No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Old Dog Crew


June 28, 2018



Lulu



Old Dog Crew

One of the great joys of my life is the cadre of friends that I have had for the majority of my lifetime. Despite moving from Indianapolis twenty-seven years ago from Indianapolis, I have had the good fortune of maintaining the vast majority of friendships that I have had dating back to childhood. Frequent trips back to Indiana and the onset of social media have made keeping those friendships going a little easier, but I think the bonds would still be strong no matter what.



Paul and Kristi

Trevor, Michael, Kevin and John



Though we have scattered throughout the country there is a group of my friends that back in the 80s formed a loose knit group of friends that came to be known as the Old Dog Crew or ODC. Throughout the years, we have occasionally gathered together to celebrate our friendship, through marriages, children, death and birth we have maintained a closeness that is rare these days.





Our gatherings over the years have been legendary and while we get together somewhat less frequently these days, each time is a cause for celebration and kinship. While the gatherings have always welcomed girlfriends, then wives and children and now even almost fully grown young adults, the gatherings seem to get better and better and bigger and more inclusive as time has passed.

Beth and Kelly Jane

Arriving back in Key West a couple of days ahead of this year’s ODC gathering in Golden Beach, Florida, Kathy and I had old friends waiting for us who were visiting our island home. My friend Kristi was in town with her new husband Paul celebrating their honeymoon in Key West. While not wanting to intrude on their special celebration, Kathy and I did manage to get them out to enjoy some of Key West’s finest people and events.

Kristi, Tracy, Kevin and Paul



First we took them to the weekly vibrator races at Mary Ellen’s bar. This week the races were a fundraiser for our friend Kelly Jane who had some recent medical expenses that she needed the community’s assistance with and of course the vibrator races were the perfect opportunity to raise some funds for her. A huge crowd of locals were in attendance, betting on their favorite racing vibrator to win the races with all money raised going directly to Kelly Jane.





Also in town at the same time was my good friend and fellow ODC member, Kevin along with his family and his brother and his family. Taking the opportunity of being in Florida anyway to sneak in a quick visit to Key West to get some fishing and vacation time in with their families. It is always fun to have friends from home in town and it was so fun getting to spend some time with Kevin and his family and Kristi and Paul.

Kevin

Tim

Jack and Tony



The ODC gathering was one again held at a lovely, incredible home belonging to the family of our friend Eli in Golden Beach. This marks the third official ODC gathering held there in what is really a perfect location for such a large scale gathering. There were a few ODC members who could not make it for various reasons this year, so there was a room for Kathy and I in the house.

Bailey







There were seventeen of us in total this year, as well as our dog Jack, which thankfully Eli and his wife Mary allowed us to bring. Jack was in heaven with so many people to pay attention to him almost constantly. The house is amazing, located right on the inter-coastal waterway and only a block from the private, beautiful Golden Beach in the Atlantic Ocean.



Bailey, Audrey and Keegan

Tim and Jack

Wes

Included in this year’s gathering were Eli, his wife Mary, their daughters Ruby and Lulu, Kevin and his wife Tracy with their kids Tony and Adrian, Tim, Javier, Wes and his wife Melanie and their kids Bailey, Audrey and Keegan. One of the coolest things for us is to see the kids of our friends as they grow up. Not being around them constantly, it is amazing how much they change when you don’t see them so often.

Eli









They are quickly becoming young adults and it is cool to see how well they all are turning out and how they are so comfortable with each other and so many boring adults around. It is weird to think that we all started hanging out together when we were younger than many of the kids are today. I imagine they will forge their own lifelong friendships with each other as well and that is so great to see, since we are all getting older by the minute.



Kathy and Jack



Javier

Kevin

Kathy and I were only able to spend a couple of days in Golden Beach due to work commitments, but it was a fun and fantastic time filled with good food, drinks, fun and friendship. Most of the ODC are huge soccer fans and it is no coincidence that the gathering this year coincides with the World Cup soccer tournament. There was a lot of time lounging in front of the television watching World Cup matches.







Bailey



Special thanks to Eli and Mary and his family for allowing us once again to use their lovely home for our get together, it was yet another truly special time spent with some of the best people imaginable.

Eli



Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Highway Is Alive Tonight


June 25, 2018


Bruce Springsteen 




The Highway Is Alive Tonight

June 2018

The reason we came to New York City in the first place was to see the Bruce Springsteen on Broadway show at the Walter Kerr Theater. I had signed up for the ticket lottery when the shows were first announced and been shut out during the first two onsales, but the third time, when the run was extended, I received a text informing me that I had 30 minutes to order tickets ( a two ticket limit) so I did just that. That was last Fall and finally the date of the actual show had arrived.







The show is being staged in the relatively tiny Walter Kerr Theater which seats just over 700, making it the most intimate Bruce Springsteen show and hottest ticket in America at the moment. Scalped tickets have been selling for upwards of $5,000.00 and when the lottery tickets do go on sale, they sell out in mere minutes.





Since the theater is literally right next to the Crowne Plaza hotel where we were staying I had a couple of opportunities to go watch Bruce arrive at the theater, each night he pulls up in a limo and steps out, stopping to chat briefly, sign autographs and pose for photos with the fans, many who have waited for hours for his arrival. Thankfully I did not wait at all, just walked down from our room and out just in time for his arrival to grab some pix, then it was back inside until just before the 8 PM curtain.









The show was spectacular, having seen Bruce around twenty times previously over the years, this was completely different. Like a private performance and story time with the Boss. The setlist was limited to 16 songs (usually there was 15), but the two hours is made up with intimate stories of his life, career and how he came up with various songs. It definitely has a theater quality about it and it was truly wonderful.



The show is basically a two hour musical and autobiographical storytelling journey through his life and career. Solo and with only an acoustic guitar and a piano (He is joined on two songs by his wife Patti Scialfa). There’s no intermission, and the show is divided into two parts. The first traces his life from early childhood through his days leading bar bands in Asbury Park, New Jersey. “My Hometown” is an ode to his hometown of Freehold, while “My Father’s House” and the rarity “The Wish” (a song about his mother) offer him a chance to speak about both of his parents in loving but clear-eyed detail.









About halfway through, Springsteen abandons a strictly chronological structure, and turns to a more thematic approach. A mournful version of “Born in the U.S.A.” gives him a chance to state, once more, that the much-misunderstood smash is a “protest song, a G.I. blues.” He moves over to the piano for “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” to speak about his E Street bandmates, giving special attention to his bond with the late Clarence Clemons. “I still carry the story the Big Man whispered in my ear and the Big Man in my heart every night when I walk onstage,” he says. “Clarence was elemental, a force of nature in my life.” No members of the E-Street band are included in the show itself, but ironically, Max Weinberg was in attendance, watching the show only a few seats over from Kathy and I.







He has been sticking to a mostly scripted setlist since beginning the residency on Broadway, but Kathy and I were fortunate to be there for the first time he switched things up. In protest of the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border, he took a special moment to make the statement below before launching into a heartwrenching version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad”





Here is a transcript of Bruce Springsteen's remarks at the show we saw, prior to adding "The Ghost of Tom Joad" to his setlist.

“I never believed that people come to my shows, or rock shows to be told anything.
But I do believe that they come to be reminded of things. To be reminded of who they are, at their most joyous, at their deepest, when life feels full. It's a good place to get in touch with your heart and your spirit, to be amongst the crowd. And to be reminded of who we are and who we can be collectively. Music does those things pretty well sometimes, particularly these days when some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn't such a bad thing.

That weekend of the March for our Lives, we saw those young people in Washington, and citizens all around the world, remind us of what faith in America and real faith in American democracy looks and feels like. It was just encouraging to see all those people out on the street and all that righteous passion in the service of something good. And to see that passion was alive and well and still there at the center of the beating heart of our country.

It was a good day, and a necessary day because we are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging. And we have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us. May God save our souls.

There's the beautiful quote by Dr. King that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. Now, there have been many, many days of recent when you could certainly have an argument over that. But I've lived long enough to see that in action and to put some faith in it. But I've also lived long enough to know that arc doesn't bend on its own. It needs all of us leaning on it, nudging it in the right direction day after day. You gotta keep, keep leaning.
I think it's important to believe in those words, and to carry yourself, and to act accordingly. It's the only way that we keep faith and keep our sanity.

I've played this show 146 nights with basically the same setlist, but tonight calls for something different...”

- Bruce Springsteen