I missed this year’s Stormfront conference because I didn’t want to spend the money to drive out to TN, even though lots of my good friends were going and I knew I ought to have gone. Plus another good friend of mine was getting married in TN that same weekend. I know I could have worked out a way to both attend the wedding and the conference. But I decided not to go.
Providence had other ideas, though, as usual. Remember all that NPI drama I’ve blogged about? That happened the same weekend as the Stormfront conference. I drove up to DC at the last minute then ended up on a road trip with Heimbach over to Ohio. To get back home, I swung down through TN. I had so much on my mind, I completely forgot about Stormfront and the wedding. I was so close…now I’m so frustrated.
Ok, the Stormfront guys may not be as flashy or high brow as the NPI pseudo-elite, but damned if I don’t have a much better time with them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for dressing up in suits and ties for the right occasion. I’ve perfected an aristocratic laugh and can sip chardonnay with the best of them. But there’s something about being in Knoxville that always lifts my spirits. There’s something more genuine about the friendships at Stormfront. There’s far less mechanistic networking by business hipsters, and far more genuine, laid back fellowship.
I remember my first Stormfront conference.
I was out on the porch playing the banjo for a group of heathen; we were singing Irish pub songs and my friend Tom P. was telling jokes comparing Jesus to Odin. Sam Dickson came out to enjoy the revelry. There wasn’t anywhere to sit so he slumped down onto the butt of a porch column. Unfortunately for him it was covered with slugs. “Hey Mr. Dickson…” I said. “…um, sir, I hate to say it, but you just sat in a mess of slugs.” With typical Southern flourish he said “Oh my…” got up and wiped them all off. It was hilarious.
I met David Duke for the first time that year. Yeah…I’ll leave that alone for now.
Later, after the conference was over, we all went to a nearby restaurant. I was eating with Steve Smith, a former skinhead turned racialist politician in Pennsylvania. He and his friend Ryan, both PA guys, were great company. I joked that someone needed to give a toast. Well, before I could stop him, Ryan reaches over and taps his fork on my glass. The entire room goes quiet; everyone – David Duke, Don Black, … everyone! was looking at me.
So, dear readers, I did the only thing I could do… I got up and tried to deliver a toast. I know I thanked Don Black and the speakers for their wonderful conference and I’m pretty sure I tried to quote Shakespeare. In short: it was a train wreck. Sam Dickson, God bless him, stepped in and saved my bacon. “I’d like to also add…”
A few years later, I asked him about his saving me during that toast and he said he had no memory of it. Well played sir.
The moral of this post is that if you ever get the chance to attend a Stormfront conference, you ought to do it. The memories, friendship, and scenery, are well worth it.