ASSOCIATES (vol. 3, no. 3, March 1997) -

Table of Contents

                         *LIBRARY LIFE:
                       A COLUMN OF ECLECTIC RANTINGS*
                             Katie Buller

Road trips!
What do the two words above conjure up?  Being crammed into the
back seat in dad's '57 Pontiac en route to aunt Esther's?  Three
guys, a case of beer and a lot of Doritos in a 1975 Buick?  Or a
library worker who seems to be married to the interstate highways
these days?  Pick the last one and you've got a winner.
Over the last couple of years, I seem to have developed this odd
habit of arranging pet care in my absence and taking off for the
wild blue yonder on any given weekend.  Not that I can afford
this extravagance--I can't!  But for some odd reason I seem to
have embarked on some sort of a country music odyssey that is
never-ending and I'm not even that big of a country music fan!
Over the last 1 1/2 years, I have seen Pam Tillis, Merle
Haggard, Sammy Kershaw, Neal McCoy, Bryan White, Lorrie Morgan,
Ken Mellons, Terri Clark, Alan Jackson, Chely Wright, Jodee
Messina, Daryl Singletary, Ferlin Husky, Brenda Lee, Tim McGraw
and probably a lot more I just can't think of right now.  Some of
them more than once!
Why do this, you might ask.  Well, I might answer it is because
my roommate has big ideas but I'm the one with the car that runs
and where the car goes, I go.  So we're on the road, selling
t-shirts for a young country singer yet to sign a recording
contract.  In our journeys, we've hit Alabama twice, Virginia
once, Illinois two-three times, Indiana once and made a side trip
to Nashville one time to meet with his managers.
What does this have to do with libraries?  Not a darned thing
except it all involves time being away from one.
Nashville is an interesting town.  I'm going to bore our
Tennessee readers for a moment to give you my impression of
Nashville: it's got some of the strangest looking buildings I've
seen in a long time, it's hard to actually find a country music
radio station in Nashville without tripping over 2-3 oldies rock
stations, and Music Row is so narrow that one literally cannot
turn around in some spots.  The billboards keeping you informed
about the status of the hottest country music stars and their
ventures are every 10 feet or so.
Every building in the center of the city seems to have been
turned over to the music industry, no matter what type of
building it is.  Think that house looks just like Aunt Tillie's?
Sure, if Aunt Tillie happens to have a multimillion dollar
recording studio setup.  Hey, that looks just like a big tv out
there in the yard---whoops, no that's just Sony Records' little
promo box, where they put pictures of their artist-of-the-month.
Hey, is that really the Pentagon?  No, but it's just as big--it's
the Opryland Hotel, a city-within-a-city. And no, it's not really
shaped like the Pentagon.  I was kidding when I wrote that.
Being a Yankee down south is an interesting experience compared
to the frozen north, where I was born and bred of German,
English, Dutch and Native American stock.  In rural Alabama,
where I worked at 2-3 shows, entertainment-starved Alabamans came
out in droves, even in pouring rain.  At one show, the journey
from our hotel to the show site was a harrowing
experience--coming down the mountain, in the rain, going
around a curve to find a 1-lane tunnel right in front of us.
Like to take chances?  We did and plunged right through.
Luckily, there were no caravans of 18-wheelers coming in on the
other end or I would not be writing this prattle here now.
I spent some time at a place called Looney's Tavern near Double
Springs.  Looney's is not really a tavern nor are they looney.
It's actually a very nice outdoor theatre with shops and a
restaurant, situated on top of a smallish mountain, if there is
such a thing.  Sammy Kershaw was there and wanted to go fishing,
so during a pouring rain, the owners got Sammy a boat and backed
it down the mountain to the lake. A large boat, going backwards
down a narrow muddy road between some really really BIG trees is
an entertaining sight.  It took more time to get the boat into
the lake than it did for Sammy to catch the only fish he got,
which was too small and had to be thrown back.  Oh well, better
luck next time, Sammy.
Not all trips are down south.  I just came home from a road trip
to Clear Lake,Iowa, home of the Surf Ballroom, where I saw Paul
Revere and the Raiders for the 50-60th time or so.  For those who
may not remember, the Surf was the site of Buddy Holly's last
show before he, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper all died in a
plane crash shortly after takeoff from the Mason City airport.
The Surf is like a trip back in time--a REAL wooden dance floor
dominates the ballroom, which is lined with booths so tiny that
even Kate Moss would have to pull in her gut to slide into one.
Photos and drawings of Buddy Holly line the walls, along with
photos of the hundreds of stars who have appeared there over the
years.  The Surf is worth a visit again.
Next week, I go to Wisconsin Dells for a Sammy Kershaw show.
Wisconsin Dells, for you Wisconsin-deprived folks, is the biggest
tourist trap this side of Jackson Hole but luckily, that's only
during the summer.  Can I bad-mouth the Dells like that with
impunity?  Of course I can.  I was born there and grew up about 8
miles out of town.  But during the summer, it is a high-priced
paradise for kids and I recommend at least one trip there during
your lifetime.  One trip and one trip only.  Be sure to cash in
your life savings to pay for one ride on a Duck.  Email me to
find out what a Duck is, other than the web-footed variety.  Be
prepared for at least one Duck joke as part of the answer.
This year I have already hit the road--all right, the tarmac--for
one adventure out in California, where I went to a Hercules/Xena
convention.  Yes, you can laugh now, but I got to see Kevin Sorbo
and Lucy Lawless in person.  What have YOU seen lately that was
that gorgeous, hey?  I'll be heading back out there next week to
speak as a panelist at the National Education Assn. Higher
Education Conference in San Diego.  I already have trips planned
for the summer: St. Louis for a festival, Boston for a sci-fi fan
convention, Colorado to possibly appear as an extra in a movie
(yes, a REAL movie).  This is not to mention the probable
last-minute trips to country music shows for selling shirts and a
few trips to oldies rock-n-roll shows.
All this and more for a fat middle-aged woman who never even got
her driver's license until she was 21 years old. I'm tired just
thinking about it.  But am I bored...?
Not on your life!