Archive for April 2009

Chattanooga Conference/Sam Pickering

April 16, 2009

        I dedicate this post to all my teacher friends.  My mama was an English teacher.  So was my mother-in-law.  My old Chemistry teacher saved my academic life.  When I met him, I was only interested in guitars, girls, and pizzas, and he set me on fire to learn.  I’d never been a Doc without him.

          I’ve always had a weak spot for teachers.  From what I can tell, they deal with an enormous amount of foolishness for the privilege to guide one student out of the desert.  I don’t understand all they have to do, but I respect it.  I guess it is why folks like the English Professor and mrschili became blog pals right from the get-go. 

         In spite of a mischievous youth, all my old teachers have forgiven me, and now all of them are my patients.  I try hard to take good care of everyone, but I have to admit they are extra special.  

        By day two of the Chattanooga Southern Writer’s Conference, I had begun to learn the ropes.  I played my mandolin outside but then put it away for the conference.  A group of famous writers stood at the front door of the Tyvoli.

       “Are you a writer?”  one asked.

        “I trying but I’m still a hack.  I’m really a Doctor.”

         “What kind of Doctor?”

         “Country Doctor.  You know, one of those in the trenches blue collar working class Docs.”

        “Well, I trust you are not a hack doctor.”  He started to smile, and wiped it away with the back of his hand. 

        “Oh, no sir.  I’m an O.K. Doc, but I still pray hard about that gig.  I have all kind of respect for what can go wrong.”

        “What you carrying?”  another asked.

       “Mandolin.  Do you play?”


       “If you get in a jam give me a call.  I love to play.”  I handed him a card.

        I tossed my mandolin case over my shoulder, and walked over to Ms. Dorothy’s station. 

        “Hey Ms. Dorothy, I cut off my cell phone.”

        “Ssh.”  She placed one finger over her lips.  “Come here.”  She motioned for me to stop.

        “What is it?”

        “Do you recognize that man over there?”

        I looked at my program.  “Heck, that’s Sam Pickering.”

        “Well, aren’t you gonna speak to him?”

         “Gee, I don’t know.  He’s famous isn’t he?”

         “He’s a nice man.  Go get him to sign that book you bought.”

         “O.K.  Thanks.”
        “And don’t be too loud.  He’s taught English for years at University of Connecticut.  I just adore him.”

         Poor Sam.  I could empathize.  As a Doc, I have all kinda women chasing me.  They all want to know if I am taking new Medicare patients.   Sam’s groupies were middle aged Doctors and Aunt Bee types.   At least we had something in common.  

        “Dr. Pickering, would would sign my book?”

        “Sure.  Are you enjoying the conference?”

         “Yes sir.  I told ’em outside I was a hack, but I am having fun, and I’m learning.”

          He signed my copy.  “Keep on writing.  Don’t worry.  We’re all hacks.”

         “Maybe so, sir.  I’ve got a notion I am a whole lot more of one than you are, but bless you.”

        Pickering is an intellectual man.  After nineteen books, my guess is he has seen it all twice; made money and been ripped off, taught English and spun yarns, been famous and could care less if he’s discovered or not. 

           Even so, he took several minutes to hear of my dreams and write some good luck wishes for me inside the cover of his book.  It took me a while to figure out exactly what it was about the man I connected with, as our backgrounds are quite different.  

         After I read his book I understood.  My hope is my doctor story is as honest as his book ‘Letters to a Teacher.’  It is a straight-up account of what it is like to try be a teacher and a decent human being.  (And both at the same time)  

           Dr. Pickering treated his students with dignity and respect.  He was honest enough to admit when he was a young single teacher the girl in the front row was a knockout, but wise enough to ignore his emotions.   He told of the time he gave a smart-ass but true answer to a dumb question that cost him a job opportunity as a college President.   The guy has written a shelf of books and University Press essays, but he seems unimpressed with himself; the kind of fellow who’d rather mulch his leaves than pontificate about grammar rules.

         He reminded me of Dr. Danny Fulks.  Dr. Fulks dropped all the pretenses and formalities long ago and made his best effort to communicate with and teach young people.  Sam Pickering seems to have done the same.

          He’s a hard cat to find.  As far as I can tell he doesn’t have a web site or a FaceBook page.  A trip to MySpace only netted me a grunge rocker named Sam Pickering who had 17 friends.

        On the cover of his book is a quote from ‘Publishers Weekly.’  “Pickering’s odd timelessness- his ideas seem simultaneously old-fashioned and up to date….”   I can only hope they might say something like that about old Doc Bibey some day.  I expect Dr. Pickering would say not to hold your breath.  Often you are dead before anyone pays much attention to you.  That’s O.K.  I can deal with honest.

       Before I went in for the day, I went back to speak to Dorothy.

       “Psst.  Ms. Dorothy.  I appreciate the tip.  Yeah, he was real.  Me ‘n Marfar are going out to Signal Mountain tonight to play.  You want to come?”

        “Oh my.  Dr. Bibey.  I am most flattered, but no, I have another obligation.”  She leaned over and whispered.  “Dr. Pickering is giving a private reading at the Library tonight and I must attend.” 

         “Yes, m’am. Y’all have fun.”

          I took up guitar years ago in hopes of meeting girls.  That worked out good with Ms. Marfar, and I’m long since spoken for, but Ms. Dorothy confirmed what I have long suspected.  It ain’t the guitar pickers but the writers who get all the girls. 

        Hmm.  Maybe Dr. Pickering could use it as a motivational tool with his young male students.  At that age they all suffer from testosterone poisoning and it might be the only thing that gets their attention.

Dr. B

“Letters to a Teacher”  Author:  Dr. Sam Pickering

ISBN 0-8021-4227-3

Grove Press, New York


mercuhydrin, (or take two Lasix and call me in the morning)

April 15, 2009

        Years ago as a little boy I used to make house calls with my Dad.  He was a country Doctor too.

        Back then he treated a lot of congestive heart failure patients at home.  Times sure have changed.   Folks left their doors unlocked.  Dad  would go in and check on the patient even if no one else was home.  Most folks don’t have that level of trust now.

        I can barely remember those days, but I recall he would give them a shot of some kind of early diuretic called ‘mercuhydrin.’  He’d say,  “Son, we are very fortunate to live in these times.  I can remember when all we had to treat our heart failure folks with was bed rest and salt restriction.”

        When Lasix came out he’d tell the family if the patient’s weight went up a few pounds to give an extra dose, but if that didn’t work to give him a call.

         My father saw a lot of change in his time.  He used to gather up several retired Docs in town and take them to the medical meetings when they had gotten too old to drive at night.  I would sit in the back seat and listen to them talk. 

         One of them told of delivering babies at home.  A lady patient of his got into urinary retention.  (Doctor talk for can’t pee)   The old Doc realized he didn’t have a catheter in his black bag.  He went out on the porch to think, and spotted a goose in the yard.  He grabbed one and came up with a handful of feathers, skinned them off, then boiled down the quill and used it as a make-shift bladder catheter.  Ingenious, but I was glad I didn’t have to improvise like that.

          Not long ago I thought about all the old folks when I saw one of my patients who is well into her 90s.  She has heart failure.  For years I treated her flare-ups in the hospital, but after she turned 90, she set her foot down.  “I ain’t going over there no more, Doc.  Do the best you can.”

         It wasn’t a bad decision.  Every time she landed there she got disoriented and delirious.  Now she stays at home and is much more comfortable.  Per my instructions, her daughter weighs her every day.  They follow my directions to the letter, and if an extra dose of Lasix won’t do the trick, she comes in for an office visit.  So far, we’ve gotten her back under control every time.

         Last time I saw her she asked if I made house calls.  “Well, it isn’t considered modern but I’ve seen it done before.”

          “Well, I trust you Doc.  We’ll leave the door unlocked.  You just come on in if Sissy has to go to town.”

          It’s just like Dad said.  I’m glad we live in a time of modern medicine.  I can’t imagine life as a Doc when you didn’t have a way to help the woman.

         Before I go out there, I believe I’ll check to be sure I have a few catheters in my black bag.  I’m not sure they have any geese at the house, or that I could catch them if they do.  I’m not sure I’m quite as smart as old Doc.

Dr. B

Rodney Dangerfield Goes Literary (Day one)

April 13, 2009

        My wife let me out at the front door of the Tyvoli theater.  “Now honey, remember how your voice carries.  Don’t get too loud.”

        “Awh, Marfar.  I know how to behave.”

        “I know.  Just not too loud.  They’ll be doing some readings.  This isn’t gonna be a jam session.”

         “There’s always a first.”


        “Yes, ma’am.”

         I walked to register.  “Hey, I’m Tom Bibey.  Y’all got a package for me?”

        A teenaged girl manned the desk.  “Are you a writer?”

        “A wannabe anyway.”

        “You look older than your picture.”

        “I was afraid you might not let me in if it was too current.”

         She handed me my packet without comment.

         I found a bench.  My cell rang.  “Hey, yeah… Signal Mountain?  Sure….”

       A woman shushed me.  “Young man.  Read your bulletin.”  I fished it out of the bag they gave me at the desk.  Her gray hair was pulled back in a bun and she wore those little half glasses tethered around her neck by a gold chain.  She looked just like my Typing teacher at Harvey High and favored a stern Aunt Bee when Opie had done wrong.  Her steely blues stared me down. 

       “The part about no cell phones?”


         “O.K.  I’m sorry.  When do they start up the readings?”


        “Good, I’ve got a little time to kill.”  I think she wanted to kill me. 

        A younger woman came over.  “She’s not as mean as she looks.  You just gotta remember here in Chattanooga this is right next to a church.   The Tyvoli goes back to vaudeville.”

        “Thanks.  I’ll ge a good boy.  Sorry.”

         “O.K.  Just don’t do it again.  Two strikes and the Gestapo will eject you.”

        “Have you seen this man?”  I showed her a picture of my agent. 

        “Yes, I know him.  The gentleman will be here precisely at 1:28 without fail.”

       I read over the schedule.  Will Campbell, Jill McCorkle, Robert Morgan, Louis Rubin, Clyde Edgerton.  “Ma’am, I gotta tell you this gig is gonna rock.”

        “If you say so.”  She rolled her eyes.

        I was restless, and can’t stand to waste even a minute, so I got my mandolin out and strummed a few bars of ‘Roanoke.”

         My agent rushed over. 

        “Hey, boss.  This mandolin is a hoss, huh?”

         “Damn, Bibey.  You’re like Rodney Dangerfield.”

          “I don’t get no respect?”

           “I don’t mean it like that.  But you gotta realize this is like church.”

        “That’s what I hear.  Like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice it must be scripture.  You been talking to my wife?”

         He looked over his shoulder and waved at the Typing teacher lady.  She peered at us over the top of those half glasses.  He went over to speak to her.  “Yes, Dorothy, he was just saying how he needed to put it away.”

        “Dang, boss.  Everyone here so serious?”

        “Trust me, they know when to have fun.  There’s time to play later.  We need to go on in. ” 

        Soon I realized why they were so reserved.  This was a group with some serious credentials.  Natasha Trethewey came to the stage.  She was a pretty woman; nutmeg skin, a Tiger Woods megawatt smile and dark eyes.  “Dang, boss.  I sure would hate to have to follow her.”

        “Hush boy.  She’s a Pulitzer prize winner.”

         By the time she finished her talk I was near tears.  She recounted her experiences as a child growing up in Mississippi in the 60s.  Her mother was black and her father was white.  This made her, at least according to the rule book, ‘against the law.’  

        I always have been against too many artificial rules.  I had to speak to the lady.  I told her I had grown up white and male in the segregated South, and had every opportunity in the world.  “If I hadn’t amounted to something,” I said, “it would have been nobody’s fault but my own.  You sure have my respect.”  I can’t begin to know how hard it must have been for her.  Anyone who goes deep into their heart and soul to figure out how they feel, and then tosses it out there to see if folks will stomp on them or not has my respect as an artist.  (and as a person) 

        On the way out an elderly man asked what I was carrying.

        “Oh this is my mandolin.”

         “I’d love to hear you play.”

         “I can’t get it out in here.  It’s kinda loud, and this is like church.”

         “I agree.  A very distinguished group, indeed.” 

         “I’m gonna go out to Signal Mountain Opry while I’m here.  Come out if you get a chance. ”

         He smiled.  “I might just do that.  My father played the banjo.”




         “Enjoy the conference, young man.”

        “Yes sir.”  Maybe I had started out like Rodney Dangerfield, but hopefully I’d win their respect.  Dang it, when am I gonna learn to listen to my wife (and my agent) from the get-go?

Dr. B


April 12, 2009

        Every year at Easter sunrise I am reminded that none of us human beings are perfect, yet we have a chance for redemption.   Easter is all about grace and mercy.  For me the definition of grace is being given what I have not earned.  And mercy is not getting what I deserve.

        Easter Sunrise Service was today.  Indie always loved that service.  “Bibey, old boy,” he’d say.  “Every time that sun comes up, we’ve got another shot at it.”  Indie always tried his hardest, but never worried when he wasn’t perfect.  No human being is, but Indie got a lot of it right. 

        Mountain John played ‘Up From the Grave He Arose’ at the service today.  He came by the cabin afterwards, and we picked a few tunes.  “Wonder what Indie would have us play?” I asked.

        “I don’t know,” John said.  How ’bout ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast?”

         I laughed.  “Yeah, Indie would like that.”

        “One time he and I played it for a Girl Scout Convention,” John said.  “Indie insisted we call it by the Irish title, ‘The White Spire.’  Indie said little girls didn’t need to hear about no whiskey.”

        “Yep.  That was Indie.”

        We broke into the tune.  I’ll always remember Indie at Easter.

        “The only Perfect One died on the Cross, boy.  All the rest of us can do is our best.” –  Indie Jenkins

Dr. B

Indie’s Gone/Easter is Near

April 10, 2009

        I’m gonna be on a reduced schedule for a few days.  I have a funeral to go to.  Indie didn’t make it all the way to Easter.  Bless his heart, I think he decided to pass on so as not to foul up everyone’s holiday.

        I can’t find the words yet; I guess I ain’t that great a writer.  Jesus was the Lifeboat, but He sent me a lot of humans to help along the way.  Indie was at the top of my list.  Whenever I saw hard times, and I have seen a lot as a Doc, Indie was the cat who saw me through.

        Indie wouldn’t have us grieve long.  He always said he wasn’t one bit worried about how he might die; he was more concerned with living good.  He did that.

       Indie cut a wide swath while he was here.  If any Doc ever convinced me we were only human, it was Indie.  When I first gave him my manuscript to read, I told him I was gonna show the whole story, imperfections and all.

        He opened the box, pulled out the draft, and flipped through a few pages.  Then he took a draw off his cigarette and said, “Bibey, I ain’t one damn bit worried about that.  It’s a well known fact I have no known imperfections,” and then laughed out loud.  Indie was more comfortable with himself than anyone I’ve ever known.

        Indie went to church but he didn’t make it every Sunday.  He said he was a half-ass Episcopalian, but he always went to the weddings and funerals to sing.  He thought it was respectful.  He always made the Easter Sunrise service too.  We’d watch the sun come up and then go to the cabin.  Indie’d cook up bacon and eggs.  He always had a basket for the kids.  After breakfast he’d get out his fiddle and we’d play a few tunes.

        Indie was all about rememption and forgiveness.  “We’re only human, Bibey.  We can’t help that.”

        I’m not sure how we’ll get over Indie being gone.  I’m gonna start Sunday at the Sunrise Service, and then go to the cabin and cook up some bacon and eggs.  Marfar said she’d get a basket together for the young’uns, and then I’m gonna play a tune in his memory.

        Maybe he ain’t gonna be there, but then again I believe he is and always will be.  There was only one Indie, and in spite of his flaws he was my hero.

Dr. B

Bluegrass Youth Movement

April 9, 2009

        Last night I was invited to a jam session.  Marfar played some bass, and Moose Dooley picked the banjo.  A few of the old timers were there.  Wild Bill, whose straggly locks and tobacco stained snaggles once earned him a cover shoot with Pet Care magazine, sat in the corner, nursed a Mason Jar and stoked the fire.  Every so often he’d rouse up and yell “play something peppy,” especially after the breakdowns.

        Wild Bill looks the part, but he has an unexpected soft touch.  The man can be half drunk (a perpetual state) and pick up a baby off the sidewalk with a front-end loader and not get a scratch on the child.

        The night belonged to the young’uns though.  Put the rumor to rest; bluegrass ain’t just for old people.  There were boys in football jerseys and young girl friends with shy smiles and perfect teeth.  The boy next to me played mandolin.  He recognized me from some of our shows, and from years of hanging around jam sessions.

       “Good to see you, Doc.  Y’all still picking?”

        “Yeah, we get out some.”

        “Your boy doing good?”


          I checked out his mandolin.  It was a nice piece, but the action was a little high.  I handed him mine.  “Try out this one.  I had it set up by a guy in Asheville named Randy Hughes.”

        He struck a few licks.  “Dang, Doc.  This is butter.”

        “Play it  a while.” 

        They were all coming right along.  Most of them were high school kids, part of the Darin Aldridge farm team.  I’ve seen them around for years, but all of sudden they have learned to play.  Darin deserves a lot of credit; I think he musically half-raised most of them.

        At one point, the bass player took a rest.  I played it for a while, but for my forearms the bass is akin to wrestling with a weedeater.  The mandolin player in the football jersey handed my Gibson back to me. 

        “I like hearing you play the mandolin, Doc.  Let me tug on that bass a while.”  What a nice kid; it was a polite way to say Doc ain’t much on the bass.

        I used to stay up until the last one went home, but as I get older, I need to turn into a Doc at midnight and get some rest.  (At least on the week-nights)  If I don’t it just isn’t fair to my patients.

       “Guys, y’all are doing great.  Lord, Audie, I had no idea you could sing like that.”

        “Thanks Doc.  I’m trying.”

        “You keep working on a building, son.  You’re making me proud.”  I put my mandolin in the case.  “Y’all take care.”

         “Yes sir.  Come back.  You rock Doc.”

          I’m gonna do it.  Anywhere the kids are still kind (and smart) enough to say old Doc rocks is good by me.

Dr. B

Robert Morgan/Daniel Boone/Tony Rice/Tony Williamson/Doc Watson

April 8, 2009

        Sounds like a new bluegrass super-group, huh?  Well, no it is not that, but on the other hand these five do have common bonds.  And as a physician bluegrass fiction writer, I like to connect the dots between worlds that on the the surface might appear unrelated.

        Robert Morgan is an English Professor at Cornell.  He is an intellectual cat if I have ever met one.  At the same time, he grew up country like me.  I heard him speak at the Conference for Southern writers in Chattanooga, and he talked of his early days on the farm.  When they would plow they often turned up arrow heads and artifacts from the Native American culture.  It sparked an interest in history that persists to this day.  Some time back I interviewed mandolinist Tony Williamson for an article, and Dr. Morgan’s fascination with the subject was reminiscent of Tony’s love of the native people.

        Dr. Morgan’s latest book, ‘Boone’ might well be the definitive work on the life of Daniel Boone.  I am not an expert on the subject but folks who should know, such as  ‘Boston Globe,’  ‘Chicago Tribune,’ and ‘The New York Review of Books’ say it is, and I think they are correct.  His attention to detail was beyond impressive.

         I know y’all recall ‘Ginseng Sullivan’ from Tony Rice’s Manzanita album.  It is still one of my favorites.  You remember the line:  “A tote sack full of ginseng won’t pay no traveling bills.”

        Mr. Morgan had me riveted from the get-go but when he brought up the subject of ginseng I paid extra attention.  He told the story of how Boone gathered ginseng and took up it up the river by keelboat to sell in Hagerstown.

          At one point Dr. Morgan commented there was a legend Boone had taken fifteen tons of ginseng up the river.  That got my attention for sure.  I recalled Tony Rice’s words.  Ginseng is light.  Fifteen tons?  Why, that would have taken several modern barges, not just a few men in small keelboats.  

        Dr. Morgan went on to say he was familiar with ginseng and also realized this didn’t ring true, so he went to the record book.  Somehow he found copies of the original invoices on microfilm and the mystery was solved.  It was fifteen ‘tuns,’ a word at that time for a barrel, not tons.  It made sense. 

         And it made sense to me too.  This Dr. Morgan was the real deal, a writer who I knew had searched for the truth.  After the ginseng story he had my total trust.  It’s like Wayne Benson says about Doc Watson:  “When Doc sings, I believe every word.”  Well when Dr. Morgan writes I believe every word of that too.  A bluegrass man would know if a writer didn’t show the truth about a subject as important as Daniel Boone and ginseng.

          So if you like American history and want the true story of Daniel Boone, get a copy of Robert Morgan’s ‘Boone.’  I haven’t finished it yet, but the man took the better part of a decade to write it, so I am going to take my time.  Like a Tony Rice guitar solo or Tony Williamson mandolin tune, or Doc Watson’s  guitar and singing, or Daniel Boone’s long ago invoices, all honest work deserves proper attention to the details.

Dr. B

Contact info:

‘Boone’   ISBN-13: 978-1565124554

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year

A Shannon Ravenel Book

Algonquin Books

a division of Workman Publishing

225 Varick St.,  New York, N. Y.  10014

Golf Doc

April 7, 2009
        I have been asked for a picture without glasses.  This is the only one I could find.  I think it was around 2000.  We got sunburned in a golf tournament, but we won.   
Doc ten years ago

Doc ten years ago

        This picture is worth 957 words.
Dr. B

Clyde Edgerton and the Columbus Stockade Blues

April 5, 2009

        All us bluegrassers know the song:  “Way Down in Columbus Georgia….”   What you might not know is that author Clyde Edgerton (‘Raney’ and ‘Walking across Egypt’) plays the mandolin.  I saw it myself, so I know it for a fact.

        We have several of Mr. Edgerton’s books around the house, and I always suspected he was a bluegrass kind of guy.  Now I know it is true. 

        My Lit agent is a very smart man.  When he speaks, I listen.  So when he suggested the Chattanooga Arts and Education bi-annual convention for southern writers was a must for anyone interested in the genre, I went.  I was not disappointed.    

       There were many highlights, and it will take me a month to post all of them.  But to find out Clyde Edgerton is a mandolin guy was near the top ot the heap for me.  When he played and sang ‘Columbus Stockade’ and was accompanied by Mr. Louis D. Rubin, Jr. I all but fell out of my seat.  I dang near jumped up on the stage to jam with them.

        Mr. Rubin recalled his experience as an eight year old boy when he attended the last Confederate solider reunion in Richmond.  He described the train with 1,500 old gray-haired and bearded men who waved at the crowd as they passed by.  I am in awe of anyone who knows that much and can recall it in such vivid detail.  He is one of Mr. Edgerton’s mentors, and after this conference I understood why.

        Mr. Edgerton told a hilarious story about a Bible salesman and a cat you just have to hear.  If you want to understand what about Southern is universal to being human, I recommend you buy his book and read it out loud.  Too much.

         It hit me that bluegrass music and Southern Lit have a common denominator.  The artists continue on because they love it.  Every one of the writers I talked to do what they do because they are compelled to make their best effort to seek the truth by writing.  

         My agent always says you have to do your best to show the truth.  Well, for my money if Clyde Edgerton on the mandolin, Louis Rubin, Jr. on the harmonica, and the ‘Columbus Stockade Blues’ ain’t the truth about Southern Literature I don’t know what is.  They spoke my language and were fluent.   Maybe someday with enough work and re-writes I can jam with ’em.

Dr. B

Signal Mountain Opry

April 4, 2009

       In my travels, I always try to find a  good jam session.  When I stopped at the Mountain Music Folk School they said to go back towards Chattanooga and turn right on Signal Mountain Road.  Then go past the Fire station and hang on right in Fairmont; you can’t miss it.

        About the time I thought we were lost we came up on a parking lot jammed with cars and a building that looked like an old church that had been converted to a music barn.

        We walked in.  I asked the man at the soundboard if it was a stage show only or if it was O.K. to jam. 

        “See that American flag hanging there?” he asked.


        “The first door past that is the bathroom.  Go to the next room on the left; they’ll be jamming in there.”

         “O.K. for strangers to join in?”


         I walked past the stage.  The fiddler nodded to acknowledge me as a newcomer and motioned towards the jam room.  No one had the mandolin covered so I got mine out.  A teen-aged girl with a powerful voice sang some old time country.  A fellow wailed out ‘Sweetheart of Mine Can’t You Hear Me Calling.’  A lady guitar player covered the tenor, so I took the baritone; it made for a tight trio.  Some young man named Chris Rutherford played an excellent Scruggs style banjo.

        Most of the group went out to play and the teenagers (and me) were left behind, and I played on with them.  The girl singer had a fine voice.  When she did Ron Block’s ‘Living Prayer,’ I stood up, walked over her way and did some mandolin back up.  An older gentleman in the corner came over to listen.  “She’s on next.  Will you help her out?”


         We went through a couple of numbers and with no more rehearsal than that we were on the stage.  She did ‘Wayfaring Stanger’ and “Delta Dawn.”  She turned and asked if she should do ‘Hotel California.’ 

        “It’s not exactly bluegrass,” she said. 

        “Sure kid.  Play whatever you want.  I’ll follow you.” 

        We did the Eagles tune then closed with ‘Living Prayer’ we had worked up backstage.  I liked this young lady’s voice; strong, good emotion, right on pitch; easy to follow with a harmony line.  For fifteen minutes of rehearsal I thought we did pretty good.

         “What’s your name, kid?”

         “Megan Davis.”

           “Hm.  Seems like everyone I know named Megan can sing.  Do you know Megan Peeler in Nashville?”

         “No sir.”

        “She’s about ten years older than you.  She’s setting it on fire.  I’d keep a lookout for her work.”

        “I will.”

        We exchanged cards and e-mail.  She’s a myspace young’un and I am on FaceBook (I called it MyFace) I had to admit I had no idea how to text anyone on the planet, but I promised to get back up with her for a book store gig if I ever got my book placed in Chattanooga.

         I’ve got a notion I haven’t played my last gig at the Mountain Opry.  They all asked me to come back, and directed me to a table with all sorts of fliers for regional events.  Like N.C., Tennessee is strong bluegrass country, and these were fine bluegrass folks; friendly and hospitable.  I was glad I found the Mountain Opry.  It is a must for a mandolin guy wandering through Chattanooga area.

Dr. B