the Fourth Longest Day

The fourth time I played a “Longest Day” was June 21, 2023.  The world felt a little more stable and this event itself had gotten a little more traction.  The city of Grapevine got to know me the year before and had me out to play my first ever Grapefest and Main Street Fest.  The media acknowledgement was better than in years past.  I even gave a couple of interviews beforehand and on the day of.  After having done it three times prior, I thought I was prepared and knew what to expect.  

I had a cooler of water with me, my friend Micah had taught us how to freeze rags with peppermint oil on them, I bought a window A/C unit to have on the stage, and even thought to pack a flask of whiskey for my throat.  By then, I already carried super glue in all my guitar cases so that wasn’t even a concern.  I was ready for the heat and the wear and tear on my body as we raised money to defeat Alzheimer’s forever.  I thought I was ready for whatever the day was gonna throw at me…but I was wrong.

You’ve seen it happen before.  It’s a hot day with sparse high clouds.  The sun is clear and high and even the breeze is warm.  Then it starts to get really hot, like the air is boiling.  On this certain day last year, I looked south from the stage and saw a thunderstorm look like it just came together right over DFW airport and was making it’s way North on Grapevine Main Street right at us.  I was under cover on the main stage that hosts the summer concert series so I didn’t worry too much about me.  There were volunteers and audience members who were about to experience the brunt of it so I wanted them to get clear.  No sooner had I thought to say something than a cold wind swept through the plaza.  Every pop up cover down there began to take flight and would have if not for the folks grabbing with every hand, foot, armpit, and crook of the knee they could manage.

After the wind passed, the rain started hard.  It wasn’t long before the cover I was under was reduced to a leaky cloth so it was time to clear the stage.  No time to plan an organized process.  I frantically disconnected wires, pointed at items, and grunted a command.  Volunteers grabbed things whether they knew what they were or not, and ran them to the building for cover.  I kept wondering how much gear I was going to have to replace.  We waited for the rain to subside and I had to alter my plans.  

After the rain, the stage was completely soaked, as were all of the people.  I had to wait for the stage to dry before I could set up equipment but I knew the plan was for me to keep playing.  I decided to do an acoustic show for the group that was still out there.  I just sat down on the front of the wet stage, folks pulled their chairs around, and we kept going.  There was a little kid there who just loved it and all the attention dancing babies get.

When it dried, we set the gear back up and cruised on into the night.  Brad Thompson got up and sang with me, we raised a bunch of money, and by the end of it, you’d never know we got rained on.  

I’ve chosen to take that lesson to heart.  Sometimes, things don’t go your way and you have to take cover.  Then, you have to decide when you can come back out.   After that, you have to decide what you’ll do.  I think, if you can show courage in leaving cover after something goes wrong, you can figure out an adapted way to continue forward.  If you can do that, you might be able to get back on track so that by the end, no one even remembers the trouble.  If you give up when things go wrong, no one remembers it either, but for a far sadder reason.  

On Thursday, June 20th, I’ll be doing it again. From 10:00AM to 10:00PM I’ll be on Peace Plaza in Grapevine, TX to raise money to create a world without Alzheimer’s. We will live stream the event and I’ll make sure to share the link for that. We’ll take donations in person at the event, online through a donation link, and at satellite watching parties. I am only one person, but I have many friends. Each of you are only one person, but you have many friends. If my friends, and your friends, and their friends all donate, we’ll get to reach the goal. When we reach the goal, we get closer to a world without Alzheimer’s. When we reach a world without Alzheimer’s, we won’t have to live through what so many already have.


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