“I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels” – Jackson Browne
For me (and countless others), Jackson Browne is a brilliant songwriter. I realize this is a 70’s song, but that’s what I do sometimes on sincerelythe80s.com – I step out of the 80’s when it feels right. And it just feels right today. This life is crazy at times.
It’s a beautiful song and a wonderful metaphor. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and in the air the past few weeks. Much more than usual that’s for sure, and it’s felt crazy. I recently made the 12 hour drive from NW Arkansas to Boulder, Colorado and watched the road rushing under my wheels for many miles. My wife flew out to visit me for a few days in Denver and Boulder. I saw baseball games, many interesting people, and most of all – the inside of a classroom.
I write this silly little 80’s blog as a hobby. My day job is that of a community banker, and I recently finished my second year at the Graduate School of Banking Colorado (GSBC) in Boulder. Students (ages anywhere from twenty-something to fifty-something) travel to Boulder from all over the country. Both coasts are represented by community bankers along with a fair amount of federal and state regulators.
I spent two weeks living in the Bear Creek Apartments just off the campus of CU studying exciting topics like “Deposit Retention and Growth Strategies,” “Loan Portfolio Management,” and “Understanding Corporate Culture” just to name a few. There were actually eight classes over the two-week span along with guest speakers sprinkled in.
For a community banker, it really is an impressive, informative, and at the same time over-whelming two weeks. Each week is concluded with four short tests of 12 questions each on the four classes for the week. It’s an expensive investment paid for by each bank, but it’s well worth the time and travel. In between the summer sessions each year each student is required to write three research papers that are graded fairly tough by faculty so it doesn’t end when the two weeks ends.
While in Boulder, Jackson Browne was performing about 45 minutes away at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. The venue seats about 9,500 and opened in 1906. Red Rocks has been played at by The Beatles, U2, and everyone in between. It’s a beautiful setting in the mountains where you can see the skyline of Denver in the back ground, and an awesome place to witness just about any performer (when my wife got into town later in the week, she went with a friend to watch Sarah McLachlan).
“Running on, running into the sun, but I’m running behind”
As I sit here some two plus weeks later, I am writing part of this post from Long Branch, New Jersey, and also from the airport in Newark. My uncle Hans passed away while I was finishing up school and I flew straight to New Jersey from Denver in order to make the viewing and the funeral. It was very surreal to go from breakfast in the mountains to the La Quinta Inn and the ocean in West Long Branch over the course of 12 hours.
The ensuing emotional toll of a viewing and funeral for a dear family member only drained the tank even more. Comparatively though, I’m surely running on more fuel than my fellow cousins and sweet aunt Peggy who just lost their father and husband. The funeral was held in St. Thomas cathedral in Long Branch overlooking the ocean, and included a Taps salute by Navy Servicemen in honor of Hans who had served in the Navy in World War II.
“I don’t know when that road turned, into the road I’m on”
I don’t see many of my Kerwin relatives because they either live on the east coast or in Arizona, so it’s always nice to catch up. Unfortunately, the last three reasons to get together have all been funerals, so we’re hoping for a wedding or something happy for the next get-together.
I’m now on my final leg. Newark back to Denver, and then into NW Arkansas tonight where I will get to see my wife and daughter and sleep in my own bed again. I can’t wait. The road will end for a while, but the road of life continues to fly by at alarmingly increasing speeds. I know there are more funerals ahead for uncles, aunts, fathers, mothers, and grandmothers. It’s a sobering thought, but a real thought nonetheless. I can only hope for more births, and weddings, and anniversary celebrations to balance out the funerals.
Let’s all hold on and hold together and we’ll make it… even when we feel like we’re running on empty.
“Running on, running on empty. Running on, running blind”
Below are just a few pictures of the stage and setting at Red Rocks for the Jackson Browne show. “Running on Empty” was released in 1977 and the song made it to #11 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and is considered Browne’s third biggest hit behind “Doctor My Eyes,” and “Somebody’s Baby.”
Here is a live version of Jackson performing the song back in 1979. He still does it justice in 2018 by the way.
Thanks for reading.