The Longest Night of My Life Thanks to a Very Lonely Guy
If You Believe in Fairy-tales
I'm so very glad. If you don't, and cannot believe that there are "some"forms of life that exist only to hurt you to such degree that you cry out to die right then and there or you believe what you see no matter how foolish it may be and look beyond the obvious and move along with your life, then my congratulations to you for learning something priceless, something the human hands cannot hold, but something that sinks deeply into your heart and stays there as Fate's Hostage.
Can you see that I have mellowed a little over the years? I said all of this to prepare you emotionally in order to let you really understand the event that my wife and I were privileged to attend--but it wasn't the event that taught me something that I had not seen before, it was "that"awkward guy who was obviously out-of-place and so lonely that I swore to my wife that I expected (any moment) for him to start a loving-conversation with a piece of the stadium's equipment. Take my word for it. The guy was pitiful.
The Day That You Are Reading About
was not day, but a night. A very special night. An annual event were crowds always attended--the rich, the poor, and the common all mingled together as a puzzle that was put together with the precision of a master designer leaving no detail undone. But still, "this" event had to take back seat to "a"certain young man that I estimated to be in his early 20s, but the look on his face was that of utter and complete happiness--not bothering to play the outcast seen by only one pair of eyes: mine.
My wife and I were going to attend a yearly Gospel Music Singing that was advertised to be a yearly-event and it never disappointed the amount of support given by the merchants and citizenry of Tupelo, Miss., on the designated Saturday night on the second night in June 1979. Little did I realize what lie in wait (for me) was one of the most-sorrowful things that I was about to witness, a peculiar young man who was so evidently not made for the place where he was helping to prepare for the singing--to me, he looked more like part of the janitorial staff, but how wrong I was--and right or wrong is not the answer, but how the young guy affected me without knowing it.
Then Pain Showed Its Ugly Face
before I had taken the time to get ready for something that I knew was going to happen on or in the stage area, but I was completely the fool in this instance. Before the singing began, the emcee walked out and started to announce the night's festivities--and with each singing group's name, the audience roared like a male lion. I was not concerned about what Gospel singing group was more popular as my wife was because before she met me, she was a Gospel singer.
But . . .the emcee was dressed "to the nine's" in his tailor-made, three-piece suit, shiny leather shoes and his hair that looked styled and he looked like a male mannequin quite stylish for his age. I thought to myself that I should look so fine when and I I reach his age.
As the emcee was finishing, there "he" was. The guy who (I thought) was responsible for the hit song, "Mr. Lonely," made famous by Bobby Vinton, another male knock-out, and the Lonely Guy behind the emcee, although I am sure that he wore his best clothes, looked every bit the role of a bum on Skid Row. "This" Lonely Guy probably inspired Country Music's legendary the late Porter Wagoner who released, "Skid Row Joe," but right now, at that instance, it really didn't matter. My emotional make-up was already shaking like a brick wall that some apprentice brick mason had not used the right amount of cement. I knew that before the night was over, I would crash worse than The Hindenburg.
Even While The Next Group, The Inspirations
started singing, Lonely Guy found himself a six-string, acoustic guitar and sat behind this group and his smile was not wide, but beaming. Old people (in my day) used to say that "a man was grinning from ear-to-ear," and that is saying a lot. It was only a matter of moments before I started thinking that Lonely Guy would let off of that huge smile, but NO . . . His smile only intensified. If that be possible, and it was possible. What's next, man landing on Mars?
And at various intervals that the Inspirations were singing their best-known songs, the fans exploded with applause--even a few standing ovations and with this excitement, the air was hot with electricity and Lonely Guy was still holding "that" super-smile, I thought and now, I was running clean-out of adjectives--and no, I was not sharing these comments with my wife because I did not want to dampen her love for Gospel Music Singing. I also thought that it would take a Navy SEAL team to storm the stage with M-16s blazing to get Lonely Guy to look normal.
No. I am not implying that Lonely Guy was, in the least, mentally-challenged. And if he were in any area of his life, challenged, I would hold him to the highest level of respect, but somehow, and I was looking for someone to blame for the mental cynicism's, but no one was available. Then I had it. Eureka! I had started work for the weekly-newspaper in 1975 and here it was 1979--a good four years to be a cynic since I had been told that most newspaper employees are cynic's, so I did not feel as bad.
The Gospel Singing Had Began
at eight, and I had sat with my wife and listened to seven different singing groups and during all that time, we did not get to stand-up and stretch, but when the seventh-group had finished their set (that is a concert term), the emcee, still looking fine, asked the crowd to stand up, stretch and fellowship which is code in Christianity to say good things to each other and introduce themselves and would keep the atmosphere friendly and upbeat . . .including Lonely Guy whom I watched him almost jump from singer to singer and watched him try (in vain) to get someone, anyone's attention, but just he and that smile, who would have made Bert Parks jealous, didn't give up, he just ramped-up his holding out his right hand to get someone to shake hands with him.
And this continued, Lonely Guy's battle for attention. But hardly anyone saw or heard him for I watched his face and did see his lips move. And I am not implying that he was a tranquilist's dummy. Something was wrong. Definitely wrong. But I paid the price for watching him throughout the concert that took me at least two years to talk (to my wife) about. Even then it was like we were watching him and the concert all over again.
Sad. So very sad. No friendliness for Lonely Guy. But I give "LG" (in short) plenty of credit and when I say plenty of credit because I felt a flood of tears welling-up behind my eyeballs and I knew that in a moment or so, I was going to weep and then cry like someone was beating my back with a bull whip--which I could have survived because all I would have dealt with was a lot of nasty scars. But not with Emotional Pain, no, not by a long shot. Emotional Pain will go with you from the time it attaches itself until the day that . . .well, you can figure the end for this sentence.
February 8, 2019_________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery