Friday, October 28, 2011

God's Artwork & Bush's Beans

Been having a high ole time here in the Smokies. Here on business really: a three- day board meeting.

To break the tedium of the meetings we got into our cars and went to Bush’s Beans, home (home, factory, restaurant, museum and country store) of the famous Bush Beans and their dog Mike for lunch. Of course they had cute little doggie pillows and a bunch of hand crafted “pick’n” instruments make with “guitar strings” on a slat of hand-fashioned mountain wood screwed into a Bush’s bean can.

They also had the customary ole-timey items “for sale” and clerks dressed in their frontier 19the century calico dresses and head gear.

If this wasn’t exciting enough we topped it all off going to Clint’s home spun country and antique choked (over done, they must have made midnight raid on a Cracker Barrel) BBQ restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was bedecked with a life sized picture of the patron saint of Gatlinburg and the Smokies, Ms. Dolly Parton with her piled high blond hair and famous tooters. Of course Clint a grinn’n ear to ear was in the picture with Dolly. Both with the look of kindred country spirits.

Side note on Clint. Clint was rotund and white bearded like a classic Santa Clause. Mr. C worn a droopy mountain hat and overalls in the evenings but not while operating his rug cleaning business during the day.

A man of many homespun talents he also had his own gospel singing band that performed nightly in his picnic- benched tourist-filled BBQ emporium. Well perhaps not nightly due to his faithfulness in attending services at his church in the valley.

On the way home after all the excitement I was happy not to encounter a stray deer intent on tangling with my windshield nor a black bear homesteading in the middle of my pitch-dark narrow switch-back mountain roadway.

I’m just grateful I’m snug in my room and will be returning to my home turf tomorrow filled up to my eyebrows in country-mountain culture and charm.

May God forgive me if you think I’m making fun or unintentionally hurting anyone’s feelings. My only point is that a Chicago area bred and raised guy like myself probable can’t appreciate good gospel music and deep fried or BBQ food.

God is so generous up here with His beauty.

Jim

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SLAVES TO A DIFFERENT MASTER

Yes, Charleston does have a Slave Mart, granted today it’s a museum even if some of Charleston’s vendors would like to deny it ever existed, Believe its because there is no money in it for them.

We found it just a couple of blocks away where the lady with the babble decorated glasses adamantly declared that we were just out to besmirch South Carolina’s famous seaport’s good name.

My thoughts went right away to the enslaved poor and illiterate who populate our land of the free and the brave today.

No, we don’t shackle them in irons; we’ve gotten so much more civilized. We shackle them to living hand to mouth or worse beg to mouth with lack of opportunity, lack of money, lack of education, lack of political power and a host of other ball and chains.

It’s amazing how after all these years the scars from the beatings and irons are still visible on the psyche of so many, yet so many can't figure out why, after all they're free now and we did pass the bill of rights. I guess they figure its no different than the etchings of approval and the landmarks of the landed gentry is on the backs of their decedents.

But I digress. What caught my eye was the AA unity symbol (the circle within the triangle) carved into the fa├žade of the building above the larger of the two windows on the second floor.

Poetic in that freedom from the slavery to our addictions has been and always is right above us.

Really Grateful. Joyous and Free.

Jim

CHARLESTON, NC

Can’t get there without crossing water as one of the natives said. Couple of big bridges, lot of smaller ones and causeways, even drawbridges.

Ran the Cooper suspension bridge

Don/t know whether you’re crossing river, bay, creek or marsh at night. Length height and smell are tell tale signs, marshes are dank and muddy and a little fishy at low tide.

The food is great. In fact one could spend the whole week long vacation burping from one “must go to” seafood, bib and shell bucket eatery to another.

We sat at a table with several little brass medallions nailed to the surface with little brass nails. Each had the name of some celebrity.

I had a bit of lark envisioning John McLain sitting at this same table Hootie and the Goldfish; I’m sure it had been on different occasions.

I sat in the Hulk Hogan seat and got my picture taken with my arm on a mermaids shoulder

The older and squeaker the dining rooms floors, the more “Charleston’s Finest” awards clutter the walls.

Speaking of walls I believe every spring or other tourist season there must be a contest to determine on which restaurant/bistro walls thereon are hung the most celebrate pics. The older and more funky the better.

Went to the “Slave Market”. Asked one Charleston store owner at the “Charleston Market ” where the SM was. Peering over her babble decorated chain secured reading glasses and out from behind her array of Charleston souvenir shot glasses she very promptly corrected us that Charleston did not, yes she repeated it “Charleston does not have a Slave Market!

Since she was so adamant we were wrong we were determined to find it tomorrow.

Gotta get out of here. Go for a run on the beach; fly a kite and kayaking yet this pm.

Doggone sobriety is great! Joyous and Free.

Jim

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WHAT WILL IT BE?

Good friends, friends who know your warts and still love you to pieces.

Friends, closer than family, who

I suspect know us better than ourselves

after all

They’ve got a ring side seat; only thing missing is the popcorn

Why am I concerned with what they think or for that matter what I think?

God knows, and yet continues to include me in Creation.

I’m a critical and unique link or just a metaphor.

Are my worst mistakes my best contributions or is it those times when I scored myself a perfect ten?

How much and in what way does my laughter and my tears contribute one iota to anything..

Am I part of the spit that keeps everything together?

Or am I a particle of tension keeping everything from colliding.

What is it?

Am I this or that or…am I this and that?

My bumbling speech? My misspelled and mistaken word?

My gravity dragging actions?

Is it in spite of them or because of them?

Is it my experiences stacked high with age or is it my ignorance of tomorrow?

After three quarters of a century under my belt are the few remaining years to contain my main event?

Will I recognize it or will it be like so many others in the past just another day at the office?

Will I participate or sit idly by?

Will I sit on my comfortable old ass or get up and take the risk?

God what ever is your will use my love hungry heart, my memory filled mind and my love –to-tell-a-story tongue as instruments of Your love and Your peace.

JIM