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You can never leave

Scott Willoughby

To: snowrite@vail.netSent: Friday, July 25, 2003 10:22 AMSubject: Blast from the passed…On a whim I check to see if The Vail Trail ever ended up with a website, and whose name do I see…? It’s a veritable olde home week. Just like la cosa nostra, you-a try an’ geddaway, and the family they-a pull-a you right-a back in, eh?Very sorry to read about your shoulder injury. Hope that you’re having some fun this summer in spite of the soup bone.Wanted to see if you’re heading down to Rockygrass this weekend. (I think you were the first person I knew to attend the festival.) After all these years, a lineup that includes Norman Blake and Old & In the Gray finally knocked me off my fat ass to purchase a ticket. I move at a pace outside the normal space-time continuum, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.It’s heartening to read your prose again.SchnebsSubject: Re: Blast from the passed…I dare say that among the random sequence of events that constitutes my daily existence (note the difference between an actual &quotlife&quot), a missive from the long-lost Schnebulator was pretty far down there on the expectations list. What a treat.As for my current status with the VT, I like to think of it as “experimental.” Ideally it constitutes a forum where I can wax irreverently on most anything without fear of anyone actually reading or reacting to it. Oddly enough, my own indifference seems to resonate with a community of alpine slackers who now inform me that they are devoted, if apathetic, readers. Plus, my parents live here now, possibly motivating the local Presbyterian parishioners to peruse the paper for conversation topics at the Sunday pot-luck. That could explain why my mother gives me grief every time I write about skiing with a hangover, which a good chunk of my readership virtually demands. Besides, what else do I really know?Dave O is a decent chap however, as is the boy wonder, Tom Boyd. I joined them on the masthead after living on credit for nearly four months in Montana last summer and re-discovering upon my return that girlfriends, like surgeons, are expensive in Vail. Just ask Kobe.I hadn’t made any plans to attend RockyGrass. But concerts and camping are pretty much at the top of my &quotto do&quot list this summer, what with the frail appendage and everything, and I confess you’ve crossed my mind a few times as I’ve partaken in each. Once at the Leo Kotke/John Hiatt show in Denver and again last week as I introduced my 14-year-old nephew to the joys of yurting on New York Mountain. I’ve managed to reacquaint myself with your favored sport of hiking, which is actually cooler than I remember, as long as the blisters are held in check. And even though I’d rather be in a kayak, it’s important to note that chicks dig it.I’m thinking of heading to Telluride for the Aug. 13 performance of Widespread Panic and to shop for a VW camper. A woman down there named Luna has one of the rare &quotsynchro&quot models with full-time 4WD and I’ve been contemplating my escape from this overpriced truck stop. The temporary plan calls for 6 weeks in Costa Rica and Panama this fall, along with a couple weeks in Hawaii, perhaps more if I can figure out how to cram all my valuables into a VW for a spell. But I’ve got a line on tickets if you think you might be interested in taking a ride.It’d be good to get together and crack a cold one sometime. I’m up to 16 ounces with my left arm at the moment, slowly working my way toward the coveted 40. I’m sure you could help me meet the objective.Til then, cheers.Subject: Re: Re: Blast from the passed…Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. My brain has an elliptical orbit like a comet and tends to get lost in deep, cold space for years at a time. And while I wish I could wrest the time and talent to fire off a long, eloquent missive, I… just… can’t…Sorry I didn’t think to contact you sooner about RockyGrass. I promised the wife and kid months ago that we were going to do this, but when we got there I quickly realized that bluegrass is much too serious a business for a 2-year-old. Saw some fine players (Chris Thile & Tim O’Brien) but had to send the family home before Old and In the Gray (the original lineup sans Garcia, with the phenomenal Herb Pedersen brandishing the 5-string. Call me cold, but I think it does make a difference to be heroin-free and have a middle finger).Met David Grisman briefly before he went up on stage. The guy’s a maniacal mandolinical rabbi. The band was on fire: a blazing &quotMidnight Moonlight&quot encore that lasted for what seemed like half an hour. Bluegrass Val…, nay, musical Valhalla.Are you still playing? That store where you bought your banjo is close to where I live now and I love hanging out just to watch the local pickers gather for woodsheddin’. Recently stopped in for strings for a banjo ukulele that belonged to my grandfather. Just the right size for the little picker at my house. Now, if I can just get him to keep his fingers out of his nostrils and on the frets…Glad to hear that you’re stomping the trails and getting something out of it. I still have fond memories of our trip up Mount of the Holy Cross. Hey, hiking was good enough for guys like Thoreau and Muir, and look at the chicks those pikers pulled in. Wait, don’t. At least they were inspired. Yeah, that’s it. That’s gotta count for something.Living in the city, I’ve given up trying to hike through trash and sewage and dead birds and actually have been putting some miles on my bike this summer in an effort to reduce the size of my ass as it nears Homeric proportions.Your plans for Costa Rica, Panama, and Hawaii are the stuff of my vicarious living. A VW bus sounds most excellent, Primo. It’s not the Ironhorse, but you’d have a place to sleep when Demi Moore kicks you out of the house to take up with a younger guy.As for Telluride, I can’t tell you how painful it is to say I cannot go as traveling is something I don’t get invited to do often these days. I haven’t been to the mountains in what seems like years (although I almost almost almost drove up when David Lindley was playing at State Bridge Lodge).Life just gets better and better and then it doesn’t.Hope to catch up with you someday soon to help you reach that 40 oz. goal.Subject: Re: Re: Re: Blast from the passed…Schnebly,Sorry to read about your urban strife, but it sounds like you are coping better than I ever could. Glad to hear the show was worthwhile and to see that you haven’t lost your knack for the written word. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you just might end up back in The Vail Trail too.Jim Schnebly is a music aficionado and former Vail Trail poet laureate now living in Aurora. If you’d like to see your work in print too, send it to snowrite@vail.net.


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