Category: Family


My wife, Cyndy, came home from volunteering at the local market. She looked at me and said, “You have to write a song called Goat Yoga and a Stolen Kubota.” I said, “let’s do it!,” because it was weird enough for me. She told me the story, I whipped out my poetic license and went to work. After days of letting the song germinate in my brain, it finally blossomed into a complete song. Enjoy the first song Cyndy and I have ever written together.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

Brodie is looking at the camera. You can see Buddy’s ear and back in the foreground.

So Cyndy and I thought we would take the two dogs with us to our friend, Sally’s, in Colorado, near Colorado Springs. If you have been following my posts, Sally’s brother Sam passed away unexpectedly in April. I drove up, the next day we ran errands pertaining to Sam’s affairs, and drove back to Texas the day after.

Sally stayed with us a couple of weeks before we drove back to Colorado. I stayed for a couple of days before driving back home. Then Cyndy and I drove up to Sally’s for Cyndy’s work vacation.

And, as I said, we thought we would take the dogs. On the way up to Colorado, there were few people at the rest areas. Walking the two dogs was no problem. We were lucky that they weren’t barking at the animals on the side of the road. Neither dog really even looked out the window.

We arrived at Sally’s and got the dogs in the backyard without incident. Overall, they did better than we thought they would. The dogs next door were no problem, other than our dogs barking at them. But there is a gap in the fence in the back corner. The chain-link fence on the other side kept the dogs away from each other, but they could still see through. The problem was that Buddy and Brodie could not fit their heads through the hole at the same time. So they went after each other. With Cyndy in the middle. She managed to get the dogs apart, yet not without bruises, scraps, and a very sore finger.

Despite our best efforts, it happened again the next day. We had been making sure someone was at the house with the dogs at any given time. This time Cyndy was literally in the middle and came away with more bruises, scraps, and a scratch on her face.

On the drive back more people were traveling. The rest areas were crowded with often a number of dogs. Our dogs do not play well with others. Brodie and Buddy seemed to be more at ease on the trip back. With the exception of the biker that pulled in behind us in the Dairy Queen drive-through. We had to simply find a place to pull over with enough room to walk the dogs. They weren’t too difficult and we were back on the road.

After the lion’s share of the driving was done, we found a rest area with just a few cars and no animals that we could see. Cyndy and I each grabbed a leash. I got Brodie. Buddy came through the front seat and followed Cyndy out of the driver’s side. Brodie tried to follow them. I persuaded him to come out the passenger door and he shot out. We were parked on a curb and my foot missed the curb. I proceeded to fall and my head snapped against the concrete. I kept hold of Brodie and got up as quickly as I could with the pain growing in the back of my head. The dogs did their business, then we took turns doing ours, then back on the road.

The bump on the back of my head grew as fast as the pain. I was lamenting the fact that I left the head medicine in my backpack in the big ass box on the back of the van. It took a couple of hours, but the pain subsided. I kept talking and thinking clearly which would make it appear that I got through without much damage to my head – other than a sizeable lump, a healing wound, and the feeling that my teeth had been seriously rattled.

I had, however, acquired a shooting pain just back of the middle finger on my right hand anytime I did anything with that hand. My award for hanging onto Brodie’s leash. Although I have to admit that if the pain subsides and there is no lasting damage, it is not too high a price to pay to not have to chase Brodie down the side of the freaking highway. It’s fortunate I wasn’t playing shows. I’m just now able to type or play guitar without pain.

When we head back to Colorado the end of the month, we’re going to have someone take care of the dogs. They’re both rescue dogs so they each have their issues. We’ll give training another shot. But for now, they’re staying home.

But the kicker is, I had thought ahead after all. When we arrived home, it occurred to me that I had put the head medicine in the snack tub. It was three feet away from me the whole time while my head throbbed!

______________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark 

 

 

 

I had planned on publishing a post yesterday. But with social distancing and so forth on the road, There just wasn’t a convenient time to whip out the laptop. I’m getting used to the WordPress app on my phone – I just hadn’t taken the time to check it out. Which is odd considering that time is the one thing I have too much of.

With states taking steps to open up, Sally and I didn’t know what to expect in the way of traffic on the way to Colorado. Of course Dallas and Denton traffic was increasing. Not too much traffic through west Texas, but then, why would there be? The rest areas had very few people, most of whom were either wearing masks or kept their distance. When we stopped for gas, the employees were wearing masks as were most of the customers. Most, but not all, were social distancing.

From Trinidad, Colorado north through Colorado Springs the traffic kept picking up. Enough so that we were caught in bumper to bumper traffic for a time in Manitou Springs. People are still being sensible here for the most part, but there are always those people. Some people were getting back to work in Colorado Springs which caused quite a bit of the traffic.

As for me and mine, except for the masks and social distancing, with the accompanying fear and paranoia, basic life has not changed much. Thankfully, Cyndy is still working and I have writing projects. Granted I’m not playing any live shows at the moment. But I can record videos, do some streaming, and work on new songs. My point is that we have always washed our hands. We have always been careful of door handles and so forth. And we keep a distance from people on a regular basis.

Be that as it may, we’ll see what unfolds. I don’t know if I will get to play what would have been the last show on my tour the end of the month. I’m going home the end of the week. Cyndy and I will come back up here the last week of the month for Cyndy’s vacation and what would have been my shows. We may not be doing much.

Governor Polis of Colorado has said that he would make a decision on restaurants on the 25th. The show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City  is scheduled for the 29th. Since I can set up back in a corner alcove, easily leaving 6-9 feet, I would really like to play the show. The customers are mostly local and probably haven’t left.

But after that, who knows? I have a few shows booked for July that I hope to play. But I’m getting recordings ready to release, writing new songs and other things. I’m not in that much of a hurry if it keeps me from being sick.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

This song is dedicated to my mother, Aggie, my wife, Cyndy, my daughter, Jennifer, my granddaughter, Kelley, and all women.  

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

At some point in my elementary youth, I had a three piece suit. The vest was reversible with two different colors, red and blue as I recall. I very seldom wore the vest on the red side of my own accord. It was around the latter seasons of Man from U.N.C.L.E. We went to a large church with several floors and an elevator.

I have always been able to carry on several trains of thought simultaneously. That’s why I stutter. My mouth doesn’t know which train of thought I want to vocalize. Between Sunday school and the church service, and after church while the grownups talked, kids had relative free time. And I was off on my adventures.

I didn’t really consider myself as Napoleon Solo or Illya Kuryakin. I was like a third agent. A secret part of the team as it were. It was easy to give the impression that I was successfully moving through crowds incognito. Very few of the adults knew me and they wouldn’t have given me another thought past “whose son is that ?”

I would slink onto the elevator – waiting to jump in just before the doors closed. Then I would slink from the elevator to the bathroom in the basement. I could slink with the best of them. Reaching the bathroom I whipped off my coat, quickly reversed my vest, and voilá, instant disguise. I had a pen – actually I had a lot of pens. Both of my aunts on my Dad’s side were elementary school teachers. They would give me a box full of the pens and fillers they had collected through the year. This particular pen looked cool when it was “reversed,” but only had imaginary functionality. It was how I contacted my fellow agents.

Having let the agents know my position and my plan I would slink out the bathroom and up the stairs (never take the same method of travel for the return trip). Then I would slink through the crowd (what did I tell you) popping up by my parents – and again, voilá – I was Dan Roark again. Amazingly enough, no one noticed the difference.

When we got back home I would go off and read a Hardy Boys mystery while planning my mission for the next Sunday. Basking in the glow of a mission accomplished.

Until we slink again….

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

So I spent last week social distancing my butt to Colorado to pick up Sally and bring her back for her brother, Sam, to be interred in Ft. Worth. Due to Covid-19, it will only be Sally and her cousin at the graveside. Her older brother, Kenny, lives in the area, but he doesn’t get around well.

It was odd, but pleasant, making the long drive with very little traffic. You can make really good time when you rarely have to pass anyone. Driving through New Mexico – in the middle of freaking nowhere – two other drivers and I played a casual vehicle, bored drivers version of leap frog. In other words, we took turns passing each other.

The day after I arrived, we drove into Colorado Springs to pick up the death certificates. The traffic was not as heavy as “usual,” but considerably heavier than on the highway. We picked up barbecue from Front Range BBQ. I highly recommend them should you find yourselves in the area. We picked up a few more things on the way back to the house for the evening. On Thursday we headed back here to Farmers Branch. Sally took the first shift until her eyes went “wonky” as she put it.

It was nice to be in cooler weather before coming back to Texas heat. Sally enjoys the heat though- having been stuck in the house most of the winter. We’ll head back to Colorado when things are taken care of. I’ll hang out a couple of days – leaving time between driving days. Then I’ll come back here until Cyndy and I go up the end of the month. In the meantime, I’ll try to get back to the projects I was working on when we heard the news that Sam passed away. Stay tuned – it’s going to be interesting!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

[If you like what you read and/or enjoy my music and what I do, feel free to let me know – Paypal.me/danroark]

I don’t mean I’m on the road, but I wish I was. I was supposed to start my tour the first of the month. The first half is shot to hell, and I’m not all that optimistic about the last half. And I’m just one of many.  When I say on the road, I mean by myself in my van.

When this all began, I immediately began getting emails about how I, too, could teach music at home online. If I had an inclination to teach music online, I would already be doing it. And where would all the students come from? It’s been said that there is an increase of online learning, but that is across all subjects. The total would also have to include all of those at colleges, high schools, and lower grades who weren’t learning completely online before.

Then they said to take this time to sell more merchandise (I’m a writer – I refuse to call it “merch” – more than just that once). Merchandise didn’t fly out the door before, even for performers with a much larger fan base than mine. Besides, some of those who might buy some stuff are out of a job and on unemployment.

Then there’s the streaming thing. Everyone and his uncle are doing Facebook Live, videos on Instagram, Zoom concerts, and so forth. I don’t have the time to see all the “live shows” because I’m too busy doing other things. So why would I expect a lot of people to be able to watch my “live shows”?

Then they said to release new material. Well that I can do. I was about to release my EP, Southern Plains Revisited, right before my tour began. Joel Nichols, Bruce Gibson, and myself, were Southern Plains. When the gig paid enough, we had bass and drums. Joel and I were a duo for most of the nearly twenty-five years of Southern Plains. With all the extra time currently available, I was able to digitize some of the cassettes and tapes from those days and now have enough material for a full cd rather than just the EP of our last recording session before Joel died. Possibly enough material for future releases. I’ll be releasing music from that project shortly.

My, son, Conner, and I put the finishing touches on the L.A. Sessions cd while in quarantine in Iowa a couple of weeks ago. It includes the remastered songs from my Hello Out There cd in addition to the rest of the songs from that session. It will be released later this year. We also laid down the basic tracks for another cd. Look for new songs throughout the next year. All songs and cds are on the Refrigerator Records label.

While I feel that the streaming game is not for me, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to play for you. When I get my home studio back up to speed, I plan to start a podcast so you can hear it anytime while you’re doing other things. I will also be releasing songs and videos along the way.

Come along for the journey. It’ll be fun!

Oh, and if you like what you read or enjoy what I do, please let me know – paypal.me/danroark.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Picture taken at the last show of mine Sam got to see.

Our next door neighbors, Richard and Dottie Powell, lived there long before Cyndy and I moved in with our sons thirteen years ago. They’ve known Cyndy since she was born. Richard has had health problems for a number of years. He passed away a week and a half ago. They were able to have a funeral, but with limited attendees and grave site visitors, leaving others to mourn at home unable to attend. Which was just one of the many unrelated deaths during the pandemic that is/was not given the funeral or memorial service they deserve(d).

Our friends, Sam and Sally Shank – brother and sister – retired and bought a house together in Colorado. They’ve had a chance to travel in the past year and were settling in after living there only a couple of years. Sam had some tests done recently and was waiting on the results. They were regular tests and there were no alarms.

Sunday afternoon, I came back from an essential errand. I opened the front door and thought I heard Cyndy holler – at me I thought. But I had just walked in. She had her headphones on and was talking to Sally on the phone. I came in late in the conversation and had no idea what they were talking about. It sounded like a normal conversation between the two. I wasn’t really listening anyway. Cyndy was talking loud.

When the conversation ended, Cyndy came into the den where I was working at my desk and stood looking at me. I looked up and she told me Sam had passed away late Saturday night. He was only 68 and, like I say, there were no alarms. The coroner thought it looked like a heart attack.

Sally’s sight is not the best. Cyndy and I will do everything we can to help. Our boys call her Aunt Sally. When they release Sam’s body, he’ll be sent back to Ft. Worth for burial. The graveside service will be small enough to fit the restrictions.

But Sam shouldn’t have left so early. I’m going to miss liking his posts on Facebook, and getting messages from him. Cyndy and I were planning to visit them in May. One of the songs Conner and I did the music video of in the hotel in Iowa is Foxes in the Henhouse. I’ve been trying to play it for him since I wrote it. I haven’t been playing it in my live show. I was going to post it and tag him. Now I’ll post the video and dedicate it to him. He would really appreciate the song. And I’ll be thinking of him.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The first week of isolation, I lamented the loss of shows and wondered if the places I played around the country – primarily breweries and craft beer bars – would survive for me to play there again. I thought of things I could be doing, but then went back to the lamenting and the wondering. I could still support the local breweries. I could still to “essential” things (albeit being careful). I could drive around for a bit if I wanted to – not getting out of the car. But I couldn’t get out of my own head. Or more correctly, get back to my happy place. The current path is filled with a mixture of anxiety and panic, in just enough strength to be a pain in the ass. I had a live streaming gig in the Starving Artist Festival benefiItting Feeding America that Saturday. So I had something to practice for.

The second week our oldest son, Conner, was down from Des Moines isolating with us, so I could do some recording with him for upcoming projects. I came up with a solid plan for what to do going forward and proceeded to do nothing about it. The funny thing is, except for playing shows, I didn’t leave the house a lot anyway (although shows could run into weeks). Cyndy works at home and didn’t either. But it was the few times we did that mattered. Cyndy’s groups, my groups, church on Sundays, and so forth. But when you’re told you can’t do something, you want to do it more. The Zoom meetings help, but it’s not the same.

The third week Conner and I did some recording before he packed everything up and I took him back to Des Moines. We stopped at two travel centers, a CBD shop, and drove through a Chick-fil-a. I isolated with him at his house and did some more recording. He works maintenance at Adventureland Hotel. They are closed and the hotel was sterilized by the employees before they left and filed for unemployment. There is a restaurant that still does carryout. So the maintenance staff is equal parts maintenance and security. We recorded one night in the cabana room. We also filmed a few songs, so I’ll be releasing those videos when the editing is finished.

I was looking forward to the drive back home alone. It wasn’t on the way to or from a show, but it gave me time to think. Bullshit! It rained from Des Moines, Iowa, to Lawrence, Kansas. Which I can tell you is a long freaking way. Not only was I not getting out of my head – or simply making it a more comfortable place to be in – I found myself locked inside with the key on the outside. It’s a good thing I don’t have serious depression, because that was freaking depressing. Fortunately, when I reached Oklahoma, the sun was at least trying to break through, which was something. Then there’s that whole, I can’t really get out of the van thing.

And now I’m home, still in isolation, and healthy, thank God. But I’m working on the the plan I came up with in the first place. By myself and in conjunction with Conner. I hope you’ll join us on the journey. This post represents the start of that plan. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Our youngest son, J.D., graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University on Saturday, May 18. Cyndy and Cameron went out to Nacogdoches on Friday and stayed at J.D.’s apartment. Most of what had been in the apartment was in a rented truck in the parking lot. Cyndy was to get up at an obscene time to save our seats in the coliseum.w

I stayed at the house to take care of the dogs and pick our oldest son, Conner, up at the airport at midnight on Friday. I think we got a few hours sleep, but I wouldn’t swear to it. The rain was holding off. We had a chance to let the dogs out. We left them inside with food and water and headed out.

The trip out to Nacogdoches was thankfully uneventful. We arrived in time to find a parking place reasonably close and get there in time to say hi to everyone before the ceremony began. Which was none too soon. It was a nice ceremony, but it always seems to take longer than necessary. After the graduation, we all gathered for pictures – family and friends.

Then we all headed home. Conner and I were apparently the first of the family getting out of town as we found out later. According to the forecast a couple of days earlier, we should have been in pouring rain all morning. All we got was the humidity.

At one point on the way back we drove through rain. Then it was just overcast. After passing Tyler, we got some more rain, heavier that earlier. Then around Canton the bottom dropped out. I couldn’t see anything but water and the windshield wipers were out of their league.

I actually had to pull off the highway and take cover at a gas/travel station. We took a pause for the cause before Conner told me he’d drive. Mother nature had decreased the rain’s intensity. Besides, Conner has driven in circumstances I hope I never will.

It took some time after we got home to be certain everyone was okay. Then we could get back to being proud of J.D. and settling back in. J.D. will say things about his graduation. He already has. But he’ll never say his graduation day was uneventful. You know that truck in the parking lot that they loaded from the apartment? They unloaded it and a couple of vehicles of stuff at San Marcos in the rain that night at his new apartment.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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