Wait … Tom Who?

Unique. True. Real. Acquired taste. Honest. Genuine. Fascinating. Hurts so good. Melodic. Melodramatic. Anti-melodic. Treasure. Original.

These are all words that I could apply to Tom Waits’ art, and I would still be one of those blind men describing the elephant in the story. My son Jonnie led me to his music a while back, at a time when I was looking for something at the opposite pole from bubblegum.

The first time that I heard him, being an exceedingly shallow person, I wondered why anyone would ever provide a microphone to a man with such a voice, much less record him at the scene of the crime.

It was only when I finally was able to set aside one of my oldest personal demons, expectations, that I could start to appreciate what Waits was doing.

And, of course, it was life- … I was going to write life-changing, but that’s not quite it. It was life-seeing, and honey, once you’ve seen you can’t go back to being blind. It ruins you for that.

(In this, it’s a bit like one of those phrases you hear around AA from time to time. “AA didn’t always keep me sober, but it did ruin my drinking for me.”)



Tuesday at five p.m. about a hundred souls gathered on the corner of Main & Townsend in 92 degree weather to witness for … what? For not-racism, not-murder, not-hatred, not-forgetting this time.

We were a long way from Minneapolis, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that injustice done anywhere hurts us all.

There were the usual honkers-in-agreement who drove by waving and signaling their agreement with the cause. And a couple of rage-filled people who shouted from their cars at us – so blinded by their choler they almost hit other cars.

Looking around the group … we kinda looked like America. Some white some black, some brown. Old, new, child, geezer. Young and cool side by side with the grizzled and the walker-bound.

[BTW: I created the sign with my own little hands. Only problem I had was with spelling the difficult word “the.”]


Taking off tomorrow for a weekend camping at Vega State Park. Justin and Amy and their families will be there as well for a weekend of social distancing and trying to eat S’Mors through an approved mask.

The expectations all seem a bit unreal to me. Throwing four vigorous young cousins together outdoors and expecting that they will maintain the proper distance … on what planet does that happen?

But it will be good to get out and away. We camp on separate sites and each family prepares its own food. I will offer pour-over coffee in the mornings as I usually do, as long as the person brings their own mug. I figure if the coronavirus is so tough that it can survive a bath in boiling water we’re doomed anyway.

There’s a small lake at the park. In fact, it’s the reason for the park. Some sorts of fish live in that lake, and we’ll have to see about reducing that number.

We’ll be back in Montrose on Sunday evening, after a couple of days away from news sources. Try to hold the world together in our absence, would you?


2 thoughts on “Wait … Tom Who?

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