Monday, July 15, 2013
Alex's Longboard Event
(Above: 11:00 AM ... Skaters arrive.)
It's been since February's Pub Night, a fund raiser for Columbia Music Festival Association (CMFA), since Steve and I have seen or heard from Alex. We've heard he's working ... frying chicken at a place called Zaxby's. We know what building he lives in with his long time girlfriend Erica. The bank tellers at Arthur State Bank have told us that he still has an account there ... and that he's nice and friendly. We've also heard from friends that Alex still helps out at CMFA. We knew that the Jasper Magazine release party was at CMFA this past Friday night. Ordinarily, we would have been there but this past weekend found us in Washington, DC. We were at Wolftrap listening to the National Symphony Orchestra play Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Orff's Carmina Burana.
We couldn't help but to think of Alex. He knows both pieces very, very well. (I used to promise to buy him a Beanie Baby toy if we could get the entire house cleaned by the time Carmina Burana was over. It is GREAT music for house cleaning! Alex was also involved in a 2005 joint art/music project between the visual arts community and the local philharmonic featuring Pictures at an Exhibition.)
(Above: Alex talks to the assembled skaters.)
Steve and I wondered if Alex was at CMFA ... and we sort of got our answer when Steve's cell phone started to vibrate just as the final "O Fortuna" was about to be sung. Obviously, Steve didn't answer. Later, we noticed Alex's number ... one we got back in February. We called and left a message.
(Above: Alex telling the skaters that helmets and gloves were required ... to walk up the side of the road and beware of any cars ... and to have lots of fun.)
Well, yesterday evening Alex called again and invited us to a longboard event he was hosting today. Unfortunately, the start time was 11:00 AM ... during regular business hours. So, only I got to go. I snapped these photos.
(Above: Three skaters climbing the hill.)
I learned that Alex organized and publicized the event on Facebook. It was called The General Lee Slide Jam and Birthday Bash. Alex rounded up prizes and served as the judge. This meant he didn't actually bring his own longboard to the event. He was too busy watching the others and determining who would win.
(Above: Alex on a borrowed long board carrying water to the top of the hill.)
The parking was about three blocks away from this steep hill. Alex explained that the pavement was "icy" ... which meant it was "slippery". He told me how some of the wheels are softer than others. Softer wheels allow the rider to do different tricks. Harder wheels make for faster conditions. Several of the skaters brought two boards ... one with soft wheels and another with hard wheels. It sort of reminded me of Steve's bowling days ... when "scratch" bowlers (those good enough not to have any scoring handicap) brought several balls that reacted differently to the way the lanes were oiled.
(Above: Going to the top of the hill.)
Some of these longboarders came from out-of-state ... looking for a new, interesting hill to try. Just the day before several were in Atlanta at another event, including Alex.
(Above: Climbing the hill.)
Most of the skaters also wore heavy knee pads. They all wore the required helmets and gloves.
(Above: Alex returning with a bottle of water for me.)
I saw most of the older skaters do lots of fancy slides and footwork. Alex brought me one of the bottled water container before it started to rain. It's been raining almost daily here in Columbia for over a month. These longboarders still skate in the rain ... but the conditions change, of course.)
(Above: Robert E. Lee ... the birthday boy for whom this event was organized.)
I also got to meet Robbie, the birthday boy. He's twenty-seven today.
(Above: The group waves good-bye.)
I didn't stay too long. After all, it was a regular "work day" at Mouse House plus the rain seemed to be coming and going. I drove to the top of the hill for this last photo. Alex asked everyone to wave to his Mom.