Recapturing your youth is not easy. Perhaps a song on the radio takes you to your high school days, or maybe you notice the scent of a cologne an old flame used to wear. Possibly that tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich transports you back to a rainy day when you were ten. But these moments are just that: Moments. And they are fleeting. Manny and I found a way to recapture our youth for an entire three days! It began when I was perusing the calendar in the Nova Scotia tourist guide and noticed that the Blues Brothers were headlining at the 2013 Dutch Mason Blues Festival in Truro, Nova Scotia —an hour from Halifax— on the dates we planned to be there. And not just Blues Brothers impersonators, but the real Blues Brothers: Dan Aykyroyd and Jim Belushi —the best possible stand in for John, R.I.P. So we signed up for three days of great music with the likes of blues giants James Cotton, Guitar Shorty, Lucky Peterson and Shirley King, daughter of the legendary B.B. King. Because the event was at a raceway, dry camping was available —that’s basically a site to park your vehicle with no amenities like electricity or water, in other words: boondocking. But since we are fully self-contained, that is not a problem. The big advantage is that you can walk to the concerts, return to your site for a sandwich, a beer (or whatever) then a nap. But there was an even bigger advantage that we hadn’t thought about or planned on: the camaraderie. Who would think that camping in a big field would be just as much fun as listening to some great blues.
We made instant best friends with Karl Bigelow and Ryan Mitchell, our next door neighbors, and with Dawn, Fraser, Krystal, Michelle, Andrew, and our other neighbors “down the street”, whose little pet dog Eddie thought he was a real guard dog and barked at us “foreigners” every time we approached his perimeter. One day, we heard a knock on the door, and into our lives walked Don Hawkins, a gentleman about our age who loved the look of Serena —our RV— and shyly asked to see her. We are used to this; Serena is a people magnet. So we invited Don in. We clicked immediately. What started as a tour of our motorhome, became the beginning of a nice friendship. Much to our delight, at the campgrounds it was one big party that lasted for three whole days, something neither Manny nor I have experienced since the early 70’s. I felt 24 again at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, while Manny returned to Mexico’s Woodstock in 1971, the wet and wild Avándaro Festival de Rock y Ruedas. I think that this experience will be the feeling we will remember each time we listen to the Blues. Here is a short video glimpse of how “people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music”, as Max Yasgur once said about Woodstock.