Saturday, October 25, 2014

Original places

We played at Local Color Cafe tonight. It's one of our favorite venues. Performing on weekends in the south during footballs season is sketchy business.

Most places don't have live music until later on Saturday nights, because it's hard to get a crowd to come out.

Rick and Jilda at
Johnson City Folk Festival
last year
Even Friday nights are not usually that good because of high school football.

But Local Color had a decent crowd tonight. We shared the stage with our good friend Skip Cochran.

One of the benefits of playing Local Color is the food, and they always feed the musicians well. We had Brunswick stew tonight and homemade cornbread. Gary, one of the owners, does the cooking and he is awesome.

During the last set, it's hard to perform because Gary bakes a pan of biscuits for the musicians after the show.

Once the crowd filters out, and the equipment is stowed, he brings the hot-buttered biscuits out still steaming. With the biscuits, he brings honey, jelly, and cane syrup along with a steaming pot of coffee.

I never thought about eating biscuits at night until we began playing there several years ago.

Gary and Merle are great people who love music (Merle is a fantastic singer.)

Places that support original music have a special place in my heart. Local Color is one of those places.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I had an early appointment in Birmingham today. The professional group I'm with had scheduled a fall workshop for today and we had to be there at 7:30 a.m.

The chickens looked at me curiously as I stumbled around the pen before daylight. "You're not on drugs again are you poppy?" My chickens called me poppy, or that's what it sounded like to me as I poured corn in their feeders and freshed up their water.

Perhaps I was still half asleep, or probably a little closer to the truth is that I'm half blind in the dark and have no business going out there at dawn without a flashlight. 

Maybe I am on drugs and so stoned I don't remember taking them, but it seems I had more fun in college when I.........perhaps I've said too much about that.

At any rate, the workshop was a success and all the attendees seemed happy to be there. 

It will be an early night tonight. I hope you all have a great Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Night sky

I stepped onto the back deck tonight to dump coffee grounds into the compost bucket. The moon was scythe shaped sliver shedding no light on the night sky.

I stood for a moment looking into the sky as I always do when there are no clouds obscuring the heavens.

Just then a shooting star zipped across the sky so quickly that had I blinked, I would have missed it. I'm so glad I didn't blink.

In summer it seems the atmosphere is almost milky with haze making the stars faint, and the possibility of seeing meteors remote. But autumn brings a clean slate to the sky.

This weekend, I'll build a fire in the fire pit, pull the new teakwood lawn chairs out in the middle of the yard and see what the sky has to offer. I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And in review......

Sometimes I struggle coming up with blog posts. Perhaps I'm whining, but then whining is not off limits here on Tuesday. Hey, it's my blog and I make the rules.

But tonight as I whined, I tapped a few keys into Google asking for blog post ideas. One of the first things that appeared was a suggestion to write about what your entry was X number of years ago.

I picked October 21, 2006 but it was as lame as a pony with a stone bruise, so I chose October 21, 2009.

This one was actually more interesting and evolved into a column.

I'd put copies of my second book at the local paper where my column appears. I'd given them several copies to sell in an effort to raise money for their annual shoe fund which buys shoes for needy kids during Christmas.

One of the books I'd donated was stolen from the counter of the paper and I wrote a humorous blog post about the "Book Heist."

October 21, 2012 was a Sunday and we'd spent the day recording songs for our CD. On the way home, I shot an incredible picture of the sun setting on a farm pond.

I never said that each of my posts were candidates for a Pulitzer Prize, but I think the important thing is consistency.

No one could ever say that I haven't been consistent :)

Y'all have a great Wednesday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giving back ~ my column from Sunday's paper

There are things we give that will outlive us. This train of thought pulled into my mental terminal a few weeks ago while sitting on the back deck watching our great nephew Jordan play.

His mom had to work late and his Nana had a doctor’s appointment, so I picked him up at school.  

I asked him if he’d eaten. “Only a little fudge bar, but I’m pretty sure that’s not really food,” he confessed. I snickered at this observation from a six-year-old kid from rural Alabama. So, we headed out in search of some chicken.

Back at our house, he headed outside after he'd eaten. He loves me to give him challenge runs and time his efforts.

OK, you have to run down and touch the gate, circle the hemlock tree three times, rattle the chicken pen fence, touch the rotting stump and then back to the steps before I count to ten.

Then he’s off like a shot. I adjust the speed of my counting so that he comes in just under the wire.  He will do this until his legs are rubbery.

On that day, when the self-competition was over, we sat on wrought-iron chairs, and drank cool water. The shadows were getting longer with dappled sunlight falling on plants at the end of the deck.

A hummingbird hovered almost silently to drink nectar from the bleeding heart that is still blooming. Without saying a word, we both stood statue still, watching the tiny bird feed.

When it zipped off, Jordan stepped over and leaned in to smell the tiny white flowers with red tongues.

I told him that his great-great grandmother Mammie gave the plant to Jilda long before his mommy was born.

He had to turn that over in his mind a while, and I could tell it was hard for him to determine the age of the plant.

He asked if he could meet Mammie. When I told him she’d died a long time ago, he stood there silently considering the plant she’d left. “It sure is pretty to be so old,” he said.

I told him that some things we give, live long after we're gone. Again, he wrestled with what I was trying to say.

To explain, I told him that whenever he was kind, or did a good deed for someone, they usually remember that kindness.

He understood that, but was eager to move on, so I gave him another running challenge.

I’m not sure what things the children in our lives will remember. We've always encouraged them to read, study, work hard and to give back to society.

I often use a quote by Maya Angelou:

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I think in the end, that’s all any of us can hope for –– that we've given enough to make the people in our lives feel special, and feel that they are loved.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


My niece Samantha was knee deep in an epidemiology paper this afternoon and about to go postal on the neighborhood. She's in the final months before graduating in May.

Jilda knows how to soothe the angry beast when she rears her ugly self in our mild-mannered niece -- she bakes chicken and her favorite rice.

When she walked over with her son Jordan, she was wound tighter than the short strings of a harp.

But I had new-age piano music playing and the table was set with glasses of ice tea with ice ticking in the glass.

Outside, the mama deer with twin fawns strolled up to feed. The little ones started running wide rings around the mama. 

It was the type of show that could make the most stressed person on the planet smile.

She seemed to be a little taller when they walked out headed home. A while later, her paper dinged in my email.

Jilda and I always scan her work to catch any obvious faux pas. It read as if it had been written by a graduate student. 

It's interesting what a break can do for you.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lazy Saturday

Today was low-key. My wife Jilda had a little bump in the road with a reaction to the treatments she takes monthly, so after a few early-morning errands, we settled in.

After lunch, two of our great nephews came over to bake spooky-spice cookies. It's a tradition Jilda does each year. She whips up the cookie dough, and the kids help her cut out the cookies and then decorate theirs with as much sugar sprinkles as they please.

Some of the cookies come out of the oven as thick as a deck of cards with enough sugar on them to make your heart race.  I snapped a picture, but I sent it to her for her blog tonight.

I then watch my team put a thorough tail-whipping on Texas A&M. The game lasted until after five.

Once outside,  I realized I'd forgotten to put corn out for the deer ,so grabbing a scoop from the shed and headed down to the field to put it under the apple tree.

The sun had already slipped below the horizon, but the waning light still painted the passing clouds the color of peach sherbet.

It seemed the perfect end to a lazy Saturday.

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