I used whatever functioning neurons I had today to try to think of how to properly capture the weekend by the Chattahoochee River in, of all places, a “Bavarian” village. There is no way to capture it other than to say it was, quite simply, the experience of a lifetime.
Of course, getting out of Atlanta was the pits. When we got off the plane, we saw the signs pointing to “baggage straight ahead,” and the other sign that also said “baggage,” but it pointed to the train. We decided to take the walk, instead of riding. “Hell, how far can it be?” It turned out to be a two-mile, underground hike, which led us to an empty baggage carousel. After we stood around for about fifteen minutes, looking like idiots wondering where the hell our baggage was, we went over to the baggage office, where our bags (and my guitar) were waiting for us. That’s when I learned from the friendly guy behind the counter that the walk we had just done was “two mahls.”
Then, it was on to the Hertz counter, where it seemed like half the state of Georgia was on line to rent a car. However, unlike the people in Jersey, everyone on line was OK with it, and the people behind the counter were pleasant as hell. You really notice stuff like that when you come from a state where most everyone walks around with a middle finger at the ready and an attitude a mile long.
After bucking the horrendous Atlanta traffic, the trip to Helen was uneventful and even fun. I did, however, notice lots and lots of churches. I figure that any time ten people get together in the south, they build church. I also saw numerous Bush-Cheney signs, which was a refreshing change from what one sees living in a Blue State.
After checking in to our digs, we drove over to the place everyone had agreed to meet. When we got there, the bloggers were easy to find. They were the noisy bunch on the second floor balcony. After a quick introduction, Eric led us to the “bar,” which marked the official beginning of the
The Cast of Characters:
Eric, the Straight White Guy. I had spoken with Eric a couple times on the phone, so I knew his voice. Knowing his voice wasn’t necessary though, because there weren’t any other tall, red haired marine recruiter poster guys that I noticed. He had his custom Fender in tow, and it didn’t take us long to drag out the guitars. He is most definitely a party guy extraordinaire, although I understand he might be prone to slugging Yankees. Fortunately, I was spared (I think). I was also honored to meet Mrs. Straight White Guy, a lovely Scottish lassie, with whom I regret to say I did not get to spend nearly enough time chatting with.
Velocigod. You know how they often say that people don’t look like the mental picture you had formed of them? (I know, I know…You all thought I looked like Sting – sorry.) Well, it absolutely is true of Velociman. From his writing, I pictured him to look like one of those raggedy, sweaty, dirtbag, fly covered villains in a spaghetti western. I was dead assed wrong. The guy has the distinguished, handsome looks of a 747 pilot or the CEO of Exxon. His gentlemanly good looks notwithstanding; he is a gorilla-stomping party guy. I also watched him fling that cut-in-half ball, and I have to admit that there is no way I could have hit that thing. I believe he was also quite helpful in seeing to it that I didn’t do an ass-over-elbows going down the stairs after having sampled some of that amazing homemade Georgia “wine.” I will be forever grateful for that. Oh, then there is the bullwhip. Some scary shit, that. I also got to meet the Velociwife. She knows how to rock. I like her a whole bunch.
Acidman. What can I say? The guy is amazing. He has grabbed life by the balls and he’s not letting go for a better grip. It didn’t take long before he dragged out his Martin guitar, and we got to play and sing together. He’s damned good. If there is a heaven, I hope to spend it sitting around a table drinking, bullshitting and playing tunes with guys like him. I also got to spend a fair amount of time with him on Saturday afternoon in the Troll Bar (great name for a place for bloggers to drink), and he managed to crack my ass up, with one good story after another.
Dax Montana. Hilarious!! The guy takes no prisoners. Dax is the kind of guy I want on my side if the shit hits the fan. He came armed with some of his homemade Georgia wine (apple flavored), and was
sadistic generous enough to let me “sample” as much of it as I wanted. I think he ran that batch through his car radiator. It was a fine drink and he is one fine guy.
Denny, the Grouchy Guy from Atlanta. He’s another guy who doesn’t look like I figured he would look. He calls himself “old,” but he and I are the same age, and I look like I have a good deal more mileage on me than he does. He’s about as interesting as anyone can be, and don’t believe him when he says he can’t play guitar well. He picked up Eric’s guitar and ripped into a piece by Bach. By comparison, I’m a rock and roll hacker. He’s a great guy, and I am sorry that he left on Saturday morning. I think he had a bit of vodka poisoning. Must have been bad ice.
Recondo 32 and Georgia. Now, these are two super people. Period. About thirty seconds in, Recondo said, “Hell, for me a trip up north, is a trip to Atlanta.” It was one gem after another from then on. Georgia…she’s super. A southern free spirit, with a sense of humor a mile long. She was the one who stayed on top of Mamamontezz’s transportation problem when everyone else was getting oiled. Obviously, Recondo knows that she is a keeper.
Geoff and Gordon, the Dog Snot Guys. It appears that, at least for a couple days, the Jawja Bloggers did us Jersey guys a favor and moved the Mason-Dixon line to a spot just below Massachusetts, because Geoff and Gordon were the “Yankees.” We were the Yankees, but with an asterisk. However, they gave as good as they got. Good guys, both.
Mamamontezz. As you can see from her post, she showed up late on Friday night, so I got to meet her on Saturday. She’s a great person with a terrific sense of humor and general take on life. She was, however, drinking blue shit, followed up by neon green shit. It was Boone’s Farm. I didn’t think that stuff was legal any more. I got to catch up with her during our ride back to the Atlanta airport on Sunday, and I’m glad I had that chance.
Catfish. I believe I could listen to him talk for hours. He has a melodic drawl, with a Mel Torme type velvety voice. He was drinking the blue and green shit with Mama, and I believe that he also “sampled” the homemade Georgia “wine.” Excellent guy.
Key Monroe. She was the bearer of Sam’s gifts, so she (and he) bear some responsibility for my condition, although I don’t believe she could be accused of forcing me to “sample” the homemade Georgia “wine.” This is one fine looking Southern woman, with brains to spare and a constant smile.
Kelley. A real hell raiser, who introduced herself as “The Mouth of the South.” Kelley is yet another example of a damned fine looking woman. Maybe it’s the water down there. Than again, maybe it’s the grits. Kelley is the one who presented me with my ten souvenirs that I don’t remember getting. I’ll spend the next year thinking of a way to return the favor.
Evil White Guy. His blog is aptly named. He was the guy at the ready with a camera to snap my picture as walked out of the ladies’ room, wondering why there was no urinal in there. I owe him one.
Zonker. Zonker showed up on Saturday night, when we were all fairly well oiled. He came bearing a couple cartons of smokes as gifts, which were eagerly and happily accepted by the revelers. I lost track of him after a while. Then again, I lost track of a lot.
Blake, The Laughing Wolf. Blake made a special side trip to Helen to take a gander at the collection of misfits, and from there, he was headed off to the Scottish games. It was great to meet him. Sorry he couldn’t have stayed longer.
Acidman’s Buddy, Ken. I regret to say that he and his lovely wife are two more people I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with. I hope to see them again.
My Buddy and Bodyguard, Ken. About a month or so ago, when I mentioned that I would be attending this event, Ken said, “I’m going too.” He wanted to come because it sounded like it would be a helluva party. If Ken had not been driving, I would have turned the car around in that Atlanta traffic and headed back north. He also got my impaired ass back to our digs, and saw to it that I didn’t leave half of my shit at the motel when it was time to pack and I was still trying to figure out where the hell I was. Ken’s not a blogger, and I believe the only blog he had ever read was this one, and only then about once per week. I’m guessing that, from now on, he will now be regular blog reader now that he has met the cast of characters.
I don’t think I have forgotten anyone, but if I have, I apologize. I’ll have to blame it on that fine, homemade Georgia “wine.”
I would like to thank all of you for the kind words and your friendship. You guys are the best.
Finally, thanks for the wonderful gifties – the shirt (Eric) and the mousepad (Recondo). I already brought the mousepad to work, and I haven’t decided if I want to wear the shirt or just keep it to remind me of my excellent adventure.
Oh, and like it or not, we’re coming next year.