One of the terrors of working the road is being trapped at a hotel, airport or a truck stop with nothing to do. This was in the days before iPods and Kindles. I was coming back from Montana with Jimmy Dickens once and it started to snow around St. Louis and by the time we got to Evansville we were in a freakin’ blizzard and the roads were closed and we had to while away a day and a night at a truck stop. I’ve spent hours loitering around airports waiting for delayed flights; wouldn’t be quite so bad if the drinks in airport lounges weren’t so expensive. And speaking of airports, the hour I spent in a plane full of screaming kids on a runway at O’Hare waiting to take off could give a lesser man claustrophobia and anxiety attacks. Arnold had an easy flight in “Kindergarten Cop” compared to that one.
I was stranded in a hotel room with Oprah once. It was a cold, rainy day and the hotel had few or no amenities and the TV had only two channels, red and green. There was nothing nearby to walk to, and a cab wasn’t in the budget so I scanned the channels. Didn’t take long. Just by dumb luck I found the Oprah Winfrey Show, the first time I’d seen it. She had a guest who claimed to have seen Elvis at a Burger King, and Oprah was halfway ga-ga over her story. Huh, so this is the famous Oprah that girls had been telling me about? It was a long afternoon. I happened to see her again a few years later when she had Paul McCartney on. I had seen Paul interviewed by David Frost a few weeks earlier and Oprah, who was apparently still suffering from Beatlemania, (a stagehand had to come out and wipe up the drool in front of her chair during a commercial break) didn’t quite pull off the incisive interview that Frost had conducted.
So now she’s down to her last show. It’s no shine off my bar, but all you steel guitarists of the gentler sex persuasion out there should now have more practice time, what with the upcoming lacuna in your afternoons.