If a picture’s worth a thousand words…

There’s just a something classy about saving a partially drank Pabst by duct taping the opening so you can finish it while you’re cooking breakfast the next morning… “Archering” done right. 

Thus begins day 8.

This time it was our turn to clean out our water-logged bed. It wasn’t nearly as bad as Kim and Sandi’s, so we had a pretty easy time of it. The real mess that began our morning was a quiet statement from Rudy, announcing a “little poop”. What this equated to was that a little poop had actually fallen (and kinda dripped) out of his pant leg onto the floor. Tip of the iceberg, folks. The incident sent us into an elevated level of panic on high gear, especially when we realized the direness of the situation. Holding him as if a bomb was strapped to his wiry little frame, Jared quickly ran him into germaphobic, ultra-clean grandma’s, dealt with the situation, and returned him with Sandi, only for him to announce in a British accent, “I’ve got a clean bum”. Good morning!

Our night was one of those evenings where you knew you were 100% supposed to be in the exact place you were, at that exact time. Kim and Jared and I found an open mic at a bar called Malibu’s. A venue known for its metal and hip hop, but on Tuesday’s has an open mic with a heavy bluegrass and blues influence. So strange. It was sparse and a bit somber when we arrived to sign up. The host informed us that they had just lost one of their friends, an 85 year old electric autoharp player. I kid you not. His name was Bob, and he was well loved. By the time the night got under way, a nice crowd was there. To celebrate Bob, all the musicians were asked to join on the stage and play, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”. We participated and suddenly felt like family. The night kept the spirit going as group after group got up and celebrated together in jam form or sang heartfelt ballads in quiet reverence. Kim followed suit and of course blew everyone away with her “Kimness”, but also asked anyone who wanted to join her on stage for Joe Cocker’s version of “Unchain My Heart”. She had back-up singers, solos by a harp, 2 electric guitars, and keys, and the whole place really on fire. A collective ear-to-ear grin filled the room. Jared and I had no idea how to follow that. But, we spoke from our hearts and introduced them to Champagne Sunday’s backbone, “Leather Life”. In a room filled with happy, but grieving people, the words rang true and heavy, “tomorrow things might fall apart, but tonight I’m sittin’, singing with my friends.” Thank you over and over for your words, Jared. 

My favorite moment of the evening, however, was an elderly woman who was there with her ex-husband, who she picks up from the nursing home every Tuesday and brings him to this open mic to hear live music. A retired school teacher, with a chop of white hair, a round, Mrs. Claus face, a woven Native American poncho and her chubby feet squished into some old house shoes, she gets up and speaks some kind words about Bob, then launches into a hauntingly beautiful traditional Irish folk song. By the second turn of chorus, we were all singing harmonies in a Kumbaya kind of way and there was nowhere on Earth we would rather have been. 

Crawling into our beds like ninjas that night for our nightly game of “Don’t-Wake-the-Baby”, we all reflected on Bob, the music, and the fact that music brings people together in ways the blood can not. We experienced it that night. RIP Bob. 

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