Only a month ‘til CF13!
My goodness, I’d better get my bags packed and Chromaharp tuned! Better dig out the fun-money envelope and hose off the hiking boots. You are gonna be there, too, right?
Now wait a dadgum minute. For the past how-many years, you’ve been posting like mad on Pax, the CF Message Board, and now Facebook, yet you have never caught the spark to actually come to the mountains―especially with all your Christyphiles? Of course, you’re listening to the guy who’s skipped out early for one emergency or another over the years. But at least I made it long enough to meet up with the nicest people in the greatest of places. Yeah, I missed Buck (Bob Allen) Ford after one-too-many rich and tasty desserts at the Carriage House. I’m still kicking myself over that, since his father Tennessee Ernie is always my companion (on CD) on long hauls. My apologies, Buck!
But you could’ve met Buck―and Emmy Hoskins, Catherine Marshall’s sister. And those Cutter Gap Cowboys: Frank Hoyt Taylor, Dale Dickey, Bruce McKinnon, Andy Stahl, and the most loyal and revered CF guest of all, Ol’ Bird’s-Eye hisself Mike Hickman! I know Bruce and Mike will be a-waitin’ for you this year. As will Emily Schulman―the cove’s rascally redhead Ruby Mae! And you gotta meet Lane Batot, who did much more than just portray Bonnie Prince Charlie in the gloamin’. If you enjoyed those critters throughout the Christy series, you can largely thank Lane. Law, does he have the stories! And you should watch those wimmin-folk swoon when he takes a dip in the Middle Prong on Mike’s Hike.
Not to mention the writers and directors and others who were vital to the TV series and Pax films. They all have unique and interesting takes and tales you’ll hear no place else than down at CF.
So, now, why aren’t you coming? Do you take life for granted? Do you feel there will always be another opportunity? Maybe it’s because I turned 60 that I’m grateful for each breath these days. Or maybe because I came through that wreck on The Tail of the Dragon (mountainous US-129) that I want to make the most of every moment and opportunity. Unless you’re already 60 or more, I wouldn’t wish either on you. As one of my collaborators often says, “Life’s too short!”
Grab that fun-money envelope! Put that Platinum Card to use! You can’t take it with you. And the government may end up taking it if’n you don’t spend it on yourself first! Five or ten years from this ChristyFest, you’ll be thanking yourself that you did. Maybe you’ll feel that way even later this year. Maybe even as you’re driving back from Townsend all dewy-eyed, humming some mountain or gospel or old-timey tune we all plan on singing with you.
Then you’d know the magnetism these mountains have on our collective and individual spirits. And the “Miracle of Christy,” to borrow from Ken Wales (who I met at a CF & with whom shared an afternoon with Mr. Abbott at the CBS filming site).
Come hear first-hand about the real history of the real “Christy” and the mission, about feudin’ and fightin’ amongst the mountain clans, and the music of Christy’s time. Come out from behind that keyboard and make yourself some real friends.
What more can a feller say? Of course, may the spirit of Bob Allen stay far away from me and my mule this trip. Yours, too. Let’s saddle up and ride. See you in Townsend. Or I’ll send Bird’s-Eye’s boys after ye.