Interestingly, I’ve had a couple of people who were mentioned in the previous posts drop me a note yesterday and today. I love that. Douglas was one of those, who with one line in his e-mail reminded me of many of the great times we had together. Doug was on that trip to Australia … from the reef to the wine country and the rain forest to Sydney. I nearly swamped the dingy doing a “Jaques Cousteau” roll off the side. The freezing shower at Canarvan Gorge, and blasting champagne corks off the balcony of Paul’s girlfriend’s apartment in Sydney, swearing we weren’t going to get on the plane hung over. We were unsuccessful in that.
He was on the trip next summer to Grand Cayman … what a great dive trip that was. Russ Browning was on that one as well. Russ didn’t dive, but he had a good time anyway. That was some spectacular diving.
We’d fly together a lot. He got an instrument ticket, and needed a second licensed pilot to ride right seat when he did his proficiency flights. But we also would grab an airplane (they belonged to his dad) and pop down here to Florida for a weekend … or the one weekend we met up by chance in the student union at IU, and wound up in an airplane headed for Champagne, Illinois, to visit a friend of his from Philmont Scout Ranch who was at SIU. The summer we both lived at the Lake, me at my folks cabin and he at his, we’d get together in the evenings, fish, and then eat the bass we’d catch. He was the best man at my first wedding, and when we do get together, no matter if it’s been a year or more, you’d think we were hanging out at a bar yesterday. Thanks for the e-mail today, mate.
I’ve also had visitors this week from as near as Neptune Beach and as far as Wollongong, Australia. I just mention that because I wanted to type “Wollongong”. What a great name for a band THAT would be.
I also notice that my first post for this incarnation of the blog was on August 15th. It’ll turn a year old in a couple of days. I went back and read a couple of the really early posts, and I didn’t achieve my goal of being under 200 pounds … but I did manage to write nearly every day. I feel good about that. But I’m thinking I need to set a few goals for this year as well.
First, I want to be able to play a lead solo with The Druids the next time I’m invited on stage with them. I’m going to make the investment in some gear to make it easier to practice, and do it. I’d also like to get a video course that may or may not help, but if I can learn a couple of tips and easy tricks, I just might be able to pull it off. I can hear when I play that I’m close … very close … to being pretty darn good. I’ve just got to find something that helps me over that hump … and inspires me to work at it. It won’t come naturally. I’ve gone as far as I can go without finding something to kick it to the next level.
For the birthday dinner, Andie and I went to the new North Beach Bistro in the space that used to be The Tree restaurant in Atlantic Beach. It was darn good. The risotto croquette appetizer was well done, crunchy on the outside and nice and soft and cheese on the inside. My salmon special was perfectly cooked, and the mashed potatoes with capers and broccoli robb made a nice compliment. No room for desert, unfortunately. A couple of glasses of a decent pinot noir rounded out the dinner for me. Andie had a fillet, which was also very, very good.
And so concludeth my 50th trip around the sun. Half a century. Into the back stretch. But I feel great, and hope I have a long way to go. Right now, though, I have just a few steps to walk to bed. Tomorrow is another day … and the beginning of the 2nd half.