The Ghost of Gram

On the thirty-first floor your gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain

One of the things I liked most about Mike when we first started dating was that he listened to music I had never heard before. Music no one our age was into. Country music, when country music wasn't cool - (particularly among high school kids) Top of the list being Gram Parsons. A scratched CD that played over and over while he painted his cars or cleaned out his father's garage. A voice I secretly resented because in those years I was a die hard teenage Dylan fan unamused by anyone but Dylan doing Dylan's songs. 

Gram is good, but Dylan is better I'd say. (As if a fair comparison could even be made)

Booking a room at the Joshua Tree Inn Hotel was a long time coming. Mike had always wanted to visit the place, to see for himself what he'd memorized in magazines so many years ago. This past weekend we had our chance, in room eight, where Gram died in 1973. I was prepared to be a bit creeped out by the idea of it, but was happy to find that it was not the case at all. A warm and endearing hotel with the sweetest dreadlocked live-in lobby guy you could possibly imagine put me right at ease. The musical tributes consisting of a beautiful gold plated door, a beloved cowboy hat and scattered shrines along the courtyard as well as piles of random music left by visiting musicians and a red leather notebook filled with sentimental scribbles and cowboy angel sketches. I drew a cactus, with a big blooming bud. Mike played guitar and napped. In the evening, for dinner we ventured into Pioneertown to Pappy & Harriets  (A Joshua Tree must see) for the best burger I've ever tasted, and live music to boot. The place packed wall to wall with the standard JT mash up: weekend hipsters and weathered local desert folk. 

After dinner we drove back down the mountain to celebrate a friend's birthday where I had my first experience with vegan carrot cake (delicious!) and listened to a stack of records before finally heading back to our room to face the Ghost of Gram. A greeting that never happened. But waking to the magic of that blazing desert sun, it's all the same. A good night's sleep is a good night's sleep. And obviously, ghost or not, the legend lives on...