Sliding Home at 6am

Posted on February 6th, 2011 | 0

Blue gray skies that engulf all that you see or think or even dream. We are truly on the road. Two back to back 'through-the-nighters'. 7 hours ago in the beautiful Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha we were embraced by a warm and extremely inviting audience. The cats responded by playing all kinds of stuff I had never heard. Joe played something on the blues that came from the recesses of the Scottish ancestry (so far back and forward it found the DNA strain that connects us all). Printup crooning with the plunger, Ryan blessing us with a fiery and well constructed solo, Vic, Vince, Ted on the flute, Sherman with those biting Shermanic lines of harmonic sophistication dipped in Alabama souse, (so many and much I have to make myself stop retelling it)…….the rhythm section..yeah, everybody came to play. Just 15 minutes ago (it is now about 6:15 am), Boss Bragg was in a dead sleep and I was trying to find a comfortable angle in my seat. Frank hit patches of black ice on the road (I-80 outside Sidney, Neb.) that sent the vehicle skidding all over the road. He was dancing with the steering wheel in vain search of traction as gusting wind joined ice in trying to help us plunge into the gully on the right side of the road. This was a rough stretch, 4 or 5 trucks were jack-knifed and all others were in single-file and blinkered. When you notice that yours is the only passenger vehicle on the road and truckers are pulling over. That's a clear signal. Not to Frank. That's a green light to him. Sure would be a shame us dying with Frank's beautiful photographic exhibit up in the House of Swing. Boss Bragg gets up in the middle of the sliding and says,"Take your foot off the brakes. Don't hit the brakes!" Frank, in the middle of his life and death scuffle, starts arguing, "I'm not hitting the breaks! We have down shifted AND have the 4 wheel drive on gotdammit! It's slick as a cat's ass out here." After the irresolute moments passed, we began to joke as people do when they're not quite out of a bad situation but past a very uncomfortable episode. "Frank, pull this motherfucker over! (When we tried, a truck cut us off). Continuing down the road completely awake, we laugh about Frank and Boss Bragg finding the time and clarity to argue in the midst of extreme duress. Me and Frank tease Boss Bragg (who is normally very calm) about getting big eyes. He says, "Hey man, I need to get out this vehicle for my knees." He's about 6'4 and 3 something. These long rides are rough on the big fella. Wynton