Jan 24 2010

Byrdland Guitars

The Byrdman's Byrd!

The Byrdman's Byrd!

I’m no expert on guitars in general. I love ’em and I know how to play ’em but it pretty much stops there. If you know guitars you know how hard it is to find a genuine Gibson Byrdland, especially if you are looking for a Ted-Nugent-ready Byrd. Believe it or not, Ted Nugent really doesn’t hot rod his Byrdlands. As you likely know, the Byrdland was not designed with hair raising rock-n-roll in mind. The musicians behind the guitar were Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, and they were Jazz guys. So leave it to Ted Nugent to take a Jazz guitar and plug it into a rock-n-roll rig!

What is important about the  Byrdlands, that is if you want a rip-roaring Ted-Nugent-ready Byrd, first off is the year it was manufactured. You really want to find one from the mid to late ’60s. One reason, according to The Nuge himself, believe it or not, he says the wood isn’t dry enough if it doesn’t have the age. The only argument I have with that is Ted’s Byrdlands sounded pretty Damn Good in the early ’70s!! If I am not mistaken, the pickups from that period are important too. Lastly, and I don’t think it has much, if anything, to do with sound but a Ted Nugent Gibson Byrdland Guitar is ALWAYS going to have a Florentine Cutaway. The Florentine Cutaway is the sharp point rather than rounded style toward the upper registry. The Florentine Cutaway makes it even more difficult to find this guitar.

As far as the sound goes, the bottom line is, you have to play it like Ted if you want to get that sound. If you don’t have the proficiency and feel the Ted vibe when you’re playing a Byrdland, the guitar will play you! Ted does use heavy strings, 10s, and the guitar needs to be set to pure perfection, but other than that, these are stock guitars. Oh, one more thing that is not stock. You must take off the cheesy plastic Gibson knob on the pickup toggle switch and replace it with a Gretch strap-lock knob. That’s just a good idea for any toggle switch!

I have spent decades working on my guitar skills playing Ted Nugent’s music and I still say nobody can come close to having mastered a Byrdland the way Ted Nugent has. In fact, I will say few people ever master anything the way Ted Nugent uses the hell out of every spec that can be yanked out of that Byrdland. The closer you watch him, the more masterful you realize he is with this instrument.

When I was younger, I had the original Byrdland #6 that had once, and now does again, belong to Ted Nugent. I wrestled with that guitar, occasional embarrassingly on stage and at that time hated what I now finally love about the instrument. When you plug it into a hot rock-n-roll setup, it just takes off screaming and squealing. If you don’t find out how to control the psychotic mind of its own the Byrdland has, you will find it incredibly burdensome. You have to become proficient with two major aspects of this guitar, and that is, first, volume control. If you don’t get good at using your volume control, you will have no control! The other is learning to use the feedback and keep it from sounding like a dying animal. It needs to sound like an animal high on life, not a dying animal!

Some people say there are sound differences depending on what finish you have on the guitar. I believe this to be true but have not played enough of the same models of one hollowbody guitar to confirm this. I will however tell you that Ted Nugent’s famous Black Byrdland has thick, curling, peeling, flaking paint on it, and Ted said That Black Byrdland is just about broken in as far as Ted is concerned.

You can expect to spend an absolute minimum of $5,000 if you can find one of these Byrdlands these days. If it meets the criteria and is in good or excellent condition you may see a $10,000 or $15,000 price tag on it. If you have the money to spare, I say it’s a small price to pay:) Above is a picture of me with my most recent Byrdland. This is not one that Ted Nugent ever owned. I purchased this one from Elderly Instruments. I was fortunate as Ted’s guitar man checked it out online for me and then lucky again that the same tech that sets up Ted Nugent’s Byrlands works at Elderly Instruments and set mine up for me. I told him to make it Ted Ready.

The only changes I’ve made since receiving my Byrdland is a hybrid set of guitar strings and a Gretch Strap-lock on the toggle switch. I think I am using 9 to 52. I have tried, I may be a wimp but I cannot get used to those thick higher strings.

Now that my skills have grown over many years, I love this instrument. I have many other guitars but I have had trouble putting this guitar down since I got it. You get used to the thick, rich sound that comes from it. I hate to say it, but my once favorite PRS even sounds wimpy to me now.

BMS


Jan 24 2010

Lamborghini, Made In Italy?

Made In Italy?

Made In Italy?

My son and I put together this little Lamborghini model. As any good father, I want him to know at least the bare basics about cars. So a few weeks later (today), I quizzed him again, now you remember where the Lamborghini is made right? Expecting to hear Italy, he says “hey dad, it’s made in China”. His model of course was made in China. So that’s where we are……

BMS


Jan 17 2010

The Ted Nugent Byrdman Steve Story

The Ted Nugent Collection
The Ted Nugent Byrdman Steve Story

It all began when I was 13 or 14 years old when we rode our bikes to Kmart, and I couldn’t help but notice the crazy looking Cat Scratch Fever album. I thought, who is the crazy guy on the cover, and assumed only weirdos heading down the wrong path in life would listen to this stuff!

It wasn’t long after that when a friend of mine down the street had the Cat Scratch Fever album and said, “This is awesome stuff.  Take it home and have a listen.”   I was doubtful but curious to no end, so I took it home and put it on the turntable. Might I say, I owned every available Ted Nugent release I could get my hands on within weeks. I became obsessed with this music and this individual in a way I have yet to successfully put into words. The best I can say for the moment is, it seems the music and persona of Ted is and always has been a part of me.

When I was 15 or 16 I would dream about seeing a Ted Nugent concert. I was actually worried that he might retire before I had a chance to see him live! I was proud to be the weird, obsessed-with-Ted-Nugent kid who wore a different Ted Nugent T-shirt to school each day. When I was 15 my mother and father agreed to take a family vacation in New Orleans where it just so happened The Nuge was scheduled to play at the Super Dome. It was insanity for me! Everything I had always hoped a Ted Nugent concert could be.

When I was 16 I bought my first guitar. At that time I had only one motive in mind, and that was to play Ted Nugent riffs. I had little confidence that I could do it but believed I had to try. Well, just about that time the best thing that could have happened happened. My girlfriend of the time said, “Why did you buy that guitar? You’ll never learn how to play it!”  Well, whatever that personality is that relates to Ted kicked in! I have contempt for that attitude. Even if it were true, what a thing to say! Needless to say, SHE WAS WRONG! We broke up shortly.

I continued following Ted Nugent’s every move year after year, attending as many concerts as I could, fantasizing as to how I could get back stage to meet Ted just once. I was frustrated to no end as I watched the large-breasted hot girls prance their way back stage at every concert. They didn’t give a damn about Ted! All I wanted to do was shake his hand and find a way to convey my admiration for him.

It didn’t take much to bring out in me, Ted’s rebellious yet reasonable persona as my own, and it filled an empty spot for me as a youngster.  Regardless of how it may have appeared, it was strength and confidence for me. I avoided ever getting involved with drugs and hanging with the scumbags. I was a long-haired rocker who got off on saying no to those drugged-out morons!

It wasn’t long before I was playing in local bands and we had our own music in the local record stores. Our band was famous locally for what we called the Tedly Medley. The Tedly Medley was approximately an hour of straight Ted Nugent material. That sort of thing was unheard of as a local cover band.

As all of this was going on, I had become a swimming pool contractor right out of high school and was accumulating obligations faster than fast. Trying to grow and run a successful business and pursue my dreams of being a professional musician were a definite conflict. Just to complicate matters more, my mother got sick and I lost her around this same time; I was 19.  My father was approaching his 80s, and I was compelled to stay close for him.

One of my high school friends, believe it or not, was arguably as obsessed with Ted Nugent as I was. My “partner in Ted” is Brad, the guy on the left in the photo above, and is one of my closest friends today. We used to fly to Detroit from Florida every year for the Ted Nugent New Year’s Eve Whip Lash Bash concerts.

One year we had an invitation from a German guy Brad met while networking for Nugent collectables to meet him in Detroit and come backstage at the Whiplash Bash concert and meet Ted for the first time. We were ecstatic to say the least. This was finally our time! This guy really did have backstage access that he evidently earned as one of Ted Nugent’s biggest fans from Germany. Well, to make a very long story very short, this guy turned out to be one of the most disappointing people we would ever know. Let’s just say we did NOT meet Ted.

After arriving home I wrote what would turn out to be my first influential letter. It was a letter to Ted describing how this guy took advantage of our hospitality all week long and literally slammed the backstage door in our faces due to his lack of character when we were moments away from finally meeting him. It was about 8 degrees outside.  We were devastated and freezing. Well, the letter was a breakthrough! Ted handwrote a letter back to me and said, “Leave it to a goddamn Krout and maybe next year we can exchange gifts.  I like knives and guns.”

Brad and I took this literally and decided to have a topnotch knife personally inscribed for Ted and head back up to Detroit for the next Whiplash Bash concert. The knife read “To The Great White Rock N Roll Hunter From Steve & Brad.” Well, it was our moment. There we were once again, standing at the very same door that was slammed in our faces exactly one year before. This time had to be different. Ted’s manager came to the door, he took the letter and nicely wrapped-for-the-holidays knife for verification by Ted, and returned a few minutes later and invited us in.  We had about 20 minutes of Ted’s undivided attention. It was an accomplishment for us that words could not describe. We left with a couple of photos (photo 1) (photo 2) that were invaluable to us.

The next day, if that wasn’t enough positive excitement, we walked into a dumpy little music store and, for the hell of it, I said, “Do you have any Byrdland guitars?” The guy says, “No, but the owner of the store has one that used to belong to Ted Nugent that he wants to sell.”  My adrenalin started to rush. I would have been excited to find a Byrdland guitar let alone one Ted used to own!  I said, “Okay. I want to see it.” He said, “Okay.  But he wants seven grand for it!”  I said, “I want to see it.”

I didn’t really believe he had a real Ted Nugent Byrdland but, just in case, I went to the closest bank and took a cash advance of $3,500 and was ready to make an offer. We met an hour before our plane took off in the bank parking lot. The man showed up and, sure as s#$t, if it wasn’t as authentic looking a Ted Nugent Byrdland as I could have ever imagined. It had Byrd #6 burned into the butt of the guitar and was the real deal through and through as far as I was concerned. I walked away with the guitar for $3,500.

It took a year or two, but at the next Ted Nugent concert I showed up with the guitar. Ted looked at it and said, “It’s a beautiful instrument. It used to be mine, and it was stolen from me by a former band member.” He told us the story of how and when it was taken.  After he asked who I bought it from and how much I paid for it, he signed it for me and told me to hang onto it and take good care of it.

Brad and I showed up at every Ted Nugent concert that came within three hours of our area with that guitar. It was our ticket in the backdoor every time!  Ted finally knew who I was and nicknamed me “The Byrdmansteve”.

Well, everything must come to an end or, perhaps, a new beginning. As fate would have it, one day in Tampa, FL., at a Ted Nugent concert would be the last time I would own that Gibson Byrdland #6 of Ted’s. When Brad and I met with Ted before the show, Ted showed an unusual interest in my Byrdland. He asked me if I minded if his guitar tech checked it out and I, of course, obliged.  A few minutes later his tech returned with a thumbs up and said, “It screams!” Ted handed the guitar back to me, and we headed to the front to enjoy the show.

As we anxiously anticipated the lights going down, suddenly I hear them calling for me — ME over the PA system!  This was a bit of a rush. Tens of thousands, and they were calling for me to come to the front of the stage. When I got there a stagehand said, “Ted wants to see you after the show,” and he handed me backstage passes.

During the entire show I labored over what this was all about. I don’t remember the show, to be honest. I was convinced he wanted my Byrdland, and I was freaking out, as it was the most important inanimate object in my life.  My girlfriend (now wife) was at her first concert of her life, if you can believe that, and suggested that I ask him if he has another guitar he would trade for the Byrdland.  Great idea… that is exactly what we did.

After the show we had a good two- to three-hour meeting with Ted. Toward the end of the meeting, Ted pulled out a piece of paper with his logo at the top and drew up a contract. I left there without my prize possession. I think Ted was the only person who could have taken that guitar from me without killing me first. I left with a piece of paper written and signed by Ted promising, as trade for the Ted Nugent Gibson Byrdland #6, I would receive a Howard Roberts Fusion, personal time together at Tazmania Studios, my name in the credits in the up-and-coming Spirit of the Wild album which turned out to be Love Grenade, and a lifetime all-access pass to any Nugent event until one of us dies, basically.

When we returned home I found a message on my answering machine from Ted stating, “Hello, Steve.  This is Ted Nugent.  I just wanted to thank you for the transaction. I am in the airport right now, but you take care of that good woman of yours.”  I treasured the microtape this was on for years, only to have it eaten last year when I tried to play it to transfer it.  Ted called me a day or two later when he was out in the woods, but we got disconnected.

After this event I called Ted Nugent Headquarters (Tedquarters) to check on the whereabouts of the Fusion Guitar, and it’s a good thing, too, because no one there could believe they were really supposed to send out one of Ted’s guitars to some guy nobody had ever heard of!  I received it two weeks later in a classic red Ted Nugent Flight case with the Ted Nugent logo on the side, covered only by some cardboard and tape. This guitar is the Howard Roberts Fusion that can be seen in the Ted Nugent tour book of the 1980 Nugent Nugent tour.

The next phase of this saga was not as exciting for me. I must say after receiving the guitar and the phone calls from Ted, there was a lul, to say the least. I didn’t feel right calling and being a squeaky wheel, and I allowed myself to be disappointed for many years over the fact that the other items on the list had not yet transpired. I dropped a few hints at some quick backstage meetings with Ted a few times, but nothing came out of it. I was a bit bashful about it but not quite comfortable letting it go.

After an awesome Craveman concert I had a chance, once again, to talk with Ted for only a few moments backstage but I still didn’t man up and let him know that I was frustrated about the agreement we had. So, again, nothing transpired. I decided shortly after to send a straight-up, no-sugar-coated email to Ted’s assistant, Linda. She is on the ball and very good about returning email. Well, usually she is, but this time a whole day went by, and I was wondering what was up. Well, I was at my office managing multiple phone lines when my cell phone rings on top of it all. I usually end these calls and call people back, but for some reason I answered only to hear “Steve? This is Ted Nugent,” and Ted Nugent it was. There was no denying that after only a word or two. He apologized profusely for the agreement being overlooked and said Linda would be calling me with some invites. It was exhilarating. I must say in the back of my mind I wondered if a waiting game was going to start all over again, but within about a week Linda called me with an invite to Waco, Texas, to Spirit Wild Ranch to spend the week with Ted and the band during the Love Grenade rehearsal for the upcoming tour, and I accepted. Brad and I flew out to Texas and spent four days with Ted and the band.  Four days with Ted Nugent and his band! There may be a God involved that prevented this from happening 20 years before because I would have probably keeled over just from the thought of it. It was an experience of a lifetime and certainly a whole other story for another time!


Jan 17 2010

Peace? Duh!

The Byrdman's Peace Sing!

The Byrdman's Peace Sign!

The peace sign has always offended me. I know it sounds like a terrible thing to say, but I hate peace signs! As far as I am concerned, the peace sign should not exist. It shouldn’t exist because it implies that other fine individuals oppose peace.

First of all, peace? duh!  What individual in their right mind isn’t for peace? So why flaunt the peace sign!!?? Flaunt a sign for something that is controversial but don’t shove your arrogant peace sing in my face, implying I may not support the concept of peace! If the intent behind the peace sign really is just to show opposition to evil, than at least it’s respectable, but it’s not! The intent behind the peace sign is to oppose the actual actions and or individuals that make and keep the peace.

My understanding is that the peace sign was originally designed as a nuclear disarmament symbol and somewhere around 1958 or 1960 it was adopted in the United States by the anti-war movement.  It is my view that peace sign people are made up of  both those who are simply naive and those who appose what really creates and keeps peace. If a peace sign was called an “anti-war” sign than at least it would be honest about what it is.

Due to the fact that there is pure violent evil in this world, it is unfortunate but obvious that peace can only be achieved by defeating the evil. This means words that liberals hate like victory, and military strength. So until I see evidence that I am wrong, I HATE PEACE SIGNS!

BMS


Jan 9 2010

Byrdman’sTake On Ted

ted_and_byrdman

This post is dedicated to my admiration for Ted Nugent. I have spent many thousands of hours loving and relating to Ted, his music, what he stands for, and his love and propensity for life.  I have spent an equal amount of time honing my skills on the guitar in large part, also due to my admiration of Ted Nugent. There is a special connection for me with Ted’s persona that I have yet to put into words in just the right way. If I believed in some of the kooky theories, I would say we were connected in some way, but enough of the crazy talk.

As many of you know, I have spent a fair amount of time with the Nuge as a result of dedication, persistance, a little creativity, and a little luck. Ted has been the most gracious of hosts each and every time I meet him. There is, however, something I have not been able to quite accomplish that I have always craved; that is to find a place where my years of work and skill with Ted Nugent’s material on the guitar fits in. I have had only limited moments to share my accomplishments on the guitar with Ted. When you are in the room with Ted, there seems to be a hundred other things that take priority during our limited time together than my accomplishments on the guitar.

I have realized finally that when I am with Ted, there really is no place for my skills. As accomplished as I may be, my specialty is playing Ted Nugent material, but then again, so is Ted’s. I believe that is the root of the craving that can be a frustration as well. My Ted Nugent story has been an iconic event in my life. I will cherish the experiences for ever. My respect and admiration for Ted Nugent has only grown with each and every meeting.

I have decided that if my skills have no place with Ted then perhaps they won’t go to waste if I can find a way to share them with others. I am planning on putting together what I anticipate will be an encyclopedia of The ByrdMan Steve’s take on Ted Nugent’s material. Both video and blog posts regarding Ted Nugent’s most masterful creations! Please be patient while I build this library in the spare time that I don’t have:)  I want to thank you for visiting and hope you will stick with me through this endeavor!


Jan 9 2010

I Love Insurance Companies!

I Love Insurance

I don’t know that I am an expert on anything, well maybe Ted Nugent, but I will say that if I want to be politically incorrect, and I do, I could spout to the world that I love insurance companies! So I will. I LOVE INSURANCE COMPANIES! Ya know, my mother loved insurance. She believed in it to the hilt. My family has always included insurance as a must as a part of our pathetic income. Health insurance was at the top of the list.  It all came before the toys in life. Imagine that.

All I know about insurance is that it has SAVED OUR ASSES on multiple occasions! So I love insurance. I also know that not all of anyone or anything is ALL good, but insurance companies in general have made undesirable changes to what they offer because millions of idiots resentful of insurance companies’ CEO profits think insurance companies suck. These people believe the goo that oozes from the left saying so to be true. So the result is, these people will do anything they can to screw the insurance company. Insurance companies, like any other business institution blessed to exist in the US because of great sacrifices, do exist for profit. It doesn’t take an expert to know that without the incentive of profit we would be a third-world country. We would still have zillionaires, but the zillionaires would be communist dictators instead of CEOs. Some people in this country are so far gone in their thinking that they actually would prefer the dictators to the rich CEOs.

To quote a friend of mine, Just imagine a world or at least our country without insurance companies. Well, dammit to hell, if people wouldn’t actually have to stop being pathetic and irresponsible ASSES, it just might bring people back to taking responsibility for their own actions. It would put ambulance-chasing attorneys out of business, and then insurance companies (don’t forget business in general) could return with reasonable rates and life could go back to what I insist it is supposed be!

BMS


Jan 8 2010

Depend On People, Not Government!

The Byrd Family Safe, Sound And Cold!

The Byrd Family Safe, Sound And Cold!

I have to spew something here if you all don’t mind.  After 43 years, I may be realizing, I mean really realizing for the first time,  the absolutely obvious.  We cannot do it all ourselves. At one time in my life I think I made a deal with myself that to avoid many of the stresses in life I would never depend on anyone. While I have softened that view a tad with marriage and children, I think I still keep that wall of independence up. Well last night that wall came tumbling down.

I took my family on a four-day vacation to the Georgia mountains to see some snow, because we are Floridians and my kids have never seen snow! This was a trip that, minus the snow aspect, we have taken many times. Well let me tell you, I can only say I wouldn’t be writing this post this a.m. if it had not been for the kindness and assistance of other people. Snow we saw. After one wrong turn in my 4×4 F150 with street tires, we found ourselves swirling around mountain roads in the middle of nowhere for 5 hours.

After 12-ish hours in the truck with my 6-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, and wife (whose age I suppose is unnecessary:), we find that against all attempts otherwise, night had fallen, the snow was falling like I only know from the movies, and the temperature was dropping into the teens.  Backbreaking hours of driving, slimy winding up and down mountain roads at a laughable 5mph, there appeared to be absolutely no end in sight. The navigation system in the truck is repeating to proceed cautiously as there is no navigation in this area! We were told by the second, third or maybe forth or fifth person giving us directions to turn the thing off! It will send you to places you don’t want to go!

The tension and stress are setting in despite all positive energy to suppress it and cover it. The feeling that no matter what decisions we make here, there seems to be a bigger plan at play regarding our fate today. The kids were so quiet it was creepy. Anyone with kids will tell you, you know something isn’t right if the kids are quiet in the car on vacation. We believed we were finally on the right track, heading away from what we hoped would be our final outcry for directions when we gracefully glided off the road at approximately 5mph and almost rolled the truck over as we landed about 6′ lower than the road. We drove right out as if someone was watching over us and, perhaps, they were.

We continued on, counting down the miles to our next turn only to find that the junction we had been waiting to reach for hours is another ten miles on the same kind of road. 10 miles which might as well have been a 100! We pressed on, still suppressing the massive, mounting tension that was to be inevitable. Somehow, we finally made it to familiar territory only a few miles from our destination.

At the local grocery that was still open when nothing else was (again watching over us) we met some more very kind locals who were amazed by our trek. They said the weather is getting worse, 6 inches of mountain snow are expected and our destination may be particularly dangerous to get to. We were told no plowing or salt is being put on the roads in this area, so for about the 15th time tonight were were told to PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!. The tension that had finally subsided has now returned. Back in the truck we go to face the final stretch. My daughter has already expressed no longer wanting to see snow and wanting to turn around and go home.

The sign for our street is finally in sight, and at 5mp or less we carefully begin to turn onto our street when my truck decides to float uncontrollably on 2 inches of fresh snow into that street sign and into the ravine. My daughter is screaming, and my wife was — well, I don’t know what she was, but it wasn’t comforting I can tell you that. We realized we were okay and told the kids all was okay. I actually thought I could 4wd myself out of this and asked my wife and kids to get out of the car. After they got out, I realized that all of our belongings were piling up on top of me and pulling away from this one was so not an option. The truck was tipped to such an extent that my driver door only opened about 10 inches before hitting the ground. My running board was supporting my truck and my front driver wheel was dangling in mid air. My right rear wheel was dangling as well. My 4WD is now 2WD at best. Keep in mind, this is a pretty city 4×4, not a mountain truck.

Under normal conditions — we were only a few minutes from our place, but under these circumstances, walking from there just with our lives was not even an option. The temperature was in the teens, and even taking refuge in the truck until help arrived or, God forbid, until morning wasn’t an option due to the position of the truck. Don’t forget, 14 hours we have been at this with 2 kids! While I was on the cell phone (which did work in this location, again watching over us) I was finding out that towing services have no capabilities tonight. Just then a young kid, I would call him, stopped to ask if we needed help. We said, who can we call with a situation like this? He called his father to get a number of someone they know when, without delay, on this now eerie, desolate road, a giant Chevy duly truck passes us. As my disappointment begins to set in that he has passed, his break lights went on, and then his reverse lights. He backed up and asked if we had help on its way. I think I stated that it was in the works but I was freaking just a bit as I was realizing that we needed shelter tonight if we can’t get this truck out.

He said you drive, he told the kid, as I call him, to take this flashlight and alert any unlikely oncoming traffic over the hill that we are here. He said: Tell ya what I’m gonna do.. I una hook up a chain, and om gonna pull ya out”.  My wife was nowhere as I wanted her to take a photo because I knew this experience would eventually be behind us, but she was hiding out with the kids on someone’s yard because at this point she said she couldn’t watch. So as the man said, he attached the chain, I was in 4wd in reverse, and against my minimal knowledge of physics, he pulled me out like it was nothing (again someone watching over us). Neither would take a penny for their efforts and told us to drive in towards the cabin, stay on level ground and walk from there. We pushed the envelope yet again and actually arrived at our destination.

My children, who only hours before had been joyfully dreaming about frolicking in the snow, NOW HATE the snow and want to go home. I never stopped reminding myself that we would find shelter and we would survive, so don’t misunderstand any of this as a life-threatening experience, but I think we are numb to this kind of thing. We see it in the movies but the reality is that I, we, were rendered helpless and became absolutely dependent on the help of others. I’ve come away from this experience with a feeling of guilt for some reason. I suppose I should not be feeling this guilt, as I would have done the same for them given the situation.  It did make me realize that my walls of independence and expectation of getting through life without depending on others is unfair in a way and certainly unrealistic. I think this unreasonable expectation of myself has put an unnecessary burden on me. So perhaps from now on I will allow myself to depend on others more and perhaps those missing walls of protection will allow me better relationships.

Oh, one last thing, notice this real-life experience is about dependence on people, not Government!

BMS

Update: I realized the next morning that I forgot to bring the most important item of all, Coffee!! Snowed in a cabin for the weekend without coffee!! What do you know, the neighbors invited us in, gave us coffee and even gave us a ride in his HUGE snow proof truck to town to go shopping!