I’d never been a groupie until last Friday. At 6:00 p.m., I helped shove overnight bags and a guitar case into the trunk of a Honda, and found myself buckling up in the back seat for a ride to the Twin Cities. Musician extraordinaire, Jeffrey Lackman, took the wheel, driving north, and leaving Luther College far behind for a much-needed pre-Thanksgiving-break recuperation. Our friends Jamie and Marcella had joined us, and the first stop was Jamie’s abode in Northfield, Minnesota, to get some sleep before the big day.
We made good time, cruised through Rochester, and kept going without a break, spirits kept high by chatting and music. All told, it was uneventful, at least until we arrived in Northfield, where we were greeted by a fire truck as we pulled up to the house. In the eerie flashing lights, we made our way to the door, and Jamie’s mom welcomed us into a kitchen illuminated by a hundred candles. As it happened, the power was out after some daredevil had skidded out at speed and toppled a power line before fleeing from his car. In the warm flickering light, we ate tacos and wondered when the power would come back. For dessert we shared residual Halloween candy, and then Jeffrey poked around on an untuned piano. Tired, we stayed up long enough to see the power come on, clambering into bed just as it blinked out again.
After a breakfast of scones, and a walking tour of Northfield, it was back into the Honda for the last leg up to Minneapolis. We arrived at Midtown Market and, upon entering, found ourselves surrounded by tables filled with all sorts of intriguing items, handmade belts, specialty soaps, ground mushrooms, etc. The “Do it Green! Gifts Fair” impressed with its variety and commitment to sustainability. After we found the food court and Jeffrey had set up his guitar, checked the microphones, and signed a release form so that he could be filmed, we perused the fair and hunted about for food. For my part, I decided upon rice and stuffed grape leaves, a delectable dish that I set into just as Jeffrey was beginning his hour-and-a-half set.
Now, I want everyone to understand just how talented Jeffrey is. Besides being a natural pianist and composer, he is a classically trained vocalist who participates in Luther College’s Nordic Choir. To top it all, he taught himself guitar over the summer, and at this point he’s not far removed from his idol, Bob Dylan. He’d probably grimace if he knew that I’d said so, but he’s an unmatched lyricist, whose original songs are touching and profound.
When the concert wrapped up, it was time to return to the real world. Content from our adventure, we returned to Luther, where schoolwork awaited and Thanksgiving still felt a long way off. Nevertheless, it was a delight to have a small reprieve with friends in the middle of the semester, because, when all is said and done, it’s days like these that I will remember better than anything I ever learned in class.