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We Came for Salvation

Who would have thought watching a concert on top of a minivan in a speedway infield would be so cathartic?


I didn’t see a professional concert—as in a big, touring band—until I was in high school. We saw Billy Joel in Greenville, South Carolina. Kelly and I, who were high school sweethearts at that point, made the hour-and-a-half trip to city neither of us had ever been to. We had lucked into seats in the fourteenth row (still the best seats at a show I’ve ever gotten), so close Billy Joel could spit on us if he wanted to. It was amazing.

My kids, on the other hand, got to experience their first big concert in the midst of a pandemic that has cancelled almost every major touring schedule nationwide.

Nothing about a concert, either indoors or out, seems like a wise thing to do as we grapple with a virus that’s best spread through close contact. But when the Avett Brothers, as local of a big-time band as we probably have, decided they needed to play in front of actual, live people, they figured out a creative way to do it.

The kiddos check out the pre-show film from the back hatch.

Mrs. Wooten’s Wagoneer

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s design virtually never changed, making it one of the few automobiles that connected entire generations of people.


Kelly and I had long since fallen in love with the classic lines of the Grand Wagoneer. The legacy of the car is renowned; many credit the Wagoneer for inspiring the concept of a luxury SUV. It competed with Range Rovers because it offered finer appointments to a truck-based platform more often associated with rugged austerity. Wagoneers were a staple of WASP culture, the preppy automobile of choice for lawyers and doctors and their private school kids.

These days, the cars are symbols of a vintage culture that floats further and further away. Put a Christmas tree on the roof rack and a wreath on the front grill, and you have enough Lands End kitsch that you can probably leave the kids out of your holiday card photo. I’ve always wondered about who drives these things and what kinds of lifestyles they might lead.

So when we spotted a Grand Wagoneer around town, it was interesting to see not just the car but who was behind the wheel.

white house

On the Exhaustion of Rage, and Rhythm

WORK

 

I’m making my world a little smaller on purpose.

My new job is going well and keeping me busy–the entire week last week was essentially booked wall to wall with meetings and appointments, all good–so my workday is more or less a blur between the hours of morning and evening. Because of the typical workday hours at Mitchell, and because of preschool hours, I am often the last person in the office and the last person out at the end of the day. Wohali, one of the college’s security team, stops by to lock up the house, and I have to ask him to come back later.

Once home, I try to keep the office out of the couple of hours I’ll get to see the kiddos before bed. The 3.6 mile commute between my driveway and my office is a big deal in that regard–I can work right up until dinner time, squeezing in a few extra things before supper.

The funny thing is that my commute isn’t entirely a new route–it’s just a trip up Broad Street, basically, and I’ve been making the same trip anyway to drop the kids off at preschool for years. (Also incredible: preschool is now across the street from work.) Even so, these days I’m seeing things differently.

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