So Memorial Day’s here. When I lived back at the Walmart, that was a big one – like, if you were still sitting there after the unofficial start of summer,that was it. Chances were you’d still be hanging around when the Back To School craziness started up at the end of August.
The tour’s over, they’d played the last show down in Baltimore, and really – we’d made it through a lot together. I was pretty tired and even feeling up for hanging out in the garage for a while. I mean, it’s not so bad in there in the summer.
Then I hear them talking – about taking something back to the store. There’s a big hubbub cause the lady can’t find the receipt, but she says she remembers the exact day she bought it and how nice they always are over there about taking returns.
I’ve got to say I was a little surprised. After all we went through together on this last tour, I felt like we were almost a family. I know the shows are over for now and everything but it never hurts to have a bag on hand for emergencies.
Then I start getting piissed off – I mean, can’t these losers make up their minds? The worst I can say is they fit in just fine at that Catskill Walmart, with the rest of the desperate types you see in there. They think it’s all such a big laugh – try living in that place.
But then I remember it’s kind of peaceful and just more…even, than this being on the road business. I start deciding that really, maybe touring isn’t for me, how I’m probably not cut out for it at all. I’m just not tough enough – sure, I’m 600 D ballistic fabric composite nylon with Durable Webbing Handles but sometimes I admit it, I’m too sensitive. I feel things too much. It must be why I’m a decent bag. I do more than just get the job done.
I mean yeah , no – I liked it and everything. Getting to hang out in some pretty cool places, and all the music and the people and the laughs. Even when we were in Omaha, which we all agreed we’d never discuss outside of our own “inner circle” – even then I was learning and growing. But in the long run, where’s it gonna get you?
So we’re on the short drive back over to Walmart and I’m looking around at everyone (the kids were too tired after driving down and back to Baltimore yesterday to unload). There’s Dani and what must be her cousin the 12-string in the hard case. Archery bag – sure he’s top dog and he doesn’t let me forget – he knows I couldn’t cut it with the precious guitar stands but still, he really helped me out a lot, showed me the ropes, stuck up for me that time in St. Louis when I was all over the place.
There’s the other guitars and the amps like usual and I see the two heads over the tops of the front seats and they’re playing Tom Petty now – “Running Down A Dream” and I get a little misty, thinking how I’m really gonna miss this. But honest, I know once I’m back on the shelf, life’s gonna be a heck of a lot easier.
The van rolls into a parking space and I’m prepared, really I am. I’m not going to make a big ceremony out of this. I won’t even look back when they take me out.
It’s quiet for a while. A little while later, the kids come back, they’re laughing and high-fiving about a scale they bought back in March before the flight to England. Something they needed to weigh all the bags and how it didn’t work so good and they’d been wanting to take it back but couldn’t find the receipt but the Walmart will take anything back so hey no problem.
Then we’re pulling back into the driveway, I can see that red Japanese maple against the blue Memorial Day sky and it hits me – it wasn’t me they’d been talking about.
Who knows how long they’ll leave us in the van – I hear they have to drive back down to Newark Airport today to pick up the guy’s mother. Whatever they decide to do is fine by me.
But when we roll I hope they crank up the Petty. It’s almost summer after all.