Chess with Dancing Goats

Spring has sprung making an old(er) fella feel young(er). The weather has been wonderful and I took advantage of it by heading into downtown Decatur, the city of my birth. My boots were made for walking and that is just what I did, spending my day walking all around town.

“The City of Decatur, with its tree lined streets and more than 60 miles of sidewalks in 4.2 square miles, is a prime location for walking. In 2011, the non-profit WalkScore.com named the City of Decatur the most walkable city in Georgia.” (http://www.decaturga.com/index.aspx?page=412)

After a visit to the library I headed toward a restaurant that has been on my roundtoit list, Sawicki’s (http://sawickisfoods.com/). The Roasted Lamb sammy was as good as the tall young fella, Walker, behind the counter said it would be. It must have been synchronicity when Bob Dylan came over the system. I thought it was a Dylan cover but it was actually a live version with which I was not familiar. So much Bob, so little time…Naturally, we became involved in a conversation about Bob and The Band. It was lunch time and we had to keep it short. The next song was a cover of the same song by the Jerry Garcia Band. When I headed to the back for more water Walker asked me how was the sandwich and I answered, “Wonderful.” He replied, “Awesome!” Then he showed me his gizmo containing his music, which he had plugged into some kind of player. When I mentioned a CD of Bob covers containing a song that happens to be my all-time favorite he gave me a look that made me feel so last century. Maybe I should have mentioned all the Dylan cassette’s I still own…I also mentioned a cover “album” of tunes by The Band, throwing in that George Harrison said The Band was the best band in the land, or some such. “No way!” said he. I told Walker I would send him the quote and the titles if he gave me his email. He did and this is what I sent:

Walker,

“When Harrison was approached for a quote for the first U.K. edition of this book, he sent word that The Band were no less than ‘the best band in the history of the universe’-a fairly remarkable thing for an ex-Beatle to say.”
– Barney Hoskyns, from the preface to Across the Great Divide: The Band and America.

My all-time favorite Dylan cover is Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues, by Bill Kirchen, and I’ve heard MANY covers. It can be found on the disc: Hard Rain – A Tribute to Bob Dylan – Vol.1

The best cover disc of The Band (and there is a reason they were called ‘The Band’) is: Endless Highway: The Music Of The Band.

I love helping to educate Generation Z.

From Sawicki’s I headed to the Dancing Goats Coffee Bar located down the street at 419 W. Ponce De Leon (https://www.facebook.com/dancinggoatscoffeebar). After looking around I stepped up to the young fellow behind the counter and his face lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree when he noticed my chess bag. “You play chess?!” he asked excitedly. After telling him I did not play much now, but sometimes gave lessons, he pulled out his gizmo and showed me a screen with a chessboard, telling me he played at this site and that site, asking, “You ever play here or there?” He was talking so fast and my hearing is not what it used to be, so I told him playing chess online was not for me. “Have you ever heard of the United States Chess Federation? I asked. He said no, so I asked, “How about the Georgia Chess Association?” He gave me a look of wonderment before saying, “You mean Georgia has an association? A CHESS association?!” I assured him it did. By this time a line had formed behind me and the manager was scowling, so I cut it short, telling him we could talk later. He flashed a huge smile saying, “That’ll be best.” I took my cuppa java and found a chair wondering how it could be that this young man knew all about places to play chess on his gizmo but had never been made aware of the USCF?
The Dancing Goats is a fine coffee bar, one of the best I have ever seen. Unfortunately it is not the right place for Seniors to play because the few tables are not appropriate for playing chess. They are, however, fitting for all kinds of gizmos. I like the way seating is arranged at the windows. It is a really cool place. From conversation I gathered that it is always busy, far too busy in the afternoons for a group of Senior chess players. I did notice, though, far more Senior type people than expected. Finding a good location in a soft chair I pulled out the book I had just checked out of the library, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War and His Decision That Changed American History, by Jonathan Horn. After only a few pages of the prologue I read, “So once more, Lee is trapped in the middle. More than a century and a half after secession forced him to chose sides, he has become a pawn in another conflict between two camps conceding no common ground.” I stopped reading, took a swig of coffee while smiling to myself, thinking, “Chess is everywhere.”
When I went back for a free refill I learned his name when telling him my intention had been to scout the place out to learn if it would be a good place to host a gathering of Senior chess players. Clint agreed it would not be the right place. He gave me his email before leaving and I could not help but think of the many times I have encountered people who play chess but have never heard of the USCF in the last four plus decades. USCF has never gotten the word out to the public. Today I sent Clint information on how to enter the alternate universe of chess.

There was one more stop to be made before heading home because Decatur CD beckoned. It was wonderful being in the small shop, surrounded by all different forms of music, including cassette’s! Check it out: http://www.recordstoreday.com/Venue/3527 or: http://www.decaturcd.com/

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