossed them into my rusty, musty pickup truck and tracked down campsite #4.
The moment my girlfriend handed over my soaking wet smart phone, a shiver of isolation ran up my spine. That’s the last time I try to sneak a water bottle of cheap domestic beer in her purse into a bluegrass show, let alone have my phone also in said purse for “safe keeping.”
I ain’t perfect.
And the older I get, the more I realize just how true that statement is. Along with the new wrinkles and ever-present grey hairs I notice in the mirror, I also am noticing more of what is behind the eyes staring right back at me.