Author: Daniel, Bert


Lately, I've been playing a lot of disaster songs. Bluegrass is full of them: Wreck of the Old 97, Galveston Flood. You know what I mean. I go through phases like this all the time. There's so much variety in bluegrass and it's fun to focus on a flavor of the month to guide you through old and new songs. That way your listening and playing never get stale.

Most of the time when I go through one of these music phases I never know why I decided to follow that particular track. But in the case of my recent disaster tune penchant, I have a pretty good idea. You see, I was going down an entrance ramp to highway 101 the other day and my life flashed before me in an instant. Two very large RVs were merging at just the same time and there was no place to go. I imagined myself as a corpse in a heap of twisted metal, identifiable only by my dental records.

Let me explain. I am not usually filled with such intense terror while approaching a familiar highway on ramp. In this case, the real problem was, I wasn't driving. I was in fact a helpless passenger for my 16 year old daughter Juliet, who now has her learner's permit. (To all of you folks out there who live within a hundred miles or so of Healdsburg, please be extra careful on the roadways for at least the next six months).

Highway terror is one thing but now there's another nightmare in my life to add to that. My son Ethan just turned 13. Now we have two teenagers in the house! I ask you, can life get any more scary than that?

Oh well, I guess it could be worse. I honestly cannot imagine two kids who might be easier to guide through these problematic years than my own two kids. (And I say problematic years based on my own personal experience, hopefully not future experience).

In my book, any two kids who still beg to go to campouts with their daddy, campouts where people play that weird bluegrass music all the time; kids like that are probably OK. My kids even have to forsake the great food and special love of their mom (who detests both bluegrass and camping), in order to make their dad happy by keeping him company on his occasional weekend bluegrass journeys.

Of course, you would not be reading these words now if my daughter had not successfully squeezed her way between those two intimidating RVs the other day. Being a designated driver should be easy, but being a designated passenger for a teenage driver can be stressful. Fortunately for me, it's becoming more and more fun and less and less terrifying as I see Juliet gain confidence in becoming a safe driver. Only 42 hours of supervision to go before she can take her drivers test and fly out of the nest on her own.

So this weekend, the kids and I plan to go back to one of our very favorite bluegrass festivals: Plymouth. Ethan played his violin on stage for the first time ever on our first visit to Plymouth and Juliet sang her heart out there last year. We hope to see many more RVs there than those two we saw on the freeway the other day. I'm sure they will be much closer together than the RVs were when I almost had my first heart attack. I'm sure some of those RVs at Plymouth will contain friends from festivals past. And the best thing about the long journey to Plymouth this time? I might get some help with the driving for a change.

Posted:  9/15/2013

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