Ever since I was a little girl, my Daddy would always play music for me. He taught me what real musical talent was. When I, his only little girl, decided I wanted to be a rock star, he took me to Guitar Center and bought me a guitar. He'd taken me to my very first concert, which I never could have known nor would I have thought it would lead me to where I am right now, writing this blog! Rewind to August 1998 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. I was 10 years old, sitting on a blanket in the grass, anxiously awaiting the experience of my first rock concert. I couldn't tell you any other bands that were there but after what was an eternity to my 10 year old self, THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND took the stage. I sat in awe as I watched the big screens in front of me, the close ups of fingers gliding so smoothly over guitar necks and piano keys. I was hooked on this band like my father before me. We saw them ten summers in a row after that night. They were always something special we shared together.
Now, lets fast forward to 2013. My father has become my room mate in our small but comfortable home here in North Carolina and we both have lots of time to spare. We, unlike many fathers and daughters, truly enjoy being around each other! My Dad, and mom for that matter, are two of my very best friends. So, with all the time we have, we talk a lot about things we want to do. Aside from our dreams of traveling very, very far way, are a few smaller, more attainable dreams. One of those dreams was to visit the resting place of Duane Allman & Berry Oakley and visit The Big House, 2321 Vineville Avenue, Macon, Georgia. The place the band and many of those dear to them called home for a few years in the early '70's. A pilgrimage for any true ABB fan. Well, in August of 2013, we (just barely) made it happen!
|Duane Allman and Berry Oakley|
As we were about to get back onto the road and find a hotel until we left the next day, I got a message from a woman at the house who said she was actually at the house that day and we should have rang the doorbell! Again, I was sick. After replying back asking if there was any chance at all that we could view the home, and receiving no answer, I decided to call the number listed on the Facebook page. Wouldn't you know it, the lovely lady answered! I again explained our situation and regrettably she had a meeting that night so coming to the house was impossible. She did however say "How about you come by around 9:30 tomorrow morning. Just find some parking, ring the doorbell and I'll let ya in!" Can you believe it? We went from missing out on something we've waited 15 years to do, to getting the house all to ourselves.
We arrived early to take some photos by the gate with a giant 'shroom and "The Road Goes on Forever" inscribed on it...and by the steps...and the front door! We were like two kids on Christmas! A little before 9:30 my Dad rang the doorbell. Within moments we were greeted by a sweet Poodle we would later find out was named Charlie and was just rescued a few months ago...He's got to be one of the luckiest pups in the world! Anyway, we met with the woman we had spoken with, she explained it is a self-guided tour and gave us some information and she went about her business, leaving us to admire all the wonderful things that this beautiful old home contains. Clothing, instruments, concert tickets, guitar picks, drum sticks, posters, albums, hand-written lyrics. You couldn't possibly see everything in one trip. There are interesting "artifacts" everywhere you look! Of course, everything is wonderfully and beautifully arranged and organized. I have to say some of my favorite things were getting to sit at their table from H&H's Restaurant, sitting on Duane's bed and in the "Casbah" lounge with the legendary 7 headed shower. You could imagine the things that went on in this "relaxation" room...or that bed for that matter! I wish I had a time machine!
After over an hour of browsing, we shopped in the gift shop. $170 later we left, smiling from ear to ear. Our hearts happy. Another check off the old bucket list. Another memory made with my Daddy. We will be back at The Big House...but next time we wont make anyone work on their day off!