A Close Friendship Across the Miles (The friendship this song has forged)
I have already told you about how that catchy little song ‘Tennessee Birdwalk’ brought Jack & Misty and myself together in the first place after I heard it on Internet radio in November 2004. When I bought my first CD from them in early 2005 I fell in love with their music and have subsequently bought many more of their CDs.
They were happy for me to choreograph this dance which they later adopted as the ‘official’ dance to their song. They also encouraged me in the building of my first website and they had their webmaster link it to their own website, as this one is too.
Lengthy correspondence followed our first on-line meeting, during which time we started to get to know each other. Several months later I started phoning Misty in order to get to know her too as she could not use a computer at that time. I had learnt a lot about her through my correspondence with Jack and through reading his many essays on their website …. but you can never get to really know someone without direct contact.
Over two years of correspondence passed by which time I very much wanted to meet them face to face and in April 2007 I visited them in Florida during a month long trip to the USA. During this trip I planned to meet other e-mail and MySpace friends in Nashville, in the Smoky Mountains and in Georgia, as well as spending a week with my sister in Massachusetts. I met all 18 people on my list … and made many other new friends too.
Another trip to the USA followed in July 2008 for my nephew’s wedding and, with e-mails and phone calls too numerous to mention between those trips, our friendship has continued to grow. I feel so honoured to have been accepted as an additional member of their family by this lovely couple. They have welcomed me to their home and we have shared many hours together, talking, shopping and going out for meals.
It never ceases to amaze me how a song could bring about such a lovely friendship across so many miles. It is a friendship that means a lot to me and I hope that it will continue for many years to come.
Since then I have been over to see them several more times. In 2009, after seeing Jack & Misty I went to Nashville again. One person I met was a friend of their's, Hal Willis, a French Canadian singer who has since been inducted into the Canadian Hall of Honour. He invited me to stay at his home for six nights during my next trip the following spring in March 2010. During that trip I also visited their daughters, Kathi and Michele, who live in north Tennessee, spending five days with them and meeting several other members of their family.
Then that summer I learned that Jack & Misty were to be inducted into the Buffalo (NY) Music Hall of Fame. As they hate flying the decision was taken to rent a car and to share the driving, so I flew over to join them at the end of September. The ceremomy took place on October 7th 2010 at the Tralf Theatre in Buffalo. That day also happened to be their wedding anniversary. While there they met up with long lost relatives and old friends who attended the induction ceremony.
We had a marvellous time throughout the trip and, because we were travelling by car, we were able to visit other friends and family members on the way. The total distance we travelled was over 3000 miles from Florida through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania to New York State .... and back again. We also got to see the Niagara Falls while we were staying in Buffalo.
During my trip in the spring of 2011 agaim I travelled with Jack & Misty. We travelled to Tennessee, visiting many friends in Nashville and in Winchster TN, and family and friends in north Tennessee and in the Smokey Mountains. We also visited a long-time friend in Yulee, Florida who was recovering from major surgery and some other friends, who they'd not seen since the 70s, in Georgia. In Nashville we had a list of about twenty people to visit during our week there, and we managed to meet most of them, plus some other not on the list.
My next trip is planned for the spring of 2012.