hectic tour in England.
I needed to go home. Go to his funeral. Laugh it up with our musical friends
about what a crazy, loving nut Charlie was.
But there was no way I was going to make it so I let it go.
At the time of Charlie's death, I was in a weird place in my life which in
turn, effected my career.
I needed something great to happen, a sign...something reminding
me all this solitude, driving, flying, luggage-lugging, stale coffee-drinking
was worth more than missing one of my greatest friends funeral.
The next morning, I awoke to an email from a luthier in Michigan.
He was a fan of my music and wanted to build and sponsor me a guitar.
He said choose everything; the wood, the style, design... you name it.
Let's name it after your song, "tumbleweed."
And later that day, I got a call to join a two month tour of England and
Ireland with one of Ireland's greatest songwriters.
I knew immediately it was something Charlie would have a hand in.
I remember feeling his energy before I found out he passed away.
He had been gone for a few days before I got the email.
Last week, my best friend lost her mom.
In High School, Rhonda was like a second mom to me.
While attending College in town, I used to stop by to read her
my stories, before I had to go to class and turn them in.
Trish wasn't even there half the time.
"Oh Tina" she would say, "you're such a great writer. I know you'll
do great things."
I didn't see it then and really, had no idea why I kept writing, let alone
why anyone would read it.
Rhonda would drive us to the mall and all the way, would keep the
windows shut since I had 'just done my hair.'
She'd pick us up when we wanted, even giving Trish enough money
to pay for my lunch at times.
And even when Trish and I fought, Rhonda stayed neutral and usually
brought us back together.
Then years passed. Trish and I lost contact.
I moved around a lot, from state to state, a good part of my 20's.
When Trish and I rediscovered our friendship, I was becoming a
I lived in San Francisco and Trish, married in a town just outside of
Modesto, where I grew up.
One Christmas, I went to visit Rhonda, Trish and the rest of the family.
She was so happy to see me. Just as sweet as I remembered and quick
to bring out drinks, snacks and old photo's.
Time has again passed and that was the last time I saw Rhonda.
Last week, she passed away.
I wanted to make it to the funeral and although I wasn't out of the
country, I just couldn't make it happen.
Rhonda has been gone for a little over a week.
Last week, a personal trainer, came from nowhere to offer me free training.
And the other day... a mechanic to fix my truck.
In fact, when I came home from working, my truck was ready for the road.
He insisted I don't pay him and instead, have him over for a home-cooked meal.
Something he hasn't had in years.
How a mechanic and trainer came to me is beyond me.
I needed both desperately.
And since their arrival, I can spend my money on a plane ticket home for
It's not about a guitar, or a tour ... a trainer or a mechanic.
Charlie was the kind of person always thinking about everyone else.
His spirit roared and before you even spotted him, he was running
to you with with arms open.
He'd plant a hug and before you even spoke, he always seem to know
just what you needed or who he could introduce you to and sometimes,
knew just the kind of music you needed to hear.
He just knew.
So it was no surprise to me that after he died, he was still up to his old
Rhonda was ready to solve your problems if you asked and when you
needed a friend to listen, she was a true listener and not just waiting to talk.
So it was no surprise to me that after she died, she just had to help me one last
I could and can, still hear her raised like a song voice telling me I can do
it, I will make it all work and I will be okay.
"Things happen for a reason Tina."
It's just an instrument made of wood and a car made of metal.
No comparisons to the lives of Charlie and Rhonda.
But now that they are gone, in some small way... every time I play my
tumbleweed in some country far away from home ... I will be thinking of Charlie.
And while driving my truck, on a tour all alone, ready to call it
quits ... I will thank Rhonda for keeping me going ... for listening to my
words when even I couldn't hear them.
It's crazy that you feel their love from the very things that mean
the least in this world, just a little metal and wood.