High Country…..

th.jpegThis morning I decided to take my Boeing 737 MAX for a spin. With everything going on today, the world has got to look a little better from 35,000 feet. Whoa TTG, that plane has been grounded. For mere mortals of course. Suffice to say  I have always played against the rules. Nose down problems? Life has tried to push me that way but I have sufficient strength but not necessarily brains to overcome my inherent software glitches. 

Heading north from LaLa Land, I am taken by the sheer beauty of our land. The Great Smokies and Appalachians on my port side and the Atlantic beaches to my starboard. People below are just getting up. If they are lucky they have not tuned into the world events. Maybe they will grab the cup of Joe and resist the urge to sneak a peak at chaos. Whether it is the endless horizon of the sea or the grandeur of a mountain range slowly changing its color, there is a lot to just sit back and enjoy. 

As I approach DC there is some heavy turbulence. Hot air is causing immense wind shear. I notice on my chart there is an aviation warning here 24/7. No one here looks at the scenery. We have to be about the people’s business. Climate change? Illegal immigration? Infrastructure? No you fool,IMPEACHMENT!!  What was I thinking? 

The oxygen masks drop precipitously from the overhead. Seems all the air has been sucked out of this particular region. th-4.jpegMy airship banks hard left and the hard right trying to find some sort of equilibrium. I know the center is the preferred path but it is almost impossible to find it. Are we going to die? No stupid, just take it off automatic pilot. Trust your instincts. 

Are you nuts? Everyone needs a mentor or guru to get through life. Without CNN or Fox we would be lost. Those guys and gals are beyond smart. Otherwise they would not be on TV. Right? They get paid a lot of money just like pop singers and football players. They are to be respected and admired. They have made it. Really?

True to form I have decided to opt for independent thinking. Just ahead is the Big Apple. Glitz and glitter and skyscrapers challenging God to say no, soar skyward almost to our assigned altitude. th-8.jpegIf you can make it there you can make it anywhere. Bright lights and big egos. I think I will pass on the opportunity of a lifetime. I saw what they did to that little Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg. I read some critical assessments of her and these dudes don’t pull any punches. How dare she?

I will make one pass over St Patrick’s Cathedral. As a former New Yorker it was always a place of devotion and beauty. Uh oh! I thought they cleaned it up but the spires are badly tarnished and bird droppings everywhere. Did they miss those spots or did they just fail to get all the dirt out from their last purge? Interesting question. 

I head West with a little bit of trepidation. As the roads constrict from ten lanes to four to sometimes two, am I getting away from civilization or closer to the real thing? Silly me. I just got buzzed by three Amazon drones and a flying pizza truck from Domino’s. Nirvana. The zillionaires are buying up everything to find spots to get away to escape. Wait, does that make any sense? I thought they already had everything. 

Maybe I have overstayed my welcome with the hoi polloi.. I am gong to put it on auto pilot and head back LaLa Land. I might just stretch out in an empty first class seat  and watch Ken Burns’ Country Music Series. Do I dare have a single malt this early?

Wow this is really fantastic. This guy has taken an iconic medium to reflect on its most simple tenets. People struggle and claw and fight to crawl out of squalor and misery by doing something so simple. Singing! They do it while they are working. While they are praying. While they are just sitting after a long day. This is cool stuff. 

The sheer analgesic of listening to throaty basses of negro spirituals while picking cotton makes the day pass. th-12.jpegThe foot stomping fiddling on Saturday night celebrates another successful passage of the week. The lyrics are at the same time sweet and gut wrenching, talking about the vagaries of life. The rise to the top of stardom and the crash beneath the collapse or booze and drugs. It is hope, love and tragedy all rolled into one. When was the last time I felt that?

Johnnie Cash is singing, Orange Blossom Special so I must be getting close to home. Wheels down but does the reverie have to stop? I have travelled Everywhere Man and it truly is spectacular. I have sensed joy and also a lot of heart break. It is that stupid thing called life once again. 

Go find a plane or car or bus or maybe just a record. Take it upstairs and look down. Think about what an incredible world we have but don’t forget just how badly we have screwed it up in spots. We are all humans with a lot of failings. But if we step back for a minute there is so much we as owners and caretakers can do.

As I gaze at the little screen at my seat I am amazed at the wisdom and simplicity of our our lives. As they are or maybe as they should be. No, I do not want to be an Okie from Muskogee nor do I need to be in Folsom Prison singing the blues. But there is an earthiness and honesty here that I wish we could go back to. Mutual concern not disdain. Sweetness not acrimony. Maybe just understanding we are all in this together. Please unfasten your seatbelt and see the world

As always

Ted The Great. 

Factoids:

Country Music on PBS is an eight part 18 hour presentation that is simply wonderful. Take the time. It is well worth it. 

The Grand Ole Opry, America’s longest-running radio broadcast, began in 1925 and moved to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1943.th-15.jpeg Dedicated to country’s old-time roots, the Opry prohibited the use of electric guitars until after WWII, and drums weren’t allowed onstage until 1973. This conservatism extended to artists as well: a young Elvis Presley made his only performance at the Opry in 1954, and was asked politely to not come back.

Jimmy Dean translated the success of his 1963 hit “Big Bad John” into a television program, and then into an $80 million sausage company. Fellow ‘one hit wonder’ artists should take notes.

Classic Songs:

You’re The Reason Our Baby’s So Ugly

She Got The Gold Mine And I Got The Shaftth-16.jpeg

She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger

My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field, While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart

I’ve Got The Hungries For Your Love And I’m Waiting In Your Welfare Line

I Wouldn’t Take Her To A Dawg Fight, Cause I’m Afraid She’d Win

Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure

Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life

2 thoughts on “High Country…..

  1. Way to go, TTG. Nice travelogue!

    Other classics, circa 1976-1987 that should never be forgotten:

    “I Flushed you down the toilet of my heart.”

    Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew Boys rendition of “Keep your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed, Women’s liberation is going to your head.”

    “Dirty old egg-sucking hound”

    All are best sung whilst performing colonoscopies! Cheers!

  2. Beautiful my boy. I was going to use those but really thought they were too crude for my varied audience. So glad the King of the Scope took the burden from me. TTG

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