Darned anniversaries. Yeah, the time draws nigh to recall a significant episode in my road bum history. I should have an allergy to anniversaries by now. This one is so old that I have trouble remembering what happened. It was June 5th, and the roses were blooming. I was somewhere near the Conowingo dam and Rising Sun watching the sunrise. A trucker stopped to pick me up, and somewhere along the way, we stopped for breakfast at a diner—a perfect start to a day on the road. I was trying to get to Boston for a gig and mourning the end of my relationship with Susan.
A bright, sun-filled day, the truckers present of a ten-dollar bill, and a good breakfast, helped lift the fug of the broken relationship. Susan and I had been much more than occasional lovers.
Susan and I had been more like performance buddies than lovers. We had begun the journey to adulthood in Greenwich Village two years before. We supported each other through bad performances and homelessness. We had shared ecstatic events, rainy days standing in doorways singing the blues and scrounging for food, drinks, and the cash to buy guitar strings. You know, the essentials of life. We eagerly consumed life and then shared our experiences.
Then one day, the pattern of life parted. No, it did not shatter; it parted. People reach a point where what was once adequate or wonderful is no longer sufficient. And that’s what happened to us.
The parting had started several months earlier when I left to go to Boston, on to Maine, and off to other parts. Telephone calls and postcards did not bridge the gap that grew.
When you are that young, growth can happen at a furious rate. In physical terms, you seem to grow inches in days. Emotionally, you also snowball towards maturity. One night sitting in Rienzi’s, we took note of the growth and realized that we were growing apart. Angry at the growing differences, we decided to split. We realized we could not hold each other for ransom.
That night I was on the road to a gig in Baltimore. After that, it would be back to Boston from Baltimore, avoiding New York if possible.
Standing on the highway later, the sun now far above the horizon, I felt an incredible feeling of opportunity, of beginning, and the ability to enter a broader world then that which I had populated to that point.
So I’ve called that anniversary “Entrance” ever since. And I guess I’m a lier and remember more about it than I said I did. It’s funny how these anniversaries persist, and you look off into a sunrise, hear the traffic on the highway and feel a sense of abiding hope. It’s a gift from years ago, and sometimes it sneaks up on me like it did this morning. And the world stops feeling old and becomes bright and new again.