Sunday, October 10, 2010

A slice of Appalachia

The long timers say the crowd was off this year, but what a perfect afternoon to come home.

I eased into the field beside John Rice Irwin's home about half past 11. Couldn't spot one cloud. But you could drown in that blue, boy.

They've been holding this homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia for a lotta years now. Folks come from all over. Forty-two of the 50 were represented this year, as were several foreign countries.

Stopped to listen to a stream of mountain music. Somebody was singing Merle Haggard's "What Have You Got Planned Tonight Diana," one of his forgotten singles, while I watched a soda jerk shoo yellow jackets away from his cold drinks.

"They haven't been bad until today," the man said of the four-day festival. "So, I guess that's pretty good."

I noticed a cup of soda sitting by itself near the barrels of pop.

"I gave them their own drink, but they don't want any of it," the man said.

A little while later, Paul Williams and the Victory Trio began belting out bluegrass gospel, so I moved over next to the barn, concentrated on a Coke, and offered up an ear. Could have listened to that all afternoon.

Sat down on a log to finish my Coke. Some guy from down the street was feeding his granddaughter chocolate ice cream.

"I guess I'm getting old," somebody said.

"There's no getting to it for me," the man replied. "I'm already there."

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver were finishing up a set when I walked back to my car, sweet tea in one hand, bag of goodies in the other. Didn't feel too well, but a slice of Appalachia made me forget all about it.

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