Maybe I am doing something right…

A little over a week ago, on a Friday, when I got home, I decided I would take the dog out for a walk/run.  It would be the first time since I got the dreaded boot off about 3 weeks earlier.  I am really not supposed to be exercising yet, but I cannot stand the extra weight I have put on.  I am flabbier than I have been in years, and while I try to pretend that I don’t give a shit, I do.  I changed into workout clothes and tried to get enthusiastic.  I set out with my bluetooth over-the-ear headphones on, and was holding my giant iPhone 6+ in one hand, and had the dog’s leash in the other.  It did actually cross my mind that this was a recipe for disaster prior to leaving the house, yet I trudged on.  The dog is not really accustomed to walking or running on a regular basis.  I was struggling early on.  I should have just walked.  Par for the course, my phone started blowing up with text messages.  One was from Mini Me.  It said, “Hypothetically, if I were in Athens, could Clint get me a discount at Amici?” Mini Me lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is a student at Belmont University.  Just what the hell would he be doing in Athens, Georgia? Never mind that. I texted back, “Hypothetically, you cannot afford to go to Athens, or eat at Amici. And, I can’t talk right now.”  I finally got up to Evans Road, which is the flat part of my route, and I started a slow run. I ignored the texts that came in afterward.  I was surprised that I was able to run at all.  It had literally been months.  It was going well!  The dog was on my left.  We were running up the sidewalk, and apparently I had my music up too loud to hear the truck that was coming up behind me.  The dog moved quickly moved over in front of me and stopped dead.  I tripped over her and face planted into the sidewalk.  My phone bounced and landed about three feet in front of me, along with my bluetooth over-the-ear headphones.  I think I actually bounced on impact.  Luckily, I had wrapped the leash around my arm.  I just laid there on the pavement–I was seeing stars.  I had hit my chin and the left side of my left hand first.  Both arms and both knees were also skinned up badly.  I finally sat up, for fear of who might be driving by.  Then, I realized that if anyone who knew me was actually driving by and did not stop to see if I was okay, that was really shitty on their part.  I finally picked myself up and dusted myself off.  Damn, that hurt a lot worse than it used to when I was a kid!  It took me a minute to get moving.  I picked up my phone off the pavement.  The day before, I had peeled off the nasty, broken screen cover.  Like an idiot.  Now, the screen itself was shattered.  Served me right, I decided.  I picked up my headphones and put them around my neck.  I damn sure wasn’t going to run anymore and wished there was somebody I could call to come pick my ass up and drive me the half mile home.  I decided to call Mini Me.  I need some sympathy–not that he is the one that I regularly call for that! 🙂  He surprised me, though. Mom! Are you okay? Are you sure? I assured him I was fine and thanked him for his concern.  “I need to know something and please be honest,” I said, “are you in Athens?” He did not hesitate. “Yes, ma’am. I came to see Oteil play. I have a good grade in French and my math class was canceled.”  There was no way I could argue with that.  Do you know how many times I went on road trips from Athens, Georgia??? And I can guarandamntee you I did NOT call my Mothah and ask her if could.  AND…I don’t think I would have been honest if she had asked me.  Then…he says this to me….”I called Dad and asked him about it…” I said, “Oh really? And what did Dad say?”… Thinking that Dad had no room to say a word about it just like I didn’t.  “Dad said that I couldn’t call home and ask stuff like that. He said I had to make those decisions for myself.  So since I have a good grade in French and my math class was canceled, I decided to go.”  Damn. I would have gone if I was failing French and Math and neither were canceled, and I would never have called and asked Mothah or Daddy, because I knew what they would both say, and that was this: HELL TO THE NO!  So. In that moment, I was proud.  I was proud of Mini Me, and dammit, I was proud of ME! I must be doing something right!, Right? I mean, he could have been lying his ass off.  I get that. We won’t really know until grades come out.  But, I can have this teeny weeny little time of satisfaction in a job well done, can’t I? Can’t I????

*Epilogue

Let me say that I am not stupid. I know that Mini Me is definitely not sitting up in Nashville, reading a Bible and going to bed at 8pm. Please. Why do you think I call him Mini Me? 🤪 Also, notice that the title says “Maybe I am doing something right” not “Maybe I am doing everything right” because GOD KNOWS and I know I certainly am not doing and have definitely not done everything right! Who has? Show me that person so I can beat their ass. Finally, a couple of days after he got home from his little trip to Athens, MM texted me this pic. He said, “Look! I was featured on UGA’s Instagram!” I had to laugh. My kid. I do love him so.

No Mo.

 

griswold-house-christmas-vacation-dining-room-decor

 

I am old enough that I no longer feel the need to do everything that everyone else wants me to do.  In fact, I will no longer do everything that everyone else wants me to do.  I figure that at 47, with the way I have lived, my life is more than half over.  I am just being realistic here.  I have lived far too long driven by guilt. I am letting some of that shit go now.  I can no longer be responsible for everybody’s feelings 100% of the time.  Y’all are gonna have to take some responsibility for your own shit.  It’s not all my fault.  I realized not too long ago, that I am one of the only people that I know who never put her foot down when she had kids–over the holidays!  Most of my friends started having babies and told their families that they were no longer going anywhere–their family could come to them. Not me.  No ma’am. I was never allowed to do that.  God forbid!  I have never been in charge of my own holidays!   I have always done what everyone else wanted me to and expected me to. My divorced parents quadrupled my family and expected me to make myself available for everybody-on Christmas Day.  It has never been a question of me not wanting to see any of them, so please don’t misunderstand me.  I love my family—every single last crazy-ass one of them/us.  In the beginning, when I was 25 and a newlywed, we made the rounds-no sweat. When I was 27 and Mini Me was a baby, it was a little more of a challenge.   All of the grandparents wanted to see him-and rightly so! I understood! He was a sight to behold! I never even considered telling any of the grandparents that they  must come to us. When The Middle Child was born, as much of a task as it was to pack all of us up, I was so proud of my family, I wanted to show us off–so I happily packed 50 bags of shit.  By the time The Baby was born, I was 37.  The newness of showing these masterpieces off was waning and I longed for a Christmas at home-with no traveling.  I was exhausted.  The birth of this latest masterpiece had nearly left me for dead.  I had been somewhat psychotic for 6-8 months.   The last thing I wanted to do was pack our asses up and travel over two fucking states for Christmas.  Damn Christmas.  Seriously. Who needed it? I was done.  I could have been perfectly happy at my rental house on Harbour Oaks Lane, cooking a turkey in a bag (my specialty), for my family of five, and not given anyone else a second thought.  Except I couldn’t.  Because that’s not my M.O. It wouldn’t have mattered if The Baby had been a week old.  I would have packed our asses up and taken us wherever we needed to go.  I would have bitched about it behind the scenes-like I do-because that’s who I am-and it would have been perfect.  It’s always perfect.  It doesn’t matter how we do it anymore.  Traditions have changed since  I was a child.  I didn’t think I would survive those changes, but lo and behold, I did !  Christmas and Life are always there.  They may be a little different, but they are always there. All we have to do is show up.

The Way We Were…

I was Facebook messaging with an old friend of mine from college the other night.  He (yes, I said he ) is one a handful of people that I still keep in touch with now–almost 30 years later.  I think of him as a boy, really–not the 45 year old man that he is.  I think of all of us-our group of friends-as the 19 to 22 year olds that we were back then.   Nearing the end of our messaging conversation, he said that “he missed ‘us’ ” and thanked me for still being here.  He did not mean that he missed ‘us’ as though he and I were ever a couple because we were never that.  We were always just very close friends.  We could always depend on each other.  He was talking about our group of friends and how things used to be back then.  I do not miss being hungover every single day.  I do not miss staying out so late that I see the sun come up. I do not miss being broke because I spent every dime I had on things I should not have been buying.  I do not miss the guilt I felt because of that.  I do miss the hope and the excitement of the future that was part of being that age!  God, do I miss that.  All of that just somehow seems to slip away as the years go by and life takes its toll.  I miss having dreams.  I mean it’s not as if I don’t have any dreams anymore, but they aren’t all really for me now, they are for my children.  I know that I should have dreams for myself, and I do, but they are not as grandiose as they once were.  Well…maybe one or two are.  We did have fun-lots of it.  I think that if we could have all stayed there-suspended in time-we would have.  Now, we are scattered about, not too terribly far from each other.  A few of us talk from time to time-some more often than others.  Those people were the closest friends I have ever had in my life.  I have only made 2 or 3 closer friends since-in 30 years-and that’s fine with me.

Britch

Many years ago, as in about 45 years ago, my Mothah gave my father a Valentine.  It was a pair of red, nylon boxer shorts.  It was a joke.  He never even had them on his body-not even once-because I, the one year old, snagged them and held on to them, well, for the better part of the next 45 years!  I liked the way the nylon felt on my face when it got cold. If I set Britch (as in short for britches) to the side in my bed, I could grab him a few minutes later, and he felt so good to hold on to!  Unfortunately, Britch’s friend, Nightie, did not make it.  Nightie was one of Mothah’s hot pink, nylon nightgown’s that I also commandeered and took for my own.  Sometimes, I would actually wear Britch and just carry Nightie around.  Nightie disintegrated years and years ago-from so much love.  I think she must have been made from nylon not as durable as Britch…because Britch lives!   The other night, The Baby got into my bed because his Daddy was at a meeting.  He had his Bunny and Penguin with him, and those are their names: Bunny and Penguin. They are (as if you wondered) a Bunny and a Penguin.  Why complicate things? I think The Baby is very practical.  Mini Me’s first teddy bear from Build-A-Bear was named Jim. Try to explain that one.  Any way, we were chatting before going to sleep and I told The Baby all about Britch and Nightie.  He stared at me with his eyes wide.  You mean you actually slept with your father’s, um, I mean Poppy’s, underwear??? The Baby said to me. I chuckled.  If you put it that way, I suppose it does sound a little…well….let’s just say strange and leave it at that.  YES! I told him, and guess what? I still have him! The Baby’s eyes got wider as I jumped out of the bed.  I only had to look in 3 drawers before I found Britch.  See, I always know where Britch is.  Just like The Middle Child always knows where Bippo is.  Just like The Baby always knows where Bunny and Penguin are!  I held him up for The Baby to look at.  He was mystified.  How, in God’s name, could his mother still have her security blanket? And furthermore, why in the hell was it a pair of nylon boxer shorts that are now unrecognizable as such? In fact, the only evidence at all that Britch was, at one time, britches of any sort, is the tag that says “Size 32”.  I showed The Baby Britch’s paint stain.  I got Britch in some wet, white paint at some point. It’s still there.  Anyway,  we finally went to sleep.  The next day, I got up and made up the bed.  That night, we got to go to see the Atlanta Braves play at their new stadium.  We got home at midnight.  I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, when I heard JC (who never turns down our bed) yell out:  OH MY GOD! Is that BRITCH?  I spit on the mirror-from laughing.  I walked into our room and he was looking at me, eyebrows raised.  YES, HELL, IT IS BRITCH!  I said, WHAT OF IT?  I snapped a quick pic of Britch in our bed.   He was still looking at me. That is seriously fucked up, he said.  It is not! I said, and explained the whole thing.  Then, not really caring what he thought about it, I got into the bed and turned out my light.  Whatever, I said, and I went to sleep with Britch in my clutches.  Britch

Psychoparenting: It ain’t for the weak

When someone younger than I am asks me what it is like to be a parent, my stock answer is “it hurts worse than anything I have ever done before”. I am talking about watching the milestones pass away, but I am also talking about the stuff nobody actually prepared me for. The stuff that feels like I literally have a dagger stuck into my heart and someone is standing there, twisting it around so that I feel the most pain I have ever felt-but it is not an evil pain. It’s a pain of love that is so very deep that even I, myself, would never have believed it possible for me to love another human being so much. It’s the watching my kid put her all into running for Student Council President in 5th grade, only to be beaten by someone who was ‘popular’ simply because it was, after all, just a popularity contest, and picking up the sobbing, heartbroken pieces afterward…It’s watching a kid go through that awful awkward phase-and wishing the phase would pass at a much faster pace…It’s knowing that my kid is having a hard time, socially, at school, and not being able to do a single thing about it…It’s about hearing my kid play guitar and realizing that I am responsible for that awesome talent….It’s about hearing my kid sing and getting chill bumps….It’s about wanting my kid to win, well, at everything, but knowing they cannot and, more importantly, should not.  It’s about trying to prepare my kid for college, and knowing that they are going to eventually end up somewhere they shouldn’t be, drunk.  It’s about taking my kid to college for the first time, and crying my eyes out as I drive out of town–audibly sobbing so loudly that it frightens my other children and they don’t know what to do….It’s about walking in that door after dropping my firstborn off at college, and knowing that he is gone…pretty much for good, and going into his room for a good cry and sleeping with one of his blanket’s for about 8 months… It’s about taking my firstborn to college for the second time…and setting him up in a house instead of the dorm. God! I had forgotten what it was like to set up housekeeping from scratch (not that I’ve ever had it so rough-thanks to Mothah), but I will say one thing:  Thank GOD for grandparents! Mini Me did not possess a single fork to his name!  I will also give great props to Amazon Prime Now.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  I did have to laugh when one of Mini Me’s friends said she could not believe that she was ‘experiencing this’, meaning watching me order shit on my phone and have it arrive at the house in an hour!  I did not feel so very old.  I felt so motherly, wiping out the kitchen cabinets and mopping the floors.  I wanted to do for him what my mother had done for me-many times-and I did it.  When we drove away that time, another piece of my heart stayed in Nashville…again.  It’s about worrying about what my kid is actually doing at said off-campus housing!  Oh MY God! Is he going to class? He better be! I am not paying for him just to live in Nashville! Oh MY God! Has he gotten someone to buy him beer? Of course he has.  Oh MY God!  Is he keeping his house as clean as it was when I left him there? Of course not.  Oh MY God! Is he sleeping? Of course not.  It’s about knowing he is probably doing some of the same things you were at that age, and knowing that like your mother, you can’t do a damn thing about it except hope that he is smarter than you were.  While you have one already out of the nest, chances are, there may be others at home….This is when it’s about wishing my kid would come out of her room…It’s also about being so proud of my kid’s report card-wishing I had been so dedicated….It’s about watching my kid at his first piano recital-in his J. Crew Factory suit, looking like the bomb-diggity and acing his piece….It’s also about watching the Middle Child and The Baby hurt each other’s feelings…It’s about going out to the pool to relax and knowing that you will, indeed, have to get in the icy cold water and play with The Baby…It’s about watching The Baby beg The Middle Child to get in and play with us, and watching her refuse.  I mouthed to her, “Pretty soon he won’t care”…. but I don’t think she got it.  I think she thought I meant he would forget about it.  I meant that in a few years, he won’t give a shit what she is doing.  I said to The Baby, pretty soon, you won’t want to be out here with me! He said, I will always want to be out here with you, Mom. I had to put my sunglasses on then–so he wouldn’t see me cry.  I know that it’s totally normal and natural for him to grow out of me….And I thought about Mini Me. He has been gone 2 weeks and I am starting to miss him.  Have I failed him? Did I get off the float and play “Bolley Ball” with him? I hope that I did.  It’s about watching my kids on stage–performing together–and knowing that they are, without a doubt: The. Most. Important. Accomplishments. Of. My. Life.   I can also say that if I had known how much being a parent would hurt, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  There are some things that life does not prepare anyone for–for just reason.

La Mère du Psycho: Break on Through

I first visited France in the summer when I was 23 years old.  I fell in love with Paris and vowed to move there and forget about the U.S. forever.  I just returned from my second visit to France.  I am 46 years old.  I was traveling with 9 of the people I love most, on a trip of a life time, that was spectacular, amazing, and for me-very, very bittersweet.  I rarely use that word: bittersweet.  It seems somehow connected to the word regret, and I try to stay out of that.  I decided that I was going to enjoy watching my children discover the wonders of Paris and there were things that was going to do-even if I had to do them by myself.  One of those things was that I had to get back to visit my old friend Jim. It had been 23 years, after all.   The 20th arrondissement was a long way from our loft house on Avenue de Clichy- a metro switch and about 14 stops.    Finally, on our last day, after a trip of a lifetime (that you will be reading more about in small segments), JC, Mini Me, The Middle Child, The Baby, and my cousin Clint went with me to Père Lachaise.  Jim Morrison

I have had a thing for The Doors, and particularly Jim Morrison, since I was a young teenager.  Of course I never had the opportunity to see them perform live- Jim died when I was almost a year old.  I have read a few of the books about The Doors… Jim’s poetry…done a little research….you know, the things an obsessive teenager does when they are infatuated with celebrity… There was a very long period of time (and yes, I do still wonder)  that I believed that Jim did not actually die in Paris-that perhaps he did manage to fake his own death and run off somewhere to live the rest of his life in peace.  23 years ago, my visit to the grave of Jim Morrison was up there with seeing the Eiffel Tower for me…maybe even higher.  When I came home from France that first time, I said that ‘when I die, I want my ashes taken to Paris and put on Jim Morrison’s grave’.  Everybody thought I was nuts.  I’m telling you–my thing for Jim was huge.  It has never really waned-just filed away as I grew older. Notice that I did not say ‘as I grew up‘…

Père Lachaise is enormous.  The website says that there are up to 1,000,000 people buried there and there are over 5,000 trees.  It really is a beautiful cemetery-the most beautiful one I have ever seen.

Many important people are buried there–Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Chopin, Molière, Marcel Marceau, Proust, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Piaf, just to name a few.  The graves are very close together and it would take days to see every one.  There is a map to help visitors find people they are looking for, but even still, one can get lost easily!  I started to recognize the area when we started getting close-mostly because it is flat.  My heart sank when I saw that there was a police barricade around Jim’s grave (and others).  There went my chance to recreate my photo.  There was also a small crowd of people.  The fleeting thought of jumping the barricade crossed my mind, but I shooed it away, reminding myself that I am insane…. LOL  😉  JC looked at me.  He knew how important this was to me–ridiculous though it may have been.  He started to try to figure out how we could be there when the place opened first thing the next morning, I could jump the barricade, he could take the picture, then we could get back to our place in time to leave for the airport.  I thought about that for a few minutes but the whole idea seemed destined to fall apart–we would never have time to come all that way in the morning when we were trying to leave! Then, Clint (my cousin who is 2 weeks older than I am, and who is more like a brother to me)  said, any true Jim Morrison fan would jump that barricade….Mini Me said, I’m doing it. And he did.  Right there. In front of the little group of people who were standing there.

 

JC said, why don’t you just let that be your ’23 years later’ photo?  I stood there-wheels spinning in my head…We did not need to come all the way back down here the next day, and, I was not getting any younger. My ballroom days are over, baby…Night is drawing near…. Here we were in Paris. Finally. 23 years later.  The time to hesitate is through….no time to wallow in the mire…try now we can only lose… Jim would have jumped that barricade, no doubt. jim-morrison-1 Then, I heard somebody whisper (I’m pretty sure it was Clint 😉 …BREAK ON THROUGH…. and that was all it took.

 

Five to one, baby…One in five…No one here gets out alive, now….You get yours, baby…I’ll get mine…Gonna make it, baby…If we try…..

If there is one thing that I can encourage my kids to do, it is to spend time in France.   Go to school there. Move there. Do it. Make it happen. Who knows? Maybe I will do it someday. If not, I still want my ashes taken to Paris and put on Jim Morrison’s grave–  I’m still nuts. And I no longer care what ‘everybody’ thinks 😉

 

 

 

A Very Short Story About The Little Brother Who Loves His Big Brother (and tries to hang on his every word ;) ) …And the Vast Difference Between 18 and 9

I was washing my face last night when The Baby walked (a little sulkily) into the bathroom, but obviously with some news he needed to share with me. I asked him what was up.  He announced to me that one of Mini Me’s favorite musician’s had died, and he asked me if I already knew that information.  I told him I did.  He stood there for a minute and we looked at each other.  Then, with complete and total veneration for his musician-big-brother (and said big brother’s sadness over the loss of Chris Cornell),  as well as  a little bit of rockstar-little-brother-EGO, The Baby says to me: Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was the guy from Radiogarden. 

(Yes, I whispered Soundgarden 😉 )


The Colonel

bruce 70I did not want to go to the Colonel’s birthday party.  In fact, I was kinda mad about it.  It was a weeknight, for God’s sake.  I’m old now.   I don’t hang with the big dogs anymore.  Hell, I can’t hang with the big dogs anymore.  I had been tired all week.  Our new pain-in-the-ass puppy had been driving me Crazy-yes, with a capital C and our new routine of getting up at 4:00am was not sitting well with me.  I was going to be proctoring Georgia Milestone testing all morning at work on Tuesday, and I could not be one second late-something that was becoming a challenge.  Our weekend had been fun but hectic, with a house full of family and commitments.  I needed a weekend to recover from the weekend. “Going out” is no longer relaxing for me.  The major problem is that I cannot stand crowds, and this one was going to be huge- the show sold out in minutes.  I just don’t like to be surrounded by people.  I’ve never really liked it, but it has definitely worsened with age.  I started to tell JC I did not want to go, but I did not want to disappoint him.  I knew he had been looking forward to this for a while.  He assured me that it would all be over by 11:00pm and we would be home by midnight.  I bucked up and went.    I was a little taken aback at how close our seats were.  Row L, Right Orchestra is only 12 rows back.  I was on the aisle and JC was right next to me.  I was shocked at how well I could see.  Most people would have been thrilled to be so close to the stage. Not me. I felt closed in.  That night, it felt like I was going into a pit of quicksand.  I knew that the later it got, more people from the back would make their way down to the front and fill in any open spaces that happened to be there, and there was nothing the ushers could do about it.   Everyone was chanting “Bruuuuuuce” the way they always do for The Colonel.  Most of Widespread Panic was there-JB, Jimmy Herring, Dave Schools, and Duane Trucks. John Fishman of Phish. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Peter Buck of REM.  Oliver Wood.  Tinsley Ellis. Warren Haynes. Chuck Leavell. Kevn Kinney….I am sure I am leaving lots of important people out.  The kid who played Zack in School of Rock on Broadway- Brandon Niederauer – was there (The Middle Child and I saw that show with Mothah last summer when we were in NYC). When Leftover Salmon came out and played “Working on a Building”, the entire place was bouncing and rocking like I have never seen before. Those guys reminded me of The Country Bears.  I started to feel a little uneasy.  The guys that shared our row with us left their seats at least 800 times.  I guess they were going to get beer, and subsequently, going to use the restroom.  It was worse than being in a car with a bunch of little girls drinking juice boxes on a road trip.   It got so annoying that I started to tell them that next time, they needed to make sure they got themselves aisle seats.  I got beer spilled all over my feet three times–twice by the people behind us, and once by someone coming down the aisle, who tripped.  I was not pleased, as you might imagine.  I was wearing sandals.  I expect more out of people at the Fox.  At 11:00pm, there was no end in sight, and I turned into über bitch.  Of course, it was JC’s fault that the show was not over! Who else could possibly be responsible?! I lit right into him: YOU SAID IT WAS OVER AT 11:00! I HAVE TO PROCTOR MILESTONES IN THE MORNING! I HAVE TO GO HOME!  JC looked at me like I had lost my ever loving mind. (I had. For the millionth time, at least)  I did not even have my phone or my purse in the Fox.  Apparently an email had gone out before the show-saying they were going to measure bags at the door and there was a size limit.  I am not sure what they thought somebody might bring in there.  That crowd, my crowd, (I’ve been part of that crowd since 1988-I think I can call it mine),  really doesn’t strike me as the gun-toting type, and if they were worried about drugs…well, I doubt anybody would have taken any huge quantity of anything into a show-but hey-whatever.    Lucky for me,  we rode with friends-and one told me of this email while we were still at the car.  Also lucky for me, I had my trusty tape measure in my big, giant bag.  I measured said bag, and sure enough, it was about 5 inches over the limit (and no, I do not carry a gun or large quantities of drugs in case you are wondering) so I left it in the car, along with my iPhone 6 plus big ass phone that would not fit in my pocket!  BUT…unlucky for me, this meant that I could not call myself an Uber and get the hell out of there!  I was Screwed. With a Capital S.  When I am Screwed, it makes me even MADDER because it means things are completely out of my control–as if they were in my control to begin with BWAHAHAHAHA 😉  I looked like a two year old having a fit and I knew it and I did not care.  I literally stomped my foot and crossed my arms.  I finally came to the realization that I was stuck and I was just going to have to deal with that fact.  I had certainly been out later than this and made it to work on time the next day.   Colonel Bruce launched into “I’m So Glad”–his signature ‘last song’, and JC leaned over and said this is the last song.  At the end, we headed up the aisle to the lobby.   The thought of trying to beat that mob of people out the doors of the Fox was terrifying to me.  We should have known that they were not finished when the mob did not follow us.  We checked the monitors in the lobby, and it appeared that the crew was taking down the stage, so we headed to the car.  Still, there was no mass exit behind us.  It was eerily quiet.  We were at the car for about 5 minutes when the ambulance came screaming down Peachtree.  This is not an unusual sight for that part of town at that time of night, though I did wonder if someone had overdosed inside the Fox.  About 5 minutes later, we walked back up to the street from the car to wait on our friends.  People were finally starting to trickle down Peachtree.  When we saw our friends, we found out that I’m Glad had not been the last song. They had gone into Turn on Your Lovelight and The Colonel had collapsed on stage.  The other musicians played over him for a few minutes-thinking he was joking around.  He had a propensity for doing things like that.  When they finally realized he wasn’t kidding, they turned him over and he had wet himself.  The ambulance we had seen was for him.  I knew instantly that the Colonel was gone.  He died right there, surrounded by all of the people who loved him–at the most fantastic birthday party anyone could ever imagine.  Of course it was not announced that way.   The next morning, we read that they were able to regain a pulse before taking him to Crawford Long, where he died a few hours later.  I will never believe that.  I believe that The Colonel died on stage at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

I first started seeing Colonel Bruce in Athens, Georgia at The Georgia Theatre when I was 18 years old.  He was a fixture in Athens at the time–with his band, The Aquarium Rescue Unit.   Colonel Bruce would come out in his Colonel’s jacket with all of the buttons.  The music was funky and we loved it….Strange Voices. Basically Frightened.  The first time I saw Derek Trucks play, Derek was about 14 years old and he played with Colonel Bruce at The Georgia Theatre!

I keep hearing people say that they cannot believe that Colonel Bruce died the way that he did….or that he is gone…..This is a man who could guess your birthday after talking to you for just a few minutes! This musical genius who helped some of the finest musicians the world knows today….I know he is missed by so many.  He made such an impression on so many people.  The first time Mini Me met The Colonel, it was at Shorty’s Pizza in Tucker.  JC introduced them and told The Colonel that Mini Me played guitar.  The Colonel looked at Mini Me and yelled out “YES!YESYES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!” and then turned around and that was it! LOL.  That was The Colonel.  Of course he went the way he did! He wouldn’t have gone any other way! It makes total sense!  It was the perfect ending for him.  We should all be so lucky.

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