Rock of Aged

“Let’s get this shuttle moving!” shouts a middle-aged surfer dude in an orange muscle shirt at the volunteer driver of the tram parked curbside at the farthest reaches of Anastasia State Park’s parking lot by the beach.

“First of all, I’ve got plenty of empty seats to fill, with plenty of people still on their way. And secondly, you should have thought about getting here earlier pal, ’cause I been here since 5:30 transporting people to the concert. So stop complaining that I’m the one who’s making you late!” the driver retorts.

“Well asshole, I have no intention of missing the opening number because of you,” he bellows.

“You’re welcome to get off my ride anytime and call an Uber if you want, but otherwise, I suggest you shut the fuck up, and sit the fuck down, and wait patiently like the rest of these folks,” the driver threatens.

According to Joe and Jenny, who had come from Gainesville in celebration of their 10th wedding anniversary, the passengers on the tram were stunned into silence after this fiery exchange. The moment Leah and I took our seats on the tram, the mood seemed unusually somber for a group of mostly baby boomers who were on their way to attend a sold-out performance of Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton at St. Augustine Amphitheater.

This was to be our maiden concert at the amphitheater–having purchased tickets over three months ago–knowing that we were taking a chance with the rainy summer weather, but choosing to risk it all for just a few hours of iconic rock and roll nostalgia.

At last the day had come, and despite the iffy forecast through late afternoon, the overcast sky had held firm, and it wasn’t long before we were on our way, barreling along the service roads…

shuttle (2).jpg

to the back door entrance of the amphitheater.

It was 7:05pm and the opening power chords of Something’s Happening were already resonating through the thick air. We bypassed the crowded concessions…

beer beer bar bar

and settled into our seats…

tent and stage.jpg

under the big top…


tent canopy

to lose ourselves in Frampton’s guitar licks.

amphiteater panorama.jpg

From the start of the evening, Frampton established a smooth repartee with his exuberant audience–thankful for the fans who’ve stuck with him through thick and thin.

At 72, Frampton has seen his share of sunsets in your eyes and lines on [his] face, affably referencing his musical longevity during the interludes between songs, and reflecting on the passage of time through his career–from his chart dominance to his subsequent free fall to his eventual resurrection.

The devotees in attendance who may have missed the ’70s, seized this downtime as the perfect opportunity for a bathroom break, but not without escaping playful ridicule from Peter..

“I wish I could pee. I really do,” quipped Frampton. Now I can only pee on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday… with the help of Flomax.

He’s willingly traded his teen-idol, cascading hair locks and bare-chested pop star status for a musician’s bald/bold appreciation of his instrument, and aptly demonstrated his guitar prowess throughout his set list:

  • Something’s Happening
  • Lying
  • Lines on My Face
  • Show Me the Way
  • Black Hole Sun
  • (I’ll Give You) Money
  • Baby, I Love Your Way
  • I Want You To Love Me
  • Do You Feel Like We Do

But the literal centerpiece was Black Hole Sun–“the best song [he’s] never written”–performed as an instrumental from the 2007 release of his Fingerprints album that garnered Grammy acclaim.

As if channeling Chris Cornell on the anniversary of his birth, July 20,

Black Hole Sun

Frampton commanded the stage with a mindful intent of demonstrating his guitar virtuosity,

Frampton makes a face.jpg

and he deftly acquitted himself in the eyes and ears of his audience.

And when the last shred had been wrung from his beloved Gibson, the crowd let him know how much they were with him and how much they cared.


After a half-hour intermission to reset the stage, the evening continued with Steve Miller and his band.

Steve Miller Band1

With a few exceptions, Steve Miller’s set list mimicked his multi-platinum Greatest Hits album, spanning the mid to late 70’s, and nobody in the crowd was disappointed, because they had come to sing along and Dance, Dance, Dance.

Set list

  • The Stake
  • True Fine Love
  • Abracadabra
  • Living in the U.S.A.
  • Space Cowboy
  • Take the Money and Run
  • Jackson-Kent Blues
  • Stranger Blues
  • I Want to Make the World Turn Around
  • Wild Mountain Honey
  • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • Serenade
  • Space Intro
  • Fly Like an Eagle
  • Swingtown
  • Rock’n Me

bass drum.jpg

From his early overture into blues-infused rock, to experiments in psychedelia, to a catchy collection of counter-culture anthems with mainstream melodies, Miller captured the songbook for a new generation of America in flux.

Steve Miller vocals.jpg

Midway through his set, Miller evoked a memory from 1965 that took him from San Francisco to New York for a performance of The Mother Song on NBC’s Hullabaloo with The Four Tops and The Supremes.


As Miller recounts, the $250 he earned from the gig gave him the confidence to shop for a new guitar at Manny’s Music, a cherished, legendary music instrument store located in mid-town Manhattan. Unfortunately, he discovered there was nothing he could afford. Rejected and dejected, he headed for the door, whereupon he discovered a cluttered barrel of buried guitars standing neck up with a posted sign: “Your Pick–$125.”

One guitar called to him–a 19-string sitar-guitar that he had to have. Along the way, Miller explained some of its unusual features: spool-like knobs, 3 pick-ups, and a mirror on the backside.

sitar guitar mirror.jpg

Of course, after 53 years it’s still in his possession, despite an offer of $125,000 from a bigwig music producer. This tale has been repeated at similar events for years and years–with fluctuating asking prices–but the audience was hooked on every word and ate it up.

sitar guitar

“Whadaya think? Should I consider selling it?” he petitioned the crowd.

Naturally, the crowd answered back with a resounding, “HELL NO!”

Miller put the instrument to good use in a soulful rendition of Wild Mountain Honey.

Thereafter, with each new tune, the audience responded with greater enthusiasm and a deeper appreciation of his classic hits.

The band returned with a raucous 4-song encore (if you consider Threshold to be a song rather than an intro)…

I'm a Joker

  • The Joker
  • Jungle Love
  • Threshold
  • Jet Airliner

And in an instant, the show was over. We were transported back to the here and now–no longer celebrating the soundtrack of our salad days from high school or college, but always reminded that “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.”

Ironically, I spotted the belligerent surfer dude from before, who had embarrassed himself aboard our tram. Folks were filing past him to the exits, yet he seemed frozen in place–as if locked in a trance–holding onto a past that he was so impatient to embrace.

Doot-doot-doo-doo, tick-tock-tick…

Doot-doot-doo-doo, tick-tock-tick.

Airstream Albatross

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. And sometimes there are insufficient numbers of military acronyms to express the frustration that Leah and I felt as we searched in vain for Airstream storage in anticipation of a spontaneous week away to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

With the weather in central Florida turning colder by the day–not to mention the deep freeze that had tied up all the Northeastern states in an icy straight jacket–the thought of lounging on the Mayan Riviera, and sipping a Corona, while paying homage to Kinich Ahau left us as starry-eyed as Donald Trump during a total solar eclipse.

Trump squints and points (2)

All that we required was a place to drop the Airstream, although more easily said than done. Leah and I initially made a round of investigatory calls after strategically determining that the best place to leave our Airstream would be somewhere within the Palm Beach vicinity, since we were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale and relocating to Bradenton. From there, it would take under four hours to cross Alligator Alley to our last long-term residence before making our move North beyond the winter thaw.

“Sorry, but we’ve got nothing here!” or “Unfortunately, we’re completely full!” were recurring answers from facility reps who bothered to answer the phone or conveyed the common courtesy of returning our voice mail.

“So now what?” Leah lamented.

This was an unexpected SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up).

“A small setback. I guess we should work our way South, and consider calling storage centers in Lake Worth,” I proposed.

After a time, Leah landed a reservation with Public Storage, the largest brand of self-storage services in the U.S., with more than 2200 storage rental facilities nationwide, and net sales of $2.5B. Like all short-term rentals, we would be charged a monthly rate despite needing only 10 days of parking for our Airstream.

Oh, well. At least we’ve secured a space!

Finally, a move-in reminder arrived to Leah’s e-mailbox:


From: “Public Storage” <>
Date: January 4, 2018 at 8:09:50 AM EST
To: leahandbon****
Subject: Move-in date reminder

A friendly reminder about your move-in date

Hi Leah,

We’re looking forward to seeing you on 01/05/2018, when you have a reservation for moving your stuff into storage.

Please be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before closing time on your move-in date to make sure you have enough time to complete your rental. The location’s office hours are:

MondayFriday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday/Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

A government-issued ID for paperwork
A copy of this email (recommended)
Reservation Details
Manage Your Reservation | Reserve Another Space
PHONE: (201) 841-****
EMAIL: leahandbon****
716618871MOVE-IN DATE
Add to CalendarSPACE DETAILS
10’x30′ Unit (300 Sq. Ft.)
Uncovered parking
Monthly Rate: $98.00
One-Time Admin Fee: $24.00
Total Move-In Cost: $122.00
2701 Lake Worth Road,
Lake Worth, FL, 33461
(561) 964-0261
Get Directions
MondayFriday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday/Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
We’ve got all the packing supplies you’ll need, like boxes, tape, and locks.
Packing and storage checklists? We’ve got ‘em.
Plan the best way to use your space with our online Storage Size Guide.
Read our blog for ideas, inspiration, and organization from storage experts.
Looking forward to meeting you here,
Your Public Storage Team

We picked up I-95 South from Melbourne, Florida, and drove 120 miles to Lake Worth on the morning of January 5, until we arrived at Public Storage two hours later. Typically, like all other arrangements we’d made thus far, Leah entered the office to complete the transaction, while I waited in the F-150 with the trailer coupled behind me. Ten minutes later, I answered a call from Leah through the console.

“What’s up? I asked.

“You’re not going to believe this,” she began, “but we don’t have a storage space!”

“WHAT? Are you fucking kidding me?” I answered, incredulous of our situation.

“I know,” she blurted. I could hear the venom in her voice. “Just a minute, I’m not finished with them!” she fumed.

We were no longer engaged in conversation. Instead, with the call still open, I was now listening to Leah’s explosive exchange on the other side with the center’s manager.

“This is bullshit! You’re telling me after my husband drove two hours to get us here, that even though you issued me a confirmation for a parking space, you’re not gonna honor my reservation?”

Asorny, the regional supervisor, responded, “Technically, the reservation didn’t come from me; it came through the reservation center. But with our new system, the reservation center has no way of knowing the individual site’s inventory levels. That’s why we encourage our customers to always inspect the site first.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Leah levied. “How on earth can you promise something you don’t have? Well, you better find us something elsewhere, ’cause I’m not leaving until you do!” Leah asserted.

Now speaking to me, “I’ll call you back.” And the phone went dead.

For the moment, we were holding steady at SUSFU (Situation Unchanged: Still Fucked Up)

Another ten minutes passed, and Leah, dejected, climbed into the truck.

“Not good,” she announced. “They called around, and there was nothing.”

“What did they say?” I was curious, although it really didn’t matter anymore.

“They said, ‘Sorry ma’am, but you’re on your own.'” lamented Leah.

At that moment, we crossed over to TARFUN (Things Are Really Fucked Up Now). I seemed as if I was flying a silver albatross that had lost its landing gear, and it was getting late in the day.

Suddenly, a tap on the passenger window by a tiny, middle-aged Hispanic woman took us by surprise. Somehow she inferred that we were desperately in need of storage. She reiterated in broken English about another nearby facility on Congress St. that would have space for us, but she couldn’t recall the name.

Without the name of the place, we couldn’t call ahead; we would have to see for ourselves. Given our situation, it was too good a lead to ignore, so we followed her directions, and easily located Easy Storage a mile away…

But they were full, which now placed us in the TARFU (Totally and Royally Fucked Up) zone.

After another round of phone calls, we chased down two additional dead-ends which carried us to the far reaches of town, somewhere between Disheartened Drive and Discouraged Court.

Yet we soldiered on. A cold call to Storage Rentals of America at 7000 Military Trail in Riviera Beach seemed promising. Jim, the manager confirmed that a 10 x 30 foot parking space was presently available for a reasonable fee.

And so, back again, up I-95 North we trudged, only to discover that the available space beside the building would never permit the severe turning radius required to back up the Airstream. Jim knew it the moment he saw us drive past the office, but felt he had to break the news to us personally, despite my struggle to find a 50-foot parking spot on a nearby road away from traffic with limited turn-around access.

Not knowing what else to do at the moment, I assumed the BOHICA (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again) position.

Resuming our way back to nowhere in particular, we passed Life Storage, and called them on a lark. We were transferred to RJ at Delray Beach, who guaranteed us a 10 x 30 foot space near the security gate for $141.00. It was worth a shot. Like a pinball in search of an elusive target, we bounced back to I-95 South for a date with RJ, who’d be expecting us with open arms.

We eventually arrived at the location at 4 pm, only to discover the office locked with a hastily written note taped to the door, declaring: “Back at 5”.

Leah was on the edge of tears. “I’m about to lose it,” she confessed. “We were just on the phone with this guy. He was expecting us.”

“And who goes out to lunch at 4, anyway?” I chimed in.

Cautiously steering around the unsecured cramped lot without noticing without any discernible space for the Airstream left me limp. I knew at that moment that we were approaching FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition) status.

A last ditch call to the Life Storage reservation center revealed that we had inadvertently mapped the tertiary location, when the full-range storage center was a mere half-mile away. I took a deep breath, and u-turned across six lanes of rush hour traffic to finally arrive at the bonafide destination.

RJ was waiting for us, and escorted us to the space. To his credit, the space was open and available, but tight, requiring the skill set of a neurosurgeon to negotiate the pass. However, before I panicked and pushed the FUBUSH (Fucked Up Beyond Unbelievable: Situation Hellzone) button, I would give it my best effort, because this was our last chance to ditch the hitch.

I’m happy to report that the angel who whispered directions in my ear delivered me to the promised land–helping me to navigate the back end of the Airstream between the Isuzu on the right…

right side

and the Avenger on the left–

left side

despite limited swing clearance from the front of the F-150.


When all the paperwork was finally completed, and the Airstream was left behind, Leah boarded the F-150, and we were on our way to visit a nearby friend in Delray Beach, who would listen to our recounted quest before awakening to an early morning departure the following day.

It was then that Leah shared the news:

“RJ wanted you to know,” she emphasized, “that what you did back there was some of the finest parking he had ever seen.”

That’s the moment I realized that we would never be selling this Airstream!