Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Talented Mr. Miller

Tim Fuller wanted out. Not like out of the room out, but I don't want to do this anymore out. He had done his stint. I don't think he wanted to play as much as we were hoping we could.
And Traverse City at the time, seemed to be a burgeoning town of hotel bars, ski lodges and bowling alleys wanting bands.
Because we had dates coming up on a regular basis, Tim was nice enough to give us a decent amount of time to fill his spot.

Some might argue that the Rathskeller in Fremont wouldn't be the first place one might scout for talent. But this basement hole, which held maybe 60 illegally on a good night, was shakin pretty good with Mert Tinkham's band of Hesperados. Not, I don't think, for their brand of Seeger tunes as much as for the shy, uber white kid flailing away in the corner.

I knew of Greg long before I saw him play. Mert Tinkham's wife at the time was Greg's sister, Brenda. Brenda and Greg have an older sister, Lynn, who happened to be good friends with my wife at the time. And Lynn, would bend my ear clean off on a regular basis about her skillful kid brother. And rightly so it appears.

That summer we were asked to play at a party in a field at Brad and Stacy Church's place. A pretty cool, natural amphitheater like dip in a hayfield, where somebody tractored in a flatbed haywagon for a stage and generator for power, I think. I'm pretty sure we didn't run a shitload of extension cords back to the house.

I had alerted the fellas, along with Tim, that we would be sharing the afternoon's hoot-n-hollar with Mert's band. And that we should keep an eagle eye out for the young buck on guitar.
I think we may have played first because Tim had to hi-tail it back to Traverse that night to play again. When we finished, we gathered on the hillside, zeroing in on Greg the whole time. You really couldn't help it. After a few songs in, the first thing Tim said was, "You gotta get this guy."

Photo of the '62 Polaris Sno-Traveler from

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Long Ride Home (continued)

Viral or bacterial? Nobody knows yet but he is getting a spinal tap. Jesus! Don walks out to the van and I explain. I figure it's almost 9am, our appointment is at 10, and I still have a 7 hour drive. Let's just get the appointment over with because we're here and I'll worry about Don later.

At the appointment, Don does the lion's share of the work while I stand off to the side, consumed. I thank him, we finish, pack up and hit the road. Not much to say for 3 hours while Don's reading off the differences between viral and bacterial meningitis from some website. I have a hard time uttering anything. But I mutter something and point toward one of the freakin huge, monolithic wind generators that have dropped to the earth and plopped down in these fields in middle Illinois. I say this because I can't say I've ever seen one being constructed. They just seem to show up. I can't imagine being a kid and standing at the base of one of these and looking up.

An exit away from O'hare and I pull into an oasis off 294. Don wants to show me some product he brought along before I drop him off. For shit's sake, yes, it looks fantastic. Now do you mind if I boot your ass out of my van so I can get home?
I hadn't checked my phone because I haven't done much of anything but drive. I call and call and no signal. Nothing until I cross the Indiana line into Michigan. Fucking T-Mobile is gonna hear about this.

I get to the children's hospital, park in the garage, and get lost in a medical building across the street. I can see the skywalk from the windows but damned if I can figure out how to get to it.
I get to Henry's room but not before I stop at the info/security desk downstairs. "The patient's name please?" Shit, I just call him Henry. His real name is some greek, dutch hodge-podge that I refused to call him by and so I just went with Henry. Didn't everybody?