"You Look Like Your Dog"

Walking with Reuben





© 2016 by Charlie Parr
Little Judges Publishing Co.
Duluth, Minnesota

11/19/12

I was walking with Reuben through the alleys (it's a good way to see what people are throwing out in case you might need something like whatever it is) and we saw a couple of pallets lying along the way. I thought about building a treehouse. I'd been thinking about it for awhile now and even making some plans but when I saw those pallets it all became clear to me. So I grabbed the better of the two and away we went. Pretty soon I thought man, this pallet is really awkward to carry, I should've just come back for both of them in the truck. But I kept going. Then I thought how it's heavier than it looks, this pallet, which looked pretty light. Then after I went a little farther, I got a splinter. We sat down and I managed to get the whole piece out of my hand without breaking it, and thought about why I wanted this pallet anyway. A treehouse would be dangerous, the kids might fall, or get splinters even bigger than this one. I was still nearly a mile from home. But once you take someone else's garbage, it's yours. And you can't leave it or take it back. So this pallet was mine now, I'd accepted it, I'd taken it from the pile. And I got up and brought it home. Now I need about 15 more.

I'm sorry to say that I won't be at the Brewhouse this wednesday (the 21st), the kids and I need to be with Emily and her folks in Winona. Thanks everybody for keeping Emily's Mom in yr thoughts and for all yr offers of help and kindness to us, we all really appreciate it.

I'll be around this weekend playing 2 shows at the MN History Center on Friday and Saturday between noon and 3pm and I'll be back at the Brewhouse on Nov. 28th, hope you all have a great thanksgiving.


01

01/17/13

Lately it seems like all the mail we get around here is edged in black. So Reuben and I decided that a good walk might lift the gloom. It was only around 4 degrees above zero but we’d both been growing our fur out lately so the cold hasn’t been bothering us. We were about 8 blocks from home when we crossed a busy street and there was a car waiting, so I caught the woman’s eye before we went, like you do, and when she looked at Reuben and I she smiled. So I smiled back and started across. Then she was laughing. Then she was rolling down her window and laughing har har har out the window at us and then she caught her breath and said “you look like your dog!!” and went har har har some more. I suppose Reuben’s white beard and mine going grey are similar. Maybe we’re both kind of shaggy and in the cold we probably walk the same clip-step-head-down kind of way. But Reuben was hurt by the remark. The long way home she walked at the far end of her leash and now she’s sitting in her chair looking at me in a reproachful way. It’s not my fault. And when we get our hair cut this spring we may still look alike. Then what?

I won’t worry you about our family stuff here, we’re huddling together and very grateful for each other. I’ll be around a bit this weekend for Trollhaugen and the Root Note, then playing the service for the House of Mercy on Sunday with my dear friends the Black Twig Pickers and heading down to Winona to see them play at Ed’s and sit in a little before they head home and I head over to Mom’s to get a little philosophy and cribbage. Reuben’s perking up now … after all, we got treats from the post office (the sign on the door says “no pets” but Reuben and I can’t figure out which one’s the pet so we just both go on in).


02

01/29/13

We don’t tend to give Reuben too many baths in the wintertime. Our house is old and drafty and she takes a long time to dry off, which is also the reason I try to stay away from too much frivolous cleansing myself in the winter. But the other day she was really really dirty. Smelly dirty. The kind of dirty that calls for a shower instead of a bath, so you can be sure that the filth is washed away and not just relocated to another part of the body. So I snuck down to Marshall’s and picked up some hose and a threaded end that would fit on the utility sink faucet. The staff there, always helpful, seemed to sense just how dirty this dog must be to warrant a mid-winter washing and there was a heavy silence around me as I made my way home. I’ll spare you the details, but you know it was horrible. She thought she’d done something wrong. What kind of terrible deed would merit such an awful punishment? I felt like a monster. We were in the basement, in an old utility sink, both wet to the bone and standing in a huge puddle of water, smelling like coconut. I couldn’t apologize enough. Reuben just looked at me. She’s still looking at me, probably wondering who I really am, that I could behave this way. But she sure smells better.

And my big weekend at the Cedar is coming up on Friday and Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it; we have Jack Klatt and the Catswingers on Friday and The Murder of Crows on Saturday. Mikkel Beckmen will be there to play washboard and chunks of an old fridge and Dave Hundrieser’s bringing the harmonica-tackle box and his resonator mando and guitar, plus Emily’s singing on Friday. Jamie Harper’s bringing along paintings from his Barnswallow series that will be for sale, and Big Table made an amazing poster for the event that will be available for sale as well. I hope you can make it, it’s gonna feel like a big lonely place without you. I’ve gotta go out and get some dog treats right now though, stay warm and be careful on the ice …


03

03/11/13

I called home from somewhere in North Carolina. Emily says “Your dog ate poop.” And so I said, “Who’s poop?” And she says “Her own poop.” So that’s not so bad, right? When I got home Reuben and I had a talk about the whole ordeal, which she still seemed pretty embarrassed by, and I realized that we’d been holding her up to the standards of an entirely different species. I’ll bet there are plenty of things that I do, and feel compelled to do, that Reuben would find disgusting (I collect her poop in a little plastic bag right after she produces it, and she’s looking away the whole time I’m doing it, like she has no idea who I am or why I’m doing such a bizarre thing and come to think of it, maybe she ate her own poop so that no one would take it …). Greg Brown says that men are just like dogs except we can lift things, which got me to thinking about all kinds of stuff that I get hassled for when maybe it’s just that the wrong set of standards are being applied to me. I told this all to Reuben while we went for a walk, I think we're onto something.

Tour was great, thanks everybody for coming to the shows and being so hospitable and all. I hope I can make it back out East again this year. There are a lot of shows coming up now that my break (silly, taking a break from something that’s not work so that I can do actual work and spend my free time practicing the guitar) is over and I’ll try and get on this thing once in a while to tell you all about them but in the meantime I’m heading to Sandstone on Friday to play at the Old School Arts Center and on Saturday I’ll be in Rochester at C4 with my good friend Jamie Harper. Stop over if you can.

I have something like 54 emails that I’m supposed to be replying to right now, plus while I was away the screen door fell off the front of the house so I have to fix that, but I gotta tell you before I go that on my way home I stopped at Mom’s and we carried 4 games outta 4 against my sister and niece (who are cribbage monsters) and in the middle of it all I said that maybe the Merle Haggard could be turned down a touch and Mom said “I like my Merle loud.”

Tell it, Ma.


04

06/23/13

Reuben is a little high-strung, that’s for sure, but she doesn’t mean any harm and she doesn’t seem to be able to restrain herself from freaking out anytime another dog is within 2 houses of us. Some of the neighbors are aware of her problem and have been very patient and understanding when they’re walking by and she’s hurling herself against the windows and the door while barking and wheezing and shaking. I was gone the other day when Emily called me to say that Reuben had burst right through the new screen door and scrambled out to the sidewalk, wheezing and coughing and tripping over her own feet in a frantic race to get to a shocked and confused dog and its frightened owner. She just wanted to say hi, you know, smell the other dog around a little, but no one would ever assume that after seeing her spastic dash from the house where she’d left the screen door looking like someone had shot a dog out of a cannon at it. So my cheapie screen door has now turned into a very pricey cheapie screen door after I added a reinforced mesh screen and a new latch and a couple more bunjies and made Reuben sit there with me while I made all the repairs and then I showed her my empty wallet and said “no treat” to her.

Glad to be home, anyway, riding my bike and enjoying the fog (what choice do you have? enjoy the fog or stay inside), listening to the Spider John record that Nero’s Neptune just put out and it’s fantastic. This weekend I’m heading for dah U.P. to play the Orpheum in Hancock, then the CHUM Rhubarb Festival and on Sunday I’m doing an early show on the green in Winona and a late show at Ed’s and looking forward to all that. Next week it’s all about Mom, I’ll be Austin all week long getting recharged with my family and maybe Judd will bring his Apple Crate up from Kansas and I’ll go see if that jump we made down by Turtle Creek when I was 11 is still there.

Halleluiah, I’m a bum.


05

09/17/13

Reuben took me to the lake today. We were going out for our walk and she went one way and I went the other and I said to her “we always go this way first” and she sat down. So I thought about it and realized that I had always decided where our walks would take us, I’d never let her have a say before, and not only that but I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately and inwardly I’d complained about having too little sleep and too much to do and now I wanted to add to my list by dictating where the dog and I should walk? So I followed her. We meandered through yards, up alleyways, across parks and driveways, obeyed no signs, used no crosswalks, smelled every available thing there was to smell, looked down holes and waded through creeks and eventually found ourselves at the shore of Lake Superior and looked up from our path for the first time and I had to sit down. I always knew the lake was big, but just then it seemed bigger than ever. We sat there for a good long while and stared and skipped rocks and thought and then I picked up a rock that felt like a little bowl that just fit my thumb and I thought that if I skipped it, it would never stop; it would skip clean across the lake like a little boat. So I put it, like my Mother’s worry rock, in my pocket so I can use it to worry when I need to. Then Reuben and I slowly meandered home and I told her thank you and gave her a treat.

Thanks to Horseshoes & Handgrenades and Corpse Reviver for having me on their shows this last weekend, and everybody who came by to listen, I had a great weekend all around. It’s a busy week coming up, too, I’ll be in Anoka, Park Rapids, Fargo, Menomonie and Madison and on Monday I’m gonna find a sunny spot and lay in the lawn like a dog.


06

10/10/13

Reuben and I have been moved down the pecking order a couple notches by a little cat that my family has taken in. I've always been on the low side anyway, so I'm used to it, but Reuben spent a lot of time at the top and now she's fighting for 2nd to last place which has put a dent in her ego. We went for a walk to try and figure it all out, and got some love from the post office, hardware store, dog biscuit lady, and some random guy on the lakewalk who must have seen our “I'm a big loser” faces and stopped for some ear scratching. We didn't really get anywhere but when we got home Reuben had evidently already figured it out. She'd eat all the cat food. Wherever it was, whenever it was out, she'd operate in the shadows and then lunge out and hoover up the little bit of kitten food in the bowl and stealth her way back to an innocent distance. It looked like the worst kind of warfare to me, and I told her about the man I met last night who said to me that we are all aliens here. I think he may have been speaking more literally than I took him for, and he may be right either way, but I know for sure that in some ways we are all aliens. I know I feel that way more often than not lately, and this little cat sure looks like an alien, with her big head and eyeballs and such. I droned on and on with this for awhile, going over the whole “you were new here once, too, remember?” and “you're gonna get fat as hell eating that cat food plus your plumbing's gonna freeze up and don't look at me that way I know all about it” and “fine, ignore me, I can talk louder than you can ignore” until I had to give up. I fed the cat on the kitchen counter.

I'm going down to Eau Claire tonight to play at the Mousetrap, I haven't been there in a long time so I'm really looking forward to it. Then it's Austin for the Caravan Du Nord, which I'm very proud to be a part of and happy to be able to bring my Mom and Sister to a show in town so hopefully I'll do alright and not embarrass anybody or anything like that. Saturday's the Turf Club with the amazing fiddler Betse Ellis (of Wilder's fame), stop on up and say hi if you can. I'm going outside, it's too nice for this computering and I have a bike frame I want to paint before it gets too cold.


07

11/20/13

After a tearful reunion, Reuben and I got back to the business of life-living today with a great walk down the alleys and by the lake and through the park and in and out of the post office. It had been a month since our last walk, but I figured things couldn't have changed much, we're 45 minute walkers, one-poop walkers, fast at first walkers, meandering in the middle walkers, smelling everything walkers, so I grabbed a baggie and off we went. Reuben rushed along like a mad dog, smelling frantically and pulling along at twice our normal pace, like she was trying to make up for a month's worth of walking in one walk. She pooped where she usually poops, and I picked it up and tied off the bag, and we hurried on with me trying to explain to her that we can't catch the time up, that we can't get it back, the time is gone now and we have nothing of it but that we're still alive and that's what's happening right now: life. But then she stopped to poop again. She never poops again, and I never bring more than one baggie because that's the way it's always been. Now she was pooping again. I started trying to get my knot undone, we were exposed, out in the world, with traffic and people and other dogs and stores full of doughnuts and power tools looking at us expecting me to leave it. I had to take it, I had to show them all that their assumptions about me were wrong, I had to get that damn knot open. Reuben was done and pulled to go, but I told her what the problem was and she sat down to wait for me while I freed the knot and managed to pile in the new residents. I retied the knot nice and tight and we went another few blocks where she pooped a third time. Three poops in one walk, it sounds like one of those fantastical children books like 'seven in one blow' or 'a fly went by' or 'the seven Chinese brothers who drank the ocean'. The knot was tight, man, I really got it good. I knelt down with the tightly tied baggie in my hand and carefully placed the largest leaf I could find over victim number three and we put the hammer down and power-walked for home.

Tonight Brother Dave and Lane and I are getting back to our own business at the Brewhouse, Friday I'll be at Minocqua Brewing, Saturday I have the great pleasure of playing a show with Mike Munson and Joe Price in La Crosse at the Grand Hotel and Sunday it's Ed's in Winona. It's nice to be home.


08

08/31/14

Rueben and I are walkers. Since she can’t ride a bike it’s the best way to travel, in my opinion. We’re free to take it easy and choose our way without any interference from the department of transportation. We like paths best, but we’ll take any route that goes where we’re pointed, sidewalks or roads, alleys are always a favorite, along the water or through the yards, across the parks or across the parking lots, we’re walkers first of all. But this last weekend I had to take Rueben for a long drive, and for about 4 hours she sat and stared at me expectantly, waiting for the car to stop and for us to start walking like we’re supposed to but the car never stopped and we never walked and as I drove into Winona she quietly threw up on the seat and went to lay down on the floor. So Rueben can’t come along next weekend when I drive from Duluth to Moorhead and from there to Crystal Lake IL and on to Carbondale IL and catty-corner across Iowa to Mom’s house where I’ll talk a nice long walk with her dog.


09

10/31/14

It turns out Rueben is not the best guide dog in the world, and I guess I’m not surprised, she’s impulsive and temperamental, I’ve seen her chew through a wad of aluminum foil that once had a cookie in it and it took all my strength to get it away from her, so expecting her to quietly lead me around my neighborhood was probably too much to ask. But we wanted a walk, and I’d been to the eye doctor where I found out I have cataracts and I left there mostly blind due to some drops he’d put in my eyes. So now I had 2 pairs of sunglasses on plus a visor hat and I told Rueben “keep us on the sidewalk, son, I don’t need a broken leg now, too” and away we went. Exactly two doors from our house I ran into a tree as we cut through the neighbor’s yard to smell some small fuzzy shape in the grass. We tried again, but time after time I ended up tangled up in branches that looked soft and fuzzy but turned out to be sharp. By the time we made it to the park I was in some serious pain but at least now we could wander a little more freely. The hockey rinks are up, and I hoped that Lula and I would have some room to skate this year where we weren’t going to get mowed down by overexcited hockey-dads coaching three year olds clutching folding chairs in one hand and hockey sticks in the other. On the way home Rueben had to poop, and I made ready with the little bag, trying to stay focused on the little fuzzy lump she’d produced. I got most of it, I think, plus a bunch of leaves and grass and some other stuff and here I am, with my face as close to this screen as I can get it, telling it all to you. There’s no moral, the doctor was only trying to help, and it’s not Rueben’s fault that I can’t see nothing but fuzz, it’s a beautiful day as far as I’m concerned and these cuts and scrapes will heal eventually. I hope I can see by tonight, I’m taking Lula trick-or-treating and I’m thinking it might be good to go dressed as Blind Willie McTell. Tomorrow I’m heading for Minocqua to see Dustin and all my friends at the Minocqua Brewery. Have a nice Halloween, everybody, whether you put your light on or not.


10

11/20/14

Reuben came to us with a few teeth missing. The vet said it’s no big deal, but she doesn’t have the best teeth in the world and we’re supposed to brush them regularly which is something she doesn’t seem to like. The other day I broke off another tooth, one of my own, not the dog’s, and had to go to the dentist for a patch. I couldn’t see just what he was up to, but I imagined it was something involving a very small trowel and a tiny hod of cement. He said it was no big deal, but I don’t have the best teeth in the world, just keep brushing what’s left of them and stay away from peanut brittle. So we’re taking our walks in short bursts this week, since the cold air gets right in that hole where I used to have a whole tooth, we walk a little in the morning and a little more after lunch which seems to suit Reuben just fine. While I’m waiting to go for another walk I started trying to fix the back door again, because when the wind is up you can’t tell if it’s closed or not for all the air rushing through. Every year I add some piece of foam or salvaged fridge door to the frame trying to keep out the draft, but this year the mass has reached such a large proportion that I think if I add just one more strip of airlock insulation then we’ll be getting somewhere. I also have to fix the vacuum cleaner, which reminds me of my lawn mower, it sprays out as much dust as it picks up, making it a kind of even trade as you go. The mower sprays out a vile mixture of oil smoke and gas vapors and rarely cuts much grass. I’m tempted to try and combine them somehow but I’m almost sure Emily wouldn’t be super happy with the result. She told me to get the house fixed up and to not scare the new babysitter, her play opens tonight and I gotta go and play at two benefits that I couldn’t bear to turn down - Sacred Heart at 7 for the MRC and Carmody’s at 9 for Men as Peacemakers before I head for Sioux Falls and then Des Moines. Next Wednesday I’m taking the Midweek Bracer to Austin MN’s VFW to try and get a live recording, then I’m spending the weekend hanging out with the legendary Leo ‘Bud’ Welch for his annual it’s-too-hot-in-Mississippi-let’s-go-to-Minnesota tour.


11

11/24/14

Last winter during my walks with Reuben I noticed a lot of other dogs were wearing these little overshoes. They strutted right along with warm dry paws while Reuben moved swiftly to avoid having to touch the ground for too long at any one time, so I took this as a sign that she wanted her own set of little overshoes. And so this year before it got too cold Reuben and I walked to the dog biscuit lady’s house and I bought her some little overshoes since we walk every single day that I’m home and I don’t want her paws to freeze. After I got them on her feet I saw by the look in her eyes that she might prefer frozen paws. She wouldn’t walk, and when she did she walked like a drunken spider, bringing each foot way up before tentatively setting it back down, all the while staring directly into my eyes with a look of complete betrayal and I felt ashamed but I stuck to my guns and we practiced with them for a few blocks before I took them off. It felt like ice skating with a child, there’s this overwhelming sense of “why?“ the whole entire time you’re out there shoving your child around a patch of ice with sharpened steel blades tied to her feet and that “why?” in her eyes that you can‘t quite answer good enough except to say ‘trust me, my intentions are good, someday this will make sense‘. When we got home I showed Reuben my own boots and gave her a treat, but she went and sat under Emily’s desk and just stared out at me. Evidently good intentions can sit and spin. We’re taking her along to see Mom in Austin for Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll just leave her overshoes at home. Anyway, I hope you all have a great thanksgiving week, stop by a show if you can, I’m thankful to Ryan for posting them all on the website, and Leo Welch is up here this weekend from Mississippi, he’ll give you some hope if your tank is running low. I played his record for Reuben, I think it cheered her up some. At least until it‘s time for another walk.


12

01/19/15

There’s a little street in the neighborhood that I’ve walked by for years without going down. It’s easy to miss, only about a block and a half long, connecting 2 major streets at this weird 45 degree angle with alleyways that curve away from the street to get themselves straightened out before they meet the main street. One day last year Reuben and I turned on a whim and walked down this street, and I immediately felt the weirdest sensation, like we’d left town or even left the country or entered into something new. I turned around, but everything was still back there, normal as ever, and so we walked on and I was engulfed in this weird feeling right up until we made the sharp turn onto the other main street to start heading back towards home. I don’t know why, the houses look normal, there wasn’t anything bizarre looking about the street, same kinds of trees as we have on our street, same types of cars parked along it, some of those goofy windsock type things you see everywhere nowadays, no big deal. I went back again every few days and it was always there, that weird other-worldly feeling, and even Reuben seemed to be on high-alert. Finally this week I mentioned it to the kids and my daughter and I took a walk over there. I figured she’d set me straight and I’d feel silly and we’d go home but she felt it, too, and a couple houses in she picked up her pace and we moved to the other side as quickly as possible. She said “yep, that’s a weird street, alright”. Listen, sometimes we don’t know as much as we think we do, and I’m not saying anymore about it. It’s my time of life to be quiet, maybe, and appreciate just how deep this world is, and stay grateful for having music, which is the greatest mystery to me that I don’t even wanna crack it, it feels too good as it is and I’d hate to lose that just to know more and have less.

My only show this week is Friday evening at 7:00 in Duluth, at Amazing Grace, with the great Ben Weaver, who seems to know that if you think too much about it, it’ll disappear.


13

04/22/15

Every day has it’s thing. Today’s thing is that Reuben has to have a surgery to remove a kidney stone, so I dropped her off this morning and now I’m waiting and trying to concentrate on all the things that need to be done since I got home that I can’t concentrate on. She thought we were going for our walk when I got her leash, but I told her our walks will be much better after this, less of the constant peeing maybe. Well, it’s out of my hands now, as though it were ever in my hands. I’m thinking today about all the stuff going on right now that I don’t have control over or never even did have control over and I realize that it’s a lot easier to think about the stuff I can control since it’s such a short list. I need to tell you that I had to cancel all of my touring out of the country for this year, and I apologize to those folks who were planning on coming out to a show. I can’t get too much into this, you know this face book thing makes you feel like you can say anything but that’s not real. I have some family that need my attention, and it’s important, and I know you understand because we all can understand when it’s blood that’s calling. Reuben and I talked about it on the way to the vet this morning and I told her I’ll be there for her all the way, and I’ll look to her when I need her to help me over this next bit of the path. I’ve sorry’ed and thanked all the folks I could privately, all the US shows Ryan has listed on the site are still happening, the phone ringer is on, I’m making the coffee with a couple extra scoops. That’s what I can control at this time.


14

03/23/16

This morning I walked without Rueben since I had to stop at the bank and at the post office and I’d been toying with the idea of getting a cup of coffee downtown and none of these places seem super excited about Rueben coming inside. I explained all this to her at the back door, but she didn’t let me off the hook and just kept giving me the lonely all alone why oh why would you leave me here like this look until I just had to go. I felt pretty cruel and spent most of my walking between errands wondering how much trouble I’d be in if I made her a little companion animal vest, or made them for both of us, as we seem to need each other in the same way except that I try not to bother her when she’s eating. So this afternoon we’re hanging out together, listening to a great guitar anthology called “New Dimensions in Fingerstyle” that I highly recommend, and some of my pals are on there, too. Plus I’m packing up again to head west for about a month’s worth of shows starting in Duluth tonight at the Red Herring and ending around April 16th at Hymie’s Record Store and later that night at the Eagles Club for KFAI’s fundraiser, and all the details, thanks to Ryan, are posted here somewhere along with an invitation to look at the very mediocre pictures of stuff that I see on show days that I’ve been posting to Instagram lately thanks to this overly fancy phone I got before I left for Australia and encouragement from Eagle and The Wolf. Time to put it down and get back to practicing. Anyway, we’re all fine here, Mom’s doing well, Rueben has a new haircut, I managed to get the driver’s side door on the Kia to start opening again, I’m grateful for another day.


15

04/19/16

All around the west and to the south I stuck to my routine, eating apples and brushing my teeth every day. I had a great tour, maybe the best one I’ve had yet, I got to see so many friends and see some great places and the weather was nice every single day. When I got back to Duluth it was my sincere intention to keep to my routine, eating apples and brushing my teeth every day, and I unpacked my backpack and went out to buy some groceries and when I got back Rueben had eaten most of my toothbrush. The important part, anyway, the bristly part, was just gone. Now, I’ve been using this powdered toothpaste and it’s not super pleasant even with a toothbrush so just rubbing it on my teeth with my finger was not a great deal for me. I had Rueben sit in the bathroom with me while I did that so that she could see that things weren’t right since she ate my toothbrush. I threatened briefly to use her toothbrush but I saw that wouldn’t bother her in the least and it would bother me immensely. I think her punishment will come soon enough from her own system, if you see what I mean. So I’m shutting the door to my room and going out on my own for a new toothbrush.

Thanks, everyone, for coming out to the shows this last month, I sure appreciate it. I’m gonna clean up at home this week and then go see Mom for a while and then go see Spider John play at the Silver Dome in Neilsville Wisconson on April 30th. Maybe I’ll pick up one of them travel cases for my new toothbrush.


16

06/07/16

There are times when something happens that's not my fault. It's rare, I think, and even then I'm often ok with accepting responsibility just because it's the path of least resistance. Rueben and I walked in the woods yesterday and somewhere about halfway through there was one of those little bags of poop hanging from a branch. Rueben picked that spot to stop and have a sniff and so I used the time to contemplate the bag and whoever had hung it there and if maybe they were planning to come back and get it and throw it away, and it hadn't occurred to me that I could just take it and throw it away myself when suddenly there was a woman walking slowly towards us and she was looking at the bag and then looking at me and then down at Rueben who seemed to be smiling about something. She walked slower and finally got near us and I said hello and she glanced at the bag and said something like "hmmm-er-oh" and while she was looking at me I carefully removed the bag from the tree and put in my sweatshirt pocket.

I hate to have to tell you this but because of a misunderstanding that actually didn't involve me for once I won't be in Rochester this Saturday and hopefully they'll understand and I'll be able to make it up to them soon. I'm around Duluth though, Thursday's PeteFest at Beaner's and Friday I've got a quartet to help me out at the Blue Ox Festival, then Saturday I'm looking forward to helping the Red Herring celebrate their anniversary. I'm doing my best, but you know I try and keep my expectations low.


17

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