Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Ships ~~ Part Eight

      Art reached into a pocket of his bib overalls, and took out a small, empty, uncapped glass bottle. I almost came out of my chair. "Ohmigod," I whispered. "He's gonna play Allmans!"
"Almonds? Almonds?" said Eve.
I smiled and shook my head. "No, he's going to play something by the Allman Brothers!"
"How do you know that?"
"See that bottle?"
"You're kidding, right?" She looked into my eyes and answered her own question. "No, you're not. Are you sure?"
"Only about 99%!" I said jokingly, then paused for only a moment. "I've got a dollar that says he will."
She grinned. Lord, she was so beautiful...! "Well, I'll have to write you an IOU... Anyway, you're on, Dan."
And as if on cue, Art launched into an acoustic version of the Allman Brothers' "Statesboro Blues" with no verbal introduction.

During Art's rendition of the old blues tune, Millie came out of the kitchen with another beer for me. (What, was I the only one drinking?) She asked Eve if she wanted a third glass of Cabernet Sauvignon; Eve declined politely.
Millie walked away, and I felt Eve tap me on the shoulder. She had written "IOU $1.00" on a paper napkin and signed it "Evelyn Cody."
When Art had finished the tune, Millie walked up to him and whispered something in his ear. He glanced over at Eve and myself, eyebrows raised, and mouthed "Him?" Millie nodded.
Art shook his head, and scanned the small crowd while announcing, "Folks, it looks like we have a second musician among us tonight." Then he looked straight at me. "Any chance of you sittin' next to me up here, Woody?"
No way, I thought. There was a small amount of applause from the other guests, I noticed. No way in hell! thought I, shaking my head.
I looked at Eve, who was also applauding, and smiling, and staring back at me. Why the hell is she so enthusiastic? I wondered. She's never heard me sing. I could suck, for all she knows!
"Go ahead, Dan," she whispered. (I read her lips.) "I have faith in you."
Strange... I found myself standing, then walking over to Art, who slid over on the piano bench so I could sit beside him.
"So," he said, eyes narrowed a bit, "You're a singer? And you play guitar, do you?" He was speaking softly enough so that only I could hear him.
"Try me. I'd love to see what other blues songs you have in your repertoire."
He tilted his head. "Ehhh... I dunno. These folks haven't seemed to warm up to the blues. 'Cept you, I noticed. I was goin' to switch to a little country to win 'em back."
"That new stuff they call country, or older material?"
He looked at me like I'd just asked the granddaddy of stupid questions. "What do you think?"
"After what you've played so far, I'm gonna guess classic stuff."
"Are you up for a little Hank?"
"Hank Williams?"
"What do you think?" he asked again.
"You could have meant Hank Snow," I said, and saw him smile slightly, despite himself (or so I thought). "You ever hear of him?"
He tilted his head again. "Some," he said, in an obvious understatement. "But I think alla us've had enough 'snow' for one day, don't you?"
Hey, the old grump just made a funny! I thought. I considered some of Hank Williams' hits, and asked "How about 'You Win Again?' I always liked that one."
"That's a good'n," he agreed. "Ever hear John Kay's take on that one? Not bad."
I almost fell off of the bench. He was not only familiar with Steppenwolf, but he also knew Kay's later solo material? Damn! I was becoming more and more impressed with the old bastard!
"So," I asked anxiously, "Do you wanna do that one?"
"I was thinkin' of 'I Saw the Light,' to tell you the truth, Woody."
A gospel song. I'd always thought that one was a bit out of character for old hell-raising Hank -- despite his "Luke the Drifter" phase, of course -- and more than a bit out of character for me, as well.
Evidently seeing the hesitation on my face, Art glanced out into the tiny audience. My gaze followed his, coming to rest on Eve. It was if she were reading my mind, and Art's. She smiled and nodded encouragingly.
"You do know the words, don't you, Woody?" he asked, hoisting the guitar from his lap to a playing position even as I nodded. "Good. You sing, I'll play."
As he strummed the opening chords, I knew I was "trapped."
And I was determined to "compete" with Art by sounding as much like Hank, Sr. as I could.

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.


I was a fool to wander and a-stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light.


This time, Eve was the most appreciate one in the audience. I wasn't at all surprised that she liked that tune... and my singing as well, evidently. But the rest of the crowd liked it too, a fact that was not lost on Art.
 "That was Mister Woody Casey, everybody," he told the crowd, as the applause continued.
"Careful," I warned him, teasingly. "You might smile and crack your face."
His eyes narrowed in mock seriousness. "I might crack your face if you don't watch yourself, kid!" I laughed as he looked back at the audience. "We're on a roll, Woody. More Hank?"
"Yes and no," I replied cagily, as I watched his eyebrows rise once again.



  1. Silver,nice and interesting:))

  2. Lots of rhyming in that one, sure saw the light and wasn't a fright..haha Funny enough there is a Hank Snow museum(if you can call it that) in the crap hole of a town I grew up in.

  3. nice fox...a little jam session is not a bad thing at all...

  4. @Gloria: Thanks.

    @Pat: More rhymes next time. And I'd love to visit that Hank Snow museum, seeing as how you made it sound so wonderful! :)

    @Brian: More jamming next time! Hell, it's better than paying for supper.

  5. Ha! We spent a New Years Eve on the old Shoehorn with Hank Snow a number of years ago. MY band didn't believe our host when he said he could just call him up. He did....a treasured memory indeed. Brought to life because of a Sly Silver Fox :) Despite what many may think of me, I LOVE the old classic country and every Saturday evening you'll hear it wafting out my kitchen windows. I know this is supposed to be about the story...but I'm loving the sound track more and more. :) The characters and plot are all a bonus at this point! (LOVE!!!)

  6. @Natasha: You're allowed to go off-topic, don'tcha know! As long as something appeals to you, that's good enough for me.

  7. Mr. Fox, I saw the light. It was shining over my bed for several nights. Then I got the roof repaired.

    Dr. Doctor Lola

  8. The song clips are such a great addition to the story. And I just can't help but fall for Woody...he's got a little charm going, don'tcha know. ;)

  9. @Lola: Reminds me of the time I got permission from my landlord to put a skylight in my apartment. The guy in the apartment right above me was pissed!

  10. @Betsy: Those charming guys will let you down every time, though.


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