Tomorrow I’m flying home to say goodbye to my Dad. Not goodbye, in a “see you in a few months or when I get back from a trip” type formality, but goodbye in the sense that when I walk out of the room, I know I’ll never see my father alive again. The cancer won; his body can fight no more and medicine can’t take the flank. It’s an winnable war.
I know we’ve been lucky; people are gone in an instant and a lot of us never get the time to tie up loose ends, have meaningful conversations and just feel the warmth of each embrace. That doesn’t make it any easier to watch a man slowly fade away. Editing a fragment ultimately ends up being the same as editing run-ons. No matter what the in construction, something needs to be fixed. It’s easy in grammar, but impossible in life.
The next few days are going to be awful. You try to think of the words you want to say, that you need to say but they are trapped under broken voice and walls of tears. As much as you don’t want to say goodbye, they don’t want to hear it either. It becomes awkward silence, the kind you’ve never had to sit through before.
This song, a fantastic rework of a song from The Sumner Brothers stone cold classic, 2008 self-titled LP, is an unexpected goodbye. The song is an outlaw tale, delivered through the Sumners unique viewfinder. It’s got darkness and imagery of war, but in the end, it’s an escape. A release. Finally the pain stops. “I ain’t gonna hurt no more.” Right now, I can only hope that is the truth.
This song, and most of what The Sumners put to tape, is why music matters. Why songs are embraced and celebrated. This five-minutes of music is what I wish my dad could hear and understand. His love of country would be the bridge that lets us all say, it’s okay. You fought long enough. Take that ticket and go find your peace. That’s not why Brian and Bob wrote this song, but that realization is a greater gift than they could have ever imagined.
“Ticket to Ride” was recorded as part of a fantastic KEXP session with the enigmatic Bill Patton on slide.