(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

THOSE who write must agree that sometimes the need to write can be a curse. It is 2:15 AM. You have been up since 5:45 AM the day before. You’ve gotten two little girls off to the babysitter, driven 45 miles to work, spilled your brains out all day for a measly two lines of Java code, drove the 45 miles back (picking up the aforementioned little ones from the babysitter’s house), blown $27 on Taco Bell to feed everyone, gotten your 17 year old daughter to work, and made it to the bus stop by 6:30 PM in order to go see a band play in New York City. You would think that after such a day your mind and body would agree that it is in everyone’s best interest to be fast asleep, indulging in that much needed rest well before now. However! You are not only a single dad. You are not only a decent employee. You are not only an adventurous guy galloping off to the city at a moment’s notice. YOU ARE A WRITER! And when the brain says, “Write!” it is in everyone’s best interest to comply.

So write I must.

COUSIN AP and I made a spur of the moment trek into New York to see the Danny Godinez Band play at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station on Tuesday night. I am tempted to say “last night” but it is still “tonight” since I haven’t slept yet, even though I’ve been up since “yesterday.” It was a great night. It was fun. The crowd was eager to hear the band. The band sounded great, sporting a new bass player and a cellist. Fantastic!

Here’s a little recap of my blitz of a day which has now spilled over into a new day.

SINCE my daughters, H (9 years old) and M (7 years old) are now here for their summer visit until August 2, I have to get out of bed by 6 AM at the absolute latest in order to start our day. (Those of you who cannot relate to the writer’s curse are now saying, “Dude! Go to bed! Tell us about it later!” But that won’t work.) We leave the house by 6:30 to get to the babysitter’s house. She only works until 5 PM. Therefore, I need to get to work by 8 in order to leave by 4 and get back for H and M by 5. It’s just like the small window of opportunity which NASA had when launching rockets to the moon. If they missed that opportunity and tried to launch anyway they would miss the moon and just make a mess of things. If my little red Toyota isn’t blasting out of the driveway at 6:30 in the morning, we would do just as well to cancel the whole day and just stay in bed.

“Uh, Houston, we have a problem… Major Sam is in a coma after skipping sleep in order to write through the night.”

I did make it to work by 8 AM. I did figure out something in my Java code that’s been driving me to mental retardation (thanks to the help of my good pal, Vicky). I managed to stay awake and mostly conscious through the day, thanks to the help of some vitamins and a few good doses of caffeine. And I was able to get back for H and M by 5:00.


THEN the crazy little adventure began.

I had received an email from Todd Johnson, the Godinez Band’s drummer, on Monday informing me that they would be playing in the city on Tuesday night for a special Triple Eight Vodka release party. I was surprised to hear that they were back on the East Coast so soon. Now, I love these guys. Their music is excellent. Their personalities are just as superb. So my brain was scheming to come up with a way to cover all the bases as a dad and to get my music loving tushy into Manhattan to see the band.

So, my son Tim (16 years old) agreed to watch H and M so that I could go to New York. He helped them prepare their clothes for tomorrow (which is now today). He played with them. He got them to bed at a decent time. He’s a good guy. But of course there was a fee to be paid for such service. I paid it willingly because I know I can trust him.

After picking up H and M, we made a pit stop at Taco Bell. “Yeah, yeah… soft tacos, cheesy Chalupas, cinnamon twists, and a round of nachos for everyone. No, no! Wild Cherry Pepsi, dope! Forget the fire sauce! Can you move any slower?? Hand me the bag! HAND ME THE BAG! Thanks! Have a nice day!”


“Roger, Houston, initiating primary booster thrust at this time.”

I got home and had 10 minutes to shed my spiffy suit and tie and slip into something casual, something New York, something “Sammy.” Black jeans, charcoal t-shirt, black shoes and a Yankees hat which later made me stick out like a sore thumb amongst the spiffy suit clad NYC group at the bar. (That situation was quickly rectified with a brief fashion alert courtesy of Cousin AP. The hat was promptly stuffed into my backpack.) I then took my oldest daughter, Sarah, to work, called for Scotty to put me into warp speed and made it to the bus stop in time. The bus ride was uneventful except for the lovely scent which wafted our way each time someone used the bathroom at the back of the bus. However, Cousin AP had packed bottles of some vodka drink, cleverly disguised in aluminum foil. These drinks helped to ward off the mind numbing effect of the toilet stench. We got to New York at 8 PM and walked the several blocks from the bus terminal to Grand Central Station.

THE BAND started playing a little late. But there was enough time to enjoy some wine and get some fairly decent pictures of the band and the crowd (and the Triple Eight Vodka girls… OooLaaLaa!). It was good to see Todd Johnson’s brother join Todd in singing a number. The pictures from tonight are in my photo gallery – The Danny Godinez Band (NYC).

What else can I say about the band? I’ve written about them a few times in the past. They are still just as good. Tonight they seemed to be enjoying themselves right from the start. They seemed relaxed and were in the midst of improv jams in no time.

Now, should I tell you about the girl I met? The one who gave me her phone number?

“Houston to Major Sam. Houston to Major Sam. Major Sam it is time to initiate your scheduled sleep shift. Please desist all communication at this time. Commencing sleep induction in 20 seconds and counting.”

Oh gee! I guess I better wrap this up!

In order to make things simple tonight, we took the bus to New York from Clinton. We avoided the hassles of driving through city traffic and finding parking. We had a chance to catch a little sleep on the way home (despite the annoying women in the back who just wouldn’t shut up the whole friggin way). And the effects of the wine wore off before having to drive the rest of the way home.

All in all it was a successful mission. The band was good. The wine was smooth. The girls were sweet. Oh yeah, just before my 20 seconds is up, I’ll just mention that the girl who gave me her number is in one of the pictures in the photo gallery. She’s the pretty one. Good luck picking her out!

“Major Sam signing off.”


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