The truck was quiet except for the ticking of a engine going bad. But it was still a safe kind of quiet. Jon had been with me for three days and I think he had filled just as many notebooks with the thoughts flying through his head. The best part about Jon is that he writes everything down and he doesn’t talk much, so he always winds up with an unfiltered document of events.
Jon is a writer and if you ever thought you met him without a pen, then you met the wrong man. He makes for a good passenger. He makes a good listener.
I liked having Jon with me. The last month or so had gone so quickly that I couldn’t place just where I had gone. I know I played a couple shows in Tennessee and made it to Georgia safely but in between and after that, I had been a lost man. I was glad Jon was there so he could tell me about it later.
We were headed up the eastern seaboard and we had a lot of things to stare at through the glass. Whenever you travel for an extended period of time, you are eventually hit with the realization that all that separates you from 75 mile per hour winds taking their toll on your body is a thin piece of glass. A quarter inch between you and your created tornado. In the end it’s a realization about power.
We were already past the Carolinas and into Virginia when Jon spoke up. He didn’t want to talk about Barb and I felt graced, knowing he would not dig her back up. His body in the passenger seat was enough to keep her ghost away and for having him there, I felt, for lack of any better way of putting it, lucky.
He asked me if I ever regretted not taking the chances of making it big when I had the opportunity. And I did. In my younger days I had the chance to put my signature on a piece of paper that would guarantee me a couple hundred thousand dollars and maybe a gold record or two. It would have even gotten me a bus to travel around in. But I didn’t want to sell out, as I put it at the time.
I thought I knew what was best for me back then. And who knows, maybe I was right after all. But it’s hard to make it rich traveling around in a beater truck playing at coffee houses and honky-tonk bars. Jon listened to me ramble around the subject for a quarter of an hour before stopping me dead in my tracks with one question.
But isn’t it a blessing to do what you want to do?
Yeah, Jon. Yeah, it is.
Jon has always been good at picking out exactly the right things to say to make you realize he is always right. It has never been an annoying throw back into your face, it was just a calm voice begging you to trust it to lead you in the right direction.
He asked me to let him drive for a little while, and then pulled out a notebook he had brought along especially for me. He asked me to sit in the passenger seat and write in it. I couldn’t refuse.
For the first time in a long time I handed the keys of that truck over to someone else. I let him guide me. I sat beside him and stared out a quarter inch thick piece of glass for hours. I watched a bug or two splatter and then, I wrote about it. It was a good change.