MY STORY I was born in 1975 in P-burg Kansas. Lived in Hays KS, moved to Scott City KS till the 4th grade and then wound up in Ellsworth Ks through High School. Back to Hays for college and now in Salina. We lived near the outskirts of town in Scott City and I remember quite a bit of it. A few steps away from the railroad tracks that lead out of town and huge cornfield were all visible from our front porch. We would hide in those cornfields and pretend we were in some other world. Scratched and scorching hot we were young. Young and invisible in those fields. Free and innocent. We would take walks down the railroad tracks and chase lizards. They were always too damn fast for any of us. The tracks led to the abandoned Drive-In movie theatre and we would spend countless days playing pretend war there. Broke into the concession stands but all we ever found were rotten packets of mustard and a broken down popcorn machine. But hell it was like we were in another world. Our own world. Swimming pool summers were endless and the baseball diamonds were always the best playgrounds. Sand everywhere, leather and dreams of the big leagues danced around in our open minds. I would sit out on our front porch with my jambox and listen to the radio - 1980-84. Damn good years for music. Springsteen was 'Dancin in the Dark' Mellencamp and his 'Pink Houses' screamed into those endless skies. While my old man worked I would listen to the oldies station and that's where I came to know and love Chuck Berry, Elvis, Tommy James, the list goes on and on. On family trips the old man would pop in a tape of Don Williams or Mickey Gilly, Eddie Rabbit, The Eagles, anyway you name it, I prolly heard it before. I loved those trips and the music we all got to hear, a real education at that age. I remember the day we left. I kissed the front door of the house and said goodbye. Ellsworth was a trip. We lived outside of town on a dirt road. The wrong side? More than likely looking back but my parents never let us know any better. We never went without and that was more than enough looking back. The railroad tracks were just a few blocks away and there were fishin ponds less far than that. My cohort and favorite mexican friend Marc and I would spend tons of time at those ponds thinking we could reel in a lunker. Never did, doesn't matter. Played whiffle ball and basketball and football all year long. The Smoky Hill River was just another 50 yards from the tracks do as you can imagine boy did we get wet and muddy. I remember the floods and just watching that river roll and when it was calm I would go down and sit on the huge rocks of the banks and just write. Poems, short stories, the beginning of verse for me it was. Time move on, I grew up. Went to high school, got into trouble for drinking, fighting and just being a smart ass kid. High school was a blast for me. Funny damn thing high school was. I wrestled in high school but never considered myself a jock. Played ball in the summer and was pretty damn good but never could run. For some damn strange reason I hooked up with a crazy bunch of cats. Two f***in jocks, Webber and Bird Dog. A metal head, Mettlen. And me, the writer I guess, hell who knows. Anyway you slice it we started hangin out and that was that. Road trips, chewin tobacco, leaf, milk jugs filled with water and plenty of sun. What a great f***in ride, growin up with those cats. Know em to this day. Went to college. Hays America. Bunch of us boys from E-town ended up there. My first year I got mono and had to move home. Ended up in the hospital - almost died I think. I was sick as hell anyway. As I was recovering back home, laying on the couch for months on end I turned on CMT. I saw and heard the video for '1,000 miles from nowhere' by Dwight Yoakham (sp). As I layed there and watched him on that train, singing that song a strange thing happened. Maybe it was the drugs, I tell myself it was God. I saw and heard that song and said that's what I want to do. I have the stories. So I got a guitar for Christmas that year and started pickin away. I was 18 or so I think. Went back to college and spent the next 6 years writing music and occasionally going to class In 1999, my old man got real sick. It was the summer time. His favorite time of year. It was the night before Fathers Day and my brother and I sat on my front porch in Hays America drinking a beer. For whatever reason we started talking about what life would be like when our dad died. He was everything to us. The next day I drove home to Ellsworth for Fathers Day. Typically I would find the old man out mowing the lawn or putting out the sprinklers. Didn't see him. Typically when I went inside mom would be frying chicken and the old man would be reclined in the chair with a cola watching the ballgame. Walked inside, didn't see nothing, no-one. Answered the phone when it rang. Mom says your dad is real sick and in the hospital. Drove over to Salina...he hung on for a month. The last night I saw him, as I was walking out of his hospital room, he grabbed my hand and whispered to me, 'Thank You.' I smiled at him like a parent might smile at a child and said 'For what?' He simply said, 'For Everything.' The next morning, he was gone. Over the next few years hell I went up and down. Hard liquor, fast living. Lost I guess. It wasn't until my brother came down and pulled me out of my hell-hole apartment in Hays that I started thinking I had something to live for. I got to Salina and moved out in the country with him and just stopped spinning. I got back on track with the music. I got the fire back for living. I got the desire back burning through my veins. Now, here I am. The rest is just going to have to be up to the stars. After all, everything I do from now on is just going to be part of history. Least that's what I believe....guess we will just have to find out won't we?
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