Missing Willie Nelson and McDonald's

I was thrilled when Robert of Cross Keys said he wanted to write a guest post for us. I was even more thrilled when he asked what the rules are. No one ever asked me that before. I love rules (which is why my guest posters tend to migrate to Midnight Sun).

I told him there were only two rules: Only Owl Meat can be weird, and he has to have more food in his posts than Bucky did.

Well, one out of two ain't bad. You always get one free pass when you're new. Here's RoCK. EL


This week took me back to Aberdeen, my boyhood home, to see the Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan concert.  A one word review: disappointing. I only got to listen to two songs from Willie, and I had to listen to Dylan's entire set plus his encore.

When it comes to the short Willie set, I have myself, my wife and falling barometric pressure to blame. ...


I know the concert starts at 5:30 p.m., but who could believe that?  It’s a rock concert, not the early bird special at the Peppermill.  Then again, considering the average age of the three performers, the Peppermill may actually cater to a younger crowd.

Also, who would think that Willie Nelson would open for Bob Dylan?  Red-headed strangers are not beaten by beatnik poets. "The City of New Orleans" cannot be topped by "Hurricane."

My wife also needs to share some of the blame.  As soon as we get in the car she tells me that she has not eaten all day, and she is not interested in whatever is being sold at the stadium.  So, the stadium food is no good, but what would be?  Well, she is thinking Arby's, or to be more precise, the potato cakes from Arby's and a burger from Burger King.

After picking up the potato cakes and smuggling them into the Burger King, she hands me a flier that eats up 30 minutes of time I don't have to spare.  It's for a nostalgia show at some Aberdeen hotel next month featuring Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and one of the kids from a Family Affair. For the next half hour we have a discussion on who would have to be at this show to make us pay the $15 admission. She goes with the Queen of England, and I vote for Ponch from CHiPs.

I finally make it to the stadium, and as I approach I hear the foreshadowing lyrics of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" joined with thunderclaps.  I take a seat, listen to "On the Road Again," and the next thing I hear is Willie telling everyone to head for cover.  The stadium's limited covered section is inaccessibly packed with people, so the only option is underneath the bleachers…the metal bleachers in the middle of a thunderstorm.

After about 15 minutes of telling myself the rain wasn't that bad, I opt for the drier, albeit riskier, comfort of cover.  I am not alone under those bleachers.  In addition to the wife, I am joined by a bunch of hippies, which I expected.  What's surprising is all the families with young children.

What are young children doing at this concert?  There is no offspring of Billy Ray Cyrus performing.  There are no free giveaways of purity rings.  There's no Guitar Hero featuring Willie, Dylan or Mellencamp.

There were no rock concerts in the Aberdeen of my youth. There wasn't much of anything, but there was a McDonald's. It was a great McDonald's.  It had a playground the types of which lawyers have long since dismantled. As the concert resumed and Dylan came out to play one insufferable and indiscernible song after another, my mind drifted to that McDonald's.  In many ways, however, that McDonald's has always been…wait for the cheesy ending with the tie in…"Always on My Mind."


(Photo by RoCK)