This past weekend we performed at the Johnson City Folk Festival near Bristol, Tenn. The property is an old farm nestled on the edge of The Great Smoky Mountains.
On the first day we were on the Blacksmith Stage, which was an outdoor stage under the portico of an ancient barn.
The old structure was built from 12-inch timbers and even after a hundred years, it looked as solid as stone.
It had wagon wheels leaned against the side, and mule harnesses hanging from rafters. Out back there were old ploughs, and a tractor that looked like it hadn’t been cranked since Eisenhower was in the White House.
As we did our sound check, I heard Jilda exclaim, “look”. Over at the edge of the yard was a tiny fawn that wasn’t as big as our collie. She leaned her guitar against the barn and walked slowly toward the tiny critter.
I expected it to bound off like a jack rabbit with its tail on fire, but it moved to meet her.
She squatted down and petted the deer long enough for me to grab my phone and shoot a photo.
The festival was competing against an Auburn/Tennessee home game so the crowd was smaller than it would have been on another weekend, but it was a magical time.
We made new friends, heard some incredible artists, and spent a few days doing something we love; playing music.
On Saturday evening we said our goodbyes and made our way back to the hotel.
We set the clock so we’d get out of town early. The next morning after we packed, we stepped down for a continental breakfast.
We were considering our choices when Jilda glanced out the window just above the bagels and saw a Krystal sign.
We ditched the free breakfast and walked across the parking lot.
The smell of fresh-brewed coffee and bacon on the grill made me think of my mama.
The woman who greeted us was like a ray of sunshine. We were her first inside customers of the morning and she quickly took our order.
A few minutes later, she came to our table to give us a progress report on our breakfast, and then stood to talk for a moment. She wanted to know where we were from, and what brought us to Johnson City.
Soon she brought our breakfast to the table. I told her that I was going to recommend that her boss double her salary. She smiled broadly and went back to share the good news with her boss.
He came out to our table and we all had a good laugh together.
It was a great start to our day and a fitting end to our time in Johnson City.
We stopped in northwest Georgia to stretch our legs and top off our tank. While I pumped, the wind got up and a maple tree beside the lot shed leaves that looked like amber snowflakes.
No matter how remarkable the trip, it’s always great to be back home again.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.