Monday, August 10, 2009



Airports are prime spots for newspaper sales. I'm always looking for some local stuff. Local tidbits, which are the same as the local tidbits in my home town. And a newspaper is handy for covering the monitor on a laptop, to cut down on glare. And the scores from baseball, basketball, football, tennis, hockey, and golf are all there. In fine print. In smallest font. From little league, to high school, to college, to semi-pro, to Professional team, all are represented.

But last night a fellow--the speaker--told us, in a voice, almost bragging (loudly) about his "unique" experience. "Ya, well, there ah was at a airport. Ah had tu buy a dammm newspaper to find out where ah wuz!". The room stayed quiet. Nobody laughed.

Because almost everyone had been in that place, done that thing, with the same excuse--we had blacked out before buying a ticket to somewhere.

It reminded me of the days I toured as a member of a symphony orchestra. We played a different town every night for six weeks each winter. We went everywhere, traveling the county's twin-railed highways on sleeper cars called Pullman's. About twenty of us (half the violin section) walked around each new town in the early morning--10 AM--trying to "guess which city we were in".

No fair looking at the Passenger Terminal signs! No fair asking the locals! Once on a frightfully cold windy, snowy day, the consensual guess was a tossup between Fairbanks Alaska, or Denver Colorado. (It was Denver.)

During those years I checked hundreds of newspapers in their stands, just to see what place we were playing that night. Also I got the weather report. Miami Beach (and Miami) were my favorite destinations. Not only were these places nicely warm, I could tell immediately where we were, by the Spanish-styled architecture.

How in the world many of us could get our arms and legs and fingers working by evening time (because of the cold, of course!) in order to come together in a decent performance of major symphonic works, I've never yet figured out. Because man, some of us were so stinking drunk, it was all we could do to sit in our chairs without falling on the floor. Night after night.

I keep saying "we" and "ours", but ya know--maybe it was just ME! Just maybe. Go figure.

And oh, the newspaper--yessss--the next morning, would have a story on the last page, 4-C about how the "....symphony orchestra last night played as with velvet fingers softly stroking petals of tulips, as the lilting melody of the Second Movement peeked through the curtains of the introductory chords."

I could have puked in the critic's lap as she was writing that drivel.

My next move was to a job where I could be always surrounded with a group of about 95 of my closest friends. They had names like "Gordons", "Beefeater", "Early Times", "Bond and Lillard" (fondly called by the intelligentsia, B and L , "Smirnoff", "Justerini and Brooks" (J and B), "Cutty Sark"...you get the idea?

So my drinking and I progressed downward rapidly to Rapid Eye Convulsions, Comatose Electra, Blind Stupor, Imbecilic, and just plain "helpless drunk".

About 12 years later I ran into something I thought was a ladder. I was told it had 12 Steps, all UP. And though I'm afraid of height (except in an airplane --grin!) I took the climb, and I am still here "Come Hell Or High Water".

I have not had a drink since the night BEFORE my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today I do a lot of things around AA, but one thing is above all others in importance: I do not drink today NMW, "No Matter What". And I pray that you do not, also!

And Peeps, I love you all.


Mike Golch said...

A great Message Steve.A question if I may do you still play,and if so what instrument??

Steve E. said...

Mike I play a violin, it is the only thing I do really well. Oh! and STAY SOBER, of course! (No Matter What.)

Tall Karen said...

I love fellow AA cheerleaders!! Let's go all the way and become fellow delegates! RahRahRah!

Way too much recognition in this post for me. Musta needed a reminder. Thanks Steve.

wolfie185 said...

Thanks Steve as always love your humor and love your message. I really hope your ever present STAY SOBER is helping someone else besides me, I don't have a desire to drink and haven't craved one since I walked back into the rooms but I still need to read that line, the basics of it all.

Rhonda said...

Isn't it funny how we think our stories are somehow unique?
It's comforting for me to know we are all in the same boat.
I love this post.
I still don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

STAY Sober and we find miracles huh Steve! ;op and it's like I didn't even work on the drink problem. I ran across that spot in the book the other day that said, "leaving aside the question of drink...they tell us why living was so unsatisfactory." BOY OH BOY, did I find out I was more like ya'll than I thought when I did that. Hmmm... and all it took was leaving aside the drink... problem! Yup definitely in the right place!

Glad you were here when I started to come out of the final stage of black-out, the one where you realize somehow that you got to the right place, at the right time, through no thought or true effort of your own, it's like ... kismet

Glad you continue to carry that message and are accepting and tolerant as you watch God take hold.


Gabriella Moonlight said...

Great post...I so get that it's incredible how we are not unique...thank goodness.


Ed G. said...

I sometimes marvel at the traveler/road warrior of today who only has papers like "USA Today" or "Wall Street Journal" in the stands. I'd never know where I was.

Blessings and aloha...

Lou said...

You made me grin with this post, Steve-0-Storyteller.

Cat said...

I think you blog pretty well as well Steve - and that reaching out to others thing you do is also pretty darn remarkable!


diane d said...


Syd said...

I have to say that I've known the locale that I was in throughout my life. But whether I cared of not, or whether I wanted to be there, now that is a different thing entirely.