Jeff had stayed up late grading school papers and goofing around with his camera, so when the phone rang at about 9,
I checked in and met Jeff in the canteen area, where we shared a quick breakfast. He told me how his buddy’s had invited him to come to the big Civil War gun show. Three of the original 5 made the trip, driving all the way to
However, it was well worth the short trip from Harriman to see Jeff. We’ve become fast friends over the past couple of years and it was good to get to share time, a beer, and a cigar with him, without having to wait a whole year.
After eating, we headed for
As you can see from these photos, there were plenty of lookers, and again, let me emphasize…the place was huge!
Jeff just had to touch a few of the long rifles he lusted over for years, and even took a few chances on a “give-away” drawing.
The buffs and reenactors take this kind of show and their other annual meetings and war games, seriously. Most dress the part, in full North or South uniform, with their wife or girl friend wearing period Victorian dresses, full petticoats, and bonnets! Jeff and I would love to have dressed the part too, but we decided there weren’t too many fat soldiers…in any war for that matter! And, if there were, they probably didn’t last too long on the battlefield!
At one table Jeff finally found a “shootin’ iron” his size!
We took a lot of shots, but with the flash off, so as not to draw attention to ourselves! Some folks get a little paranoid when you whip out a camera at a gun show. Some get even more upset or antsy when you pick up their $4,000 rifle and pose with it! Jeff said, “I got is standing on my shoe.” However, the vendor didn’t feel a bit more comfortable!
I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I saw things I’ve read about or have seen in magazines, so it was good to get to touch and smell some of the history. Some of the things were a little out of place, like this 1930’s KKK hood and robe, but, still it was good to see real American history first hand! They only wanted $950 for it!
One little old lady behind one of the tables eyed Jeff’s t-shirt and remarked, “What does that shirt say?”
“It says ‘Thin the herd’ ma'ma,” Jeff explained.
“I don’t know if I would want to sell you anything or not!”
“Aw, he wouldn’t harm fly,” I said!
Well, we walked until we got the dreaded “gun show legs and back” and decided to head downtown
We both got the chick fingers smothered in a Jim Beam, maple syrup, and pecan sauce. The sweet tasting chicken sat atop a pile of coleslaw and green apple sticks! It was yummy, but we did eat a lot of chips to cut the sweet about half way through the meal.
Across the street, Jeff spied the famous Ernest Tubb Record Shop and wanted to go in to look for some Black Keys! As he raffled through the CDs, I broke the news to him…”You ain’t gonna find no Black Keys in here…it’s all country!” But again, it was fun looking around at all the memorabilia and other country music related objecto-de-artoes!
When we got back to the fairgrounds, the line for tickets at the “regular” modern gun show was short. At one time it had stretched for nearly a hundred yards, someone said, so we got tickets and went inside. Luckily this show was housed in only one building, so we made the rounds in about an hour and left.
Back at the motel, we lounged in Jeff’s room for a little while, snapping photos of each other, and watching the SEC Championship game. We stayed there for a couple of hours, still full from our sweet lunch, but around 6:30 we decided to go out and hunt a sports bar and finish the game there with beer and cigars.
We drove east down
We were greeted at the front door by a nice little black gal, who seated us on the bar level overlooking the large restaurant, and right next to a table of 3 young well dressed black men. A waitress, an even nicer looking black girl, came and took our order, and then handed it off to the black girl tending bar.
It wasn’t until the old black wino, with very large bucked teeth, staggered over to our table that we figured out we had happened upon a neighborhood “sports bar” frequented by mostly black folks.
The fact that we were in a predominately black bar did not bother either of us. As a matter of fact, no one was staring at us, or seemed upset that we were there, and anyone who looked in our direction smiled and nodded at us. What was bothering us was this poor old guy standing before us talking in some secret “wino language” that neither of us understood. Had we been able to follow his conversation (make that one-sided conversation), we would have been very comfortable in swapping jokes, and answering his questions with some lies – but we couldn’t follow him…no one in the club could have I’m sure!
He was saying something about football, and gesturing something about how tall Jeff was, but I wasn’t sure. I thought, at one point, he asked me to buy him a beer, and I promptly said “NO.”
To which he replied, “Otay…I’ll buy huh un,” and proceeded to pull out his wallet. The billfold was packed with money, so he wasn’t a real bum, but he seriously needed to spend some of that money on some diction lessons!
He pulled out a 10-spot and said, “Raise yo han!” I figured out that was the accepted method of summing the barmaid, but I refused to hold up my hand!
Thankfully, the young manager came over and began persuading the man to move on and leave us along, but not before mistaking the man’s 10-dollars for ours! We explained that it was his, so the manager moved on to getting him away from us. After a little coaxing, he finally did move on, and a couple of the guys sitting near us said, “He’s harmless…don’t worry ‘bout it!” Obviously he was a regular to the bar and folks took care of him, and he had even been cut-off by the bartender!
We informed the manager that we were fine and that we intended to continue our business with him, at least for a couple of drinks.
I have always enjoyed how black folks party, and interact, and I was not intimidated in the least by the loud animated fun loving crowd. We watched as
At one point, over Jeff’s shoulder, I saw the old man take a tumble from the steps leading down from the bar to the restaurant level. He rolled up into a tight ball and tumbled over to the entrance. I think I was the only one who saw him, and I didn’t want to make a scene by shouting, “Lookie over there…there he goes!”
So it was mine and the old man’s secret. He pulled himself up as quickly as he could (Mr. Bo Jangles played in my head), and shook himself all around, and made a gesture with one arm that made you know he was saying “Damn, I missed it!”
Back at the motel, Jeff and I shared a couple Chavis Regal drinks, watched TV and talked. It’s something that Jeff and I share; a comfort that allows us to share our inner thoughts, fears, and hopes like brothers. Jeff is good people and I lov’im…like a brother.
Sunday morning came, cold and with a bright blue sky. Denise had called, being just 20 minutes away, and so Jeff called and woke me. I showered and met them out front, and, after punching in “nearest Cracker Barrel” on my truck’s GPS, we were off.
I ordered the new sausage “Fireside Country SkilletsTM”, and enjoyed a couple cups of coffee with Denise and Jeff. I could tell they were both tired from Friday’s drive down, so I worried about their drive home. However, they seem to take long drives and sleep deprivation in stride…still young, you know!
Thanks brother for the great weekend in
At home, I found
The last I heard from Jeff was from an outlet mall somewhere near