I hope you are all surviving the crazy weather we've been having this winter! In California we're in the middle of a drought, and we had our own version of a freeze (5 or 6 days below 32), so we're looking forward to better weather, too!
Just to make you jealous, I thought I'd post a few pictures of our garden so you can see what you're in store for a few months from now!
Sparticus must have read the last post, and decided to help us out. We knew that we would one day get another dog, but for now, we figured, we would focus our attention on Jupiter, our chocolate lab, who was very depressed at losing his best friend. Three days after we said our final goodbyes to Sparticus, a small, mostly black dog showed up in a friend's driveway and said, "Take me to Steve and Ellen!" Not one to question a dog, she did. Jupiter made it clear from the start that this new dog was to stay. David was very upset - he said it was disrespectful to Sparticus. I told Steve (who was out of town) that it was up to him. I am convinced, however, that Sparticus really did send this pup to us. Within minutes of meeting him, Steve fell in love. Even David now hates to admit that he likes him. We think Brock is a chihuahua/pug mix (a "chug.") Either way, he is a real cutie!
I just finished my January tour with Craig Carothers and Don Henry - boy, did we have a lot of fun! Now I'm in Nashville, writing, teaching and performing. Make sure to keep checking my schedule to find out when I'll be back in your area!
This issue of Steve’s Corner is a hard one to write. Grab the Kleenex.
We got our first dog, Sparticus, at the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest 13 years ago. He was a sassy black puppy, the last of the litter that was born there. We bought a carrier, flew him home on the plane with us, and formed an amazing bond. Our vet told us we should train him, fast. I thought it was because he would be strong. Yes, he was strong, but the warning was because he could see just how smart Sparticus was. He learned all the usual doggie commands as well as a few others, but probably the best was when he taught himself to bounce a tennis ball off his nose. He used to catch them, but one day he missed, and it bounced. Ellen laughed. He liked to make us laugh. So he kept bouncing it, right up to the end of his life.
That end came sooner than we wanted, but he was ready. We spent months saying goodbye, and the day the decision was made, he took one more stroll around the front yard, laid down on the grass, and said goodbye. Right now I’m in Indiana, and I can’t imagine walking in the door and not be greeted by Sparticus, tail wagging, hind quarters wiggling.
If you’ve been at our house for songwriting classes or concerts, you’ve met him. Next time you’re here, close your eyes for just a second and listen. You’ll hear him padding around on the hardwood floors. I still do.
Welcome to fall! Northern California is getting its first rain of the season tonight, but I'm not there to see it. I'm on a songwriting cruise in the Caribbean! Seven days, with stops in Jamaica, Cozumel, and the Grand Caymans!
I spent the second half of September at the West Coast Songwriter's Association's annual conference in Los Angeles, teaching at the NSAI Songposium in Nashville, and performing at a few schools and clubs in between. Next on the agenda are more schools and concerts in Texas and Nebraska, then, after a few days at home, Canada! After that, 2 weeks in Schools in Indiana, then schools in New Jersey and Las Vegas. After that, I'll have a few weeks to rest before my tour in January with Craig Carothers and Don Henry. Check the schedule here to see when I'll be in your area!
Some of you may remember our dog, Sparticus, that we got at the Rocky Mountains Folks Fest when he was just a puppy. After 13 wonderful years, he is nearing the end of his life. It's a sad time for us. A friend sent a wonderful story to try to ease our pain. I don't know the author, but I'm copying the story here for you to read. Get the kleenex ready!
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....