Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The election and the Wabash Cannonball

Last night was the first Election Night I haven't covered as a newspaperman in at least two decades -- and I'll have to say there's something to be said for not having to instantly analyze an election based on insufficient data, on deadline, after too much coffee and not enough thought, and turn in 800 words on a topic that could very well turn out to be overtaken by events before it hit the streets.  Those nights when there was barely a trickle of results before the presses made their first runs were intense. Staring into a computer terminal, nerves and phones ajangle, I could feel the blood popping out on my forehead and my heart rate rushing along the tracks with roughly the noise and velocity of the Wabash Cannonball. -- "Listen to the jingle, and the rumble and the roar," as that old bluegrass standard put it.

Last night was different.  Drove over to Mitchell Music Co. in Floyd, hauled out my 1959 Kay upright bass and sat in on a jam session with 9 or 10 musicians playing old-time songs of heartbreak, lost youth, mournful blues and a fair amount of semi-sacred gospel tunes.  There were four guitars, one fiddle, one five-string banjo, one mandolin and two basses -- mine and something I'd never seen before, a U-Bass, a ukelele with fat polyester strings and an electric pickup that sounded fine -- and the fellow who played it was good, too.  I didn't give the elections a thought for nearly three hours.  All in all, a much more pleasant evening than trying to figure out what meant what on a too-short deadline with too much caffeine flowing in old veins.  

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