Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Sometimes the past come up and hits you in the face, and sometimes that's not a bad thing. I was cooking dinner this past Friday (grits & eggs, mmmm) when the phone rang. Despite being on the unAmerican-free-enterprise-stifling-do-not-call list, we still get telemarketers, so I checked the caller ID (God bless caller ID) and it read "Westchester NY." That meant Craig.

"Craig" is The Rev. Craig Higgins of Trinity Presbyterian Church. However, back when I was in college, he was my RUF campus minister. When I started college in 1990, I had wandered through several churches trying to find someone who would answer the questions I had. Nobody did until Craig came along. The rest, as they say, is . . . well . . .

Why on earth would he be calling? Well, it turns out that he was not in "Westchester NY," but was here in Georgia (using his cell phone) visiting his family and friends. He was eating at the new Fellini's on LaVista (!!!), was going to the Pierce Pettis concert later that night, and wanted to know if I was coming.

In truth, I had known about the concert but was not planning on going. I had only heard of Pierce Pettis in passing and wasn't familiar with his music. I had been more interested in his opener, Randall Goodgame, who had sung at our church a number of times. I really like Randall's music and songwriting, but wasn't going to throw down $10 for an opening band.

Explanatory sidenote: I don't like concerts. I'm not fond of crowds, the music is usually too loud and poorly mixed, and it's a lot of money (in my mind) to pay for a one-shot deal. For the price of a concert I can usually get a CD and listen to it again and again in the comfort of my own home. We do about 1 conert a year.

So I was a little conflicted. Here was a chance to see Craig and his family, but in a venue I was not prepared for and which didn't really lend itself to conversation. In my opinion, if you're going to meet with old friends, a week's worth of 3-hour long dinners is the minimum that should be required. A lot happens in 10 years, you know?

My wife talked me into it, and I'm glad she did. Craig & Ann were there, but their kids (two of whom I held as babies) were not. We got to talk some between sets, so that was good. I probably cut into the time Craig got to spend with his other friends, one of whom is the head pastor of my church, so that may not be a good thing.

The concert itself was excellent. There are folks whose work and style are perfect for a one man/one guitar setting, and both Goodgame and Pettis fall into that category. One of the better concerts I've been to in a few years.

I'm really, really picky about vocals, and Pierce Pettis' voice rubbed me wrong just a little bit. He's great in concert, and I'd go see him again, but I probably can't buy any of his albums (I did get his version of the Mark Heard classic, Another Day In Limbo from iTunes).

But I'll be buying all of Randall Goodgame's albums. Very good. Excellent songwriter, excellent singer and performer. A good match for my ears and state of mind.

There's not really a moral to this story. I got to spend some time with an old friend and mentor and got to hear a great concert. I'll probably go download some of Craig's sermons and listen to them, and it will most likely change my life again. Probably not as drastically as in college, since there's a lot more inertia here. But a little nudge in the right direction is always good.


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