The gig at the Tree House Lounge had been a bit of a last minute addition to the tour, and a slight change of plans.  Our friend, Stacia, was planning a birthday party and very much wanted us to be part of the festivities.  The original plan (after the Ohio gigs) had been to make our way to New England via Pennsylvania and New York.  But truth be told, I had lost some valuable lead time in my effort to book gigs over the summer when we got caught up in preparing the house to sell, then in preparing to move out of the house and get the RV ready for traveling.  Bottom line: I could use some time to regroup.  I needed to scope out some new gig options (mostly through the “Gig Finder” feature on the Reverb Nation site).  I needed a little breathing space to get online and do research, followed by some phone calls.  Gordon and Stacia had graciously invited us to park the RV in their driveway and camp out there for a week or so. 

Annapolis is part of a broad region surrounding Washington, DC, where I had planned to do some playing in November ( my sister and two nieces live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and the plan had been to play a few gigs up to Thanksgiving week, then spend Thanksgiving with Joleen and the girls).  That part of the plan is still in place, but with the slight alteration that we were going to have a chance to sort of scope out the area in advance, as it were. 

Annapolis is a beautiful town; home to the Naval Academy, fairly bursting with American history, and equally rich with friendly, welcoming folk.  Gordon is ex-Navy (he spent a good number of years working on a nuclear submarine) and grew up in Annapolis.  He bought the home he had mostly grown up in when his father passed away, and his son, Ben, oversaw some substantial fixing up to the place while Gordon and Stacia spent last year living and working in Australia. 

If I am going on a bit about these two friends of ours, it is because they are rather dear to Pony and me.  Gordon is a practicing Quaker, while Stacia is a Sufi dancer.  Stacia suffered a fall last January that broke her right foot in several places.  She was pretty upset about it, and more than a little worried as to whether the foot would heal enough to allow her to do the whirling dance that Sufi’s are famous for.  I told her that I would write her a piece of music that she would one day be able to dance to, expressing my total confidence that it would so come to pass.  The result is the guitar piece, “Spinning On A Blue Planet”, featured on the new Collage album.  In addition, I also composed a guitar piece dedicated to Gordon, called “Contemplation” (also featured on the Collage album). 

On top of everything else, Gordon and Stacia are avid dog fans, and they fairly fell in love with Rufus.  Rufus was given run of their house, as well as their spacious backyard.  He was in doggie heaven.  To his credit, Rufus actually was on some of his best behaviour.  Stacia’s birthday bash had a good couple of dozen people.  Not only did my doggie resist the temptation to snack on various plates of food lying about (only when someone actually offered him a morsel and fed it to him from their hand), but he wandered back and forth, in and out of the house, letting every pet him and “ooh”and “ah”all over him.  I admit that I can be biased, but I have to admit that even I was more than a little impressed with how well behaved he was. 

I spent a good part of the party playing guitar.  Our friend, Jeannie was also in town for the party, and had brought her flute (as usual).  She and I have played all manner of tunes and gigs together over the years, and getting back together to jam feels like no time has passed at all (Jeannie is featured on a few tunes on the new Collidoscope album, as well).  In addition, there was Glen (another friend of the birthday girl) who played some fine guitar. 

Stacia had ordered in a huge batch of barbecue beef, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, baked beans, and mac n’cheese.  Beer and wine flowed in abundance, and, all in all, it was a very successful bash. 

The birthday party was on Monday, the 30th of September.  The rest of the week fell into an easy blend of work and enjoying the company of our good friends.  I would spend a few hours each day on the internet, or making phone calls, followed by practicing and/or playing guitar.  Pony alternately worked on the websites, or worked on her novel (or helped Jeannie with her own novel; we are surrounded by many creative and multi-talented friends).  Stacia heard that I have lately developed a particular fondness for pies (especially various fruit pies), and one day came back from the Amish Market with three irresistible dishes: a cherry pie, a raspberry pie, and one simply referred to as a “Very Berry”pie.  Rufus wasn’t the only one feeling he’d died and gone to heaven. 

Meanwhile, we were meeting and making new friends, who then proceeded to help us discover some of the joys of Annapolis.  More of that in the next blog. 

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