I woke up Saturday, May 1st, with that old Canned Heat song, “I’m Going up the Country ” on my mind. I was excited about playing later that evening at Southern Eighths which is about as “up the country” as you can get in Chesterfield County. In fact, it is so far up the country that if you pass it, not only will you be out of Chesterfield County, but you’ll be out of South Carolina.
The first time I went up there, I took for granted that I would know a world class equestrian center when I got to it. It was beautiful, warm Saturday in the middle of winter. A respite from the harsh weather we were had this winter. Kay and I were enjoying the ride, laughing and having a big ole time. I’ve seen the horse farms around Lexington, Kentucky so when I caught a board fence up a dirt road out of the corner of my eye, I whipped my old pickup truck to the left and headed that way, thinking that I had arrived. I grew up in town, although I spent a lot of time on my grandfather’s farm. Kay grew up on a farm so I couldn’t doubt her when we were down the dirt road too far to back out and she declared, “These are cows. They’re not horses.” I had to admit that she was right and I was wrong about this being the horse farm we were looking for, or even a horse farm at all. While I was turning around she was on the cell phone getting more detailed directions from Brad Turley (the owner of Southern Eighths), which turned out to be “keep on coming”. So we got back on the paved road and kept on going, laughing about the cows on what I had thought was a horse farm. After a while, and all of a sudden, I noticed a car right on my bumper from out of nowhere. I gave the car a chance to pass but it stayed right on my rear. When we got to a stop sign, the car pulled up beside me and I rolled down the window to ask if he needed help. The idiot driving threatened to shoot me because I turned around on his cow farm that I had mistaken for a horse farm. Cows, horses and board fences might confuse me but I’ve got idiots at stop signs down pat.
This past Saturday was a beautiful day. Willie Weeks played with me and brought along his girlfriend, Maggie. Kay packed a picnic basket and we went up early and had a wonderful time at the Heart Of The Carolinas Steeplechase Trials. We walked up one of the trails on the farm to watch Randy Boni working on one of his chainsaw carvings. Randy stays with us at the Spears Guest House when he is down from Tennessee. We visited with the participants, judges, and volunteers, a lot of whom were staying at the guest house. But the highlight was the riders on horses. A rider guiding a horse over a jump is art in motion.
We played for a fantastic crowd that evening had a delicious meal and wine tasting. Then we topped it off by playing around the fire late into the night for the folks camping on site. Thank you, Brad and Patti, for a great weekend. You have a great facility and you put on a great event. And one more thing, we didn’t see a single stop sign idiot all day.