Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What a time!

Long after the sun had found its resting place last night, you could still hear the gunfire pops of fireworks. Occasionally you'd see a quick flash or two. America was celebrating its birthday.

It's always a happy time. I usually spend it either at the lake or the ballpark. But it was too hot for baseball and fell in the middle of the week this year -- so a lake trip was out.

I was up just after the sun and was rolling in my mom's driveway by 9 a.m. We went to Pigeon Forge (can you believe it? We hit the traffic just right!) to hear a 10 a.m. show by The Triumphant Quartet.

The boys used to be known as Integrity Quartet, but changed their name for legal reasons. It matters not what they are called. These guys can SING. They are without a doubt the best Southern Gospel quartet I've heard in the last 10 years.

Triumphant has what all successful quartets must have -- a dynamite tenor, a solid lead, a multi-talented baritone, a rip-roaring bass and a piano player who is out of sight! Oh, yeah, and those matching suits, too.

The baritone singer, Scotty Inman, is one of the best singers to pop up in Southern Gospel in a decade. He's young, only 24, but man, can he let it fly. His impersonation of Gospel legend Jake Hess is worth the price of admission alone.

The show was a hit -- solid harmony, old mixed with new and enough laughs to make it fun without going overboard. Pianist Jeff Stice even fired off a dead-on rendition of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date." That has to be the prettiest American pop instrumental.

When the group jumped down into the crowd to sing a medley of old-time hymns, folks were clapping along. A Halls guy even got to sing a few lines of "Daddy Sang Bass" with the group! He got so excited, he bought all of Triumphant's CDs. (They gave him a tote bag and a photo, too!)

Triumphant appears regularly at The Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge. For more info, check them out at

By noon, mom and I were scraping down pancakes and eggs at Flapjacks. Talk about service. We had our food in less than four minutes.

By 2 p.m., it was off to a friend's house for a cookout. We talked, tried to watch the Reds and Brewers, played with a one-year-old and just had a good time. That steak never tasted any better.

At 6 p.m., it was off to see an old friend who'd been sick. We had some laughs and enjoyed the televised Knoxville Symphony Orchestra concert from the World's Fair Park. It does me good to take time to enjoy music. It's healing. It's therapeutic. It's fun.

We marveled at the shuttle launch, shook our heads at the North Korean missile launch.

Driving home, I thought about another Fourth -- the year the Braves and the Mets got into that marathon six plus hour, 19-inning game in Atlanta. I'll never forget when pitcher Rick Camp tied it up in the bottom of the 18th -- with a home run! (Remember that one, Dewayne?!)

The Fourth is about remembering our Founding Fathers. It is first and foremost about freedom. It should always be a time to thank those who gave the last full measure of devotion and to remember those who are today putting themselves in harm's way.

But I think our forefathers would have wanted us to kick back, shoot fireworks, spend time with those we love and have a good time.

That's freedom, folks.


Blogger Dewayne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Dewayne said...

nothing, and I mean nothing speaks the to the greatness of Americana better than a Rick Camp home run! Do you think Rick Camp would have hit that home run in communist Russia? Not likely friends, not likely...

3:27 PM  

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