This weekend was the annual trip to to a place a few miles north of Boone, NC called Valle Crucis. Or as Wendell likes to say while moving a hand slowly in front of his face, "Vale of the cross. Vale of the cross." This year was the ninth time I have been up to Valle Crucis during the last weekend of July. Since 1998 Wendell has gone up there with me also. He missed one back in 2004 but he's made the rest. The summer of '04 was a tough one for Wendell. He missed the trip due to a graduation and he missed Sonic Youth at the Orange Peel because he was sick.
This year's Rhodo (officially known as the Rhododendron Festival) was one of the best. There is a softball tournement that takes place but, once again, we didn't bother to go see the games. We are there for the company and the band that plays on Saturday night. Brigham went with us and he had never been before. He's been job searching for a few months now and a trip to the mountains was just what he needed.
The usual cast of alcoholics was there. There is a great group of people we only see about once a year for this event. Sometimes I am in awe when I see how much booze these fory and fifty and sixty year olds can put away.
Saturday night was a night to remember. After the band played a smokin' set in an old barn down the road we headed back to the campfire as we do every year. Some guy at the campsite next to ours that was sharing our campfire stayed behind and had a roaring fire going when we got back. That was cool but starting a fire is half the fun. We didn't complain.
Hanging at the fire with Lenny, Stevie, Barry, Kathleen, Bobby, Brigham, Wendell and a dozen other folk was a hoot. For some reason this guy showed up and started interviewing Lenny. I don't know who he is. I don't want to know who he is. Well, maybe I do want to know who he is just so I can be sure to never be anywhere he is ever again. He was dressed in a black and white urban cowboy outfit and he thought he knew about music but was just a terrible blowhard. Sometime after 1 am he disappeared and then reappeared with a jambox slung over his shoulder and he followed Lenny around playing him Allman Brothers and music by the band and the Monkees. Here's a picture of him. If you see him run.
The cowboy ended up getting smashed and he brought Lenny along with him. It got very silly and started to get annoying and...he...wouldn't...leave. He kept blaring music around the campfire and my tent was right there. I said to Brigham that there was no way I was going to be able to sleep until he and that radio were gone. Three am comes by and he's going strong. 4 am, still there. Sometime around five he finally disappeared for good and I crashed somewhere around six. After it hit five I said to hell with and decided to see how long I could hang. I haven't stay up that late since my clubbing days in Okinawa. The sky was getting light by the time I hit they hay. I think I got about three hours sleep which isn't too bad for staying awake almost until dawn.
One of my traveling companions (I won't say which) got as drunk as I've ever seen him. I had to help him to his tent which was a pain because he was being a belligerent little bastard. About an hour after he passed out I saw him stumble out of his tent and step behind someone's van to tinkle. I rushed over to make sure he didn't fall and hurt himself. After his micteration we chatted for a second before Bobby came up to say hey. We stood there and marvelled and my buddy's drunkeness and I saw another Federal teenager walk by. I waved her over and three of us laughed our drunk-ass friend for a minute. He finally decided to back into his tent. I didn't realize until later that he had had to cut the mesh screen of his tent open because he couldn't find the zipper when he had to tinkle. Instead of messing with the zipper he decided to dive through the hole he had cut in the mesh. Instead of diving he fell through the hole, getting through up to about his belt. As he belly flopped his weight brought the front half of his ten down on top of him. All me and the two kids could see were his legs kicking like a breach baby. The three of us laughed for a good two and half minutes solid. I mean, we just roared. I don't know the last time I have laughed that hard. I got one of those good breathless giggle going that I used to get because of Tom's wit while in telephone reference. It was one of those classic moments you have with friends that you will never allow them to forget.
That was Rhodo. Rhodo always provides you with memories. What more can you say about something.
One more thing
Oh yeah, I am going to Asheville to see Tom Waits tomorrow. You heard me right. I have't been this excited about a concert since the KISS reunion tour in 1996.