Once I was in the kitchen listening to Malcolm X talking on the radio. He was lecturing on why not to eat pork or ham, and that a pig is actually one third cat, one third rat, one third dog --it's unclean and you shouldn't eat it. It's funny how things stick with you. About ten years later I was having dinner at Johnny Cash's house outside of Nashville. There were alot of songwriters there. Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newberry and some others. Joe and Janette Carter were also there. Joe and Jannette were the son and daughter of A.P and Sarah Carter and cousins to June Carter, Johnny's wife. They were like the royalty of country music.
Johnny's big fireplace was blazing and crackling. After dinner, everybody sat around in the rustic living rooms with high wooden beams and wide plate-glass windows that overlooked a lake. We sat in a circle and each songwriter would play a song and pass the guitar to the next player. Usually, there'd be comments like "You really nailed that one." Or "Yeah, man, you said it all in them few lines." Or maybe something like "That song's got a lot of history in it." Or "You put all of yourself into that tune." Mostly just complimentary stuff. I played "Lay, Lady, Lay" and then passed the guitar to Graham Nash, anticipating some kind of response. I didn't have to wait long. "You don't eat pork, do you?" Joe Carter asked. That was his comment. I waited for a second before replying. "Uh, no sir, I don't," I said back. Kristofferson almost swallowed his fork. Joe asked, "Why not?" It's then that I remembered what Malcolm X had said. "Well, sir, it's kind of a personal thing. I don't eat that stuff, no. I don't eat something that's one third rat, one third cat and one third dog. It just doesn't taste right." There was an awkward momentary silence that you could have cut with one of the knives off the dinner table. Johnny Cash then almost doubled over. Kristofferson just shook his head. Joe Carter was quite a character.
Train Song festival
Folk and blues artists belted out songs about train rides such as Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," using instruments like a harmonica, upright bass and trombone.
As they performed classic rail tunes, a rare 1907 steam train ran along the 4.5 acre park's perimeter. Red-sashed bandits from the Apache Canyon Gang hijacked every other trip, allowing parents who feared the skit would upset their children to catch the next ride.