The tour ended a few days ago. Josh and I rolled up the long gravel driveway to our house at about 1:30 am after having covered eleven states and almost 5,000 miles. Jamie had left the pumpkins lit and the porch light on, and my little house on the hill looked as warm and comforting as a poundcake fresh out of the oven.
I walked around the yard for a while, looked at the stars, said a few words to Moondog, whose tail thumped lazily on the porch wood, and thanked God in Heaven that I was home.
I wasn’t home for long, though. I had to get up in about six hours and visit a wonderful school to play the children a few songs and read a chapter from On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. I was sleepy, but seeing all those little boys and girls hugging my book to their chests was well worth it. The next night was Halloween, and after the kids went trick-or-treating (Aedan and Asher as Clone Troopers, Skye as the most adorable spider you ever did see), we lit a fire in the chimnea outside and ate chili with good friends while the kids stuffed their faces.
After being gone for weeks, I was giddy at the memories being made, the sweetness of the homestead, the sound of the kids giggling; all my roadweariness evaporated. I saw the moon lifting over the junipers and hackberry trees and sighed. I commented that everything was just about perfect, and I wondered aloud who would soon be going to the hospital. I was chastised for the cynical remark, and I confess I have a habit of waiting for the other boot to drop. Well, in about three hours I found myself in the emergency room, pressing a towel to the side of my bleeding head.
I was breaking a branch for the fire, and when I kicked it the long end flew up and whacked me in the ear. It gashed me in one place and cut my earlobe clean in two. I got seventeen stitches. I’m not complaining, really. Even as I bled on the way to the ER I appreciated that it would make for a good story. And you know me, I’m a sucker for a good story.
Anyway, the next morning I left for yet another show, this time with Andys Gullahorn and Osenga. It was a great time, but somewhere between Canton, Georgia and Nashville I reached the threshold of my car-travel endurance. After the tour, then a hospital visit, then another four hour drive for Saturday’s show, I was officially finished traveling. I wanted to go home, and that’s all I wanted to do.
I got in late last night and crawled into bed, thankful beyond thankful that I only have one show this month before the Christmas tour begins.
So what did we do today? We rushed out the door for church, drove about five minutes, then turned around. We decided that instead of church we’d drive to the Smoky Mountains to see Tennessee in all its autumnal glory. We packed a change of clothes, and drove four hours east into the mountains. That’s right. More driving. But this was different. This was with my two boys and my sweet daughter. This was with my bride. We read stories aloud in the car and stopped for candy at the Shell station. We talked in funny accents and listed the top five things we hoped to do before we died (Aedan said he wanted to visit Sweden; Asher said he wanted to dig a tunnel to the center of the earth; Skye giggled and chewed her gum). We walked the sidewalks of Gatlinburg in light jackets and marveled at how red a maple leaf can be. We listened to the bluegrass band play Rocky Top at 78 rpm. We ate caramel apples.
The last thing I wanted to do today was sit for one more minute in the car, or to travel to another city that wasn’t Nashville. I’m writing this from a little motel, hours from the Warren. But with these children and this wife in my company, the world can spin anyway it wants to and my home will glide atop it like a gull on the water.