Kick Out the Jams

  Have you ever planned for something for a long time, then it happens and actually turns out as good as you’d hoped? That just happened to me. Three great friends and I make up a band we call The Traveling Pillsburys (if you’re wondering, I’m the lead singer). The whole venture started out as a lark in 1989 in the basement of our fraternity house in Charlottesville, Virginia. We weren’t very good at first, but we got better over time, and actually had a small, but devoted following for the better part of a year when we lived outside Washington, DC, after graduating from college. We never had any delusions of grandeur (well, perhaps some); we just enjoyed playing in front of people. Life’s circumstances pulled us apart in the early 1990s. We went about with living our lives—marriages, graduate school, children, careers. We got together in 1998 to play at a wedding and that sparked our enthusiasm. Then more life, more career, more children occupied our time. In 2007, under the guise of my 40th birthday, we got together again and played. It was more fun than ever—I gained newfound appreciation for those bands you hear are reuniting. Your usual thought is, “oh, they’re back for the money.” In their cases, maybe that’s right. In ours, not quite; playing costs us money. And it’s worth every penny. Fast forward to 2009. As much fun as our 2007 reunion was, I feared we would slip back into another 5-year stretch between gigs. I tend to be the pest in the group, so I cajoled and encouraged my pals to come to Denver (one lives in New York, one in Pennsylvania, one in the mountains here in Colorado) in October for another gig—this time to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We all bunked at my place (imagine kids and dogs and kids’ friends—and my wife taking care of all of us) for a few nights and spent 8½ hours over two days practicing old songs and learning new ones. I’m not sure if we’re wiser, but we’re definitely older. I’ll just say: more ibuprofen than beer. Playing downtown at a bar in front of a healthy crowd of friends (including a hearty cheering/dancing section from ABMP), we somehow made it through 36 songs and 3½ hours. Just like the good ol’ days, we were the last four at the bar. Sunday came and Hunter and Stephan headed to the airport; Jeff and his family headed back to Steamboat. We all return to the daily activities that give us pleasure and enrich our lives—family, friends, work. This time we already have a date for the next gig—and we’re planning annual concerts thereafter. It’s too much fun and means too much to us to let years pass between gigs. Huey Lewis said it best—“Being in a band is the greatest thing in the world.” The Travelling Pillsburys ARE a band; we just live apart and jam not as frequently as some. What does all this have to do with massage? Nothing. And everything. Can you say you have one thing in your life that makes you truly happy? Are you making time for it? I am blessed to say I have many. One of which is every once in a while I get to stand on stage, pretend I’m a rock star, and share the spotlight with three friends for life. Follow your bliss.
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