A Man Should Carry On

In the summertime of 1977, once I was 18, my finest good friend Brad and I drove 1400 miles throughout the nation in an outdated Oldsmobile Cutlass.  We had no plan apart from to see America.  We began off in New England, headed to Washington D.C. after which down by the Blue Ridge, Virginia, North Carolina.  We jutted again out to the coast to Charleston, South Carolina,  the place we physique surfed within the ocean and swam amongst porpoises..  We went right down to Statesboro, Georgia, the place we drank in a juke joint and ended up watching two native heroes duel in a road race.  We crossed the Florida panhandle, went by Alabama and Mississippi,  In New Orleans a Louisiana lawman with mirrored sun shades threatened to lock up for sleeping in a park.  We drove clear throughout Texas, with a cease in Juarez, Mexico the place we purchased colourful rugs and switchblade knives. At nights we slept within the automotive, generally paying $5 to remain at a KOA campground so we might use the showers.  As soon as every week we splurged on a motel.  We headed west throughout New Mexico and stood on a nook in Winslow Arizona,  We frolicked with hippie chicks at Mission Seaside in San Diego, after which drove up freeway 1 to San Francisco the place we spent an evening consuming wine in an alley off Mission Avenue.  We headed again north by the redwood forests, after which mentioned goodbye to the Pacific on a misty driftwood seaside in Washington state, earlier than headed again throughout the Rockies  after which east by Wyoming the place we purchased cowboy hats throughout the Frontier Days rodeo.  We crossed the Badlands, after which stopped in Milwaukee to go to the breweries earlier than heading house in a single final straight shot all throughout Center America’s fields of waving grain.

Early on in our journey, we had put in a cassette participant within the automotive and purchased 5 cassette tapes.  Marshall Tucker (Fireplace on the Mountain), The Outlaws (Hurry Sunset), Charlie Daniels (Excessive Lonesome), the Allman Brothers (Eat a Peach) and Jerry Jeff Walker (A Man Should Keep it up).

The tapes had been the soundtrack to our summer time.  They spoke of a lifestyle. Trying to find a Rainbow. Freeborn Man, The Ballad of Billy Bonney, Blue Sky, and Getting By.  That summer time endlessly formed my life.  Seeing the nice large areas of America opened up prospects for me that made me refuse to be contained to anybody else’s life or imaginative and prescient for me, however my very own.  In later years I hitchhiked throughout the nation, rode buses and trains, took time without work from college, tried to put in writing novels, and skilled as many adventures as I might discover. That summer time on the street  laid the groundwork for me to turn into a paramedic. No one might inform me I couldn’t do what I wished, and the EMS life was the street life, at all times on the go, every cease a distinct lesson.  I by no means felt I needed to develop up and cease doing what I beloved,

Jerry Jeff Walker who sang to us on summer time nights as rolled down the freeway, died final week. His songs had been as guiding to me as anybody’s.  He was from Austin Texas and was finest recognized for “Mr. BoJangles,” a track a few dancing drifter, however the songs I keep in mind him most for was “LA Freeway, Derby Day, One Too Many Mornings, Railroad Woman, Rodeo Cowboy (Boarding on the Insane) and Getting By.”  Even at this time once I play his music, I really feel ageless.  By that I imply I’m each the eighteen 12 months outdated boy I used to be then, and the sixty-two 12 months outdated man I’m now.    Right here’s “Getting By by Getting By”:

Simply gettin’ by on gettin’ bys my inventory in commerce.  Residing it everyday..


On the album he sang a Bob Dylan track that had the road:

Down the road the canines are barkin’, And the day is a-gettin’ darkish

It’s a kind of lyrics I simply sing out of the blue and go away it at that. I sing it once I pause to mirror on life’s gradual motion from morning to nighttime.  My children are used to it.  After I was telling my daughter about Jerry Jeff’s passing and she or he requested me what songs he sang,  I mentioned, you know the way I at all times sing, “Down the road the canines are barking, the times getting darkish?”  She nodded.  “That’s one in every of them.

“You sing that on a regular basis,” she mentioned.

Jerry Jeff sang that line in a method that made it not a lament or remorse for all times’s passing by, however as an appreciation for being alive.  It acknowledged the intimacy of quiet moments, as he lays subsequent to the girl he has shared a very long time with.

My daughter had 4 basketball video games on Saturday, two with an older workforce the place she is a task participant, they usually gained each and she or he performed very well, holding her personal, scoring 4 factors in every recreation, taking part in stable protection, and making some nice passes.  Within the night, she performed together with her personal age group workforce and was as dominant as I’ve ever seen her.  She was the highest scorer, had some dazzling assists, performed stifling protection, and when the video games had been over, glided by herself and thanked each the referees (like I taught her) and mentioned good recreation to the opposite workforce’s coach and gamers.  Her coach informed her after how proud he was of her for the progress she’s made in turning into a real chief.  On Sunday, her city leisure soccer workforce gained the senior division championship in a dominating 1-Zero recreation.  She performed goalie the primary half and solely touched the ball as soon as, booting it midway down the sphere to begin a counter assault, after which she performed ahead within the second half through which she had various good performs and pictures on objective.  It was a candy victory for them as final 12 months’s season ended with tears in a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to an underdog workforce within the semi-finals.

She napped a lot of the afternoon and into the early night.  She was understandably drained.  I sat subsequent to her on the sofa for some time, marveling at how huge she had grown, and the way in not too a few years, like her older sisters, she’s going to go away us and go off on her personal.  I hoped we might play some sports activities collectively that afternoon, however she regarded so peaceable. Moderately than wake her up, I went right down to the native baseball area on my own, and arrange a batting tee subsequent to my bucket of balls, and drove baseballs deep into the approaching nightfall similar to I used to once I was younger.

Jerry Jeff Walker 1942-2020.

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