It’s called The Out Post. Every Friday night you can hop in and enjoy an evening of bluegrass with a gaggle of regulars wearing more plaid than you can shake a stick at. It’s the kind of place where old church pews sit next to old theater seats. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows each other’s business and if an audience member can’t hear the banjo, then by golly they will get up and fix the microphone themselves while the sound man shouts that they probably can’t hear it because they’re old and losin’ their hearing. It’s the kind of place where the women are pistols and the men know how to duck and cover.
I recently had the chance to visit while celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of K’s parents. Fifty years…imagine that. Four generations of people gathered for them. Our towheaded nephew stood on one year old legs, smiling and playing peek-a-boo just out of reach of every adult sitting by the aisle. His grinning cousin stuck his hand in the icing of the anniversary cake while they were trying to take a picture. K was stuck behind the counter selling chips and candy to the crowd. Little did I know I’d be drafted to end my night in the very same spot.
A woman with white roots and red hair struggled with her walker. There were pink tennis balls on the bottom of the walker legs. They matched her socks and the small boots embroidered on her denim shirt. We held the door open for her. I watched two old women and a young girl work the tine of a plastic fork into the tip of a reused mustard bottle. All three of them took turns, finally unleashing the BBQ sauce inside. Free sandwiches for everyone.
Three steel haired ladies bounce and wail to the music at their fingertips. They belt through the verses, but seemed to have forgotten to practice the end of every song. It doesn’t matter. The result is just as charming when they cackle and make of each other’s eye sight. They decided to break the rules of Gospel night and sang “How Many Biscuits Can You Eat”. They were a big hit.
Next to me, a plain woman with a clean face and thin, white hair folded her frail hands over one another on top of her pocket book. Her thumbnail was black. A slight man with thick eyebrows and playful eyes smiled at me. He tipped his hat with a very wrinkled hand. I smiled back at him and noticed an extra deer head lying on some boxes behind him. He passed around a blue donation bucket and flirted with all the women.
4 Pairs of navy suspenders
10 Gray perms
7 Pairs of overalls
The night flowed by, one song after another, group after group. Someone played “Wayfaring Stranger”, one of my favorites, so I stopped wiping down the concession counter to enjoy the music. That’s what it all boils down to isn’t it? Stopping to enjoy the music….