Monday, August 6, 2012

The Bellamy Brothers

Not long after we arrived back in Wyoming I saw a small advertisement in the Cody Enterprise letting people know that the Bellamy Brothers were coming to town in early August.
They would be putting on a concert at the downtown park, it was free, and was a gift from the Bank of Wyoming that was celebrating its 100th anniversary to the people of Cody.
I had heard of the Bellamy Brothers but could not name even one of their songs.
When I told LC about the free concert he indeed wanted to go, and promptly began singing some of their songs to me.
I knew some of them.  OK - fair enough.
I clipped the ad out of the newspaper and stuck it on the side of the refrigerator so that we would not forget about it.
And then we promptly forgot about it.
A couple of days ago I was pulling another advertisement off the side of the fridge, saw the Bellamy Brothers ad, reread the date and realized that it was being held on the upcoming weekend.
LC and I bounced the idea around a couple of times, wondering if we really wanted to deal with the large crowd of people that we knew would be in attendance at this free concert on a summery and hot August Sunday afternoon.
It was free.  The Bellamy Brothers were a name band.  It would be fun to see them....maybe.  We decided that we would go.
The concert was slated to begin at 5pm and by the time we arrived at the downtown park at 4pm the place was already packed with music enthusiasts.
A quick over-view of the park and it was obvious that we would not be able to actually SEE the Bellamy Brothers, but at least we could HEAR the Bellamy Brothers.
Walking across the grass, I looked out over a sea of thousands of people sitting in camp chairs, all packed in tightly together in reasonably neat rows from one side of the park to the other.
Initially disappointed that we would be so far back I quickly decided that I was glad to be away from the tightly formed masses.
We walked across to the opposite side of the park, saw a single row of old people sitting under the shade of a large tree, and set up our chairs at the far end of the line.  
I was sitting right next to the childrens playground.  Good.  Perhaps people won't set up their chairs in the sand pit next to me and I would have some breathing room.
As soon as I sat down I looked over at part of the playground equipment and saw these boys bouncing up and down and bucking wildly on one of those new-fangled teeter totters.
These puppies neither teeted nor totted but rather simply bounced up and down, and for a few moments I thought back to my own childhood and the childhood of my boys.......................
More and more people continued to filter into the park, and although I was sitting adjacent to the sand pit so had nobody immediately to my right, there were masses of people all around me.
More people than I have been around in a very very very long time and I began to feel claustrophobic.
Country music and western music played over the loud speakers.  Mostly old music that I had heard before, but which LC all knew well and I could tell that he was liking being where he was.
I told him that I was going to find a restroom and then restlessly wandered off, feeling too closed-in to sit in one place.
At that point I honestly did not know how this was all going to go.
Upset.  Claustrophobic.  Extremely uncomfortable.  Unseen walls were starting to close in.
It DID sound like fun though. 
Suck it up Karin........................
Not long after I sat back down beside LC and underneath the large shady tree that we were sharing with five or six other concert goers I looked back again towards the play park.
I had noticed this young man as he walked by.
He was a cowboy.
The real thing.
There are lots of people in the town of Cody right now because the summer tourist season is still in full swing.
Because of that there are lots of people milling around town wearing boots, jeans, belt buckles, cowboy hats and cowboy shirts.
But the posers and the real deal are easy to tell apart.
The real cowboys walk differently.
Their pants are dusty.  Their boots are dusty.  Their shirts are dusty, and their hats are not clean and new.
He looked like he was waiting for something.  Or for someone.
A few minutes after he quietly sat down on the grey plastic ride his father approached and they walked away together.
Two men, one older and one younger, who had come into town to watch the Bellamy Brothers................
A too cute and too bored little furball of a dog standing in the grass in front of us.................
Promptly at 6pm the Bellamy Brothers appeared on the stage and began to sing.
And yes, I immediately recognized some of their songs.
The stage was off in the far distance, barely visible from where we were sitting, but that was perfectly fine.
The sound system was very good, and we could both hear and enjoy the music.
I looked over next to me and saw LC tapping his feet.
He looked at me and smiled.  I smiled back.
The claustrophobia had thankfully faded but the restlessness had not.
Not long after the very good music began I told LC that I was going to wander around and take some pictures.
With the mass of folks crowded towards the front I did not know if I would be able to get closer pictures of the stage or not, but thought I would give it a shot anyway.
As I stood up from my chair and realized that there were people sitting everywhere in this park - a place that up-til-now in my experiences had always been quiet.
People sitting on all benches in the park.  People in lawn chairs in front of me, behind me, lining the park along the street, lining the tennis courts and the mini-putt golf course, sitting on blankets in the grass.
I headed across the grass, walked alongside the tennis courts and in front of the mini golf joint..................
One very cute and random cowboy (girl) inspired object found inside the confines of the mini-golf station..............
Standing along the fence of the putt-putt-place I could see the stage and more clearly see the rows upon rows of attendees.
Still curious to see how close I could get I continued walking, following the fence line, which took me down a side road between the park and the Cody Visitors Center.
Regardless of how close I could get, I was pleased to be alone for a few minutes and moving around.
There was too much nervous energy to be sitting in one place for too long.................
By this time I was standing behind the stage and for a few moments was completely alone.
I could still hear and enjoy the music, and I turned to first look at the closed off road and then look further back to see the mountains glistening in the brilliant sunshine.................
I had now walked around to the opposite side of the park from where I had started.
As I walked around to face the front of the stage again, I again found myself floating in the sea of people...............
Between barricades that had been set up, people standing on the sidewalk next to the edge of the grassy park watching the concert, people standing in long lines to purchase food and drinks I was only mildly disappointed to not be able to get closer to the stage.
This, and the picture below, are zoomed in too much and too far for my little digital camera to be able to cope, without fading out the pictures...............
Directly in front of the stage a grassy area had been set aside for those who wanted to dance to the music. 
This couple stood up early into the concert and I took this picture because they had "good vibes".
While watching them it was obvious that they were close to each other (both in the physical and emotional sense).
A nice faded picture of a very nice couple..................
I had initially planned on walking the entire circumference of the park, but quickly realized that on this side of the park was where the bulk of the vendors were stationed.
Too much noise, too many people.
I headed back the way I had come, intending to buy drinks and ice-cream bars from the mini-golf place on the way back to LC.
People guarding the Bellamy Brothers equipment trailer...............
And their traveling bus.
Before the group came out on stage a rep from the bank that was sponsoring this free event came up onstage to thank the public for attending.
He told a story about the group's last trip to Cody, whern their bus broke down in Clark (about 20 miles from Cody). 
As the story goes one of the band members dug out a grill and began grilling steaks on the side of the road while waiting for the bus to be repaired.
Which attracted a grizzly bear to the bus.
The band member quickly tore everything down and hurried back to the safety of the inside of the bus.
I don't know if it is true or not but it was funny to hear it.....................
I had (wrongly) assumed that people would only dance to the country music directly in front of the stage where a grassy section had been set aside just for that purpose.
I smiled to myself as I walked by this very nice couple, who were happily and quietly dancing together on the side of the road close to their truck.
It was a surprising and heart warming and unexpected sight, and I stood watching them for a few moments, feeling as though I were an interloper in their intimate moment together, while at the same time also greatly enjoying them.
It was while watching this couple for the briefest of moments that I finally realized that my body and my brain were both beginning to calm down...................

Very young and very cute event security taking a break in the shade...................
After regrouping with LC, we sat still listening to music while eating the Creamsicles I bought on the way back.
As I sat I watched yet more couples dancing in the grass, this time close to us and adjacent to the tennis courts.
I took this picture while still in my seat, before getting up and walking over to a bench that was now empty, so that I could try and take better pictures.
This was turning out to be a really good trip.
The park was filled with many people who were all easy going, relaxed, enjoying the music and the warm Sunday afternoon.
It was a good place to spend some time.....................
Very burly and very cute event security taking a break in the shade..............
We did not know how long the event was scheduled to last, but decided at 7:15 to leave before the concert finished, hoping to beat the masses to their vehicles and get out of town before all the traffic hit the roads at the same time.
As we were heading towards the back of the park on the way to our truck we heard the Bellamy Brothers thank everyone for coming to the concert. 
They were on their last few songs, and we had decided to leave at exactly the right time.
It was unexpectedly a very good time spent in a city park with many thousands of other people, and I am glad that we went........................

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