Smoke on the Water

Scanning the channels, the signal pauses on an old metal station: Iron Man- Black Sabbath. My husband secures the scan and asks, “I wonder if he’s really talking about Iron Man,” and fades into his secret comic book world.

I answer, as old married couples do, not addressing his question, “This is one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar.” I lay my head back on the headrest of the car seat and try to reconstruct the image. Long winter, Montana, 1976.

“I hate this song,” I say, and then contrarily add, “but I like it.”

Tim answers, “This has got to be early 70’s, but I think the comic came out first.”

In 1976, Jerry got his first electric guitar and a small practice amp. I remember reading a story once about a kid who never went anywhere without his basketball and ended up playing in the NBA. It reminded me of Jerry after he got his guitar. He played it all the time. He would hunker down in his small bedroom of our tiny Montana home all winter, like a hibernating bear, and play his guitar incessantly. On occasion, I would sit at the end of the bed, wrapped in thick wool blankets to keep out the chill of our drafty house and listen for hours as he rotated through his vinyl collection and played along. Reading the liner notes in the same manner I used to read the cereal box as I devoured my bowl of Captain Crunch, I would sit at the end of Jerry’s bed and relish the sensory input. The starkness of the snow illuminated against the dark winter sky appeared in the bedroom window like static on a TV and added to a sense that nothing was happening anywhere else in the world at that moment.

Jerry handed me the guitar and told me to pluck the string while he held down the note at each fret. I plucked along as we negotiated a clunky, version of Smoke on the Water. In a few minutes I was able to play it myself. Jerry put on Deep Purple and I played along as he had earlier. I must have repeated the song twenty times, carefully placing the diamond tipped stylus on the thin shiny black line and then quickly getting my fingers in position on the fret to play. For a microsecond the small lamp on the side table became a spotlight on a smoky stage and my audience of one morphed into a huge crowd. Jerry laughed and I heard the crowd roar. Next up, Black Sabbath.


Tim mentions something about getting the Pepper Potts character all wrong as the song comes to its finale. I open my eyes and we pull into the driveway.

About Kelli K.

The purpose for staring this blog is threefold, one, to push my personal limits a bit and share my story with others, two, hopefully in doing so, to get a clearer understanding of myself and three, to inspire the youth with similar stories to keep going. My story is weird. I’ve seen the response on people’s faces my entire life. I am fairly guarded on what and how I share with people but I have decided I’m too old give a fuck anymore. As I’ve said, my story is weird, but only parts. Many parts are very normal. Hopefully this blog will allow me to introduce myself in a way that reflects my many angles (and curves) and refuses to let you walk away and peg me as, “the girl who did this” or “the girl who did that”.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Smoke on the Water

  1. Reblogged this on Just a little horse… and commented:
    I went to high school with Kelli. I wouldn’t call us friends in high school: I was a nerd and she was a year ahead of me and, well, kinda wild. We connected a few years back on Facebook and found that we have more than a few things in common as adults. If we lived closer, I’m pretty sure our families would hang out together.

    But, we live several hundred miles apart, so we just enjoy each other’s writing instead.

    Every once in awhile, one of us turns an especially nice phrase. Today it was this one:
    “The starkness of the snow illuminated against the dark winter sky appeared in the bedroom window like static on a TV and added to a sense that nothing was happening anywhere else in the world at that moment.”

  2. Pingback: Smoke on the Water | Raised By Wolves (I Wish) | Just a little horse…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s