This must be the place: The only way to remember is to forget in a rhyme

There was a slight ringing in my ears leaving the show last Sunday evening at Ambrose West on Haywood Road in Asheville. The small, intimate venue had just busted at the seams with the heavy vibrations of San Diego-based Elektric Voodoo. 

Drifting back down to earth at the peak of beauty

With brightly colored leaves falling from nearby trees in my front yard, the mountains appearing in the morning fog, and the whirlwind that is summer in the rearview mirror, I began to slow down and slide into the serenity only found in this magical time of the year. 

This must be the place: You who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by

I had to really think back and question it. Had I ever crossed that line into what could be considered sexual assault during my interactions with the opposite sex? I mean, no, I haven’t ever. At least, I felt I had not in my immediate recall. 

In my life, I’ve loved them all

With the massive rainfall from Tropical Storm Florence on Sunday, my truck carefully navigated its way through deep puddles and down slick backroads, the windshield wipers barely able to keep up. 

The church was just off the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, tucked above Barber Orchards in Balsam. It’s had been awhile since I stepped foot in a church. Raised in a Catholic family, I’d go to church sometimes twice a week (Thursday for school, Sunday for family). Though a deeply spiritual person, I hadn’t crossed the threshold of a house of worship in some time. 

This must be the place: In pitch dark, I go walking in your landscape

With a slight jog around an empty basketball court at the Waynesville Rec Center last Monday evening, I dribbled the ball with a little more confidence with each bounce. 

This must be the place: ‘A little before she left me, I asked her what it’s all about’

Hello, from the “Mile High City.”

Sitting here in Denver, onward back to Asheville tomorrow morning. This summer has been quite the physical and emotional odyssey. The fog in my heart and soul is slowly lifting, disappearing into the cosmos. I went north in July and out west in August to find myself once again. 

Friday night lights, then and now

I took my first baton lesson when I was 3 years old. My sister had been twirling for a while, so baton practice and competitions were the norm for our family. Four of our baton teachers were Clemson Tiger majorettes and my parents grew up in Greenville, S.C. We frequented many a football game in Death Valley wearing purple and orange and hearing “Tiger Rag.” 

This must be the place: I wanna be an American cowboy, and I ain’t never moving away

Every-so-often, I’d look around the crowd and wonder if I’d have known any of these folks, perhaps called them dear friends, if I had stayed all those years ago.

Standing in the middle of Teton Village, in the shadow of the Grand Teton Mountains, just outside Jackson, Wyoming, this past Sunday, I immersed myself in the raucous sounds of rock act Futurebirds. I thought of who I was and what I wanted out of life when I was 23 years old and living in this part of the country. 

This must be the place: Tomorrow’s gonna be a brighter day

Back to square one.

Dammit. You’d think that after existing on this earth for 33 years, and being a legal adult for the last 15, that I’d get this relationship and/or love thing correct, eh? Somewhere on I-40 West right now is my now ex-girlfriend, bolting across the Mississippi River toward the next, new chapter of her life in New Mexico. 

This must be the place: Pebbles and marbles like things on my mind

Well, 15 years ago this past weekend, I spontaneously bolted from Upstate New York straight to northern Maine to attend Phish’s “IT Festival.” 

A lifelong fan of the beloved jam-rock act, who was raised in the Champlain Valley of New York and Vermont (home base of the band), it was my first time seeing them in all their melodic glory. I was 18 years old that summer of 2003. Just graduated high school, spending the summer working front desk and maintenance at my aunt and uncle’s motel in downtown Lake Placid, New York. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.