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There’s Beer in my Tears

This Natchez Trace business has morphed into a series. It’s seen a million fathers, probably. This might be one of them. If this is your first visit to the blog, or if you’re catching up, please go back to this post and read forward to digest it whole.

Strumming the guitar and singing is what happens to me when I don’t know what else to do. Does it help me think?…..Nah. Probably not. Forget?………Never. Heal the aching hole in my insides that was left by my daughter?

Only she can occupy that place, that ragged chasm in my soul.

I show up at this dive, this nowhere bar at the end of the Trace, staring out at that ridiculous concrete Parthenon thing, five nights a week. Sit on my stool. Swig my no-count pissy draft beer. Pour out my soul to the fourteen people in this stinking, smoky excuse for an establishment.

How much I miss her tumbles out of the tips of my fingers, rolls off the end of my tongue into the reverberating mic, when all these losers want is picking and grinning. Sad can’t be happy without a heaping dose of irony.

The only thing that’s ironic about my sorry life is that I can’t see my daughter, my blonde haired, ringleted angel, way off down there in New Orleans. In two years, I’ve seen her twice. Once, walking down Bourbon Street in her starched pink dress and ribbons flowing every place. The other time, pounding on the window of the car, screaming for me as her bitch of a mother whisked her away from the courthouse. My little girl is eight now, and I can only imagine how she’s changing as she grows.

As she grows up without her Daddy who worships her.

I can’t write a stinking song that isn’t an ode to how much I miss her, a symphonic anthem of loneliness and despair. Why write something stupid like “There’s a tear in my beer” when my beer is more tears than booze? I’d walk all the way down the Trace in a continuous thunderstorm in the black of night to bring my daughter back to me.

Time for my next set. Maybe, if I sing with enough heart this time, my voice will ripple over that old Trace and penetrate my daughter’s innocent dreams.

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. There’s nothing like honkey-tonk music to pull at your heart strings! That concrete Parthenon thing is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’m glad you include links :-) Debra

    April 13, 2012
    • I haven’t been to the Parthenon, either the real one or the reproduction, but I have seen the pieces of it at the British Museum. Somehow, the one in Nashville seems perverse to me. But, right across the highway is a road sign that reads Natchez Trace…….

      April 13, 2012
  2. Quite a series… I’m enjoying my trip down the Trace. Amazing work in addition to a strong story, Andra.

    April 13, 2012
  3. Love the title to this! I empathise with her and can feel her pain. But those songs…. Heartwrenchers but depressing. Another great piece Andra.

    April 13, 2012
    • I wish I knew how to construct one of those songs. When I was little, my Dad listened to this music. I hated it and would screech made up songs from the back seat, always involving beer and jail and drunken crying.

      April 13, 2012
  4. Nothing worse than kids being used as weapons in a divorce. The sadness and pain never goes away.

    April 13, 2012
    • In this particular case, the little girl is more than a weapon. But, that’s another story for another day.

      April 13, 2012
  5. Tears. Pain in the heart. Joy and pride also because I never used my children in this ugly way.

    I have loved this series. Loved the blogs…loved the photographs. Beautiful all the way around Andra…what a way to end my work week. Thank you.

    April 13, 2012
    • Thanks for reading and sharing, and for all your encouraging feedback, Lori.

      April 13, 2012
  6. Take two from twitterz. Stupid wordpress. Anyway, the starched dress suggests either an earlier time period of an extremely worshipful parent.

    April 13, 2012
    • Earlier time period, coupled with some unrevealed things about the life of the little girl and her mother. The primary story line, of which this character is part, is set in the 1970’s.

      April 13, 2012
  7. Read this much earlier this a.m., so now have benefit of comments, too. I was relating this to the 50’s, so your response to Jessie is interesting. Sadly, I think that no matter how much a parent may try to shield the children and NOT use them as pawns when a marriage is torn, there is collateral damage anyway.

    Sad tale, but nevertheless an interesting continuation down the road you’ve had us on this week. :)

    April 13, 2012
    • We’ll see where the road takes me. I’m done with the series on the blog today, but the road will go on from here.

      April 13, 2012
  8. Andra, the story parallels in some ways the story of Townes Van Zandt, whose songs Bill loves.

    April 13, 2012
  9. Country music is depressing ~ too much heartache. :-(

    I like the Dixie Chicks though ~ lots of energy and enthusiasm:

    April 13, 2012
    • I don’t like country music at all, but it’s this character’s thing. Hasn’t always been, but it is in this story.

      April 13, 2012
    • I love the Dixie Chicks, here is one from their last album.

      April 13, 2012
      • Very cool song. Thanks, Lou!

        April 13, 2012
  10. And it just keeps coming. I’m amazed at what the Trace has inspired in you. That’s a powerful stretch of ground.

    April 13, 2012
    • It was sort of already there. I needed to see it for it to come out.

      April 13, 2012
  11. As I’m catching up from a week away, I put you on top of my list to catch up on blogs, Andra, and must tell you how very much I’ve enjoyed your series along the Natchez Trace; your storytelling, the photography, music, and the atmospheric feel you give have been so wonderful to experience and make me yearn to experience the Trace. Thank you.

    Last Autumn, we spent a good part of a day at the Effigy Mounds in Iowa. You brought that serene experience right back to me in your words in a previous post of this series.

    April 13, 2012
    • Penny, thank you for these kind words. It has been a roller coaster series to write and explore these varying people a little bit. The reactions have been so great. Very encouraging.

      April 13, 2012
  12. Heartrending post, Andra: but beautifully done once again…as Cameron says, that road has brought something out….

    April 13, 2012
  13. Amber Deutsch #

    My favorite one so far in this series

    April 13, 2012
    • I’m still struggling with the voice on him, I think. But, I’ll get there. Thanks for the feedback.

      I miss seeing you.

      April 13, 2012
  14. powerful words that paint a vivid picture. very well done. i feel like i am in a book club here…

    April 13, 2012
  15. The Parthenon in Nashville is kind of strange at first, but when you explore it a bit it is very interesting. Still a bit more than out-of-place in the middle of Tennessee, but interesting none-the-less. More importantly there is a fantastic hole-in-the-wall BBQ place right across a small side street from it.

    Can’t imagine how much I would miss my daughter if she wasn’t around. Of course, as she grows even older, she grows more independent, which is good. But sometimes i miss my little 5 or 6 year old. She turns 20 a week from now!

    April 14, 2012
  16. Denise #

    Loving all the Trace story/stories.

    April 16, 2012

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