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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

When Everything Went Wrong and Everyone is Still Okay... with a little help from our friends.

Listen, it was all going our way, really. We had our camper back! We were sleeping in our own bed again. We were eating our own food and had our independence (even though we were so grateful for the houses that had opened up to us when we were without our camper) and were flying high all the way from Tennessee to North Carolina to West Virginia to... well, that's when we got to Pennsylvania.

You may remember those couple years ago, the sad scary day when Butter was hit by a truck and then lost for hours in Dillsburg, PA. The whole town showed up to help, and we found her by the water tower and we've been living happily ever after since then. With a new dog in tow, we were a little nervous about our return. But Butter was already filling Pud in on the ins and outs and dos and don'ts of surviving the small town as we drove to our show the next town over in Shippensburg. We played a fantastic show at The Thought Lot, made friends, and decided that on our way to Dillsburg the following day, we would take a small detour for some delicious Pakistani food that our new friends insisted we try. What could go wrong? we said.

And it was halfway between Shippensburg and Dillsburg when that too familiar bang-boom sound reached the front of the truck.

"Shit," said Scott. "We blew another tire."

We told our strangers-turned-friends to go ahead-- that we had AAA and a plan (turns out, AAA won't help with campers and we didn't have a jack let alone a plan). But our new friends remained. And, fortunately, they had a jack, a tire iron, a plan, and big hearts. Forty minutes later, we were back on our way to that great Pakistani food-- after our pitstop in which our friends replaced our spare tire (thank you, Michael, Judy, and Hannah Nawa). What else could go wrong? we said. The day only cost us a story and lunch. We couldn't believe it. Life on the road? Easy.

And it was. We are the lucky ones. But there was more than the looming fear of Dillsburg that was hanging over this little folk band's head. We are living the dream-- we are happy to be doing what we are doing. But, at this juncture, doing what we love sometimes means foregoing things we need. Like health insurance. So, when one band member has been feeling progressively more sick for a month and is showing no signs of getting better even after all the herbal remedies and exercise and vegan food, options feel a little limited when you're on the road. And that's how Mallory ended up in the ER.

Don't worry. She's going to be okay. We just got word today that she is now with a clean bill of health and, with a little more self care, we will be ready for the road by February when we get back out there full time. This may have been a hit to our morale, but though Dillsburg is cursed for us, it is also full of loving, caring friends (thanks, Isaac and Heidi Tucker) that make these inevitable things seem not so bad. Even in the face of some daunting medical bills.

Which brings you up to speed to our fourth day in Dillsburg. That was the day we got to wake up and make a music video with some new friends. That was also the morning after Mallory was released from the ER. That was also the morning that Pud started throwing up after her new heartworm medication kicked in. We thought it might run its course. The worst was behind us, right? What could go wrong? we said. We had a full and productive day of filming and music making, and can't wait to show you what we made. And then, at 4 o'clock that evening, it was heard from inside the camper like this--

"Shit," said Mallory. "Do you want to take her, or should I?"

Pud is allergic to her new medication. We know that now. And the Dillsburg Veterinary Clinic comes highly recommended by this little folk band.

We waited to tell our friends until dinner that night. The Tucker's are firm believers that their town is cursed for us, too. But somehow, we can't stay away. That night over gluten free-vegan s'mores, we joked with them about how, when leaving a town or home, people will often look at us, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, and exclaim, "I think I just got Rough & Tumbled." We pride ourselves on late nights and good conversations and the forgetting of clocks for the sake of being together. But this time, it was conceded, The Rough & Tumble got Rough & Tumbled. Or maybe they got Tuckered. The jury is still out.

It's a couple weeks since Dillsburg, now, and after a pitstop in Mallory's hometown, we are newly equipped with a platform in the back of our truck so that our dogs can be more comfortable and our instruments more safe, and also now stocked up on a tire iron and hydraulic jack that can lift up to 4 tons! This is thanks to Mallory's parents. But, of course, why would we need that? We just got that tired fixed, after all. What could go wrong?

We are wrapping up our touring year. After the election, we took a little time in a beautiful spot in Kentucky to evaluate our work up to this point, and consider our next steps. This is the time of year we settle back in to Mallory's sister's basement room and get that extra writing, recording, and booking of shows done to prepare for the following year. We are ready to stop moving, we think. We still have a couple shows left. We are making big plans for the little bit of time we have in a real house, assisted with some odd jobs to get some groceries. We are a couple of lucky dogs. With a couple of lucky dogs. We are all happy and mostly healthy, or at least on our way to being so. So it was with excitement that we were laying out these plans on our way to our show in Gatlinburg last weekend-- we are turning a corner, we said. The wind is at our backs, we said. What could go wrong? we said.


"Shit," said Scott.

You know, there's something empowering about changing your own tire on the side of a busy Knoxville highway.

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