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Light Rail and The Concert

August 14, 2016

Much to Ivy’s dismay, I like to use the computer at the store.  I read the news sites on the web.  I play solitaire games, check out the store’s website, important stuff like that.

 

None of what I just wrote has anything to do with my story, but Ivy insists that I talk about the store. I’m just getting that out of the way.

 

This story is going to take awhile, so you might want to get something to drink.

 

Last March, I was listening to the radio, when an ad for a concert coming to Denver caught my attention.  Coming to Denver were two bands I listened to when I was young.  I think what caught my attention was that the two bands were playing together have nothing to do with each other.

 

Before I go any farther, I should tell you, I don’t like concerts  Too loud, too many people, and usually the bigger concerts are too far away.

 

As a kid, I always thought it was a better value just buy the album and listen to the band every day.

 

Having said that, I haven’t seen a record store in years.  My kids tell me you buy one song at a time and listen to them on your smart phone.  Yeah……right, I’m going to listen to music on my phone.

 

We should talk about the reasons why I shouldn’t go to that concert.  The concert venue was two and a half hours from our house.  The concert was on Tuesday night. I will need to work Wednesday.

 

For reasons unknown to me, I suggested to Elaine that we should go to the concert.  The concert was a few days after my birthday and a few days before our wedding anniversary.  We decided to go to the concert.

 

To make this story even weirder, I suggested we take the train to the concert. Elaine confirmed that we could, in fact, ride a train to the concert.  We were to park our car at metro Denver’s northern most train station and ride the train across Denver, avoiding all the Denver rush our traffic.  (Which is considerable   I don’t know why when people are headed home from work in their cars they need to text and play Pokémon, causing them to drive their perfectly good car into the path of somebody else’s perfectly good car and make everyone on the road late for where they are going.)  Sorry, my thoughts drifted a little there.

 

Elaine and I arrived at the designated train station in plenty of time to catch the train.  The station was very new and actually still under construction.  The only other person at the station was a security guard.  I struck up a conversation.

 

Me:  Do you have any idea how to buy tickets that will get us to Fiddler’s Green?
Guard: Tickets are bought from that machine. Let’s go over there and I will help you.
Elaine: Thank you.
Guard: First, we pick the button that designates senior citizen.
Elaine: How old are senior citizens?
Guard: 65.
Elaine: Neither of us is 65.
Guard: No one is going to check your I.D. You will get half price tickets.
Elaine: We are not sixty-five.
Guard: Suit yourself.

 

Me?  I would have bought the senior citizen tickets.  I don’t like arguing with authorities.  Elaine was headed to a concert and slipped back into the hippie days, She wanted to argue with the cops.

 

Skipping ahead we are now on the train.  You guys might want to refresh your drink, we are aren’t at the concert yet.

 

On the train, a train “conductor” walked by.  Elaine was on her phone looking at the train schedules.  I asked the conductor to confirm we were headed in the right direction.

 

Conductor:  Let me see you tickets.  Nope, this ticket will not get you all the way to Fiddler’s Green.  When you get downtown you will need to buy another ticket.
Me: Great!
Elaine: It gets worse.
Me: Now what?
Elaine: There are no trains headed north after the concert. We will need to leave the concert early to catch the last train.

 

I’m a problem solver.  I told Elaine we would figure out something.

 

Elaine and I arrived downtown, bought new tickets and jumped on the next train.  The train was packed with people, which is exactly why I don’t ride trains.  The seats were full and Elaine and I were standing in the isle.  The “gentleman” in front of me was standing on my foot.

 

Me:  Excuse me. you are standing on my favorite foot
Man: Well, you stand on the top and I’ll stand on the……no……you stand on the bottom and I’ll stand…..ah, heck, I’m drunk!
Me: I would have guessed that.
Man: Who won the game?
Me: What game?
Man: The game, man, Who won the game? Hey, you have a really nice beard! How long have you had that?
Me: I’ve had a beard since I was twelve.
Man: Ah, (construction language) you weren’t twelve. I wish I had a beard like that.
Me: Grow one.
Man: When?
Me: Start tonight.
Man: DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO WON THE (CONSTRUCTION LANGUAGE) GAME?

 

I can’t even begin to tell you the thoughts that were running through my head.  I will tell you, some of my thoughts contained construction language.  OK, I did have one thought about forgetting being an old man, and started thinking about thumping a drunk.

 

Go refresh your drink and use the restroom.  We are now at the concert, but the story does not end.

 

Its time to talk about the concert.  The headliners were Peter Frampton and Lynard Skynard.  Elaine and I have had chances to see both groups before but just elected to buy their albums.  But, here we are at a Frampton /Skynard concert.

Because of our transportation dilemma, (no late northbound train) I had resolved myself that we would only see one band.  God, please let the first band be Lynard Skynard.

 

I would have no such luck.  Imagine my dismay when the first band came out…….. Peter Frampton!  Elaine and I decided we would watch Frampton and possibly get to see a small amount of Skynard.  It wasn’t great, but that was the cards we were dealt.

 

Frampton is still great.  (Although, I was thinking I was watching an old man doing the best Peter Frampton cover anyone could imagine.  Sorry, Pete.)  Frampton had a sparkle in his eyes and was having a great time.  The concert was moving right along.  We were going to see some Skynard.

 

During one of the Frampton songs the music stopped.  An announcement came over the P.A. system.  “There is lightning in the area, please return to your cars.”  Considering our car was thirty miles away at a train station, Elaine and I had a problem.  It started to rain.

 

People were seeking shelter everywhere.  Elaine and I found a semi-protected area to wait out the storm.  Along with THOUSANDS of other people, Elaine and I were trying to stay dry.  But not everyone was interested in staying dry.

 

I noticed a guy walking in the rain coming up the concourse.  Not to be critical. but this guy looked like he had just finished a hard days ride.  When he saw me he turned and walked straight to me.

 

Guy:  I ain’t afraid of no lightning. (His words.)
Me: Oh OK, it can be a little scary. (I turned to Elaine) Why do they pick me?
Guy: I ain’t afraid. The concert is going on, look at your ticket, it says rain or shine. I ain’t afraid of no lighting.
Me: (Still wondering, why me?) Well, that’s great.
Guy: I was down talking to Skynard, Donnie and also Ronnie’s wife. They’re great people. I had a friend get hit by lighting.
Me: Oh?
Guy: Do you know where he got hit?
Me: (I will regret this forever.) Where?
Guy: In the nuts. Do you know how they saved him?
Me: No, how?
Guy: They packed his nuts in ice!
Me: (turning to Elaine again) Why, why me?

 

The music started after a forty-five minute rain delay.  A decision had to be made.  Elaine and I could watch the concert or catch the last train.  I told Elaine, “I staying for the end of the concert.  I don’t know how we will get to our vehicle, but we will figure it out later.”  (I resigned myself to pay for my first taxi.  Bucket list?  Maybe.)  Elaine agreed.

 

OK, I’m shifting gears for just a second.  If you are looking for a concert for your bucket list, see Lynard Skynard.  Many years ago, I was told by a friend that Skynard is the best live performance band on the planet.  That has always been in the back of my mind.  Skynard has suffered through more tragedy than should have been allowed.  They have returned and remained great.  (Ronnie, you are a Freebird at last.)  Go see them!

 

Ok, the concert is over.  Elaine and I need to catch a train to downtown, to get a cab, etc.  You get the drift.  The next train to downtown is forty-five minutes away.  At the train station, Elaine and I noticed a twenty something, young lady.

 

We noticed her because she is yelling, “SKYNARD”.  She is dressed like a twenty something, except this girl had a HUGE amount of hair wrapped in an American flag bandana.  Of the hundred or so people waiting for the train she picked……..Elaine.  (Not me…….. Elaine)  She was from Chicago, liked llamas, been to 58 concerts this year, just a friendly kid.  She was with a couple older than she was.  They might have been her parents.  Elaine didn’t ask.

 

At some point in that forty-five minute wait, the “dad” says to me, “How do you like light rail?”

 

Me:  It might be a bad time to ask me that.  (I shared our story.)
Dad: I’ll take you where you need to go.
Me: What?
Dad: You buy me some gas and I will take you. (He looked at Flag Hair and asked,) Do you want to ride along?

 

At this point we don’t even know their names. We all got on the train to headed for downtown or yet to be determined, this stranger’s car.  I am now thinking, “Wow, I was at a concert with bands from the ’70′s and now I am the oldest hitchhiker (along with my wife) on the planet.”

 

After a few train stops, “Dad” says, “My car is at this park-n-ride.”  Elaine and I got off the train with “Dad”, “Mom” and Flag Hair.  Elaine and I climbed into the backseat of “Dad’s” car.(Who I now know his name is Rueben.  One of the women used his name.)

 

 

OK, embarrassingly I sat behind the guy so I could choke him out if things got bad.  Sorry folks, but this is 2016, that’s just who I am.  Once inside the car, Rueben says,  “I’m sorry it smells in here.  I smoke a lot of marijuana.”  Elaine grabbed my leg!

 

Driving down the highway, Rueben asked, “Just how far is it to your house?”  I told him, “it was about was about one hundred miles.”

 

Rueben:  Oh wow, I didn’t think it was that far.
Me: Rueben, you are not taking us to our house, you are dropping us off at our vehicle, which according to where you told me you live is right on your way home.
Rueben: Oh, that’s great! I thought I was taking you home.

 

At the park-n-ride where our truck was parked we handed Rueben some cash and said thanks and good-bye.  Except for another two hour drive to the mountains our concert trip was over.

 

I’m not sure if this was one of the worst of days or one of the best of days, but I can’t stop laughing.  I am reasonably certain I have ridden my last ride on a commuter train.  I might not go to another concert.  I might not even go to Denver.  I am certain this is just part of

 

Our crazy lives!

 

Monner

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