After all of us dispersed a melon got out her mifi & laptop & brought up Skype so we could share vigil with a Melonhead in Hawaii. If she couldn't be at vigil, then we would bring it to her via technology. It was incredible to have us to be able to speak with her face to face. As we dispersed, Nel arrived with her van jam packed. She went under the tent to say hello to everyone under there. I went up to her & gave her the biggest warmest hug.
She was busily running about & trying to find people to help with the merch she had. Eventually the line formed for us to get ready to buy shirts & goodies. As we were standing in line, Nel came along handing out gifts for everyone (guitar picks, stones with Shannon's picture that she got the idea from Pinterest, & stickers). She handed me mine & said she was so distracted in the tent that she didn't even realize it was me and she needed to give me another hug. She said she wasn't paying attention & that we would have to have a talk later on.The melon who owns one of Shannon's old Galaxies arrived with his wife. He graciously opens up the car for people to sit in & take pictures and it's pretty rad of him to share that with us. He even had a couple of amazing mini melonheads plank on top of the car, his suggestion. It was a very cool moment, one that we'll all remember. After I had gotten my shirts & goodies my wallet must have not been securely placed back in my pocket. Nel came up to me & told me to close my eyes & put out my hand...she placed my wallet in it & said to put it in a better spot that it was found on the ground. She said she saw my picture in it and wanted to make sure I got my hands back on it before someone else did. What a relief. I made sure to hold onto it much tighter. A few people gathered around & started singing & playing. The laptop came out again so that we could share some songs with her too. I sat & sang for a while & then went to chat with Nel for a bit. She said there was a special surprise guest coming to join us and she got giddy telling me that Chris Shinn was on his way! You could just see the joy & excitement when she said it. When Chris did arrive, a few people flocked to his side while I just kind of stood back. Nel headed over to hug him ("rock & role history happening"). I went to say hello to him & then went over to another group of friends. I couldn't stay still or in one spot for too long. I was all over the place throughout the day. I attempted to spend time with as many people as I could which is hard with so many people but I wanted to give everyone a little piece of me. We moved everything around in the tent to be able to put tarps down under everyones blankets to try to trap in some of the warmth. Eventually the sun started to set & Nel made sure that the votive candles she brought were placed & lit & put around the rest of the cemetery & around the other graves near the tent so that people wouldn't trip over them. And Nel told us she wanted to try to get as many of us as possible under the tent and have us all gather around. As soon as the sun went down, it got awfully chilly.
We filled in and made enough room so that people were still able to have their guitars out & about. We all started singing & it just felt so comfortable. Nel was sitting a hand full people away sort of across from me & she kept commenting on my singing & how great it is. It made me smile. We all sat around singing & going in & out of the tent. At one point a melonhead handed his guitar to Chris so he could play & sing. Such a magical amazing moment. Even with his mistakes & forgetting lyrics, it was incredible to be sitting around singing along with him & all the other people under the tent.
We sang a few more songs & then dispersed around the tent. I went back over near the blanket & Nel told me to have a seat & she wished she had brought more comfortable chairs. She was going to tell some Shannon stories. She told a few (and even included Anna &Tim) and made us all smile and laugh. We continued sitting around and one point when I stood up Nel said I looked so cute & she turned to everyone around & asked if they didn't think I was cute. For some reason, she & a lot of other people thought I was going to be bigger than I am. I must just have a large presence because in reality, I am a petite person. She kept asking if I was having a good time & if I would come back again. We mingled around & eventually closed the flaps to the tent as it got colder. A handful of us sang a few more songs and then headed out back to the Knights Inn. We got back and situated ourselves outside the rooms, bringing the chairs out from our room to get comfortable. I thought my chair was going to be the death of me. Being drunk & having a chair with wheels can
be very dangerous.
Everything was going well and we were happily partying when all of a sudden there was a clammer and a loud sound near the fence- and all of a sudden a person appeared. We never expected a fence jumper! A few of us wondered where he came from & our attempts to ask him why he had hopped the fence came up with empty answers. One melon was advising & counselling him. His story was intreiguing yet crazy. Supposedly he had been at a strip club & after stiffing a stripper he was running from the bouncers. I don't really know. It was all a bit too much for me and I walked over to the other side of the Knights to get away from the drama of it all and to join some of the other melons. Shinn & his girlfriend were staying at the Knights as well (he had posters & cds for all of us, which he signed, which was very sweet of him). When I went over I told them all that we were dealing with crazy. I tried to explain but it just too much to try to even explain. We were standing outside & I told Shinn about the story that the front desk guy told me about not having us steal the 3's & then I asked if he didn't mind if I took his since it was pretty much falling off already so I could give it to my melonhead roomy who was back in our room already. He obliged & I took the 3 right off the door. I wandered back over to the other side of the hotel to check on the situation of the fence jumper & found out that a cab had been called & that he was finally gone. One melonhead said he wanted to hear a Pink Floyd song that was very appropriate- Toys in the Attic ("crraaaazzzy"). We all went back over to the other side of the hotel but as we were all being too noisy & the management complained so we went back over to our rooms where we could be as loud as we wanted to be with no issues. We went back & I decided it was perfect timing to get my pajamas on.
It was COLD so we were in & out of the rooms and enjoying the heat. Except for in our room, the heater did not work. One of the coldest nights in Indiana in ages and we get a room with a broken unit. Shinn came over & hung out with us for a good amount of time. It was pretty cool. He is one nice, down to earth guy. It was nice having a chat with him. And hearing his stories were pretty great.
Another late hour of the night/morning of partying and hanging out & sitting around & talking deeply even under the heavy influence. Even then heart to heart discussions can occur. A melon friend was going to sleep in their car so I offered for them to share our room as long as they didn't mind the fact that our heat didn't want to kick on. We all passed out & slept for a few hours.
When the sun was fully shining and I had gotten a little food in my system, we got dressed and headed back over to the cemetery. By the time we arrived, most of the cleaning up had already occured and there were a few people just sitting around and chatting. The clouds in the sky were big & fluffy and there was an intense warmth. Melon music blared from a melon's car.
As we sat there, the cemetery crew was trying to get us to leave. They were done with us even though we were just enjoying the end of the weekend spent together. They started burning brush to try to smoke us out & then started running power equiptment loudly. Nel was not happy and she went over with a bag of trash and gave them what for. They then came over and told us we needed to be out & gone. So we got the melon who had the trailor to come so we could take the tent down and we continued to sit around & sing and we said we'd get out by then. So we loaded up Nel's van with everything and headed out. There was a small group of us that she said could come back to her house and we did just that. It was nice having some one on one time sitting in her livingroom with her, her man friend, & Flea Market Pete (her adorable doggy who clearly missed her when we arrived). We spent about an hour or so before heading back to the Knights to get ready to head to Vigilstock. When we got back, a huge group was leaving & heading out in a taxi but I wanted to take my time (I was in desperate need of a shower as well) & I wanted to change into the cute dress I had brought with me as well. So we took our time & then arrived to Jesters. The ride there I was not feeling good. I don't know if all the drinking or the lack of sleep was catching up with me or what it was but I was just not well when we first got there. Eventually listening to the bands soundcheck & begin I finally got into the mood & got to a place that was much better. A few melon ladies said that I was going to be part of their spinning circle when one of the bands was playing. Our first attempt of it with our drinks in hand ended up with me being soaked in beer so we decided that when we did it the next time that there would be no drinks. Somehow I ended up being the only one who got drenched. We coordinated it well spinning & keeping our hands together throughout one of the songs. It was successful & I felt honored to be initiated into the circle. I felt very special.
I also toasted/took a shot to a fallen member of one of the bands. Rest in peace to him. Eventually when all the bands finished their sets it was time to head out and go back to the Knights Inn. I began with my goodbyes. I couldn't say much to some people so I just went back to my room & started to get ready for my voyage home. I can't wait for next year already.