Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thursday Night Hoedown

Hosting the evening of the Thursday Night Hoedown are owners,
Tom and Sandy Grinstead.

   By Sam Crenshaw

As we strolled into the restaurant, I was reminded of a time in our past when the lovely singer, Sue Ellen McGraw and a guy named Guy would be singing the old country western song, "Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more. Hit the road Jack and don'tcha come back no more.

Guy would reply, "Well woman oh woman dont'cha treat me so mean, you're the meanest old woman I've ever seen...." and before long they would be singing the theme song for Uncle Ned Stribling's band, "Come on along with me tonight, come on along with me.  Come on along to Hawkinsville tonight to the Hayloft Jamboree."

And they came, and they came, and they kept coming to the old National Guard Armory with a brown bag surprise in one hand and a woman with the other hand.  Whoeee! Squeeze the lemon, now one more time! Grab the lady behind you and promenade on down the line.

Literally, cold chills or goose bumps accompany my memories of that great venue of Uncle Ned and his group.  Too many years have passed for me to remember everyone and last names and so forth, but Uncle Ned played the piano, Pee Wee played the steel guitar, a guy named Al sang some country songs and Bill always sang the slow dance songs, sounding a lot like Jim Reeves, when he could remember the words, and the men dancers held on tight and swung that ladies around.  Sue Ellen and Guy sang lively duets.

My old classmate at HHS, Jerry Mullis and his wife, Donna
invited us to meet them for the Thursday Night Hoedown.
Now granted that was a long time ago, and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, but based on the crowd of music lovers and dancers recently showing up to enjoy the music and dancing, it brings to mind the huge crowds that used to follow Uncle Ned's Hayloft Jamboree around.

The huge crowd for the Thursday Night Hoedown
 was partly made up from folks from other towns. 
The above group came from Fort Valley.
As we walked in, we were keeping an eye out for a former resident of Hawkinsville and classmate of mine, Jerry Mullis and his wife, Donna.  They had called to invite us to come and see the crowd that is attracted to the shindig. Jerry owns a seafood market in Macon, something he has done for a number of years. Through his years of business, his activity in church and other associations, he has become acquainted with a musician named Jimmy Tucker who has a group named the Tucker Boys, and a group of followers of his music shows.  That group showed up that night with three carloads including around fifteen or so revelers from the Macon area.  Seated at a table not too far from them was another group from Warner Robins totaling some ten or twelve people. Others from towns all around middle Georgia filled in and made for a good crowd.

Providing the music and the entertainment were Hawkinsville favorites,
Chris Sercer and sister, Donna.
Now that night, they were in for a real treat as local Post person/musician, Chris Sercer and her sister, the quick-witted Donna, were on hand to offer the great music and laughter which took them to Nashville, Tennessee a few years ago where they brushed with fame and fortune.  Sercer who sings enough like the late, great Patsy Cline to pass for her twin can put on a rollicking performance for a crowd singing the huge hits like "Crazy", "Walking After Midnight", and many more.
Retired Postal worker, Benny Huett was joined by his wife at the
Thursday night hoedown.
Music and dancing have always been part of Hawkinsville's history from the aforementioned square dancing, some small clubs like Horne's Drive Inn to the Jaycees sponsorship of street dancing and games which used to be an annual treat where  Jackson Street could be roped off for the entire town to enjoy. I think about my late cousin, Sammie Ruth Crenshaw who enjoyed dancing and told me of the great times she had when she was a young and pretty teenaged girl. 
Part of the local group enjoyed the dancing and the music.

Louise Richardson, formerly my high school
classmate enjoys most Thursday night dances.
Me?  I was just a young boy who loved watching the guys spin the wheel for the mouse or mice to run into, but oh what a great time the city folks and country folks had with all of the effort that was put into the big show!  All of the people who used to enjoy street dances, square dances, club dancing and the like show their pleasure when they attend the laugh-filled good times and great music.

I didn't see Thomas Herrington that night, but my understanding is when he feels good, no one enjoys shaking a leg like he does. Old Cypress Knee has always been one of this writer's favorite subjects regardless of his outlandish pranks he pulled as a youngster, or his episodic trips to different places, some remembered, some not, and the wonderful way that he learned so many musical instruments including the piano which sets in his place of business.  Some of my other classmates, Louise and Frances who attend the "Thursday Night Hoedown" tell me that he can still enjoy dancing with the ladies.

The crowd enjoyed the Buffet Dinner held prior to the entertainment.
My wife Sheila who attended the get-to-gather grabbed me for a quick dance which had to be as miserable for her as it was to me since I'm still trying to recover from knee replacement surgery, however it was a good evening of fun and frolicking―great dancing and good music.

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