20 Years is a Thing

23 Aug

Warning: navel-gazing ahead. It’s why I have a blog!

I’m in the weirdest summer mood. I have not had an unpleasant summer…it’s been a good one, actually. I took a notion to travel and see friends and music in June, when Texas had just started to assert its place in one of Dante’s rings, as it does every summer. I’ve been teaching. I’ve been writing. I put out an EP! But all the planets (or at least 5 of them) were in retrograde at one point in July and while I am never certain about how much stock I want to put into that sort of thing…the summer sludge is real, planetary or not.

So in between music and work and travel I have impulsively begun gutting my living space. It started with my CD collection. I have been amassing discs since I was a pre-teenager, and I decided it was time to let some of them go. Books, too…which almost kills me. What IF I want to read assigned text from my History of Eastern Europe: WWI class again? WHAT IF? (I will not). The CDs I can digitize. The books…there are Kindles and the Google to handle it. Fine.

I like to tuck things inside of things; I’ve been derailed on memory lane numerous times this past month. Notes passed in class in high school and recipes from my old roommates and dollar bills (yas!) have popped up. So have ticket stubs! I save them, but I never organize them. I bet there’s a scrapbooking aisle at Michael’s just for ticket stub organization. I have not been there.

Today I was digging around in a binder and I found this:


It is from the very first time I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter play live. June 23, 1998, at the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in Santa Fe. My high school guitar buddies, Laura and Leilani, went with me, and my parents drove us the 45 miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. I remember yelling a lot and singing along. I don’t remember much else, I was just so excited to be there. I met John Jennings for the first time. He was the kindest human being on the planet to a 15-year-old kid who was starstruck.

It took a minute to realize that 1998 was…20 years ago. As the typically unused numerological part of my brain kicked into gear, I realized that THIS year, I spent that very same week of June in Colorado and Idaho, seeing the mountains and…seeing Mary Chapin play again. 20 years later, here we both are.


That kind of floored me. So much has changed, of course. One of my nephews was born that year, and he is in college now. My Dad and all my grandparents have passed on. I’ve lived in Texas for 12 years. The aforementioned Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in Santa Fe is not there anymore. We spin so fast on this blue ball that stuff shifts or flies off it completely with some regularity. A coping skill I have developed is to not think about it too much.

It’s been a weaving and winding couple of decades. I’d like to think I have grown like a messed up weed, shooting up tall and darting off side to side and working my way through my 20’s and (gasp) half my 30’s with some roots established while still waving new sprouts and leaves around awkwardly.

I’m grateful. Grateful for a glance back at the teenager, who I think would probably be ok with the path taken thus far. Thankful for these musical North Stars in my life that consistently give so much joy and meaning in new ways while providing a connection to how it all began. Grateful to MCC for making beautiful records and touring all this time.

I just got back from an incredible weekend in Washington, D.C. that included MCC’s final summer tour show at Wolf Trap and some historical wandering. I am pretty sure 15-year-old me would be very proud of my decision making skills in the music + travel department…I hope I continue to make that kid light up.

Happy 20 to MCC, thanks for everything. Here’s to many more!

#sippycupofgin #marychapincarpenter #happysummer

2 Responses to 20 Years is a Thing



August 24th, 2018 at 1:26 pm

You’re living your best life and I’m certain you lit (more than just) me!



August 25th, 2018 at 9:16 pm


You are precious.

I’m so happy that YOU are one of our many “North Stars” around which we all orbit. We are each other. Happy anniversary. You make me proud.


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