Coffee pots, music and chickens

Cindy ArpPowell

The worst part is trying to find the coffee pot every morning. I can do without the TV remote, but coffee in the morning is crucial. What’s going on, you ask? Husband Dan and I are in the middle of home repairs and renovations and like everyone everywhere that has ever done this, it is making me crazy.

Back in April, we returned home from a weeklong camping trip to find we had a burst water pipe and from the amount of water in the lower portion of the house, the water must have been flowing most of the time we were gone. We rescued what we could, trashed what we couldn’t and then noticed mildew on the downstairs carpet. Sigh.

Last week, the new carpet installed and the den furniture back in place, we decided to replace the windows in our glassed in/screened room. We realized the walls and ceiling need to be painted; we really need new flooring, more insulation, more electrical outlets and a new door.

The new flooring requires all the furniture in that room – four tables, couch, TV, double recliner and the coffee pot – to be moved to another part of the house. It’s enough to make a sane woman crazy and nobody ever said I was sane. Then Saturday came and everything got better.

Saturday some friends took us to a house concert with Grammy winners and singer/songwriters/instrumentalists Shawn Camp and Verlon Thompson. If you aren’t an Americana music fan, you might not know these guys, but you don’t have to know their music to understand the concert. Picture incredible guitar skills, beautiful voices and the performers just a few feet away. There are no stage antics, minimal amplification and no distracting rabid fans gyrating to the music.

(Listen to Shawn on YouTube.)

Verlon Thompson is known for his story-telling abilities, and during this concert he lived up to his name with endearing, sometimes touching, and often hilarious stories about songwriting, friendships and life. One story involved a friend daring Verlon to write a song from a newspaper headline.

After an apology to the gathering concerning the nature of the song, Verlon launched into “Headless body found in topless bar.” Surprised laughter followed, especially at the chorus, “Headless body in a topless bar, I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!”

Another song about old friendships had us hugging our friends.

The two men often toured with music legend Guy Clark and together told the story about how on stage one night and while Guy sang his song Desperados instead of singing “So we just closed our eyes and dreamed us up a kitchen,” Guy sang, “So we just closed our eyes and dreamed us up a chicken.”

Tiny cups of piña coladas were passed around for the song “Two Piña Coladas,” a song sung by Jimmy Buffett but co- written by Shawn Camp. Afterwards Verlon commented, “And y’all will go to church after this. But then, this is church, isn’t it?” We all agreed. Yes, it was church.

The concert was church, because worship comes in all sorts of packages. Our worship service was about sharing music without expectations, it was about bonding through experiences and it was the realization that whatever stress or problem is currently plaguing you, it will pass because there’s just too many miracles around, too much joy. I mean, if you can turn a kitchen into a chicken, you can do anything.

Cindy Arp, teacher/librarian, retired from Knox County Schools. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell


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