Turning pages

While we wade through the work of preparing for The Move, we’re also taking time to say goodbye to people and places in the Ohio chapter of our American Life. It’s bittersweet — we’ve made great friends over the years.

Late yesterday afternoon we headed north on the Interstate for another of those farewells. It soon became became clear that the truck’s air conditioning was on the fritz again, and with temps in the mid-90s that was not a good thing.

Deb called the dealer immediately and set up a service appointment for first thing this morning.

Our destination was Gatsby’s, a bar that’s stood in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna for 45 years. During the summer months the patio’s always hoppin’, and its small corner stage sees a parade of local musicians.

We were the first to arrive, grabbing a table that gave us the best chance for shade as the sun crept toward the horizon. We ordered beers and a plate of nachos. I pulled out my phone and decided to “check in” on Facebook, tagging Deb.

My post uploaded but didn’t appear. I tried twice more — same result. Checking my notifications, I was stunned to learn that checking in at Gatsby’s Bar & Grille “goes against our Community Standards.” One of the waitresses told me later that awhile back someone had objected to how the bar does business (perhaps related to politics or all that “pandemic” nonsense) and managed to get the place blocked on Facebook.

Karens and idiots. This is why we can’t have nice things.

The evening’s entertainment was John Schwab (McGuffey Lane), who plays the Gatsby’s patio every Tuesday in the summertime. He usually brings a guest, and last night he welcomed two — the incomparable Delyn Christian, along with brilliant young picker Steve “Stashe” Hensley.

The trio performed in something of a round, taking turns with the lead. It was damned magical.

See, this isn’t a band. They know each other but had never played together. There were no rehearsals. Talent and musical chemistry carried them, and the product was spectacular.

Beyond the stage we enjoyed the company of a dozen or more friends, people we came to know through central Ohio’s rich music scene. It’s a small circle and a tight one. We hadn’t seen many of these folks in two years or longer because of WuFlu and our own year-long odyssey.

More magic.

In particular, when we used to go to Gatsby’s every Tuesday after work we befriended one of the waitresses. When we asked after her last night we were told that these days she only occasionally fills in, owing to back surgery and the schedule of her full-time job.

Imagine our surprise, then, when she walked through the patio gate, spotted us and made a beeline for our table. It was a warm reunion, a special moment.

“Something told me there was a reason to be here tonight,” she said. “Now I know what it was.”

Driving back to Second Chance Ranch after the show, Deb and I agreed that if this was to be our final visit to Gatsby’s, the last time we’d see these people and hear the music that’s been such a big part of our life, it couldn’t’ve been more perfect.

(Stashe Hensley, John Schwab and Delyn Christian, performing Delyn’s “Biscuits, Bacon & Bourbon”)

I had Artie at the shop this morning at the appointed hour, 7:45am. Before handing over the keys I talked with the service advisor about a known weak spot in the 2015 Silverado’s AC circuit — my Internet sleuthing had revealed the issue, not enough to generate a recall or a TSB but common enough to make it worth a closer look.

Sure enough, that’s what it was. They replaced the seals on the upper line that connects to the condenser, recharged the system and confirmed their success with fluorescent dye.

An hour later I was on my way, chillin’. We’ll see if this fix sticks.

As evening draws near today I’m finishing this post in the dark, my laptop running on its battery and pulling Internet from the MiFi brick we used while on the road. A freak thunderstorm just liberated a branch from the enormous burr oak in our back yard, and that fell onto the power line leading to our house.

It’s always somethin’.


One year ago today, surrounded by signs, we had a down day in Lubbock, Texas.


Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon