Let it be known that I am now breaking my solemn vow to never write an E2 gathering aftermath node, for this one purpose and this one purpose only:

A Public Apology

I owe an apology to Brian for nearly freezing him to death on the trip home. I had forgotten that my big fancy car did not have a working heater, and we both had very numb and tingling extremities when we got back to Tallahassee at 3AM on Monday morning. I'm really sorry, bro. And for the delays involving Lee... Oh geez... Next time you see me, just kick me, okay? Fuck. I hope the food in Mobile was a small consolation for the trouble. (Damn! That was cold too! Shit.)


I've made some apologies too for my non-noder friend Lee, but I've come to the conclusion that everybody has a different take on that, and I think it's best if I just let it go. He has some comments to share with you all. The links are mine... all the rest is verbatim.
Please extend my thanks to the friendly noders for their generosity and hospitality. It was a pleasure to meet (most of) them. Special thanks to Templeton for the accommodations (the best I've seen — hardly any rats!). Also, thanks to Brass Monkey for the cover CD. We've been bluegrassin' to Gin and Juice for a week now, beotch. Also, let Green Eggs and Hair (I couldn't remember her handle. Is it Asphyxia?) know I certainly enjoyed the tour of the Bataan Peninsula and French Quarter. Hope to do it again sometime. Then I'll be prepared and bring my leather pants with the ass cut out so I'll fit in down in the Fruit Loop. Yee-haw, sailor!
Thanks to everyone for their kindness in making Lee feel welcome. I genuinely appreciate it.


A Debt of Gratitude

Since I've gone ahead and started writing this, I guess I need to say a few more things that have been heavy on my heart. And these words apply to everyone I've ever met at an E2 gathering (all eighty of you at present count), no matter where you are or where you came from to join up with us at any given place or point in time.

Noders ROCK. And I'm not talking "Oh, you're pretty cool," or "That's a nice writeup you did about so-and-so." I mean NODERS FUCKING RULE. I have travelled by car and by plane to various far-flung places in my home country now just to meet with some of you for a few days at a time, and every experience I've had has been so amazing and magical and wonderful and memorable that I can hardly express it in words. There are not enough words. THERE ARE NO WORDS.

It all started for me with that flight to Boston. Huddled in the back seat of Adam's car between Will and Tedd as we rocketed through the night towards the Denny's in Nashua; sitting in the back yard with Ellen as wharfinger played guitar (he wouldn't want me to mention his real name, I'm sure); hanging out in Harvard Square with Narbey and Miller after my flight home had been cancelled. Or harmonizing (such as it was) with Andy and Bart and Chad and so many others underneath that overpass on the Appalachian Trail late one summer evening; sitting on the lawn with JP as the dew fell lightly on our shoulders. Or playing laser tag with Rosie and Kendall and Carla on a rainy Saturday night in Grand Rapids; shopping at Meijer and cooking all afternoon in that wonderful kitchen with Jared; pissing off Tom at 4AM as we tried to save the last of the fondue. Or lying on Scott's bed with Dann chatting in the channel on his laptop, goofing at the web cam with Kurt; riding in Conrad's police-issue Crown Vic to the Walgreen's for rubbing alcohol and tennis balls at midnight. Or standing on the balcony of 735 Bourbon with Suzie and Mike and Josh, soaking it all in that we were all together in this place, and that was really, really, really the only thing that mattered; browsing through the map store with Michael and Clarence, or sitting in Laura's living room with Ashley, engrossed in conversation, while Brian lit another bowl and we all just hung on to the passing moments like they were the precious fleeting quintessence of our lives. They were.

I could go down the list of attendees, mentioning all of you individually, but our watchful protecting denmother took care of that already. Some of you (bozon, Indra363, oenone, etc.) whom I barely got the chance to speak with, I want you to know that each of you made a very dear impression upon me that I will carry with me in my heart. For those of you who I have neglected to mention by name, trust me when I say that the time I was able to spend with you was most treasured, whether it was our first meeting or our nth. (You know who you are.)

I do feel that a certain amount of individual thanks is in order, however.

Carson, Suzy, Bryan, Ken: Thank you for hosting us in your homes and in your fair city, showing us around, and making the whole experience so comfortable. Since I've been there many times, I know that The Big Easy can be a strange and dangerous place, yet you made us all feel like we were welcome and safe. We all owe you a great debt of thanks for your hospitality and trouble. I'm pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say we love you very much.

And especially to Laura: Thank you so much for planning and organizing the gathering. All of the above applies to you ten-fold. It was so wonderful to finally meet you, to hug you and see you and be in your presence. I know we didn't get the chance to talk about Adam, but he was in my thoughts as I know he was in yours. And I feel that the day will come when we will both sit down over coffee and cry together as we share the common bond we have with him. Thanks for putting up with Lee. And thanks for being so special. I love you most of all.


A Minor Footnote

There are a lot of details about this gathering that I haven't mentioned. A lot of it is covered in the other noders' writeups here. I really can't recount all the things that happened to me, the things I saw and did, the places I went and the feelings I had. This is why I don't do aftermath writeups.

However, I did get to see Better Than Ezra, Tool, Bush and The Black Crowes perform live in the bitter cold on Saturday night. That was pretty cool. But to tell you to truth, I would much rather have spent that time at D.B.A. with the other noders. Because I can go see a concert any old time, but my time spent with other folks from E2 is rare and special, and I shouldn't have squandered it. Every moment counts. And this is something that I knew already. I won't make that mistake again.

Laura, honey... I know you thought that the Voodoo Festival would be a good draw to get folks to come down to Nawlins for the gathering, and that was a good idea. But in my humble analysis, we don't need any other reason to come to a gathering. We gather together so that we can all be together. That's all that really matters.