On Friday afternoon when we pull out of the driveway life will begin to feel normal again. Winter always makes me feel strange, probably because I’m locked inside the house, short dark days, less traveling and only a gig here or there. No one is having a music festival in the cold mid-west winter. March and April are when the we usually start to get busy again. This year we are starting off with a trip to Duluth, hometown of Bob Dylan. On our way up we are stopping to play a gig at a bar called the Mouse Trap. I have a feeling The Mouse Trap could be a really awesome show. We really don’t really play too many bars, but when we do, the crowd is always fun. When we get to Duluth we will be playing the Cabin Fever Festival. As the weather gets warmer and the snow melts (and then snows again and melts again), the calendar starts to fill up, and the winter blues fade away with every show on the books. We are so lucky to start this new season of traveling off to a very comfortable start, all thanks to our amazing dad.
After a show, a lot of people will ask us about our dad. The question is usually about if he plays or if he taught us, and the answer is no. The reaction when I say no is usually a bit shocked, but let me explain. Our mom is the one who decided to put a fiddle in Georgia's hands, and the one who got me and Quin singing; my dad however, plays a key role in our ability to share our music, travel so freely and to have the opportunities we do. Though the band supports all of its own expenses like our lessons, travel, instrument repairs, show clothes, food on the road, etc., we would never be able to support our family. Without dad, there would be no opportunity for a family band. Giving an exceptional example of work ethic for me and my sisters to look up to, he has always provided for his large family, outnumbered by 6 women.
My dad is a concrete mason for the Local 502 Union, he has been a union member for 34 years and a hard worker for as long as I remember. Every day at 5 am he gets up, drives 1 or 2 hours to the job, gets on his hands and knees and builds the roads you drive on, or the high rise in Chicago. Even as a kid I remember him leaving most times before the sun came up, and he would get home just before dinner. As the door thud closed behind him little splats of dried concrete would shake from his layers of clothing and tiny concrete pebbles hit his lunch box on the way to the tile floor. My mom was constantly sweeping away the remnants of a long and hard days work that he carried home with him. Growing up, I have seen my dad come home in pain, cramps from working in the hot weather or dusty and exhausted from working overnights at O’hare airport. Long hours of difficult work put wear and tear on his body, all for his family, and the older I get, the more I learn and appreciate him.
If he’s not working you will find my dad standing in the audience, arms crossed, bobbing along to the music with a priceless grin on his face. Before the show he helps set up, loads and unloads the car for us, makes mid-show runs to get forgotten capos, kazoos, fiddle bows and banjo picks. Unconditional support, weather he is in the audience or not. A lot of times (this weekend for example) while my sisters and I pack up for a road trip to play, my dad stays home to work. If he can make it to the show, he does. One time, he worked on a Saturday, drove to Indiana after work, arrived at our camp site at 2 am, slept in a tent, and then was up and 10 am to see us play our set and he was back to work on Monday.
My dad is a hard working man, and my sisters and I are so thankful for him. In the past years our family has gone through some tough times financially, when the economy crashed there was less construction and less work to go around. From working 6 days a week to around 2 or 3, it took a hit on our family and I can’t imagine the pressure and stress that put on my parents, but they did what they had to do to put food on the table and they always made sure the mortgage was paid. They made it work, and that isn’t easy (or cheap) with 5 girls. We got rid of TV to save some money, started the band to pay for our own lessons. It brought us close as a family and it’s pretty much how to band got formed. Our family made it through the financial storm, and work in the last few years for my dad, I would say, is much better. So upon paying off our red mini van, my dad, so selflessly, bought the band a 2015 Ford Transit van. Comfortable, reliable, safe and spacious enough for all of our instruments and equipment. Instead of being without a second car payment for a while, he committed to a new one so the band had something to travel in. On top of that, he customized the back to hold our instruments, safe and snug. The band would have never been able to have something like this without our generous dad. So thanks Dad. We love and appreciate you more than I could ever sum up in a single blog post. <3
|This is the van, with the awesome lettering we got done at gitgrafix in Richmond. Fun fact, my dad parked the van on the front lawn the first few days we had it haha, he was proud I think :)|
|thanks dad :)|
|My favorite picture of me and my dad|
|My dad is outnumbered.|
|Still outnumbered :)|
|my handsome dad back in the day, holding our sister Eleni|