No Brakes (Dirty Dinner at Calleva Farm)


Had another honky tonk situation yesterday. Loaded my Malibu with my equipment and headed over to the Colonel’s to then unload my car and reload my equipment and his equipment into the minivan. Then we headed off to the Dirty Dinner in Dickerson, MD. Nice drive along Route 28 to White’s Ferry Road, watch out for the multiple speed cameras, turn right on Martinsburg Road, and then pull into the farm. Kind of on your own from there basically in the wilderness, and nobody to direct you, just follow the handmade signs for “Dirty Dinner this way —>”.  Since it’s an educational farm at the height of summer camp season we got a lot of help unloading and hauling the gear across the field to the freshly made wood stage still covered in saw dust. Matt the promoter said that immediately after we play they burn the stage in the bonfire. He also explained that we were standing on the site of the staging area for the Haunted Forest, which brought me back to 4 or 5 years ago when I went on a trip there with Dr. Do in a limousine bus and when we got chased by the chainsaw guy and she fell on her back in the mud. She was 60 at the time and had already had one heart attack. Matt said one time the chainsaw guy was chasing a girl with long hair and though the chainsaw did not actually have a chain, her hair got caught anyway, and the two of them had to head over to the machine shop to get her hair unstuck. So we get set up and of course Bobby calls me once he realizes he has the wrong address and instead is headed to the office on another road in a different town in Maryland, Poolesville maybe. Matt brings us a cold pepperoni pizza and bags of pretzels on ice. Colonel’s got a small cooler of Beck’s and a flask of bourbon so we’re good. People’s start arriving and there’s a few hayrides, and I’m taking pictures of everything, the cows, the pigs, the goats, the horses, the table set up, completely killing my battery life. Can’t smoke there publicly, so I get my boots red dust dirty behind an unused shed. Showtime at 7pm, and we start with “Dead Flowers”, our usual sound check tune. The stage is maybe 2 feet from the closest table and I’m whispering to the Colonel to don’t play too loud, don’t play too loud. I was having a great time playing country music in such an open area, watching the cows react and looking at windmills, and homemade water towers and such. My heart got a little broken though when a women right in front of us starts to yell to her friends in between songs that now they could finally talk to each other. When we start the next song she pretends to write her conversation on a napkin. Colonel of course is having the time of his life in his seersucker suit and Italian made straw vaudeville hat. I stay in the game because I can see a few heads bobbing up and down. The slower waltz numbers always go over well, and the Willie Nelson covers were paced pretty perfectly. We take a break at 8:30 to search for some of this dirty dinner food to learn that the pizza was it, even the staff don’t get to eat until the end if there’s any food left. We smoke behind the vans, use the portipotties with fresh flowers in them, and hide off in the darkness. Pick it back up at 9, Little Joe gave me a Tecate, and we start to play audibles. People start to dance. We play Hank Williams’ “Howlin’ at the Moon” to try to conjure up the moon on what looks to be a moonless night. Owoooo! Werewolf of London. The stage lights are attracting bugs by the millions and they’re landing on our fretboards, and crawling down the back of our necks. I get bit next to my lip and my cheek starts to swell, but now we’re in a shuffle and I can’t disappoint the boys by missing a note. Just too damn fast. The night dew mixed with sawdust is on everything. The set list is wet. So we end it at 10 and start to pack it up in the dark. I bang my head hard on the upper latch for the van back doors, kind of sobered me up. Calleva staff manages to scrounge us up some vittles, pulled pork, cabbage, potatoes, and cake. Of course the rest of the boys wanted to linger a bit since the staff is mostly female and seem to all be wearing short white shorts. I say let’s go, it’s gonna take an hour just to get off the farm onto the main road. Colonel agrees. He drives beautifully in the dark despite the one hitters. We do have some troubles with the motorcycle guy who keeps blocking the way at stoplights checking things in his seat or checking his texts. Speedy but accurate drive down 270 and on the inner loop and head down Georgia Ave. Colonel gets distracted only for a second, and almost misses a red light and slams on the brakes. At the next light he tells me we have no brakes. The brakes went out. With a van load of equipment. He’s mostly disappointed because he just had the brakes done a year ago. I’m thinking how are we going to make it through Silver Spring with all those traffic lights and no brakes. We still got at least 2 miles to go. Guess no Quarry House. At each light he downshifts, though it’s an automatic transmission. Brake pedal is going to the floor and barely doing anything. We pass major police activity at Colesville Rd. Colonel is huffing and puffing. And sweating. Somehow we make it to his house with no brakes and without hitting anything, most importantly my own car. I turned down his offer of a glass of Hornitos, and headed home myself. Of course the band guys next door have all the parking jacked up with their virginia plates and all the prime spots are gone. I start to carry my SWR Big Ben bass cabinet across the street and I see a youth on bike looking at me all sketchy like. He stops on the sidewalk and checks me out and keeps looking up and down the street. And we’ve had a lot of street robberies lately according to my Alert DC texts. I make it into the house with the cabinet, turn the porch light off, and go back outside with my pry bar. I stand on the porch looking at him and hitting my left hand with the pry bar repeatedly. He decides to peddle back up towards 2nd street and I am able to retrieve my bass and basshead out of the trunk. I decided it was best to smoke my last cigarette for the night out on the back deck.

Dirty Dinner at Calleva Farm


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