I am very pleased to announce the Birth of our second son, Maverick James Alexander Stokes, born on the 6th of February, at 4.45pm weighing 9 lbs and 3 oz’s. One things for sure Jen ( Mrs Wagon) and I sure do make big babies. We were lucky Maverick came a week early, cause Marshal came a week latter, and he was over 10 lb. I know they make babies bigger than that but Jen is only little, and just like Marshal she took it to the line in regards to labour, and just could get the head to fit out that whole. We were in the hands of Royal North Shore’s head of Maternity, as the file we brought from St George Hospital, after all we went through for Marshals birth, and Jen’s close mysterious shave with death, became compulsory reading. They certainly didn’t want that happening on their watch. There was a moment in the operating theatre where I was reassuring Jen that everything was ok, but then I could see they were struggling to get him free. His head was just jammed. I had the video camera running, but just by my side, and it ran for 15 minutes, 12 of those they were trying to pull him free. When they got him out he was blue, and I left Jen’s side to go the the baby table, and they wiped Maverick down, then pumped some air into his chest, It felt as though it went forever, but then , his lungs filled, and he let us have it. Awesome, nothing like it, that first cry.” Beautiful, Beautiful Boy”, John Lennon, you got that right. Unlike Marshals birth, we got to go back to the ward as a family, and there began 4 nights of sleeping by Jen’s bed, helping were I can, to change nappies, and rock a bye baby, but the lions share was done by mum. Her heart was set on breast feeding from the get go, and Maverick sure did have an appetite. It did take some time, and the third night was murder, one hours sleep, 15 hours of crying, feeding, shitting, and that was just us! No, really, old Maverick ran us through our paces, see what we had in us. What he doesn’t know, or maybe he does, and that’s why he picked this little family to come into to, is that me and his mother, well we don’t give up, ever, on nothing. Especially family.
I knew when I was in Tamworth that Jen could go into labour any time, I always had my phone on me, and was prepared to head back at a moments notice. When Marshal was born, the gap was to fine, and I cancelled the shows I had booked and stayed close, but this year with I Play Country out on the CMC, and the new record, I just knew we had to go, and Jen understood. It was the last of the release shows to for the Album, a tour that started in Sydney in October, and headed to Texas/Colorado and then back again for East coast dates of Australia, ending at the Tamworth Festival. I am now having 6 weeks off before my next show. Time to take stock, re-focus and then go hard. This year I am putting it all on the line. Three singles to come of the record, three singles to go onto the CMC. My family needs me now, to make it or break it with Chucks Wagon. I have played Music for the last 25 years, and the next 25 I am sure I will be playing music to, but when I started Chucks Wagon, I had not re-met Jen. I say re-met, because we knew each other when I was in Psychobilly band, The Psyclones. I loved that band, and I was the creepy old guy in it, with front man Paul O’Conner only 26, and young Jordan C Thomas only 16 yrs old on Bull fiddle.Simon Wale was 32 at the time on drums. I was married, and Jen was just a punk rock fan, there for the Music. no Sparks, nothing, that I knew of anyway. Yet years latter, at the Empire Hotel for a Barfly Ska vs Rockabilly Night, we met up, It was great to see her, and we made a date for coffee, and that started a long and I would say rocky courtship. Not rocky in a bad way, I was just used to woman who were a bit more rowdy then Jen, so I miss read some of her cue’s, which were a lot more subtle then I was use to. I was glad I came to my senses, as Jen has a lot of dignity , and it was her dignity that attracted me to her, and she wasn’t going to just fool around with no Honky Tonker till she got to know him, and now when I look back I really respect her for that. At the time it felt like she was the Hotrod in the garage, and I didn’t have the keys yet! But the coffee that we had, did lead to the closest thing to family I have ever known. I am older than Jen. Ray Charles would even be able to see that.She always told me from the start that it doesn’t concern her. As long as your happy was the advice, she took it, I’m a lucky man. She is the ice to my fire. I worry, I am a stress head. The band breaks my heart several times a week, and she is just there, cooling my engines. She said, when we got pregnant with Marshal, that she was looking forward to becoming a Family, not just a couple any more She is always coming out with things like that, that make a lot of simple sense to me. I was worrying about something once, maybe me not appearing good enough for some situation, and she said, don’t worry, we are not fancy people. I have always remembered that. I am not a fancy person, it will be ok. And it always has.
As I write this, we are at home, first night out of hospital. My Mother in law is here for the week, and her help is magnificent. I lucked in on that front folks. My parents came over today. They had not seen Maverick yet, and still hadn’t seen Marshal for his Birthday, so it was awesome to watch them light up when they played with their Grandsons.
My Mother and Father gave me everything they could. Both come from Poverty and worked hard all their lives.My Father is a very decent man. I have alot of respect for him, and how he always looked after us as a family, and Mother created a home, full of activity and there was never a dull moment. That is all another story, I will tell it here one day. For now though, just seeing them, with their hearts full of love, filled me up. I had to go and get them, as neither drive as well as they use to. I worry about them on the roads all the time, so it was a relief for me to be able to do them that courtesy , and bring them here and home again after the visit.
So it’s been along day, and I need to crash. Baby Maverick is asleep in our room, Marshal in his own, Mum in law out the back. . Life, it’s what happened to me while I was making other plans.(John Lennon again!) I never knew that Jen and I would form a unit, but she is my Queen Scout ( She is actually a Queen scout!) Mother and Wife. We have two big boppers, full of beans and I cant wait to see who they turn into.
Chucks Wagon, well this year, I ‘m really having a go. I have lost a few folks on that last tour. Simon Wale, Dave Turner, John Wardle. I cant believe it really. Yet I picked up the Mighty Den Hanrahan and Al Fisk and Mark Fairhurst. Dodge Dave always told me he was in it for the long haul, and he has remained true to his word. . The first show I will be doing post Maverick is a Songwriters in the Round. I am really looking forward to some solo shows this year, including the USA and talks again regarding Europe. How I would love to play London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam! Who knows. Stranger things have happened!
Thanks to our lovely friends that helped out and sent us all their love from afar. Four for a special mention, are Emma Woods, who received our emergency “Waters Broke ” call at 2.30 am, and was their 15 minutes latter when I picked her up so she could look after Marshal, my mother in law Fiona
for coming to stay and baby sit Marshal while we were in hospital, and now to help Jen for the next week, and my dear friends Suzy and Gary who came down bearing love and gifts yesterday and lifted our spirits.