Tip Jar Jam: The More It Goes (Tiddly-Pom) On Snowing!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

(With apologies to Winnie The Pooh for the title!)

Well, last week's Wednesday jam got snowed out BIG TIME! Still and yet, four hardy souls took a chance that the weather people had gotten it wrong. So kudos to Bob V, Bob A, Dan, and Mark W for braving the elements and coming out to play six songs before we had to call it quits! Frankly, I cut it a leetle too close and ended up driving home on a snow-covered road in the dark--without my driving glasses! Things were looking funky!

Because, naturally, I had chosen this very day to lock my pocketbook in my house! I was running around, late as usual in leaving for my first lesson, gathering up "necessities" for the impending storm like snow boots, heavy gloves, hat, scarf, water, Cliff Bars, and a book to read (you never know!). These were in addition to my usual array of pocketbook items which include keys, Blue tooth, the all-important Vaseline for my lips, reading glasses, and of course money and my driver's license. I had crammed all my snow items into two L.L Bean canvas bags so, with these in hand, I didn't even notice I was missing my pocketbook when I walked out, pulling the door shut behind me and checking to make sure it was locked. Normally, I would have my keys in hand as I did this, but not today! It was only by luck that I had tucked my cell phone into the pocket of my jeans.

When I got to my car--which I had just picked up from the shop that morning (an important detail)--and went to put the keys in the ignition, I noticed I didn't have them in my hand. And when I went to get them out of my pocketbook I noticed I didn't have my pocketbook! ARRRRGGHHH! I had a student waiting in town, who had driven a long distance to get there, and I was running short of time. I'm sure you know that feeling.

What to do? Red had just left to pick up Dalton for his Wednesday overnight with his doting grandparents. The spare house key was (supposedly) buried under a rock which was covered with snow and frozen to the ground. I couldn't find the "digging arn" so I grabbed a shovel and with much difficulty pried up some rocks. No key. I called Red to see if I had the correct rock, and he said it was the "square one." Well, I had already pried up the "square one" but just to be sure I pried them all up and still no key. (I don't think it was there, to tell you the truth. We'll find out if this snow ever melts!) I called Red back to explore the possibility of his coming back to unlock the house. But, alas, he was at the Post Office and didn't hear the phone ring. What to do? I sent Tony a text saying I was having "key problems" and would be late. He texted back "okay." A little breathing room.

What to do, what to do? Then, just like Bilbo trying to think of a final riddle for Gollum while he was in the goblins' cave, I stuck my hand in my pocket and found.....the key to the other car. I had been driving the Windstar while my Avalon was in the shop. These were the keys I had picked up from my "key bowl"  as I left the house. I still didn't have the key to my teaching apartment, but at least I could get into town.

I jumped into the Windstar and realized I was going to have to do some serious backing and filling to get it out since the Avalon was parked closely behind it and the house itself was parked closely in front of it. Normally, this would have been a no-brainer, I would have just pulled the Windstar into the yard. But, guess what? The yard was piled high with snow from the first storm. Hard-packed, icy snow! So, inch by tedious inch I maneuvered the Windstar around till finally--hallelujah!-- I was free. ( Was going to quote Martin Luther King, Jr, here but that seemed a bit much....)

Still in a time crunch, but much relieved, I'm now driving into town, a 20 minute trip. However, I still have one more hurdle: I need a key to get into my teaching apartment. Luckily Casey has the spare and she lives not too far away from where I teach. So, I call her and tell her the situation. She says she will have the key ready for me when I come by. "Great," I say. "Thanks. Oh, and by the way, can I borrow your banjo and a guitar, too? Even if I get into the apartment, the room I keep my instruments in is locked!" "Sure," she says, "but I can't leave those out on the porch with the key. You'll have to come in to get them." ARRRRGGGHHH! More time lost.

(Remember, Casey couldn't leave her house because Red was coming over to pick up Dalton. It was, truly, a "perfect storm" situation.)

So, I'm driving and stewing, worrying about cutting Tony short for his lesson and having no time in my schedule to make it up. As I get closer to Casey's house, I call her again, to tell her to be ready for me  to run in and get the key and instruments. Bless her heart, she's figured out an even better plan. She's sending the key and instruments with Red, who will pick up Dalton and drive directly over to my apartment. "Thank you!" I say. I meet Tony, who is waiting on the front porch with his banjo. This provides him with the perfect excuse for any mistakes: "My hands are cold!"

From here on out, things go smoothly except I still don't have my pocketbook which means I have NO GLASSES for reading or driving. (Not to mention no license....) So when Bob V is taking his lesson, I'm telling him all this and the question he asks is, "What kind of lock do you have on that room your instruments are in?" Which I think is simply one of Bobby's totally retarded and irrelevant questions. "What do you mean?" I asked with quite a bit of irritation because, really, what difference did it make? "I mean is it and old lock or a new lock?" he said. Well, I figured the fastest way to get this over with was to humor him so he'd shut up. (Standard wife procedure.....even though, thank god, we're not married!) So I said, "It's a new lock.

"Where's the other key?" he said.

"What other key?" I said.

"If it's a new lock it comes with two keys," he said in that sing-song, patronizing voice he uses when he's trying to make some sort of "man point."

Realization dawned. That damn lock DID have two keys. One was on my key ring (now locked in my house) and the OTHER KEY was......in my teaching apartment!

"Damn!" I said. "I had that key out just the other day. I was trying to find a safe place to put it. Where did I put it? I couldn't think of a good place that a burglar wouldn't think of."

"S--t," said Bobby. "If burglar gets in here, you don't think he's gonna go looking for a key to that room, do you? He's gonna kick the door down."

Dammit, he was right. I hate it when that happens! "Oh," I said. "I guess you're right about that." But I was still trying to think of where I put that other key. Then I remembered: I couldn't think of a good place to put it so I buried it underneath a pile of old fingerpicks that were in a small blue pottery bowl that was sitting nearby. I dug around and, voila! There was the spare key, all bright and shiny. If I'd remembered that, I wouldn't have had to borrow Casey's banjo and guitar! Oh, well. It was the perfect storm!

Bobby was looking way too smug about being right about the key so I wickedly said, "Let's play Salt Creek." (He hates Salt Creek!) And then I followed that with Soldier's Joy and Liberty. That will teach him. (NOT!)

As you can see, this story turned out to have nothing to do with jamming! But it was fun to write.

Looking forward to tonight's Wednesday jam! No forecast of snow or even rain!

Intermediate Banjo Camp is coming up. We've still got a few spaces left so check it out and join us, March 28-30, right here in Winchester.