Thanks to all of you who have bought the CD so far! I hope you have been enjoying the music. While I was happy and proud of the the album being out, I went full tilt to work on the book and it’s almost done! The American Songline book will not only chronicle the 30 concerts I gave in 2013, I also share some personal parts of the journey as well. I sang songs about love and loss along the Lincoln Highway, and those songs became the inspiration for chapters of the same name.
Up first, I wanted to share an excerpt of the “Loss” chapter. Today marks the 5th anniversary of my father’s passing – I can’t believe he’s been gone for five years. The American Songline project was just a vague idea in my mind when he died, and I had no idea if it would be successful or not. Before I started my tour, I knew my Dad would play a part in his own way, and he did. Read more in this passage from the upcoming book:
I was a bit worried about staying overnight in Gettysburg. The rumors of the town and hotel being haunted stuck with me, and while I’m not afraid of ghosts, I have had enough encounters with the paranormal that I cannot explain away. I was curious to see if the rumors were true, but I wasn’t actively looking to find out.
There was a plastic candle in my window that lit up when the sun went down. I saw it and wondered if the candle was for the living or for the dead that may walk the streets. When I asked the front desk the following morning why it was there, the hotel clerk said, “It’s a tradition in this area to leave a light on in a window sill for those traveling at night, so they know they have a place to stay.”
I kept a low profile that night, eating dinner and working on my regular jobs. When I finally fell asleep that night, something strange happened.
No Civil War soldiers appeared, but I had a vivid dream that changed my outlook on the rest of the tour. I dreamt I was in an old house that had been converted into a bookshop. I walked into various rooms and combed through the stacks. At some point, I turned the corner into the next room, and there he was.
My father died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack at the age of 61 in 2010, about three months before Dan and I were to be married. While I had some major issues with my father during his life, his death was extremely devastating to my family and me. The one person who you thought would be the last to go was the first. To also lose him so close to my wedding (a supposed happy time) was, and still is, an extremely painful thing for me. After his death, he would appear periodically in my dreams, and tonight in Gettysburg he did just that.
He was not young this time; he was older with his grey bread, glasses, and wearing his favorite blue and white flannel shirt. We talked as we wandered the stacks, and then when we got the comic book section of the bookstore he stopped.
“Hey Cec, do you want a comic book? I’ll buy.”
I remember my jaw dropping, mainly because neither of us really liked comic books. “No Dad, I really don’t like comic books. Why would you want to buy me one?”
“Oh, I just want you to have some fun, that’s all.”
What he said sounded so odd to me that I woke up immediately. For a few seconds, I did not know where I was. The candle was still aglow on my windowsill, and there was nothing and no one there. I eventually fell back asleep, but it took a while.
I love and miss him, but what I miss more sometimes are the opportunities I wish I could have had with him – I’d give anything to have one more day with Dad again. If you didn’t do this over Mother’s Day this past weekend, please tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. You never know what can happen, and the secret to living a great life is to live a life with no regrets. Thank you for letting me share this story with you, and if you have any comments, please share them below.