March 2009 Report 

By Ken Monzingo 
National Board Representative 

+ Long distance information give me Memphis Tennessee
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me ...

Graceland, B.B. King’s on Beale Street, Bar-B-Q and ACBL ... quite a trip if you can handle it. I just returned from a full week of orientation, familiarization and sight-seeing with the league headquarters in Memphis. Southern hospitality was at its finest as five of us met with the heads of all ACBL management departments in the 75-employee surroundings of the current, but aging, corporate building on Aviation Boulevard. 

Interesting and enlightening. I can remember when we moved here from Greenwich, Connecticut - 1972 I believe. At least one of their current staff has been with us ever since. 

When Elvis was asked what he missed about Memphis he answered, “Everything!” Southern comfort abounds with the territory where strangers still ask you how you’re doing – and they mean it; they care. All sentences in Memphis-speak have a noun, a verb and you’all. It’s as much the language as Bar-B-Q is the staple. (Try Corky’s next time you’re there – terrific!) 

Memphis is located in a Tennessee zip code, but sits on the border of Mississippi and snuggles up against the mighty Huck Finn riverbank. Beale Street, billed as the birthplace of the blues, is located in the center of downtown and resembles a one-block Mardi Gras, complete with blocked off entrances and roaming tourists wrapped around their beer mugs. All Beale Street clubs feature live entertainment, but not the kind I hoped for ... no John Lee Hooker on a wooden stool hunkered over a guitar wearing a fedora and sunglasses wailing out his soul notes. Instead the “blues” groups were young, Caucasian hippie types who must think the uglier you dress the better you sing. 

They were very good. 

Now we are looking to move ACBL management to new and finer quarters (possibly just down the road a piece but in a Mississippi zip), complete with a Hall of Fame and Museum. Can’t wait! Here’s excerpts from a recent update from the committee on the headquarters site selection process: 

February 4, 2009 Memphis, Tenn.  

Per the directive, ACBL Management was authorized to negotiate the purchase of an ACBL Headquarters Building. While much of the discussion in Boston [NABC] revolved around a plot of land in Collierville TN, Management has continued to seek out other potential sites in the greater Memphis area. 

A building that appears to suit our needs very well has been located in Horn Lake, MS, about 10-15 minutes south of the present ACBL headquarters building. The building is now owned by First Tennessee Bank. All indications are that the bank is very motivated to sell this building, probably at a very favorable rate. 

Should this opportunity be realized, we should have a new headquarters building that will fully satisfy [our] the needs and desires at a cost very significantly less than the land procurement and building construction costs we discussed in Boston . . .  

Possible new home 

While in Memphis I visited the potential new building in Horn Lake and would leap on it if I were on the committee. It’s priced well below our expected spending budget, and it is unique in its private locale and nice surroundings. We could not only finish the building the way we wanted it, but have budget to add on if we felt we needed more office, display or warehouse space. 

A big bridge bronze with waterfall out front, and piped in Chuck Berry music would sure complete the Tennissippi picture. 

+  Last time I saw [Memphis] she was waving me good-bye
With "hurry home" drops on her cheeks that trickled from her eye
. *

        – Chuck Berry circa 1964