12 December 2008

Bluegrass at Holt's Music Shed

This is a video (shot by Charlie) of me and some of my friends playing at Holt's Music Shed last night. The song is "Somehow Tonight". I usually play with Steve Shelley (guitar) and Steve Treadway (bass) at McDonald's on Thursday nights, but last night we decided to head out to the metropolis of Avery and play with the Morris Bros. (and whoever else decided to show up) at Terry and Tammy Holt's place. Terry makes instruments and this is his shop. On Thursday nights, they have a little get together for anyone who wants to come. Tammy (mandolin) plays with Mike (banjo) and Matt (guitar) Morris. They've put out a couple of CDs and tour around playing at different events.

I wasn't real happy with my vocals. The room was a little echoey and I had a hard time hearing myself...or maybe I just stink. I just learned this song not too long ago and couldn't remember how the second verse started. Steve, the king of forgetting words, had to remind me how it started. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all. I'll be posting some more from this soon.

20 October 2008


Anybody who has known me for more than a few seconds knows that I love music. I've found over the years that music holds the power to convey thoughts, images, and feelings that you can't quite convey any other way. Ultimately, music has the power to heal hearts when nothing else can.

I've started listening to Keith Urban a little more lately, after I saw his "You Look Good in My Shirt" video and found out that he was a great guitar player. I've liked his stuff before, in fact, I used to sing "Making Memories of Us" at karaoke occassionally. After looking into his music and videos a little more, I ran across this video that is just incredibly powerful. I had heard the song before and hadn't paid it much attention but the video brought it home for me. The song was written by Darrell Brown, Dennis Matkosky, and Ty Lacy. These guys must have had some serious heartache to deal with. I guess, for some, that's how things are. Anyway, take a look at this incredible video:

I think I might continue this series on music with some bluegrass that I've been playing lately. I may even be able to get some video of Charlie singing with us. That's right...he loves bluegrass and sings with our group once in a while. So stay tuned.

03 October 2008

Back to Normal?

See...I told you I'm getting back to normal.

29 September 2008

You People are SOOO Boring!!

I haven't blogged anything in a while and I know why. It's not an easy thing to talk about so I'm just gonna come right out and say it. I've been battling depression since I got home. I guess that's what folks would call it. It feels more like a disconnect. I couldn't really put a finger on what was causing it until I met a friend of mine, Paul Reed, for dinner when I was in Charlotte last week. Paul and I went through the glorious hell of OCS and commissioned together. Prior to commissioning, Paul did a tour in Iraq and a lot of his personal life story mirrors mine. So, basically, he knew where I was coming from.

I told him that things just don't seem right at home, that the things that I used to think were important weren't anymore. I told him that I don't have any tolerance for gossip about people and their relationships or what happened at their jobs or the seemingly significant events in their lives. Why didn't they all just understand that none of that matters? I told him that some days I can't feel the wind blow and that I can look up and not see color in the sky. It all seemed so unimportant and trivial.

Paul listened for a while, smiled and told me that it does matter and that, eventually, it will matter to me again. He asked me how many people I knew drove to work everyday scrutinizing every detail along the way looking for changes that might indicate trouble. He asked me how many people I knew had contingency plans laid out for troubles on the way to work, have rehearsed those plans, and constantly play them out in their heads as they drive along. He asked me how many people have first aid kits in their car, much less directly on their person, all day everyday. He reminded me that this boring, superficial life we lead is normal and that the amped-up, on-edge life I led for a year is not. It's not even close to normal.

Paul said it took him several months to turn the soldier off. I guess I'm still trying to flip the switch. I thought I had. I wasn't even in "contact" that many times. Paul said it didn't matter, that the potential was there every day and every day I went out the wire expecting it. That's why when it did come, I didn't feel any adrenaline. It was business as usual.

I still jump at loud noises. The other day, I was laying in bed and Luke snuck in with his Nerf gun. The darts for this Nerf gun whistle as they go through the air. He shot it over my head and it hit the wall above me, whistling as it went. It took me about a second to realize what it was, but in that one second my adrenaline and training had already kicked in and I was looking for cover. It took me a couple of minutes to get rid of the shakes.

It was good to see Paul again. It was good to talk to somebody who had "been there, done that". I'm back to work and that is a good thing. I'm letting go of a lot of stuff, junk that I've been carrying around inside my head, junk that has been weighing on my heart. I'm learning that there is excitement in this boring life we lead. I've just got to remember where I left it.

30 April 2008

Coming Home

I'm currently in Kabul waiting to come home. It's not long now. I thought I'd sit down for a minute and just put down some thoughts on this deployment.

I knew when I joined the Army that deployment was not only possible but also highly likely. I didn't know it would come quite as quick as it did, though. At the time it seemed like an awful long time to be away. I sat down the other day and thought about how long I've been gone. With all the schools I had to attend before deploying, I've been home for maybe a month since June 2006. But looking back, my time here has gone by quickly.

I've met a lot of interesting people - people that I will never forget as long as I live, people that I will happily forget within hours of departing, and people that I nor anyone else will ever see again on this earth. It's the people here that make this tolerable. Without those friends, it's a miserable, lonely existence. Laughter is the one thing that holds us all together. We giggle at fart jokes. We belly laugh at homosexual references at another's expense (we know his turn for reprisal is coming). We laugh nervously at the unexpected and surreal events of a firefight or IED attack.

It's been said that war changes people. Who am I to dispute this? It does, but it changes everyone in a different way. For me, it's allowed me some time to put things in perspective. It's shown me moments of love, joy, and happiness. It's also shown me horrors that I couldn't have imagined and will carry to my grave. Even so I'm still glad to have been here. I can say that I was something that others didn't want to be. I went places that others feared to go. I was a soldier.

I'll be home in a week or two. It's been an adventure to say the least, but I'm ready to hang up the rifle and the helmet for a while...at least until Uncle Sam calls me again.