The Carriage Driver 4 – Glen Campbell
Griffin did not know exactly where he was. The carriage had been cleaned and Nuelle brushed. The team sat together in a country meadow. A breeze made the flowers sway. Majestic trees graced the slopes just to the east. They could have easily made this spot their home.
A young man walked toward them. His cowboy boots were shined, his smile gave away, a glowing heart, and country pride. A guitar was strapped across his back. His walk gave away his confidence as a freeborn man. When he reached the carriage, he approached Nuelle and scratched her behind the ear, ‘Hey, little one, looks like I am home again, far away from the world I used to know.”
Griffin stood and listened to the conversation. He had been around long enough to know that the sun keeps shining and the world keeps spinning. He knew he had everything a man could ever need.
Glen looked over at Griffin, “Where are you taking me?”
Griffin replied, “Anywhere you want to go.”
“You mean, all I have to do is dream?” He adjusted his guitar. I have been working on this. What do you think?”
“I travelled country back roads
Guitar pick in my hand
Searched for summer breezes
Toward my life as a singer in a band
Swept out every barroom
Between here and Tuscaloosa,
Started working in the clubs as I traveled
Every country back road in this U.S.A. our land
Gonna make my life as a singer in a band
In the window of a pawn shop
Hung my first guitar,
I bought her quick, because
As a singer in a band
I knew I would go far
I searched for summer breezes
As I travelled country back roads,
And set my sites on Memphis
And a place to sing my songs
Found a rhinestone studded Stetson
While on my way to Memphis
Took jobs at every Honky Tonk
As a singer in a band”
“As far as I am concerned, you have been given the greatest gift of all.” Griffin said, leaning back against the carriage.
“I think I know what is going on here. It seems like yesterday, when I was young I tried my hand as a folk singer. Chased a country girl. But who knows the fate of man? It seems I am no longer 500 miles away from home.” He looked over at Griffin, and asked was there ever a cold December in your heart?”
“Sure, I have had some tough times. Like the day they tried to take Nuelle from me. That was a really bad day. But you have looked at things from both sides now, sang your early morning song, God only knows, listening to you many have said, you help me make it through the night.”
Glen turned toward the slope with the trees. A warm breeze blew through the meadow. He was young again. Strength had returned to his arms and legs. His mind was sharp once again. He thought about his children and wondered as a man had he done enough. He briefly thought about the women that he loved and what had gone wrong. Where did he fail to make things right. But he did not find an answer. He thought that he may have enough time now to access his failures. His attention had been on success, and the failures were, well, he did not understand the failures. He turned to walk to the step of the carriage climbed in, sat down, and adjusted his guitar across his lap.
Griffin paused, standing by Nuelle sharing an apple.
“When I recorded the song, ‘Galveston’ the Vietnam war was raging. That year the Beatles released, Here Comes the Sun, Octopus’s Garden, Come Together, Maxwells’s Silver Hammer and Something. Bob Dylan released Lay, Lady Lay. Every time I got puffed up about singing Galveston, my wife would remind me that Tony Joe White was on the charts with me singing, Polk Salad Annie.” He smiled. “I made the charts, but the writing was on the wall.”
“You got back in the race, that is important.”
Glen strummed his guitar, “What did you do?”
Griffin paused again, trying to remember if he had been asked the question before by a passenger. He could not remember. “Me, I was a Captain in the Union Army, during the Civil War. Basically, just a universal soldier. My men showed true grit, then one day walkin' down the line, our time ended. Just like that.” Griffin snapped his finger. Nuelle did not stir at the memory. It was a long time ago, the days when burning bridges was not a cliché were over.
Glen strummed his guitar, “Let me tell you about Mary, just a sweet country girl, she was the one girl, for sure, for certain, forever, for always, gentle on my mind. We were so young.” He smiled at the thought of Mary, a country lane and summer breezes. Thankful for the pleasant memory. “We lay there in that meadow thinking, tomorrow never comes, she told me ‘you're young and you'll forget,’ she had matured quicker than myself.”
“You might as well smile,” Griffin told him. He glanced at Glen who was still reminiscing. Griffin kept giving Nuelle attention, waiting for Glen to decide what he wanted to do next. He was in no hurry.
“How does this work,” Glen asked, a forlorn look on his face. “Am I assigned a cloud and handed a harp? The harp is not really my instrument.”
“Your destination is up to you. I can show you a map to places other people have chosen. But I don’t think you really need one. These things, your happiness, can be pretty simple. If you need a stage to play upon, then we can deliver you backstage, where you can prepare for the performance of your life. Thousands of your fans will gladly arrive and to hear you sing the songs from your youth and theirs. Other performers have joined forces and stage a continuing party. Around the clock. People come and go as their tastes change.”
“Crowds of thousands? No, I don’t think I would like that. I never understood, how The Rollings Stones managed that. I play acoustic guitar, not plugged in and amped up.” He strummed again. “There was this club in Chattanooga where the locals gathered. I think that is where I met Billy Jean. She took my breath away. She was a refreshing, scenic beauty. We flew the highest together. That was a wonderful time. People don’t appreciate their youth, before the bills and headache number three hits them.” Glen sat back.
Seeing this, Griffin climbed aboard. Nuelle began their journey. Griffin got comfortable in his seat.
Glen began to play his signature song. By the time I get to Phoenix. The first concert ever performed from the rear seat of the carriage had begun. Seems it was a day of firsts for Griffin and Nuelle.
Nuelle knew Mr. Glen Campbell, was homeward bound.
By The Time I Get to Phoenix - Glen Campbell
Gentle On My Mind , Glen Campbell , 1967 Vinyl
Glenn Campbell ...The Rhinestone Cowboy
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