Jazz and Freezing Rain

It rained all day today, the kind of day that makes me glad I'm not a white-tailed deer or a junco. Imagine being out in pouring rain, when it's 36 degrees outside. And all you've got to keep you warm, after your fur or feathers are soaked through, is food. I stoked the suet dough and mealworms and seed feeders and marveled at the strength of these tiny birds, surviving elements that would kill a human in hours.
Meanwhile, we stay inside, warmed by the natural gas that wells up from the oil well on our land. I know this sounds like something from the Beverly Hillbillies, but there is an oil well on our land, and the natural gas that sits atop the oil makes its way to our house through an orange PVC pipe that runs along the edge of our meadow. They call it Free Gas. It's good stuff, too, straight out of the earth and hot as Hades, and you can boil a teakettle in a couple of minutes. We get a royalty on the oil that's sold off our well each month, if the oil and gas company remembers to pay it. It's nice all around. The pump jack is one of those things that looks like a drinking bird; it's on a timer, and it dips up and down for a few hours each day, pumping oil into a storage tank. There are so many side benefits to living in the middle of nowhere, in a place that is rich in oil and gas deposits, that sometimes we do feel like the Beverly Hillbillies, passing our pots with pool cues.
Bill is a gifted musician, and he plays bass and guitar. He's in demand as a jazz bassist, with his fretless Peavey. Every Sunday, he plays a brunch gig at the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV. This is an immaculately restored historic hotel near the Ohio River, with oversized leather chairs and wonderful bartenders. It's easy to forget you're in West Virginia, and imagine yourself in Chicago or New York when you hear the music and sip a Cosmopolitan. Sometimes, Bill III plays there with his dad, Bill Jr., his honorary uncle Bruce DeMoll, and peerless drummer Chet Backus (no, not Chet Baker!). These four have a musical language that comes from years of collaboration. When his mom Elsa sings, it's really heavenly. My favorite thingto watch is the two Bills' heads bobbing in
unison. I hope my Bill grows up like his daddy. Listening to their music is the perfect counterpoint to hanging out with the kids all day. It feels like a grown-up thing to do.