At 83 1/2 years old, Chuck Berry still plays a set one Wednesday every month down in the Duck Room, one of the performance spaces at Blueberry Hill, the famous club/restaurant in the Delmar Loop neighborhood of St. Louis.
His son, Charles, Jr. backs him up on guitar, and oftentimes, his daughter Ingrid will wail on vocals and blow her harmonica.
Chuck's still fairly spry--he nails his famous "duck walk" in the video above.
In the audio above, hear the intro by Joe Edwards, Blueberry Hill's legendary owner, and Chuck roll into "Round and Round."
Seeing Chuck here is rated #9 on Rolling Stone's list of "40 Reasons to Be Excited About Music."
I knew I would like Betty from the second she answered my phone call.
I was making reservations at the Banana Bay Motel--an adorable, mom-n-pop stay on Charlotte Harbor--and I sensed immediately the person on the other end of the line had a genuine, fun-loving, and open spirit.
When I checked in and met Betty face-to-face, she confirmed my intuition.
She grew up in Baltimore, worked as a mixologist and hairdresser, and lived in North Carolina before settling in Port Charlotte almost five years ago.
Betty has been the motel's manager about four years. She has a daughter and granddaughter. She loves people and people love her.
We talked for 45 minutes. Memphis, the resident motel cat, joined us at some point. Betty told me her story--where she grew up; taking the state boards to become a hairdresser; when she moved to Florida; what she likes most about her job.
She pulled out a folder full of thank you cards and "fan mail" that visitors have written her after their stays. I asked her to read one of the cards.
Betty told me what she believes. What she knows is true. What she has learned.
She said, "I feel sometimes like Memphis, you now. I've got nine lives. Keep on going."
(Listen above to excerpts from our interview.)
We were separated by the front desk the entire time we talked. When we finished, I asked Betty if I could give her a hug.
"Of course!" she said and walked around the desk.
She held the embrace.
"You can feel people out," she said to me. "Like a doctor or something. At first, I was getting a little embarrassed. Now I feel like I've known you for so long. It's great."
It was great.
Thank you for sharing your self, Betty.
(above: Memphis the cat and scenes from the Banana Bay Motel)
"I love chicken, and these chicken fingers are good," says Janeen X, a 70-something retiree and my fellow potential juror.
When we returned from this morning's voir dire, (the jury selection process, where we all answered questions about our backgrounds--translated to "to speak the truth") we had a spread lunch of fried and grilled chicken fingers, salad, potato chips, and cheese cake.
"Now, when I was called in for a civil trial, they sent us to lunch on our own," she said. "The cafeteria food really wasn't that good. And I had to sit by myself."
Know Thy Farmer Profiling 30+ Alabama farmers and artisans who work with Birmingham's The Market at Pepper Place.
Authentic Us Podcast
Click to Hear the Podcast Authentic Us is a sound-rich, storytelling platform that explores our culture through food, art, music, land, literature and characters. The nationally-distributed platform first launched in the Spring of 2013 as Authentic South.