Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday


I've saved some pictures from the old blog, sure did...

"Imagine no posessions; (Idon't have to use my imagination at all...) It's easy if you try..."

On Former Readers


Here is hoping that Jim and Melissa are able to get to this blog by checking their URL for spelling or punctuation errors.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Drink, Drink and be Karrie




Karrie and I have been quite the item around town.
She wakes up in the morning and drinks hard liquor.
She gets in a lot of trouble and we have been trespassed and/or run off from half of St. Augustine.
She needs "somebody," and just likes to be held.
She falls asleep within seconds of me putting my arms around her.
She has an amazing ability to walk around asking for money and get it. I used to be angry when I had only made 7 bucks in an hour of playing and she would walk up and say "Some guy gave me 25 bucks."
Then, she would ask to borrow my bike to go to the liquor store.
I haven't paid for booze all week.
The lady at the shelter thinks that I should go to AA meetings.
Last night, ironically, Karrie and I went behind the church to drink. Going on Inside the church was an AA meeting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now, I am probably going to jail

Today is Monday
I am at the library. I woke up this morning with new strings on my guitar. They were "fronted"

to me by the guy at King Street Pawn. I have credit there, after paying off my Johnson guitar. Last night, I played great, and only made 5 bucks. Previously, I had gone all the way to Nanak's Landscaping place to supposedly get the job, which was just about "assured," after my conversations with them. It was a waste of time, as they had hired 2 new guys, who had applications in before me.
This was wasted time that could have been spent playing.
I am probably going to jail in lieau of paying fines which have piled up. So be it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Package From London




I pick up the package from Alyne and Mike at St. Francis'

Picking up mail at St. Francis House is always an ordeal. There is usually a line of people waiting to assail the poor offic worker with requiests for handouts, like toiletries, and , more ominously, requests to use the phone. However long and tedious their conversation drags, those behind them in line suffer through it, hanging on every word, praying to hear something like "thatnk you, have a good day" and the glorious "goodbye"

Today was no different - there was a family there with obese children, requesting "food basket" There must have been issues concerning food alllergies, because the compiling of said basket took way too long.




Then there was somebody wanting to use the phone to call someone and complain about why he had to pay the $15 for a mental health evaluation when in fact it was "her" who was crazy.
I asked the nice Phil if, while the guy was pleading his case (and probably in effect failing his evaluation without any money out of pocket) if he (Phil) would go through the mail bin and see if there was anything under "M" for me.
He found this not to be too big a breach of St. Francis policy and soon produced a package, sent from England, or "the UK" as the postmen seem to prefer.
I felt like I had earned a modicum of respect from the denizens of that noble institution, who must have thought me "important" in order to have recieved something from so far away.
I didn't want to open it in front of them because I was not in the mood to fend off the inevitable "hey, let me get some of that; one of those etc.," requests.
I went to a spot where I sometimes drank malt liquor and sat down with a can of malt liquor and opened the package, which listed "toiletries" and "documents" as being the contents.
Several pages from my lost blog were enclosed, along with a clipping about the James Taylor concert in London or somewhere. The guy gets around.
There was a letter which mentioned an uncanny group of musicians whom I have either heard or thought about in the past few days.
I was dying for a cigarette and kicking myself for not having gotten a pack before sitting down to open the package. Then, I noticed that, under the blog page package were gold boxes, which I had assumed to be "toiletries." But, they were cigarette box sized and a further inspection revealed them to be Benson & Hedges cigarettes, all the way from England (ok, UK) and having a blatant warning on the front of the box, stating that "Smoking Harms You And Everyone Else."



On the back was a graphic photo of a mouth full of rotted teeth and ulcerous formations which one would assume is a bad kind of mouth cancer. (They need to fire their marketing staff, I thought)
I was unsettled enough by reading the ominous warnings that I really needed a cigarette and happily lit one up.
Then, underneath some really neat toiletries, like fragrances which are only smelled in London, and mosquito repellant which is probably of a strength illegal in The States, just as I was thinking "I really need to get to my spot...I'm really enjoying opening this package and perusing it, but, I need money...," I saw the familiar shade of green which only means one thing to us Americans (well it means one thing to the guys and another thing to the ladies, but that is beyond the scope of this post) and I produced a 20 dollar bill from the bottom of the box.
How did they get U.S. currency? I thought, before the "other voice" in my head said "Shut up and be glad they did!"
And so, my thanks to Alyne and Mike Lidgley? (the last name was partially obliterated by what was probably condensation off of one of Karrie's beer cans -she's killing me, absolutely killing me!!)
to be cont.


Karrie was beside herself with glee to see the body wash and the anti-perspirant, which are from London. She is an obsessive washer and considers soap before food and right after air. She wanted to wash up immediately, and so we went to where there is a high pressure hose behind a building (Karrie knows where all the running water is in St. Augustine) and did just that.
She fell asleep in my arms that night, saying "We smell so good."
And when the mosquitos came around, she was ready for them.

Monday, July 20, 2009



A Job on the Horizon?
Today, I went to the Nanak's Landscaping place to try to get a job; something that I haven't had since January of 2006. I had run into one of their foremen, in the parking lot of the Taco Bell, near the social security place, a couple of days ago, after obtaining a copy of my social security print-out. I got the print out so that I could look for a job. I saw the guy in his Nanak's truck and approached him and basically asked him if they were hiring. He told me that they were desperately short-handed and they were all working extra long hours because of that situation. So, today, I rode my bike up there. It took about 25 minutes to get there. This is not bad, compared to how long I rode to get to the labor pool in Jacksonville.
The guy handed me an application and told me to bring it back tommorow.
The Ratdog Concert
Last night, the band Ratdog played at the ampitheater. They consist of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, who's music I specialize in. This would have been a great opportunity for my to make very good money, as, all the people walking past would have been in tune with what I was doing. I am not a phoney; I learned to play, basically, by listening to the Grateful Dead.
However, oblivious to what was going on at the venue and not being privy to it until I read the review on the front page of today's paper; I sat and drank beer with Karrie. She keeps asking me if she is a distraction and is hindering my goals. I keep telling her "No, I choose to be with you; if I didn't want to be with you, I wouldn't be."
Now I wonder....
I could have made enough money so that when I start my job at Nanak's, I would be able to weather the waiting period before the first check arrives; all in one night.
Karrie and I
Things are chaotic. Larry is off with his girlfriend in an apartment which she rented. I don't see him on the street, which means that he is most probably not contributing any money. She has kicked him out twice and then changed her mind twice. He has not been seen at the camp. I use his tent to get away from Karrie when she is having her episodes of thrashing about and pushing me into the corner of our tent. Larry's tent is larger and has no thrashers.


I don't have a picture of Karrie, but the one to the right is close enough to what she probably looked like at 11!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

HENRY LEE BLACK







Henry Lee Black's "Memorial Service".
Last night the memorial "service" for Henry Lee Black took place in the gazebo in the park, near what is still called the "slave market," due to its history.
The candlelight vigil was supposed to start at 9 pm. I was playing my spot and heard accordian music twenty minutes prior to that time. I walked over and witnessed no less than 20 people, holding candles and in a circle. There was Ralph, the accordian player, seemingly at the "head" of the group.
The memorial was sponsored by a restaurant called JJ's, where Henry used to go every month, after he got his check. Henry purportedly loved their squiggly fries, or their twisty fries, or some kind of fries that they made. If you are ever in St. Augustine, please patronise JJ's. Henry had pretty good taste in fries, so you aren't likely to be disappointed.
20 people, in a circle, all of them taking time out of their active lives to pay their respects to a 72 year old black man with one foot mostly missing, who walked with a cane and carried a guitar, which he didn't know how to play, urinated into the nearest bush, and was very, very hard to understand when he spoke (until, of course, you start to learn his "language") .
Henry didn't care what anyone thought about him, safe to say. He had a long history of "urinating in public" charges. He had diabetes and couldn't make it to the restroom, so, he went in a nearby bush. A dog can do this, but not a human being created in the image of God. The human will be thrown into a cage, like Henry was.
They let Henry out of jail, after a 30 day stay. It is purported that his medication was witheld from him, due to technicalities probably related to the fact that he was homeless and flat broke. Henry had to walk the 5 miles from the jail, all the way back to Old Town in 98 degree heat, limping all the way, arriving in which he went to the spot where he slept, probably because he didn't feel good. The spot where he slept has a grand display of signs designed to keep people from sleeping there. There are "No Trespassing" signs –you have to have that, it’s the standard – "Keep Out" signs –for people who are less literate and likely to not understand "trespassing" – and there was a special and fancy sign, bearing the the official seal of the county sheriffs office, and basically signed by the Sherrif himself, hung prominately on the gate, stating that the trespasser was to go "up the river" for an ominous length of time. Henry slept there.
Pretty smart, if you think of it. The property owner, after affixing no less than five signs to fences, trees, buildings etc, would walk away thinking, "that ought to keep those niggers from sleeping here" and would never feel the need to check on his investment from time to time. Or, maybe the owner knew that Henry slept there and put up the signs to keep people from messing with him….NOT!
He arrived at his "secret" (wink wink) sleeping spot and sat down at a picnic table. He clutched his guitar, probably intending to go out and play (or "not" play, technically.) That is how his body was found: sitting at a picnic table, leaned over a bit, cradling his guitar. Within 24 hours, the gate there was covered with flowers and cards, and, supposedly nobody knew that he "lived" there. His cigar box that he used for tips was sitting on one of the tables, his guitar on another, and someone had placed a cigarette and a beer in a handy spot. The "Henry Black" gravestone picture, which I had printed out here at the library and given to Larry was prominently hung on the gate. There was so much clutter that you could hardly see the half dozen "No Trespassing" and "Keep Out" signs. (possible placed there by Henry himself, to keep people away from his meager posessions, but, who knows...not like we could ask him now...)
The mixture of people at the memorial was diverse. There were those that knew him from the street, yet there were business owners and nurses and people who had actual jobs who liked Henry. They liked Henry because Henry liked them. One person said "I could never love Henry as much as he loved me." For a black guy who grew up in the South and loved people, (yes, even white people!) so much, it makes one wonder how far society has fallen in 72 years.
We went around the circle, all having the opportunity to speak. Everyone spoke. I told of my first meeting with Henry, when I was new in town. He was using his cane to pull coins out of the wishing well near the cigar store. I handed him 50 cents and told him that he didn't even need to dry "these." Then, when I was playing music on Hypolita, Henry sat next to me. I was playing really well that night, the effect of playing 8 hours a day starting to reap benefits. "Oh, yeah, that's music," said Henry, who had known Ray Charles when he (Henry, not Ray) was a janitor at the Florida School For the Deaf and Blind, right next to this library where I sit now. My playing actually improved after the endorsment of a black man who could remember Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and everything else since the 40's.
Thank you, Henry, God take care of your soul Henry, I love you Henry. You were a pain in the ass, Henry. You died a richer man than you might think, Henry. I'll see you in heaven Henry; have a cigarette, Henry.
,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Week In Review

A Whole week in review

This is monday, and I haven't updated this blog in one week.
They will tell you that, to keep and audience, you must post frequently, and keep your posts short. I have failed on both counts, and that is why you are not reading this...
The Pot and the Kettle
The past week saw the re-emergence of "Karrie," whom I had not seen in about 3 weeks.
She is kind of my girlfriend, by all outward appearances, but we have not really been able to carry on a traditional relationship, probably because of all the hard liquor that Karrie drinks throughout the day. She is way worse than me in the alcoholic category. She is the kettle in this scenario.
The money has started to flow. I don't know if this is because of the spots that I am choosing to play, along with the hours played there, or if I am playing much better. I can't compare notes with Larry, because Larry's girlfriend has procured an apartment and is moving Larry in with her. Ironically, the first night that Karrie spent out at the camp was the last night that Larry did.
I'll have to finish this review later, as the time on the library computer is ticking down (like a bomb)