Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 16 - "Illusions of Romance, Martin Luther King, and The Promise"

We all know how screwed-up I am.  It's no secret.  All my ex-wives will tell you the same thing.  Yet....I have noticed recently, when I perform,  an increased level of interest coming from some very attractive women in my own proximal age group. There's been 3 in as many weeks.  That's an 3000% increase.

I must look real promising when I'm up there playing my old Silvertone, stompin' that box like we were both on fire.  Nobody ever makes eyes like that at me down at the Conoco, or at WalMart.  Of course, once happy hour starts, you don't generally find a ton of drunk, financially independent, and extremely-horny divorcee prom-queens at Walmart  either.

If they ever do make cougar hunting an official sport - like alligator hunting. I'm either going to be an extremely good hunting guide, or the goat they tie to a stump in the swamp.  last Saturday evening it didn't dawn on me till I was nearly to Idaho Springs that there probably wasn't anything wrong with that womens right eye at all - she'd been winking! Right at me!  Probably wasn't anything wrong with her neck either - she was tilting her head in what I now believe she intended to be a seductive, come-hither gaze.  I thought she had a cramp and went hither elsewhere.

I believe a large part of what some few,unfortunate, women have previously found attractive in me, is a very profound  incognizance of my own situation, surroundings, and best interests - at all times.  It sure as hell ain't the paint job.

I possess the God-given simplicity of a toad-stool;.- coupled with the savant-like ability to speak and make music. Some gals like that sort of thing.  I can play my country ass off,  but I will lick light sockets if somebody doesn't keep an eye on me.

30 years ago, in the heat of a sweat-bath summer kick-ass gig, some adventurous young trollop threw her underwear at me while I was playing.  I didn't have a clue.  I took them home  and had them laundered. Brought them back (folded - heavy starch) the very next time I played there. Next thing I know I'm running a Chinese laundry for strippers. It's how I worked my way through charm school:-)


The only bigger hero I ever had, other than Martin Luther King, was My Grandma, Nellie Marie Call - and this is what she had to say about that..

Grandma was a plain-as-cotton, solid-as-stone country girl;  born dirt poor  in September of 1914 on a share-cropped farm just outside of Leota , Kansas.  Her Daddy liked to drink more than he should have.  When he was in his cups, He was more than a little mean to his wife and children. Frank Wimer, went blind when Grandma was 12 from bad batch of  "corn",  and when she turned 14 he married her off to his wife's second cousin, a widower, John Call,  in exchange for a $40, a Ford radiator, some hog-meat,  and 2 mules.

When she married my Grandad he was 23 years her senior.  John Call was not a cruel man. Quite the contrary, he was good to her. He was a likeable cut-up of a man, Short and solid like a fire-plug. He worked hard and kept groceries on the table and clothes on their backs at all times.  Didn't drink more than a little on occasion, didn't carouse around or beat her like some men did. She told me that "he never paddled his children unless they really had it coming, and even then he showed a soft-hearted restraint that she thought too extreme. GrandDad was a good man. .They had 5  kids between them,  along with his 6 from his previously departed wife. . From everything I ever heard or saw, she loved him greatly,  and he loved her - but I get the sense looking back, that they probably had to work at that some.

In 1948 Grand Dad was diagnosed with leukemia and he passed in 1954.   Grandma had kept house and farm running without skipping a beat all the while.She was tough as nails, smart as hell, and always soft-spoken - nearly to a fault.

 After Grandad passed. she would sit at the kitchen table in the evenings, tired from a full day of "man's" work along with her own, wearing his old work jeans and plaid work shirts, (they fit her as well as they ever had him). She would smoke Chesterfields,  one after another, and with drifting clouds of yellow-gray smoke circling around her silver-greyed  head, she would stare for what seemed like hours out the kitchen window of the house that she and my GrandDad had built together, side-by-side, while she had carried his child inside her . She'd just sit staring and quietly waiting for something I could never begin to comprehend until recently..

I was 9 years old on April 4, 1968. The day Martin Luther King was assassinated. Grandma and I were both covered with dirt and happy as clams.  We had been out in her flower bed digging up tulip bulbs. It was a beautiful Nebraska spring day. The sunlight was so crisp you could hear it. We first heard what had happened in Memphis on the kitchen radio when we came in from the yard to get a drink.  Grandma stopped cold as soon as the sad urgency in Walter Cronkites emergency pre-empt  took shape in her head . It had only been 5 years earlier that we had sat together in that very room and watched the nation bury JFK.

At her request I turned on the black & white T.V. and we sat on the big red couch together, watching the ensuing pandemonium for the rest of the day, from half a country away.

Granny was the sweetest, kindest, softest person I have ever known, even to this day -and I had honestly never seen her that upset over anything. We sat on that couch that entire afternoon, her squeezing me hard like she needed to protect me, with huge tears of exasperation and disbelief falling like rain from her pained face.  She whispered over and over "What's wrong with these people"  "That man didn't deserve to die".

She reached out and grabbed my confused face in her hands 3 different times that afternoon.It scared me some. She made me look her right in her tear-filled eyes,  right at her, and promise.....that I would never be like those people who had done this awful thing. Like the people that say such awful words - that I wouldn't ever give 2 shits about someones skin color. That I would never hate.  Like those sad, sick animals who gunned an innocent man down for his color.

She asked through a veil of tears. Tears that I would have crawled through a mile of busted burning glass on my 9-year old hands and knees just to stop.  She made me promise....

This was my Grandma. I still hear her voice all the time.  I love that old woman more today than I ever did - not only for what she planted in me, but for what she planted in my children, and now in theirs.  We do not hate.  We do not judge by color.  We do not hate.

I wish all the world had known the blessing of that old womans' touch.  I wish we'd all promised her not to hate.

"Peace Out"
"Don't take any wooden nickels"
Until Manyana

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