Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chain Drive Whipsaw






So love is about a reflection. Seeing parts of yourself. I do realize that I have "fallen in love" in situations that can't be explained in any Harlequin Romance novel. I know more about me than I care to know. Oh, I don't know much but I think I'm pretty self-aware. 

I like me okay. I mean I've known worse. I could write you a list of my shortcomings but so many women have already taken on that task that I don't have many original additions. It began with that note during the seventh grade. A group of my female classmates got together to collaborate on a note that began with, "We think you're really cute but..."

After "but" the message really began. Went on for pages. Dang.

Years and wives later I asked a woman to explain to me what was wrong. She asked me to leave the room. Calmly she asked. Sweetly.

When she called me back in, five minutes later, I had a new list. I really don't know how anyone can write that much in five minutes.

Probably should have kept both notes. Is that what they mean when they say, "comparing notes?"

When push comes to shove I'm better at love than I am at romance. Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not claiming to be good at that either. So far today I've told old friends from decades ago that I love them and I've told a good friend who I called "crazy" the other day. I don't mean to digress here but she is crazy. Crazy like she's supposed to be. I've told Jamaica enough to annoy her. I do every day.

My mom was like that. My grandmother, too. I don't remember ever hearing either one say that and wondering if she meant it, if it was sincere.

Funny- I sat down to write this and it was supposed to be about the only time I ever rode a motorcycle.

I love you.



                                      




Monday, July 24, 2017

Holy Science






My collection of memorabilia would never go up on the wall of any Hard Rock Cafe. Most of it looks like trash. With no story, no explanation, most of my treasure would be put out with the garbage.

There's my piece of wood that Elvis stepped on. At least that little sliver has "Elvis Stepped Here" burned right into it. Somewhere around here is my B.B. King pick that he gave me and Duane Allman's string package. I've shown you my little photo booth picture that Tiny Tim gave me. Oh yeah, I had Rock Bottom's 1932 National Duolian but I recently passed that along as a legacy guitar. Honestly, it looked a little bit out of place with the "trash." I have Eric Clapton's Coricidin bottle that he and Duane used.

You get the point. Lots of autographs, programs, posters and photos.

Now I have been outdone. What I once considered a special treasure field of sacred junk has been rendered superfluous.

Get ready. Are you sitting down?

My pal, Rob McNurlin, has acquired Hank Snow's toupee.

I know, I know.







Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Mystic's Wine






The thirteen billion dollar aircraft carrier was the last straw for me. This is not a government that represents me, What are we protecting? If Alabama were a country, its rate of 8.7 infant deaths per 1,000 would place it slightly behind Lebanon in world rankings. 

Sad?

Beats Mississippi at 9.6, coming in somewhere between Botswana and Bahrain.

We think that there are about 1.56 million homeless people in the U.S. It's hard to be sure of the accuracy of any number of course. Just exactly where should we mail the census forms?

We think that there are over 10 million folks without health insurance in this country. To be sure, those people in Washington are thrilled that we don't really know. How many of our neighbors die due to lack of medical care every day in this country? How on earth would we ever know? Let's just say that the number would shock us all in the headlines of The New York Times or The Washington Post.

U.S.A! U.S.A!

We're #1! We're #1!

Just exactly who's gonna take it if we hadn't launched a new 13 billion dollar boat?

Now I've just randomly chosen a few obvious, easy targets to make a point. I could go on. And on. I won't. I don't have a kid in this fight. I'm worried about yours. My dog is old. I lose sleep fretting about the puppies and kittens going to the shelters. I worry and wring my hands over an earth that's almost done with me.

If I win 13 billion bucks in some lotto this week, I'm not building some boat to sink their boat. Even I have better sense.

How did we get here and how do we get out?

I don't know but I do know this- we do it with love.







Saturday, July 22, 2017

Slow Boats and Full Moons






Ambushed by old age, I'm not wise. Now I know it when I see it for the most part. That's a start I suppose.

Science and religion are pretty much the same thing for me now. It's the parts that we can't explain that hold the secrets. The mystery. It's all about love and it's all about energy.

Laughter and music are holy for me. I'm not eloquent enough to tell you everything I know but I've seen all of the parts of the cosmos in their pajamas shifting and grinding while singing or laughing or singing and laughing. 

Most of my lessons have arrived riding on heartache, heartbreak and loss. Maybe sad is just what fills the space between joy and jubilation. Nobody's ever been mean to me but some folks have surely taught me lessons.

Now you don't have to hire a private eye to tell you that you shouldn't pay any attention to me. The one thing I know- love. That's it. Love.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.



                                        




Friday, July 21, 2017

Life's Wear and Tear






There I stood with my pen and paper. I looked into Duane Eddy's eyes and he looked into mine. I couldn't make myself say anything. Maybe he couldn't, either. After a few awkward minutes I turned and walked away with no autograph. I've never been much of a fan since then. I was probably eleven or twelve.

In the last week I've had two wonderfully sweet folks come up to talk to me and tell me that they have had to get a running start to approach me. One of them explained that he had never had the nerve to talk to any musician who he followed. He was articulate and polite and I could totally relate to his plight. It made for a very special moment for me.

My ridiculous, lucky life has had me hanging out with most of my heroes. In my Forrest Gump existence it all just went by me in some slow dream parade. For the last four or five years Photoshop has rounded out my social life. 

Lonely? Ha!




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Don't Lick The Edge






My struggles are mostly with me. Always have been. I'm pretty sure that I could have done better with my career; fared better in love; accumulated more worldly goods. No regrets there. 

Maybe I haven't given enough; loved enough; produced enough. Those thoughts could keep me awake. That's the kind of worry that could serve as an excuse later on for more of the same.

Yesterday I was informed that hiphop has surpassed rock'n'roll in terms of social significance. Wow. I'll admit that I had a grander plan in mind.

Romance abandoned me some time back. That's okay.

Now, I'll admit that I have no plans to give up on either rock'n'roll or romance. Honestly, most of my romance and most of my rock'n'roll have taken place in my head. And my heart.

Go see They Might Be Giants. George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Reality, imagination- the good stuff is all entwined. All endings are pure good versus pure evil.

Am I an authority on love? Yeah, you bet. That's not nearly as arrogant as it reads. Everybody is. Most folks just believe that it's private, that you shouldn't just show it to anyone. You know, like underwear.

Do I wear my heart on my sleeve? No. I gave it to that girl.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Don't Call Me Lucky






The fire just keeps burning brighter for me. Hotter. I know now what I should have known at eighteen  or twenty. I've just about learned to rock'n'roll. Good timing, huh? I've worried since I was nine years old about the inevitable demise. Here it is. Ha! Makes it better.

A year ago nobody could have convinced me that I lived in a racist, sexist, bellicose culture. Oh, I have certainly been aware that we had a long, long way to go for women's rights. For anything approaching racial equality. I have wrung my hands since I was a kid about one war after another.

Now women face a threat to every gain established over the last century while Muslims move to the front lines of the battle for freedom. War is perpetual and the lines blur as to names. 

I have no plans to leave here until this place is fixed.

If they think that they can destroy love with hate, they're in for a sad comeuppance.



                                

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Secrets I Can't Tell






Oh, I've seen the future. Looks a lot like the past. Love jumps from heart to heart and I'm really not gonna study war no more. The native Americans had the better outfits. The wisdom. Whatever God you believe in would most certainly have been on their side.

Let's see here, we began this here club by stealing the land and handing out smallpox blankets. Then we wrote treaties that we had no intention of honoring. 

We brought in slaves to do the work that was beneath even the poor.

Oh, we're not all bad. In fact we're mostly good. Fact is, though, the aggressive gene is dominant. You know- curly hair + straight hair = curly hair.

We've got some mojo and some karma to deal with here. There's more of us. Lots more. Judge them for what they are, not what they think they are. Old white guys with expensive ribbons tied around their necks.

Now they have the bombs, the tear gas, the tanks and probably small pox blankets. They buy them with our money. 

My side has love. Truth. Hope.

They fight, we dance. 




Monday, July 17, 2017

Did You Miss Me?






Just back from my Oklahoma hope transfusion. First time I've been to Okemah in three years and my spirit was needing some patching. Done! More music and love than you would think could be packed into three days.

The Woody Guthrie Festival always reminds me that if you fill your heart with love, there's no room for hate.

Keep an eye out for the new Folk Tabloid that Cathy and Annie Guthrie and I are launching. All the dirt and all the scandal on all of your favorite folksingers. We've got the goods! All in the name of love, of course. Still, careers will be ruined, marriages destroyed and secrets revealed. Hot dog.







Thursday, July 13, 2017

Strangers' Smiles






Sometimes I think it can all be explained with physics. Meanwhile the moon laughs at lovers making promises that they can't keep. Just keep searching for the truth and give away all the love in your heart. Sometimes moon, June, spoon and croon really mean something.



                                      



With hope I remain, forever, your friend,

Ronny




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Business of Show and My Ego






What could possibly be lower than show biz? Well, politics, I suppose. Maybe.

It takes a big ego to think that you might overcome your ego. You can't get there from here. Or anywhere. I see everything, everything, from my point of view. It's the only one I have. 

She told me more than once, "You're awfully hard on yourself."

I'm not. I just happen to strip my soul bare as my vocation. I'll tell anybody anything. I'll tell you something different tomorrow. I don't lie. I change.

Love is the only constant for me. All my memories turn to love. Loss, of course, is the other side of that cosmic coin. The love is cumulative. The lucky man is the man who understands it.

So I show off for a living. No wonder I struggle. Me? I always had trouble asking her to dance.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Who's Counting?






If you believe that everything works out as it's supposed to I suppose all news is good news. I find myself dizzy from time to time holding all these mirrors up to other mirrors. Luck seems to play by the same rules. Stuff happens. I mean all stuff happens. You can look at what's in front of you as good luck or bad.

Was poor old Elvis the luckiest guy in the world? He traded the family cow too many times, didn't he?

Is Russian roulette fun? Depends on how long you play.




Monday, July 10, 2017

Cracked Looking Glass






Sometimes I wonder if the romantic craves drama. When push comes to shove, I really do only want to be with the ones who burn, burn, burn. It took me a long, long time to figure out that the fire is in the heart, in the soul. 

The many lessons pouring in with the nightly news compete for my attention. The joke that considers itself leaders of the world reminds me of how ridiculous the human ego really is. Hearts pump, eyes see, brains compute. Meanwhile a clown with a long tie struts, mugs and cheats. He feels entitled because his old man cheated lots of folks out of lots of money. Green paper. Now this overblown gasbag continues to pile up the green paper while constantly feeding a gigantic, fragile ego.

This cycle can consume my time but it can't penetrate my soul. I'll get up to watch Morning Joe because I love the excitement, the drama. Ah, back to the drama.

I will resist. I will speak up. I'll campaign, vote, argue and write.

I will not scream, insult, cheat or lie. The other team has figured out ways to control the green paper. I won't play. They deflated the game ball.

It will take a big hole to accommodate the carcass of that orange lardass when he goes. He won't be taking any of that green paper with him. How would you like to wake up Don Jr. this morning?

My side has girl scout cookies, puppies and rock'n'roll. Oh, and love. We've got love.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Broken Glass, Broken Hearts






A friend suggested emphatically the other day that I have pretty well used up this "socially awkward" thing. I'm pretty sure that his implication was that I'm attempting to use this whole thing to elicit sympathy and establish myself as a loser in order to improve my social life.

Well, to begin with, pal, I'm too socially awkward to pull off such a thing. Not only that but I don't have a social life. Guess I told him, huh? I was never on the debate team, either.

This all began a couple of years ago when a woman told me that she always thought that I was, in fact, socially awkward. Then she laughed. Loud. Hard. Within a week I received a Facebook message from another woman, a friend that I have known for a long time but not very well. She happened to mention her initial judgement of me. 

Yeah. I shouldn't have asked. Arrogant and, yep- socially awkward. 

Let me tell you, "arrogant" hurts my feelings.

That other, though, fascinates me. So much of everything from childhood and adolescence makes sense to me now. Some sense. Things from the here and now almost make sense.

If it weren't for the music I wouldn't have connected with anyone. In my mind I communicate. I want to be blood brothers/sisters with almost everyone I meet. I'm afraid of blood, though.

I played rock'n'roll to pick up girls. That sounds so creepy now. I played rock'n'roll. I didn't pick up girls.

Would I have been better off if I had known all along about this condition, do you suppose? I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel like I've lived a life with spinach between my teeth and my zipper down. Heck, I thought we were all having fun.



                                         




Saturday, July 8, 2017

His Story






Sometimes I think that maybe I should take a little time off. Then I realize that I don''t do anything. There are weeds to pull, songs to write and rum to drink but I'm so much better at luxuriating in sadness while keeping very still.

If I just sang this crap it would be a new song. Of course then everybody would know.

I worry that I played it all on red and black came in; I bet it all on love and love didn't finish. I don't believe it ever made it onto the track.

It's 4:00 am somewhere. Oh- right here.







Friday, July 7, 2017

Vegetable Kingdom






Sometimes I find myself wondering what would have become of me without the music. Obviously I'll never know. My life has been almost too perfect. I've seen so many places that I would never have seen. I've worked with musicians who have exposed me to levels of ecstasy that I would never have dreamed of. The kindness of strangers who became lifelong friends has kept me well fed and provided soft, warm beds.

Do you suppose that I should have worked harder? Toured more? Played what they wanted to hear? Practiced longer?

If I had it all to do over, I'd do it wrong again. I'm not bragging but I'm not complaining.







Thursday, July 6, 2017

All I Got






It'll test you. It's all gone to 3/4 but it's all in color. There's no future in sad. You refer to the condition as sensitive. It's clearly just dumb. I was gonna dig a hole to China but I'll wait for it to cool down out there.




                                   

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Abandon Hope






Okay, I'm not known for my patience. There are times here that I refer to myself as a patient man. Usually I'm being sarcastic. Sometimes I'm just lying, trying harder to convince myself than you.

It occurs to me at this point in history that we can't afford to give in to impatience. Don't misunderstand me. There's a world in new peril out there and we're the only heroes we have. We don't dare do it at the expense of joy, though.

Resist with humor. Fight with love. It's gonna take some time. Some more time. Oh, I'm like you- I want it done now. Since that's not about to happen, let's work hard to make up for what's being done to the planet, to the poor, the sick and the elderly. Let's have fun at his expense while he lives at ours.

We got this.







Monday, July 3, 2017

Hillbilly Billet Doux






All my life I've heard the name, Joyce Howard. He was my Aunt Jo's suitor before I was born. Of course she didn't speak of him often. She was happily married to another man and they raised my cousin, Jimmy, in Birmingham.

Maybe this vivid memory of a man who I never knew is due to his name. I don't believe I've ever known a man named Joyce. Coulda' been a great Johnny Cash song.

My mother and my Aunt Marion would talk in reverent tones and almost swoon when they talked about him. Never in front of their sister, though. At least not if my uncle was around. They had kept old, yellowing photographs of him. I seem to have a reasonable memory of what he looked like. Probably not at all accurate. 

Every now and then roses would arrive for my grandmother on Mother's Day. Joyce Howard. Occasionally he would drop by with a Whitman's Sampler for her, one of the big ones with three layers. Hillbillies love that stuff.

She talked about him with the same tone usually reserved for Jesus or her two sons, Morgan and Reid. Or me.

Aunt Jo has been a widow for forty years or so now. She's about to turn one hundred and one. I called her about a year ago to ask about Joyce Howard, just to make sure that I hadn't embellished the memory in my mind.

It was obvious immediately when I mentioned the name that I had not even been able to fathom the level of affection that the family held for Joyce Howard. I think I do now. I don't think I ever saw him in person. I'm not sure.

I've always had some weird heroes but this one came with such beautiful references. Willy the Shake had his Romeo and Juliet. I'll always have Joyce Howard.




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hapless Not Hopeless






Kindness is never a sign of weakness. As these patriotic holidays role around it's surely easy to wonder and worry about the land of the free. Just ask the Native American. Check with the granddaughter of slaves. Compare notes with a Syrian refugee. Heck, ask a woman.

There's a bright day coming, though. I promise you that. You don't think that old pendulum broke, do you?

A very bright light has been shone on our prejudice, our inequality. Our hate and our lack of compassion.

Rock break scissors. Love kicks hate's butt. 💘







Saturday, July 1, 2017

Predicto






Messages from the eyes are the ones that count. Smiles either start at the heart or they're not really smiles. Those others are tools for competing in the Miss USA pageant or for senators talking on cable news. 

"Good to be here, Rachel."

No, it's not. Those folks are compelled to lie.

I have a plot to release kindness in D.C. I figure we can plant waitresses and traffic cops. Maybe a few cable guys and heart surgeons. First thing you know, they're marrying into the population and breeding with them.

I'll keep you up on it.