Barbecue Blues County Line Barbecue

In the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, the County Line Barbecue is packed this Friday night. I am on the band’s e mail list, and got my invitation via e-mail. Judging from a plate of ribs on another patron’s plate, on the bar counter next to me, the barbeque doesn’t sound shabby either.

The music tonight comes from the  “Radiators”, and they sing and swing with an upright bass, mandolin, lead guitar and vocalist. They play blues, country, rock, and even do a bossa nova for folks in the audience still looking for the ” Girl From Ipanema.”

This restaurant is the home of ” The Big Rib” and a huge fake rib hangs on one restaurant wall with a big sign above it. The rib is way too big for anyone to eat, and, by itself, would feed a high school football team, if you could swallow the plastic.

I also like the real Texas longhorns on the walls, pictures of cowboys and horses, and acoustic guitars signed by musicians who have played here since it opened. In the men’s bathroom is a poster with pinups of the 50’s that is nostalgic for guys over seventy..There is an unusual horseshoe chair in a passageway to a back dining room, and, in the front entry of the restaurant, a  “Love Testing Machine” only costs a quarter to test the strength of your passion.

In the shadow of the Sandia’s, the County Line is the place to be on a Friday night,enjoying a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and listening to tight four part harmony and popular songs.

Live music is always a treat and good barbeque makes it sound even better.

Barbecue and blues go well together and even though their marriage has been tempestuous, they would take the ” Love Machine ” all the way to the Moon.

 

 

 

Playing the National Anthem- Video LifeQuest Fundraiser Golf Tournament, Tanoan C.C., Albuquerque, 2019

The National Anthem is one of the most played songs in America. If you have played in school bands, military bands, marching bands, or are a musician who has performed at any sporting or public event, you have played the familiar melody since you were very young.

In America, individualism is worshiped, but so is big Government.

Most of us fall someplace different on the line that stretches from pure individualism towards the right end of the line to pure communism towards the left, in relation to how much government control of your life you want. It is no wonder that we shake our heads at each other, erroneously thinking we all fall on the same place on this  political line that crosses itself so often you don’t always know left from right. The tug of war between these opposing dreams describes our American dilemma.

After the National Anthem, some of us singing, the color guard marches off the putting green and we golfers all go to our assigned golf carts and roll out for a shotgun start to the golf tournament.

This golf tournament is a fundraiser for Lifequest, a group that mentors juveniles locked up in jail, believing that the Bible and good role models will keep juveniles from going back to jail after they serve their time and are released, often back into the same negative situation they were before they were incarcerated.

Regardless of where we are on any line, we all know mistakes are made and not every child has a home to come from, or a home to go too.

Listening to the National Anthem, I know where my battle line in the sand is drawn.

If politicians sons and daughters had to go fight in wars, we wouldn’t have so many of them.

 

 

 

Kid Sculpture Shopping area in the Fountain Hills Park

Art, in many localities, is given a budget by city hall. Artists are commissioned to produce public art for public consumption. Public art springs up in parks, in downtown open spaces near city halls, by busy streets and intersections. The art is most often not controversial and makes people think about something other than themselves.

This modest sculpture, of kids climbing a rock feature, is close to shops by the business edge of the Fountain Hills park.

The boys in this sculpture want to climb.The girl cradles her baby sister and admires a flower.

Boys and girls were never made to be the same.

We all love to climb, but we don’t all have to climb the same mountains.

There are plenty of mountains I can’t scale but does that make me less important than you?

Do women really want to put their men in the back seat of the car?

 

 

Just Statues Lincoln and Reagan

At the entry to the Fountain Hills Park are a number of statues, some seated on benches, some standing, all with commemorative plaques and praising comments at their feet.The figures cast shadows, some longer than others. Most of the statues are of men and most have been Presidents of the United States.

Presidents, as we know from watching those we have voted for, have lots of good speechwriters, lots of philosophy and confidence.They enter office with one mindset and leave with another. Leading the United States, on a day to day basis, is like trying to keep water in a glass that keeps springing holes. You enter office believing you can benefit the country knowing that half the voters believe you are aren’t worth the time of day. Presidents leave office hoping they didn’t have to deal with war, a disastrous Depression, or any number of calamities that come upon a nation. You are glad, when your term is up, to let someone else drive the stagecoach.

This morning Lincoln and Reagan look like old friends and it would be revealing to sit on a bench on a moonlit night listening to their stories about unruly cabinet members, hostile Congressmen and women, an unrelenting negative press, and military misadventures.

There are those who would like to cart these two men and their memories away, store them in a warehouse providing props to the movie industry,

We  expect far too much from our Presidents, and our Government.

This country will rise and fall on the efforts of us who will never have a statue of ourselves in a park..

 

 

 

Lone some George – Galapagos Tortoise Sculpture donated to Fountain Hills Park

Lonesome George is a famous tortoise from the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, many hundreds of miles off the Ecuador coast. He was the last of his species and died in 2012 at the ripe old age of 100, one of many species of living things to become extinct throughout the history of this planet Earth.

According to a recent television documentary, dedicated to George,there were efforts to find him a mate to continue his species, but it was a losing effort. Either George was too old, liked his own company too much, or just had those problems men get past the age of fifty.

How is it to live to a hundred years and be the last of your kind alive?

If George had had a video camera he would have been able to show his changing world. In his younger days, there would have been men in wood boats rowing to the island to collect his relatives for the soup pot. In later years there would have been processions of scientists with recording instruments taping wires on his back to follow his movements and record his vitals. These last days there were mostly noisy tourists with cameras and sunscreen, sunglasses and notebooks packed with observations..

George passed in 2012, and, in this local park, a local artist has donated a sculpture to his memory.

Lonesome George lived long enough to outlast his entire generation.

Whether he was really lonesome is something he never talked much about.

 

 

Greg’s Trio at Fountain, Arizona Pizza IS EXTRA

The occasion that brings us to Arizona is a live jazz performance.

Escaping Chicago in the winter months, Greg and Judy rent a Fountain Hills house, from a musician friend, and play every Saturday night at a close by Fountain Hills eatery. They are joined for the gig tonight by a friend from Seattle, Tom Wakeling, who plays bass with Lee Konitz.

The restaurant is full and Chadd, my jazz teacher, invited me to ride over with him from Albuquerque to enjoy Greg, Judy and Tom’s free three hour performance. It is one thing to talk about jazz, but the best learning is listening to players do it who know how it is supposed to be done.

The trio, for this job, plays standards out of the Great American Songbook, takes requests, and play tight, yet loose, in the small  Italian restaurant.

Their accumulated professional years ,of these three, nears a hundred and this is just one gig of many they have played in their hundred years.. How do you put a value on an art that is gone after it is played? They never play the same song the same way, and that, is something you can take to the bank. These player’s skill sets are not less complicated than those of doctors, lawyers, athletes, businessmen, but making a living is always tough for a musician. For all those who make it big, there are thousands of others working day jobs at the post office.

Even better, than the music ,is going out for an after closing bite to eat with the gang after instruments have been packed away and the Italian place shuts down for the night.

Jazz musicians, musical God’s that they are, still eat the same kind of food the rest of us do.

 

 

Grand Canyon State Welcomes You Building a shed

Henry David Thoreau got tired of his rat race in the 1800’s and retreated to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts to live a simpler life.

As a transcendentalist, he believed getting close to nature would get him closer to truth, wisdom, God, and peace. He built himself a little cabin on Walden pond, took daily walks, observed nature, documented his thoughts and daily chores in a book he called ” Walden, or Life in the Woods. ”

My road trip goal is to help Chip and Lori get a start on their simpler life in the middle of Nowhere, in Arizona, thirteen miles down a dirt road off a narrow two lane highway taking you from I-40 past Gallup to Show Low, Arizona. There are no ponds, but plenty of nature.

With 80% of Americans living in cities these days, the things you can’t do, in a free country, are astounding. 

The 20% of Americans who live outside city limits are an independent breed.These folks move to a different drummer, value individual liberty, work, helping your neighbors, keeping government at bay, They used to be everywhere, be your neighbors. go to your church, run for office. Now, they are scurrying out of the city as quick as they can get their resources together.

When all Hell breaks loose, do you really want to live in a city, anywhere?

Henry David Thoreau’s book is still resonating, a hundred and fifty years later.

I’ve heard, though, that even he would sneak back to town to have dinner with sympathetic readers and talk shop with Ralph Waldo Emerson  over a glass of wine and a big piece of the widow Smith’s award winning Angel Food cake.

 

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