I don’t remember much of the next two weeks, because of the drugs for the pain and drugs for the infection (and a couple of drugs for the drugs). But the doctors were good, the nurses were fine, and everyone was treading carefully lest I discover the infection was from a nicked bowel and sue the bejeezus out of them. But I didn’t know for a while, and I didn’t really care, so long as I ended up alive and back on my feet. And I did.
And the time after that was kind of sweet, because I moved out to the farm where I could have some solitude, get my bearings and grow a little garden for my soul. Plenty of potatoes, enough tomatoes and way too many cucumbers. Bliss.
And then sometime in late June or July, the movie folks got in touch again. They wanted more songs. A hymn that referenced the great mystery, instead of sin and retribution. I sent them Farther Along. Then they wanted to know what the Missouri Waltz sounded like. Racist, I said. Can you fix it, they asked. So I took out all the darkies and pickaninnies, and replaced them with old folks and babies. Out with Mammy, in with Mama. When I got to something that was singable and didn’t make me wince, I sang it into my recorder, shrank it down to a manageable size and sent it to them in an e-mail. And tossed away the original. It was late November before they called again, this time asking for the original file.
I threw that away, I said. Ohhhh, that’s too bad, they said, sounding like it really was. Why, I asked. Because now it begins the movie.
Dang! So I searched for it, digging through all my flash drives, and it was really gone. I had saved a dozen other lame things that nobody wanted. But I threw away the opening song. So I went into the studio to recreate it. After 5 tries, I was nowhere near the sound of the original. So they used it, poor little mp3 file that it was. They added wind and a few crickets and it worked out just fine. But I felt like a fool, and figured they’d probably had all of me they could stand. But a little after New Year, they called again, this time with an invitation.
Would you like to go to Sundance, they asked. Well, hell yes. I’d go back to Park City for the first time since 1976. See the mountains of the Wasatch Front. It would be a great way to celebrate the completion of the project. I’d miss these folks, I thought. It had been a swell ride, and this would be a great finale. I had no idea.