The Mando camp is underway. I have had the great fortune of reacquainting myself with many friends I met last year, some of whom have returned from every point on the compass from around the globe. The number of Aussies attending is remarkable, thus this remark. France, Denmark, and Sweden are represented, too. I will meet others today.
The camp is being held at the Scarritt-Bennett Conference Center, adjacent to the Vanderbilt campus. It is astonishingly beautiful. Once it was a seminary, but now, more of an architectural museum to remind modern enlightened people that once such buildings were built out of a response to Godly inspiration which modern academics no longer find necessary, finding it even amusing; How quaint!! It is doubtful that God wonders about this, since God is well acquainted with the hearts of men, needing no instruction or reminders from us about anything.
The buildings on this campus are all Gothic in theme, and the arches and vaulted ceilings are all stone, not a facade. The vaulted ceilings support the roof. They are a wonder of craftsmanship and design. While they are no rivals for European cathedrals, they certainly are admirable to those who would stop and look at them.
My room is about the size of a monk’s cell, but this place was designed as a seminary, not like modern dorms full of electronic devices and room to store things, as things were not what this place was about: rather, studious contemplation. My next door neighbor is the effervescent Raymond Huffmaster. We have adjoining rooms that share a common bathroom. It’s notable to come so far from home to be placed in a room next door one of my best friends and mentors, who lives in the hamlet of Lauderdale, Mississippi, my hometown and nearest village to my own Porterville. I grew up in Lauderdale. I go to church there. One might say that in Lauderdale, neither Raymond nor I are unknown.
I never could misbehave in pubic in Lauderdale without either getting corrected on the spot, which I received and minded lest word get back to my mother. That would not have been good.
I do not travel lightly. I have with me two guitars, two banjos, one mandolin, two still camera cases, a video camera with flight case, work related items, my laptop, my duffle bag, my gris-gris bag, a coffee pot, etc. Debbie had asked me just how much more stuff was I planning to take. It was about a hundred fifty yards (Every bit of 200!) from where I was told to park to navigate the sidewalks around several buildings to get to the building that had my room. Entering the building and walking down the hall, my room was just about as far down the hall as it was possible to go. I made the better part of a dozen trips in a slight rain to get all my stuff to my room. After getting it all there, packed in the tiny monkish cell like Norwegian sild sardines in a King Oscar can, Raymond came in and told me to look out my window. I opened the blinds. He pointed at a white Chevrolet pickup truck parked there, not more than thirty feet from my window.
“That’s my truck,” he said, then swinging his arm around and pointing about 15 degrees to his left, he added, “and the back door is right there.”
Astonished at my lack of planning, I rushed out of my door, took one step down the hall, turned right and went down two steps, and was out the back door to his truck in less than twelve total steps from my room entrance. Standing in the parking lot, I felt just like Gomer Pyle, saying to myself and whoever would hear, “Well, I’ll be!”
I promptly made one more trip to my Tahoe to move it even closer to the building back door than Raymond’s truck. I did get a good workout, though, but thoroughly wet in the gentle, steady rain.
I passed by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher (ASCAP) building today. I am a member of ASCAP. They faithfully send me BOTH of my earned royalty dollars every quarter. I am thankful for that, whatever it is. It is actually not two dollars. Sometimes it is even less, though mostly a bit more. Anytime you have someone collecting money on your behalf and sending it to you, it is a good thing. Going to the mailbox and having a notice of a direct deposit of money into your account is exponentially better than having another bill to pay, wouldn’t you say?
Nashville seems to have grown 25% since last year. Construction is everywhere. It might be a good thing for Memphis to look at why Nashville is growing and it is not, though North Mississippi appreciates Memphis’s decline as it retreats to the South. Southaven and Olive Branch, Mississippi are growing about as fast as Nashville seems to be.
Of course, as fate would have it, I started running a low grade fever the minute I got settled in. That is the way of things. I will keep an eye on it. Perhaps it was all the schlepping trips in the rain that exacerbated whatever was already happening. Perhaps it is because of this 3rd degree burn on my left foot from a bit of careless lead handling when I was casting some bullets last Saturday (molten lead is about 650°F). Whichever, or neither, CLL presents itself with unexplained fevers caused by low grade infections that would not think of inconveniencing a person with a normal immune system. As long as they stay low-grade, it is only a minor discomfort, though the burn on my foot is a discomfort more than minor. I’ll take two ibuprofen and call myself in the morning….wait, it is the morning.
Morning or not, I must try to go back to sleep for a while. It will be a long, melodious day, spent playing music among friends in a captivating setting. What’s not to like?
I have profound things I want to write about, but they must wait for another time. I’m sure you will be sleepless with anticipation.
©2016 Mississippi Chris Sharp