Drake, The Dragon

Drake is the second son, second child.  Maybe this explains his insistence on trying to get ahead.  No desire to stay in the middle.  He graduated from High School three years early, which only caught him up with Angus, who was also graduating early.  The real benefit of early graduation was that he could jump into college life with some hope of having an undergrad degree by the time he’s twenty.  In other words, since he’s been a little kid, he’s wanted to get out in the world and do his thing, however he happens to define that at the moment.  He worked hard to create his own opportunities.  At the moment I type this he’s seventeen and he’s in his second year of racking up college credits, traveling the world, mastering the guitar, working – when he’s not away at school – on building up a proper recording studio, plus six things I’m forgetting and half a dozen others that he hasn’t yet mentioned to me.  Drake is a whirlwind.

Whoosh!  In case that blew by you, calling Drake a whirlwind was not necessarily high praise.  While he’s earned a black belt, learned to ride a unicycle, juggle, stun folks with card tricks, perform with swords, improvise rock and jazz solos, and succeed at most of the challenges he sets in front of himself, it’s not all good or wise.  In fact, considering that list, you might conclude he’s a single-handed circus.  Drake is the kid bold enough, or foolish enough, to try things most others won’t, and he’s not likely to announce his intents until he’s already accomplished his goals, or flash fried his face.  Kind of makes you wonder why his lead image shows his face in profile, long hair masking his dark side.

Did you scoot back up and look at his picture?  I won’t keep you in suspense.  Drake got lucky and the burns healed well, but boy it looked like he’d been through Hell the first time he showed his face and tried to explain why he looked like The English Patient, Count László Almásy, after his plane was shot down in the film version of the book.

Drake was never nicknamed The Dragon.  He didn’t need to be.  Drake essentially means dragon.  I’ll skip the linguistics of it because you can see that the words are clearly cognate.  Dragons breathe fire, in literature.  Too much Tolkien, or was it Beowulf that got him started?  He read about dragons.  He drew dragons.  He considered dragons.  He knew he was by name, if not by parentage, a dragon.  Then one snowy day he watched circus performers demonstrating on YouTube how to breathe fire and he took himself to the woodshed, though there was nothing discreet about what he did to himself or the punishment he received.  Drake’s fighting with fire merits it’s own subpage, so more on this later.  Unfortunately, he deleted all the videos.

Drake did have many nicknames while growing up, one was Drake the Snake, mostly because it rhymed.  And because Drake would also grab any snake in the grass.  Here’s one:

gw blog drake the snake

When he was in his early teens, Drake could float, two feet off the ground.  The unbearable lightness of being, don’t you know?   He was quite pleased when he could hold a stance above ground level long enough for a friend to snap a shot.  Since gravitating toward other endeavors, he’s lost this dubious ability to levitate.

gw blog floating drake

Like most of our kids, Drake has always been a water rat.  When he was growing up there was a stream in the backyard, big enough to splash across into the state forest beyond, but still quite narrow and shallow in most places.  On weekends we frequently went over to my folks’ house on the banks of the Conestoga River and there the kids fished, swam, canoed, kayaked, captured turtles, netted crawdads, and all the good, muddy, wet stuff you can do in a warm water river.  Not the ocean, but it still got them waterlogged every other weekend or so.  Now, my dad can fly fish with his catch & release buddies, but put him in his backyard and he’ll gladly drown worms and stack Jolly Green Giant corn kernels on his hooks – he loves carp fishing.  And killing.  The carp serve a purpose that goes back to the Native Americans: fertilizing the garden.  Dad is a firm believer in tucking a pound of carp, half a rabbit, or a squirrel, under every tomato and zucchini plant.  When the kids were little, he recruited them to help catch the fertilizer.  Gardening with a rod & gaff.  Drake took this task, like all tasks, seriously.

gw blog drake carp - crop

If your eye is keen, you’ll notice this is the same shirt Drake is wearing in the Pirate photo on Angus’s page.  We did buy him more than one shirt, but until he outgrew this one, it was the one he wanted to wear, everywhere.

Oh, here’s another picture of Drake on that Pirate adventure.  Same shirt.

gw blog drake pirate

Suess said it best: Oh the Places You’ll Go!  These days Drake is almost always far from home, often headed toward the opposite side of the globe.  We’re not quite sure how he’s going to cobble together a degree, but he’s certainly taking my advice and leaning towards experiential education. So far he’s taken one semester course with the National Outdoor Leadership School in early 2018, then he jammed in three guitar classes with the Berklee College of Music over the summer before heading off to The University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas for a semester.  This last was his first full semester of brick & mortar classroom experience, but it was on a tropical island with snorkeling on the weekends.  The islands are a catching place.  He’s starting 2019 with Sea/mester’s Caribbean to Tahiti sailing expedition, then he’ll work over a long summer before heading back to college, or off on another expedition.  If Drake is cooperative with photos and text, I’ll post bits and pieces of the 2019/20 adventures on his subpages.

Drake left his beloved girlfriend, and his favorite guitar, the Gibson, at home in Lancaster, so we’re confident he’ll return.  If there had been room for the Gibson, his tube amp, pedals, and other sound equipment on board the boat, you can bet he’d have tried to lug all that to Tahiti.  He took his Epiphone, a little practice amp, pedals, and other gear to and from the USVI for his semester in the Virgins – those were some heavy duffels.  As it is, he plans to serenade, or annoy, his crewmates with finger picking on a cheap acoustic which he was allowed to bring, so long as he promised to stow the instrument in his bunk, even when he was sleeping there.  Not much spare room on board.

GW Blog Drake Island Musician

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Drake has subpages, depending on how curious you are: