Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Ballad of the Flowery Trail

Today, October 10th, marks the 4th anniversary of my marriage.

Back in 2007, I was just starting to branch out with my music.  As such, I was looking for various venues around the area to see if they had any open-mic nights or things of that nature.  I happened across a small blip in the North Columbia Monthly about open-mic nights every other Friday at a place called Flowery Trail Coffeehouse in Chewelah, WA.

I had never been there before, but since I was living in Colville at the time, a 25-mile trip wasn't too much of a hassle.  After a few failed attempts to find the place, I received directions from a very friendly elderly lady.  I talked to Sally, the Flowery Trail's owner, about their open-mic nights, and she said that they had one coming up that Friday.

That Friday evening, I showed up, guitar in hand, and almost didn't go in -- there was a coffeehouse full of PEOPLE in there.  People I didn't know!  I've often wondered why I'm so interested in being a musician, because (more often than not) the thought of meeting people and interacting with people tends to fill me with dread.  Regardless, I walked in, signed up, and quickly sat down somewhere in the corner.

There are two things I remember from that night:

1. The audience seemed to rather like me.  I played a couple of covers -- at one point, before launching into "Play A Train Song," I asked the crowd if there were any Todd Snider fans there.  When I was met with silence, I replied, "Well, in that case, I wrote this song myself."

2. There was a beautiful young lady there who really caught my eye -- not just because she was a looker, but also because when she walked, she didn't just walk, she glided across the room.

And so I thought, well, maybe there's something to this music thing, after all.  Because, let's face it, 99% of the time, when guys want to be musicians, it's got nothing to do with musical ideals or getting some convoluted message out to the hungry masses -- it's about the ladies.

I was too nervous to talk to that girl that night, but I decided to go back.  So, two weeks later, I returned with my brother Nick and his friend David as back-up.  After all, if she wasn't a regular, I didn't really want to sit around all by myself.  This particular Friday saw a major decline in audience: there was Sally, a few other people, and the girl and her sister.  We got to chatting a little bit and I thought she seemed like a really nice girl.

Two weeks later I returned.

She wasn't there.

Well, my motivation evaporated pretty quickly to be there, but I dutifully played a few songs and commented to Sally how disappointed I was that the "really cute girl who was usually there" wasn't there this time around.  Sally, perhaps somewhat jokingly, suggested I write a song about it.  I laughed, said, "Yeah, 'The Ballad of the Flowery Trail.'"

So I did.

When I went back to the Flowery Trail, that "cute girl" was there, and I was suddenly terrified to play this song in front of her -- I really thought I was going to come across as a stalker.  Happily, that wasn't the case, and at the end of the evening she let me walk her to her car, and I braved up and asked for her number.

And that was how I met Melanie.  Married four years now, and our first baby on the way, due sometime around the end of January.

I didn't think that things like these happened outside of books and movies.  I also know that I am a lucky, lucky man.  I don't know what I did to deserve such an amazing woman, but I am well aware that I really, really lucked out.

And on that note, I'd like to share with you this very sweet love song performed by Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster, as those merry married mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle, from the incredibly funny "Beyond Belief" segment of The Thrilling Adventure Hour.  It's funny, a little sassy, and it makes me think of Mel.

As I type this she's playing "On My Own" from Les Miserables on the piano.  It's very nice.

Thus endeth our origin story.

Bottom line: I love my lady.  Here's to many more!


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