Saturday, March 07, 2015

the guitar picker

So, Mary is cruising the beach and comes upon our guitar playing singer, and tries to interrupt his song so she can talk to him. But he just plays on, lost in the reverie of the music that gives him such pleasure. Eventually, when he pauses momentarily to take a breath and another nip from his 2 liter bottle of vodka, Mary finally breaks through the musical wall that encloses and protects him.  She asks if he can play some specific songs that she has in mind, but he only mumbles,"I just play what comes into my head, you know, and stuff" and his voice trails off into that repository of unfinished thoughts. Mary is, of course, smitten by his obvious need for the help and guidance that only she can administer, and so she invites him to come and play at our vow renewal ceremony. He seems to understand what he is suggesting and he says, " I will probably try to make it, you know, if I remember and stuff."
When Mary tells everyone what she has done, the group conscensus is that he was too drunk to remember his name let alone an event two days hence.  So we ll put it out of our minds, never expecting the excessively corpulent and strange 350 guitar picking pounds of man mountain would-be singer, to show up.  Our nonexpecting group was well into the wine after the ceremony when the unexpected actually happened.
An hour late, but probably right on time by his alcohol powered clock, this huge mountain of quivering slabs of fat flesh that slapped his thighs together, keeping a marching beat as he moved along, rolled into our midst floating on a cloud of alcohol vapor and fat man sweat.  His shoulders sagged from the weight of the cascading flesh that slid from his shoulders down to mantits that eventually stopped their avalanche at a dam of a belly that would make Santa weep. He insinuated himself  into our midst unapologetically, toting his well-used guitar and his custom built chair, whose extra wire and tubing were held together by duct tape and a prayer.
While setting up his much abused chair and and unstrapping his guitar from his back, he introduced himself and said, "I'm real happy and stuff, you know, that y'all asked me to play for y'all and stuff.
I hope this is the right place, you know, cause I just finished my bottle of vodka, you know and stuff, and I'm not real sure where I am. you know."  His voice gradually descended down again into mumbled incoherence which seemed to be his default setting.
"I'm just goin to warm up a bit, you know, and then play some of my music for y'all, and stuff like that, and sure could use some of that wine y'all got there and stuff."  So as he settled his guitar on the table of his belly, Mary poured him a generous glass full of wine (the cheap stuff you know). Then suddenly burst into song with a powerful voice that took us all by surprise. His song consisted of a slur of unintelligible lyrics that mimiced his speech pattern, accompanied by the same three chords over and over, first strummed then picked.  He was obviously enjoying his rendition of the song because he tilted his head back and muttered/hummed "baby, baby, baby" as his way to show his emotion and try to elicit the same from his audience.  The song seemed to take on a life of its own with no death imminent, when he faded back into that humming elide that seemed to signal the end of all his conversation and now his song.
After the conclusion of that first interminable song, he announced that he had worked all day the previous day to finish a song that he had been working on for a long time, because he wanted to dedicate it to us on our special day.  That was so unexpected coming from a man we all thought was addled and a caricature of a drunken musician.  The fact that he remembered we were having a special occasion is surprising enough, but going to the trouble to give us a gift of something he felt is precious makes the gesture all the more generous.  That the song turned out to be the blood brother of the first song is irrelevant.  He tried to make the song special by playing those same three chords in a different order and added a few more "babies" in the middle and the end.
Once the song was over, our guests, all in unison, decided it was time to go, and within minutes they had all drifted away, staying in the nighttime shadows lest he see them and start dedicating songs to each of them.
Once again Mary had made the party special by following her instincts when she encountered one of her own.  She can always be counted on to rescue the hapless loser and do her best to make that person feel good about himself. Her attitude is that everyone deserves dignity and respect regardless of his station in life.  Our new musician friend refused the payment we offered saying "y'all paid me with your friendship and stuff."  Of corse Mary sent him on his way with a bag of food and offer to drive him to wherever he was staying.   Instead he ambled, or sort of floated off, into the night, guitar slung over his enormous shoulder, humming and softly singing, "baby, baby, baby," his dignity intact and grateful for the respect he'd earned and the new friends he made.
That concluded our special day, one more in the continuing saga of Bob and Mary's Excellent Adventure.

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