Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grampa Built Bridges (Danny Schmidt)

Okay... after yesterday's Pity Party post, I felt I needed to let you all know there are definitely bright spots in my transplanted life here - I've written before that I'm a big fan of Danny Schmidt's and, when I went looking on his site a few weeks ago for his latest tour schedule and found he would be appearing in a house concert about 30 minutes south of where my mom lives... well, can you spell
N-O B-R-A-I-N-E-R?

I dropped the host the following note:

My name is Susan... and I would like to make a reservation for your Danny/Jonathan/Doug&Telisha house concert on Saturday, June 20, please - there will be at least one (me) and hopefully I can bring a few more friends!

Long story short: I live, and run a concert series, in South Florida (links below) - I'm friends with, and have delightfully hosted, Danny and Jonathan. I'm currently in Flowery Branch (about 30 minutes north of you) with my ailing/aging mother - what began as a two-week visit has turned indefinite... and I'm jonesing for a music fix, as well as a break from caretaking...

If you have room, please count me in... and send me your address - I will keep you posted as to whether there will be others as it gets closer...

I'll ask your help in keeping this a secret, please... as I'd love to surprise the guys - would you do me a favor and make the reservation for Connie? (my mom's name... :-)

Thanks so much - I look forward to meeting you!

I did make it, had a grand time and wrote the musicians the e-mail below last evening:

Hey, Danny, Jonathan, Doug and Telisha -

Wanted to tell you, albeit belatedly, how much I enjoyed seeing you all at Art and Nance's this past Saturday night - it was great fun to surprise Danny and Jonathan (as well as be surprised by Don Porterfield!)... in addition to having a chance to "refill my well" from my caregiving duties of the last month...

Jonathan, I adore the new CD (and can't believe I hadn't yet taken the time to buy it) - every time I think your music can't get any better, it does. I've long thought that each new album is a re-invention... but now realize each is actually an extension... of your wisdom, experience and heart - Diana Jones is my new favorite JByrd song... :-)

Doug and Telisha, what a delight to be introduced to your great tunes and wonderful personalities - you're in good company on this tour, and you more than held your own. I always appreciate a new discovery (and promise to listen to your CD as soon as I can pry Jonathan's out of the player) - let's definitely talk about future Florida shows, okay?

Danny, count me in as a lover of Guilty By Association Blues - I also "called" the segue from D&T's Nashville song (turned to Don and said, "I'll bet money Danny follows that with Beggars & Mules"). Thanks for adding me to the dedication of Grampa Built Bridges (and for signing Instead the Forest Rose to Sing for my sister, who was staying with mom so I could take a break) - as I was leaving, and you hugged me long and hard, I somewhat tearily said, "there's no more stories about bridges indeed"... and you replied something to the effect of bridges always being built, which is a perfect metaphor for what I'm going through with my mom right now (so much baggage and history to wade through to get to the grace and dignity of this life transition)...

Wish I could arrange to make it down to Eddie's Attic... but that would just be decadent overload, even for an instant gratification Leo like myself - much love to you all... and thanks again for all you do, all you are and all you give to so many... <3


P.S. Song commentary on Grampa Built Bridges from Danny's website:

It's my assertion that as our culture has gotten more urban and technological, and as our more direct connections with nature have been severed, we're not so in touch anymore with the autumns and winters of life -- the decomposing leaves, the turning back into soil -- and when we envision the path of a life, our model seems to only celebrate the bloomings and blossomings, and no longer celebrates the dignity in the inevitable curling and falling of the petals. And in that, our culture doesn't seem to prepare us to cross gracefully from one state of existence into another the way some older cultures have.

It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.
Yes: I think that we have crossed it. Now
we are being given tickets, and they are not
tickets to the show we had been thinking of,
but to a different show, clearly inferior.

Check again: it is our own name on the envelope.
The tickets are to that other show.

It is possible that we will walk out of the darkened hall
without waiting for the last act: people do.
Some people do. But it is probable
that we will stay seated in our narrow seats
all through the tedious dénouement
to the unsurprising end — riveted, as it were;
spellbound by our own imperfect lives
because they are lives,
and because they are ours.

QUOTE: "Praise the bridge that carried you over." ~ George Colman


  1. I am so happy that you made it out to see and share Danny and his music; I was hoping for just that. I'm sorry this is so hard, but you're doing it. You've inspired me to be nicer to everyone, especially my mother. "Riveted" is dark and beautiful; reminds me of John Donne's "For Whom the Bell Tolls". If you're in my "Company of Friends" than I've succeeded. Prayers of comfort are unending bridges to you, and your mother, from all of your friends.
    Love, Eileen

  2. Hey, Eileen ~

    I was just headed to bed when your comment came through - I had to respond... :-)

    I have had many issues with my mom in the past, which makes this situation so much more difficult - I am doing my absolute best, every day, to do this unconditionally... but she still, even in her weakened state, knows what buttons of mine to push!

    I could not have lasted without my own "Company of Friends" and am so grateful for the private e-mails of you and so many, Nancy signing mom's CaringBridge website, Kate having a bouquet of flowers delivered today, etc. - bridges abound, and my friends are my touchstone to the real world, even when it appears I've fallen off the face of it... <3