Monday, May 11, 2009


I Heart Buffett Concert Week

We Parrotheads know how to start early and finish late.

When I was a kid growing up in New Mexico, there were a few days I really dug, and looked forward to all year. Christmas, of course, a no-brainer. The last day of school. First football game. My birthday, naturally. And then there was the first week of September - the week that the Eastern New Mexico State Fair opened. It was a mega-huge day for kids, because they actually gave us the day out of school to go to the parade and the first day of the fair. A kid could decorate up his bicycle and actually enter the parade - ride that sucker right down the middle of Main Street, baby! No helmet, gloves, or knee pads required!

Forty-plus years later, I can still clearly remember the anticipation, the excitement, and the energy of the days leading up to the big show, surpassed only by the sounds and smells of the fair itself. Carnies barking, music playing, bingo callers shouting out numbers, big diesel engines spinning up "The Bullet" and "The Round Up" into screaming, pants peeing fear and excitement, and the PA announcer at the rodeo calling out who just got thrown from a saddle bronc. I can still smell the stock barns (which you can turn your nose up to, but it just smells like home to me), the burning diesel fuel, delicious cotton candy and popcorn, and of course the savory, sizzling smell of the Kiwanians grilling those delicious burgers over by the Bingo tent, near the Commercial Exhibit building. Who knows, maybe this will be the year I snag a kiss on the haunted house ride, or under the bleachers at Coca Cola Field Man, what I wouldn't give to relive Fair Week one more time before taking that big dirt nap in the sky.

It's been said that "you can never go home again." True enough. I know if I went back there, it wouldn't be nearly the same. It would be too loud, dusty, annoying, and small, even though it seemed so gigantic when I was a 12-year-old. It's better that the fair just lives in my memory, where it still exhilarates me in my middle-ageness.

But guess what? I'm a Parrothead! I have Buffett Concert Week! That same excitement and anticipation, the same exhilaration all week long, looking ahead to the big show! I'll take the day off, just like when I was 10. I'll hang out at Margaritaville all morning, sipping a few adult beverages, palling around and palying grabass with Wayners, Steve-O, Rick and the rest of the kids. Wondering if maybe my special girlfriend will give me a secret kiss in that big dining room sailboat. Parade? You bet! All around the parking lot of Cricket Pavilion will be one big parade of suntan-oiled, Margarita-mixing, shot luge riding, grass skirt wearing, flag waving, fin waving, crustacean and cheeseburger eatin' Parrotheads. Hell, there'll probably be as many folks in the parking lot as in my whole home town!

Are you feeling it now? Maybe just a little? Yeah, I thought so.

Meet me at Margaritaville!


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