Friday, February 26, 2010

A Concert Memory

It's amazing how a concert can stick with you. I saw a picture in the local paper the other day of Rascal Flatts performing at the W.O. Smith benefit concert here in Nashville. The W.O. Smith School provides music education and instruments to those students who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Seeing that picture took me back in time to a previous W.O. Smith benefit and what was one of my favorite concert events.

It was about 20 years ago when I saw the announcement that there would be a benefit concert for the School featuring Jimmy Buffett at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). Having been a Parrothead for a few years, I jumped at the chance to go see Mr. Buffett. It was in winter and cold outside, so the chance to experience an indoor beach party was something I couldn't pass up. Having been to a couple of his shows at an amphitheatre, I was anticipating tiki torches, sand trucked in, half-nekkid island girls, etc. Boy was I wrong.

The show had sold out in about 15 minutes, so I was very lucky to get my tickets in the top section (glad I had binoculars). Where were the torches & the scantily-clad dancers? Oh, they must be hidden behind the curtain and there aren't any torches due to fire codes….. Wrongo. What happened next literally blew me away.

I look down and see what appears to be a stage hand walking out in jeans, shirt, and no shoes. The roar of the crowd below told me that it wasn't a stage hand, but the man himself. He literally plopped himself down, dangled his feet off the edge of the stage and started singing "It's My Job". That song is probably my second favorite JB song and it is written by Mac McAnally. The curtain then opened and there was Mac McAnally and Josh Leo. That's it. Nobody else. Mac is an accomplished songwriter who has literally had a song on almost every JB album and written scores of hits for Alabama and Sawyer Brown. He now plays in the Coral Reefer Band (JB's backing band) and back then would always come out and play with Jimmy when he was in Nashville. Josh Leo was a very early member of the Coral Reefer Band (original maybe?) and at the time of the show was a Music Row executive and has produced a bunch of albums. What followed that show was basically Jimmy Buffett unplugged and he dug deep into the past with gems like "Coast is Clear", "Frank & Lola", etc. It was a chance to hear the music in a way that I would never get to again. This was before my habit of writing down set lists, so I don't have one, but I can tell you that it was a great night. Clint Black (country singer) even came out and joined Jimmy on stage. This was also during the time that Jimmy was living in Nashville (second stint).

I guess this goes to show that sometimes you may be expecting one thing and the unexpected is better than the expected. Thanks for a wonderful night Jimmy, Mac, & Josh.

Zach, A Tennessee Squire (and Parrothead)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Same Time, Next Year?

No, I'm not talking about the Alan Alda/Ellen Burstyn movie where a couple carries out an adulterous affair that occurs every year at the same hotel on the same weekend for numerous years. My title refers to a unique location that has been a part of my life since 1978. I was chatting with a friend online (Facebook) the other day about some pictures that got posted of this place and it got me thinking.

My parents have camped (and still do) for as long as I can remember in a recreational vehicle (RV). Back in the late '70's when I was a young teen, my family camped with a couple of other families from our church and town. We had planned a two week vacation in the Florida Panhandle with these families and had planned on staying in a campground between Ft. Walton Beach & Pensacola. When we arrived, the campground was run-down and we decided to try somewhere else. One of the families had stayed before at a campground called Holiday Travel Park on the other side of Destin. We took off to the Holiday Travel Park and started what would become a family tradition.

The Holiday Travel Park was a campground that sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, it was about 10 miles east of Destin proper. Back in the late '70's, Destin was still a quaint little fishing village. The only grocery store was basically a Tom Thumb convenience store on steroids. Sandestin had not even built across Highway 98 (beachside) and only had 18 holes of golf. It was like a little slice of paradise with a good stretch of beach, a couple of houses on each side, and some great places to eat some fresh seafood.

That first summer, we met a bunch of people (adults & kids) who we would see again. One of those families, we had met the previous spring camping in Kentucky. The Graves family had twins the same age as me and it was great to see them again. Later on, I found out that Kim & Keith shared the same birthday as I did. Then in an even stranger twist, Kim would up on a random draw as a freshman roommate to one of my best friends from high school. Small world.

Through the years, my family would see the same people year after year as we all ventured back to the Travel Park like some kind of sandy Mecca. This continued for almost ten years. Each year we would roll up and immediately start looking for familiar faces. Through the years, great memories were made at that place. There were great friendships made, relationships started (and thankfully in the past), mischievous deeds, and just all around good fun. As work would take me to various parts of the country, I would have occasion to look up some of these folks and some would look us up as they came through Nashville. It really was like a homecoming each year.

Why did I think/blog of this? One of the friends had posted some pictures a few weeks ago & through the magic of Facebook, I actually found another long lost person from the Travel Park. Everyone of us always talks of how special that place is to them. My folks are still camping and are actually camping at the park (different name and owner) as I type.

Lori and I are actually talking about taking our camper down to the beach to pass the torch on to the boys, so to speak. Like most things, I know it won't be as special as it was and is in my memory. But maybe, the boys will get to make their own memories. It's worth a try.

Happy Camping
Zach, a Tennessee Squire

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nature’s Beauty

Just a quick post to show a little of nature's beauty captured during one of our recent snows. Momma Squire had threatened to go "Shining" on me if we didn't get out of the house. So we went walking & I saw this scene by a neighbor's house. Just had to capture & share.