The main reason I planned two separate trips to Vermont in the same month was to attend two different weddings. But I like to make the most of my trips back east by getting around and playing some gigs so I set up shows in Boston, Burlington, Richmond, and New York.
The first trip home started with a delayed red eye flight out of LA resulting in a missed connection in Newark. Waiting for the next available flight to VT, I came across a guy jamming in the terminal, switching on and off between accordion and violin. I sat close by to listen and do some people watching. Everyone assumed that we were together since I had my guitar with me, and I thought about trying to jam with him, but in the end I just sat to listen, write, and sip some watered down starbucks. The strangest thing was the lack of applause as he'd finish up a song; just aloof airport silence with perhaps a few reverberating claps.
I arrived in Burlington VT with just enough time to get my rental car, pick up my friend Matt, and hit the road for a 4 hour drive down to Boston. It gave Matt and I time to catch up, as we hadn't seen in other in 7 years or so. I played that night at Hennessy's Hooley House which was in a pretty happening part of Boston. My high school friend Stephanie showed up to see me, and my college roommate Nick showed up after I had finished my set. The real fun was catching up with everyone after the gig, and figuring out a place to stay for the night since my original connection never showed up.
Woke up early the next day (moderate hangover) and soon Matt and I were on the road back to VT. I played that night at the Radio Bean in Burlington, one of my favorite spots in town, and one of the most gracious venues to artists of all kinds. During the first few songs there was this drunk girl sitting up front making sarcastic comments about things I was saying, and talking loudly over me as I was playing. All I could really think the whole time was; "What a bitch" and "should I ask this girl to leave?" Thankfully, she left on her own after 3 or 4 songs of my penetrating evil gaze. Perhaps I was a bit on edge myself after two nights of little sleep encompassing a cross country flight, another show, and 8 hours of driving. But its always great to play in Vermont, where I have by far the most support. Thanks to all the folks who came out on a dreadfully hot and humid night in Burlington!
The rest of the trip was great - a BBQ with friends, Geoff and Jessica's wedding, and a treasured visit with my Aunt Monique suffering from terminal cancer but in good spirits as always. Waiting at Burlington Airport for my flight back to LA I even ran into a cousin, and got to catch up with her and her twin boys.
While I was back in Los Angeles working and preparing for the next round of travel and shows, it became apparent that Auntie Monique's six month time frame was more a matter of weeks, which quickly turned to just days. The Monday I was scheduled to leave for Richmond I got the news that she would most likely not make it through the night. I canceled my Thursday gig in New York City, and purchased a flight to VT from Virginia. When I arrived in Richmond Tuesday morning she had passed away.
Despite the situation, I had a pretty good day catching up with former Bridgework bass player Erik, and his wife Christa. They gave me the quick tour of Richmond, and that night Erik joined me on stage for a few songs. Special thanks to Laura for setting up the gig at The Camel, and everyone else who came out that night.
The next day, Wednesday the 28th, my birthday, I flew back home to Vermont to be with my family and grieve the loss of Aunt Monique. My brothers and sister all came home too, making it the first time our whole family, parents and kids, had been together in over 8 years. Although we come from a rather large extended family, Monique's passing was especially difficult as she was the closest Aunt to us and was the most present in our lives. As it turned out, the Saturday that her funeral was held was the same day as the wedding I had originally intended to travel home for anyway. After the funeral I did attend the wedding, although I passed on the reception to have some more family time.
An eventful July 2010, to say the least. Congrats to Geoff and Jessica, and to Nic and Tansy, for tying the knot! Sorry to my New York friends, who I hope to see again very soon. And to Auntie Monique: Know that we love you, miss you, and will continue to live with your example and influence everyday.