when i was about the age Josephine is now, my father left.

he took with him a lot of what little my parents then owned, including all the cool stuff…the peace poster, the Dylan records, the Beatles. what was hip had never been my mother’s purview. she was left with six or seven records that became the soundtrack of my childhood…Joan Baez, John Denver, Roger Whittaker, The Sound of Music, Mario Lanza Sings Christmas (in mono, no less), Simon & Garfunkel, and Kris Kristofferson. i have a journal entry from the horribly self-conscious peach-satin-covered diary i kept in junior high that reads, Mom is playing Me and Bobby McGee downstairs and the sound of it is childhood, to me.

when i was four or five, i got lost in the K-mart.

i remember vaguely the feeling of surreality to it all, the many strange legs and bodies that were not my mother. i remember that some lady at the big service desk wiped my tears and gave me a lollipop, cherry red. but mostly i remember my mother’s story, trucked out in later years with a rueful laugh, of hearing the page and rushing to the counter only to find me happy as a clam, clutching a lollipop and singing.  singing Help Me Make it Through the Night to the K-mart shoppers of the day.

when i was twenty-four, i met Dave for the first time.

he was younger, brash and intense, and we were both spoken for. but i liked him. he felt kindred. and somewhere in a long evening of guitars and CDs beign spun, he dug out a scratched disc and said, i don’t know if you know this guy. and the opening strum and gravel intonations of To Beat the Devil sounded, and a friendship was sealed.

we’re hitting the road this morning. tonight, Dave and my mum and his dad and i will see Kris Kristofferson play.

…and you still can hear me singin’ to the people who don’t listen
to the things that i am sayin’
prayin’ someone’s gonna hear

and i guess i’ll die explainin’ how the things that they complain about
are things they could be changin’
hopin’ someone’s gonna care

i was born a lonely singer
and i’m bound to die the same
but i’ve got to feed the hunger in my soul

and if i never have a nickel i won’t ever die ashamed
cause i don’t believe that no one wants to know.

To Beat the Devil, Kris Kristofferson, dedicated to Johnny Cash & June Carter