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Oceanside, CA to Macon, GA- The Last Waltz
Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA | Macon Bound!

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I landed in Atlanta a tick before 7pm Atlanta time.  I don't know what it is, but there is just something about being in the south that gives me goose bumps.  I was born and raised in San Diego, but both of my parents were born in GA, my mom in Valdosta and my dad in the booming metropolis of Ty Ty, GA (where the dirt is red, and the sun is redder- and hotter).  I felt like the roots guy, Kunta Kinte going back home.  My pink feet may be Southern California, but my soul is southern grits and bisquits n' gravey.  My uncle Jim "Big Chief" Wetherington was a pretty well known bass gospel singer out of Atlanta (with the Statesman Quartet), and I use to love it when he came to town so he could tell me stories about him and my dad growing up in Ty Ty.  I was always facinated, but don't think I could have lived there for two reasons- #1) I don't think overalls would have been a good look for me, and #2) There aren't many bikini covered beaches in Ty Ty, GA. 

Kellen Waldron
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Houston, TX

After "de-planing" I made my way to the baggage claim area to claim my present worldly belongings. Baggage claim is always a crap shoot for me, for some reason my bags rarely make it to where I'm going, at the same time I get there.  Sometimes I think my luggage is a free-spirit just like me and goes where it wants to go, when it wants to go there.  I rented a van as I was to help drive several people to Macon from the airport on Friday, but I was spending the night in Atlanta.  Another Jammer, Aram (pronouncd R-UM) from Redondo Beach, CA, was meeting me in Atlanta Thursday as well, we didin't want to be rushed to get to the show on Friday.  I wore my Charger jacket so he would be sure to recognize me.  I also was to pick up Patti (Chicago) and Kellen (Houston) for the ride down. 
 
So, I get to the baggage claim and the wheels start to turn as each bag plops down to the conveyor belt.  One by one they drift by, and one by one I say to myself  "that's not it, that's not it.."  While I'm standing there, intently pleading to the gods for the safe arrival of my luggage, I hear a voice, "Marc, is this you?"  I was so intent on the hypnotizing effect of the "round and round" conveyor, that I forgot I was meeting someone- it was Aram.  Aram and I shook hands and I asked him to join me in a prayer for my luggage.  We stood there for what seemed like a half-hour, and the conveyer suddenly ground to a sickening (for me) halt, Oh, oh..not again.  I had visions of my luggage sitting on a beach in Barbados, sipping on a mai tai.  Maybe flying on United, which was going into bankruptcy, wasn't such a great idea.  Maybe a baggage handler was stocking up on Bic razors, toothpaste and underware, or maybe it was a pilot?  Either way, I was officially luggage-less.

My Lovely Lady Sharon
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She did a great job minding the store while I was gone, Thanks Honey!

I get philosophical about losing luggage, it really doesn't bother me as it usually shows up sooner or later.  It just complicated things a bit.  Aram and I decided the best thing we could do was grab a bite to eat (what else would a couple of growing boys do?).  We were going to wait for Jane (Sacramento, CA) to come in so we could say hi, and there was a small chance my luggage would come in on a later flight.  We went to a little place in the terminal that- lo and behold - had a piano.  After dinner Aram sat down at the piano and played a couple of ARS tunes, right there on the spot, it was pretty darn good, too!
 
About 9-9:30 we decided to head out to look for a hotel room as my luggage was still missing in action, and Jane was delayed in Chicago (told you that stuff happens in Chicago!).  We picked-up the rental car after a bit of confusion (which was no big deal as I am often confused) and headed over to the Embassy suites, which of course had no rooms available.  We got back on the expressway and promptly went in the wrong direction, but somehow we found a Days Inn.
 
When we walked into the Days Inn the front door was locked, so we waited outside standing behind another gentleman.  A lady finally walked over and unlocked the door for the guy in front or us.  Aram and I stood there for awhile and visited, and the lady walked back over and waved us in.  The lady's name was Linda, and she asked us why we didn't come in when the door was unlocked.  Aram and I both looked at each other and said "heck, we didn't know you opened it for us, we're just visiting and didn't want to get thrown in jail the first night!"  as Patti Waner is fond of saying, we saw "Macon County Line,"  I didn't want some big guy coming up behind us with a shotgun and a big toothless grin saying (in his best southern drawal), "Boy's, you're in a heap of trouble!"
 
We did get a room, and asked her for directions to the nearest store.  She explained that there was a Walmart down the road a piece and gave us directions.  Since I didn't know if my luggage was going to return from god knows where, I decided I better get some toiletries, clean underware and a warm shirt or two.  Well, the directions we got were great, but we had a little trouble finding the Walmart.  I got to within 1 block of where I was suppose to turn and said to Aram, "this can't be it, we better turn around."  After driving around aimlessly for awhile I went back to the hotel to have Linda 'splain it to me again.  We eventually made it to the Walmart and I got my stuff, and Aram found himself some nice, warm, long underware.  He complained about being cold from the minute I first met him.