Sunday, May 23, 2010

A May Friday Night

Just where was I last Friday night?  When you look at this photo you might be tempted to think I was in France.  Mais non, I was in beautiful downtown Durham at the American Tobacco campus.  Durham used to be very well known for making cigarettes.

When I first moved here, 30 years ago, if the wind was blowing just right I could smell tobacco when standing outside my classroom.  The buildings are now being converted into office space and restaurants.
In the summer, there are free outdoor concerts.  Friday night's offering was one I was not going to miss.  The un-ex and I drove downtown, found a parking space near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (we call it the DBAP), set up our lawn chairs very near the front of the stage and went to Tyler's for drinks and appetizers.
Tyler's is famous for its beer selection... the beer menu is more like a book than anything else.
We chose hummus with vegetables and pita bread...

and fried calamari.
I do not know much about beer, but I discovered that Blanche de Chambly (the umbrella above) is a beer made in Québec.  I didn't try it.  Maybe next time...
After finishing our hors d'oeuvres, we headed back to our chairs.  The concert began promptly at 6:00 pm.  The lawn had filled up completely in our absence and there was standing room only all around the stage and lawn.

Mike Cross took the stage to loud applause by the eager audience.
I have been a fan since my college days at Appalachian State University.  I spent my summers working as a waitress at Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC, at the foot of Grandfather Mountain.  Mike came every summer to give a concert around the time of the Highland Games held at Grandfather.  PB Scotts, in Blowing Rock, was a domed building with a bar and a stage.  I heard some great music there back in the day.  That is where I heard Mike for the first time.
A few years later, he and his wife, Cindy, enrolled their son at my school.  He played for our annual benefit auction, an event I had never attended until that year.  Mike also gave a concert for the faculty, just to thank us.  At the end of that concert, I gathered my nerve and introduced myself for the first time.  I have no idea what I said, but I am sure I behaved like a school girl with a crush.  Mike is from the Appalachian Mountains, just as I am, and he is a storyteller par excellence.  He plays a mean fiddle, as well as the guitar.
When his son came to seventh grade, I was so disappointed that he was not in my advisory group.  What on earth was the 6th grade team thinking??  He wrote a song called Big Food Chain for the 7th grade Science teacher, and she plays it every year when she teaches that unit.  The kids tell me that she even sings it for them.  And she also never lets me forget that he wrote a song just for her.  It is from his album At Large in The World.   "... we're born, we live, we die and we're all food for one another."
My favorite song is Carolina Calling.  He tells the story that he and Cindy were touring in California and he was missing North Carolina when all of a sudden a light went off in his head and he sat down and wrote the song.  That song is on his album Irregular Guy released in 1993.
It was a wonderful evening-- beautiful weather, with lots of friends in the audience, even a couple next to us we hadn't seen in years.  And it ended with a big hug from Mike!  The un-ex says I could be his Courtney Cox (if you watched MTV back when they really showed music videos and you saw Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark video, you know what I am talking about!).
Bon appétit, Mike and Cindy!


david said...

What was the 6th grade team thinking?LOL! Well, you should have told us what *you* were thinking and perhaps you would have had Mike's son in your advisory!

PS Love the blog! :-)

The Sabbatical Chef said...

Uh-oh... the 6th grade team leader caught me fussing.
Glad you read, Señor!