A little over two weeks ago, hubby was on orders to deploy for one year to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was March 4, 2012, the night before my son’s 11th birthday. We sat in a little burger/bar joint adjacent to the Recher Theatre in Towson, MD. Celebrating our last Sunday together, we ate what we think are the world’s best nachos, and soaked up as much of each other as we could. We eagerly awaited the Casey James show due to start soon next door. It was the special outing we’d chosen to celebrate baby boy’s birthday and proudly sending his daddy off to war. It had to be special.
It was mind-blowingly incredible.
After all that time wondering if and hoping the talented, cool kid we’d seen on American Idol would have the opportunity to keep doing music for all his new fans, we were quite simply blown away. We thought we’d seen the best of this young man the week he sang “Jealous Guy” and would have been happy with more to that standard. But two weeks ago, we realized the American Idol performance was merely the dust on the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
The sounds he bleeds from his guitar are as wholesome as they are provocative. And then he sings and it’s like a little escalator to the heavens has hydraulicized its way down to me, my Pop-Pop has extended his hand, and we’re sneaking in to a little hole in the wall place somewhere near that beloved Palacious River of his where the angels of Texas gather to smile and grandpas take their granddaughters to show them where their blood comes from.
Hubby, son and I were fulfilled. Still sad that we’d be saying goodbye and not saying hello again until son’s 12th birthday, but at peace and buzzing with positive soul. Meeting Casey afterwards was simply cool. He wished my baby boy a sincere happy birthday, signed a doodle I’d done while he performed, and then we drove ourselves back down to Virginia.
The next day, completely unexpectedly, hubby was told that even though he’d deployed twice to Iraq with his pacemaker, he wouldn’t be allowed to soldier-on this time in Afghanistan. The army doctors on the ground in Afghanistan had reviewed hubby’s medical records and explained that there simply was not sufficient medical care available for a pacemaker dependent person. We were shocked. After 22 years of serving his country, he had always found a way to be in the fight. After letting it sink in that this would not be happening, we realized the gift we’d been given. Hubby could hold his head high knowing he’d done all he could, but also hang up his boots at a good time and place in our lives. Casey had started his show off with “The Good Life” that Sunday night. “Old boots, socks are new,” he sang. The universe (Pop-Pop) and the cool kid from Texas had serenaded hubby with that one.
Later that week, settling into bunches of silly giggles at awkward times, mostly when I was alone, I left the boys at the gym to have their Friday of football practice to themselves. Not sure exactly what to do with myself, I decided to hit up the grocery store on the way home in search of shrimp, lemon juice, cilantro and cucumbers. That’s all you need to make the most delicious San Diego style ceviche, hubby’s favorite. At home, ready to cook, I threw on the radio and had myself a really nice time. Unfamiliar with the channels, I fumbled my way to the local country station and waited to see if they’d play “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night”. Not only did they play the song my hubby now hums to me each night, the DJ said if anyone wanted to come to the station for a Casey James CD release party, to give him a call. Well, that would be fun, I thought. Get to go down to the station, meet the DJ’s, maybe see the inside of a sound booth, hang out with other fans and listen to some tracks from the new CD. I called and was delighted to find out that I could come and bring a guest. Hubby said he’d stay home with our son if I wanted to invite a girlfriend this time.
March 13, 2012, I sat in the 98.7 WMZQ parking garage way too early, reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Alterant”, listening to the Kings of Leon’s “Because of the Times”, waiting for my girlfriend and fellow writer, Lynne Silver, to make her way through traffic. And I was thankful. To God, the universe, karma, music, army doctors paying attention to detail, my mother-in-law for teaching me how to make ceviche. To Casey’s ability to bare his soul for the benefit of others and for the patient fans who love and promote him at his incredible blog.
I got to meet Casey again that electric day. I also took the opportunity that time to thank him for inspiring me in my writing. I had meant to do so after that first show at the Recher Theatre, but he was being so sweet with my boy about his birthday and I wanted my little man to remember and have that moment for himself. This time, I figured God had given me an opportunity to show my appreciation. It felt good to say thank you to someone who seemed genuinely happy to hear it. Casey started that show with “The Good Life”. ”No part of this road feels wrong,” he sang. Yep, the universe, (Pop-Pop) and the cool kid from Texas had serenaded me with that one.
Casey’s first CD comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The Flores Family is eagerly awaiting our copy in the mail. Eagerly awaiting another chance to see Casey perform live, together. Again and again and again.