Lots to see with eyes open, mouth closed

Published 8:26 am Thursday, May 27, 2021

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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SpringFest came and left with no major incidents reported, and that is a good thing.

A most amazing crowd was on hand – the likes of such I have never seen on the Square before.

Also, there was law enforcement. Batesville Police and the Sheriff’s Department were patrolling in pairs visible in any direction you cared to look. The Square was heavily patrolled.

I believe the people that came were only there for the good time and that weighs a lot, too. Folks have been cooped up for so long they were just happy to be out among all their neighbors again.

No time to fuss and argue, too many people there and the last thing you wanted was to lose your place in the line.

I enjoyed watching all the kids run and play. I also enjoyed watching the parents trying to keep up with those young’uns and all that pent up energy.

I’m a people watcher. I enjoy watching folks interact with each other and go on about their business. You’d be surprised at the things you can witness with your mouth closed and your eyes open.

I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Steve Azar again. I haven’t seen him since he played here years ago, and now he’s Mississippi’s Music & Culture Ambassador appointed by then Governor Phil Bryant in 2017.

Steve also has his own talk show on SuperTalk Radio that is extremely informational and entertaining.

He took the stage a few minutes early Saturday evening and was standing in the back corner warming up. Joe Azar of Panola Partnership was preparing to take the stage to present the 2020 Panola Partnership awards and it seemed to be taking him a little long to get his materials lined up.

Steve was shuffling around and doing scales on his guitar, itching to get the show started. He looked down at me and said “ Hey, Ricky, what’s the hold up?”.

He left it wide open and folks I could not resist the temptation.

I replied “We’re waiting on Joe” in reference to one of his hit songs. He answered back “Yeah, I’ve done that a lot over the years.” It was all in good fun.

Frank Foster was this year’s headliner,  and I had no clue who he was because I’m not a fan of today’s country radio other than Jameson Rodgers. And I can listen to him any time I want on the internet.

So, I studied up on the guy in the weeks before he came to town and found out a lot about him. He’s not your basic Nashville artist, he tends to do things on his own and I discovered I enjoyed the young man’s music.

I had the good fortune to meet and talk with him before the show. Super nice individual who was more than happy to come play for us.

I told him “So, you’re the singer?”

He replied, “Only on the weekends, during the week I’m a stay at home dad”.

During his show, we were sitting back in the crowd under our Local Yokel Show tent surrounded by nothing but good Batesville neighbors.

Foster yells out from the stage “It’s Saturday night, drink that beer, sweat it out, and be ready for church tomorrow !”.

I looked over my right shoulder at my good friend Michael Bates and said, “Brother Michael, that’s a good one for your sign!”

As expected, Brother Bates declined that offer.

The Elders at The Batesville Church of Christ would most likely frown on that sign choice decision.

But it was good for a laugh, and laughter is good medicine.

I missed seeing a lot of familiar faces that have gone on because of Covid and other issues since the last SpringFest.

One in particular was Bo Mathews who was Santa around here for many, many years.

He, his wife Cathy, and his boy Chris would always sit center stage and listen to every song played both days of the event.

Bo was a good fella who spread more joy and made more children smile than anyone I have ever known. This community will miss Bo Mathews.

Take care of yourself folks and watch out for all the kids running around. School has let out and they will be everywhere. Spend some time with them and enjoy yourself.

Not a one of us is guaranteed tomorrow.