Union Ridge Church

Monday, February 22, 2021

by Reverend Dan on February 22, 2021

“Teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.”

                                                                                                            Psalm 90:12


OK, I’m going to come clean and reminisce at the same time. When I was in high school, I was the guitarist and singer in a band that played dances, proms, parties and (say it isn’t so!) nightclubs on weekends.


Rock stars. That’s what we were, right there on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia – a little area known as the Northern Neck. We even played some shows in the big time –Richmond and Norfolk. Lots of the places were nice and clean. But I have to admit it, there were also some dives. Especially this one place called The Reno Club in Colonial Beach. (Mom, take a deep breath. I have realized that I may have neglected to mention during that time that we played there.) Oh, my goodness. It was at the end of a long pier because right across the Potomac River was Charles County, Maryland, and in 1949 Charles County had legalized slot machines. And the original charter of the county said the laws extended across the river to within 50 feet of the Virginia shore at Colonial Beach. And guess where the Reno Club was? That’s right, right there at the end of the pier, 51 feet from the shore. And the most memorable thing about it besides the slot machines? When you walked it, there was chicken wire in front of the stage. Yep, just like in The Blues Brothers movie.


Blue Myst”. That was the name of the band. We had those lights that made it look like a mist was falling out of a hazy blue sky on the slow songs. Both of them.


But on the fast ones. Oh, my goodness. It’s a wonder everyone in the room didn’t have a seizure. Lights everywhere, changing color. And the songs. Some by that new group, The Eagles. Had to have some Rolling Stones and Beatles tunes in the set– had to. Doobie BrothersAverage White BandChuck Berry, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Eddie MoneyThe CommodoresThin Lizzy (The Boys are Back in Town – opened every show with that one), Deep Purple (bet you know what song that was)Pablo Cruise, Steely Dan.


But my favorite? Bruce Springsteen. I was the one who sang the songs of his that we performed. Probably one of the reasons my voice is so gravely today. And my favorite Springsteen song we did was Rosalita, Come Out Tonight. Not too many folks have heard of that song outside of Springsteen fans, but we closed every show with it. It’s a long song (just over seven minutes – the average length of a song is three minutes) and it tells the story of a forbidden love between the singer (that would be me) and Rosalita, whose parents disapprove of his life in a rock and roll band. 


Now, that was a long introduction to get to my point. But it was fun. At least for me.


I saw an article on Springsteen recently, and did not realize he was now 71 years old. (That can’t be right!) There’s also a new documentary on Springsteen and in it he talked about being a member of a band when he was a teenager – the Castiles – and he looked so sad when he said that he is now the only one living out of the five who were in the band. Then he waxed philosophical and said that getting old is like standing on the railroad tracks at midnight staring at the lights of an oncoming train.


It dawns on you rather quickly, there’s only so much time left. Only so many star-filled nights, snowfalls, brisk fall afternoons, rainy midsummer days. So how you conduct yourself and do your work and treat other people matters. On good days, a blessing falls over you. You stumble into those moments and you realize how lucky you are, lucky to be alive, lucky to be breathing in this world of beauty, horror and hope. Someday we will close our eyes and the gray evening sky will unfold above us, bringing that long and endless sleep. Go, and may God bless you.


I guess even rock legends like me and Bruce have to realize that time is fleeting, and we are only on this earth for a little while. He’s always been great with words as a songwriter, but the wisdom of years comes through in what he said in that documentary.


May we all cherish each day and each memory from days gone by. They are both gifts of God.


Eternal God give us peace in knowing that we are but dust and to dust we shall return but give us wisdom in the living of our days so that we may honor you with them. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.