“Surville” – 2013

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A few years ago my friend and best singing partner Kate Wallace proposed that we meet up with some of our best musician friends once a year, somewhere we can just enjoy being together playing some music – no audiences, no time-slots, no big stage lights – just a bunch of pals bein’ pals. She recommended Big Sur – a fantastic spot in the redwoods on the Pacific coastline about half-way between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. We all met up in May of that year and have been going back ever since. It’s one of the highlights of my year, for sure.

mc_jims_val-cafe_reducedThis year I flew into Sacramento to meet up with my best pal Debbie and we drove south on Highway 5 the next day and then west and down the coast past the Big Sur Lighthouse and on to Fernwood Resort, a great little getaway spot nestled in the redwoods. There was a year to catch up on and it took all five hours in the car to go down each of our outlines.

After months of being cloistered in my office in Naples, I heard myself start on what would become a five-day marathon of talking and giggling about today, yesterdays and “oh God, what comes next?” conversations with each of these, some of my best friends from the world I come from.

surville_dinnertimeBy the time we got to Fernwood (hey, is that a song?) there was already a circle of chairs around the campfire, some of my peeps sacked out for their afternoon nap and a pile of guitars and other assorted instruments (yes, including an accordion) which suggested that the party had started without us, but with an empty chair or two for us ‘stragglers’ to assume. Ah… home.

We sang. We ate. We laughed. We caught up. We shared… and then off we went again into this big old world that just won’t stop inspiring us. Life’s good… pretty much even when it’s not.

My five days in Big Sur went by faster than normal this year. I’m inspired to learn my songs again… and to write more…