The last weekend of October I journeyed to Missouri to attend my brother Jake's retirement from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service. I was there when he graduated as a raw recruit from Parris Island in 1987 so it was pretty emotional to be there for this. (And apart from Jake himself, I was the only one both at graduation and retirement!) It was an honor to attend, and a challenge... Jake's wife flew me out as a surprise for this, as Jake thought none of his friends or family would be able to attend. (And he was pretty pissy about that, too!) Made for an interesting couple of months of not mentioning this to him, as his wife and I started plotting on this even before our Chicago trip back in August!
But we pulled it off... his family picked me up at the airport Thursday afternoon while Hosehead... uh, Jake... was still at work. When he got home that evening, I was nowhere to be seen, hiding out in the back yard. (Damn it though, why'd it have to be rainy and in the mid-40s?) After he's been home for about 10 minutes and they were getting ready for dinner, I planted myself outside their kitchen door and started blowing harp, quietly at first and then louder. Only took a minute or two before he opened the door... "...I don't know what that is... ELWOOD?!!!!" It was beauty, eh?!
The retirement ceremony (and follow-up party) were Friday, then Saturday was a day to hang out, mostly riding around in Jake's car, "Christine", a '75 Plymouth Fury (sister to the Dodge Monaco Bluesmobile we used to have). It was during this drive, incidentally, that we stopped by Jake's local music shop where he introduced me to the guy he recently started taking guitar lessons from, and showed me the guitar HE was considering buying... the exact same model Delta King I ended up buying! No coincidence, as I got a chance to play his blue one for a few minutes and we both agreed if he got that one, it'd be cool if I could find a black one for myself! When only days later I came across one on eBay at a great price it seemed like karma, though I still thought about it for a week before finally jumping in. (And yes, he ended up buying his as well!)
Now, if only one or the other of us can actually learn enough to really play these things!
Here's more photos from the trip:
Oh, I do still play the harp though and that's certainly still more to my style. Here's a brief video Buster took (unbeknownst to me at the time!) while I was on the phone with Jake one night about a week after my MO trip.