Jerry Jeff Walker died last week. A lot of my music heroes are gone, but this one hit me hard. It hit me John Lennon, Harry Chapin hard. I cannot tell, however, if the sadness is specifically for Jerry Jeff or if it is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Inane politics, COVID, my wife half a world away, my daughter home because she can’t be on campus, wildfire reaching my old haunts in northern California, and police brutality in communities I am familiar with.  I almost feel guilty mentioning the last one, as I should be as outraged about injustice in St. Louis or Louisville as in the Twin Cities or Kenosha, but it makes a difference when something bad happens on streets I know personally. 

My blogs over the years have been largely upbeat, the topics mostly about nature and family and writing. With election day TOMORROW and me having checked the presidential polls at least once a day for the past two weeks, I haven’t given much thought to fishing or my daily bike route. As a person who takes pride in being boringly steady regardless of the situation, I feel myself slipping away from being OK.

I also find myself thinking about the 1960s and 70s, not because it was the last time society was completely screwed up, but because I was pretty much carefree in spite of it. My most vivid memories of those times are not so much of Vietnam or Watergate, but of my personal little mishaps. I recall spending the night in a snowstorm on Interstate 80 in Ohio because no one would dare pick up the crazy hitchhiker. I think about dropping out of college mid-semester to dress like the Pillsbury doughboy and make cookie dough for…, well, for Pillsbury. I went to Jerry Jeff concerts and spent a week on the guitar trying to figure out the chords to his cover of LA Freeway.  

This may be the most rambling, incoherent blog entry in two and a half years of writing blogs, but rambling incoherence might be appropriate for the day before the election. 

Steven Simpson