Tulsa Time

They were line dancing.

I’m from New England. It’s what’s inside that counts. We’re self-satisfied and superior. We might have dreamed of being cowboys but deep inside we’ve got contempt for anybody south of the Mason-Dixon Line. We laugh at not only their accents, but their customs. Why? Because we’re insecure. If New York isn’t the greatest city in the world our global view would collapse. As a result, we barely dip our toes in the water, we take no risk, we don’t like to look like fools, we just sit back, cross our arms and smugly look down our noses.

So I’m at the Minturn Saloon for Sybil and Matthew’s tenth anniversary celebration. And after a plethora of Tex-Mex food, the band fired up, a drum kit, two Stratocasters and a Precision Bass, and people stand up and start dancing in a line like it’s in their DNA.

And it looks fun.

It’s all about myelin. The sheath around your nerves. It’s what allows you to learn and perfect new things. And the older you get, the less there is and the harder it gets.

Which means I’m gonna look like an idiot.

But I left Connecticut long ago. No one’s self-conscious. I decide to take to the dance floor.

And there’s a guy in a striped shirt teaching the steps, which seem easy at first and then he lays on so many more I think I’m on "Dancing With The Stars", I’ve got no chance. Aren’t they supposed to start easy? Aren’t these people supposed to be slow?

And when I’m not even ready, the band kicks into "Tulsa Time".

That’s where Sybil’s from.

And it sounds so good. And I’m stepping and twisting and even though I’m giving up on putting my palm to my heel, I can barely keep up, and at eight thousand feet I don’t even think I’ll make it through the number. It’s the best workout I’ve had in years.

But with a new song comes new steps.

Yup, "Tulsa Time" ends and having not even accomplished what came before, it’s all thrown out and a whole new set of even more complicated steps is introduced. The little kids are having no trouble. The people in fringe move like they were born to it. And it’s the self-satisfied New Englander that’s bringing up the rear.

And then the band launches into "Green River".

The riff is unmistakable. And as great as the record is, it’s just as infectious played by a bunch of journeymen in a bar.

Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah
Let me remember things I love
Stopping at the log where catfish bite
Walking along the river road at night
Barefoot girls dancing in the moonlight

The sea of bodies is moving in motion, I’m studying the leader, I’m trying to stay in the groove.

And I’m so fucking happy. Elated.

My life is flashing in front of my eyes. Never buying this Creedence album but playing this track whenever I went to my friend’s house.

It’s so simple, but so right.

Up at Cody’s camp I spent my days, oh
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers
Old Cody, Jr. took me over
Said, ‘You’re gonna find the world is smoldering
And if you get lost come on home to Green River’

Actually, the Green River isn’t that far away. You just make a left on I-70 and drive towards Utah.

Once upon a time I thought I knew everything, had all the answers, and life was complicated and difficult.

But once I decided to move west and let go, everything’s become so much simpler.

Jump in the river. The water might shock you at first, but you’ll take to it.

It’s a blast.

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