They Turn in Circles


Not to be purposely repetitive to the previous post, but I guess I still haven’t been very active on this for awhile, not sure why. We’ve been pretty busy, but that’s pretty standard so that’s probably not it. I work in the oil and gas industry which  hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs recently, more like an ever thickening morass of depression interspersed with periods of abject misery. And I’m like literally the oldest guy left. But hey, gas is cheap, right? I got that going for me. Honestly though, I think we all get pretty run over by life in the winter and there just isn’t time to spare. With those cheery thoughts, here is a sometimes cheery, sometimes not so cheery tale of our weekend.

Jackie and I went to see Matt Anderson at the Banff Center this weekend. (If you have never heard of him, do yourself a favor and watch this:So Gone Now. He also is a world class blues guitarist, as can be seen here: Devil’s Bride. Check out the size of his hands on the neck of the guitar!) The Banff Center is a campus for performing arts so you can see everything from folk artists to ballet. They also have a hotel on site and do a package where you get a room, a concert, and a fabulous breakfast the next morning. Doesn’t hurt that the campus is set in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with views in literally every direction, or that the hotel is the same hotel the performers stay in, so you are likely to bump into the performers either before or after the shows.

They also do a very nice dinner, which is where Jackie and I were about an hour before the show, eating and pounding back a bottle of wine. Jackie sees this lady walking back from the buffet and says “Isn’t that Mary Gauthier?” I look and say ” uh, maybe?” The lady sits down across from a silver haired gentleman in a hoodie, and Jackie asks “is that Sam Baker?” I look at his hands (read this as an explanation Sam Baker Bio) ,”yes it is.”

Ok, gotta do a quick aside here. I know most people don’t click on embedded links, but please bear with me on this. Click on this link, because if you don’t watch this song the rest of the aside won’t make sense: Sam Baker Waves.

I first heard this song a few months after my father died (I promise, last dead father story for a while). As most of you know, my dad worked the last 30 some years of his life as a shrimper, and most of my memories of him revolve around the water. So transpose the people in this song and the man dies, with the wife left to write the name in the sand. It sort of ripped my heart out and stomped on it first time I heard it. Well, Jackie and I saw Sam in a little bar in a place called Nanton in southern Alberta a couple of years ago. In the audience of this little bar is pretty much every singer songwriter from southern Alberta, including  Ian Tyson, who is pretty much a legend in these here parts. Well, the last song Sam plays in the first set is Waves. I blubber through the song, and can’t help myself from going up to him during intermission, introducing myself,  and telling him why the song means so much to me. He says “the shrimp boats turn in circles. Why do they do that?” and I explain why you never want the net directly behind the boat because the propeller stirs up the bottom and scatters the shrimp. As I’m talking he goes from totally listening to me to looking over my shoulder, and seemingly losing interest. He says “Rick, can you tell me where you are sitting?” I say “Sam, are you ditching me for Ian Tyson?” He laughs and says, “man, he’s sort of a hero of mine.” So Sam does go talk to Ian, and afterwards does come over to our table to chat some more about boats and oceans and mothers and fathers. Jackie gets her second kiss (first was in Calgary a few years prior) from him. Seems she is collecting Sam Baker kisses. It was one of my favorite evenings watching music ever. And that’s saying something.

Ok, maybe that was a long aside.

So to reset, Sam Baker (whom as you’ve learned Jackie like to kiss) and Mary Gauthier who wrote Jackies favorite song “Mercy Now” is sitting at a table near us eating. I say to Jackie “please leave those poor people alone and let them eat.” She seems to be complying, reluctantly. A few minutes later we are coming back from the dessert buffet heading towards our table when Jackie suddenly veers right, all full of  wine courage. “Don’t do it!” but too late, over she goes to Sam and Mary as I slink back to our table. She tells Mary that she thinks Mercy Now is the greatest song ever written (though its the   Mike Farris version she loves best) and tells Sam, again, how much she loves him. Or his music. I’m not sure if she really knows which. As she walks away, she hears Mary Gauthier say sarcastically “I love vodka.” Little did Mary know it was wine, not vodka. Rookie mistake.

We go to the concert, it was great. I think this is the 5th time we’ve seen Matt Anderson, twice at folk festivals and three times in concert. He really is a fantastic performer. I got to shake Matt Anderson’s hand after the show, which I really did just to find out how big his hands where. Fucking HUGE. As is he. Like 6’4″ or 6’5″. Basically a small mountain. Just a great night.

The next morning as Jackie is going to check out and I’m going to get the car, I spot Mary Gauthier again.  A few minutes later as Jackie is getting into the car I asked, “so, did you talk to her again?” “Yeah, I said even though I’m not drunk on vodka I still love you.”  We learned that Sam and Mary are playing at a bar called the Ironwood on Thursday, March 10. Jackie and I will be there. I’ll be the one crying during Waves and she’ll be the one trying to kiss Sam. We’ll have vodka for Mary also.




2 thoughts on “They Turn in Circles

  1. My old ears won’t let me hear the words to Waves. Would you text me the lyrics? I love the tune and,of course, want to know why it touched you so. As always, a great story. Love you!!


  2. Here ya go: Waves

    So many years so many hardships

    So many laughs so many tears

    So many things to remember

    Cause they had 50 years

    The kids have got their own kids

    And their own kids they are grown

    She told him not to worry

    She said he’d be fine when she was gone

    He walks down to the ocean

    Bends to touch the water

    Kneels to pray

    He writes her name in the sand

    Waves wash it away

    There are sea gulls circling shrimp boats

    That turn inside the bay

    There’s an emptiness inside

    That never goes away

    He walks down to the ocean

    Bends to touch the water kneels to pray

    He writes her name in the sand

    Waves wash it away


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