So, October 29th was a pretty packed night on the calendar for Jam Band Enthusiasts. Saturday Night Halloween extravaganza. The pickin’s were out there. Yonder Mountain playing at the Best Buy Theater in New York..Tedeschi Trucks Band playing at the Fairfield Theater Company in Bridgeport…State Radio playing at the Calvin Theater in Northampton. You couldnt go wrong with these three. I decided to go State Radio..young jam band..Chad from Dispatch leading the way..aaaand, a nice trip to some New England Country. This decision makes all the sense in the world…only something as crazy as snow could mess it up, and theres so no such thing as snow in October.
It snowed. And snowed..and snowed. Trees were down. Winds blowin’ 40mph. No big deal..it’d been snowing all day. Itd stop-it was OCTOBER. It cant continue. Great Mother Nature, cute lil storm. You dont scare us. Lets get in the car. John and Jen showed up on time and were ready for the adventure.
Adventure…is driving 35 mph on the highway? A major skid every mile..will this continue for 100 miles? Couldnt go two miles without seeing a nasty skidout. Car in a ditch. Car stuck. Truck drives by us and a huge gush of snow and slush whales the car. Window was open, so my face was slushed. Smokin’ a black and mild didnt do much for me. John was freakin in the back seat..and poor Jen didnt know who she got in the car with a couple hrs ago.(first date).
Ill never forget looking at my gps and it saying we had 40miles to go on this highway. Thats ridiculous. I felt we drove 200miles already. But, I guess thats how it feels when you drive 30mph. Brutal. Another black n mild. A little freakout. A discussion about turning around and giving up. Wondering how the hell they did not cancel this show, considering every other show within 80miles had been cancelled. Petal to the metal, focus, look at the road, get it done…
We got it done. We were getting off the ramp. Everything would be fine from here…find a parking spot, jam out, snow will stop and roads will be plowed, and we will have a nice relaxing ride home…yup. Drove by the theater, lights were out. Dark. Its almost showtime guys..um, turn the lights on please? No lights. Guy yells out to us, “Show Cancelled..check your email in a week for the reschedule!” “Dude, you dont understand..we drove three hours to get here from Connecticut! This cant be!” He replies, “I drove 4 1/2 hrs from Saratoga Springs!” And, he was solo. Respect, madd respect. Love the enthusiasm. Gotta find the good tunes..we were all in it together.
So, we found the best local bar in town and decided to kick back till we had a plan. Mamma Iguana’s..give it five stars..hell give it 10 stars..actually, Ill write the owner a letter and tell him how good it was. And, Im not talking about the food or the drinks, Im talking about the people. Ill explain later.
We sat at the table. We definitely had a little fear and indecisiveness. I really just wanted to get to my comfy bed, but I dont know how I could drive 2 miles in this storm, let alone 100 miles. It was virtually impossible..unless of course, we didnt care about our lives. We just sat..and thought…and tried to take a vote, but that didnt really work so well. We were baffled.
The cute blonde waitress dressed as Alice in Wonderland came to our table (This was definitely a brightener on the night, as she was the one Id hope would take our order.) We had already got drinks, so we just asked for some chips, dip and water..maybe this would help us focus. Or divert…
She came back to the table. I think she could sense our fear. She knew we didnt just have a brisk walk back to our dorm room. Something wasnt right. So, we told her…. of the long treacherous drive, the accidents, the show being cancelled..that we didnt know where we were or where we were going. She immediately tried to help. She told us of Packers- a great three floor bar down the street, and another one (I forgot the name.) She gave us ideas to kill time and instilled just enough hope. Just enough.
The lights went out..everybody cheered..the lights went back on..everybody cheered louder..the lights went back off…everyone basically screamed. It was over. Now what? The fire dept came and checked the place out. We would have to leave soon. Then, our waitress Jessica came back to tell us the whole town lost power, so going to those bars were not an option. We called the State Police, looked like all highways would be shutdown. Called the local hotel..SOLD OUT. Now, we were wondering what hell we were gonna do, to make sure we dont freeze to death.
Jessica came back..our own source of hope. She could see we had no options. We were stranded. I could see just enough into her eye, that she had not had it easy. We all have our struggles, but she had the classic eye sparkle..great girl, with a rough past. Its almost like every waiter, waitress, host, bartender had the sparkle in this place…and I loved it. The sparkle was what brought all the camaderie about between them, because they struggled together and recovered together. The sparkle was there.
“You guys can stay at my place if you want.” The statement came straight from her heart. It skipped over that part of the mind that ratiolanizes, rationalizes, rationalizes..and went straight from the heart. Take the chance of safety and wellbeing, to help others. Take the chance of stress, frustration and hosting, to help others. Take the chance of calming the nervous roommate down, to help others. She did it. And, she capped it off by saying she has three couches. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.
If anything, tonight was a good life lesson. We all crashed at Jessica’s place, (after she made us PB&J sandwiches) and made it to the next morning, storm cleared. We didnt sleep, but we got through it..with plenty of laughs. Come to find out, I heard the next day that State Radio came outside in the freezing cold, to play a free acoustic set for the revelers hanging out. We missed it, but another good life lesson…love never fails.
Thank You Jessica. ***SHOW IS RESCHEDULED FOR SUN NOV 20TH***