Friday, December 17, 2004
Wendell's Juke Joint...
Lightnin strike one Sunday evening after I come home from church. I believe it happen cause of a lie I done told. I wanted to keep a dark secret hidden from my kin and other members of the Missionary Baptist church that I go to. They praise me cause they seen me as a saved man. They sing out to the lord when I get to playing on the piano and leading the choir in song. They dont know I goes home where my guitar keep me company most nights. I plays it without amplification cause that just bring the devil quicker to my home if'n I do that. I just strums it hard so that I can hear what I'm doing. But then at night, especially on wednesdays and sometimes friday's, I goes to Wendell's Juke Joint and plays till I get tired. Sometimes that don't happen and I ends up playing till nobody left standing or if they is, they just propped up against the wall but they eyes is closed. Folks drink hard at Wendell's and I play even harder..
Wendell pay me okay. It ain't much money but that don't bother me none. I just love to play and besides, he give me a drink or two and that ease my nerves a little bit. Maybe that liquor I drink just kill them feelings I be having some nights. They the kind of feelings that have me slippin quietly into church come Sunday morning, worrying about who might know my secret. So far, nobody knows or at least nobody telling me they know.
Aint nothing like feeling the power of my guitar. Wendell got him some kind of amplifier that just be buzzing but once I plug into it, I makes the sound fill up the room. I strum my baby hard. I pound on it to keep the beat and tap my foot. I sing as loud as I can and sometimes when the mood is right, everybody join in and it be like one big band up in there. When that happens, I dont even have to sing that much cause folks be kickin up such a ruckus that they do the singing for me. It's sort of like being in church but at Wendell's, I know we aint really singing for the right reasons. I know cause I be lookin at them ladies in the juke joint a little different than the ones rejoicing in the name of God.
But like I say, the lightnin struck one Sunday evening. It come out of nowhere and it hit the tree standing next to my house as I was playing a little song on my guitar. I was singing about a friend of mine whose wife took ill and couldn't please him no more. He tell me so. I laugh while I'm singing it and laughing at something at the expense of somebody else only make the man upstairs give you your own set of problems. He give me something to worry about and deal with just to see how I'd handle myself. That tree catch fire and then my house begin to burn too. Ain't nothing I could really do except try and save whatever I thought I'd need. I ain't really had much so all I took was some clothes and my guitar. By the time the fire get put out, my house was still standing but everything inside was burnt. I had to stay with some kinfolk for a while and keep my guitar hidden. Months later, I went back home and seen that that tree grow right back to the way it was but my house ain't changed one bit... It was still standing but that's about all it was doing, just like me. Standing and waiting to see what this foundation gonna amount to...