Calling on Rob

Trout Creek, MTKendell's summer vacation in 2008 took him to the west coast, in search of a new guitar. He has a cousin in Spokane, WA and planned to go there for a visit. If you get off the interstate at Missoula, MT, Spokane is on the other side of a tiny town called Trout Creek on the Clark Fork River. My first husband, Rob, lives there. Since without Robert's discovery of Kendell's Rig album I would have never met Kendell, and since Rob regards musicians affectionately, I asked Kendell to consider calling on Rob and his wife, Diane, on the way to Spokane.

Kendell knows a lot of people and is eager to meet the ones he doesn't already know, so he agreed to look Rob up. I promised to contact Rob with news of the pending visit.

Rob and I have been in touch over the years, but our communication is infrequent and usually by snail mail. I had an email address for him, which he gave me about 20 years ago and which I recalled actually belonged to a neighbor whose computer Rob used occasionally. I received no response when I tried to get hold of him through that route. I had no current home address either. I did have a telephone number for Rob's chiropractic office, but the office was closed every time I called and nobody ever called me back.

This matter bothered me considerably as the date for Kendell's departure from New Jersey approached. What if I asked Kendell to drive all those miles out of his way only to be met with a blank stare from Dr. Bob when he arrived in Trout Creek? I gave Kendell Rob's office number and bemoaned my failure to do what I said I would. Kendell wasn't perturbed. He said any drive off the interstate would be an interesting one even if it didn't deliver an expected result. Anyway, Kendell knows people all across the country. If he ends up somewhere he doesn't already know somebody, he'll manage to make a friend there.

So Kendell left New Jersey and headed west, pausing in Chicago to pal around with all the people he knew when he was a begrudging performer of folk music there. When he arrived in Missoula, he telephoned me. I sat at my computer in Virginia, tuned to Google Earth, and found the very parking lot where he was sitting. I've been on the roads between Missoula and Trout Creek enough that I know what things are where; with Google's satellite imagery in front of me, it was like I was sitting in the passenger seat with a road map, chatting and helping with navigation. Very virtual. We stayed on the line from the restaurant parking lot, across town to U.S. 93, north on 93 to Montana 200 and down 200 until Kendell drove out of cell range.