It's All About Attitude

This past weekend was incredible. Artisphere came to Greenville, and since we live in the west end of downtown, we steeped in culture all weekend long. Awesome. Painters, photographers, potters, blown glass, jewelry from all over. And the music. Blues, Jazz, Calypso, Gospel, African Drum and Dance. It was a sensory feast so sumptuous it was impossible to taste everything. But I tried.

My personal favorites were folksy-soul singer/songwriter Amos Lee, who had a crowd of all ages dancing under a perfect Carolina crescent moon Friday night, and Chocolate Thunder and Shrimp City Slim, who performed at the Blues Cafe--most days known as patch of concrete beside Postcards From Paris. Shrimp City Slim is a great blues band from Charleston. Chocolate Thunder, aka Linda Rodney, who has a set of pipes that rank right up there with Aretha and Patti, sang with them on Sunday.

This is a formidable woman. Not only is she a great singer, but the girl puts on a heck of a show. She tore up that stage dancing, and had a good time doing it. At one point, as an introduction to a song she wrote, When a Man Says I Do, she told us, "I come from a long line of strong black women. And I know, you got to keep your eye on your money and keep your eye on your man...cause if you lose one, the other is most likely gone."

The punch line to When a Man Says I Do is, "It don't mean he won't." And it's a great song.

But the thing that struck me about Linda was her stage presence. I don't think she'd mind my saying that she is voluptuous. More voluptuous than I. And...she did not dress in clothing designed to hide her curves. Her bright pink, black and white blouse did not hang down to the knees of her jeans. And the girl was accessorized. She looked great.

She danced like she had the combined gene pool of Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and that girl from Flashdance. The girl got down, is what I'm saying. And she was not embarrassed one bit by her size. At one point, she slowed it down and sang Summertime, joking, "us big girls got to take it easy."

Maybe if this whole getting skinny thing doesn't work out for me, I should consider changing my worldview.

Peace, out...


There is Order in The Universe

So we were driving home from Jasper, AL, last Thursday afternoon. We timed our departure so as not to hit Atlanta rush hour traffic, congratulated ourselves for planning ahead and put a John Hiatt cd in. We were tooling across I-20, passing an 18-wheeler, when an old beat up pickup truck (complete with all the accessories--gun rack, fresh coat of mud, et cetera--came hurtling up behind us. As soon as we cleared the 18-wheeler, the pickup darted at a dangerous angle in front of the tuck, passed us on the right, and swerved in front of us.

Jim had not finished spitting expletives and muttering something about suicidal morons--this particular one turned out to be a female in a tank top with a ponytail and a cell phone--when a guy that looked like he just stepped out of the board room driving a souped-up hot rod of undetermined lineage passed Miss Armed and Dangerous. Then two more cars and an SUV pulled up even with Hot Rod and Dirty Truck.

Jim scooted back into the right lane and backed off from these maniacs--or tried--but we were on the Interstate, and being passed doing 80 miles an hour. Before we knew it, we were in the middle of about twenty cars that were changing lanes back and forth, passing each other and jockeying for position with maybe 6 inches clearance between them. Something bright yellow that I couldn't identify--but Jim said was a Chevrolet Nomad--was riding our bumper. As best I could tell, Minnie Pearl was at the wheel. There was nothing we could do but hang out and try not to get run over.

"What are they doing?" It was me that hollered that out...Jim was busy yelling out stuff I can't post on the Internet--my mamma sometimes reads this blog. "Bunch of morons," he yelled. Moron is Jim's pet name for other drivers. He's kinda stuck on it.

Anyway, cars were zooming by, weaving in and out, and back and forth. Expeditions, Cadillacs, Pickups, an El that looked like they'd been built from parts of 5 or 6 different makes. Toyotas, Volkswagens--every kind of car you can think of. And a camper! Minnie Pearl passed us and waved--not her parade wave, either, but the kind that doesn't require the use of all your fingers.

Then, I saw the sign.

Talladega County.

As in, Talladega Superspeedway, the "biggest, fastest the biggest, fastest, most competitive motorsports facility in the world." According to their website--which I have no reason to doubt--"Records for both speed and competition have been established at Talladega."

Suddenly, everything was clear. Everyone in the county was training for a NASCAR tryout. Sure enough, before long we passed the shrine of speed, oddly painted cars and spectacular crashes. The further we got away from it, the more normal people started driving. After a while, traffic thinned out, and slowed back down to 75.

I guess it's a kind of salute the locals give the race track when they drive by after work. They get within a couple miles of the place, they all start driving like Richard Petty--or whoever. I don't speak NASCAR.

But I still get it. Next time though, I think we'll take rush hour in Atlanta over rush hour in Talladega County.

Peace, out...


Acts of God and Other Puzzlements

I'm on the road again--in Jasper, Alabama. Jasper is one of the many towns across the country that I would never get to see were it not for the fact that my husband has a job that takes him to places generally not found in Fodor's tourist guidebooks. There's nothing wrong with Jasper. It's a nice, regular town. I just probably wouldn't have made a special trip.

The thing that unnerved me, though, is we arrived on Sunday evening, April 8th--yes, we traveled here on Easter Sunday. Right after my mamma stuffed us into a food coma. Anyway, April 8th was the eighth (or was it ninth?) anniversary of when an F-5 tornado blew through this part of the country. Not Jasper specifically, but real close by. Now, I'm not sure I've told y'all this, but I have had a life-long, blood-freezing terror of tornadoes.

You might be asking yourself if I was raised, perhaps in Kansas, where such horrific storms are common. No, in fact, I was raised in Faith, NC, and as so far as I am informed, there has never been a tornado there, nor anywhere in the vicinity. The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie as a child--perhaps that explains it. Either that, or it was the way my family huddled in the hall every time it thundered, even if it was the dead of night. Mamma would get me out of bed to duck for cover with the rest of the family until the last rumble had faded.

Y'all knew I wasn't normal, right? Well, there are reasons...

Anyway, I'm right here where this monstrous Act of God transpired--why do you suppose they call such things "Acts of God?" Tangent Alert...

Why are bad things--tornadoes, tsunami's, earthquakes, et cetera--called Acts of God, and none of the good things? I mean, think about it...the sun came up this morning, and no one else--not even any of the presidential primary candidates--has claimed credit for it, but no one refers to Daylight as an Act of God. But if it wasn't an Act of God, I'd sure like to know who is responsible, wouldn't you? I'd like to stay on his or her good side, so to speak.

And what about spring? Things are blooming all over...well, except in the Midwest and Northeast where it's still snowing. See? All that snow, now, that's an Act of God according to newscasters and insurance agents everywhere. But wisteria in bloom? He doesn't get the credit. I find this a puzzlement.

I guess atheists and such aren't much troubled by the lack of logic here. But, as someone who knows God personally, I'd like to see Him get a little more credit for everything good that happens here on planet earth. All of y'all atheists, agnostics, Unitarians, and what can't have it both ways: If a tsunami is an Act of God, then by golly, so is the rhythmic surf caressing beaches all over the world right this minute.

Peace, out...