Have you ever really listened to the Allman Brothers (man)?
I was driving down the highway the other day and the Allman Brothers came on the radio. Did you ever really listen to the lyrics to that song (man)? A line that I never really fully digested jumped out at me. The one that goes something like “and I was born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus”. He was born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus. Which means someone gave birth in the backseat of a Greyhound. I mean, granted this woman is probably fictional, but come on. That is by the bathroom.
Greyhound buses are some of the most horrible places a person could find themselves. I mean, yay public transportation (it’s important! really important!), but pretty much no one takes a Greyhound unless it’s the last resort. I despise Greyhound. I would rather die than give birth on one. Okay, that’s a hyperbole. I wouldn’t rather die, but I can imagine plenty of things I’d rather do than that. Like get a triple root canal. By a drunk dentist. In the middle of the desert.
I once took a 48 hour Greyhound trip from Durango, Colorado to Pittsburgh. It was an agonizing 48 hour journey that made me feel like I was in prison. Or hell. Around the 24th hour, as we were reboarding our stinking chariot, a guy called Tiny asked if he could sit with me. I was pretty happy because he looked like he probably wouldn’t kill me, which is a lot more than I could say for my last seat mate, who looked a bit like Freddy Krueger. Well, me and Tiny got along great. Tiny was a talker and he started up about John Denver and he just wouldn’t quit. Tiny was on fire for John Denver. Now let me just state that I have one brush with fame in my past– some people have seen Madonna in the grocery store. Others have played golf on the same course as Tiger Woods. Well, John Denver almost ran me over once.
So, of course, I busted out this story. Tiny was delighted. “You should’ve let him!” he exclaimed. I demurred. “He probably woulda written a song about it!” Um, I don’t think… “It would have been great!”
Unhappily, John Denver didn’t actually hit me, but here’s the whole story: I was in Aspen, Colorado with my mom and my brother and my dad. It was around 1995. I think it was summer. We were strolling around, taking in the sites and started across a residential street. Suddenly! There! Was! A! Roaring! And my dad yelled and pulled us back and a little silver Porsche flew on by. The wind from it flapped at my hair and we all stared, shell-shocked, at the convertible. And my dad said in an entirely different voice, “I think that was John Denver.” And it totally was. And he was driving just like you’d imagine John Denver to be driving– his seat way back, one arm on the wheel, sandy hair gently blowing, a serene, peaceful smile across his face. Of course, he didn’t even notice that he’d almost taken out a family of four.
Lest ye be skeptical, my dad pointed out at the time that he was sure it was him because he knew John Denver lived in Aspen and drove a silver Porsche. Looking back, I have to ask myself why my dad knew those things. I mean we had that yellow-covered John Denver album at home in the cupboard, just like everyone else, but geez, that’s some pretty specific information, Dad.