<Leaving on a jet plane> 2 min. 48 sec.
I ‘n’ I father has been fighting a brain condition called NPH. Makes him wet, wobbly, and wacky. So as the eldest, I have been driving my parents from Sun City West, AZ retirement home to Fort Benton, Montana and back again. Montana summers and Phoenix winters. This is my excursion:
Day 1: Covid Airlines: SLC to Great Falls, MT.
Get up and get out of the house at 5:30 in the AM. Suitcase, Burning Spear tote bag I carry everywhere, like a man purse, cash and ID. Don’t forget your mask!
No worries, time to dial up Uber on my IPhone.
Credit card 1 rejected, credit card 2 rejected, credit card 3 rejected. Credit card 4? REJECTED. Paypal rejected. WTF? In my haste to call a cab I dropped my new IPhone on the pavement and the screen shattered. F-bomb!
As Neil Young would say, “Piece of crap.” Luckily the phone feature still worked and I ‘n’ I hailed Ute cab like back in the day. When I got settled I wrote Uber a 1 star, EFF YOU review on the App Store, deleted those fools and settled in for the dreaded wait.
Uber is unreliable: I entered four legitimate credit cards and Uber rejected them all. They also wouldn’t take my PayPal account. They don’t care. I deleted the app, told all my friends & family. Now I either use Lyft or will call a cab. FIYA BU’N UBER!!! Worse than Covid!
This trip is already starting out with a bad omen…
Flying. When I ‘n’ I told friends I was getting on planes their look of horror and incredulity was obvious. Like I need any reminders. I ‘n’ I have no choice. Maybe the plane will be mostly empty like when I flew out in May.
Nope. Tin can Skywest plane was completely full. Two seats, aisle, two seats. Luckily no Utah county maskholes. Flight to Great Falls was 2/3 full. Had to pull the mask down at TSA. WTF? Great, Covid to the left of me, Covid to the right of me….
Day 2: Fort Benton, Montana to Ogden, Utah (578 miles)
Could not wait to get on the road. Watching TV in a state with competitive electoral races is a nightmare. Every commercial was Dem attacking R. R slandering Dem. Every. Single. Break. Doesn’t anyone just sell Coca-Cola and toothpaste anymore?
1300 miles from North Central Montana to Phoenix retirement community. Drove the first stretch as far as Ogden, Utah.
- Pops, who was still wheelchair bound when I ‘n’ I made the reverse trip in May. Now walking with a cane and doing well mentally.
- Yimma (my mom). Sat in the back with her Ipad
- Bella our lap dog/rabbit killer
- I ‘n I. Did all the driving
That stretch in the Fall is beautiful if the weather is good. Freshly harvested wheat fields, cross the Missouri River a bunch of times, Go up and over the Continental Divide.
I ‘n’ I told Yimma we had to get on the road early. Because I wanted to be in our Motel Room in time for the first debate between the Orange Guy and the Pale White Guy.
Forced to listen to The Bridge on Sirius/XM. Soft rock of the 70’s. By the time we hit Butte, MT, I ‘n’ I wanted to throw myself off a bridge. After about the third Christopher Cross “classic” I was itching to switch to the Metallica channel! 1300 miles of wimp rock. Mainline the caffeine straight into my veins.
Checked into a grungy Motel 6 just off I-15. Ordered up some dinner delivery. I got out my vape pen and for the first time ever(?) watched FOX News. Shit meet show!
I ‘n’ I was vaping Trainwreck while watching a train wreck. Remember the two old dudes from the Muppets? This is America?
Day 3: Ogden, Utah to Mesquite, Nevada (376 miles); 45 sec.
Grinding through Utah in a Buick Enclave crammed so full of cra….stuff I had to rely on the side mirrors. Fighting off narcolepsy from the endless rotation of Seals & Croft, James Taylor and Carly Simon. I ‘n’ don’t think I’m gonna listen to any Steely Dan for at least a year.
Central Utah would be prettier if it were 100 miles shorter from SLC to Nevada.
Nevada has a Karen governor so we weren’t able to stay at the casinos in May. This time we checked in to Virgin River Casino. Yimma got the rooms while I ‘n’ I drove to Deep Roots Harvest.
Hit Yimma up for 2 Benjamins. My Uber fee, strike that Lyft fee for doing all the driving. That debate debacle depleted my vape stock, and so picked up a couple cartridges: Strawberry Cough and Grape Ape. I ‘n’ I have a sweet tooth.
Drove back and we all had a pandemically correct dinner. I ‘n’ I hate ketchup and pepper packets. First world problems!
Pops squeezes the nickel til the buffalo shits, so he stayed in his room and watched baseball in empty stadiums. Yimma and I hit the casino floor. She is a slots player. I’m a video poker guy.
New rules on the casino floor. My Pops said he wished he had the plexiglass business. No doubt. Gambling now is like playing cards in a phone booth. I’m claustrophobic so I looked for a machine on the end.
Low stakes, 25 cents x 5 coins per play. That first Andrew Jackson lasted long enough to wash down my “strawberries” with a Jack and coke. The bosomy cocktail waitress doesn’t come around much to the quarter machines.
Put a second $20 in. Played it almost to the end. $60 is about all I’m willing to blow in one sitting. Then it happened…..
CALL ATTENDANT! CALL ATTENDANT!
Huh? I looked down and saw 4000 coins on the machine tally. I had just hit a Royal Flush. Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of Spades.
When it dawned on me what 4000 quarters added up to, even by my Liberal Arts math “skills”, that was $1000. Then, of course, there was no attendant to be found! Covid casinos are still pretty empty. Lot of staff have been furloughed.
I ‘n’ I was afraid to venture from my machine b/c I figured the moment I step away, someone would sit down and claim my winnings. Finally I yelled at a Security Guy: HEY YOU! I WON THE JACKPOT!
He offered to get a person to pay out. That was a five minute wait that seemed like hours. I ‘n’ I was half paranoid that there would be a power outage or earthquake and the machine would black out. Once you win something like that you now have a reason to care about the outcome. Usually I play to fill time, sipping whiskey, surreptitiously toking up, (it’s flavored CBD!) and listening to every 80’s hit by Madonna on the PA system.
Nice lady comes over with her notepad and a money bag. Counted out 9 $100 bills and 5 20’s. You know they want you to kick that last $100 back to them. My mind was wrecked, no way I ‘n’ I could concentrate. I took my cash and headed to find Yimma who had run out of a $100 pretty quickly. I was shaking. Never won a jackpot like that in my history of low stakes gambling in Vegas.
No 1099 either. Pure profit. We headed back to the rooms. Pops was looking at the two of us wearing shit eating grins. I laid down in front of him, 100, 200, 300….up to $1000. He just shook his head.
When I Tweeted out my winnings, a lot of well wishers said that I ‘n’ I deserved to win for risking The Covid (Bobbylon 17, Covid 0) to be the good son to drive my elderly parents all the way home.
<Tom Petty – Even the losers get lucky sometimes>; 75 sec.
As Tom Petty sang, “Even the losers get lucky sometimes.” Day 4: Mesquite to Sun City West, 350 miles. Sailed home that last stretch. Even the Air Supply tunes on Sirius XM sounded grittier than normal.
So when I ‘n’ I returned from 2 weeks on the road, cratedigging in 108 degree weather, this was my first song back on Smile Jamaica
- Sonya Spence – Jet Plane; In the Dark (Skynote) ’78 John Denver cover
- Hi-Tech Roots Dynamics – Jammin’ Dub; 90 Degrees Dub (Top Beat) UK vinyl dub album of the hour
- Aisha – Evil Spirits; High Priestess (Ariwa) ‘88
- Aswad – Not Satisfied; Not Satisfied (Columbia) ‘82
- The Reddies – Voodoo Woman; Cultivation (The Reddies) 2009 Jah-stin TX
- The Toyes – Monster Hash; The Toyes (CD Tunes) ’96 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement; Boris Pickett cover
- Mike Brooks & Matic Horns – The Devil’s Conspiracy; 10” (Sip a Cup) 2005 UK
- Future Pigeon – The Mummy; Echodelic Sounds of Future Pigeon (Record Collect) 2006 herbtune
- Ras Midas – Good Old Days; 12 the Hard Way (Tribesman) ‘78
- Hollie – Desdemona; Twice (Mr. Bongo) 2014 female singer
- Barrington Levy – Murderer; 12” (MCA) ’84 US
Set 3: RIP producer Bunny Lee
- Horace Andy – Skylarking; Prime of (Music Club) ’75: 4 favorite Bunny Lee (RIP) productions
- Ronnie Davis – Kaya; Tribute to Bob Marley (Esoldun) ’78 Bob Marley herb cover
- Hortense Ellis – Unexpected Places; Queen of Reggae (JA) ‘76
- Johnny Clarke – Every Knee Shall Bow; Dreader Dread (Blood & Fire) ‘78
- Pablo Gad – Sad Mistake; Hard Times (Soul Village) ’80
- Wendy Shaw – Ease Off Satan; Passing Through the Flames (Issachar) ’92 So Cal
- Qualia – Plasma (Freshwater Mix); Earthjuice (Waveform) ’98 US mutant dub
- Bunny Lee & the Aggrovators – Dub Gospel; Dub Will Change Your Mind (King Spina) 70’s Dub album of the hour
Set 5: Halloween Vinyl
- Peter Metro – Obeah in Jamaica; Music Works for the Future (Jah Life Time) ’87 JA
- Kwame – Hellhounds; Follow I (Polydor) ’80 US
- Massive Dread – Vamps on the Corner; Strictly Bubbling (UFO) ’82 JA
- Prince Alla – Evil Forces; Evil Forces (Calabash) ’84 Opa-Locka, FL
- Wailing Souls – Penny I Love You; Wailing (Jah Guidance)
Set 6: 7″ Jamaican Jukebox Halloween
- Dennis Alcapone – Mr. Brown; 7′ (Observer) …rides around in a coffin
- Freddie McGregor – Mark of the Beast; 7” (Soul Syndicate)
- Larry Marshall – Duppyman Skank; 7” (Moodisc) ’96 duppy = Jamaican ghost
- Bionic Steve – Bermuda Triangle; 7” ’80
- Prince Buster – Ghost Dance; 7” (Prince Buster) ’72
Set 7: Wailers Family Tree Halloween
- Peter Tosh – Jumbie Jamboree; The Toughest (Heartbeat/Studio One) ’64
- Bob Marley and the Wailers – Duppy Conqueror; 7” (Upsetter) ‘70
- Bob Marley and the Wailers – Mr. Brown; Songs of Freedom (Tuff Gong) ‘70
- Bunny Wailer – Blackheart Man; Blackheart Man (Mango) ’76
Set 8: Mutant Dub Halloween
- Singers & Pl ayers – Dungeon + Jah Merchant Ship; Revenge of the Underdog (ON U Sound) ’82 UK
- Gorillaz – Dracula; Gorillaz (Virgin) 2000
- Benjamin Zephaniah – Blood Suckers; Belly of the Beast (Ariwa) ’96 UK dub poet
- Finley Quaye – Mashing Up Lucifer/Stone the Devil; CD Single (Epic) ‘97
- Earl Sixteen – Gates of Hell; 10” (Sip a Cup) 2004 UK
- Natacha Atlas – I Put a Spell on You; Best of (Mantra) 2005 Algerian dawta, Screaming Jay Hawkins cover