<![CDATA[Art Wheeler Music - Blog]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 14:50:26 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Travelling through Memphis on Elvis’ Birthday]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 19:24:11 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/travelling-through-memphis-on-elvis-birthday
​I have made regular trips for several years to Graceland for Elvis Week in August. Graceland also has activities in January to celebrate Elvis’ birthday.  I have never visited Graceland during his birthday celebration. They don’t have anything that goes on during his birthday celebration that compares to the Candlelight Vigil experience.  It doesn’t attract as many people so it’s not an environment that seems to be as good for people watching. Still, many Elvis fans from around the world come to Memphis for his birthday.  Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel through Memphis on a Monday after Elvis’ birthday when it fell on a weekend. 
​I was had a flight book from Memphis through Atlanta. I noticed many people that looked like Elvis fans in the airport. There were several people with hats and shirts from Graceland commemorating Elvis’ birthday. I was almost certain that some of these people would be on my flight.  This was before I had started going to the Candlelight Vigil each year. I did interact with any of the people other than watching them. The airline knew their audience and played Elvis music on plane during boarding.  I boarded relatively early and watched as the Elvis fans filed in. At some point, I found out that most of the fans were from Britain.  Many of them started singing along with the music. This was before September 11, 2001 so the rules for travel were looser than they are now. Boarding came to a grinding halt when someone came on with a huge Velvet Elvis painting in a frame.  They expected to be able to either put this under their seat or in the above head storage. The whole situation was very laid back and the flight crew was patient with the guy and his painting.  There was absolutely no way it was going to fit where the guy wanted to keep it and he couldn’t keep it in his lap.  I don’t think he wanted to let go of it but he finally let the flight crew take it.  I’m not sure where it was stored during the flight.
<![CDATA[Draining the Pool]]>Sat, 05 Aug 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/draining-the-pool
​Several years ago when my kids were younger, we got one of those inflatable pools.  Our kids wanted to swim and we didn’t have a regular place for them to go that was very close to our house.  This pool was perfect for us for a season. Our whole family used it regularly. ​
​My wife purchased the pool and set it up without me. There were some issues with how level it was so we had to drain the pool and make corrections. I seem to remember using some sort of pump to drain the pool but it was very slow. My wife and I were in the pool during this process. I started pressing down on the side of the pool to all water to pour over the side.  This helped make the draining process quicker. My wife started doing the same thing.  When the water started getting lower, my wife started laying into the side more to get more to go over the side faster. One time, she leaned in a little more and the water rushed over the side more aggressively, shooting her into the yard with a surge of water. It was like someone being shot belly first on a Slip ‘n Slide.
<![CDATA[Mowing the Yard]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/mowing-the-yard
​My son never liked mowing the yard. During the last few years of being at home before he moved out on his own, mowing the yard became his responsibility. Even though it was his job, he still needed to be constantly reminded to do it. I had hoped that he would decide when it needed to be done and do it then but I ended up telling him when to do it. And I would usually let it go a little longer between mowing in hope that he would realize the need on his own.  That never happened.
​One time when the yard needed to be mowed, it was excessively hot outside. There were regular heat advisories nearly every day.  They were in the forecast for the next week but the yard was getting shaggy.  My son didn’t have a summer job and had more flexibility with his schedule.  He’s also a lot like me and likes to stay up late at night when he doesn’t have anything to do the next day.  I told him that he needed to mow the lawn and suggested that he start early in the day to try and beat the heat.
The next morning, I woke out of a deep sleep to the sound of a lawn mower outside my window. I rolled over and looked at my clock to see that it was 5 AM.  It might have still been dark outside. I found out later that he had stayed up all night to wait until the sun started coming up to mow.  Of course, I was concerned that the noise would disturb our neighbors.  I was especially concerned about the neighbors that lived to the side of our house next to our bedroom.  They had a newborn baby that had only been home a few weeks.  I hoped that they might have already been up with the baby.  At least they didn’t complain.
<![CDATA[Springtime In Cleveland]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/springtime-in-cleveland
​It was spring of 2007 and I was on a business trip in the Cleveland, Ohio area. It was the week before Easter and the weather was warm in Tennessee before we left. It was also warm in Cleveland when we arrived. I had checked the weather before we left Tennessee and I saw that there was a 
possibility of it getting cool while we were in Cleveland so I took a relatively heavy jacket on the trip. I was traveling with two men named Phillip and Todd. I don’t think either of them had checked the weather before they left home. Phillip had brought a light jacket. Todd was ready for spring and brought no jacket at all and only short sleeve shirts. The weather was warm in Cleveland on Tuesday when we arrived. But we were staying through Thursday and the weather was supposed to get cold before we left. 
​We knew we were going to have some spare time in the evenings and found out that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was open one night during the week.  That night was Wednesday. We decided that we would try and see it that evening. As the day progressed on Wednesday, the temperature started dropping. Soon it was even snowing. Todd was going to get cold outside without a jacket. He suggested that we stop at a Walmart on the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so he could get something to keep warm. We stopped and he ran in the store thinking it would only take a short time to get something quick while we waited in the car. He soon found out that spring is not the time to shop for a warm coat, even in Cleveland. We waited for at least 30 minutes while he shopped. He finally came out and told us that he had a hard time finding any jackets at all. He had talked about picking up a blazer before we got to the store.  They didn’t have anything like that. He told us that at one point, the only jacket that he could find had the words “Fat Ass” on the front.   He continued looking until he finally found a pullover jacket. It wasn’t that thick but at least it had sleeves to cover his arms. We told him he was lucky that we didn’t shop with him or he would have come home with that Fat Ass Jacket.
We did get to spend a couple of hours at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The instruments that I remember the most from the tour included a homemade bass guitar used by the Zombies, Greg Allman’s Hammond B-3 organ and a Tom Petty Stratocaster that had an autograph from Carl Perkins on the back of the headstock. Being from Carl’s hometown, Jackson, Tennessee, made this guitar more interesting. The sign said that this was one of Tom’s go-to guitars for several years while he was touring.  The museum is a glass pyramid and I remember being on the upper levels looking at the lake effect snow swirling near the glass against a black sky.
By the time we were done at the museum, the roads had begun to get icy. We didn’t have any major issues getting to our hotel. We took it relatively slow and followed the detours where all of the locals had wrecks and run off the road. I’ve always heard from northerners that people in the south don’t know how to drive in the snow. Based on this trip, I have to say that northerners don’t know how to drive any better than people from the south in the snow.
<![CDATA[Eating at the 1982 World’s Fair – Part Two]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 22:56:08 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/eating-at-the-1982-worlds-fair-part-two
​I spent some time with my family this past weekend and we talked about my previous post about the 1982 World’s Fair.  As we talked about the trip, we started talking about another notable meal that we ate during this trip. 
The night we arrived in Knoxville, we decided to go to McDonald's to eat. We were staying with my cousin and his wife and were going to take them to eat with us. We had traveled to Knoxville in our family car.  It was a late 70’s model 4 door Impala. We referred to it as the “fire car” because it fire engine red and my dad was a volunteer fireman. The car had plenty of room for the six of us travelling from West Tennessee.  It did not have plenty of room for eight people going to McDonald's across town. I don’t remember exactly how we fit eight people in a six passenger car. I seem to remember four people in the front seat and four in the back. No one was comfortable and there was constant adjusting, nudging and laughing. On the way to McDonald's, we decided that we needed to get the food to-go because we didn’t think all of us would ever fit back in the car. My dad went through the drive-thru and we didn’t decide what we were ordering until we were at the menu were they take your order. This was also before McDonald's had the “Value Meals” that you order by the number. My dad was trying to communicate with the person on the speaker and find out exactly what we wanted. Just getting the sandwiches straight was no small task. After my dad told them what sandwiches we wanted, they asked if we wanted fries. Naturally, he asked us. After a small discussion it was decided that everyone would get fries. Then they asked him what size. At the time, McDonald’s only had two sizes, small and large. I think my dad was getting tired of asking us about everything and decided to speed things up and make the decision on his own. He told the person on the speaker that we would take medium fries. Everyone else in the car burst into laughter. We all knew medium fries were not an option. It was at this point that we decided that we would not get drinks with our meal. I’m not sure we would have been able to hold them without spilling them.
<![CDATA[Eating at the 1982 World’s Fair]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/eating-at-the-1982-worlds-fair
​The 1982 World’s Fair was held in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Knoxville is about a 5-hour drive from where we lived at the time. Our family decided to go to the fair for our summer vacation. My wife and I were dating at the time and my family invited 
her to go on the trip. My sister invited one of her friends to go on the trip too.  The six of us traveled to Knoxville for the fair.  One of my cousins was in veterinarian school in Knoxville at the time. We stayed with him and his wife and they acted as our tour guides while we were at the fair.
It rained off and on throughout the day that we spent at the fair. We managed to stay dry most of the day spending time in the exhibit halls and only occasionally having to make a mad dash from one building to another. The weather had cleared off by the time we were ready to eat lunch. One of the places we considered eating lunch was at the Sunsphere. 
The Sunsphere is a large gold disco ball sitting on top of a tower.   While it was built specifically for the fair, it is still standing today. The Sunsphere has an observation deck where there is a restaurant. While we really wanted to eat at the restaurant in the tower, there was a long line just to get up there. We were hungry and didn’t think the wait was worth it. The organizers of the fair were smart to place a Hardees restaurant at the base of the tower. We decided to eat there.
There were several small tables outside provided for the Hardees customers to eat.  There were decorative awnings on the side of the structure to help provide shade for the people eating at these tables. Everyone ate at one of these tables except my sister and her friend. There was a table between us and my sister’s table.  There was a little space between each of the tables so they weren’t sitting back to back.  While we were sitting there eating, there was a nice breeze and it was pleasant sitting in the shade. Suddenly there was a huge gust of wind. The awnings above our heads were full of rain from the morning. The wind caught one of these awnings and dumped water on the family sitting between our two tables. The family at that table was completely soaked.  No one at either of our tables got wet at all. 
<![CDATA[Bob Evans Coffee]]>Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:13:11 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/bob-evans-coffee
​Several years ago, my family were on vacation.  We decided to stop at a Bob Evans restaurant for breakfast. We don’t have any Bob Evans restaurants very close to where we live and my family had never been to one before. I had eaten at 
one during my work travel and had an idea of the type of food you could get there.  There was a Bob Evans close to where we were staying one night and I recommended it when my wife said she wanted breakfast.  Everyone was satisfied with everything we had except for my wife. She didn’t like the coffee.  She assumed that it was just a bad batch of coffee. We didn’t really think that much of it at the time.
​A few months later, my family was traveling in another part of the country and we decided to eat at another Bob Evans.  We ordered breakfast again and my wife ordered coffee.  She said it was bad again.  It was bad in the same way it was bad at the first restaurant.  I’m not a coffee drinker. At the time, my kids didn’t drink coffee either.  So, we had no one to confirm her claims that the coffee was bad.  She didn’t complain either time but she did drink more water than usual.
After this incident, Bob Evans coffee became a family joke.  Whenever we passed by one, we would ask my wife if she wanted to stop and get some coffee. I discovered a Bob Evans in Memphis about an hour away from our house. I also remember that behind the checkout counter they had bags of Bob Evans coffee beans.  The next year, I made a special trip to pick up some of this coffee for her for Mother’s Day. I also bought some other coffee that I knew she liked.  She tried some of the Bob Evans coffee beans and she said it tastes just like it does in the restaurant.
<![CDATA[Making the Video for Just Say You Don’t Love Me]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:08:08 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/making-the-video-for-just-say-you-dont-love-me
On June 2, 2016, my son turned 21.  I decided to take him on a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to celebrate his birthday. At the time, The Kentucky Bourbon Trail included visits to the facilities of 8 bourbon manufacturers in Kentucky. Three of the manufacturers had two facilities that you can visit so a 
complete tour included 11 stops.  There are tours and tastings at all of these stops. We did everything at all of the stops except for the Jim Beam facility in downtown Louisville. The main thing that they had going on at that stop were just tastings. We arrived there late on our first day of the trip with plans to eat a meal and celebrate my son’s birthday in the 4th Street district in downtown Louisville where this facility is located.  We moved to the celebration after walking through that shop.
I had written and recorded Just Say You Don’t Love Me months before this trip. I had already scheduled the release of the song for July 19, 2016. I was still working on promotional videos for several of the songs. I had some ideas about getting footage for the video while we were on this trip. My son had gone with me on other trips to get video for my videos. We took a trip to Arkansas for the Arkansas video. He took some of the most interesting video on our rides around the neighborhood to get video for the first Electric Jesus video. I originally thought that we might do the video while hanging out at the hotels at night. We ended up getting most of the footage during the long rides from one distillery to the next. We arrived at the Heaven Hill Distilleries on our last day before the facility opened. We did the footage where we are both singing while we were waiting in the parking lot.  Many people have told me that they thought it was nice that my son performs with me on this song.  It’s actually me doing all of the vocals on this song as it has been on all of my recordings.
Making the video took up very little time while we were on the trip. When you stop at all of the distilleries like we did and get your “passport” stamped at all of the stops, you can get a souvenir T-shirt like we did. The trip should take about 3 days but ours took 4. We got a late start on the first day and were done early on the last day. As of this writing, they have added one additional distillery to the tour so it might take an extra day to squeeze in all of the stops now. 
<![CDATA[Blind at the Beach]]>Thu, 08 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/blind-at-the-beachMy family and I were at the public beach in Panama City. I was on an inflatable raft and had made my way out to a sandbar.  While I was there, I saw my mom come out to the sandbar too.  I thought it was odd that she was there without an inflatable raft. Any other time I had seen here on the sandbar, she was on a raft. As she approached I shouted to her saying “How did you get out here?” She seemed confused and didn’t seem to understand what I was saying.  She asked what I said as she got closer. I asked the question again and she replied that she swam out there. That’s when I realized that this was not my mom. It didn’t sound like her. I am very nearsighted and didn’t have any glasses. But as she got closer I realized that she didn’t really look that much like my mom. She was nice lady and I ended up talking to her for a while but I would never have said anything to her if I knew it was someone else.
<![CDATA[First Florida Vacation]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 13:41:52 GMThttp://artwheelermusic.net/blog/first-florida-vacation
My sister and I were both in elementary school when we took our first Florida vacation. I’m not sure how old we were. Panama City was our destination.  We packed the family station wagon with a tent and traveled all day. I’m not sure how early we started our trip and I think we got lost on 
the way there, but it was very late and we had not arrived. Everyone in the car had fallen asleep except for my dad and he finally got to a point where he could not stay awake any longer. He finally pulled the car over to the side of the road not really knowing where we were. 
​The next morning, we were awakened by the sound of traffic zooming by our car. We had made it to Panama City and were on the edge of town on the busiest road in town.  This road continued next to the public beaches and an amusement park. We continued until we found a campground called Magnolia Beach. Magnolia Beach was fine for a campground but wasn’t much of a beach. The waterfront property at this resort was fine for seeing fish and stingrays in the water and crabs on the beach but there were no waves and the water wasn’t that deep.  A fun place to explore but not so fun to play.
After we set up our tent, we went to the public beach area to play in the waves.  My dad was tired from the trip and quickly retreated to an umbrella on the beach and fell asleep. We spent a lot of time in the sun without any suntan lotion. This was at a time when skin cancer wasn’t really a major concern. More sun was better. No consideration was given to protecting your skin from dangerous rays from the sun. Most suntan lotions were oils to help keep your skin from drying out as it got darker and cooked in the sun. It’s also worth noting that my sister is a redhead and fair skinned. She blistered relatively quick. I don’t know that she ever put on a shirt to try and prevent any more blistering. My dad is also fair skinned and you would think that he would be ok under the umbrella. Unfortunately, he fell asleep long enough and the sun moved enough that his legs were exposed to the sun from the knees down.
That night, my sister was breathing heavily as she slept. I slept through all the action that took place that evening as my sister was taken to the hospital.  They found that she did have second degree burns but nothing had to be wrapped or treated with anything other than lotions. The next morning, we started our trip back home. My sister couldn’t wear anything but her underwear and one of my pajama shirts. My dad wore shorts but couldn’t wear socks or shoes. My mom and I had nice tans. My mom’s nose was a little red but not bad.  Our trip back home took us back through Memphis around time to eat an evening meal. We found a McDonalds and my sister insisted on going in with my mom as she got our food. This was before restaurants had “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policies so I guess they were ok with my barefoot sister coming in wearing only a pajama shirt.
That evening went we got home, our dog Cindy was excited to see us.  As my dad walked into the kitchen, Cindy jumped up on his blistered legs. 

After a few days, my mother’s nose fell off or at least the blistered skin came off in one piece. And later in the week, I was swinging on a swing in our backyard when my shoulder rubbed against the swing chain and my beautiful tanned skin rolled up and peeled off.