Tonight I spoke soft words of small steps and encouragement. Then I took my first literal steps on the stair climber toward exercising a complement to my “I’m not eating that” weight loss strategy.

Lately Kyle and I have been taking the backstreets on our weekend trips. “Avoid Freeways” is a basic, yet nice feature to my GPS. Yeah, it’s the long way home, but it’s so much more interesting than the cold numeric concrete of 2, 3 and 495 to traverse some of the old historic Massachusetts turnpikes that are now state roads like 27 and 117.

“The Long Cut” is more visual and topographical, but tends to be trickier to travel and less well lit than modern interstates , but to get to some places, you can’t take any shortcuts. Take sobriety for example. There’s no fast lane for multiple passengers there. You’ve got to putter alone down a dark, lonely road with rough grade, steep inclines, sharp curves, scary descents and lurking potholes everywhere. There’s also the temptation of local roadside fast food joints, liquor stores and ice cream stands. Yeah, the ice cream is good, but it’s bad for ya and you’ve got to keep your eyes clear and looking ahead. Otherwise you could be off the road and a drive-by flashing light curiosity for the rest of us. Just keep progressing as slowly as you need to. Breathe. Eventually, your grip on the wheel will loosen, darkness will lose to light and beautiful new discoveries will be all around you…

To this day I still get music from my Tar Hut partner Dave. One song that hit me hard upon its release in 1996 crushed me tonight…

I can remember the afternoons
Just laying around and playing on the floor
Yeah you gave me a hard time now and then
Well that’s what big brothers are for
So I never made the trip to the city
Guess I didn’t want to have to see you that way
The thought of you alone in some hospital bed
Is something that still haunts me today

Well there’s no mercy
There’s no second chance

“No Mercy” from Waiting Around For the Crash by Go to Blazes , produced by Dave’s friend, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel