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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

HOME SWEET HOME..


  •  

  • ….WITH LOTS TO DO!
Sept 13/15
In the coming days after the tour, we began to focus on other things. For me, it was
mainly to get what work done on Charlane that I thought we needed to prioritize. That
meant getting a fence built around our duck pond (to keep out the deer and hogs after
we plant it); site prepping some of the Bullard Tract so we could get some of it planted
this coming season; mowing our woods roads; taking down any dead trees that we
wanted to saw up; working with Emmitt Shurling on various projects on our buildings;
planning for staining our horse pasture fences; spraying herbicide in several areas at
Charlane and several other projects. It also meant getting our schedule together for the
coming months. I managed to book some good work. Karl Denson had invited me to do
two gigs with him...one at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY on Sept 11 and the
next day at the Lockin’ Festival. Both of these would be for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
(with special guest Chuck Leavell). Widespread Panic was also to play Lockin’ and
eventually asked me to join in on their set with Jimmy Cliff as a special guest the same
night of Karl’s gig.
I also booked several speeches...the first would be on Sept 21 for the US Industrial
Pellet Assn. in Miami. After that, on Sept 24 I would keynote for the Colorado Open
Lands Trust in Denver. Then Oct 6 in Lake Tahoe for SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiate).
I also booked a conference called Fortune Brainstorm E (for “energy) in Austin, Tx. I will
play a short 30 min set with he band (Randall Bramblett Band) and then Joel Babbit and
I will be interviewed on stage by Brian Dumaine, the main moderator of the conference.
That would focus on our work with the Mother Nature Network. Oct 1 would be a 45
minute solo gig at the Idle Hour Country Club. Buck Williams also booked me a show
with Randall and band at Chastain Park in Atlanta on Oct 16. All these speeches and
music appearances would be nice lucrative income for me, helping us to get through
until our quail season starts in late October. Also....since Ashley is pregnant, Rose Lane
and I decided we would fly up to see her and Peter for a few days in Manchester right
after the Chastain show. So there would be plenty to keep us busy.
Relaxing In Rosie World
Rose Lane has been diligently working to book our quail hunts for our various
clients....the Stones had asked us to keep late Jan-end of March on hold as a possible
South American tour...so we would prioritize our most important clients to come before
late Jan. Finally, around Sept 8 or so, we got word that the tour is on. So now at least
we know the parameters and can work with more accuracy on dates. We will be leaving
around Jan 18 or so....which is just after Ashley’s due date...so I’m just hoping that she
will have that baby when I’m here!
The shows with Karl Denson went really well. The Capitol was not sold out...maybe
about 60%, but it was a fun gig. My partner in IROCKU, Howard Citron, brought a group
to the show there, and it was good to see him. The Lockin’ Festival with Karl also went
well, although there were some sound problems with the monitor system. I hung around
to play with Widespread Panic with Jimmy Cliff as a special guest. We did 6 songs with him.
     
The Harder They Come D
Many Rivers to Cross F
You Can Get It If You Really Want D
Sitting in Limbo D
Guns of Brixton (Gm)
I Can See Clearly Now D

I also did ”Stone Me“ with Widespread before before Jimmy came on. There was quite a
crowd attending...maybe 20K or so. Other artists on the bill included Derek Trucks and
Susan Tedeschi; Robert Plant; The Jayhawks; Gov’t Mule and others.
Lena Rosaline Denson White with Rose Lane

With all this on the books, another ongoing focus had been on Rose Lane and Alton's
mother. Her health, both mental and physical, had been in decline for a good year or so.
By this time, she was really in bad shape. So much so that we had Hospice
involved...they helped to get her a nurse that would check on her most every day in her
home...she was basically confined to a hospital bed that they had provided. Hospice also
assigned a Doctor to her....although it was the nurse and the sitters that were with her
every day. Rose Lane and Alton both spent as much time as they could with her, but she
had become unresponsive by early to mid September...and she passed away the morning
of Sept. 17 at age 92. She fought the good fight, but it had just become too much and she
finally let go. Along with the grief of losing her, there was relief in knowing her journey
had come to an end. The service for her was well attended and we laid her to rest in the
cemetery of New Richland Baptist Church where we laid her husband, Al, so many
decades ago...in '72, I believe. In the following days, weeks and months there would be
much for Rosie and Alton to deal with...the Estate, deciding where some of the furniture
and other belongings would go, Probating the Will....all of that. Rose Lane inherited
around 400 or so acres in a couple of different tracts, which we will attend to probably
next year in terms of thinning some timber. Alton inherited her house and maybe double
the land...but all of that had been determined many years ago so they both knew the
situation. Alton and Rose Lane both handled the whole event with grace, love and
togetherness. Time passages...

The trip to Manchester was most enjoyable...a nice getaway, and the leaves were just
hitting peak colors. We had a nice stay with Ash and Peter...helped them put together a
new baby bed and some other furniture in the house. Their house is pretty much done,
with some things still to be finished...but the focus was definitely on the upcoming birth
(she is due Jan 15) and getting the baby room in order.
Upon our return, I set my mind mostly to Charlane hunts, a timber thinning that we had
going on on around 100 acres or so, and the site prepping of the Bullard Tract that we
would plant about 70 acres of Longleaf Pine on. All of that went really well....until I had
a most unfortunate accident. I was doing some final mowing of the tract when my John
Deere 4240 caught on fire. I was by myself and there was no fire extinguisher on the
tractor. Within about 3 minutes it began to flame up significantly and within 6 or 7
The Burning Tractor
  • minutes there was nothing to be done. Chris Gordy, who was supervising the actual
planting, was driving by and ran to try and help...as did Alton, who was also passing by. I
had called Hal Hamilton quickly, and he got there as soon as he could with one of my
four wheelers with a water tank on it...and Alton had a fire extinguisher. We managed to
save three of the tires, but that was about it. A total loss....and it was not insured. Oh
well...I loved that tractor...it was my real workhorse. 110 horsepower, and very tough. I
had just bought a new starter for it to the tune of $350 or so...and only a couple of months
prior had bought a new rear tire for it. So now I have to see what can be salvaged from it
and just move on. I don't know if I'll have the time and money to buy another similar
tractor before our upcoming South American tour...probably not. But I'll deal with it as
best I can.
Our hunts have gone really well so far...fun repeat clients for the most part, but one or
two new ones...with everyone enjoying their experience, and I expect most of them will
continue to patronize us in the coming years. Our staff have it down quite well now and
things have run very smoothly. We've also managed to get some hunts on the books while
we will be gone....which is good as it will keep our staff busy and create some income.
I got a call from my friend Warren Haynes in late Nov to invite me to be a special guest
with his band Gov't Mule in NY at the Beacon Theater on New Years Eve...and I
accepted. Not long after, Buck Williams called to say that a couple of days before that,
Widespread Panic would invite me to guest with them at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. So
that worked out nicely and I booked both gigs. I was given a somewhat surprising and
heartwarming reception at the Fox by the Widespread fans...and they also gave me a very
strong reaction after every tune...especially ”Dead Flowers“ and ”Jessica“. Very cool.
The Mule gig also went well....but not without some shaky moments. For one thing, some
of the tempos were, in my opinion, way too fast, making it difficult to settle into a
groove. The ”theme“ of the evening was Watkins Glen...so Warren did 3 sets...one of
Grateful Dead tunes, one of songs from The Band (neither of which I played on) and then
the closing set of Allman Brothers songs. We didn’t start until midnight...making for a
very late night. But at the end of the day, it went fine and the fans seemed to enjoy it. The
players were all the Mule band, Jack Pearson added on guitar, Paul Riddle and Sean
Pelton (from SNL band) on drums.
While in NY, I took a minute to call Bernard Fowler to ask him who would replace Lisa
Fischer on our upcoming South American tour with the Stones. He told me a girl named
Sasha Allan. I googled her up, and she seems to be very talented, and she is quite
attractive...so I’m sure she will do fine.
On Thanksgiving, we had all the family with us for a couple of days. Amy asked us to
keep the boys for two days before she and Steve would get there, which was a real treat.
Ashley and Peter had gone to stay a couple of days in our Savannah house before driving
over to spend Thanksgiving with us. So in the end we had all the family together, at least
for a short time. Peter and I managed to get a little half day hunt in, which was good
fun....and we all had a wonderful time.
For Christmas, since Rosaline had passed away and the Bransfords would be spending it
at their place...and with Ashley too pregnant to travel, we decided to spend it with just
Rosie and me in Savannah. A nice little 5 days of just us. We had a party on the 23rd with
some friends we have made there and some new folks that we had not met. That went
great. The only sort of weird thing was the weather...80 degrees most every day....and that
has been the case all winter. So far we are on track to have the warmest winter on record.
But no mind...it was kinda nice in a way.
So today is New Year’s Day. Having finished the Mule set at 2:30am, Rosie and I had a
couple of drinks at the bar of the Americatania Hotel where we were staying...and got to
our room just after 3am. The car to take us to the Newark airport arrived at 10:30 and we
departed about 15 minutes after that. Flight was on time, and as I write this we are 30K
feet up in the air with an hour and a half to go before we land. Then it will be the drive
home and we should get there around 6pm. We have a couple of days before the hunts
crank up again...and from there we have hunts every day until we leave to go up to
Manchester to hopefully be with Ashley and Peter when the baby comes. We leave Jan
13. With all of the stress I’m feeling at the moment...burned up tractor, being dissed by
the Stones and always worrying about money...the thought of a new grandchild gives me
something to look forward to. I keep telling myself to rise above it all and to keep things
in perspective....and to keep the faith that things will go as they should....and for the
better.
Indeed the hunts we had on the books went really well. Roger Austin’s group...Pilgram’s
Pride, had a great hunt with us as did Don Whyte’s group before him. His friend, Bing
Kearney, was actually the host of the group for everyone. Bing owns a couple of big
outdoor stores called Shooter’s World down in Florida...as well as a construction
company that does road building and such. All really great guys and we enjoyed having
them.

Rose Lane and I left on Jan 13 for Manchester. It was so great to see Ashley and Peter. Ash was ”full of baby“ and ready to give birth...but she didn’t do so on the due date of the 15th. We spent time with them at their house, and went out with Ashley a time or two to do errands. It was cold, cold in Manch, and it snowed while we were there. Quite beautiful to look at, but makes driving a bit of a challenge. Still, we had no problem getting around. We had dinner at a Greek restaurant with the four of us one night...Ash and Peter were friends with the owners. At the end of the dinner, the woman owner predicted they would have a girl...as it turned out, she was right!
Despina Rose Tziros (Precious)
So on the morning of the day before I was to leave, the 16th, Ashley went into labor. We all expected the baby would come within a few hours, but as it turned out she had a 27 hour labor...and had the baby around 5:30am on the 17th. Peter called us several times during the process, and finally around 7 or 8am he called us to tell us it was indeed a girl...Despina Rose Tziros. We made our way to the hospital by mid morning. So great that she came while I was there....I had about 5 hours or so before I had to leave for the Boston airport to head to LA for rehearsals.
The little gal was just beautiful, and we were all elated. I held her as long as I could, finally having to go back to the house to pack and head out. Rose Lane would stay there for another week to help out, and I had a 3:30pm pickup from their house.