Ease on Down the Road (Day 4)

Nearly bit off more than I could chew today. I’d spent several hours in the gracious company of Eugene Simpson, with whom I discussed several research approaches to Hall Johnson’s compositional philosophy and ways I should prepare for a much more extended visit and study of the Johnson collection. I then visited and got a tour of the home of my host daughter, Tianhan. We went out for an enjoyable dinner of shrimp (me) and grilled octopus (Tianhan) at an uptown restaurant in Philadelphia. (BTW, if you know of a dignified way to eat corn-on-the-cob and take the head off of shrimp, please let me know.)

I am so proud of how well she is adapting to her new surroundings, which are so very different than Iowa. Since she’s now graduated from the college, I guess I’m not technically her host mother any more, but I hate giving up the status. So for now, she’s stuck with it. She knows, however, that she has a family here.

Then, I drove to my sister’s home in Maryland, arriving just after midnight Sunday morning. My brothers had tried to stay around until my arrival, but it was so late when I finally arrived. However, my mother stayed up because her baby was still on the road (hey, some things never change), so I got to talk with her and my sister a little before they, too, headed to bed. I passed out in my guest abode very shortly thereafter.

We had breakfast together after I indulged myself by not arising until around 10 a.m. I shared a lunch break with one of my brothers–he works on Sundays–and visited another brother and his family immediately afterwards. Since I’ve been living in Iowa for six years now, I found myself again amazed how much my nieces and nephews have grown. At least they are old enough this time not to need another introduction to their Aunt Randye, as used to be necessary when they were young and I was in school in Florida. So we mainly spent the time playing catch up.

I’d planned to meet a friend in Columbus, Ohio, so I finally got up to go just before 3 p.m. However, as I was leaving, I made the decision to have the RB’s oil changed. She’d already run over 4,000 miles since the oil change she’d gotten before the trip started. I didn’t want to chance another 1,000 miles without this necessary preventative maintenance.

It was 4 p.m. before she was ready and I could finally head out. Made a final stop by Bojangles and got a supply of ham biscuits–they freeze and defrost very nicely, and I get to have a taste of the South well after I return to Iowa. Fortunately, my side of the road was fairly clear. The other side was overwhelmed with people returning to the DC area. Wonder if some of them aren’t still sitting on 270.

As usual, I enjoyed the drive through the mountains between Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Both the sites and the curves. And this route avoids all the turnpikes.

Made it to suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, in time for a very late (we barely beat the 11 p.m. kitchen closing) dinner at a local restaurant. My friend and I shared some of our mutual joys and agonies of trying to be musicians in a world where it’s so hard to make a living as one. After we closed the restaurant, I made it in the RB as far as the Ohio-Indiana state line before I had to call it a night.

This is the route: http://mapq.st/qYRvYP


I realized that I neglected a couple of critical parts of my journey. First, I need to acknowledge the musicians and their songs that helped me focus on my driving throughout my journey. So, I’m going back and posting links to a song that I recall most strongly from each day’s playlist.

This day’s song is Isaac Hayes’s “Walk on By.” Since this song is twelve minutes long, it only takes a couple of plays to make an obsession session.

Most importantly, of course, I thank the Lord for granting me the stamina to make the trip, the damn good reflexes to steer the RB as she needed to be guided, and the ability to enjoy His handiwork as it whizzed by my windshield.

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