"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sound Distance Range

Sunday, June 17th was our 7th wedding anniversary and to commemorate this day, we packed a picnic basket and headed to AmRhein’s Wine Cellars, a local vineyard which sits quietly in the pristine serenity of the Blue Ridge atop Bent Mountain.

As it was also Father’s Day, the winery offered a somewhat festive environment featuring special prices on select wines, light hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment in the form of our friend, Ron.

Now Ron is no stranger to live gigs. In fact, during his formative years he performed with bands in every bar, tavern and saloon in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and over the course of those many years of “paying his dues,” amassed a vast and varied repertoire along with a comfortable familiarity with his audience. Now preferring solo gigs, he shares his talents in more intimate settings such as wineries, local coffee shops and the occasional impromptu friendly get together.

So on this Sunday in June, Ron happily set about doing what he does so well; entertaining. And accompanying him, at least initially, was only his acoustic guitar.

By the time Beth and I arrived, he had been playing for an hour or so and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. Initially scoping out the landscape, we decided to prioritize and therefore immediately entered the tasting room for a sampling of some award winning vintages.

Upon exiting the room with our first bottle of Viognier, Beth and I spread our blanket on the grass in a shady area directly behind Ron and discovered he had, as it turns out, un-expectantly acquired accompaniment other than his guitar. For now, sharing the microphone with him was one somewhat inebriated woman who, through the virtues of over indulgence, was suddenly of the opinion she was ... Yo, Dawg, check it out ... the next American Idol.

Apparently taking Ron’s encouragement of, “C’mon … everybody sing!” to mean, “C’mon … take over the microphone, sing badly and don’t sit back down … ever,” she planted herself in front of the mike and made up lyrics as drunk people often do. She became the person who wouldn’t leave.

Cheered on by her equally intoxicated friend, she then began to work the crowd, playing the cut up to Ron’s perplexed straight man. It quickly became obvious she had taken a shine not only to performing with Ron, but also to Ron.

“Don’t you remember last Friday night,” she slurred while doing a little stagger dance as her equilibrium apparently went on break.

Clearly distraught and at a loss as to how he might politely and graciously extract himself from this unfortunate dilemma, Ron turned toward us and pleadingly mouthed the words, “Help me … please.”

I smiled and began calling them Sonny & Cher.

As one song ended, her friend loudly clamored for more, to which Cher enthusiastically seconded as she downed another glass of wine. (It appeared to be a blend … perhaps a late year Cab with an overt touch of backwash.)

Finally Ron did what all performers’ do when things aren’t going quite as planned. He took a break and joined us on the blanket. Cher was not to be deterred however and as we talked, she refilled her glass and began trading song suggestions with her friend, all the while turning toward us and shouting things like, “Do you know Stayin’ Alive? No… Well just follow my lead.”

“What am I going to do?”

“She likes you Ron,” Beth teased.

“Maybe I should call Jamie (his wife) and tell her to get up here and beat her up,” he said.

“Or you could do some of your original music Ron. Then she won’t know any of the lyrics and will likely go somewhere and pass out,” I offered.

Before a suitable course of action was decided upon, Cher insisted he return to the microphone where he again graciously endured several more “duets.”

“Poor Ron,” Beth said.

Not long after however, Cher’s ride was leaving and by default, so was Cher. But before doing so, she handed Ron a slip of paper upon which was scribbled her email address – ibcher@yahoo.com – just in case he might want to perform together again.

“I’m not always available,” she muttered “because my friend and I do a lot of gigs together … sometimes as many as twice a year. But don’t worry, I’ll work you in.”

“Ok … thanks.”

As she stumbled off into the sunset, Ron hesitated on starting his next song. Turning to face Beth and I once again, he whispered, “I’m going to do Brown Eyed Girl but I don’t want to start until she’s well out of sound distance range.”

And so, once she was indeed well out of sound distance range, a very relieved Ron resumed his performance and delighted us all with no other accompaniment save the loud, but nice group sitting at table 4. (They only came to the mike when invited to join in on the chorus of Yellow Submarine and then promptly sat back down.)

It was a beautiful afternoon and Beth and I enjoyed spending our anniversary in such a low key, yet intimate way. We enjoyed the food we packed, the wine we shared and the music of our friend who honored our special day by playing And I Love Her by the Beatles.

And at the end of the day, Ron departed for a well deserved Father’s Day Supper with his family and Beth and I headed down the mountain with a case of wine for our closet/cellar.

As for Cher, she probably awoke several hours later with cottonmouth and I Got You Babe pounding inside her head.


Fe-lady said...

Oh my god, this is so funny and sad at the same time...I can't believe you got pictures! Great story!
Looks like a pretty place...too bad Cher had to pollute it, and herself!

Ron said...

Hey there. This is Jamie, signed on as Ron. Your telling is much more amusing than Ron's.

But the good thing is now I have this woman's email address AND photos of her.....

(evil laugh)