Bleeding Kansas…

…and Other Stories

I ran across some writings from the period when I was winding down my time with The Mollys, a hard-touring band based right here in Tucson. When I say writings, I mean relatively short, rambling paragraphs.

This first one was penned in the late morning after playing one of the coldest gigs EVER. February in Peoria. It was a routing gig on the way to showcase at the Folk Alliance Conference in Cleveland in 2000. It was a pub called Jimmy’s and we were actually out on a covered patio, fifteen degrees, gloves on guitars. The Peoria people thought it was normal but for us desert dwellers, it was harsh. Here is what I wrote, unedited, early that morning.

...after packing found the group and a dozen of the help and fans and Zukes making their way to the inside bar for much more whiskey, fine beer and cigars and much animated conversation and me still having no desire for libation finding it makes no difference in my enjoyment of talking to many folks I just met and the bonus being I can see the band home to Matt and Erica's quite safe and as it happened Nancy rode with Erica back at about 1:30 while Catherine and Kevin were going STRONG, Catherine looking quite svelte with a fine Irish dry rolled cigar, and I managed to get them out the door close to 2:45, weaving and bobbing and giggling and stumbling and guffawing and slurring and there may be some hurting kids tomorrow but tonight is good and true and I help them both away from the snow in the yard and shush them and keep them from making snowmen and getting into snowball fight mode and yes, I'll get the guitars in the house and don't wake the family, go pee, go upstairs, crawl into bed now, sshhhhh and I'm alone in my little bed, it is 3:30 and 7:30 will come so soon and as these friends shut their eyes, we will all see the new day with different eyes and minds and probably will never know what tonight meant to each other...

This next one I wrote shortly after landing back in the states from our five week adventure (The Mollys) down under in late 1999. It’s about my great-grandmother, a stern woman, who usually scared the bajeezez out of this kid. Again, unedited from my old Wall Street Mac laptop, written fast and furious.

...I guess we both sorta snuck in the back door, banging open one of those green Kansas screen doors with the flys and some of the screen tearing off the frame and the paint peeling and the wood floor warped running in to see what snacks are on the table or the counter with great grandma in her house dress and the way she and the house smells, with the kerosene stove and an old card table stacked in the corner ready to put up for a game of marbles with my uncle Anderson, who was a bit slow and rocked and rocked in that ol' chair not sayin' much but lookin' at me like I was the alien, and wondering where doily's come from and who named them anyway and never hearing the word "antimacassar" but they were there nonetheless in the deep, dark mysterious rooms, shades drawn and light low to save electricity because you never know when the next great depression will come so run the water slowly, dontcha be awastin' it and make sure you clean up your messes or there will be no dessert for you, young man. And that's why I have a sweet tooth.

Speaking of Kansas, I just finished up a new mosaic piece called “Bleeding Kansas.” It measures (with frame) 21 x 25 x 2. It will be making a journey to Alaska soon, claimed by another ex-Kansan, Christie Mondell Reinhardt. It will share a space in her home with two of my other pieces.

And now…