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  10/16/05 - Somewhere on the Texas Highway near Vega

No folks, I am not writing this as I am driving, Pinto Pammy is at the helm and I’m laptopping this out to you. What a day! Started out with an early departure from OK City, we had a date with the Mediocre Melody Makers on Erick, the hometown of Roger Miller. Well let me first say that Harley & Annabelle (the Melody Makers) are anything but mediocre. They are exceptional in every way, talented musicians and performers (Harley is seriously swingin on the guitar, and I should know!), warm-hearted, funny, generous and human dynamos. They played for us and then we played for them, they brought some of their friends in too—they knew we were coming—and we had a blast. As far as I know, they are the only ‘people’ listed as a Route 66 roadside attraction, and believe me they deserve it. No trip down this road is complete without experiencing their brand of fun. I’m glad to know them, hear them and consider myself fortunate to have had another opportunity to hang in their museum of curios and musical instruments. And on top of it, they donated generously to our mission…Harley and Annabelle, you didn’t need to do that, but we thank you on behalf of the kids, truly.

We somehow managed to head out across the Texas State line (tweren’t easy) and visited a couple of classic old-style gas stations one was renovated the other in original splendor (you can check out the pix) and headed west to Amarillo. On Hiway 40—which has gobbled up more than its fair share of 66—is the famed and wonderful Cadillac Ranch, a bunch of misguided and constantly graffiti-tagged vintage Caddys, tail up in the Texas dirt.

Now, many of you remember the Big Texan, home of the ‘free’ 72-ounce steak…(of course, you have to eat it all with side dishes and desert in one hour). Now folks, try to stay with me on this, you are seated on a pedestal in the center of the huge dining room with a large clock ticking off the seconds as you masticate your way through a mastodon-sized portion of beef. There is a handy, lined bucket at your side, now, I don’t know about you, but that ain’t the ambience I’d go for in my eating establishment, but then again I’m one of them Cow-lifornians, hence, a little less competitive, obsessive and perhaps a bit more finicky in regards to my dining preferences. When eating is an Olympic sport I shan’t be entering, but if they add bebop I might well consider it.

We have a date with the Albuquerque Academy for lunch, a couple of workshops and concerts, so we decided to do a bit of the driving at night (especially since our only option is the Interstate for most of it). In the dark we passed the halfway point at Vega, it means that we are almost home and it is a bittersweet realization. The comforts of our own beds and ultimate success in the completion of the odyssey is offset by the rich continual experience of newness and unexpected that seems to find us out here. I think it is part the spirit of what we are doing and why, part the mix of people and personalities in the band, part the music and its broad influences and appeal, and of course the exceptional folks that seem to find us, be they fans, other musicians, or our generous, helpful cheery and supportive sponsors from SCO. (Guys, If you consider a career change Cow Bop can promise you at least $400 per year). The truth is: the world is full of people like this, and given a chance to be generous, spontaneous and participate, we all step up to the plate (I figured one baseball metaphor would be acceptable considering the season). Cow Bop and JazzMasters Workshop thanks you for your encouragement and spirit, we could never have pulled this off without you. I for one, will never view my fellow inhabitants on this planet the same way, and that is a gift to cherish forever.

A gentle reminder: We are doing this to support JazzMasters Workshop, a no charge music-mentoring programs for kids. Please consider a per mile pledge, we’d appreciate it. You can do it right from this site! Thanks.