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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Joy In Jackson - - June 14, 2003

Nobody's reading my "Anniversary Archives." Maybe the problem is the repetition of the title. I get too much enjoyment from re-publishing some of my posts from back in the early days, so I'm not going to give it up. I'll try just using the title--and date--of the original post.

So, to continue with my road saga, here's my post from exactly four years ago:
What a change Jackson was from the poverty by which we were surrounded just the day before. If you’re not a millionaire, forget it, Jack. Actually, they have a saying here: “The billionaires are driving out the millionaires.” My old Buddy, Ed, and his wife, Harriet, are two among a small and hardy group of non-millionaires who manage to squeak out an existence in this playground of the rich.

Not five minutes after we arrived, Ed, with the extra-keen observant sense of the pilot and writer that he sometimes is, pipes up with, I’ll bet you guys are in the mood for some good food.” Man, you go that right.

We piled into their SUV (naturally, everyone has one here) and drove north up the Hole for about fifteen minutes, straight toward the Grand Teton. We pulled up to a joint called Dornan’s and walked inside. There, curving behind the large L-shaped bar was an eight-foot high picture window with a backdrop so overwhelming that it almost made you faint when you entered the room. We were nearly at the base of the immense mountain, and the back-bar window perfectly framed it in its entirety. I could imagine becoming an alcoholic just by sitting at this bar and watching the color and light changes of the mountain throughout the span of entire days.

Oddly, only two people were at the bar. The reason soon became clear. The weather was pleasant and there was a large deck on the roof of the place with lots of tables. I’ve never had a lunch in a more spectacular setting. And to add to my pleasure, they must have flown in fresh romaine and other high-quality salad greens from California. I ordered a huge salad and vacuumed it up like a refugee from a concentration camp.

As day grew into evening, we gathered ‘round Ed’s dining room table for some barbecued lamb. Ed and I were tossing down vodka martinis and feeling no pain. Ed and Harriet’s son joined us and Ed uncorked some old Zinfandels that he’d been holding onto for just such an occasion. “No locals get this stuff,” he proclaimed. “Only my old drinking buddies.”

Needless to say, we were soon in our cups. Our respective sons got quite an earful as they listened to their glassy-eyed dads trading stories about the early days of drugs, rock, protest, etc. Then, feeling no pain themselves, they began to pitch in with stories of their own. It was a great bonding moment. When my sons were infants, I used to fantasize about someday being able to knock back some booze together and trade stories. Now it was actually happening and it was better than the fantasies.

Of course, we couldn’t look a drink in the face the next day and instead, rented North by Northwest. Jon had never seen it and we had just been to Mt, Rushmore, so it was the perfect choice. I’ve seen this flick at least six times and it holds up beautifully each time.

We got a good night’s sleep, bid a fond goodbye to our wonderful hosts, and set out for the final leg of our journey. In forty-eight hours, we would be eating California food again, sleeping in our own beds, and, in my case, enjoying the embraces of my dear and sorely missed wife.

On the Road—Postscript

I would be remiss if I closed out my road diaries without acknowledging my son Jonathan—my trusty shotgun rider, relief driver, and most importantly, disc jockey. Like most young people, Jon has one of those zippered binder CD holders that’s about as thick as five Sears catalogues. It was right under his feet throughout the entire trip. I revealed my out-of-it-ness by asking how he could afford so many CDs.

The dismissive reply was predictable: “Dad, nobody buys CDs anymore. Haven’t you heard of file-sharing and downloading?”

“Of course I have. I just haven’t spent any time thinking about it. I thought it was illegal or something.”

A shake of the young head and rolling of the eyes. End of conversation.

Happily, that was the only sour note. The lad’s collection was a revelation as well as another arena of filial bonding. It included the complete discography of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Credence Clearwater Revival, plus many of my favorites from The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, and others. The father’s heart was gladdened by the son’s appreciation of formative rock and roll.

I’ve referred in earlier posts to the absence of a current generation gap in comparison to anything like the way it was in the Sixties. I’m sure that anyone of my generation will nod in recognition when I say that, when we were young, the notion of parent and child enjoying the same pop groups would have been about as likely as the two of them sharing a joint or hit of acid.

In addition, Jon introduced me to some really cool present-day stuff—e.g., Beck. Beck is well known, of course, and I’ve certainly heard of him. I even have a single of his on a Hank Williams tribute album. But I’ve never listened to his wider work. Like many deserving contemporary artists, he gets scant airplay in today’s corporatized, homogenized radio universe. Oldsters like me are thus left in the dark. How true it is that having kids helps keep you young!

Another introduction from Jon’s collection that I particularly enjoyed was Portishead. There were others—very hip DJ mixes, for example, about which I was completely ignorant. But the hipness and the intoxicating beats were a pleasant counterpoint to the many hours of highway boredom.

What really blew me away was when Jon whipped out both his Miles Davis collection and The Modern Jazz Quartet. I had no idea his eclecticism had expanded to this level! There’s nothing like the feeling of parental pride. I never proselytized my kids about my musical tastes. Jon came to Miles and MJQ on his own, and I was duly impressed.

So kudos to Jonathan. He made a long trip eminently enjoyable.


  • Same with me and my younger one. We keep turning each other on to different artists. He even called to tell me a funny story relating to this topic.

    Seems a group of young lovelies have been spending a lot of time, hanging out with him and the roomies at their new off-campus digs (to be a classic party house, he assures me). They get to talking about music and everyone shares their faves, and music they just don't get.

    The next morning he and one of the roomies are discussing the women and sharing observations.

    "Whadjuh think of (name of girl)?"

    They both agree she's attractive, very babe-alicious, pretty nice. Yet neither one finds her ultimately attractive, despite her physical loveliness and mostly pleasant self. It comes down to music.

    "But she doesn't like the Beatles."

    And they both feel this makes her not worthy of pursuit. How could one have any sort of relationship with a girl who doesn't like the Beatles?

    I am such a proud father.

    By Blogger DeanLand, at 1:24 PM  

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