I miss my friends up in Connecticut, and try to create opportunities to visit when I can. Usually I have a gig to anchor the trip, but I had a free Friday and arranged to head up to Ron Anthony’s place for a pizza pickin’ gatherin’. The folks were glad and honored that I would travel all the way up from PA to play, but, frankly, it was for my own mental health that I made the trip.

The drive up and back actually gives me some concentrated time to listen to music, catch up on podcasts and spend some time in thought. I’ve driven this route so many times over the last 16 years, time goes by painlessly.

I got there early enough to check in with Ron and Susie, catch up on our friendship, take a half hour power nap and head down to the rustic kitchen area as my friends arrived. Always great to see my old friends, and they look forward to sharing some time with me. Frank, Denny, Ron, Bill, Lou and a new couple Eric and Kim. The tunes get passed around, some familiar, some new but always treated with respect. Country tunes, blues, Ron’s originals, some of my ‘standards’, but I particularly love the fact that I get to noodle on mandolin and guitar, something I rarely get a chance to do. I usually have to lead the band, even when it’s just me.

Eric was big surprise, a wonderful fiddler and mandolinist. When I had some of my ‘jam’ tunes up, like Lessons and Giant, tunes that take some intelligence to understand, he stepped up and we created some magic together- the beauty of playing music with someone new.

The jive that goes on between tunes is precious and, after a few well-aimed barbs, Kim mentioned that she was really beginning to like us and our sense of humor. So much history between us, so much respect for each other and so much love. There ya go.

Ron and Susie put me up overnight and I got an early start back to Bethlehem in the morning, making record time with little weekend traffic. A good trip.