The Spirit of Westerberg - Nymblesmith
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The Spirit of Westerberg

The Spirit of Westerberg

In the Friday Listening Booth:

Placemats Edition

I was late getting to the Sea Streak ferry in Highlands to pick up Heather and Aiden coming home from Manhattan. I didn’t want to leave them waiting, so I drove too fast through town and down Bay Avenue, jumped out of the car and ran across the filled-to-capacity lot and out onto the floating dock where the big boats load and unload their passengers these days.

I honestly couldn’t remember why I was so anxious to get there or what they were doing in the city in the first place.

The guy behind the bar in the dark wooden room at the end of the dock that serves as both refreshment center and ticket counter informed me that the 4:40 boat was running late for some reason or another so I let out a breath of relief and ordered a beer.

Then, as I struck up a conversation with the guy standing next to me, I realized it was Paul Westerberg, renowned songwriter and frontman for the infamous band The Replacements. We chatted about this and that and it turns out he was waiting for his wife riding the same ferry as mine.

I told him I was a fan and stumbled over the pronunciation of one of my favorite albums of his.

“The Resterberg?” he asked, and I just nodded.

A few minutes later, the big boat was pulling into the other end of the dock and that rushed feeling came over me again as the Wall St. crowd quite literally ran from the gangplank to their Bavarian sedans to go toe to toe with each other battling for status at the exit onto Bay Avenue.

Westerberg touched my shoulder and pointed to the barman with two fingers when in a flash two short shots of brown were placed in front of us along with a frosty and oddly enough 6-ounce bottle of a beer I’d never seen before for each of us.

As I turned to say thank you, Westerberg was already finished and walking out to meet a beautiful brunette on the other side of the door.

I shook my head and walked out to gather my family for the short ride home.

And then my little golden retriever, Elsa, jumped up onto he bed, kissed me on the nose and woke me up. I remembered I now live 1,000 miles from the nearest Sea Streak ferry and even if I did, there was no dark, wooden barroom on the dock there. I’ve never seen any such thing as a 6-ounce bottle of beer. And while I’ve never met Paul Westerberg in my life, I do favor The Resterberg as a collection of songs and I’ve been playing The Replacements and Westerberg songs all day long, which has made for a very good day indeed.

For those of you who say you never remember your dreams, I’m here to tell you, I’m with ya. I never remember mine, and I have absolutely no idea what this one means, but I enjoyed it and…

Here are a couple of story songs from Paul Westerberg for your listening pleasure.

Love Untold on David Letterman 1996

Here Comes a Regular – 2009


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