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Adele Elliott: Summertime blues

 

Adele Elliott

 

It seems that we are drifting in the summer doldrums. Sailors feared them. Southerners view them as a time to endure, and a time when we long for the end of September.  

 

There are a few bright spots that make July a bit easier to bear. Our garden is thriving, thanks to our neighbor, "Farmer" Greg. This week we harvested the first tomatoes. They are fat and juicy -- perfect for salads, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and (my favorite) just eating, freshly picked, with a dusting of salt and pepper. 

 

We also have string beans and some mild peppers. Last night Chris tossed them all into the wok and served a tasty stir-fry meal that sent me back for seconds. 

 

Of course, there are some things (other than tomatoes and air conditioning) that make summer bearable. Recently, I had a great conversation with Richard Ramsey, program director for the Howlin' Wolf Blues Society. 

 

That group is gearing up for the 18th Annual Howlin' Wolf Memorial Blues Festival on Friday, Aug. 30. This is an amazing event, where you can see an incredible amount of blues musicians performing in one place. Some of those scheduled are The Mark Muleman Massey Band, featuring Grammy Award-winning pianist Billy Earheart; one-man-band Ben Prestage; the Braille Blues Daddy, Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band; and Homemade Jamz, to name a few. 

 

I plan to purchase one of the charming cigar-box guitars to add to my collection of musical instruments. 

 

Every year the festival includes a raffle of an electric guitar signed by all the performers at the fest. Surprisingly, Chris and I have each won one in past years. That may just seem like blind luck. But, honestly, we buy multiple tickets. 

 

I got so excited the year that my name was pulled that I kissed Richard (who presented it to me) and Blind Mississippi Morris, who was on the stage at that time. They appeared surprised, but were polite about receiving a smooch from an over-excited fan. 

 

Another good thing about the Howlin' Wolf Memorial Blues Festival is that it is indoors at the Mary Holmes College Auditorium, Highway 50 West, in West Point. That means comfy seating and air conditioning. Check out wpnet.org/Howlin_Festival.htm, or call 662-605-0770 for tickets and more info than I could ever include here. 

 

These days, Chris keeps the temperature in the house in the same range as most meat lockers. I am not fooled. Sometimes, I am forced to leave the too-cold house on excursions to buy more ice cream or watermelon. On those occasions, I must get into the car, which displays three-digit temperature readings on the dashboard. It takes a long time for the convection-oven that is the interior to become bearable. 

 

Many performers have sung the lyrics, "Sometimes I wonder what I'm a-gonna do, but there ain't no cure for the summertime blues." I know what I will do: eat ice cream and fresh tomatoes and wait for autumn. In the meantime, there is the Howlin' Wolf Memorial Blues Festival to look forward to. If you attend, be sure to purchase a few of the raffle tickets for that signed guitar. But if you pass on the drawing, please refrain from being jealous when Chris and I win it. 

 

I send you all good wishes for a short summer, which can be made more tolerable with the right food and some cool blues.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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