Saturday, March 31, 2018

High Hopes, Low Tide

You can buy anything but time. Oh, I suppose that love is not really available on the open market, either. Seems to me that love is slippery. My pal, Harry, makes fun of me for taking good care of my stuff. He claims that my shoes look better after twenty years than his do after a month. I've never been able to take care of love.

I tell myself and anybody who will listen that I don't want love. Pretty sure they know I'm lying and I suppose I do, too.

Nothing lasts forever.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Neighbors Know

At this point you know more about me than you ever wanted to know. I've only recently figured out that I've toiled all my life to please a woman. Let me be honest with you here, I haven't done a very good job of it, but then, you knew that part.

It probably started with showing off for Alison Lewis in the third grade. She lives somewhere else now so I don't bother her all that often these days. We probably danced together two or three times over the years. Doesn't sound like major romance, I know, but I get flustered typing her name. I would be lying if I denied hoping that someone will read this tripe over the phone to her.

For years I have said that I played rock'n'roll to "pick up girls." I have felt guilty every single time that I said that and I never "picked up a girl." Now I read somewhere a quote from a musician who said that he started playing music so that girls would like him. He asked, rhetorically, "Isn't that how all people decide on a career? Something to make the opposite sex like them?"

Yeah, boy! That's what I meant. Eloquence was never my strong suit.

My mom and my grandmother loved me unconditionally and approved of my every move. They were my first heroes. I could have stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and... you know.

By the way, I don't use the word, girl, disrespectfully. I love girls.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Firecracker Hill

My heart breaks for the heartbroken. Sometimes it feels like I'm here to share the misery. Payday comes with the joy. Yeah, I'm on call to share that, too.

I never applied for this position but I was born to it. It comes naturally to me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Eve's Navel

Never wanted to be famous. Good thing, huh? Never really wanted to be rich, either. Nothing much to worry about there. You're not likely reading with bated breath, wondering just what I have always wanted. Well, sir, I'm fixing to tell you anyway.

Recently I have figured out that I just want to be a better person. Better than what, you're probably wondering. I haven't gotten that far yet. I'll get back to you.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bring In The Dog And Put Out The Cat

We're hoping that the kids have begun taking back government. Just in time, I should add. What's next?

Let me make a few suggestions. Religion. The music business. Professional sports. The stock market. Education. In other words, any endeavor which should require ethics, but somehow, operates without them in our society.

Do you think of honesty when you think of health insurance? Automobile dealerships? Banks? Hospitals? Movie studios?

Hmmm. I don't either.

There's not much wrong with capitalism that an infusion of honest people couldn't fix. Same with socialism and any other ideology. Paul Ryan is a weak-spirited, mean little twerp who just happens to put an R after his name. Washington, D.C. is full of 'em.

Franklin Graham is a greedy, bigoted hypocrite. He's not bound for any heaven that I've ever read about.

Oh, I suppose that I should feel guilty, singling out these two asshats. I don't. I just lack the patience to sit here and list them all by name. Not only that, I might leave out one or two.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Revolution Now!

Thanks, Mr. Trump. Thanks for the revolution. We're all single issue voters now. The issue is decency. Oh, our platform takes in gun control. I suppose that's obvious after today, but our agenda now incorporates world peace and universal healthcare. Environmental protection, civil rights, tax reform, income equality, education, infrastructure, conservation, equal rights.

Somebody better stand up for the old white guy. His day is done.

Don't waste your pity on me. I'm with them.
 I've always sat at the kids' table and I will as long as they will have me. This old heart beats and pumps joy through me. I couldn't be more proud. 

Turns out he may make America great again.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

How Long?

For twelve years I never picked up a crumb. Not once did I have to lean over for a wayward peanut shell or an ice cube that slipped away. Now I drop a cracker and it just rests on the kitchen floor and my heart breaks.

The windows in the back of my car are smudged and the back seat is covered with fur. I don't know if I'll ever be able to clean it up.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Have A Seat

All bets are off, I suppose. Somehow we're gonna have to get back to the music. At least I am. I have grown weary of wringing my hands. If I were going to starve or freeze to death it would have happened a long time ago. 

Those vermin in DC have nothing to do with me. Do you suppose that there is a scoundrel in Moscow who cares less about me that Paul Ryan does?

Oh, you know not to take me very seriously here. I'll be marching on Saturday and I'm not missing the bright light shining from Parkland. In the meantime let's sing.

Come on, rock'n'roll, save us again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pluto and Heaven

Hoodwinked by the system? Don't play. Take a look at those self-important lackeys sucking up to criminaloids in government and organized religion, big business, entertainment and professional sports. 

Those voices in your head, your own drum- listen to them. 

Joy hides in books and in the woods. There are dogs and cats in the shelters who will show you where it is. Music is chock full of it, especially the sad stuff.

Love just as hard as you can. Don't worry about love coming back. That's not what it's about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Above All, Kindness

Do you suppose that fifty percent of the populace is smarter than you are? Of course not. None of us accept average. Well, sir, half of you would be sorely disappointed if you were bright enough to understand. 

By that same logic I guess that we have to consider that half of the folks out there are kinder than you. Ouch! Now, that one hurts. Don't forget that there are some mean, mean people out there.

Now, I've met a few rock'n'roll stars. I'm here to remind you of this: Elvis was probably the sweetest, kindest person I ever met.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Are You Gonna Eat That?

My smile is my invitation. Here's intimacy. You want a peek into my soul? Here's all I've got. I'm shy, sometimes painfully. On the other hand I'm dying to be your blood brother. This password culture goes against my nature. You want my social security number? I'll give you that and my mantra for Transcendental Meditation, too. My locker combination, my most embarrassing moment and my blood type if you have any interest.

Oh, now I can keep a secret, boys. You just have to let me know that it's a secret. I wouldn't give away your social security number. 

The blues spend way too much time around here. I smile, though. That's what I do.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bobbleheads and Boobies

Sometimes memories are all you have. As I sit here trying to organize a few random thoughts, it dawns on me that all thoughts are random. At least all of mine are.

For starters, I really hate to brag, but I think I'm gonna make a pretty good old guy. I wasn't much at childhood. My mom told me that I was special so I didn't really know until later in life. I really failed as an adult. I questioned everything. Sex; politics; inequality based on race, economics and gender; neckties; religion.

Whatta' ya rebelling against, Ronny?

Now, I realize that I learned all that I know about love from dogs.

I seem to have rambled here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Some Folks Work Hard

Somehow it's just not art for me once you re-do it. If it doesn't rhyme the first go 'round, maybe it's just not meant to rhyme. Occasionally I fix a mistake. Usually, they're my favorite part. You know, like on Dee Clark's record, "Hey Little Girl," when the guitar player goes to the chorus too soon. I listen to that song and wait with glee for that part to come along. Man!

The purpose of art should be to make me laugh and make me cry. Teach me something about truth. Remind me to feel. Maybe offer me an alternative to this world they call real.

Looks like I exist for a living and I live for existence. Look around and you're alone.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Rubber Scissors

Maybe I should have danced more.

Did I ever tell you about my favorite shirt? I think you can tell a lot about a fellow from his favorite shirt. In the seventh grade my mom took me shopping for school clothes. We were downtown in Tampa's biggest department store. Boys' clothes were on the second floor.

There it was. Now, I'm no clotheshorse. Never was, never will be. This garment, though, changed everything. This shirt was who I was, who I am.

It was a knit pattern, alternating diamond shapes of purple and olive green. It had three quarter length sleeves and a boatneck. The design element that really finished her off was a double pocket in the front. Picture a kangaroo pouch with a button that might hold two packs of Camels.

Somewhere around here I know that there is at least one picture of me wearing that shirt. I'll try to find it. It didn't last too long. The knit fabric shrunk in the laundry as I was growing at a pretty good clip.

I was never like the others.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

You're More Than Welcome

When kindness is mistaken for creepiness, what's a fellow to do? 

The bones of fifty million of my ancestors lay beneath the earth that we walk on every day. Talk about genocide. Once the white man took what he coveted from the native Americans, he brought in slaves from Africa to build what he wanted. To pick the cotton. Everybody needs somebody to look down on.

Jack said that the only truth is music. Who am I to argue?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Everything's Free At Closing Time

Every dream is different and every dream's the same. Truth seems to have been de-valued and honesty appears to have gone out of fashion. There was a time that I would have fought. Those days are behind me.

Now, without romance and truth, with my beloved rock'n'roll a faint memory, I search for reasons. Reasons to fight the good fight. Reasons to get up in the morning.

In those last days Jamaica's tired, sweet eyes told me that she was done. Eyes like those look back at me every morning in the mirror. I see those eyes with every homeless person who approaches me at a traffic light with his little cardboard sign. I'm haunted by that look with each final call for a dog in the pound.

For good measure I check my heart. Love's good but hope's low.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Everybody Has A Price

All my life I've heard all the stories about artists trading their souls for some deal with the devil. Me? I gave mine to the angels a long, long time ago. There have been brief periods where folks hitched their wagon to my star, waiting for the big bucks. They all eventually came to the obvious conclusion. I've learned to accept payment in joy. Of course twenty percent of joy won't keep a manager in a Cadillac.

I've learned to measure success by alternative means. I've had to.

Most of my heroes squandered their fortunes on booze, gambling, drugs. Women! Maybe I'm a decent human being who paid attention in Sunday school. More likely I wasn't afforded the good opportunities.

Don't forget to be kind. Folks need you.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How 'bout Next Year

Oh, I know how to find the sad parts and yet nobody loves the laughter like I do. I'm telling you, they go hand-in-hand. The finest comics frequently pack too much compassion, a surplus of empathy.

I've diagnosed myself try-polar. You hold up an emotion, I'll try it. What other disorders you got?

Don't misunderstand. I'm no comic. I can't remember jokes. Then again, I can't carry a tune in a bucket and I can't always be concerned with a rhyme.

Friday, March 9, 2018

This Boy

Call me an obsessive.

"An obsessive what?" you ask.

Well, sir, obsessive is a noun as well as an adjective. English! I know, right?

I've never gotten over anything. I never will.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wins and Losses

Skip is coming to stay for a couple of weeks tomorrow. Skip is the little three legged dog who lives across the street. She's a sweetie. We're gonna stay up late and we're gonna watch some old movies.

Don't ever give up on love, boys.

Every morning starts a new day, a new song. I try hard not to write a sad one.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Get Old Or Die

Maybe there are promises that I haven't kept. Could be that I've got dreams, undreamed so far. I spend time prying open my heart, little by little. Then she leaves and it's busted into a million little pieces. Again.

Me? Turns out I'm the confessor. The only one I can tell doesn't have time to listen.

Doesn't much matter. I seem to have lost the ability to speak when she's around.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Maybe I Found It

It took a lifetime for me to figure out the concept of ghosts. Finally there they were. In my imagination. In my dreams! Right where they had always been. They exist, always have.

As I've struggled with the idea of heaven lately, friends have offered advice and reassurance. Suddenly, like an anvil on Coyote's head, truth shows up. Heaven is in my heart and my head. Heaven exists as long as I believe it.

May dear friend, Maura Kennedy, has learned to manipulate her dreams. I'm working on it. I've got messages for some of them. Jokes for all of them. Love, too. I've got dogs to walk.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Me? I Got Nothing

As I bumble through life I've managed to collect some junk that I've considered memorabilia. That's an excuse that keeps you from throwing stuff out. Early on it was mostly just autographs. Eventually the autographs got better. Tour books signed by heroes gushing about how nice it was working with me. Over time it got good. A photo booth strip picture of Tiny Tim mugging. A piece of wood with "Elvis Stepped Here" burned into it. When Elvis saw it, he tore it from my scrapbook and stood on it. Eric Clapton's bottleneck that Duane Allman also used. I had come to look down my nose at autographed Beatles sleeves.

Of course the Hard Rock Cafe changed the game and rich, white guys began collecting guitars that Willie Nelson had been tricked into signing for somebody's niece in Tulsa who was waiting for her iron lung to arrive from Korea.

Some people really did it well. Marty Stuart managed to acquire Jimmie Rodgers' railroad lantern, Lester Flatt's guitar and Johnny Cash's first black suit. My pal John Lomax's wife got her hands on Gram's famous Nudie suit. Yeah, that one.

To say that I became jaded is to understate it. Me? I had seen it all.

Now, out of nowhere... well, almost- out of Kentucky, my pal walks away with the ultimate prize. I'm pretty sure that Rob McNurlin has bid on the Shroud of Turin on e-Bay countless times. He's very pious and reasonably gullible. He was checking by telephone on items from Hank Snow's estate. As he was losing interest, the lady mentioned that she had the toupee. Yeah, buddy, that toupee. If you have ever seen Hank Snow on stage or poked through any old country music magazine, you've stared at that toupee. I'm pretty sure that most of us have gazed and thought something along the line, "He was rich. Why didn't he get a better wig?"

Game! Point! Match!

Here it is. The holy grail. Keeps Marty Stuart humble, I suppose.



Friday, March 2, 2018

Turn Your Radio On

They say that your sense of smell has a better connection with memory than anything else. Maybe. I've got photographs. Oh, and I've got music.

I go on the radio to play you memories. My memories.

At this stage in life I discover that I'm shy. An introvert. They told me that I'm socially awkward so I came up with shy. I feel better about that. If I don't play anything on air that brings back any memories, share some of mine.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rinse, Repeat

Here's to the ones who couldn't have done right. Let's toast the ones who never got over the first loss or the first guffaw. The ones who feel too much. Can I tell you about my first kiss? Buddy, I can tell you about every kiss.

Yesterday I called Steve Connelly to tell him that we're officially working on a record. "The Last Record This Old Man Is Ever Gonna Make." Catchy, huh?

My blood is too red and my tears are too wet. One day I'll be able to throw like a girl.

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