Monday, March 8, 2010

That Cabin Fever sort of Tired!

Yes, I'm very tired, very tired, but it's that good sort of tired.  We've all experienced it.  Like after an extra special weekend at a festival you didn't expect much out of.  Like the picking session that went on into the wee hours of the night and you just have to go to work the next day.  Yeah, I'm tired and I'll just have to blame the "Cabin Fever Pickin' Party" for my weariness.  Being aware of this has caused me to take the Monday after Cabin Fever off just to rest and get my laundry and things done.  The washer is running as I type.  I'm not gonna take the Monday after Cabin Fever off next year, though.  Why?  I've got exciting news (for me anyway!).

On April 23rd, 2010 I will be retiring from my job with the Virginia Department of Transportation with 38 years 11 months service!  A lot of people have asked me what I'm gonna do after retirement.  I'll tell you now that my immediate plans are to sit around long enough to get bored.  That should take about two weeks.  Then I will begin the pursuit of Bluegrass in earnest.  I've always enjoyed traveling and meeting new people, so I will travel to places I've always wanted to go, with Bluegrass being an integral part of each trip.

I also plan to begin working on losing some of this terrible amount of fat I am carrying.  Since I am type II diabetic, my feet simply cannot stand the punishment of walking.  I love to walk, but it is simply out of the question, therefore I will be purchasing an elliptical trainer.  With this machine I can get the exercise I need from walking without the impact of slapping me feet against the pavement with every step. You see, I am wise enough to know that I can't enjoy my traveling to other places without the ability and endurance to walk around the national parks and festival grounds.  I will become smaller, albeit it very slowly.

Let's get back to why I'm so tired.  I've been anticipating Cabin Fever for months and i had my car packed and ready to go days before the day of departure, which for me was Tuesday.  I had planned to leave home at around 11AM so that when I arrived my room would be ready and I would simply breeze through the check-in procedure.  Like a kid on Christmas morning I was wide awake by 6AM and showered and walking the floor by 7AM.  What the heck was I gonna do to keep myself busy for the next 4 hours?  I have tons of DVDs and decided to look at a couple of them to fill the time.  I sort of made a mistake in my choice of videos, because I put Volume 1 of the "Best of Flatt & Scruggs" series.  I was twisting in my chair before it ended and gave up all hope of sticking to my plan.  I left home slightly before 8AM.  I arrived in Hampton at the Holiday Inn less than 2 hours later.  I was way too early to try to check in, so I drove back down Mercury Blvd. to the Cracker Barrel for my favorite breakfast of French Toast.  Still it wasn't yet 11AM when I tried to check in.  Now, I want you to try to visualize this, if you can.  I drove all the way around the Holiday Inn and there could not have been more that 15 or 20 cars in the entire parking lot and some of those had to be employee cars.  So I went inside and get a luggage cart.  I chose the only one that had knobs on the end from which you can hang bags.  I loaded everything on it and rolled it into the building.  As soon as the wheels hit the carpet I knew something wasn't right.  Both of the swivel tires were woefully under-inflated, or as I like to say it "damn near flat!"  It was a struggle just to get the cart up to the check-in desk.  I told the lady my name and, can you believe it, se told me my room wasn't ready.  There are hundreds of rooms in this Holiday Inn and there are 15 cars in the lot and my room wasn't ready.  So, I was forced to wait.  I took this opportunity to get my Banjo off the cart and pick and sing a few songs, making me the first person to arrive at Cabin Fever and the first one to pick and sing.  By 12:30 my room was ready and I then proceeded to drag this miserable cart toward the elevators.  Within a minute I was huffing & puffing and beginning to sweat.  Then this nice lady, a cleaning supervisor, came along and insisted on taking over my chore.  By the time we reached the ramp up to my room level she had had all she could take and called a man to push/pull the cart the remaining  distance.  Once unpacked I went back down to the lobby to wait for more folks to arrive.  Bruce Land was the first I saw.  Then his friend Willie came in.  Gradually by evening about 25 musicians (Including "Sarge" from Georgia whom I demoted to Corporal for the weekend.) had arrived and two distinct jams began.  Cabin Fever was under way!

Jack & Peggy Woodall arrived on Tuesday from Spout Spring, VA (You'll have to look that one up!).  It was great to see these good friends.  Later that evening Bill & Gertie Richardson drove over and the 5 of us went out to Appleby's for dinner and socializing.  We had a very nice evening.

Wednesday brought many more people and Cabin Fever began to shape up in earnest.  From this point on Cabin Fever begins to blur for me.  The days seem to all blend into one.  Oh, there were some exceptional jam sessions.  Sad to say I have allowed my Banjo playing to slip more with each passing year and I simply was not good enough to join in on any of them.  The best jams are the ones in private rooms.  This is true simply because the acoustics in the main part of the hotel are so poor that all of the music tends to blend together into cacophony that then becomes a roar.  I dubbed it the "Cabin Fever Roar."  The greatest difference between this year's "Cabin Fever Roar" and those in the past was the cloud of smoke was not present.  That in itself was a 1000% improvement.

All of these days blur together for me leading up to my late night showcases called "The Night Owl Concerts."  Everything went along without a hitch and for 3 solid hours those who were present were treated to six great performances.  For more about who played, please check out my previous blog entry by clicking here.  I tried to meet with each and every band member after each showcase to thank them for their participation.  Again a special thank you to each band who helped keep the "Night Owl Concerts" one of the most anticipated parts of the weekend we all know and love as simply Cabin Fever. And, to you "night owls," and you know who you are, thanks for sticking around until the last note was played.

The thing that puts the capper on being that Cabin Fever sort of tired is the re-packing of the car (Since a luggage cart is impossible to find, you have to tote everything to the car and those 21 steps down from the 2nd floor will take their toll by that last trip down.) and the drive home and then unpacking and stowing everything.  By then I am done in.  I've had a good night's sleep and yet I'm still tired.  Oh well, I won't have to take Monday off next year!

Please don't forget the final concert of the Appomattox Bluegrass Series will be March 21st at 2PM featuring the "First Lady of Bluegrass" Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.  I will see you there, won't I?  For more info from a previous blog click here.