Early afternoon shows are rare, but they happen sometimes. Yesterday Eric Erdman played an early show 4-7 at Manci’s Antique Social Club on Main Street in Daphne, Alabama. Looking around I saw familiar faces and got lots of hugs in the process, yet many were new people I had not seen before.
One lady stole the show. She wore a long red skirt with ruffles from waist band to floor, it was like a modernized tu-tu.Her blouse overlapped on the outside of the skirt and it had a large picture of President Reagan with an American Flag nearby and these words: “I smell hippies!”
On her head she wore a modified top hat made of straw, cream colored with a wide black band. She was very thin and willowy. As the music moved her she would stand out in front of Eric and dance in her own unique way. She would ripple her hands in the air like a hula dancer who is telling the story of her love being out at sea. Then she would grab her skirt and pull it up, perhaps to give her feet the proper space to move to the music. She danced and whirled as though oblivious to the whole world around her. Once she caught the eye of a little girl standing near who seemed fascinated with her dance. She beckoned the child to join her, unsuccessfully. The child stood there shaking her head no, yet enjoying what she saw. It was a spectacle, it was mesmerizing and entertaining to watch her interpretive dance to each word Eric sang. At the end of her first dance…she put two fingers to the edge of her lips and she whistled the loudest whistle I have ever heard in my life. People jumped, put fingers in their ears, and looked around to find the source of that high pitched shrill…no one would have believed it came from this tiny framed lady. To our surprise, she whistled just like this after every song. We were braced for it after the first one.
I was so happy to see Brandon Lloyd come in with his lady-friend. They sat at my table and I was able to catch up and talk with him for the first time in a long time. Brandon is a wonderful man, he is a wounded warrior. He was a medic in the Marines and his vehicle was hit with an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) in Iraq. He dragged two severely injured marines to safety, while he had a massive injury himself. My understanding is that another two were clearly already deceased on the spot. This, of course, changed his life going forward. Brandon had many surgeries to fix his broken body. More were needed, but he stopped the process, just to catch his breath and to get his bearings. “Enough surgeries for now” he said. Brandon has struggled in many ways but he always keeps his head high. His biggest regret is that he can no longer be an active duty Marine. Eric wrote a song about Brandon (and other wounded warriors) when he was going through these surgeries and emotional devastation. The song is called “Can’t Fill It”. It is on his 3rd solo CD, “Not Slowing Down”. He played it last night again for Brandon. I could feel Brandon’s normally stoic demeanor change as I watched the tears well up. Brandon carries tattoos that have a rifle supporting a helmet with each of the guys’ names and date of death boldly printed under the picture. He often works with the center for PTSD, Wounded Warriors. Brandon defines the word BRAVE as he continues his life.
I looked up to see the lady in the red-ruffled skirt take center stage again. It turns out that she and her husband (partner, boyfriend, not sure which), originally went to Frog Pond in Silverhill and the show there was cancelled due to rain. The proprietor of Frog Pond (Cathe Steele) suggested they come to Manci’s to see Eric. Thank you Cathe. They spoke to Eric after the show and expressed how happy they were that they came. It seems they had a great time.
We enjoyed a good meal, lots of socializing, laughing, singing along and we were safe inside, out of that relentless rain.
For me it was another great night of music and merriment.