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Jeff Foster / Blog

A Night in the Life

The cold winds of Alaska danced cheerfully against the parka drawn tightly around my head as my friend and I were riding in the back of a pickup truck, crossing 'the bridge to the other side'. It was 4:30 in the morning, but here in Dutch Harbor the sun would not be rising for another six hours -- the night was young. We had just left "the Elbow Room", widely reputed to be the rowdiest bar in America. My companion had earlier handed me his axe, and had gone on to blow *such* fine harp that night! And I had strapped on his beautiful Jackson electric, and within the tight confines of the stage, closed my eyes and looked toward Heaven for some juice.

I wailed away, eventually finding those small, invisible places on the neck where the inner voice of a guitar hides. The feel of those six strings against my calloused fingers (as familiar as the face I see in the mirror every day) -- another language I have the honor of speaking. A flash of brilliance, a well-turned bit of musical erudition, and it's over. The lights blink off and on and off and on again, and the bouncer bellows the hour. The crowded, boisterous room slaps the musicians on the back (kissing the pretty lead singer), and filters out into the night, crunching through the snow to their cabins and trailers lining the waters of Margaret's Bay, laughing and throwing snowballs.

My friend and I were smoking cigars, kicked back behind the cab of the pickup to avoid the wind. We sat in silence for a mile or so, each of us watching the night sky turn above us as the truck navigated the quiet streets. "It all comes from there", I murmured to myself, gazing into the pure black and sparkle of the Alaskan night. Finally, my companion turned to me with a big grin, and said:

"Is this a great life, or what?"

And this is why we play guitar.

~~ Jeff Foster, Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 1998.

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