Yesterday I had a cool memory verification moment. I kept seeing on Facebook that it was the 37th anniversary of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crash, the one that killed the lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and vocalist/guitarist Steve Gaines. I remembered and had related many times that I saw the band just a few days before their crash. I saw them at the Altamonte Mall, a location featured in the memoir because it was just a few blocks away from my home on Center Street and as a young teenager I would walk there and buy cigarettes and people watch. I was thinking about my memory of that time and questioning its veracity since I thought it was strange that I remembered seeing them but they were not playing any music. Why would they be at Altamonte Mall not playing, just hanging out?

I searched for information about their Street Survivor’s tour in 1977 and they did not play in Orlando, the closest large town with a venue. I decided to search for Lynyrd Skynyrd 1977 “Altamonte Springs” and then I found what I was looking for: verification of my memory. To promote their final album, five days before the crash the band appeared at a record shop in a tent outside the mall, each member sitting at a long table and greeting fans and signing autographs. I was 14, almost 15 and I had a stupid little blue denim purse that they signed which is long lost in the travails of my life adventures since then. The purse was all I had, no paper and I couldn’t afford to purchase a photo for them to sign; all I’d had money for was the 8-track of Street Survivors (which also disappeared with all my possessions when my mother abandoned me to the street), the original one with the flames behind the band that they changed after the crash in order to spare the families’ feelings. In my memory, all the band members were very kind but especially Ronnie Van Zant. I can’t wait to write about this for the memoir. Speaking of the memoir, I am still in Indiantown but we are getting ready to move to Tampa, where I’ve been ever since: almost 35 years.

Chicken update: this morning the girls are cooped up in their coop so Darin and I can catch a couple of them and put them in cages for a while until their tail feathers can grow out. The poor things cannot catch a break; their fannies are bare from other hens pecking at them, and the bare hiney is like a target for those beaks especially when they are all crowded around the feeder. Most of the hens’ tails are growing out nicely but these two must be on the low end of the pecking order. I am hoping that isolating each of them in a cage and feeding them some high protein crumbles will resolve the issue after a few weeks and they will be able to rejoin the flock, intact.

Focus@Will update: they did not resolve my problem but I did get a chance to explain to them in detail what the issue was and they responded kindly and even refunded my membership payment. I would have preferred a solution. The fact is though, that this morning I really wanted to use the service while writing and I did. I didn’t relish going to find some other music to play while I was working on the book. So I guess I caved. I guess what that really says is that Focus@Will is a good service.


Written by Tina Gasperson

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