Thursday, October 15, 2009
A visit to Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis has always been a special place for us to visit for a number of reasons. You will find the dining is great as Memphis has the best bar-b-q pork in the world...sorry Texas...sorry St. Louis...but there is excellent bar-b-q every couple of blocks here. We have had many favorites but Mrs. Paine’s on Lamar Avenue in down town and the ever-popular Central bar-b-q on Central Avenue in mid-town have got to be at the top of our list.
This trip was particularly neat because after over six years of missing him one way or another...we finally got Kim Roberts number one guy, Steve to do a portrait of us. He is a very gifted photographer that has been in the area for years. He has had the opportunity to make images of many a musician. You need but pick up a copy of RSVP magazine to see his work. I think he brought out the very best in Pat and I. It was a bit of insanity that made me strike a poise for the “Hemmingway” look in the image on the right. Oh well...I guess it was one of those things that I just had to do at least once. Please visit his website and seek him out if you ever find yourself in his hometown. http://www.steverobertsphoto.com/biography/index.php
And as always...The National Ornamental Metals Museum is a must see on any trip that gets near Memphis. Tucked away under the "Old Bridge" is a small collection of buildings from an old Veteran's Army hospital. These were set aside and restored to house a very special collection of people, talents and metals arts. Although the main focus is on heavier ornamental forged and cast metal pieces the grounds feature a wide and constantly changing array of metal sculptures. With the mighty Mississippi River rolling on just down the embankment as a backdrop, it is hard to find a more beautiful and spectacular setting at sunset.
The second week in October has always been "Repair Days" at the Metals Museum a moment (okay…it’s really a three day weekend that often gets stretched into four days) each year when metal artisans come from all over the country to “camp out” on the campus and repair items that the general public brings in. This rag tag army of volunteers works to the mantra that they will fix anything at all “but cats...cars and broken hearts”.
It rained this year…it always does…but you couldn't have found a more heart-warming group of people if you tried. On Saturday night after a hardy meal and toasts to the ones that were not there, the restraints came off and spirit of the weekend came to a crescendo during the live auction. Holly Fisher of Smartshop Metal Arts Center, Kalamazoo, MI was the main auctioneer you can see her as the “iron queen” in this image. She is always a big hit and can easily whip the audience into a frenzy with her quirky nature and sharp wit. She seems to always have just the "right" thing to say about each item. But even this seasoned crowd was temporarily taken back...you see the bidding had slumped for a moment and the tempo needed to be recaptured...Holly off-handedly suggested that “Logan” take off his shirt to model a stunning hand woven silver necklace that was on the block. Well he
did…and the necklace received a very nice bid…but it took a few moments for some of us to…shall I say…catch our breath. I must say after all these many years of attending "Repair Days" I am still not totally prepared for the goings on. Later there was what has got to be one of the largest preparations of the dessert “bananas foster” that I have ever seen to top of the formal offerings for the evening. That by no means that anyone "camped" on the grounds really retires. The party just breaks down into many smaller groupings. So as the crackle and snaps of the several impromptu campfires send columns of “stars” into the night sky another “Repair Days” began to wind down. Did I mention it was a weekend like this about fifteen years ago that made me realize that I needed to learn more about blacksmiths and the iron arts? Jewelry by itself was never going to be enough again.