Not long after I drove the 41 for the first time, I wore my father’s silver belt buckle with “BLU” set in turquoise, that he must have had made somewhere in Mexico, perhaps even on his trip to the pyramids with Eddie Soliz, at the 2012 Country Music Awards in Nashville. I stood behind and peeked through the stage curtain and watched Vince Gill, certainly one of the best singers and guitar players in any genre of music sing backup with Kelly Clarkson, indeed one of the best singers in the world, sing the song “Don’t Rush”, which I had co-written some years back in Nashville. She sang it live for millions of country music fans as her first foray into the country universe. It was well received as a throw back to country from some twenty years back. It made it into the 20s on the Billboard country charts. Not quite a hit, but as hit as I’d ever had. The kindness and congratulations from Nashville were overwhelming. It was almost as if I‘d never left at all.
I worked a second year with Miranda, promoted to the tour manager assistant and tour photographer. I got paid to take photos. A dream job if I ever had one.
In January of 2014 I moved back to Nashville, to be closer to the tour, and to try again perhaps. When I was young In El Paso, the last thing I could ever imagine doing was staying. But I found myself not wanting to leave. The Nashville carrot was still there to be chased, but I was done chasing. At least the way I used to.
The 41 is still in El Paso. Babette starts it up for me every few weeks. I don’t quite have a place to put it yet in Tennessee, and I don’t have an Eddie Soliz, a John Attel, or a Carlos, or an Ernie. And I’m not sure I never will.
My goal in telling my father’s story has always been to simply increase the visibility of his disease and to help other’s who might be going through something close to what I went through.
Someone recently tweeted me: “Thank you for sharing your story. It's helping me cope with my father who's battling pulmonary fibrosis.”
And I could not ask for more than that.