Essays: On The Road And A Little Off

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Nashville, TN, August 31, 2003 - - The Doc and I played our last gig together in his home town of Zwolle on Wednesday August 27. It was the best we've performed, we both thought, and I was happy that it ended in an upbeat way.

Ruud, the owner of the bar we played in, named "Bourbon Street" like a lot of other bars in Europe, has been working for years on accumulating a collection of Islay and Highland scotches, which I did my best to diminish in one night, of course. When he learned that I am a fan of single malts, he opened his heart and his best bottle to me. "This is the real Laphroaig, before they moved their process to the Highlands...while they still had the room and the good Islay peat," he said. I have now imbibed of fifty-year-old Laphroaig, and all I can say about the experience is that it was like no other peat-smoky I have had.

I have always before come home from Europe more than somewhat reluctantly, but this time I was glad to crawl onto the plane out of Amsterdam. The heat in France, although it let up just before we left, had been enervating to say the very least, and I suppose driving six thousand miles around France, which is not as small a country as one might think, plumb wore me out. Plus which I missed Patty, and I had another engagement or two back in the States to honor, along with some pressing family business to attend to.

So that when The Doc dropped me off at Schippol early on Thursday, August 28, I gratefully got on the plane, kept my mouth shut even though I was seated next to a Babe from Budapest, and let time pass.
Arriving in Detroit the Customs routine was a horror show, but one I got through, and the short flight to Nashville seemed to take forever.

I met Patty at the airport in a tearful reunion, we went to the Loading Zone and had a beer and came home to the Phoenix.

I arrived home in such a state of anesthesia that a week has gone by and I have barely gotten back on the "I" net, which is what I have begun to call Al Gore's invention lately, since it is, of course, all about me. But I have not even begun really to think about anything I may have taken away from Europe aside from a little money. There were some insights gained from Panama's Invasion of France, I'm sure, but I am still recovering from battle fatigue. And right now the only thing I can think of to sum up the experience is...

Au revoir.