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Notes from the Road   by Dennis Warner

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November 20, 2008 (South Carolina)

It's lunch time at Shoney's. They usually have an okay brunch. Today, though,I have no idea what most of the stuff is on the buffet.  Deep fried weird things. I ask the waitress what this one item is that looks like a wide piece of shoe leather that's been dipped in a batter and fried. With her thick southern drawl she says, "Honey, you're not from around here. You don't wanna know what THAT is!"  

Well all right then.

I'm from the state that invented "Spam", so I respect not talking about where certain food items come from. Some things are just better left unexplained.

I enjoyed the grits, the collard greens and the peach pie. Southerners are definitely good at making peach pie.

It's been a busy Fall. The tour started in September in Duluth, then to Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and now to the Carolinas. Tonight I play at a house concert in Asheville, NC.  House concerts are fun and I do more and more of these every year. Simply, the host invites all their friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers.  There's no sound system involved, so it's very intimate. Want to host one for me? Send me an email from the CONTACT US page.

So I've had a few days off in Myrtle Beach (where the photo was taken) and now I'm ready to play again.

I'll be home for Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble.

June 3, 2008

If you're not a dog lover or one who appreciates the connection made between a human and an animal, this might be the blog to skip.

Okay then....

Brewster walked up and introduced himself to me in Nashville back in November of 1995. He literally asked to come home with me. There was no doubt about the request he was making. He had been in an abusive situation and wanted a good home with a human who would appreciate him. Those of you who know dog breeds and temperaments, know that Chows are generally stubborn and insistent. Though he wasn't
all chow, Brewster had enough in him that he made his point very clear about coming home with me. This 33 pound pile of fur with a purple tongue had charmed me.

I called Tammy and told her I had a "souvenir" for her. She was thinking
earrings or jewelry, but she welcomed Brewster with open arms and a
big heart.

And lots of patience. After the 16 hour ride from Nashville, Brewster jumped
from the van, pranced like a deer through the snow (he hadn't seen snow
before), then ran into the house, found the living room and immediately
lifted his leg on the big blue stuffed chair.

Though Tammy and I possibly overreacted by screaming in unison, "Noooo!",
Brewster forgave us and rewarded us by quickly learning the house rule:
"No peeing on the furniture". It's a good rule for any house, with or
without a dog.

Over the years, we played and hiked every day. He had a lot of energy.
He also had a strange affection for anything plastic. His favorite toy
was a giant plastic Easter egg we found at Target that measured about
14 inches long by 8 inches tall. Bright yellow. We'd kick it and he'd
dodge it, then go after it, riding it by jumping on with his front legs
and pushing himself and the egg with his rear legs. Brewster was always
good about making our house guests feel welcome by challenging them to a
game of "egg".

But the moments I liked the best were when we'd sit side by side on the
front step or on the bench overlooking the pond, admiring the "kingdom"
as we'd call it, while contemplating life and the days events. I truly believe
he appreciated those moments as much as I did. He often wouldn't let me
get up to leave. If I started to move, he'd position himself across my lap
so I couldn't get up. He was very persuasive.

When we first got Brewster, he had every worm in the book, including
heart worm. At the time, the treatment was for the vet to give him
just enough arsenic to kill the worms but not the dog. Brewster
trusted us to do the right thing for him. Over time he also had
a hip surgery and a few other smaller procedures done. He was worth
every penny we ever spent.

One of his "jobs" was to make us laugh every day, whether it was hiding
his dog dish to let us know he didn't care for the new food, or whipping
a tennis shoe up on the counter to tell us it was time for a walk. Also,
somehow he could magically appear the second one of us opened up the
cheese drawer in the refrigerator. And he wasn't a cheese snob either.
Plain old cheddar would do.

And the noises he'd make to get us up in the morning! Grunts, groans,
shaking his collar, dropping a rubber ball on the hard floor. He knew barking
wasn't what we wanted to hear in the morning, so he'd come up with a new
noise we couldn't ignore. Tammy and I would lay in bed laughing, wondering
how long it took him to think up "that one".

Well, Brewster passed away Sunday morning, June 1st, at 1:30am with
Tammy and I holding him. Though his kidney's gave out at age 14, his spirit is
ageless and lives on through the timely and important lesson he taught us:
Eat, Play and Love - that's what's important.

So many self help books have been written about us humans learning
to give "unconditional love". Nobody needs a book to learn about
that. Get yourself a dog and pay attention. Brewster was truly
my teacher and friend and I'm so blessed that he picked me all those
many years ago. And I know Tammy never regretted not getting earrings
from Nashville on that trip back in 1995. She often called Brewster the best
souvenir ever. Amen.

We miss you B-Man.



February 21, 2008    Memphis, TN
I'm here in "Elvis Town" with Dan Neale.
Danny has been my guitar player for about
12 years now. He first joined me as I
rediscovered my roots in acoustic music
about the time I released the "Perfect
Morning" CD back in 1997. He's not only a
solid musician but also a friend I can count

We're here for the annual "International Folk
Alliance" conference and having a great time.This is the third time I've been to this
conference but it's the first one I'm truly enjoying. It helps that I didn't get robbed when I arrived this time.

Somebody told me last night after the showcase that when Danny and I play
together, we sound like Leo Kottke. While fellow Minnesotan and world class
guitar hero Mr. Kottke might feel insulted, we'll take that 2 for 1 compliment!

January 30, 2008 Clearwater, MN
I've been off the road for two months, recovering from a pinched nerve in my
neck. The worst part of it is that my right index finger is numb and I haven't
been able to play the guitar.

Typing on the computer is painful, so I tried voice activated software. That didn't work out so well as dictating a simple sentence, "Hi! This is Dennis. How are you?" came out, "Hey Doofus, do you have the flu?"

Technology still has a way to go on that one.

It's a slow recovery.  Things get busy by mid February, so I'm hoping to be
playing again soon.





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