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Mare Wakefield

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If I didn't know my neighbors

If I didn't know my neighbors I would be poorer. I would be poorer in spirit and in material possessions. Part of me longs to be anonymous and so to remedy this longing, I go out of town and play shows for strangers. I really like meeting strangers, but then I get to come home where I wave to everyone and they wave back to me. When my brother died last spring, a neighbor sent a check to cover our plane tickets. When we were expecting our third son and only had a Honda Civic, friends from church came over to our house and gave us their mini-van. When I was by myself in the back of the church on Sunday morning with three kids 4 and under, my neighbors came and sat with me and held my babies for me. In the fall, our neighbors come over with trash bags full of freshly butchered meat they share with us. Our neighbors know our children and let me know when they are riding their bikes uptown without paying attention to the traffic. If I didn't know my neighbors I wouldn't be able to help them in their time of need and they wouldn't know to help me. There is something romantic about walking down a crowded street of a new city by yourself taking it all in. But there's something blessed and priceless about living in a place where we've created a huge extended family. When the retired band teacher who gives music lessons suddenly dies, he is missed by everyone. We need each other. That's a hard lesson to learn without your neighbors.

Tonight our friends are taking us out to Bee, NE. It's another small town famous for its fish fry. We're going there for the fish fry. 

Last Friday my neighbors and friends came to the Olde Glory Theatre in Seward, NE for an evening of music I shared with my friends, Mare and Nomad. It was a great night. Mare and Nomad made the drive all the up from Nashville to sing this show with me. Afterward we treated ourselves to late night Mexican food. We got to the restaurant right before they were closing the kitchen. We had a chance to catch up and talk about how great the show was. It was a quick visit, but it was delightful. 

My husband, Jon, came up to play with me for a couple of songs. That's always special.

Last week when I didn't know the results of the presidential election I made the decision to quit my job. It's time. 

Maybe it was the change in the air, perhaps it was the Cubs winning the World Series, or maybe I just realized I was waiting around for something that might never come on its own. I decided it's time to go all in and do music. 

For the last few months I've craved long stretches of time for making something, but long stretches are real hard to come by. Presently I have three album projects in various stages. I have work that's unfinished and it's time to start finishing it. Quitting my day job and getting to the real work is what I'm gonna do. It might be that I'm begging for my job back in six months, but for now I'm going all in. Because what am I waiting for?

If I didn't know my neighbors I wouldn't feel half as confident in this decision. When I'm gone my neighbors know that my boys will need someone to sit with at church. My neighbors know when I'm playing a show and make a point to ask me how it went. If I didn't know my neighbors it would be a lot harder to make the leap. I like going out and meeting people and seeing new things. It's even better knowing that I've got this beautiful place to come home to at the end of it. 

IN closing, a BIG shout out to Rex Walton for his photos taken at the Olde Glory show AND during my first concertwindow.com show this week. Rex, you're awesome.

 

 

 

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Getting back and getting on

Star Belle hobbled back into town on last Sunday afternoon. For mothers with kids it was a quick turn around to Halloween on Monday. It meant lots of last minute getting of things, carving of pumpkins and roasting of pumpkin seeds. (Mom, they said, Mom, let's roast pumpkin seeds, they said! Come on, Mom!..and then I did and then those sad little pumpkin seeds sat forgotten on the table. I shoulda seen that coming, I said.)

It was a beautiful night to be trick or treating. The town was out, we saw our friends and our neighbors walking the streets. People had fires in fire pits on their driveways, Halloween lights strung, candy, candy, candy and no need for a jacket. Jon stayed at the house passing out candy and I walked with the younger boys. My thirteen year old decided to stay home, but when he got a call to go over to a friend's house at 8:30pm he was so excited, he yelled goodbye, hopped on his bike and was gone. We came home with pillow cases full of candy just like I did when I was a kid. We stayed up too late and dragged ourselves out of bed the next morning. Good times.

The younger boys didn't need me with them. Next year they can go out on their own. The older boy is so smart and funny and responsible, he's got it together like a boss. It's like I looked up one day and they were older than I remembered. I looked up one day and the distance between them and me had grown wider, not because they don't need me, but because they don't need me in the same way as before. I see them navigating the world more and more on their own and I get to stand back and watch and be ready if they need me. Otherwise, my job is slowly turning into the roadie and guitar tech off stage. They play the show, I help them get the right gear for the gig. I'm waiting in the wings in case the set falls down, but other than that, I'm support. It's not my show anymore. It's awesome and it's heartbreaking.

We listened to the World Series on the radio in the living room. I tried to explain to my children that it was history. I have a secret love for baseball that doesn't get quenched much. Back when we lived in St. Louis we were given tickets to Cardinals games over the years and I fell in love with the ballpark. There is nothing like it. It feels magical to me. Listening to the game on the radio you'd think would be frustrating, but it wasn't. It was magical and, for one night, America kicked ass and we all loved it. I loved it. My kids, however, didn't grasp the import. Kids.

I started a stupid diet on Monday and I've stuck with my stupid diet this whole week. I use this stupid diet app where you log everything you put in your mouth and it calculates the calories and exercise and then, at the end of the day, it projects how much you'll weigh in five weeks if you stick with your stupid calorie in take. The ample use of the word "stupid" would imply that I don't want to be on a diet and that's true, but I chose this and I like to think that the more days I stick with this stupid diet, the less inclined I'll be to call it stupid. That sounds reasonable, right? Here's hoping.

Tonight my friends come in to town and we're going to play a show. My friend Lloyd is the hero of tonight because he took it upon himself to sell all the tickets. I'm not known for my self-promotion skills, Lloyd knows that and became my champion. I wrote a song for him last year when his wife passed away. I don't think he's ever heard it. I wonder when I'll ever get a chance to sing it for him. It's pretty sad, but when I sing it I can see him and Carol sitting across from one another at table 8 at the restaurant and we're talking about Hawaii and the Pearl Harbor memorial and then he's teasing her and she's half smiling and half rolling her eyes. We all wish we could be like Lloyd and Carol. 

So that's what's up. The kids are growing up, we're getting on, the sun still shines and the Cubs won the World Series. I log my calories for a hard-boiled egg and sip my herbal tea so I'm not fat when I turn forty. I get up at 5am (today) to help my son brown hamburger meat and get ready for his Boy scout camping trip that starts after school and I figure out what songs to sing for tonight's show while cleaning the downstairs bathroom. That's how you do it. Happy Friday.

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