I'll Have Another....

'Dr. Dre' and I went to the hospital to see a friend who has cancer. Hang out, play a few tunes. Her sisters were there and brought food, some bruschetta for her. She asked for some Van Morisson. Wanted happy songs. "Happy~Happy" she kept saying in the twilight as the nurse brought some more pills for her.... "Happy~Happy." Her sister asked if she wanted some more bruschetta. "Yes, I'll have another...."

It's amazing we're here. Let alone, alive and well, if we are. Planet earth, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the universe. I mean, what are the chances? And how many things can go wrong to ruin our chances? It all seems like one big giant amazing game and gamble at risk.

So then, to gamble on top of it all, seems redundant to me.

I, myself, don't gamble.

There was one year, just minutes before the Kentucky Derby, I glanced at the names of who was racing, and I had a complete and shining hunch that Giacomo was going to win it. He was a long-shot. His odds were 50-1. But I just knew it. I told my husband and he said that he'd place the bet for me. It was about 20 minutes before the race and we happened to be in a casino where he was performing. Naw. I don't bet. He tried again, just 20 bucks. No, my gosh, blow 20 hard-earned dollars?!

Giacomo won.

After beating myself up for the next six months, I swore to myself that from then on I would take a lot more risk in my life.

I wanted to place a bet this year for the Kentucky Derby, but the race snuck up on me, and in the mad scramble to take care of the few people and things I love and care for, in between my gig Friday night in Tulsa and my gig on Saturday night in Norman, and then the hustle to stop by my home and water the garden, since it had been several days of heat since I'd been there-- there was no time to place the bet.

It really would have been a symbolic bet anyway, in honor of my father who loved the horse races. He wasn't a big-time gambler, at least we didn't think he was since no one ever came to re-possess the cars or the house; but when he finally retired, every day he would study the racing forms, do the handicapping, and go place his bets at the fairgrounds where they run a simulcast of the races from all over the country.

It seems that just about everyone in my family gambles in some way: the horses, the stock market, football games, the lottery.

For me, playing music for a living is about the biggest gamble I can make.

And then there's the gassing up of your car.... should I get gas at this convenience store or can I make it to the one down the highway, closer to the Keystone Pipeline where the price of gas is less expensive?

The last thing I did gamble my money on, and took a big risk, was late one summer. It was nightime. It was a Sunday. I was at the house all alone. I turned the tv on. There was that infomercial for the Time/Life Soul Train DVD collection. Damn. It had been awhile since I'd last seen this thing. Maybe two years prior, and I had wanted to purchase it back then. Four easy payments of $29.99, they assured me. I was depressed already. I had no money. Plenty of bills to pay. Not to mention the zillion other things that were just plain not right in my life. But gosh, "Betcha By Golly, Wow" by The Stylistics; "Everybody Plays the Fool" by The Main Ingredient; "Have You Seen Her" by the Chi-Lites; "The World is a Ghetto" by War; and Marvin, and Stevie, and Smokey, and the Staple Singers, Lou Rawls, and the Jackson 5, and Al Green, and Luther, and Sly, and on and on and on. Geezus, I HAD to have this collection. My life would be better if I had this in my possession, I just know it.

I called the number on the screen. Duane answered. He spoke in a deep and re-assuring, calm voice. He took my order and would I also like the CD collection that goes with the DVD collection?

I said, no.

He persisted.


Duane said, "because you'll want to listen to these songs in your car, too, while you're going down the road."

Gosh, he was right.

"And now it's only six easy payments of $29.99."

I asked him if they could take out the Lionel Richie songs, but go ahead and leave the Commodores in the collection.

Actually, even though I should probably have spent my money on health care instead, I did win big in that transaction. And the O'Jays, and Gladys, and Bill Withers, and the Isley Brothers, and all of the Soul Train dancers, and the Afro-sheen commercials, and especially Don Cornelius often remind me of what a great investment I did make.

Bless Don Cornelius for such a great creation and how sad to hear that he was found dead by a self-inflicted bullet-wound to his head this past February.

Life is hard. But here we are.

And "I'll Have Another" won the Kentucky Derby this past weekend.

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