I’ve got those honky tonk blues …

April 8, 2014

The fact none of us lives forever is a universal truth and may be the one commonality that actually draws us all together under what a lot of people enjoy calling “The Human Condition.” So, if you don’t live forever and only have run through at life, how do you make the most of it?

Dreams, that’s how, and no, not the kind of dreams you only get while you sleep. Those are just entertainment for your mind while your body regroups. The kind of dreams I am referring to might better be called aspirations instead of dreams.

Dreams are ethereal and almost always slip through your fingers moments after you wake, leaving you sometimes with the slightest residual effect, but hardly lasting.

No, you may want to call it a bucket list. I personally don’t, my reference being a little more bone biting, but suffice it to say it’s the same concept. (For those of you who don’t know, a bucket list is a compilation of things you want to do before you kick the bucket).

The difference between my list and the lists of most others is that I actually do the things on mine and I have only four things left before it’s all said and done.

I have published two novels, several e-books, am a journalist and photographer, learned to play some guitar, been cast to perform on stage in a play, modeled, and grew my hair out, which is a project I don’t think is quite finished yet.

Friday night I got to strike through one more item I wanted to accomplish in this lifetime and this is a thank you for that.

For quite some time I have made it a habit of going out of town to sing karaoke, always giving me a bit of anonymity. I had an old friend from high school, one I feel lucky to have maintained over the years. He and his band offered me the opportunity to sing … no way I could pass that up … and while we may have been rehearsing in a “garage,” so to speak, it meant much more to me than that.

Sitting at my laptop, this very moment, I still feel and hear the cowbell setting the pace and tone before the band kicked into some classic bluesy rock, the gritty tones of Keith Richards blasting through the amps and, for me at least, the room alive with electricity.

It may have been our own rendition of Honky Tonk Women, but I was at a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden circa 1974. I was alone in a room full of talented musicians, some no more than feet away, and hopeful it would never end.

I had someone in my life at one point who, I have to assume, took great pleasure in demeaning the things I wanted to do in my lifetime, and like everyone else, I was afraid of the unknown, the unknown of acting, singing in front of a crowd, learning an instrument, and sometimes life in general.

That changed when I decided I didn’t want to be lying on my deathbed with a single regret, that I wanted my legacy to be for my sons, and any progeny which may follow at a future date, that I wasn’t afraid … to live.

Smitty, Wes, Karen, Lamar, Nate, Tara, Sarah and anyone I happened to have omitted, I want to say thank you! Some of you were supportive and the rest of you, well, you may have been playing music that night in your minds, but as for me, you were making one of the things I have most wanted in life a reality, and no matter where it goes from here it will always be a moment I will never forget.

For any of you who has a list of your own, there is a lesson here. They don’t call it “going out on a limb” for no reason. If you want to pick fruit, the limb is where the sweetest fruit grows. How many of you have ever seen an apple grow on a tree trunk?

Take a chance and live a little. You have my permission and may find it makes your life just that much more interesting.

Now, if I could just get a few lighters raised in the air and a resounding demand for “Freebird,” my work here will be done.