Welcome to Skippin' Rocks

I originally Started a blog to run off at the mind on politics, hopefully witty and humorous ramblings, and just random thoughts. But, I'll make a new one for that and stick to short stories here. I hope you liked what you've read so far.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Music Faded and the Dance Ended --- Part 5 (Sometimes Life Just Gets in The Way)

Pat was a handsome man with a powerful personality. He was very outgoing and could instinctively gauge the crowd. He knew the most appropriate song to play at any given time. He was a great communicator and entertainer and would talk directly to the people. It only stood to reason that there were many women in the crowd that swooned over him.

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a woman dance past the front of the stage and flash a smile at Pat with her wanting-bedroom eyes, I could buy a David Hartley signature ‘Rains’ SD10 pedal steel guitar, a top-shelf volume peddle, a digital delay, a peddle steel chair, and still have enough left over to take you all out for steak and lobster afterwards.

Pat was as human as anyone else and I’m sure the temptation was overwhelming at times. I was more than just his bass player and sidekick; I was his marital safety device. I rode with him every night to and from our gigs. I was stuck to him like glue and had to bring him back down to Earth, on occasion. –“Pat! This is poison, man! And, I need a ride home! –shut it down!” He knew, and he did.

Pat held to his commitments to his family, and Sharlene never really had to worry, but she did, anyway.

Pat was very smart, articulate, and had no fear of people. One time we played a one-night-stand for a private business in the huge ballroom at the Elk’s Lodge in Corvallis. The band showed up early to set up, tune up, and to set the balance for the acoustics in the room. Mike’s wife June, and I’m not sure who our other guests were, but they were to show up a little closer to start time. When they showed up, the guy at the door refused to let them in. He came to us and even after discussing the situation with Pat, was not backing down on the fact they weren’t allowed in. Pat called the person that booked the job and simply said, “If they’re not good enough for this place, neither are we. We can break this stuff down easier than we can set it up.”

Needless to say, we finished the night out.

The guy that gave us all of the trouble at the door joined the crowd and decided he was going to lock-horns with Pat. I don’t know if this guy had a strong personality/ego that clashed with Pat’s, or whether or not he was just a pure, plain and simple idiot. My money’s on the latter.

This man stood in front of the stage and would belligerently tell us we didn’t do this right or that right. He eventually became more confrontational towards Pat. Pat didn’t seem too phased about it, but I was pissed. I wanted to put the back of my brand new Fender Precision bass up to the side of his head at full-swing. Pat turned and said, “Calm down Chazzly! I’ll have a talk with him on the break.” (Chazzly is the name Pat called me by)

By the time I sat my bass down for the break, Pat was already halfway across the dance floor making a bee-line for that a$$hole. Pat approached the man and firmly tapped him on the shoulder. It was too far away to hear what was going on.

The man stood up and they spoke for nearly a minute. The guy sat back down and Pat turned back toward us. He mingled with the folks until he finally made his way to our table. He sat down and jumped right into our conversation as if nothing ever happened.

I asked, “So? What did you say to that guy?”

“Oh that guy? –He’s alright,” Pat said with a smile.

That man never moved from his chair the rest of the time he was there. He didn’t even so much as turn around to look at us. He left with his tail between his legs long before our last set.

Pat was around 6’4”, 225 to 250lbs of pure muscle and guts. I once watched him carry a large calf in his arms, backwards, up hill, and over 300 yards to his barn in order the get the ailing mother cow into where he could tend to her. He didn’t even break a sweat.

Pat was a strong man, but his real strength was his family.

Pat and Sharlene had a daughter they named Judith. She was probably two years old by this time. Pat was working his excavating business and was busy drumming up work for his cat, taking care of his family, paying the bills, and having to understand the worry Sharlene had to have felt while he was out with us in the clubs every weekend. He was burning the candle at both ends and had to make a choice.

One night Pat picked me up and we headed for the Eagles lodge where we were playing; we played a great night of music and when the last call was called. Pat said, “I’m gonna go get our money, but I want to meet you guys here for a band meeting.”

What the hell is a ‘Band Meeting?’ We’re flying by the seat of our jeans here!

Pat came back to the table and divvied up the cash.

Pat sighed a deep sigh and said, “Guys, --you know I love what we’re doing; the music couldn’t be better. You guys are my friends, really close friends! And, I really hate to do this to you, but this is my last night. I’d like to tell you why, but I can’t. You’re my best friends and I’m sorry. It tears my heart out to leave you high and dry like this, but it’s either this or my family.”

Mike, Rick, and I were shocked. This was outta the blue. I knew him well, but I really never saw this coming. We scrambled to figure out how finish out our contract.

I helped Pat load his amp and stuff into the car, then pondered at the empty space he left on that stage and in our music.

On the way home, Pat opened up his heart to me, I knew then where he was coming from and I never second guessed him after that.

As with all relationships that are based in emotion, hard feelings find their way in. the band broke up before the contract was filled.

True friends always stay together and we all worked it out over time.

Mike moved on to bigger things in the music world, and Rick and I rejoined our old friends at the fishin’ hole.


aA said...

Good stuff, CD! Really good. Dang, I knew it had to end, but I never saw it coming. I kinda feel like you did.

I like the way you led me down the path, then dropped the bomb just like Pat did. Ugh.

Makes me wanna play the guitar...

charleyd said...

We gotta a long ways to go my friend. We haven't even got to the darkest part of the woods yet.

Diane said...

this is good hope you continue the journey