The lovely Mrs. Kee and I have taken to the open road for Valentine’s weekend to follow one of our favorite bands, The Turnpike Troubadours, through Arkansas. I consider this fine state to be one of the most beautiful places in these United States. And underrated. Mrs. Kee had never been and we’ve been trying for a year to attend a Troubadours show, so things worked out pretty perfectly. We watched them play at The Rev Room in Little Rock on Friday night, and I gotta tell you, what a show . . .
It was a show I enjoyed unarmed, save for my pocket knife. I had a respectable amount of alcohol in my system. As some of our Arkansas natives might know, concealed carry is verboten in establishments that serve alcohol here in The Natural State. Doubly verboten if you’ve been drinking yourself. And as any of our readers with common sense can tell you, alcohol and guns do not mix. Knowing that my piece was unwelcome, and that I’d be enjoying cheap, cold beers, my XD(M) stayed in the safe.
About halfway through the show, when it had gotten truly loud, and the Troubadours were really getting into it, they started playing “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” with almost a punk rock level of energy. The lyrics to the chorus go something like this.
Well raise another round boys and have another glass
Be thankful for today knowing it will never last
Still lets leave the world laughing when our eulogies are read
May we all get to heaven ‘fore the devil knows we’re dead
Standing there, I could feel the sweat rolling down my back while the beer in my hand did a similar number. As I stood wedged in with hundreds of likewise drunk and sweaty twentysomethings I had one of those brilliant moments of clarity that occasionally come at the end of a long night.
And dear readers, I thought of you. The same readers who have proclaimed on many occasions that if they can’t carry their gun somewhere, they aren’t going. Which is certainly a valid opinion, and one that I can’t really argue with. We all do our own risk analysis and react accordingly. For me, I don’t see much point in sheepdogging operationally if I arrive at the Pearly Gates having only tasted room temperature tap water and saltine crackers, metaphorically speaking.
Last night’s Turnpike show was truly, wonderfully, awesome. The energy of the band was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. They played some of their oldies, some of their goodies, and some yet-to-be-released material. It was loud. Really loud. Loud enough that I chuckled about how much time and money I’d spent on silencer and ear pro, only to go to a bar one night and undo all my hard work. One of the best concerts I’ve attended in my short life.
Had I been a staunch 2A Absolutist™ last night, I would have missed out on a really great life experience. That won’t stop me from criticizing Arkansas’ silly prohibition on firearms in bars carried by those not partaking in the firewater. And I’d encourage you to do the same if you’re a resident of the state. But sometimes, you have to lay down your arms, pull on your nice boots, and enjoy the music.