A Life Worth Binge Watching

S1 E4:  Just Be Kind

I have never been in a physical fight. To be honest, I can usually tolerate humans pretty well.  My parents raised me to turn a cheek and take the high road, but this past weekend almost sent me on a different road altogether.  

It started out like any normal weekend.  My friend Ashley and I decided to take a trip to Jacksonville to attend the River City Smoke Show which featured bbq, bourbon and country music.  We decided to purchase the VIP pass, as it seemed to offer many extras that were not included in the general admission ticket.  This was our first mistake.  

We arrived in Jacksonville at the same time as a torrential thunderstorm and found that the concert was delayed.  We decided to make a pitstop at a really hip distillery called Manifest.  We attended a great bourbon festival there a couple weeks back, so we knew it would be a fun pre-game until the rain let up.  The bar area of the distillery isn’t huge but it has a great atmosphere and they create the best craft cocktails with their own Manifest spirits.  Although I am not typically a fan of gin, I highly recommend the Brûlée.  It had a roasted marshmallow on top that they torch to the perfect crispy-molten consistency.  The showmanship and intricate presentation of the cocktails was astounding and our craft-masters, Ben and Corey were like artists sculpting the perfect beverage. This was definitely one of the high points of the evening.

After a two hour rain delay, we finally made our way over to the Metropolitan Park to the festival.  When we arrived, we were a bit frustrated that our “VIP” passes didn’t include anything other than parking and a small roped off area on a portion of the front/side of the stage.  The “Premium Bourbon Experience” that was advertised was not included, and the “benefit” of the VIP area was that we could buy food and liquor instead of just food and beer  in the general admission area. Not the best way to start out the night, but hey, I do like bbq and was excited to hear John Michael Montgomery and John Pardi.

We made our way over to the bbq tent and to my delight, World BBQ Champion, Tuffy (The Professor) Stone was there serving up his best recipes.  I have tasted a lot of bbq in my days but I can honestly say this was some of the best I have ever eaten.  For $18, we received a huge portion of delicious shredded pork, juicy ribs, sweet bbq chicken and perfectly charred beef brisket along with a side of beans and slaw.  When you think of bbq heaven, this was it. Tuffy was not only highly talented, but also really down to earth and friendly.


I’m sure by now you are wondering if someone took my bbq away from me mid-bite and that’s why I became a bit perturbed. No, my friends.  I ate almost every bite.  I’m an eater, not a fighter.  So what in the world could have made this 5’2 petite woman contemplate entering the ring with a stranger?  Read on, dear readers, read on!

So as I mentioned before, there was a very small area roped off for the VIP ticket holders, so as you can imagine, the area was highly crowded and space was tight.  Ashley and I found a spot and patiently awaited the concert to begin. I am pretty easy going and was there to have fun and enjoy some great music.  I didn’t mind when the girl in front of me kept pushing back on me because hey…it’s a concert and standing room only right?  Well this woman turns around and yells in my face that I need to stop elbowing her and that she had been here for four hours.  First of all, I explained to her that we have all been here that long and it was not my “elbow” that was bumping into her. I suggested perhaps she shouldn’t push back on  me If she didn’t want my body parts to touch her. I stood my ground, not moving an inch while smiling a “bless your heart” kind of smile.  I mean, I am a Christian woman and that’s how we do things here in the south even though she was relentless with the explicit insults. 

Suddenly, I started getting taps on my shoulder by multiple concertgoers behind me offering to have my back.  I felt like a little kitten with an army of lions behind me ready to pounce on their prey.  Meanwhile, the feisty lady from Alaska continued having a tantrum until her friend finally intervened.  With the unruly distraction tamed, we enjoyed a phenomenal concert. 

I knew every word of John Michael Montgomery’s songs and sang at the top of my lungs.  I hope Ms. Alaska hated my singing.   

Moral of the story: never underestimate the power of strangers who stick together.  I was able to walk away with class and some new friends.  

This world has enough anger.  Just be kind.  



Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly giving you something to talk about over lunch. Follow @ALifeWorthBingeWatching on Facebook.