Monday, April 26, 2010

Napa Valley, Mississippi

The annual wine expo was put on this Friday night by the folks at the Purple Parrot.

It was downtown at the JDS Community Center - a place of many dances during those awkward teen years!

This time, it wasn't so awkward because it was a blast.

I still have to wonder how in the hell we pull this off in Hattiesburg, MS.

I get to talk in depth with vinters from Germany, Austrailia, California, Chile, Argentina and the list goes on and on.

And they all end up in Hattiesburg.

Wow, that's just so cool on so many levels for me.

Robert St. John took all of them to lunch on Friday to Leatha's BBQ and most of them couldn't stop talking about how amazing that meal was. I sometimes forget the power of food - especially regional food that you really can't get in other places very often.

I wonder how a place like Leatha's would fare in the middle of Nappa Valley?

I wonder what kind of wine goes best with beef ribs and chitterlings?

So my cousin's beautiful wife came to visit us so she could go with Paige to the wine thing - and they had a blast. I love seeing my wife having fun and I'm so happy that Steffie came and made that experience fun for my wife.

I turned them loose amongst the crowd and they, of course, found a cute little vinter boy to "adopt". By the end of the evening - the boy had no idea what had just occurred. His head was spinning from all the attention!

The wine expo is a circuit of some sorts. It goes to New Orleans, then to Hattiesburg, then to Jackson and then ends up in Destin. That would be a most amazing week for the wine reps.

Actually, I think starting in New Orleans and finishing in Destin would be great no matter what the reason was!

Anyway, it was a great time and we had so much fun. I think Paige posted pictures of her and Steffie with the shell-shocked boy at the wine expo on facebook, so amble over there and check it out!


Ever Wondered Why?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Knee Knocking

I was sitting here thinking about funny things and how sometimes miscommunication and assumptions are the bane of all of us.

I want to take you back, way back to the summer of 1995. Wow, that was 15 years ago!

I had been invited to speak on a panal at a very large company's convention at an island resort off the west coast of Florida (Marco Island if I remember correctly).

I would be on a 5 person "expert" panal and answer questions from the audience that would be moderated by someone funny, charming and intellegent (sounds like me - don't it!).

Now I love to talk so this was no sweat to me.

Plus I got 4 days at a fabulous resort on the beach that I would never be able to afford!

So, I was in my room taking a shower to prepare for my 3pm "round table" presentation and I hear a banging on my door.

It wouldn't stop so obviously it wasn't room service.

I get out of the shower and put on a towel over the good stuff, and answer the door.

There before me is a little short man who I know is the VP of Marketing for this large company.....he tells me that I have to go on in 5 minutes and everyone is waiting for me.


It's only 1pm and I don't have to be anywhere till 3pm. I have no idea what he's talking about.

He said, "3pm is for the roundtable - 1pm is for your keynote address at the agents meeting.

I say, "WTF" (a phrase I would repeat for the next few minutes without ceasing).

He says, "hurry, please get dressed"

So I do and we go walking down to the convention rooms at the resort.

We stop before a door and he tells me to just go directly to the stage and stand behind the microphone, they have a video introduction of me to do before I speak.

I can't begin to tell you what a state of complete shock and amazement I am in at this moment. I truly had no idea I was doing this. I certainly thought I would have remembered if I had agreed to it....shit

Well, I take a deep breath, throw open the door and walk straight to the stage.

About that time, I see the president of the company say "Well, it seems we've found Mr. Kennedy" and steps back.

At that moment, the house lights dim and they show a video of my company's images and say some nice things about me that make me look like I know what the hell I am doing.

The video ends with them saying something like "so please put your hands together and welcome Mr. Keith Kennedy to kick off our meeting".

I step up to the microphone and the house lights come up to thunderous applause that can only come from conventioneers that have had too much alcohol already.

It was at the moment that the lights came up that I could finally see that there were several thousand people sitting in that room.

Several Thousand.........

Holy Shit - look at all those people.

The first thing I noticed after seeing all those people was the fact that there was a 20 foot version of me on three video screens behind and above me. Everywhere in my peripheral vision was, well, ME.

After doing a few 360's I think I said something like, "wow, that's a good looking fellow"......

My mind was honestly still racing to come up with something to say.

The tone of this convention has been lost in my memory - probably blazed out by the sheer terror I experienced, but I think it had to do with partnerships between customers and their vendors or some such touchy-feely thing.

So I did the only thing I could think of, I started speaking Spanish.

I spoke Spanish for a good 60 seconds.

Now, my Spanish is very basic but I have control of nouns and verbs and can congigate a bit......but I'm sure it wasn't a great moment for that language and the buchering job I did on it.

I said something like who I was and what I did and how I love life and where I lived and several other things like where is the bathroom.

And then I stopped and looked out over the audience.

They were stone cold and not moving, making a sound.......not even a fart.

The silence was deafening!

And then, I said "by your silence I can see most of you had no idea what I just said".

I went on to say "I would like for everyone who understood what I said to please raise your hand".

About 20 people from Texas raised their hand (you'll have to remember that this was before the "great mexican migration" of this decade).

And then I said, "so I guess what you're telling me is that shippers and truckers don't speak the same language!"

At that, the entire room erupted in clapping and laughter......

I have no idea what else I said in that talk. I do remember that most of the time was spend in a question and answer session so I could fill the 30 minutes that I was supposedly supposed to do.

I left that stage and exited through the same door I came in - and right after me came the VP that had come to my room to collect me just a bit earlier.

He told me that I did a great job and thanked me profusely......I in turn choked down the desire I had to kill him on the spot for this.

I asked him how the hell I could have come here for this and not known I had to do it.

And you know what his answer was?

"It must have been a miscommunication"........

So if you ask me to go do something with you or for you, and I seem to ask you a thousand questions about it, please understand that I have history that makes my do that each and every time.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

La Provance!

Last night, my beautiful wife and I went and met some friends in beautiful, backwater, Lacombe, LA and had dinner at Chef John Besh's restaurant La Provance.

Oh My God!

It was quite amazing. We were met by the "mixologist" Joyce who had been working there for over 30 years and she showed us around.

We went back to the herb gardens and looked as row after row of yummy smelling things were was at that exact moment when we first saw (well, really it was smelled) the pig pens.

They had furry pigs in the back of the restaurant. And goats. And chickens. And lambs. Quite the menagerie.

The pigs stunk! But they looked so cool with all that fur all over them. The manager (who spent at least 30 minutes with us!) told us they were a special breed from Austria and those back there were only around 4 months old and weighed less than 200lbs. He said in the next few months they would be 500lbs. And that's a lot of pig!

Then we sat down to some wine and some garlic crustini with chicken liver pate' - wow, was that good.

Then came the menu's and everything on there looked so very good. I chose the quail gumbo for a first course which conisted of a quail, stuffed with dirty rice, in the bottom of the bowl and then had a very dark roux base poured over the top of it. I have never had gumbo served like that nor have I ever tasted any gumbo that tasted like that. It was magnificent.

Then for my main course I got the special which was rabbit loin wrapped in thier homemade smoked bacon and it was also stuffed with some kind of stuffing. It sat upon a black-eyed pea cassolet and had little balls of saute'd root vegitables.

Oh My God!

I kid you not, this was a most amazing meal.

My wife had an aparagus/oyster soup which was green as grass and yummy as hell. Then she got the speckled trout which she loved.

Unfortunately, by the time our main courses arrived we were full so we only picked at our food.

But being full is no reason not to order desert! So I got some creme brulee' that had berries reduced in red wine with them. Heavenly doesn't quite describe this desert.

So after coffee, I had to drive us back an hour and a half home.

We had gotten to the restaurant around 6:20 and left there at 9:20, so it was a full night ordeal - but one that I will gladly do again.

Bon Apetite!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Great Weekend!

One of the best things about my life is that I am so very happy.

I'm happy with my life as it is.

I used to spend so much time wishing my life was something other than it was - and now I find myself at a place where I just love it how it is.

And that makes me a very lucky boy!

We started out on Friday at a birthday party for a little girl. Not something I would normally like to do but I went with my wife because, well, I like going with her......

We went to the "Rootbeer Saloon" just down from our house on Hwy 589.

The proprietor cooked burgers and there was karyoke for the kids - and that was very, very funny if you haven't seen it before!

But I also just had to bring some drinks for the adults - so we snuck out to the side of the road by the highway - way away from the kids and the "saloon" and were enjoying a few adult beverages......when the crochety owner came over and said "is yall dranking alcohol"?

To which a replied, "un huh, a little"!

He then told us he didn't allow that and to get off his property!!

So yea, my weekend started off by getting thrown out of a little kid birthday party.

Then Saturday, I had breakfast with a fraternity brother of mine who was down from Kentucky for a thing at USM - which is always a good thing. I love catching up with folks I haven't seen in 30 years.

And then I got to go out with my wife to the Bottling Company that evening to listen to a band from Laurel.

I, of course, invited a bunch of folks and several of them came and we had a great time! So good that we even did the drunken midnight run through the Krystal - just as if we were still in college!!

We had good church Sunday morning, although my 7am arrival time there for rehersal was WAY TOO EARLY after my Saturday night. Bad Sunday to be singing, but oh well....

Then, I had several things I wanted to do Sunday afternoon......but all I did was lay in bed, nap and watch bad TV all afternoon and evening.

It was wonderful!

I don't think I would make a good lazy person, but it sure is fun to act like it sometimes!

And as I woke up this morning and rolled over and kissed my beautiful wife, I reflected on not only my weekend, but my entire life as I now live it.......

So in my mind, it was not only a great weekend, it was simply a micro-cosmn of my life in general.

Yea, I'm a lucky boy.....


Friday, April 09, 2010


It's starting to be springtime around here and I'm ready for some bbq!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Smash Up

In order to save time, I have decided to combine two of my favorite movie series of all time.

Feel free to post plot ideas.........


We had a most amazing church service yesterday........close to 900 folks showed up.

And speaking from a boy on the stage, the music was absolutely ROCKING!

Plus life is just good when we're reminded of the importance of Easter.

In the words of my friend Nathaniel, IT MATTERS!

So I hope you and yours had a great one.

I sure did.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Knoweth Thy Truth

It’s almost Easter!

My favorite holiday in the whole wide world.

Besides the obvious Easter Bunny chocolates, we’ve got a lot more going for us on this holiday…….

Like the whole crucifiction, death and resurrection thing.

The validity for our beliefs.

The beans for our coffee, so to speak.

And let’s face it, it’s kind of like the Super Bowl with Jesus as the quarterback!

It’s also the time when most non-church goers actually go to church.

So be sure and shake and hand and make them feel welcome.

But it’s also a time for those of us who do worship regularly to reach down and reconcile within ourselves the truth we profess.

I believe it is the time for renewal for all of us.

It is a time to wash away all of the contradictions inherent in our scriptures and focus on the important stuff.

Here is my favorite contradiction:

Mark 9:40 says “for whoever is not against us is for us”

Matthew 12:30 says “he who is not with me is against me”

Yea, you’re right…….it does say the opposite.

So what?

What does that matter and why do folks get all bogged down in arguing about that kind of stuff when it's not central to our faith?

Some of my Baptist friends hate these discussions because it makes them just downright nervous, because for lots of them, God is a teacher with a ruler about to whack them on the knuckles.

My favorite representation of all time on this suject was presented on the second season of West Wing.

President Bartlet had him a right-winger radio host named Dr. Sallie Shephard who he bitch slapped with a little biblical tomfoolery…….

Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

Radio Lady: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.

Radio Lady: 18:22.

President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse.

I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here.

I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?


So I was kidding about the name, it wasn't Sallie Shephard - I just wanted to mess with one of my favorite girls!!

And, of course, the list could go on and on about the CONTEXT of scripture and how in order to understand it's meaning, you must understand the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, why) in order for it to be meaningful or not.

This is not the time to pick out words to defend our own points of view via scripture.

No, this is simply a time for us to worship and acknowledge our truth.

So on this Holiest of Holy Days, I ask that you put aside all of your doubt, all of your confusion, all of your internal monologues - and simply worship in awe of the most amazing promise fulfilled.

Happy Easter Y'all