Which Way Is Left In Canada
by Chuck RitenouR
At the time, I thought this was going to be a great adventure. I thought we were going to go out there and make a ton of money. During that first day on the road, we stopped at a little convience store and gas station on the outskirts of Montgomery, Alabama. It was our first stop. Bean and I went into the store and bought some ice and sodas for the cooler, a big bag of chips and a map.In 1982, there was no OnStar, no TomTom nor any other satellite guidance systems for privately owned vehicles. At the time. I thought I'd track our expenses, so I bought a Pen-Tab three subject note book. I also dabble in writing poetry and song lyrics so I thought this would be the ideal thing for multiple use.
We had been driving for about four hours. The sun was up and angry. We all took our turn in the bathrooms. Fifteen minutes later, we were on the road again. Any time something of interest occurred, I jotted it down in the journal. I always had it with me. I wrote the names of all the club owners or managers in it. I wrote a few song lyrics and poems. In the back, I tranferred all the addresses of my friends and family. I thought it would be a smart idea to have them there as a back up. I never showed the journal to anyone except Bean. I never spoke of any of the things I wrote. Bean never asked about it and to my knowledge never really looked at it. The journal became more like a diary. At times, I felt like a school girl as I scribbled all my frustrations and disappointments in it.
As I sat there looking at the names and addresses that I wrote down twenty eight years ago, I found myself thinking of those people. I never saw most of them again. While Bean and I were apart, I dated several young women. I also had the addresses and phone numbers of many musicians I had met. Names and memories jump from the pages. Ila, Porche, Tee, Becky, Kathy, Nicki, Gator, Billy Bob, Steve, Mark, Bobby, Jesse, Frank,and Robin are just some of names on the pages. Each name is a story. Bobby Watt and Jesse Shrum died and are buried in Tallahassee. Becky was my first "older woman". When we dated, she was forty-five years old. She would be in her seventies if she is living. Ila is married and became an attorney. Frank is married for the second time and has a little daughter. Frank is now an investment banker in Miami, Florida. So many names and so many stories yet to be told.
When we finally made it home to Virginia, I packed the journal away. Somehow, it made it through all the moves. A few weeks ago, I was going through things I had put in the basement of my parents house. My third marriage had come crashing down and I stored a lot of my things there. I found the journal among several boxes of my college papers. I sat at my desk and began reading, reading and remembering.
I had found HubPages.com on a Facebook advertisement. I decided to publish some of my song lyrics on the site. I remember thinking, maybe I should publish the story of this ill fated road trip using the journal and my memory. I read the journal from cover to cover and gave the idea some seriuos thought. Was this a story that needed to be told? The answer was obviously no. Would it be helpful ? Again, the answer was no. Would the members of this endeavor look like fools? Finally, I came up with a yes. That was the answer. We were naive fools. We believed that the world would open its arms and embrace us. This is not a story of conquest. It is not a story of beating the odds and ultimate success.
It is a story of trials, tribulations and survival. It is the story of living gig to gig and travelling hundreds of miles. Its a story of depending on each other, of facing many challenges and finding solutions. We had to learn how to make every penny we earned count. We had to learn about business and about paying attention to the details. We had to learn how to cover all the bases and look at all the angles. Ultimately, we had to learn how to accept defeat and move on down our path.
If there is any redemption to be had, it is in the knowledge we gained and the fact that we continued on the path.