Stick Miller: Oh, what a night!

Published 9:00 pm Monday, March 7, 2016

Oh, it was a fine night. Late in February South Georgia can have some of the worst weather imaginable, but it can also be some of the most beautiful. Beautiful is what we had on the night of the Malibu’s/Sixpence reunion concert/dance in Perry. Cool enough to make the venue tolerable yet warm enough for shirtsleeves.
Weather was not the only pleasantry that night. This high-school garage band that survives to this day gives meaning to the word talent. Today, in this age of horrific music, Malibu’s/Sixpence Band gave 500 or so of their best friends a night to remember.
Initially, I didn’t want to go. Let’s be honest; I grow bored with most groups today and with few exceptions can do with just a short set. A little dab’ll do me just fine. I’ll go so far as to say I’d pay double just to attend a half concert. You know, when the band takes a “short break” I’m usually ready to call it a night. I am getting old.
And I really don’t like to dance. My sweet wife grew up dancing. Her mother taught dance for over 60 years. Dancing is in her blood. It pains me, literally and figuratively, to dance. I’ve had two back surgeries and I’m not good on my feet. I never was much of a dancer, and I like it less now than I did when I was a bit friskier.
If I’m dancing with Elise (who tolerates most anything from me) I don’t worry so much about my lack of talent, but every once in a while I’m pulled onto the dance floor by an unsuspecting partner. That’s when I fall apart.
What do you say to your dance partner? How do you hold your mouth? Do you stare into their face? I think there is something called “the white man’s overbite” and I know exactly what they mean. Put your teeth over your lower lip and you’ll get the picture.
No, I really didn’t want to go but we wanted to be there for our friend Wes. Also, when I found out the plan was to ride in the back of a limo that sealed the deal for me. To those who just think they suffer from motion sickness, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” I am the crown prince of puke. I have trouble watching a flag blow in the breeze or a baby rocking in a cradle. What, for most people, are scenes that are poignant and meaningful represent an opportunity for nausea for me. I simply do not do well when other people are driving.
I suggested that we all go in the Bluebird. No, there are not enough seatbelts and no, we can’t park it just anywhere, but I knew that if I had to go to this concert, I needed to drive. As it was, we rented a van, I downed a couple of extra-strength Dramamine® and I slept in the front seat with the most capable William serving as our chauffeur for the evening.
We made it to Perry with the van intact and unsullied by my inability to hold down my lunch. Although the state venue did not allow us to “bring our own,” we and almost everybody else in the building brought our own. It is hard to police 500 old people.
As I walked through the doors, I thought we were in the wrong place. This had to be a college party, for the whole room was populated by 18-year-olds. The women looked great and the guys were at their teenage best. Testosterone and estrogen filled the room and you just knew someone was “gonna get lucky” that night. It was as if the clock had been turned back 50 years.
The songs of our youth filled the room and we danced like professionals. Those of us who have gained a pound or two left that at the door. My clothes fit perfectly as did every outfit in the room. For two or three hours that night, we were all young again and without zits.
When the band took their final bows and packed up their gear, we reluctantly left our seats and headed for the parking lot. We had experienced magic that night and none of us wanted to let it go.
Attending that concert made me feel “younger and more foolish and happier” than I’ve felt in a long time. Thanks Wes Wheeler, Grady Trussell, Dennis Herbert, Eddie Byrd and David Luckie — the guys of the Malibu’s/Sixpence band. Thanks Bruce for the great video. Thanks Nubs and Bill for being my brothers and thanks Charlotte for kissing me on the mouth and making me feel like a teenager again, and thanks to Elise and Rusty for letting her. Thanks Randy and Nancy for not taking “no” for an answer and for putting together our fun group. Thanks to all the friends in our van for the wonderful food and friendship that helped make that evening memorable.
… and last, but not least, thanks Dramamine®. I love ya, buddy.

Boyce “Stick” Miller is an award-winning columnist from Americus, Ga. Contact him at