Beltwide conferences: Challenges for stamina, global positioning

I just got back from the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, held, amazingly enough, in New Orleans. This time last year I would not have believed we'd attend a Beltwide Cotton Conference in this wonderful city so soon after Katrina. But we did. And it was good to be back.

I reminisced about the last Beltwide in New Orleans.

The last time I was there, as I recall, and my memory is a bit fuzzy on some details, I suffered from some hurricane damage of my own. The injury inflicted upon me, however, was from a red-tinted concoction procured at Pat O'Brien's or one of the other noted establishments that specialize in that sweet, powerful, dizzying potion. As I said, my memory is a bit fuzzy regarding the details.

I do remember, however, a hurricane-like force coursing through my body the following morning. The eye of that storm was centered in my stomach with tropical disturbances extending into my head and points southward. It was a wretched experience. FEMA provided no assistance. But I survived.

My recovery was not nearly as miraculous as that of New Orleans but seemed fairly incredible at the time.

I would like to point out that my behavior at this year's Beltwide was much improved. I would like to attribute that to becoming a better person, turning over a new leaf and cleaning up my act. I would like to attribute my better conduct to a commitment to act like an adult. That, of course, would be a lie. A more reasonable explanation would be that for the first time ever my wife accompanied me to the Beltwide. What class exists in my life, she provides. So I behaved myself. But there's always next year.

Speaking of which, I was informed in New Orleans that next year's Beltwide will be held in Nashville, in the Opryland Hotel, at which location I am prone to get lost several times a day during the sessions. I have bemoaned this catastrophe in this space before.

Opryland Nashville (I think they now call it the Gaylord) features about 47 different themed caverns, bedraped with vines, foliage and outcroppings of fake rocks, with hundreds of trails veering off each enclosure. Visitors are expected to select the proper course through this maze of intertwining hog paths to get to a final destination, which is always as far away from your hotel room as possible.

And I'm not certain of this but I suspect they rotate these caverns each evening so that the trail that went east one day will go north the next. I'm also certain that security cameras record my every step and that folks gather around a wall of television screens and howl with evil glee every time I stop, scratch my head and turn back the way I have just come. I'm happy to provide the entertainment.

But not next year. I'm thinking about having surgery before next January to implant a GPS chip somewhere on my body. I'll hire an assistant to monitor my progress and correct my meanderings until I get to where I'm supposed to be.

As I've said before, I embrace technology.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.