Hello friends! Welcome to my very first blog post. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but I didn’t really know when would be the right time to approach it. Now feels like the right time. I’ve got so many anecdotes I’d like to share. Eventually I plan to write a book which will probably contain some of this material, but until I’m ready to do that you’ll be seeing my stories in this format. I will try to write a new one at least once a month. I figured this story I’m sharing with you today will be a good way to kick this blog off.
Next Saturday, Wheel Hoss & I will be playing at Oakdale Park in Glen Rose, TX. I’ve been blessed to play this venue several times with other bands. It’s significant in that notable bluegrass artists such as Lester Flatt, Jim & Jesse, The Bluegrass Cardinals & Special Consensus have all performed there at one time. For me; however, going to Glen Rose has a different significance, partly due to an incident that occured on a day that I was scheduled to perform there.
Before I get into the meat of the story, I need to fill you in a little bit on what I have lived with. I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a disability in which your muscles are weakened and makes walking and motor coordination difficult. I have had tight muscles for as long as I can remember. It is absolutely imperative that I remain physically active or else my muscles will get weaker and I’ll physically deteriorate. I make a point to walk on the treadmill every single day as I’ve found that’s the best way for me to stay active. It’s even more important to do it on days where I have to get in a car and ride for two or three hours in order to get to a performance. This day was certainly no different.
It was a nice cool day in February and I was getting ready to go to Glen Rose to do double duty with both Philip Ferguson & Texas True and Pamela Dahl, a talented lady whom I had played with in a band called Blue Valley Tradition a few years earlier. I had decided as per usual to walk on the treadmill for about 20 or 30 minutes before my Dad, Robby came to pick me up. I got on and hooked the quick disconnect button (can’t think of what it’s actually called, but it’s the thing that stops the treadmill when you take it out or you fall down) to my waist and started walking.
Everything was going really smoothly until about 10 minutes in when I felt I was going a little too fast and needed to slow down. I reached for the button to slow the speed down, but in the process turned the speed way up. It went from 2.0 to 11.0 speed! Of course I’m freaking out and attempting to hang on for dear life. “MOM!!! MOM!!!! GET OVER HERE NOW!!” I screamed. I didn’t really have time to think about what was happening. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t let go and fall. I had been in the hospital a month earlier and my band had to cancel some shows. I wasn’t in the mood for more hospital visits and gig cancellations.
Luckily, Mom came to my aide and managed to hold me up as she turned off the treadmill. In the moments after, I was extremely shaken up. I sat silently as I moved to a chair and tried to relax after such a horrifying incident. As I was thinking back on it in those moments, I realized that for the first time in my life I ran. I had always wanted to run, even as a kid with a walker I used to say I was running, but it was actually just walking at a moderately paced speed. Now here I was, realizing I had done the thing I had wanted to do for the first several years of my existence. “Holy cow, I’ve actually run!” I remember exclaiming. I had been so focused on hanging on and not falling that I wasn’t even thinking about how my legs were moving. When I look back on it now, it kind of reminds me of that famous scene in Forrest Gump. Forrest just runs. He didn’t really give it any thought, frankly he didn’t have time to. I guess you could say the same for me. I didn’t have time to really think about what my body could or couldn’t do. I was just hanging on and trying not to let the worst possible thing occur!
Needless to say, I felt pretty great afterwards and I went off to Glen Rose and did two really great shows with Phil and Pam! It was one of the most interesting circumstances I’ve faced to date. It’s one that in a weird way I hope to never face again, but also at the same time, I’m curious to know what running is like again. I’d like to have another experience where I’m more conceintious of what my body is doing. I may have to crank that treadmill up again someday!
I hope you enjoyed my inagural blog post. I can’t wait to share more stories in the future!