Lowdown: We were surrounded

On a hot, sunny evening in the valley we sat on smelly folding lawn chairs we should have replaced years ago but I didn’t know until just then that they were smelly, as if they’d been stored in a dark, dank basement for years. Now I know.

To the east loomed a flat-top mountain, reaching five-thousand-plus feet above us. Sheer cliffs to the south and west obscured another horizon but promised to hide the sun in just a little while. To the north and stretching toward Utah, more cliffs hid the high desert that reached beyond to wherever.

Strangers and friends arrived with their own smelly chairs and straw hats and camera phones and smiles, and attitudes and opinions on their tees and skins, and expectations of reliving something of the past that just would not fade away. An hour on, maybe more, it happened in this place by the river where we sat surrounded by the world and now by sound.

Boz Scaggs was at Las Colonias Park, Grand Junction, Colorado.

It’s not really over, but I’m sorry you missed it.

The past is downstairs

Bern pedaled at a constant cadence of 75 rpm in the lower level of the main Smith Compound residence. A video screen in front of him showed the scene from a camera making its way along a trail somewhere in a rain forest in Costa Rica. His background music faded to nothing, then into Jim Morrison singing about the end of something.

What’s ending? What came before? Was I this high the last time I heard the song or is that my imagination? I don’t think it was what Frank and I listened to in his basement somewhere back in our long ago but who can remember something like that after a few hits of black Afghan? The hot dogs F boiled up didn’t last long. I’ll never forget that part. Exactly which song was playing doesn’t matter, but I always wonder what happened to F after that and if he had indeed killed himself and why no one ever told me. I hope I wasn’t responsible because I wasn’t a better friend. It’s not that I’m high now, because I’m not, but the sync between the video and The End is just too fitting down here. I’m trippin’ and seeing so many things in a different way as the trail bends left and right and climbs above the greenery and across one footbridge and on to another and then I’m in another basement looking for the Christmas presents Rosemary and Dr. Bobby had hidden in the crawl space, on the far side from the stairs so we had to go around the furnace where the Devil lived if we wanted to peek. There was no demon in the next few basements. Just memories of hiding and imagining and talking on the phone beneath my sisters’ bedroom, and sweeping and mopping and checking to see how much oil was left and if termites had left more tracks, and long-forgotten photo albums, and a bobby whistle and a roller skate key that I still carry around sometimes in case of an emergency and to help me remember even though some things can never be forgotten.

If only The End had lasted a little longer.


Pedal on, my wayward son

The words to the song you’re hearing in your head actually go like this:

Pedal on

Pedal on, my wayward son,
there’ll be beer when you are done.
Give your sweaty head some rest,
then go ride some more.

[Instrumental stuff you remember from the song in your head…]

Ahhh, ahh…

Once I rode away from noise and confusion,
just to get some air beyond this pollution,
I was rolling ever higher,
but I climbed too high.

Though my butt was numb I still had some gel left.
Though my knees were sore I just couldn’t quit yet.
I hear loud voices when I’m spinning,
I can hear them say…


Pedal on, my wayward son,
there’ll be beer when you are done.
Give your sweaty head some rest,
then you’ll ride some more.

Masquerading as a bicycle racer,
my heart rate’s about to wreck my pacemaker.
I used to think I was an athlete, yeah,
but that was very long ago.

Bounced around in lots of potholes and gravel,
three flat tires and I’m about to unravel,
then I find some more bananas,
and I hear the monkeys say….


Pedal on, my wayward son,
there’ll be beer when you are done.
Give your sweaty head some rest,
then go ride some more.


[instrumental stuff…

… more instrumentals]

Pedal on! You can ride now forever!
Pedal on! For a T-shirt so clever!
Water bottles never empty,
surely ice cream waits for you!


Pedal on, my wayward son,
there’ll be beer when you are done.
Give your sweaty head some rest,
then go ride…

…then go ride…some more!

[more instrumental stuff]

Lyrics (c) 2013 B.J. Smith, seriously