My Days Out on the Road (c)1980, 2011 joe tipton and joel reese
Two of my earliest memories as a young boy are riding in trucks with my Dad, Grandpa and my Uncles, and taking a real interest in music and guitars.
I can still hear the motor of a 1967 Ford truck revving up to the next shift of gears. And I would imitate that sound as I eagerly watched the telephone poles flashing by the passenger-side window.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my little am radio played my favorite country and pop songs and I would watch Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Sonny and Cher on the old tube television set.
About that time my Mom and Dad gave me a ukelele and I would pretend I was playing guitar on those classic shows.
When I was three we took a trip to New Mexico to see my Uncle Joe and Aunt Helen. One night Uncle Joe pulled out his old Gibson 12-string guitar and commenced playing familiar folk songs of the day.
I was rivited to his side, mesmerized by the ringing jingle-jangle the 12 strings made as he finger-picked in a Merle Travis/Chet Atkins style.
To my surprise he let me run my little fingers across those glistening strings. A special moment was forever emblazed upon my formidable mind.
I learned to actually play the guitar when I was 13 years old. My Uncle Joe provided inspiration and provided helpful hints and brief lessons each time we visited.
It meant a lot to me to see how he would purchase a new set of strings and make the time to re-string that old Gibson each time we visited. Now that I'm grown I recognize that he was actually showing me how much he loved me.
Along with the Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan-type songs played, Uncle Joe would sing an original song that has always played in the back of my mind. It's called "My Days Out on the Road" and he wrote it for his friend Don Romanowski who drove a White Freightliner coast to coast.
Like my Uncle Joe, Don is a man who made time for his spiritual and family responsibilities despite his love for the road and busy schedule. To honor both my Uncle and Don, I asked if I could learn this song and perform it.
Permission was granted and I wrote and added a bridge and recorded my first rough-draft home demo which I've included here on the website.
While listening to the song, notice the verse about the "Windmill." This is a famous truck stop in West Virginia in the panhandle or "chimney." Every big rig has a West Virginia tag because you can't go anywhere in the east without going through that West Virginia chimney. But they say the "Windmill" makes it worth the drive!
This special song makes me think of all of the dear people who have grown older. Although they cannot do what they once could, they can still reminisce, taking out cherished memories and dusting them off for a ride.