The Summer

It’s September 4th and I guess the summer is over. I’m sitting at Gate C at the Regina Airport. A couple of weeks ago we did 5 flights in four days. The week before, we did eight flights in five days. We’ve pissed away a lot of the summer in airports. We flew the day they arrested the liquids-and-gels terrorists. Don’t get me started.

There’s been way too much going on this summer. We were supposed to do a CBC TV show with Mark Kelly from the National. He was going to travel with us for a week and document our crazy reality on two TV shows. It was all set up, flights booked and plans made. And I bailed. Too damn much going on.

Debbie’s father died. My Uncle Ray died.

Frankie gave his notice. He could no longer balance his high paying real job with his wild and crazy Trooper gig. We got wind of this when he told us he wouldn’t be able to swing the frighteningly imminent first 20 show of our summer tour. Our old friend Lance Chalmers saved our bacon at the eleventh hour. We began looking for a new drummer. Dave Hampshire finished up his contracted year as our Tour Manager. In a bizarre example of rock and roll irony, he is leaving his position with the band to concentrate on becoming a better drummer. We began looking for a new Tour Manager. Last night, in Regina, was Frankie and Dave’s last night with the band.

At one level (because there are many) it’s been a summer of loss for me. First Alex - who still refuses to return, regaling us with stories of hockey victory - then Uncle Ray, and now, in a significantly less final version of loss - Frankie and Dave. Much of my activity this summer has been in response to losses. We’ve seen more of Debbie’s Mom. I’ve increased the value of my life insurance. We’ve redone our wills. Smitty and I searched, successfully I hope, for a new drummer. We have searched, unsuccessfully so far, for a new Tour Manager. I’ve glazed-over a bit with Trooper business. Too damn much going on.

I’ve fantasized a life that is less concerned with loss, either recently incurred or potentially imminent. i have a quote on my powerbook desktop that reads; “Worry is the misuse of imagination”. I strain, as I drive by, to catch a glimpse of the old tarnished Airstream parked in the brambles behind the house on 16th Avenue. Debbie and I went to Protection Island for two days. We’ve gone to the bank to see how much money we could muster to fund an as yet undefined getaway.

The shows have been beautiful. When I walk onto a stage, there is nothing but the music and the audience, and I have floated euphorically, every night, in the sweet spot between the two. We have broken attendance records at every fair we have played this summer. The crowds have been large and loving. I do love my job.