The other night My good friend Derald and I decided to sneak out for a beer and a couple rib tips at Mission Pizza. Saturday is the best evening to go because the place is filled with warm music being enjoyed by warm people. I like the way Phil (owner) keeps the volume of the bluegrass bands low enough that people can actually hear each other talk as they enjoy the sweet sounds moving off the strings on stage. When we arrived, I immediately saw my friend Mr. Durbin who happened to grow up in Sunfish Kentucky, just an hour or so from the “holler” that my family is from. Several months ago, I approached Mr. Durbin to thank him for sharing his musical gift with us and we got to talking. The rest is history, I’m 34 and he’s like 80, but we’re friends. Seeing him this particular night was fortunate because I had a vhs tape he lent me so I could watch it with Rebecca. As it turns out, we don’t have a vhs player anymore so I needed to get it back to him. It was a documentary done by Diane Sawyer about the people of Eastern Kentucky. I watched it with him at his house one day and he insisted I share it with Rebecca…he really is a beautiful man.
Anyhow, Derald and I were doing our usual thing, discussing business and talking about life when all of the sudden, a hand reaches in between us and picks up a diamond ring that was sitting next to our rib tips. I looked up puzzled and found a very stressed looking woman sliding the ring back on her finger but continuing to stare a hole in our left overs. I asked her what happened and she calmly explained that she was massaging her hand and her rings popped off and flew in our direction. It was her wedding band that she found quickly but the engagement band was nowhere in sight. Turns out her husband was one of the guitar players in the band and they’ve been married for over 50 years. Derald and I joined her the search, moving our chairs out and crouching down to get a better look at the ground in the dim lighting. Before long the four or five other people at our long table were up and searching all the while encouraging the woman to stay calm and assuring her everything would be ok. The good will began taking flight and within a minute or two, the tables around us were up and on mission with us to find this precious ring. It was at this point I began noticing what was happening. The tables started getting moved out of the area and some woman started running a fork through our rib tips. Every person (about 50) in the place was now determined to find the ring. Suddenly, the house lights come on and the music stops and the staff as well as the band join the hunt. Although the scene was chaotic and stressful, in a much more important way, it was romantic and American, in a Mark Twain sort of way. People began chatting with each other and anonymity was nowhere to be found. “This one time I lost my…” stories were breaking out among clusters of strangers as they shuffled around their areas, hoping beyond hope that they would spot the lost ring.
“I FOUND IT!!!” cried a woman just behind us as she lifted the shiny ring in the air. It had flown into her purse.
Within seconds, the lights were turned down low and the band resumed playing an old Doc Watson tune as if they’d never stopped.
I approached the woman who was just reunited with her ring and gave her a big squeeze, while quietly telling her what a remarkable job she did of maintaining composure, confessing that I surely would have been freaking out. She breathed deep looked up at me and wiped her watery eyes as she explained that she just doesn’t know what she would have done had the ring not turned up.
What a remarkable testament to the fact that people have an intrinsic desire to help, love and know one another. It teaches me that we are all really just waiting for a reason to love the people around us, and it doesn’t even need to be life or death but simply human and authentic. We’ve all lost something, so adopting this sweet ladies burden proved to be natural to everyone in the room.
Derald and I were fortunate to have met a couple about our age during the hunt and we all hit it off immediately. Something about the situation enabled us to loosen up and actually share with and hear from and learn about one another. The four of us closed the place down and our conversation continued out into the parking lot. It was pleasure to have met them and we look forward to breaking bread with them again soon.
NOTE ABOUT THE PIZZA: Growing up in Chicagoland demands that I react dramatically to any pie not loaded with pure deliciousness and then cut up into squares. Good bad or indifferent, I love this heavy, doughy, expensive pizza as much as I love a Rosati’s special well done with extra sauce. It really is remarkable food. The sauce is so acidic it hurts your tongue, yet it’s still sweet enough to keep you eating till your belly hurts and sweat starts to bead on the temples. The mozzarella is mixed with about 20% Monterrey Jack, creating an actual cheese flavor rather than purely the smooth texture delivered by straight Mozzarella.
NOTE ABOUT THE BEER: Phil (owner) is a true beer aficionado. His 32 taps pour nothing but fine craft beer. There are no domestic lagers, no ciders, no Miller, Bud, Coors, PBR, no absolutely NO NON DELICIOUS BEER. Half of the taps are dedicated to California brewed IPA’s and the rest is a tasteful compilation of imports and other beers of various styles from CA and also neighboring states. Most pubs have handles all over the place and the temperature of the beer in your hand depends on which refrigeration unit it came from. Phil has all 32 handles in a single line on a wall, and on the other side of the wall is a walk in cooler that brings each brew to near freezing at all times. All beer is in frosted pint glasses.
BTW: Doc Watson passed away on Tuesday…RIP
Doc Watson, the blind Grammy-award winning folk musician whose music was embraced by generations and whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world, died Tuesday at a North Carolina hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his manager.
He was 89.
Watson died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was hospitalized recently after falling at his home in Deep Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
He underwent abdominal surgery while in the hospital and had been in critical condition for several days.
Arthel ‘Doc’ Watson’s mastery of flatpicking helped make the case for the guitar as a lead instrument in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was often considered a backup for the mandolin, fiddle or banjo.
His fast playing could intimidate other musicians, even his own grandson, who performed with him.
Richard Watson said in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press that his grandfather’s playing had a humbling effect on other musicians. The ever-humble Doc Watson found it hard to believe.
‘Everybody that’s picked with you says you intimidate them, and that includes some of the best,’ Richard Watson told him.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151961/Doc-Watson-death-Folk-music-hero-godfather-flatpickers-dead-89.html#ixzz1xNGcnum4