WELCOME!

This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Here Comes the Sun and the Dog Days

Ah yes, August and the cursed dog days.  However, take heart because August is officially half over and this time next month we'll probably be talking about how cool the weather has gotten (hopefully so at least.)  

Couple things happening around the hood though if you're up for going out and about.
For More Info (click here)
I'm going to lobby for you to take the Smith Island Cruise because that will bring you down county and past Buzzy's Country Store.  A boat ride AND a visit to Buzzy's?  How can you go wrong?  Wait, don't answer that.
http://smithislandcruises.com/cruise/
As always, when you reach a certain age that some of us have attained, you'd better do it while you still can.  As sung here in this Little Feat tune Old Folks Boogie "You know you're over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill."  Sad to say, I know exactly what's being referenced here. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Two Mississippi

The other day a couple in Buzzy's Country Store informed me that they were from Mississippi.  They are here because the dude is in the Navy and is stationed at Pax River. 

After some chit chat about how Southern Maryland's July and August weather is not much different than Mississippi's, I very tactfully asked them about their State's rep as far as being last or near the bottom of  most quality of life issues.  I even asked them if it was true that the Alabama state motto was "Thank God for Mississippi or we'd be last in every category."

The lady told me that they get that a lot when they tell folks that they are from Mississippi.  I immediately regretted bringing it up.  However, to try and redeem myself,  I went on to tell them that I knew how they felt because I sometimes get that kind of feedback from folks whenever I tell them that I am from Ridge.  (For example I once had someone ask me after I told them where I grew up - "Does Ridge have indoor plumbing yet?"  I was tempted to respond "Yes, but we still pump all of our shit directly into the Bay and the River.") 

The lady from Mississippi 
informed me that the "Thank God for Mississippi" is considered a joke in Mississippi and that there is even a website for it - no surprise there eh?  She told me that Mississippians say the same thing about Alabama.   She also noted that regarding those lists ranking the states, the saying goes - Mississippi is often first on every list you want to be last on and last on every list you'd like to be first on.  She did note that Mississippi's cost of living is nowhere near as high as say Maryland's plus real estate prices are much better in their Magnolia State. 

With no professional baseball nor football franchises there, Mississippi has never been on Brady's and my stadium itinerary of places to take in a game.  Al Watson keeps talking about us taking in an Ole Miss football game some fall and I may just take him up on that offer.  (Clarksdale and Robert Johnson's Crossroads are on my musical bucket list of places to visit so I have that to prod me on also.)

Every time I hear mention made of Mississippi I immediately hum Dylan's "Stayed in Mississippi a day too long."  Here is an in depth review of the tune - maybe a little too in depth but worth a read anyway (click here.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bad Jokes

Have not heard any good jokes in awhile.  I wonder if that is because it is a symptom of the times we live in such that real life events have made jokes unnecessary.

However, just to keep joke telling semi-alive and kicking, here are a couple of bad jokes I have encountered in my travels somewhere.  I had stored these in the Buzzy backroom of bullshit just in case I ever needed a filler (such as I do today.)  

Did you hear about the honeymooners who confused the tube of K-Y Jelly with window putty? It was a very bad scene, all the windows fell out of their new home.

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar.  The bartender tells them "Sorry we don't serve your type in here."

Why do women rub their eyes in the morning?  They don't have balls to scratch.

A Mexican magician tells his audience that he will disappear on the count of three.  He says "Uno, dos" and then he is gone.  You could say that he disappeared without a tres.

And lastly just to make you really groan:

Question:  What is the square root of 69?  Answer:  Ate something.

OK, I told you they were bad didn't I?  So to totally waste your time and hopefully amuse you a little more than the bad jokes did, click here to catch Dave Bromberg's infamous but very funny Bullfrog Blues tune.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Beer Sales Reps

Buzzy's Country Store, along with all other liquor establishments in St. Mary's, has beer delivered  from three distributors Guy, Buck and Bozick Distributors.  Each of these distributors has a sales reps who contacts me to take my beer order for the next day's delivery.  

Back in the day when there weren't so many different beer varieties and sizes and packaging of beer,  the delivery drivers would simply roll into Buzzy's, ask him what he needed and stock him up right from their inventory on the truck.  

However, due to the reasons I cited above with so many beers and different packaging of them, thru the years that system has evolved such that sales reps now visit establishments the day before delivery.  They solicit the beer orders for next day delivery so they can properly load the truck and get what is needed to the retailers.  

My sales rep for Guy Distributing is Mike Johnson (right.)  (I list him first because I have dealt with him the longest.)

When I first took over Buzzy's back in 2007, Mike was then the driver/delivery man for Guy's assigned to my route in South County.  The very first check that I ever wrote as owner of Buzzy's was to Guy Distributors and I presented that to Mike.

Mike then took over as Guy's Sales Rep in 2008 and it has been my pleasure to have dealt with him as my Budweiser sales rep ever since.  

Buck Distributors (Miller Beer) on the other hand, have had several sales reps thru my 12 years in business.  Unlike Guy Distributing, which only operates in St. Mary's County, Buck Distributing covers several counties.


https://www.buckdistributing.com/welcome

Because Buck covers such a wide area, their sales reps move around more.  In doing so, they are either trying to work closer to their homes or they are moving up the corporate  ladder to oversee more lucrative routes with greater sales.  

Fortunately for me, my current Buck sales rep is local boy Jamie Nelson who lives in Dameron so he is already close to his home.  I first met Jamie when he was a driver for Guy Distributing and have always enjoyed dealing with him and his excellent customer service.  (As a driver, Jamie even made a special delivery for me once that folks still talk about.  I won't go into too many details because I don't want to get Jamie in any trouble, but let's just say that it was the ultimate example of what door-to-door service is all about!)
Jamie and wife Susan
Bozick Distributors, out of Waldorf, has Judy Haskins as their sales rep.  Judy, like Mike and Jamie, also started out as a driver before she became the sales rep for the South County route.  Before Judy, Greg Stipe served as Bozick's rep for several years.  Both Greg and Judy were also great to deal with in taking my  orders for Coors beer and the other products Bozick handles..

 If you see a mini van with beer decorations on it cruising around the County, these are the sales reps who are canvassing retailers to ensure that your favorite brews are available for you to enjoy.  Here is a photo I took of Jamie "on his route."

 If you were to thank these folks for their efforts in serving as the link between the distributors and the retailers I'm sure they'd appreciate it.  I know I sure appreciate their efforts!

Speaking of selling and buying beer, this video is probably not the right one to include here with the above sales rep discussion because it shows the keg of beer not being purchased but being stolen !



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Twofer Tuesday

Driving down the road to Buzzy's Country Store this past Sunday I popped in Mike and the Moonpies' CD "Steaknight at the Prairie Rose." The CD contains several great songs a couple of which I have previously discussed here on the Buzzyblog.  I mentioned the title tune here.  And then I previously passed along Track #6 "Beaches of Biloxi"  (click here.)  Both are great tunes that tell a great story.

But somewhere in listening to the rest of the CD, I had completely overlooked or just did not pay much attention to their "The Last Time" tune that for some reason caught my ear this past Sunday.  Maybe it was keyboardist John Carbone's catchy Wurlitzer intro to the song that pulled me right in.  Then again, it may have been because I was in a Sunday semi-melancholy kind of mood to begin with and was receptive to an introspective kind of song.

Some great musicianship on this song.  Lyric wise it tells the sad story of helping someone who is just using you over and over.  Having a couple close friends and family members who are locked into this ugly dynamic, I just shook my head at the following final lines of the song "I feel numb and dumb but that's my fault, when you know you're gonna land on your head, have fun with the fall."

When I talked to John Carbone about the tune he told me that the song's writer Jonathan Terrell is out of Austin and has several great songs that he has written. I went searching for Jonathan and found this other tune from him with a nice little video accompanying it.  Talk about being sad and melancholy.

Monday, August 12, 2019

9/11 Flag

As I returned the Buzzy's Country Store flag to full mast following last week's lowering of it in memory of the shooting victims, I thought about the 9/11 flag mystery.  It made me wonder if it had ever been found.  Here is what I learned.

First the background story from this 2015 article in a stamp-related story:

To read full article on this (click here.To read more about photographer Mr. Franklin and his capturing of the image (click here.)

Eventually I landed on several articles discussing how the flag was finally located.  Seems that a former Marine named Brian (Browne not Barnhill) turned the flag in out in Seattle, Washington (click here for article and video.)

However, none of the articles I cited here stated just where the original flag currently is.  I think it is now in the 9/11 Museum in New York but I'm not real sure.  If any of you have better luck finding out for sure where the 9/11 flag is, let me know.   

Maybe Bruce knows where it is and his 9/11 song here is really about raising the flag up again.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Mom

My Mom, who will turn 88 on the 21st of this month, continues to wrestle with not being able to drive her car any more.  She goes back and forth on the matter one minute admitting that she should not be driving and the next stating that she can still do so.  

As she discussed it the other day, she made the statement "I may be senile but I'm not stupid."  I told her that her saying that reminded me of a joke.  (To save from typing it out, I found this version of it on the internet (click here.)
Mom laughed after I told her the joke and for the next couple of minutes seemed to forget about the car. 

I took her to see and visit with her latest Great Grandchild Stone.  Here she is holding him.  

Later as we left the hospital she commented "Well, that'll be the last newborn I ever hold."  I gave her my usual response to her "be-my-last" comments by saying "You never know."  Usually I mean it when I say this to her, but this time I secretly thought "You may be right."

Bill Joel came to mind for a couple of reasons:


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Event Filled?

Weekends I usually try to post something here on the Buzzyblog about events and things going on around the County in general and South County specifically.  Last weekend what with First Friday, music concerts, the Govenor's Cup and Lighthouse Celebrations going on, it made for a busy time in the Mother County.  

This weekend on the other hand not so much.  There is Shakespeare in the City at the college but that's about it event-wise.
It reminded me of how that same phenomena will crop up in your personal life.  For several weekends you will not have a thing to do.  There are no parties, no special occasions, no events and nowhere to go.  But then, on a given date, usually a Saturday, you will have multiple invites, conflicts and decisions to make about which events to attend and which ones to skip.  

I remember back when Buzzy had his 40th Anniversary party on a Saturday in 1993, my god daughter Lyla Whitson got married that same morning in Great Mills and held her reception in Bushwood.  My buddy Norm Klink had a birthday party that same night up in Gaithersburg. 

After some serious moving and bopping around that I probably would not engage in now, I somehow managed to hit all 3 of those events.  It was a long day of partying and travelling but looking back am glad that I somehow managed to hit all three of those very special events.

Of course this weekend you still have things like the Farmers' Market at Hermanville on Saturday morning.  The American Legion and KoC have their monthly dinners.  And as always Buzzy's Country Store is there with warm hospitality and cold beer to greet you.  That just may be the most special occasion of them all. 

Whatever you do, take it easy - walk don't run.  (And don't feel too bad if you always thought that Walk Don't Run was a Ventures' song.  It was made famous by them in the 60's but a little known fact is that it was originally written and done in 1954 by jazz musician Johnny Smith.  As Paul would say - now you know the rest of the story.)

Friday, August 9, 2019

Stone Hollis Ridgell - Here Comes the Grandson

At 8:04 yesterday morning Stone Hollis Ridgell came in through the bathroom window so to speak thanks to his Mom Caitie's delivery efforts.  He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and that made 804 a good number to play in the daily lottery.  (Yesterday's number was 5-1-1 but I'm on 804 for the next week or so just because.)

Here is a photo I took of Dad Brady and the nurse attending to Stone just a few minutes after his debut.
Following Stone's arrival, while Brady and I waited to see Caitie, he consulted his phone's internet to find that 8 August also marked the date in history that Nixon announced his resignation, England's Great Train Robbery went down and Wrigley Field got lights.  Something eh?

However, the bigger, historic news and more impressive for me was that it also marked the date that the Abbey Road album cover was photographed (click here.)  (See now why the above song clues were included?  There were 4 if you are counting and below is a fifth one for your listening pleasure.)

It is tough to pick a favorite Abbey Road tune but this one runs thru my mind a lot.  (It may drag on a smidge too long at the end but it is what it is - heavy.)

Now you know why those song clues

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Elbert's/Chesapeake Ice

Summertime and the business to be in is ICE.  (And no all you Trumpsters out there, I am not talking about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bubbas.) 

Buzzy's Country Store gets its ice from Elbert's Ice/Chesapeake Ice out of Waldorf.


For a closer look at their logo that's a crab wielding those ice tongs:
This is from their FB page:

I also found this 2011 article on Elbert's Ice (click here.)

Only one song and a rap one at that can be included here right?  As much (little?) as I don't care for rap music, this one isn't too very awful, maybe just because of the Queen Under Pressure sample.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Buzzy Anniversary


On August 7, 2007 my Dad and I went to settlement for his selling of Buzzy's Country Store to me.  Above photo was taken by my Mom who joined us at IHOP following our settlement at Bill McKissick's offices.

Been a quick but fun 12 years that I have never once regretted. 

Who says you can't home?

Yep, you know what song is coming:

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Twofer Tuesday - The Beverage Journal

The Beverage Journal, a monthly publication for licensed alcohol retailers, is actually two publications in one. First off, the Beverage Journal contains the current price list of what various liquors will cost retailers for that particular month.  Liquor distributors list their prices in the Journal and include monthly deals where they discount many of their products.  In turn, retailers will buy these items and feature them as "Specials" for their customers and pass along the savings.   Nick's of Clinton is a good example of this as they often feature some excellent deals, i.e. only a few cents over their cost, on the beer and  alcohol items to entice folks into their business.   

The second part of the Journal contains articles of interest discussing different issues and trends within the alcohol industry.  For example, this month's edition of the Journal has a very good article on how these crazy trade wars and tariffs are impacting the liquor industry (click here.)  (The best line in that article is the following Enough is enough! Leaders of the U.S. industry have issued a rare joint letter asking to please be excused from fights that don’t really involve us.)
Note that the Cannabis: Friend or Foe to Alcohol article is also worth reading.

Another feature in this part of the Journal is a look at a Maryland retailer.  This month features Bella's Liquors and its Hallmark movie lady Julianne (click here to read article.)
As magazines go, the Beverage Journal @ $65 annually is a little on the pricey side.  However, given how useful it is in a retailer's day-to-day operations, it is well worth the cost. 

Bottom line -
it always comes down to money and when I heard Gary Rue and his Smoke Creek fellas do this tune at Buzzy's awhile back, I made a mental note to find this Bruce version of it and pass it along.  (The middle part (3:10) with the audience shouting "PAY ME" reminded of you know who and his favorite saying.)






Monday, August 5, 2019

Say What? Pompitous, Pompatus or Pupptetutes of Love?

One last Steve Miller-related post here and then I'll fly like an eagle onto something else.  

When Steve did The Joker in concert the other night and sang the "Some people call me Maurice because I speak....." line I mentally sang along "of the properness of love."  

However, the way Steve sang it and the way I heard it, I realized that it wasn't properness that he was singing.  Thus, it made me wonder what he really was singing about.

Turns out that after all these years I have had it incorrect in that the lyric he sings is actually "the pompitous of love."  My first though was what the hell is pompitous?   My second thought was "And here I thought "properness of love" didn't make much sense!")

So just because these sort of time wasters tend to amuse me more than they should,  I noodled around the net some and I found this interview with Steve conducted by none other than Dan Rather who also asks him "What IS the pompitous of love?"  (click here and scroll down to video interview.)  Songfacts also provides some good insights about the origins of the term (click here.)

It led me back to the referenced 1954 song The Letter by the Medallions where "pompatus" or something like it is sung at the 1:50 mark.)  This comment was made about the lyric.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Gospel According to Mark McCoy - Fishing


It is Sunday, so let's pay a visit to the Sacred Church of Fishing.  After all, most of the original Apostles were fishermen before leaving their nets to travel about with their main man JC and preach His word.

In looking through the Enterprise archives for information on Scheible's Fishng Center, I found this 1983 interview with a then very young Mark McCoy.  Ah yes, the good old days.



To read the rest of the interview with Mark (click here and use the Zoom buttons as needed.)  Mark is now working as a lawyer for Care First.  When I asked him if he still goes fishing he responded "Not Enough."  I imagine that that is the answer most retired charter boat Captains would give if asked that question.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Steve's Guitar Sitar

Regarding Steve Miller's guitar (previous post) he related this story about how he came to purchase it.  (Although this video is from a 2017 concert of his, it is almost verbatim what he related to us at Wolf Trap the other night.  And here I thought we were the first audience he ever told that story to,)

As noted, this video was filmed in 2017.  At his Wolf Trap concert he finished the story by noting that he has since donated the original sitar guitar to the Met Museum in New York as part of  their Play It Loud exhibit.  (Too I found this very good article on Steve and his guitar collection of over 450 models.  Now that's some plucking!)

Speaking of playing guitar, the Valley Lee Band will be playing tonight at Cindy and Joe Salvo's Sunset Cove.  Drive down for some dinner and some tunes.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Governor's Cup 2019

Lots of things (click here)   going on around the County this weekend so get out and do something fun before summer is over. 

For instance, Leonardtown has its First Friday and music fest on tap.  National Lighthouse Weekend will feature Blackistone and Piney Point Lighthouses.  (Unfortunately Pt. Lookout because of its ongoing renovations is not involved this year,)

South County at St. Mary's College it is the annual Governor's Cup race and post party.  Recall that last year's event was cancelled due to rain and debris in the waters.
http://www.smcm.edu/events/govcup/
If you are a morning person and would like to get a little "taste" of what's what at the Governor's Cup, early Saturday morning Trinity Church will be serving up breakfast. The event is open to the general public as well as to the sailors who sailed all night to get to St. Mary's City.

As always, a few miles south of the College there is a quiet drinking establishment for your break from life and it's attendant woes and worries.  Come on down!
Caught Steve Miller at Wolf Trap the other night and of course he rocked the place with his hits.  However, he also did this oldie that I'd forgotten what a great song it is. Lots of nice times spent listening to this back in the day. OK, I'll be more specific and say that a lot of nice times while high were  spent listening to this tune which some have called the ultimate stoner song.  (Pay close attention to the lead guitar which I will discuss some other time in the future.)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August All Over

"While fighting for dominance, he paid little attention to legality or to the normal civilities of political life. He was devious, untrustworthy, and bloodthirsty."

Nope, this not another shot at our Commander in Chief.

(Ah, what the hell why not?)


Actually, the intro quote above is about Augustus Caesar the man for whom the month of August is named after.  His time as "First Citizen of Rome" vs. "First Emperor of the Roman Empire" is worth reading about if no other reason than to check out the similarities to today's divided opinions about our Commander in Chief.  Who says history will teach us nothing?

Meanwhile on the Buzzy front, August features a number of birthdays as follows: 

Dickie Cullison on 1 August, Johnny JW Raley on the 3rd; Bobbi Jo Magee on 5 Aug;  Lori Raley on the 17th;  Cathy Wright the 20th.  On the 29th, Jimmy and Marylou Cullison celebrate their wedding anniversary.   My Mom celebrates her 88th birthday on the 21st and my son Brady on the 25th.  Brother-in-law Dan Hofmeister is on the 26th.

The other day I laid two of Randy's bleaker more sarcastic songs on you so to try and make amends for that, how's about this upbeat Academy Award nominated tune from him?  I always think of this as my Buzzy theme song whenever my good friends drop into the Store to see me and say hello:

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pictures on Buzzy's Front Porch

I always enjoy it whenever someone asks me to come out and have my picture taken with them on Buzzy's front porch.  Makes me feel like I am somebody you know?

And when it is a photo with three attractive ladies, hey, it doesn't get any better.  The following was taken this past Hawaiian-shirt-Sunday hence my attire.

Karen, Melissa Ann, Me and Tracy  Photo by Larry Johnson
As stated, I always enjoy it when folks ask me to be in a photo with them.  However, sometimes having my photo taken with folks on the porch will have a bitter-sweet edge to it as the photos are documenting folks saying goodbye and preparing to leave the area.  In this case, Polock was down to say goodbye before his move to Florida:
 And here is one of Karen and Chuck prior to their moving to Georgia.
Photo by Kim Wiley
Sometimes I am invited to be in a group shot.  Here is a photo of my Second District friends conducting their 2017 Buzzy's and Back Pub Crawl.  (If you have trouble locating me, just look for the knobbiest knees and you'll find me.)
But my all time favorite photo of me on the porch is the following of my Mom and me:
Growing up in the Store with our living quarters above and behind it, Mom and I had numerous conversations through the years but none of them ever took place on the front porch.  I'm glad we got that omission taken care of and that this photo captured it.  I can't recall who took it but I sure am glad that they did so.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Twofer Tuesday - Baltimore

For some reason, lots of talk about Baltimore lately.   (And not about the Orioles who have been on a hot streak such that they are no longer the worst team in baseball.  That dubious "honor" goes to the Tigers.)

But all of Trump stir over how bad Baltimore is reminded me of Randy Newman and his song about the city and how awful it is.  (Click here to listen to the tune.)

Although his Baltimore song generated some controversy when he recorded and included it on his album Little Criminals, Randy's other tune from that album created a lot more churn - Short People.  So much controversy that a Maryland Delegate Isaiah Dixon tried to introduce a bill outlawing it.  This from his obit:
https://www.baltimoresun.com/obituaries/bs-md-dixon-obit-20130505-story.html
All of this faux outrage was more than a little ironic however in that while Rep. Dixon found Short People offensive enough to try and outlaw the playing of it, he completely overlooked Newman's derogatory Baltimore tune.  And Dixon was Baltimore City's representative.  

Guess it just goes to show that life really is tough if you're a short dude from B'more; that or maybe short people just got no sense of what their priorities ought to be.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Political Cartoons

Speaking of political cartoonists (previous post) I recently heard a very good interview on Story in the Public Square featuring Adam Zyglis. (Story in the Public Square is a radio show sponsored by the Pell Organization and airs on XM's POTUS channel.)

Zyglis is an editorial cartoonist with the Buffalo News.  Below is his XM interview that I heard.  (If you don't have time to catch the entire interview with him, go to 24:00 mark to hear Zyglis discuss how he tries to keep his work more visual than word based.
Here is the cartoon discussed in that excerpt.


My friend Larry Yeatman passes along to me a collection of political cartoons and photos that I enjoy reviewing.  As I look thru the selections however, I find myself skipping over the ones that are too wordy.  Here is an example of one that I would usually skip over and not bother reading:
Conversely, my favorite cartoons are the ones such as those by Mr. Zyglis, that simply and quickly tell the story.  (And no this is not a case of my ADD kicking in where I don't have the patience to read all that verbiage.  I just think that in the case of political cartoons - less really IS more.

I went looking for music videos dealing with cartoons/comic strips and found this little gem.  At first it appears to be a non-starter but then I learned that the lady in the video is none other than Brigitte Bardot as a brunette.  That it made it worth watching even if I had no clue what was being said.  Talk about a visual medium!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Monk's Inn - RIP

Sunday church-related item for you.

As I was travelling down the road the other day I saw the following at Monk's Inn in St. Inigoes:
I pulled into the parking lot and took this photo of Harry Frauenfelder owner of Barefoot Graphics installing the new sign.
It's official then - after a long and storied run as a general store, bar and/or restaurant, Monk's Inn is now a church.  As you can see from the new sign it is now The Whole Heart Deliverance Temple.

I wasn't able to find out much about the WHDT online.  I may just have to drop in some Sunday and check it out if for no other reason than to see how they converted the place from a bar to a church.

With all these new churches popping up maybe I should think about rebranding Buzzy's Country Store as the Church of Beer, Booze and B.S.  (As shown in this cartoon from Mike Luckovich of the Atlantic Journal Constitution,  Buzzy's already features free wifi.)
Song wise just gimme that old time country music religion:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Best Broadway Musical - Gypsy

Caught St. Mary's County Parks and Rec's Summer Stock production of Newsies last night.  As always it was very well done and everything about the production was excellent.  In particular the choreography by Richard Lepper was outstanding as a cast of over 70 folks wildly danced and pranced around the stage.  It was quite a show!

It got me thinking about the best Broadway musicals.  After some googling I found this list of someone's 100 best with the following in his top ten:
Gypsy at Number 1 along with the rest of his top ten surprised me a little but then again Broadway musicals are not exactly my area of expertise.  (Now, if the categories were Classic Rock Music or Sports-related, I could discuss and critique "Best of" lists all day.  Broadway musicals?  Not so much.)

However, just off the top of my head here and with no criteria other than "I know what I like," my Top Ten list would have to include musicals like Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors and Grease. (For some reason Grease didn't even make the Top 100 list linked above.)  

But as noted in the comments following this particular Top 100 listing "different opinions make the world go round." 

Guess by rights I should spin something here from the Broadway show itself listed as Number 1, but nothing I found was anywhere near as great as this video featuring Stevie here doing her Gypsy:

Friday, July 26, 2019

Party at Buzzy's

When I opened Buzzy's Country Store this past Saturday morning I knew before even looking at the till that there had been a party of sorts the night before.  (The trash can was over flowing with beer bottles.)

Turns out that a great birthday/reunion party was had at Buzzy's Friday night hosted by  Debbie Gerek-Larsen and her husband Ty.  Debbie not only was celebrating her birthday but also was catching up with her 1979 reunion classmates. (Photo here was taken by Debbie's cousin Mischelle Gerek-Mattingly.)
Back row - Mike Ridgell, Chris McKay, Mark Dominick, Susan Tennyson
Front row - Mike Balta, Debbie-Gerek-Larsen, Mary Beth Reece and Ty Larsen
One thing I have learned about partying and get togethers thru the years, it's that the best and most fun ones are usually the ones that just sort of happen without a whole lot of planning.   This occurs quite frequently at Buzzy's.  When it does so, I always think of the old joke "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."  Folks go to Buzzy's and next thing you know a party suddenly breaks out.  

My thanks to Debbie and all her Class of 79 friends for dropping into Buzzy's Friday night for such a good time.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Betty Ridgell

If I ask someone near or about my age how did they learn to swim, the response is usually a mix between "My old man threw me off the end of the pier" and Betty Ridgell.  Thankfully, Betty's name comes up a little more often than the "tossed off the pier" response.  Here is sampling I found on Massey's You Know You're From St. Mary's FB page:

I knew Betty fairly well because not only did she teach me how to swim but also when I worked at Pt. Lookout State Park I was a frequent visitor to her and her husband Judge's place.  They were among the last homeowners at the Park to sell their place.  They also ran what would be one of the  first "food trucks" anywhere selling ice cream and snacks to campers, tourists and park visitors.

I did some searches of the local papers and found the following obituary for Betty published in 2007.  She sure did a lot in addition to teaching so many of us how to swim.



I also located this 1993 article which mentions her and Judge attending a 50 year gala and tells a little more about her: 

Jimmy Fallon sure nails it here in this The Swimming Song:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Melvin Moves On

Melvin Yost Jr. was in Buzzy's Country Store this past Sunday riding to support the Scooter Hoile's Poker Run.  (Scooter passed away a year ago and a few weeks later in his memory his family and friends came down to Buzzy's to spread his ashes (click here for previous post about it.)

During our conversation Melvin asked me about his Dad's Triangle Rod and Custom jacket that I had on display.  He said that he would like to pass it on to his daughter Gloria who was also there with him visiting from her home in Florida.

My first thought was that I didn't want to let the jacket go.  I told Melvin that the jacket technically belongs to Butch Wood who rescued it when Melvin Sr. had thrown it away.  (I posted the following about how Butch rescued the jacket from Melvin Sr.'s trash pile and passed it along to me in 2011 (click here.)
Butch Giving Me Melvin's Jacket and Plaque
However, when Butch "loaned" the items to me to display in Buzzy's Country Store he said that he didn't really want either of them back.  So I was free to do what I wanted with the items.  

My second reason for wanting to keep the jacket at Buzzy's is that I felt like the jacket belongs in Ridge and should be on display somewhere for all to see.  My logic was similar to those museum folks who argue that them having the item allows more people to appreciate and see the item than it would otherwise receive in a private collection.

As Melvin Jr. continued discussing how he really would like to have the jacket,  I ran all these counter arguments thru my head.  After some hesitation and against my better wishes, I gave the jacket to him and his daughter Gloria (photo here.) 
I told them that I did not want to see it on E-bay anytime soon.  

Hopefully, Melvin Sr.'s jacket will enjoy residing in Florida - even if I still think it should be hanging out, literally, at Buzzy's.

But as Johnny sang, you get what you give and t
he only thing permanent IS change.