Warren, Pa., Saturday, June 29, 2013, 7:18 a.m.
In a few hours, I will be playing music in Tidioute, Pa., at a place called the Hummingbird Café. The fact that Tidioute – the lady at the front desk of the Super 8 said it is indeed pronounced “Tiddy-oot” – is a small place is attested to by the fact that I’m in a motel about 20 miles away. I called in yesterday, and apparently all is set for me to start playing at around 2 p.m. After driving in from State College, I sat around at the picnic,c table out back and played my trusty Taylor for quite a while.
Where do I go from here? Home sweet home. But I’m going to take my time. I may even go see the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are on a winning streak, play the Milwaukee Brewers tonight. It depends on how much I yearn to see baseball, how tired I am, how soon I get out of Tidioute and how willing I am to drive all the way back to South Carolina on Sunday. I’m guessing I won’t get home until Monday either way. If I don’t go see the Pirates tonight, I may catch a minor-league game somewhere down the line. I’m definitely not driving up to Erie. I need to make up ground, not give it.
The age of these Pennsylvania towns is evident. I find it rather charming, all these old buildings. A lady told me a few nights ago that the reason these Northern towns have so many old buildings is that the South had most of its buildings burned in the war. That’s the Civil War. I reckon if she made the point, it’s okay for me to pass it along. It’s a fact, though, that old buildings like the ones routinely on display in towns with names like West Chester, New Hope, Somerset and Warren are rare down south. What few we have left generally have historical markers out front.
Naturally, it’s raining right now. I never saw a drop of rain on the first three days of this trip. It’s almost been raining ever since. Rain makes me sleepy, not sleepy in the sense that it makes it difficult to drive, but sleepy in that I yawn a lot and want to go to bed at 10 p.m., which I seldom do otherwise.
Once I get home, I expect I’ll have some difficulty getting much work done for a time. I should be back to normal, though, by next Saturday when I will take part in a celebration of “indie” book authors at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, S.C. I’ll be “on” at 5 p.m. on July 6.
I once read a Larry McMurtry book called Roads, which was about the famed author, more celebrated for fiction, describing his long drives across the various interstate highways of the land. The book disappointed me a bit because I thought driving the back roads was more enjoyable than just setting the old cruise control on the four lanes. I now feel more inclined to agree with McMurtry, and perhaps that’s because I’m older now. Two-lane roads are taxing. They involve being stuck behind coal trucks and construction vehicles. They involve tricky twists and turns that would be quite a bit more vexing had I not brought my iPhone and the soothing voice of the Navigator Siri along.
For now, the words of the old Bobby Bare hit come to mind:
I want to go home / I want to go home / Oh, how I want to go home / BAWN-buh-BAHM-buh-baw-buh-BAWN-buh-BAWN-buh-BAWN-buh …
I hear it’s raining back home, too. I’m satisfied there will be grass to cut and bills to pay.