I had the strangest dream. I dreamed that on January 1st of 2020 I was singing with The Mystiqueros at one of the most iconic and fabulous places in the world, Gruene Hall. I was dancing with friends, standing next to Ron Flynt, gazing out in the packed audience and smiling so huge that my face hurt. It was a beautiful night, filled with beer, love and snacks that our friend Mary Johnson made & passed around to the entire crowd. It was a glorious ending to a great band. The Final Mysitquero show. It was sad, but soulful. Everyone loved that dang band.. but after 13 years, it was time to move on. I floated on that hippie musical love wave for a long time. January was full of gigs and fun. February was full of gigs and more fun. March was full of baseball and gigs and oh holy hell, what?! The TP is being hoarded at HEB? I heard the crowd at the Leander High baseball game nervously talking about this virus and how it is making people stock up on TP and paper towels and cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer and Oreos. And wine. For the love of all things holy.. NOT the wine.
We had a gig the next night in Dripping Springs. It was weird not to hug our friends. It was the introduction of the elbow bump. It was bizarre to talk about something so foreign as a "Pandemic" and not just the normal stuff like blowing our diets, what our kids were up to and where we were planning on going for Spring Break. I remember a pack of kids all gathering around our friend, and fellow musician, Marion Brackney...while she crouched down and showed them her violin close up. There were probably 6 kids staring at Marion with awe. Like some kind of real life super hero. It was beautifu.l and the night was, although strange, still kind of beautiful too. It was a tiny bit of heaven, amidst the looming news.
Then I woke up. Then we all woke up.
I just looked back on all of the months in my 2020 calendar. All of the gigs cancelled, trips cancelled, games cancelled. New, strange virtual plans implemented. Bad days. Sad days. Good days. It was the roller coaster of roller coasters. It was like The Galactic Vomitronasorous in the worst theme park ever. I had a year like that in 1994 and 1996. And 2013. But those were merely 1st and 2nd runner up and the Miss Congeniality of bad years. This year though... was just flat surreal for all of us. The Twisted Surrealasaurus. We all had things cancelled. We all stayed home and washed our hands into chappedom. We all grieved for what could have been. Some of us experienced the deepest of sorrows, in the hardest of years.
Deep Breath. Deep Pause. Continued Faith. Abundant Prayers. Vigilant Care.
We throw away last year's calendar and we start anew. Even though logically, it is just another day... it feels fresh to our psyche to begin again. Metaphorically, the slate is clean. It's good to clear out the junk of the past year, closets, garages, the pantry, attitudes, self loathing and the liquor cabinet. It's good to write down new goals, hopes and dreams. It feels right to create a positive roadmap... and hope we can get to the next level that our souls desire. Maybe this year. Maybe this year. Maybe this year will be my year. I think there are a bunch of us who could be healthier, strive to be happier and do our best to be better humans than we were at the Piggly Wiggly in the paper aisle in the 3rd week of March.
Some lessons learned from 2020? Be Kind & take care of each other. Don't hoard shit. Pick up after yourself. Plant a garden. Plant a tree. Recycle your tequila bottles. Write some poetry. Paint the playground. Take a walk. Take responsibility. Take science to heart. Be thankful. Wash your hands. Wash them again. Wear a mask. Wear a mask and volunteer. Call your friends. Call your family. Don't take travel for granted. Don't take each other for granted. Don't take your vibrant health for granted. Eat an apple rather than the Scoobydoodles. Take vitamins. Read a book. And maybe, when we leave this big blue marble, perhaps the generations will say... "It took a pandemic, but they kind of got some things right."