This Christmas dialog comes from Brandi Hart and Buddy Woodward of The Dixie Bee-Liners. ‘Nuff said…

The Dixie Bee-LinersBUDDY: Enter Mike Wallace…dateline, Christmas season 2005. Location, the capital of country music, New York City. We had just put out our first CD only the month before, after much trial, toil, and tearing of hair.

BRANDI: We tore out each other’s hair…

BUDDY: And knitted it into a sweater. We weren’t sure how our music was going to be received, or how to procede… but we felt cautiously contented.

BRANDI: And relieved! That CD was over a year in the making.

BUDDY: So we were trying to figure out our next move, and then our beloved cat Nipper got really sick and died. I remember it was the first weekend in December — and the first snow of the year.

BRANDI: Nipper was the “Music City Kitty.” He was a brave little guy, and believe it or not, he loved country and bluegrass music.

BUDDY: He sure did. He was my pal for 15 years. He used to try to stick his head in the soundhole of my guitar when I was playing.

BRANDI: Did he ever go for the banjo?

BUDDY: Only to sharpen his claws.

BRANDI: Smart kitty! Anyway, losing Nipper was really tough on both of us, but Buddy took it especially hard. He bottles everything up…he’s the strong, silent type, don’t you know.

BUDDY: Strong like bull…

BRANDI: Dumb like chicken!

BUDDY: OUCH! Anyway, a week or so later, I started to feel feverish and had shooting pains in my side. When it didn’t go away — and in fact got worse — we went to a local clinic, where I was diagnosed with shingles. Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus: basically, your nerve endings erupt in blisters.

BRANDI: That was all kinds of fun, right Buddy?

BUDDY: The fun was only beginning. I still had a couple weeks of rolling around in bed, clutching my side in agony, to look forward to.

BRANDI: Keep in mind, we were starving artists.

BUDDY: No health insurance.

BRANDI: Don’t you know.

BUDDY: After the vet bills, the doctor bills, the pharmacy bills….

BRANDI: Not to mention CD manufacturing and production costs….

BUDDY: Well, let’s just say we weren’t exactly decorating the Christmas tree with dollar bills.

BRANDI: No, we weren’t. In fact, we didn’t even have a Christmas tree.

BUDDY: Remember what we did?

BRANDI: Yeah, we got a wreath from the mini market and hung it on one of our mic stands, using 1/4 jacks for ornaments.

BUDDY: And an old bedsheet for a tree skirt.

BRANDI: Kind of cool and kind of pathetic at the same time.

BUDDY: As Nigel Tufnel says, “there’s a thin line between ‘clever’ and ‘stupid’.”

BRANDI: So anyway, we get Buddy home and back in bed, a bottle of Percodan clutched in his feverish paw…and the first thing our other cat, Fang, does is jump right up on Buddy and start kneading on his skin.

BUDDY: Like the Dr. Seuss book, “Hop On Pop.”

BRANDI: OUCH. I think you hit high C.

BUDDY: I was definitely in the Bobby Osborne range.

BRANDI: In his own cat way, I think Fang was trying to help.

BUDDY: So, like, is there a point to this story?

BRANDI: Well yeah, it was our last Christmas in New York — right before all kinds of wonderful and exciting things started to happen to us as a result of putting out that first CD….

BUDDY: So this is sort of a “mighty oaks from small acorns grow” kind of a story?

BRANDI: Hmm, too trite.

BUDDY: “The darkest hour is just before dawn”?

BRANDI: How about “Shingle Bells”?