So let me tell you a bit about life on the road….
One night, a 400-pound lady moose (moosette?) decides to take a stroll across an Idaho highway in front of an oncoming tour bus. Driver eases the bus as far to the right shoulder of the road as possible, but moose still manages to collide with the left front headlight, spin completely around in the road, and lie dead facing in the opposite direction. Bus damage is slight, no one in board is injured, and after filing all the proper reports with the authorities, the bus continues on to Libby, Montana, where the occupants have a show to perform the following night.
Sitting in the audience with her boyfriend 24-hours later is the police officer who came to investigate the crash. Having ditched her pinned-up hair and formal police blues, she’s dressed as a sexy cowgirl this time, complete with flowing dark hair, straw hat, tight, low-cut jeans, shiny belt buckle, and boots. We tell her she looks different. She looks at us in our stage costumes and obviously thinks, “Look who’s talking!”
Leaving Libby, we drive across some of the most beautiful mountain highway I have ever seen….right into the teeth of a snowstorm that slows us to 40-miles an hour. What should have been an eight hour trip ends up taking eleven. Sliding on mountainside ice is not my idea of fun.
At our next show, the backstage contest winner is a young lady with her husband and their…get this….five DAY old baby! “I was hoping she’d arrive in time so I wouldn’t have to miss your show,” Mama Jennifer said. Little Olivia yawned while we took pictures and I signed a pink guitar for her, careful to add the date of her first concert. She slept peacefully throughout the entire two-hour performance.
Afterward, a lady came up to me in the autograph line, handed me her business card which identified her as a volunteer coordinator for the venue where we were working, and leaned across the table. In a much better whisper than I could ever conjure up, she said, “I was supposed to go to my doctor’s office today to get the results of my breast cancer exam. But I told him I’d have to come tomorrow. I had to come see Bill Anderson tonight.”
i wasn’t sure what to say, but ended up assuring her that this just gave us all 24-extra hours to send up a few prayers on her behalf. If you think of it today, mention Doreen in Sherwood Park, Alberta. God will know who you’re talking about.
People quiz me all the time about why I continue to travel and work the road when I could stay home and write songs. It’s because of professionals like Kim, the policewoman turned cowgirl, the tiny, innocent Olivia’s of the world, and the brave Doreen’s who bring their incredible rays of sunshine into my life. Think what I’d miss if I weren’t out here meeting these folks and hundreds of others, each with their own heartwarming stories to share.
As for the moose, I hope her friends back in the Idaho woods will be more careful from now on and look both ways before they cross the street.
And there is no truth to the rumor that I’m working on a song called, “Almoosed Pursuaded.”