Monday, May 10, 2010

Barbecue and City Lights

OK, I have to take a nostalgia break here.  I grew up in the Highland Heights neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee.  For those of you who have never been to Memphis, you may think that the city was a bastion of country music, with tentative hints of bluegrass.  Not quite.  Memphis was, at least from 1950 until 1980, home to rock and soul -- people like Elvis, Big Star, B. B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam & Dave, and Isaac Hayes.  The Memphis music scene was original, for lack of a better word, and if you were a musical kid like me, it was a great place in which to grow up.  Our popular radio stations carried a heady mix of rock and roll, soul, and Motown.  Occasionally, you might hear a country wonder like Charley Pride, but for the most part, this was the land of "Shaft".  Can you dig it?  On Beale Street, Memphis doesn't have a rock 'n roll museum, but rather a Rock 'n Soul Museum, and that says it all.

Memphis was two cities by day and by night.  Days could be hot and humid.  I remember that back in those days, I played a lot of tennis, and we would hit the John Rogers Tennis Center at the medical center by 8:00 AM in order to avoid the worst of the heat.  One day when I was playing a match there, I saw two police cruisers overheat within an hour outside the courts.  Late afternoons, you might spot a couple of older guys fishing down by Tom Lee Park.  But at night, when things cooled down, we relished being on the river.  Sometimes we would take our girlfriends across the river into Arkansas, just to say that we had "crossed state lines".  I'm almost postive that we were breaking some law by doing that, but that was part of the fun of it.  At night, there was a Unitarian church with a walkway down to the banks where you could see the city lights reflecting off the was magic.

You know, it does seem to me that I'm ready for some barbecue.  I know I probably won't find Leonard's on Bellevue, but maybe I can at least grab a Tops sandwich or go in style with red wine at Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous.  Either way, I think I'll be listening to me a little Isaac Hayes "Never Can Say Goodbye" on my iPhone.  Yeah.  Good night, y'all.