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WSM...Grand Canyon Memories...and Viet Nam Series

Back to a semi-normal day.



I got a last second text from Charlie Mattos Sunday evening at WSM wanting to know if I was available to come in and fill in for Hall of Famer Bill Cody at WSM yesterday morning?  I was...and I did.  Always a pleasure to work with Charlie and for that Grand Ole Opry radio station.  Thanks to all of you who listened in yesterday morning at wsmonline.com






I still could feel the train moving as I sat in the WSM studios yesterday after wrapping up my 5 days singing on the Grand Canyon Railway.  After I completed last Friday's blog I boarded the train for one last trip up and back to the canyon and then had dinner at the Wild West Junction in Williams to say goodbye to my musical friend John Carpino who helped make this happen and to John Moore who books the train and say "yes" to me coming out and trying the train on for size. 


I made a new musical family out there with all the other entertainers on the train...and certainly if Mayor John will have me back...I most certainly would do this again.  John has been a sheriff, Mayor, the sheriff shooting bad guys in the pre-show before the train leaves the station each morning in Williams...and he's been on board to arrest the notorious Cataract Gang that robs the choo choo daily.  If you ever go...it's highly doubtful that you won't run into John who owns the Wild West Junction where I bedded for the week.  He knows no strangers.


I certainly enjoyed the cooler weather in Williams...higher elevation.  Sitting outside in the evenings for dinner and drinks and hearing music off the front porch of the old Western Saloon there was comfortable and entertaining.  Two or three of the guys picking on the train...make a full time living of it.  I can see why.  This experience was truly one for the books...speaking of which...I read my friend Roger Naylor's book about the Kolb Brothers on my trip back home to Nashville that started in Phoenix with a 5 AM flight Saturday morning.  It's a great book about those daredevil brothers who were the early explorer-photographers of the Canyon.  I learned a lot about them and the history of the Grand Canyon on way home.  Good to see my old friend down in Cottonwood again and his wife...and getting to hike in beautiful Sedona one day.


So...I'm back in Nashville...but already making plans in my mind to go back again someday and do this all over again.



There were of course tourists from all over the world riding the train I sang on...great folks.  Several were from Florida...some from Houston who have dealt with the hurricanes which made for interesting conversations on the rail.  And just about the time you think it's over...here comes Maria slamming into Puerto Rico and maybe Florida before she's done.  Geez.  My writing assignment for my parody song yesterday from New York was to re-write "My Maria" by Brooks and Dunn for this hurricane.  Once again...I'm hoping for the best for those folks in the Caribbean and Florida.  By now they must be weary of the phrase "hunker down".



Gas prices are starting to drop a little now that the tankers have gotten back to Houston.  And experts here are predicting a much more colorful Fall in Tennessee than the one that we had last year.  I'll take both of those things please.  And even though we've been in the upper 80's the past few days...I can tell Fall is close because our little family of deer we see all the time in our yard have grown up...and a couple are sporting new racks on top of their heads.


I did see some Mule Deer in Arizona.  And elk...lots of elk out there...and one ole coyote.  One guy in Williams was lucky he said and got a permit to hunt elk this year.  Thousands apparently enter a lotto drawing as only a few permits are given out each year.  A very prized winning ticket for local hunters out there...of which there are many.  With deer and elk season sneaking up...those guys are hearing "hunker down" too.



They actually hold the "World's Largest Coon Hunt" every year in Parsons, TN.  I remember my Grandfather doing that.  I went one night...lights on heads...hounds baying in the trees.  Tromping through the woods...just to get a coon.  It's not my thing for sure...and...there's no need for me to do that since they show up at my garbage can here on a regular basis.  And now that I think about it...I don't know if I've ever gone to the "World's Largest"....anything.  I was part of trying to set a Guinness Record once for most people doing the Macarena dance but that's another story.



A guy here close to us put a sign in his yard that said "free house".  The catch?  You have to move it off his property.  One guy did just that.  I'm keeping my eyes open for a big ranch motoring it's way down I-40 today. 



I'm taping the Ken Burns documentary on Viet Nam.  It's excellent even after seeing only the first two episodes.  I've already learned a lot of things I did not know about what would have been my war had I not been college exempt.  I had totally forgotten that John F. Kennedy was the first of several President's who sent our guys over there in an attempt to stop communism from overtaking Indochina.  If you like history at all...you may want to tape the series yourself.  I'm glued to it right now.



Toys R Us just declared bankruptcy?  Hard to imagine.  I guess not as many folks want a set of Pick Up Sticks or Tiddlywink games anymore.  I'm thinking computers an cell phones and online games have a lot to do with this.  "head up our apps" as I like to say.







It's true.  Women cry more than men.  Twice as much.  In a lifetime women will cry 4,680 times according to those who are counting apparently.  Now...some of those are happy tears of course...but I'm guessing some of the other tears are about the men they married.  Maybe.  I wrote a song called "I Will Not Cry Over You" with Jenny Tolman here in town (who's first single is out this week).  In the song Jenny added the line about crying over "stupid high heel shoes".  That's how bad it is!  It was a learning experience for me. 



How about the wrist band that lets you text just using your thoughts?  A start up company is getting ready to roll that bad boy out.  I saw. a great 60 Minutes piece a long while ago where they were showing patients with an artificial arm or leg and they were able to will those to move the same way.  Of course it's more complicated than I could ever explain...but that is pretty amazing stuff there boys and girls.  I'm pretty sure that I'll live long enough to be able to look at my Big Screen and have it change channels from one football game to another just by thinking it.  Tell me technology is not a great thing!



A day of catching up on the pile of catching up stuff on my desk that happens when you be gone a week...a little writing...and a little prepping for a baseball trip tomorrow with some friends.  More on that in tomorrow's blog.


Have a great Tuesday!


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