Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wasting away a day in Evergreen

I've been a bad blogger. A very bad blogger.

The last time I contributed a post to this space, people were talking about Michael Vick and dogfighting, and that was so ... last August.

But I'm ready to blog my heart out once again, and so I wanted to tell you about the Evergreen Music Festival that my wife Gail and I attended on .... uh, I forget. Last summer.

This event is hosted every year by Ken and Bonnie Swanson, and that is precisely the right word. They host.

As barbecue is dished out from a row of long tables on one part of the lawn and kids and dogs chase each other around the Swansons' eight acres, a charmingly eclectic procession of musicians clomps up the wooden steps to a homemade stage.

Like bluegrass musician/singer Heather Berry, who sounds a little like Allison Krause. And Worm Patterson, who fronted his band wearing a white undershirt. And Jump the Tracks, a group of Longwood College students who transformed themselves from a heavy metal band into a bluegrass ensemble. And the house band, Deja Moo -- featuring, of all people, Ken and Bonnie Swanson.

The music went on until sundown. People brought folding chairs or sat on the grass -- except for Cheryl Lynn, one of the Swansons' long-time friends, who reclined in an overstuffed chair that had been dragged out there for her.

Deja Moo played blues, bluegrass, jug band music, country and "Twist and Shout." As evening fell, the surrounding crickets turned into backup singers.

If it hadn't been for the guy collecting money out by the main road through Evergreen, it would have seemed like a private party. But then again, all the money went to charity.

It all reminded me of stories I've heard about the Colonial days in Virginia, when there was nothing much to do on a weekend but gather all the relatives and neighbors at some central place and play music.

So remember this event next year, and give yourself a little time to find Evergreen. Then, once you do, give yourself the rest of the day. As a present.


David H. said...

I've noticed in the blogging world if I go a few days and don't post anything, or don't comment on other people's blog, people don't care anymore. Perhaps you could take the "Catching Up" thing that never caught on in the paper and add it to this blog once a week.

Bedford Hawk said...

Hi Darrell, I haven't been to Evergreen since a child more than a half century ago. Was glad you made it there, and the day must have been great. Oh, by the way, welcome back this Fall. I have two thoughts about Evergreen whenever it is mentioned. One is, on one terrible night in the 1950's the late Dr. Christian of Appomattox was summoned there by a family needing medical attention of some sort. Upon arriving and approaching the front door of the residence he was gunned down in cold blood. A Virginia State Police shoot-out occurred shortly afterwards, and I think the shooter was fatally shot. I remember my Dad taking me there to look at all the bullet holes in the house, and it was a bunch. (My Dad had a business relationship with someone who operated a store in Evergreen.) The second thought is of the late "Zack" Cheatum who had a horse farm there and always appeared in the harness division at area horse shows, usually competing against Johnny Arthur who lived at Timberlake and operated Virgina Body and Fender on Park Ave. Both of these gentlemen were very colorful folks when doing their thing in the competition ring. "Zack", as I recall, stuttered a lot especially when he became excited. He was short and round and very profane, (if my memory is correct), and a most unforgettable character even to a young kid. So, you've given me a possible reason to develop another memory of Evergreen, hopefully next year. Thanks