It began as a comment - a casual mentioning over the telephone. Seemingly harmless words until they are pieced together and uttered in the presence of the right person: Caedmon's Call is playing in Raleigh
WHAT?! This band that I have made it my life's quest to own every cd they've released? This group that I knew since before most folks at Carson-Newman had seen a B-3 Hammond? This band that never
, and I mean never
plays at Knoxville (since the Bijou show 3001 years ago)? Caedmon's Call? (Is my geek-dom visible enough yet?)
So Andy told me they were playing in Raleigh the day that our Spring Break began. Plans were laid with craftiness. Wiper fluid was purchased. Chicken salad sandwiches were packed. No smoking signs were turned on. We began a long and strenuous quest out from the Shire, over hill and dale for Raleigh, North Carolina. And I can't even begin to describe to you the beauty of the journey, but I'm gonna try.......
11:00am - Leaving Jefferson City, the trek started with a short coast to I-40 over 92. Thus begun, we turned our faces towards the lately risen sun to faces the impending Appalachian Mountains. As we traced the path towards the Eastern Seaboard, their snow-bound peaks grew around us, blocking out the sun, even at it's almost-noon perch high above us. Appalachia smiled knowingly down from it's winter's-end porch front, and we marvelled at the Hand of God on his Canvas, and quietly wondered how we ourselves were paint-strokes. With MapQuest as our illustrious guide, we breathed past Asheville and my old stomping grounds of Lenoir, and the foothills and the rolling Piedmont opened up before us like a letter from a newfound friend. The long home stretch beckoned, and we fell gracefully into the arms of our destination.
5:30pm - After the miracle of Cheerwine and gas station sandwiches brought Andy and I into Raleigh, our strength returned when Providence Baptist Church came in our sights. I pulled the weary car into the parking lot. We had two hours until the concert began, so we piled out and retrieved our tickets at will call, happy as larks to be the first to arrive. We crossed the street to Burger King (only to borrow the facilities) and returned shortly to join the only two folks in front of us.
7:30pm - Andrew Peterson walks out on stage and announces that he is not from India. So begins the 2005 Spring Tour of Share the Well. It was good to see him again, even though it had only been a couple weeks. No family or Ben Shive with him this time, but we'll forgive him ;) . He played some favorites and even another song from the upcoming album (it's going to be about heaven, I can't wait to hear it). Then Cliff walked out and began to tell us as best he could the story of the Dalits and why Caedmon's was on this mission of Love. I can't convey to you in words what was in his story and his plea, go to the concerts or buy the album, it's the best way I know for you to understand the plight of the Dalit people.
Caedmon's came out and, together, we all spent an hour and a half dancing, smiling, crying, laughing, and celebrating the fact that our God is a God of the rich and the poor, of the sick and the well, of the upper-caste and the down-trodden - and that He is Love.
Andy and I left afterwards and went to Sean and Dana's house. It was great to see my friends again and to hear their stories and their ideas. I was eager to ask questions about discerning the will of God. We woke up the next morning and said goodbye to Dana, since she left early for a morning to herself. Sean and his boys at cinnamon rolls with us and we spent the morning playing and singing. Andy, Sean, and I took turns playing Elijah's little FirstAct guitar with five strings on it, and I drummed on a basketball - and we sang songs of the Glory of God there in that tiny living room.
11:00am - Andy and I began the long return journey. It seemed shorter this time because I had driven it before. At half-past Winston-Salem, we took a northward bearing to reach Boone and my childhood friend Katherine Malcolm, who is much the same as I remember her.
It was strange in a way, seeing Katherine. When you're a kid, you don't really wonder about what other people are thinking. As for myself, I think I sort of woke up one day and started realizing that what other people were feeling like might be important. I am currently in a battle with that fact and I'm not sure who's winning, as the soldiers and advocates keep exchanging causes every time I encounter people. But I suppose that's cause I think too much. Anyway, I re-met this girl I had known for a couple years back in elementary school, and she was a person now, and I was a person, and we were somewhat uncomfortably aware of each other. But all in all, it was certainly good to see her again and get to roam around Boone and App State and have an oasis in the middle of this pilgrimage. I loved seeing snow on the ground in piles and drifts more than anything, since our snow in Jefferson City is of the subspecies that inhabits only the air.
After seeing a great shoe store that sold Chuck Taylors, Roos, and PF Flyers
(for crying out loud), and an even better antique store with an old Wurlitzer Organ downstairs (like the kind my Great Nannie has) and some beautiful old wooden kitchen hutches, we bid Katherine and her fiancee farewell and began the second and more interesting leg of the return trip.
5:00pm - Leaving Boone, we headed towards Elizabethton and Johnson City on a state highway that wove through the mountains in a mysterious dry serpentine way. It was getting late, but the views were still more than indescribable. I always marvel in my mind at cattle that graze on steep hills. You'd think the legs on one side would have to be shortened so they could stand up straight, but they manage. We drove until well after dark and I think being in the car all day made us a little loopy, but we pulled into Jefferson City at around 9:00 like cows coming home for supper. Andy packed up and went downtown, and I packed upstairs to Kat's apartment to hang out a while.
So, now I own a shirt from India, that I got in Raleigh, after driving from Jefferson City, to see a band from Nashville, that went to India. We've come full circle, and if you see me wearing it, you'll know the story.
Thanks for listening, this concludes our broadcast day.