Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, August 25, 2016, 8:33 p.m.
This was the most Clinton thing ever. The Clinton thing Friday night is in its infancy, because, dating back to 1920, Laurens has never played the Red Devils to begin a season.
Clinton is a place where that most crucial transition of the calendar year – the ceremonial end of summer and beginning of football – is celebrated by having a band that released a song that reached No. 17 in the country back in 1966 play a concert under a really nice shed next to the railroad tracks and across the street from the Confederate Monument.
In other words, my hometown’s citizens welcome the kids at Clinton High and Presbyterian College back to school by holding a live concert of music they barely remember and the kids never heard, that is, unless they watched The Swingin’ Medallions last year.
I might be a tad jaded. Mind you, I have witnessed Kurt Busch Day in Las Vegas.
Vegas Clinton ain’t. I like Clinton better. Besides, I can’t afford to gamble right now. Oh, wait. My whole life is a gamble.
The Swingin’ Medallions are from nearby Greenwood and objects of local renown. The townspeople turned out to hear the aforementioned hit, “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love,” and covers of 1970s rhythm and blues and our regional genre, beach music, which is the format of the local radio station, WPCC 1410-AM, Large Time Radio.
It’s one of those trips back in time that most people get just driving through Clinton.
The cross country teams of Laurens and Clinton ran the game football from there to here, and they delivered it to District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields, who was once a classmate of mine at good old CHS, back when those who ran across country for sport were known as “harriers.” I believe runners around tracks might have been “thinclads.”
Unlike Friday night, Town Rhythms, the local Thursday evening free concert series, was a music-time decision. I wasn’t completely sure I was going, but the damned Red Sox lost, and I wanted something good to happen, so I decided I’d park as near as I could, stop by the Cuban restaurant for supper and watch the Medallions swing a mite slower than they did in wild, wonderful 1966.
Instead, I wound up eating pork barbecue, slaw and potato salad from a food truck and a Diet Mountain Dew I found elsewhere because the truck didn’t have any drinks beside water that were diet, and I love water but not with barbecue, and you know how fat people always drink diet, proving conclusively that it does absolutely no good whatsoever, but I’ve gotten used to it.
I hung around for half the concert because I bumped into a good two dozen people I haven’t seen lately, and we talked about such items as the old Howard Watkins farm being up for sale, and the sheriff’s race, and reckon how long it’ll be before Dempsey’s Pizza is open again, and other items that have more resonance in Laurens County than the earthquake in Italy.
I got home at a decent hour, or else I wouldn’t be writing this, now, would I?
Maybe I’ll get a Cuban sandwich before I go to Wilder Stadium. Either that or a slaw-dog plate at Whiteford’s.
Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?
Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.
Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.
The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.
The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.
Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.
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