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So at long last our family band's excursion convenes. We hit the road in our matching top hats and vests for our long awaited, much anticipated, very unexpected Family Band gig to end all gigs. We were made aware that thus far, we have sold close to 10,000 tickets to our concert. This unexpected happenstance is due to the success of our latest single: Welcome to Family Band (808 loop remix).

Once all of us are inside of our van, we take are usual places. Most of us can’t help but smile a little because we are revisited by that old, familiar feeling that only comes when you are a part of our Family Band. Some of our family band members have traveled far and wide, and are simply bursting at the seams with grand stories to tell. Some are quiet and broken hearted and have their heads down. Some of our beloved family band members are missing- but just the same we reserve a seat for them. Once, a family band, always a family band is the motto in our group.

Just then, as if on queue, everyone starts picking up their instruments and start jamming on a sweet tune. Michael, our resident yodeler- fresh from the rodeo, starts busting out a strong & powerful Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo. He holds that one last note for so long; and just when you thought in would go on forever, his voice cracks. Another family member: our helium swallowing songstress picks up the tune from where he left off, and she takes it and runs away with it! This is pretty much how all of the weavings of our songs start. And I can tell you, by the end of this: we are all laughing, and clapping and slapping our thighs at how much fun we are having; and how much we have missed each other. But nobody says a word about it, because things like that go by without saying, we simply feel it in our hearts.

Did I tell you that our family has grown bigger? Boy oh boy! I can tell you, we have come across some mighty talented musicians. I am happy to announce that the Family Band now has a pickle drummer. It’s this kid we picked up in Chattanooga. The kid can drum on anything, with nothing but a pair of fresh pickles.

We are now also graced by our very own pork rind beatboxer. He is this guy who can make the most wicked vocal percussions by chewing one or two pork rinds at a time while laying down some beats. The bumblebee keeper comes from Farmville; the bees, I’m not really sure from where.  Then there’s the hobo cheek slapper. It’s this guy who makes sounds by slapping his cheeks until they’re beet red. He is happy with the tunes he creates. So we are happy for him & don’t ask questions.

We also have a pantomimer. I’m not quite sure what she is doing inside of our van to be honest; or why she is not wearing a matching vest and top hat like the rest of us. 

On my right seated next to me, I see Dee jotting down some lyrics on her notebook. I can tell she is on to something because she is humming to herself. The bumble bees which are nearby start picking up the melody. This music sounds happy, and makes me remember an instance when I was truly happy. But I couldn’t quite recapture this moment, because my mind is flooded with family band thoughts. I think back on that five-and-dime when we first picked out our matching vests and top hats; and now we have sold close to 10,000 tickets for our gig.  Now I know what Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters must’ve felt when they first embarked on their journey. This feeling of discovering something new and laying down footprints on an uncharted territory, and having something all to ourselves, something we’ve created. The bees buzzing and Dee humming is hypnotic and making me feel slightly dizzy.

Out of the corner of my eye I glimpse the pantomimer. She is taking out pork rinds from the bag of our sleeping beatboxer and popping them inside of her mouth. The pork rinds disappear without a sound.  

Just then our van stops. We have arrived at our destination.We are set to rehearse in a few hours. Once we are all out of the van, not a few more steps some strange happenings occurred. We all see the shenanigan  transpiring right before our eyes, as clear as two bottles of moonshine. The pantomimer is running as fast as lightning and making a getaway with our money jar. The pickle drummer is chasing her down and wrestles her right to the ground. The evil she pantomimer plays dead for a few seconds, and then gets out of his hold, and acts out like she is winded. Then gestures her index finger to her face like she is streaming a sad tear and is very remorseful. Our pickle drummer buys the act and loosens his grip. But then, the evil pantomimer gets up quick as lightning and then starts sprinting away, once again with our money jar.  This time our pork rind beatboxer catches up to her, and wrestles her down to the ground for good. Ah! the culprit is caught this time. Money jar rescued! 

Now I’m not going to tell you what happened next, because you wouldn’t believe me even if I did.  And it’s always nice to keep some secrets. They jiggle so happily in your pockets.

Just a few minutes, before we hit the stage RichieMillennium and I have our semi-annual talk. He tells me a lot about his magical misadventures. In the middle of one of his Wild, Wild, West story he stops; and then reveals to me  something really special. He tells me that he has come up with the name for our new, up and coming album.  “Our Family Band’s Tales of Derring-Do” he announces. And instantly my heart claps. But before I could offer a giant nod of approval, our lightning manager calls us all to the stage. So instead, I just give Richie a shrug.  But not just any shrug, but a family band one of a kind shoulder shrug, which means yes to everything good.

Of course, this album title is still up for a vote with the rest of the family band. But I just have this crazy feeling, and don’t ask me how I know, but I just know it, that the rest of the band will simply be enthralled by this great news. And all at once, they will unleash this amazing, must-see-it-to-believe-it, one of a kind, family band shoulder shrug.