May 27, 2004

A Journey and a Contest.

First off, There may be a few exaggerations in this post. See if you can spot them.

So it all began with an email. One that said that it would be best to just call, as the directions were far to complex to relate in an email. I dialed the number he gave me (seemed short a few digits), and Mabel the Operator answered. I asked her if she knew Eric, and she replied "Sure hon. I'll put you right through." When he came on the line, I knew immediately that I was dealing with a "Good Ole boy."

With the pleasantries dispensed with, he launched right into the directions. They included things such as "Go past where the old barn burnt down two years ago," and "Once you reach BFE, hang a left," and "I'll meet you at the corner filling station 'cuz from there it gets hard to find." I was undaunted by this as I have braved the wilds of deepest darkest East Tennessee before. I attempted to reach my regular "guides" Zeke and Rafe, but they were aparrently off on some moonshine soaked tirade, so I had to travel alone.

(I'll fast forward through the trip down as it was mostly uneventful. Nary a Banjo strain from Deliverance was heard.)

My arrival was praised as if it was the second coming. There was much rejoicing by all the natives, and they brought me gifts of Whittlin' and Whiskey. The girl with the most teeth even winked at me. I soon realised that the whole sense of festival was there due to the fact that a new challenger was there. One whose repute on the green felt was renowned throughout the land. Johnny - Oh had arrived to challenge the might of the vaunted Straight White Guy. Not a soul in a fifity mile radius would miss it.

The festivities began with the pouring of the ceremonial elixer. The crowds were stunned when I refused the traditional offering of scotch, and produced my own bottle of bourbon. There was a certain animosity in the crowd, but it was calmed by the gentlemanly manner of my host , who took no offense whatever. The traditions continued with "The passing of the six string". I was slightly taken aback by this, but managed to muster up some Clapton. Eric took up the same tune, but managed to make my skills look poorly. (Finger picking Bastard) The throng was becoming confident indeed.

We decided that it was time to enter the arena. The dulcet strains of Warren Zevon were wafting out of the corner. The crowd was breathless. The first break was given to the guest, and I'm here to tell you it was a hammer. Thor could do no better, even if all the powers of his famed weapon were instilled into a pool cue. The match was on.

The audience kept flipping between jubilance and despondence, fear and awe, and finally settled on stupification. They couldn't believe the duel that they were witnessing. Back and forth the two titans fought. The earth shook with each break, and lightning split the skies every time the eight ball fell. People in the crowd were falling down in fits of ecstasy, some began to speak in tongues, and the rest just fled in fear.

When the dust finally settled, it was dicovered that these great men had battled to a draw. The irrestable force had met with the immovable object. Stalemate. The few straggler's that remained wandered back into the wilderness in stunned silence. Unsure of whether they'd be able to recover from what they'd just seen. I'm sure that they'll be able to speak of this event in a few years. That day will be spoken of only in hushed, reverent tones. A legend is born.

The "Man from the witness protection program" arrived (bearing a piece of meteorite. I Swear.) after the fabled match had ceased, so we wound up shooting a few games of cutthroat. Noone was keeping score very well, but I believe that eric won one more than I did, so he was the victor on the whole day. Screw it. It's his house right? After another couple of hours, the last of the guests had left, so we retired to the main palace for some more six string.

John Prine, Willie Nelson, the Grateful Dead, and other's were in attendance. The "Straight White Wife" was duly impressed by our playing and singing.

Arsenals were displayed (Goblins beware!), and the place where the blog happens was revealed. Much conversation was enjoyed, and a few more libations imbibed. Sadly, I had to take my leave, as I had to find my way back out of the wilderness.

I had a wonderful time out there, and in my honest opinion, Eric is the salt of the earth. I hope that I'll be able to get back out there soon (prividing that I haven't worn out my welcome) as this is the type of people that I really enjoy being around.

Eric. Thanks again for inviting a total stranger out to your home, and making him feel like he belonged there.

Update: Eric's account can be found here.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at May 27, 2004 07:18 PM

..thanks, man... you are more than welcome to come back any Wednesday.. but, bring your guitar next time.. with a little less Scotch, I might actually be able to sing a little better..

Posted by: Eric at May 27, 2004 07:33 PM

I'll do it! I'm certain that this won't be an isolated event. I'll even bring along my Little River Band CD. I think it would fit right into the repertoire.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at May 27, 2004 07:47 PM

aHA! Spotted the bullshit:

"the gentlemanly manner of my host"

Posted by: Harvey at May 28, 2004 11:35 AM

I KNEW you'd spot it! ;^)

Be careful though. The part about the arsenal was for real.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at May 28, 2004 08:47 PM
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