Blues, BBQ, & Beaus

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Smokestack Lightenin’

 

Driving into Memphis the moon hung so low! It's Cheshire Cat looking smile had us dreaming of laying in it like a hammock, one foot dangling while the cool, smooth blues played in our ears!  Showing us exactly what our first night here had in store.  We switched up driving so each of us could do our makeup before arriving at the hotel. Time was of the essence! Once checked in and all gussied up with the usual routine of tunes and lipstick, we hit the scene on our way to Beal St.  Our first stop for this fine Friday was a smaller hole in the wall type place known as the Blues Hall Juke Joint.  We made it just in time for Voodoo Child and a handful of covers by the band Delta Project. They had a cool vibe & laid back rhythm, it was the perfect setting to start our night off right! As one of the earlier closing bars on Beal St. it was pertinent to grab some suggestions from the bartender, she seemed like cool people.

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That Voodoo That Youdoo

 

Just under an hour later the boys of Delta Project said goodnight and it was last call at our first stop. After tipping the band we headed out for a location change. Even though we knew we'd be back for lunch the next day we couldn't fight our feet, they led us straight to the doorstep of B.B King's Blues Club. We could have stared at the walls all night. Pictures, paintings, guitars, & records; it's impossible to decide what to look at first. There was a band on stage, just milling around, urging us to grab a couple of front row seats and wait for the tunes to roll in.  A band formed in 1991 graced the stage, known as the King Beez, a staple performance group at the club who knew just what we wanted to hear.  They were on fire and quickly got everyone up out of their seats. Enjoying the scenery too much to give into our dancing feet, we absorbed the splendor surrounding us. A Bruno Mars jam got some groovy people out on the dance floor & we knew we'd be joining in soon. There was a slender, stylish guy, with a great man bun who brought Laura to our minds with his dance moves. The same fabulous swaying and shaking we're used to grooving with, he sent us her vibes & we knew that was our cue to ditch the great seats for some funky beats! We dedicated those Uptown Funk tunes to our hippie sister in India. With the set list going from BB to Adele & bits of Beyoncé thrown in here and there, the band had such a spicy flavor & boy were they laying it on thick!

 

 

 

Chance Encounters

 

While sitting at the bar with my Budweiser, I was right in front of the dance floor & Hannah was busy gettin her groove on; I watched a man enter the double doors wearing what looked to be a vintage Stetson hat, with feathers and a braided leather strap around the top of it. He had on bib overalls and walked with a cane. I couldn't help but just stare at him. I knew he had to be full of the best stories. Watching from afar as he mingled with each person he passed who seemed to be a usual here. Once he'd finally made his way down the bar he hung a left and settled in the corner spot where I realized he had what was probably the best view of the whole place. That's when I knew he was somebody. After a couple more rounds of beer and turns on the dance floor I finally worked up the courage to introduce myself to this mystery man who seemed to hold so much knowledge of the city, as well as the blues.  Turned out he was a regular there and was indeed skilled in the industry. He told me his full name but my eager brain was too frantic at the time to actually remember it fully.  He did make sure I knew that all of his friends called him Bear.  Does this make us friends?!  Of course!   We talked for a bit, long enough for me to realize he was one of the most interesting people I've met. An old blues soul with a funky sense of humor. It doesn't always take a major encounter for someone to make an impact on your life. Sometimes all it takes is a sense of kindness and all things right.  It was so surreal to be in this place, with these people we didn't know, and yet feel so at home.  Bear & I shook hands and exchanged pleasantries for the evening. Going our separate ways as I joined Hannah back out on the dance floor.  

 

Beacon of Hope

 

As our evening songstress wrapped up a B.B. King tune she called out someone who we'd been noticing all night. This young lady of our age had been dancing with everyone, giving little lessons on things here and there when a fellow female next to her couldn't seem to get a move down. This is a quality rarely seen anymore. As a female, one should know how important it is to empower and uplift not only our friends, but each and every woman around us.  Too often in today's world we find judgment, close mindedness, and a general fear of difference in character. This girl had all the qualities that we strive to uphold for ourselves. She is B.B. King's granddaughter. And she was there, sharing the same dance floor as us!  Now, first instincts may have been to run straight over and say hey, but girl code said to chill.  Play it cool and wait till the timing is right, that's what ya gotta do in times like these.  It's like there's a slight line between fan and friend, & we wanted to make friends with this gem of a lady!  For this task we had to have the music on our side, let it do the talking.  So we waited; patience is a virtue that life keeps teaching as time goes by.  Things will happen as they should and all a person needs is to have a little faith. Our faith came in the form of another tribute song all jazzed up with some Cajun sauciness. We moved with the rhythm and glided closer to B.B.'s granddaughter until we were dance floor neighbors. When the timing was right and we were facing one another our moves played out so well and we introduced ourselves to one another. Asking her to share this dance, she obliged and we all let the music flow through us and take control.  Dancing with her was magical! Her moves were free and fierce, smooth, and completely natural. Like nothing else mattered but the connection to a place and time long ago that we can feel, yet know nothing about. After the song came to an end we hugged it out and headed for a routine trip to the bathroom for all things girly.  

 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

 

Moving on after last call at B.B.'s we decided to do a little sight seeing.  Finding our way up to the top floor of a random parking garage that was pretty well heated on the inside. We stood and talked about the night that laid just behind us in time, already a cherished memory of good times and good friends. Overlooking downtown Memphis was a sight to see.  Each building had its own style, lights everywhere flashing different colors.  What a spectacle it was!  Staying a few minutes longer, paying homage to the city that welcomed us with open arms. Friday had come to a close and it was our time to make that long walk back to the hotel.  Making sure the curtains were pulled to when we returned, switching 'fits into something more comfy, & feeling on top of the world; we slid into our dreamy hammock moon and drifted up with the stars.  

 

Crawfish & Fresh Kicks

 

Rolling out of bed with 30 minutes to get to B.B. King's Blues Club we threw on a fresh fit and hit the door. Can we just say, thank goodness for some MAC prep & prime spray, there was no time to spare for anything but a quick powder. We decided to drive since time had already gotten away from us. Parking actually wasn't that bad. Paying for a lot is easy and all but we breezed right in line on the side of 3rd St. Getting a table was easy peasy, we were sat at a corner spot upstairs overlooking the stage, right next to the banister.  A few people buzzed about the stage setting up equipment. Live music all the time y'all, it was unreal.  Fabulous!  As far as the menu goes, don't worry about disappointment. We couldn't decide on one thing so after some careful planning we decided to get a little bit of it all. Starting off with crawfish poppers and a remoulade sauce, a cup of gumbo, as well as the best white cheddar mac & cheese I've ever had.  Our main course consisted thick cuts of brisket drizzled with bbq sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, & hushpuppies!   With Lisa G. And Flic's Pic's Band on stage by now, doin their thang, this meal was superb! The setting was great, a soft funky vibe that fit just right with the afternoon ambience.  The band was so good they held onto us for a good three and a half hours!  Each and every one of the members were talented beyond measure, the bass player is none other than Leroy Hodges Jr.  He's worked with almost any and every well-known blues and soul musician. Like Al Green & Ann Peebles for example.  The coolest thing about Leroy, other than his list of hits, was his shoe game.  He rocked a pair of silver metallic boots like it was nobody's business!  Even though we could have been just fine staying & rocking the day away, we remembered our plans and decided there was no time like the present to get to it!  

 

 

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

 

Half a mile from iconic Beale Street sits The Peabody Pastry Shop, an absolute must for our Valentines afternoon Memphis style. The Peabody is a 13-story downtown hotel, known for its grand marble-columned lobby as well as its resident ducks—whose daily parade to the hall's fountain is a tradition dating back to 1933. The Legend of the Peabody Ducks is a tale you can find on the hotel’s website, but we got a short version on the back of a napkin. It read; “In 1933, Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel's Tennessee sippin' whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.”   As far as finding a place to park, here wasn’t that bad either.  Slipping into a thirty-minute spot right across the street, as we planned to grab & go for a few more errands.  When walking into the deli we realized that the dessert had a grandeur display that perfectly matched the hotel. Looking at each different dessert, making comments on how great and delicious they all looked. Cakes, pies, & domes.. oh my! Wait, what’s a dome?!  A mousey, chocolaty, center filled with wonder, fabulous piece of… dome.  Just get one, they’re amazing!  That was one of our two purchases at The Peabody, to finish off this sweet tooth we went with a piece of white chocolate cake.  Taste buds overwhelmed with soft, rich flavors.  Not knowing which to take a bite of next, it was dessert madness!  The only thing missing for this fancy part of the adventure was our big sis Laura!  She would have loved the sweets & known the perfect wine to pair it with! 

 

 

Born to Boogie

 

Once the afternoon adventures ceased to a close, it was time to relax and start preparing for the evening to come.  When traveling to a new place it's always fun to get a few recommendations from locals as to where the best spots in town are located.  But what happens when those recommendations just aren't your cup of tea?  Sometimes you have to wait it out a little, test the waters, and really give a cool place the chance to show its potential.  Other times it's just the crowd that doesn’t suit your fancy.  During our stay we had made friends with Al, a valet at the hotel.  He talked about a spot called Double J's that was definitely worth checking out. So we did.  The girls here weren't very nice at all, dirty glare after dirty glare & we were done with Double J's!  It's sad that women feel the need to frown upon another woman for no reason at all. We're supposed to lift one another up at all times.  Who knows, maybe this young lady was just having a bad day.  Keep in mind though; a person brings his or her own energy into every situation.  If she had wanted to be happy and mingle, she could've been our next dance partner or bathroom bestie.  Remember to keep an open mind ladies, always smile, and stay on the positive side of life!  You never know whom you'll impact with the attitude you carry.  We skipped out of Double J's and called our favorite Uber driver, Walter, to come to our rescue.  Once he arrived he took us to a different part of Memphis, what's known as Cooper-Young. It's a more eclectic neighborhood with many attractions of its own.  We went into a few different locations, but none could satisfy our urge to dance.  After a few minutes at each establishment we realized where it was that we should have gone in the first place.  Beale St was calling our name once more.  We started off at the Juke Joint again before making our way back to B.B. King's. The rest of our evening was just as perfect as the one before!  We did learn a valuable lesson though; no one knows a person better than themselves.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up trying to be the person everyone expects you to be.  Instead, find those people you can be yourself around. Find the hole in the wall, or the namesake club that lets you enjoy yourself freely.  Keep looking for the friend who doesn't judge when you've ate two too many pieces of pizza.  & never give up hope that one day, you'll be the truest you that could possibly be!  We are all on a journey, to each is their own, but teamwork does make the dream work.

 

Just Add Bacon

 

To close out the night, a pizza topped with tons of bacon arrived for us at the hotel.  We sat at each side of the room, talking and brainstorming about different ideas.  When all the sudden it occurred to us, that maybe Valentines Day this year wasn’t just about a significant other.  What if it was about being happy & in love with life?  What if, for those of us who haven’t settled down, it’s meant to remind us that we are loved by so many people it’s astounding!  To solely focus on the absence of one minor person in life, is just silly.  It is more important to focus on the good, don’t go in search of what’s missing.  Let the puzzle of love work itself out and worry about being the best you!  When one is able to become the best version of themself, that is when the right person will come along.  So surround yourself with good company: family, friends, mentors, & like-minded people.  Celebrate daily and give thanks for your blessings.  To receive love, you must first give love. 

 

The Long Road Home

 

It’s no secret that Hannah wakes up earlier than Cheyenne, you can bet on it.  So jumping up to snag some goodies from the continental breakfast for the both of us was my treat. Soon a text from home got through and reminded us that snow was beginning to fall and we needed to hit the road. The fastest packing party ever ensued!! We were out the door, checked out, and headed northeast in 30 minutes. Both Cheyenne’s parents and mine had sent Valentines Day love to us during our packing session. Reading my dads aloud to the both of us, he told us of a real valentines gift for the day!  Almost in sync we both guessed a new baby calf was born, either from a special cow or with special markings. It’s always such a pleasant surprise that Laura, my self and dad enjoy more than anything.  The magic of it never looses it glow of excitement.  Serving as the perfect reminder to stay happy, positive, and empowering through every moment in life! 

 

Oh yeah, how was the trip home in the snow? Great! It ended up taking us a total of 10 & ½ hours, instead of the usual 5, but we had a blast & have some great ideas for things to come in the future!  Laura wanted to be with us in Memphis so badly & we wished she was too!!!  But then again, look at her fine self on a private beach in India! Rockin' that @itsavglamour with the ever so fresh @inkkas to match!  Wait, can we be in India too? lol. So stay tuned for a full 411 about Laura’s exciting adventures in India & much more!