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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Healthcare for Homesickness

We’ve come down with a case of Homesickness. And we don’t think there’s a cure.

As you may know we bought a house in New Hampshire last year. We moved in on Halloween, spent most of the cold days of Winter there, and then left town right before the biggest snow storm of the season and followed the warm weather all the way to Florida for the rest of the Spring. We returned to New Hampshire for 3 weeks in May and then we’ve been gone all summer, touring from upstate NY all the way to Logan, UT with our dogs and our hamster in the camper. It’s been great, but definitely not how we thought home ownership would look. Like, when is the point where you actually get to be home? How does one simultaneously be a teeny tiny traveling folk band and also live in a house?

It’s been a great summer of touring, with kind audiences, energetic shows and really good weather. I know this has been the hottest summer in recorded history, but I think we planned it right (or just lucked out) and have avoided the worst of the heat. We’ve swam in a good number of rivers and lakes and camped in some shockingly beautiful places. And after our Spring tour, which you may remember found us traveling for 3 weeks in a rental truck while our new truck’s transmission was replaced (a repair so expensive that if CarMax didn’t cover it, would have sent us home to find real jobs) this has been a relative breeze. Sure, we’ve hit some snags and had some hard things to work through, but it’s been a great tour.

We just finished Mile of Music Festival in Appleton, WI where the downtown is transformed into a music festival and over 200 artists play over 700 shows in just 4 days. It was insane, with full and enthusiastic audiences at each venue we played. We saw old friends, made some new ones, and watched so much music. We got our hearing checked and some dental work done as well because this festival treats artists really well. Part of our payment is free healthcare-you know, the thing that so many musicians can’t afford and would rather forego than give up taking their music to audiences across the country. We’re going to be debriefing the festival for weeks, I’m sure, but a huge shoutout goes to Romenesko & Romenesko Dentistry for not only looking after our teeth, but also the teeth of other musicians here this week. It’s a huge thing and one that we don’t take lightly. Having lived in TN for years (a state that blocked the federal benefits that came with Obamacare) healthcare was just flat-out unaffordable for us. This is the first time we’ve gotten our teeth checked while we’ve been a band. Which is a terrifying thing to realize, but a truth that many people and musicians live with. (Not that musicians are not people, too. They are and have bodies that do human things just like the next person.) So, a big thank you to the generosity of the Appleton community.

Our hotel room this week overlooked the courtyard where the rock bands played from noon to 11PM and while we enjoyed watching the acts and the crowds from our window, it was non-stop music. When we weren’t playing a set, we were watching another group, and when we went back to our room for a break, there was still music. It made us wish for the quiet of our house in the woods; the peace and tranquility that comes with waking up in your own bed, making coffee in your own kitchen, being surrounded by your own stuff, watching deer walk through your own yard and not just on the side of the road. I think a lot of this year has been spent wishing for the thing that we don’t have, missing the place where we’re not. Homesick. Even for a place where we haven’t spent much time, we want to go home. And after one more weekend at the Shawano Folk Music Festival we’re gonna head that way and make the 20 hour trip back to New Hampshire.

Homesickness is a strange ailment to come down with. It requires exposure to the home virus, which scientists still can’t predict with absolutely certainty where it will be found. Could be in a song, could be a smell, a temperature, the color in a leaf. You can’t determine how the symptoms will play out either or even what the cure is. Because going home doesn’t always cure it. It can go on persisting even when surrounded by your people, your things, your music playing.

We’d know. We saw doctors this week.

What’s odd about the variant we came down with is as soon as we get home, we know we’ll begin missing the home we’ve made on the road and will be doing everything we can to get back out here.


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