The Omicron Tailspin

The Omicron Tailspin happened this week.

Truth be told, there was a blizzard coming to New Hampshire on Monday. A big one. Ten inches of snow. Nor’easter winds. But it wouldn’t start until after midnight, so Gavin would have time to get back home Sunday night to his girlfriend, Katelyn, at their place in Keene, about an hour away. This was my plan as of Saturday night.

My plan collapsed, however, when Gavin’s text came in Sunday morning at nine o’clock.

“Hey Dad. We’ve both been diagnosed with Omicron.”

A flood of worries hit me about his health, but also about what I’d do now about my Sunday night Odyssey show. Not only is the inimitable Gavin Bodkin my son, he’s also my Zoom producer. Without him, I can’t do shows.

  Gavin Bodkin

I once had a flu that kept me flat on my back for three weeks and almost killed me. Another time, I had a cough that was so deep and persistent that I injured something down in my left lung—I think I bruised my diaphragm—and a couple of weeks later a huge purple bruise appeared on my left torso. It had traveled all the way through to the skin, even though the cough was long gone. Well, after that, I’ve been wary of fevers with coughs, especially Covid, since the first variant probably would have killed me if I’d contracted it. All this time—all of 2020 and 2021–our three boys and their loved ones had been circumspect about Mil and me. They’d labored mightily during the pandemic to make sure mom and dad didn’t fall ill. Up until now, we still haven’t caught the darn thing. Knock on wood.

But if Gavin came over tonight, I thought, even masked, he’d give it to us for sure. He half-heartedly offered to come anyway, but it was an easy decision for me to make: son, stay home and get better.

I decided to postpone the show. No choice.

In time zones, California is three hours behind New Hampshire. Nine o’clock, here where I live, is six o’clock out in California. Good grief, I thought, Claire, Mark and Regina are still probably asleep. To cancel tonight’s show meant they’d need to email all the ticketholders to let them know. The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast was the Zoom performance in question. Claire, Mark and Regina are the principals at Six Feet Apart Productions.

Were they early risers? Already sipping coffee at 6:00 a.m.? Or were they still happily asleep, unaware of this screwup in New Hampshire?

“I’ll email them at least,” I thought, and shot off a bad news email to Claire. Emails don’t wake people up. Claire hosts the show.

  Claire Hennessy

I paced around until 10:00 my time. No response from Claire. “All right, I’ll call her,” I thought, and rang her cell. Got her voicemail. Still not awake. Heck, it’s Sunday morning. Why should she be?

There was my Taylor 12-string, gleaming with its fresh set of strings. It was set to the Odyssey tuning and ready to go. I always string my guitars the day before a show to get that fresh, bright bronze sound and let the strings settle in.

An hour later I was pacing around my kitchen when Claire rang on my cell. I apologized for calling so early and explained to her what had happened with Gavin. In her lovely British accent she sounded remarkably composed as she chalked it up to “life happens.” She shared how her daughter had come down with Covid over Christmas and how they’d all been forced to stay apart. Her comment made me feel much better. She understood.

Yes, she’d email all the ticketholders from Eventbrite and let them know the show was off for tonight. I suggested we reschedule for January 30, two Sundays away. After a little back and forth, she agreed.

And she did email everyone. Within the day she’d even updated the show logo and sent it over, along with updating the tickets link. We updated our site shortly thereafter, and the deed was done.

Gavin has nearly recovered, I’m happy to say, and Katelyn is back to 100%, she says.

And so on January 30th, Gavin will join me in the Zoom studio and we’ll do my 70-minute Odyssey show and have a lot of fun. It will be good to see him, as usual. It will be good to see my audience, too, since after the show, I’ll be taking questions. The actual story will be on full screen.

My guitar is still sitting there with those fresh strings.

And we’re still selling tickets, too, by the way.


Odds Bodkin

Bradford, New Hampshire

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