Last week, I went to Memphis with ten other teachers for a conference. The conference was all day Wednesday.Â We arrived Tuesday evening.Â We weren’t about to waste a night in Memphis.Â So we headed to Beale Street to find a place for dinner and check out some music.Â
When it came to dinner, I voted for Rendezvous – the famous Memphis barbecue place, but I was outvoted in favor of the Blues City Cafe.Â Not wonderful food, but certainly okay.Â They had an apple dumpling to die for!Â I’m on the look-out for some tiny cast iron skillets so I can copy that dish.
They had a band singing in the barÂ – the lead singer sang Johnny Cash songs and sounded just like Johnny Cash, BUT he looked like Jerry Springer.Â It was quite a combination.Â Â He was good – great sound and he rocked out on some of my favorite Johnny Cash songs.Â There was a rowdy crowd in the front with a lot of cheering and hooting and hollering.
After the first set, the lead singer passed our table and one of the other teachers – I’ll call her Edna – asked if he could sing an Eric Clapton song – any Eric Clapton song.Â She LOVES Eric Clapton.Â Â The singer was a good sport andÂ said he could and would.Â During the break Edna talked to me about how much she loves Eric Clapton and how she hoped, hoped, HOPED that the guy would choose “Wonderful Tonight” to sing.
Minutes into his second setÂ the lead singerÂ pointed EdnaÂ out to everyoneÂ and said the next song was dedicated to her.Â They chitchatted briefly.Â Everyone cheered for Edna and she waved to everyone.Â Our little table of ten was suddenly the center of attention.Â I should note that Edna is a grandmother – the oldest of the teachers there – she hasÂ already retired from teaching once, and then came back.Â SheÂ has gray/white hair and a very grandmotherly sweet face.Â Â When the singerÂ began singing “Wonderful Tonight.”Â Edna put her hand to her heart – it was perfect!Â Her eyes glistened with tears at the tender words.
About that time a male patron came over to our table and pulled Edna out on the dance floor.Â She wasn’t unwilling.Â It was a gentlemanly gesture since she was so obviously thrilled about the song.Â Â Other couples started dancing, too.Â
However, once “Wonderful Tonight” was over, the band started a foot-stomping song and things got a little wild when an elderly cowboy decided he wanted to dance with a teacher, too.Â Big cowboy hat, bowlegs and insistent attitude.Â He went from one of us to the other asking us to dance.Â Â We had watched him dance before – and it looked more like manhandling than dancing.Â His version of dancing was to whirl his dance partner this way and that way with double-handed turns and reverses.Â Â He was a showoff who made his dance partner lookÂ like a contortionist.Â We all declined his less-than-subtle invitations.Â
However, apparently his pride was on the line, and he was not going to take no for an answer.Â He finally managed to literally drag another teacherÂ to the dance floor where he proceeded to twirl her around unmercifully.Â As soon as the song was over and she was back at the table, we made our exit.
It was amazing how many families with children were walking Beale Street late on a Tuesday evening.Â Music was coming from various clubs as we walked by.Â
The next day we were doubly happy that we had partied a little the night before because the conference was “good” but not fantastic.