The week of Christmas and New Year’s is the one time of the year, sans birthdays, that society expects us to look back while simultaneously looking forward. It’s not all that easy to do really. In fact, given the physical limitations of the human neck, not to mention the embarrassing shortcomings of human perspective, it’s really next to impossible. Still, there it is, out in the open and unrestrained, like the obnoxious relative at the dinner party. You have to deal with it.
I understand the concept of looking back at one’s year with a fine-toothed pros and cons comb in order to better understand how you arrived at the moment at hand. I also understand the idea of goal setting and preparing for the coming year, but maybe we should do it on a daily basis instead of once a year. It would be far less daunting a task to be sure.
I am writing this blog subject under protest, albeit self-imposed. There are so many reasons why I don’t want to indulge in the concept of “Quick, look behind you – now in front of you.” 2014 has been for me personally, a tragic year, with much difficulty and sadness. 2014 for the band however, has been one exciting gig and triumph after another. So what is the virtue of looking back or looking forward? I don’t see any tonight. Looking back on a personally painful year seems an unnecessary act of emotional flagellation and looking forward to an even better year professionally just seems a dangerous taunting of the good luck Gods. In the end though, I am a hopeful, glass half-full kinda’ guy. I have even been called “arrogantly joyful,” but that person was drunk on less fine scotch than I was and liked to hear himself wax philosophical. Never the less, it’s in that positive spirit that I will finish this blog looking back on Runaway Home’s year and hope not to outright jinx us in the year to come.
This past year we were fortunate enough to sing our songs across 10 different states, for old friends, new friends and crowds that were significantly larger than the year before. We sat in a cloud of syrupy steam in an authentic sugar shack in upstate New York, watching Maple syrup be made. We walked through a foothills cemetery filming a video to our song “Lilly May.” We raced up and down countless interstate freeways, mountain roads, narrow city streets and sand-blown causeways. We’ve laid on our horn as late night sleepy drivers crowded our lane, and had more than a few horns returned in kind. We’ve crept along 10-mile traffic jams while eighteen-wheelers razed like the Hindenburg on the side of the road. We’ve dragged-raced with horse-drawn Amish buggies in a farmland time warp. We’ve driven them all in a combination of the trusty but ever-thirsty Jeep Commander; with its occasional transmission slip that sounded more like a rod being thrown and on a few trips, the old ’99 black mini-van with the ducked taped window to keep the rain out and the music in.
Eight ball pool was played in after show bars, snowballs were thrown during northern rest stop lunches and three pointers shot and swished on Hoosier-like courts in old barn tops. I also remember (with a little help) mixed drinks, crab claws and chaffed legs along several white sand beaches. I remember looking out on the western wildflowers lining the twists and turns of the Arbuckle and the heartfelt surprise of red roses in the green room. We paid our respects to the remnants of the Murrah building and the stark Dealey Plaza, both beneath a peaceful moonlight. We even gave some of those images back to the world by dropping our Go Pro camera off of a Jet Ski in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
Maybe we’ll see some of these same images again this next year, or maybe we’ll be afforded brand new vistas, more wide open and limitless. I guess we won’t know the answer to that until we crook our necks around, while looking over our shoulders backing out of the stage door entrance to one evening’s gig, then face forward once again to the open road ahead and the next night’s show.
“Till we see you again my friends, Happy New Year from Runaway Home.
Mark Elliott – Runaway Home
“It’s the Music That Makes Us Smile”