In the wake of a three shows in three nights a celebration was mandatory. Something to say, “this happened and it didn’t suck.” An event; a happening. I mean, there was a celebration after every show… Ones that had meaning and couth to them too. But, this one was different; eerie, in fact.
We found ourselves in Ketchum, Idaho… which just so happens to be the resting spot for one of the greatest American writers ever; Ernest Hemingway. The last time we found ourselves in Ketchum for a show it was for a Kentucky Derby party… late in the night one of our band members wanted to show us Ernest Hemingway’s grave. It did not happen. The group as a whole was ready to go back to the condo… the excursion would be just that; an excursion…
In this, the return trip to Ketchum aka Sun Valley, ID, we decided that we for many reasons had to see Ernest’s grave. Maybe it was in defiance of the last time. Maybe it was to define the moment. Maybe it was a lot of things, but the 10 of us, the band and entourage walked 15 minutes to a cute, old styled, cemetery; “The Ketchum Cemetery.” The air was cold, but it seemed colder in that last trip, which was late in the spring of 2019… maybe our bodies were now in winter mode. Maybe it was the drugs… who can know?
The entourage was in factions; 2-4 at sometimes, but as we entered the cemetery under it’s arched entitled entrance we amalgamated into a single group. The grave was elusive. We came off the main path, another arch, a number of times. We were trying to follow our cellular, digital GPS underneath the stars that were as present as Ernest would eventually show himself to be. Eventually, between and under two giant, coniferous trees; there it was. A flat grave that had trinkets and items of homage lied upon it… Coins, cigarettes, plus, beer and weed eventually found their way there in honor of the long deceased, alcoholic, American writer.
The youngest and most disconnected players of our group asked, “so, how did you know this guy?” An uproar of their ignorance came from the remaining 80% of the group. We had officially become old asking, “what has happened to the intelligence of the youth of America.” This led to chuckles and then faded into the white noise of the dry, cold Ketchum air.
“Should we have a prayer?” I asked… I’m not religious, but, it’s something that the band will do before shows. The drummer, Micah, will give us a Mormon prayer in Italian… for me it’s more ironic, but at some level I believe it. I’m not sure what it is for the others, nonetheless it’s a galvanizing thing that we do. The moment seemed like it would be complete with that. Micah conceptually clears his throat as we join in a huddle around and slightly on top of Ernest’s grave. As Micah is about to deliver his first piàne, brother, not my brother, Ryan starts to speak with a confidence and calm urgency that we’d not heard from him until this moment.
The speech was short and simple. At first it was just brass tax of the situation; it’s tribute and it’s solemn, but special meaning. And then, at the end there was a brief bit of humor that seemlessly concluded the speech… I can’t help but to think that Ryan was possessed by Ernest. I’m not saying he isn’t a forthright person that would give a speech, but there was something about it that to me suggest that it wasn’t quite his usual tone… It had an heir of the 20s, that’s the 1920’s to it’s utterance. It sounded like he was on stage at a secret brothel in Chicago; black and white, flappers and all.
I then reached into my pocket and flipped my half dollar coin with JFK on one side of it. I asked Marshal, heads or tails and flipped it. He guessed correctly, “tails,” however it’s decision had no weight. The universe that it lands on heads is likely the exact same.
We then led ourselves out back through the arching cemetery gates under the stars that presented themselves like pins poked plentifully into the sky above us. We carried on with our celebration, at first together. The youngest of the entourage had driven to the grave yard. They’d got their first and parked. Rita turned around and grabbed the car. At first, Pepper and I were going to let them fly solo, but then we separated from the group with the young ones. What they all did? The group; I don’t know. What we did? It Is non-consequential. Then, the four of us, the youngsters, Pepper and I ascended to our luxurious second floor hotel room, which held a comfortably robed Tyler and Alexa.
Oh, DAve,” Tyler said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”…“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”