Counter shield is coming down this week

Published 4:17 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2021

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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My bride and I have come full circle with this pandemic it seems.

In February 2020, before the world stopped turning, we were at The Ryman in Nashville watching a show by a young country artist named Tyler Childers.

Unknown to us at the time, it would take us 14 months to return to our favorite music town.

A few days ago we had tickets to see another great artist, Jeffery Steele, at one of our favorite go to spots in Nashville, a club named 3rd & Lindsley.

Steele may not be familiar to most folks but if you Google him I guarantee you will be very impressed by the number of #1 songs he has written.

Amazing talent and a spectacular entertainer also.

We’ve seen several shows at 3rd & Lindsley over the years with my favorite of all time being the late. great Daryle Singletary along with Rhonda Vincent.

I had the opportunity to meet the man and I informed him he was an honorary Local Yokel. He was amused and pleased with that news, and just a few months later he passed away unexpectedly at only 46 years old. He was a Dandy.

We have our own table we like to sit at on the balcony at the Ryman. When they open the doors, folks usually scatter to the floor tables, but not us.

We hit the stairs and go straight for our spot right above the stage with a clear avenue and no one blocking the view of my vertically challenged wife.

We could see the rooftop bars from our hotel room all packed out on that Saturday afternoon. Some folks walking around were wearing masks, but most, including myself, were not.

I can’t speak for them, but this old dog has had his parvo shots and is not afraid to mingle.

It’s funny though. You are required to wear a mask to walk into a bar or restaurant, but once you get to your seat you can remove it.

Every bar has signs that read no standing and no dancing. Well, it works for me because I can’t dance anyway as everyone who knows me can testify.

We have come a long way over the past year. Just 12 short months ago some businesses were forced to shut down amid coronavirus protocols.

Governors, mayors, alderman and supervisors were all in a tough spot deciding who could open and who had to close.

Sheriffs and police chiefs were put in a bind of how to regulate and enforce the law without prosecuting folks who simply wanted to worship in their church.

Even at my small store we were limited to only having 5 people at a time. We were not only running a business, we also had to police it  to comply with the ever changing rules placed on us.

I now have thousands of dollars of PPE products that I bought to help protect my employees and customers, and will forevermore keep a stock of it just in case.

The thing that worried me the most was the unknowing. We just never knew what was next. I value stability and routine in my life and those two aspects were nowhere to be found.

As I am pecking out the words of this article, my brother is receiving his second shot. In our opinions, we felt as many people as we deal with on a daily basis it was best for us to get the vaccine.

You may not feel the same way, and I fully respect your decision, each to his own I say.

But at some point this afternoon, the plastic barrier at our counter is coming down. All we were waiting on was Mike’s second shot.

If folks want to wear their mask when they come see us, they are more than welcome. Me and Mike are getting a bit older, but we are not that old.

We have had enough of trying to comprehend what a mask-wearing person is asking us from behind a thick piece of plexiglass. Somethings gotta give.

Our hair may be graying but our ears work fine.

Take care of yourself folks and be glad we all made it through the worst of it.

Write to Ricky Swindle at