My parents and their 6 kids had a home with a wood-burning stove in rural Western Massachusetts. This meant that if you couldn’t buy a cord of wood from someone, you had
to go out in the forest and cut it yourself. One weekend my Dad and us kids went out to “do wood”. He was probably only around 30 years old then, with six children and no heat. We drove in our old truck a ways down the length of our thirty acre property to some spot my Dad knew. There was a lot of snow on the ground. My Dad got out his chain saw and started cutting the trees small enough for us kids to carry down to the truck.
At that time I wore a pair of blue slip-on dress shoes a lot. They had sailor anchors embroidered on the toes. The insoles had worn away a long time ago
and when I took my bare foot out at the end of the day there was
always a criss-cross imprint on the pad of my foot.
Even though it was snowy out that day, I had to do wood in my blue shoes. Without socks. The work went slow because most of my siblings were little girls and we couldn’t carry more than one piece at a time. After a whie I interrupted my Dad to tell him that my feet were cold. He just stared in disbelief at my bare ankles in the snow. On the way home my sister Amanda, who was leaning on the passenger side door, fell right out of the truck.
She was ok.
Music is a great way to access the kind of emotions I get when I think of the past. Some of the words in my best songs were written by the 11 year-old me. Much of my current work in the studio is entombed in glue or plaster. The clothing, cassettes, dirty knick knacks, etc. are still, heavy, arrested. They have been rendered useless by both time
and glue in a way that is funny and sad.