What's Next? (a Personal Narrative)
let’s take a trip. A very short trip, but I have never put much stock in a film or a song being so long that I had to be awakened to hear the end of it. My thinking is: let’s just get on with whatever’s on the stage of life, enjoy or hate the performance, and then move on. Don’t worry. There are more acts just waiting to perform.
This trip is a personal piece. Very personal. Never before being published on HubPages, newspaper, or magazine. In that is what I am all about. At my age right now, I have lived a pretty safe life, never one to be a dare-devil—watching others walking a tight-rope strung from one side of Grand Canyon to the other. If fear teaches one wisdom, then I must be The smartest man alive in the Northern Hemisphere. But I also believe that the dare-devils who have astonished us for years must have the secret of bridling danger, peril, and even death, just for the moment. Then I think that the same dare-devils are so entertaining that God Himself is among the audiences giving them time to make it or fall into the winding “river of death”: The Snake River. (e.g. personal nod to the late, great Evel Knievel).
My Second Text Capsule
simply begins with this: I have always wanted to be a part of something. Maybe a group that make success their calling card. Take the Beatles for instance. Their records are still selling and the band only 50% strong. That speaks to me in some wild way about their music and what “we” said about their music when their LPs were not played that much in the latter years of the band. But I too have to wonder about George and John and then I wonder if they can see or hear their friends, Paul and Ringo? To all of you philosophers, don’t bother quibbling with this question. It will only aggravate you.
Truth being able to stand even when the world is on fire, the Beatles even when they were the Fab Four must have made a personal commitment to stick it out and live with the consequences—because each of the foursome knew going in that each would suffer a certain amount of loss before success smiled on them. We grew up calling it “paying their dues.” I have no reason to argue. But still, I would have loved to be a part of something like this most-popular quartet from Liverpool, but with me, the only “thing” I might consider calling it a part of something would be the classmates I had from 1961 through 1972. I loved these folks, all six of them. Or have I told you on occasion that I was not accepted by the Class of 1972 and how I wish that the upper class, just one of them, would stumble upon this personal narrative and find themselves being guilty of sporting their pride way too high for students like me to survive. Just once. That is not too much to ask.
I have told you (more than once) about how I loved Dr Hunter S. Thompson, the Father of Gonzo Journalism. I never met Thompson and that is on me, but he committed suicide before I had enough cash (or “scratch” as he called it) to make the trip to visit him at Owl Ranch, CO.
Two things: One take a look at Thompson’s biography and the list of writing credits he compiled. I wouldn’t say that they were breath-taking, but amazing and over the heads of normal minded people, might be an easier way to describe his works.
Two: Thompson died by suicide at the age of 67, following a series of health problems. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend Johnny Depp and attended by friends including then-Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson. Hari Kunzru wrote that "one who often makes himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him." Was I wrong?
But there again, I was never a Hunter S. Thompson and never will be. So why beat myself up? I am not really beating myself up, but exposing a tender, but painful side of me that I never how to express. Now I think that it is time for me to say a few things about my belonging and then how I would live and survive without the part that I had lived, worked, and traveled with? Tough question if I do say so.
Thompson’s works must have had “that” something, call it “magnetism,” if you will, because if you check his list of published and unpublished works, your mouth will suddenly hit the floor or coffee cup depending on where you read his marvelous installments.
I wasn’t sorry for Thompson’s wild and crazed lifestyle. The awe that I felt for him in reading the things that he was able to write for days and days—never sleeping or eating, but always feeding upon his crutches: alcohol and drugs. I wonder in 2018 if the editors of Rolling Stone ever lifted a finger to tell him the harm that substances left unchecked can do to a human body? Probably not. They knew a Golden Goose when he stumbled into their offices.
And really, I am not throwing the first stone at Rolling Stone. Hunter Thompson was paid well for his writing, a whole more than I may make or inherit on this earth. But he did work for the money he made although (in spots) he found it necessary to not edit his submitted works and just get on with the next story or assignment. Still, Thompson had supporters. Not a support staff to catch him when he dared to try to do the impossible when mixing gun powder and farming fertilizer. We should not go any further with this thought because I DO NOT want to be hauled out of my warm bed at 2 a.m., by three goons wearing black suits and ties with RayBans and those wrist radios—telling me that I had been caught for writing something that might be “Anti-American.” Who me? I am 64 years of age and I have only had one traffic ticket and that was for not having a working tag light. So my record speaks for itself.
I urge you to listen to this song . . .
When I first heard “When I Die,” by Motherlode, (see above), something in their music and lyrics spoke loudly to me and although I shut my eyes and searched from one end to the other and never nailed it. But it was there. It’s still there and that is what I think that make these original guys of Motherlode so popular. Note: there were four versions of this wonderful group.
The four of them were a lot like the Beatles in that they belonged to themselves before they belonged to their vocation of making beautiful music for the ears of people like me to enjoy. And that might be what I have failed to do years ago in giving myself to those (if I had a group) and then maybe the sadness would go away because even when I finish this piece, I will not be fulfilled. I will not be satisfied. Why? I cannot tell you by words, but I think that I have found the trail of giving myself to those around me before we had success. That sounds to simple, but yet so right.
In June, 1993, four people met in a public place: the Riverchase Restaurant at the Holiday Inn, in Hamilton, Ala., to form Hamilton’s second community theater: The Kudzu Playhouse. These four: Tommy Roby, a community theater vet who could portray any role thrown at him; Clint Padgett, the older member and the pastor of his church: Hamilton Alliance Church; Exie Williford, the only female member of Kudzu, but she could (and did) portray Granny Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies, and when we wrote original Andy Griffith Show scripts, Exie was one of the finest directors that I was ever around.
In the seven years, more members came and some didn’t. Clint and Exie somehow just wanted to do something else, thus, it was me, Ed “Eddie” Norris, one of the most-loyal friends in the world and sometimes, Tommy Roby. But the original foursome of Kudzu Playhouse was able to play off the talents of the others and then a working production could be advertised. And the Kudzu Playhouse gave $6,068.00 in the five years we were considered a community theater troupe, to The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; The American Cancer Society; American Heart Assn. And the Weldy Home for Children. We did this not for us, but for those who couldn’t do for themselves.
My point: I wish now that when we, the four founding members of Kudzu, were doing our final play and speaking the last line if we could have only stole away somewhere to tell each one what the others was feeling—right then. Right now. Life, as the Bible speaks, is just vapor. But I wish that, now looking backward, that we four could have had those final moments together.
If you are interested, Tommy passed away about four years ago from having a massive heart attack. Clint is retired and living in Shelby, N.C., with his wife and kids and grandkids. Exie and her husband, Steve, live in Birmingham where she is a hospital consultant and doing quite well. I have talked with Clint and Exie two, maybe three times in the years we left Kudzu. But Jeff Fleming, who we were blessed with to be “Tennessee Ernie Ford” in our “I Love Lucy” production is still in Hamilton. We talk on Facebook now and then along with my good friend, Nick Ray, who was instrumental in making our productions work.
But still. And this is not a knock to any of these fine friends, but we never had those private times to drink coffee and just be us. That is what I have missed so much. Playing the last anything. Which brings me to writing my last hub. Did I stutter? No. There will be a time when I will know that it is time to say farewell to my wonderful followers, which I cannot name, and this IS NOT a grandioso comment. I just love my sweet followers more than they know.
this one will probably be continued, but do not hold me to that. I will add that after I listened to Motherlode’s best hit, “When I Die,” I sat and wondered what it might have been like when the foursome knew that (this) version of Motherlode was it? I wonder which if the original foursome was the first to play the last note of whatever song that they were playing? Then I wonder too about where they went to celebrate the years of happiness, embracing the love and success that their gifts brought them and then wondering . . .what now?
That is just a mortal speculation. But this I do know. The day is coming when I will get on my laptop and dive into my last hub. That’s it. And I won’t want to hang on for months with reprisals about topics that I mentioned over the years. THIS hub is NOT the last one for me. Not yet. But I will say that I cannot keep up doing this for many more years. And don’t judge me harshly when you read this. Because you know as I do too that life on earth is not a permanent fixture. And unlike the music business, there are no people sitting in darkened rooms staring into their laptops hoping that the next story will be seen by some wealthy publishing house and there you go. A new house, car and maybe a pet dog. But that too is just a mortal speculation.
I do wonder what is waiting on the other side.
Oct. 25, 2018___________________________________________
© 2018 Kenneth Avery