Thursday, August 10, 2006


Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It'll help you some sunny day.
Oh, take your time...
Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman, oh baby, you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.
And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man.
Oh, won't you do this for me son,
If you can?

SIMPLE MAN - (Gary Rossington - Ronnie VanZant)

My mother and I were very close, at least up until the time my brother was born, but I at least got to enjoy ten years as the center of attention. We spent many nights lying in bed discussing life and one of the best times was when we decided on a name for my brother. My dad often worked out of town and only came home on the weekends, at which time I spent the night in my folding/roll-away bed in the living room.

It was kind of nice getting to help chose a name for your brother. Mom liked Wade, I think because of a family friend who owned a dry cleaners business in town, so the decision was what went well with Wade. I had a good friend at school whose name I always liked, much better than mine, so we tried it – Wade Dennis, no, Dennis Wade, yes…perfect! It was settled, and it turned out much better than being named after your mom’s school bus driver, as was I!

Mom has always been a guiding light for me. It was not through her higher education, because I do not think she ever graduated from high school, but through her innate sense of common logic. I guess, to put it plainly, I would say she just knew what made the most sense in any situation – basic common or horse sense. She remains my source of right from wrong - the root of my moral fiber.

The first lesson she taught me was always tell the truth, no matter how much it hurt.

This life lesson began innocently one day when I was about seven or eight years old. A matching curtain and sofa slipcover salesman had visited our downstairs apartment and made a failed attempt at selling mom. She side-stepped him by saying she needed time to think about it, so he left promising to return the following week to discuss her decision. I could tell mom was glad he left and she mentioned to my dad that she just did not like the man.

The next week soon came and as mom started through the apartment she noticed the salesman’s trouser legs coming down the steps to our basement apartment. In a whispered shout she told me to come to her side and then shoved me into the bedroom. Down behind the bed she pulled me just as the salesman knocked on the door.

“Shhhhh” she said, “be very quiet.” We laid on the floor and listen to four or five frustrated knocks on the door, but he eventually gave up and left. Mom and I watched as he walked up the steps until his legs and shoes finally disappeared.

It was then I got to ask why. “Because, I don’t won’t to buy his curtains and I just don’t like him.” That was good enough for me and did not ask any more questions.

Mom and dad discussed the incident at supper and after saying it out loud again and thinking about it she decided that she had not done the right thing. “Next time he comes I won’t hide from him and I’ll just be honest about it.”

A few weeks later I was playing up in the front yard by the street when the salesman pulled up and got out of his car with his big bulky bag. As he came through the gate into the yard and started toward the steps that led down to our apartment, I said proudly, “Hey mister, go on down…my momma said she won’t hide from you this time!”

The second lesson came later in life and was two-fold: you never know who is watching and you represent your mother out in the world!

Did your mother ever tell you “A little birdie told me” when she found out about something bad you had done? Well, mine did and I hated that little bird. I suppose that is why I shot up so many tubes of BBs in my day with the old Red Ryder!

That little dirty birdie kept me in line up through grade school, but in high school she had to improve the psychology by telling me about people that had seen me out and about, and what they thought of me. “Oh, Ms. Jones saw you yesterday and she said you were a perfect gentleman.”

“Huh? Ms. WHO? Where?”

“Oh, when you were downtown I suppose. Did you see her?”

“Ah, no…who is she now?” All the time I am going over what I had done the day before and if it was good or bad!

I realized that I was a witness in the world to the kind of mother I had. If I did wrong, it reflected on her. I still got into things I should not have, but I was very careful and very afraid that someone would see me and tell my mom. But worst of all, that they might think she was not the perfect example of a mother.

That is what witnessing is all about – if you do wrong and you have been out there purporting that you are, oh say a “Christian”, then you are reflecting poorly on the perfect example.


Fathairybastard said...

My dad told me once that he never screwed around when he was home because he was afraid that whatever he did would get back to his mother and disappoint her. I remember having those same feelings too, even when I was on the other side of the planet. I guess allot of us had that psychological trick played on us. It's called a good raisin'. Can't buy somethin' like that nowadays.

And what's the deal with that song? How the hell could those guys, as young and drunk as they were back then, have the wisdom to write something so sweet and brilliant, that wouldn't really resonate until their fans were 20 or 30 years older? Amazing. Genious.

So, thus far I've seen you quote Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, and now Lynyrd Skynyrd. Very nice. I approve. Once again, yer right here (finger pointed at forehead). Scary.

Mushy said...

I'm glad you approve of this post and my music! I tend to listen to the Black Keys, North Mississippi Allstars, Drive By Truckers and the like nowadays. All good music, based on southern blues and rock'n roll!

You're quite intertaining yourself...I'll probably have to link you one of these days.

Fathairybastard said...

What about the Black Crowes? Their Armorica album kills me. The cut "Wiser Time." You can hear the Allman brothers all over it.

Mushy said...

I'll check it out...which reminded me that I got to set on the stage with the Allman Brothers when they were in Knoxville. A friend of mine is a cousin of Butch Trucks and I was invited - once in a life time experience. I also like Warren Haynes and Derek and the Gov't Mule crew.

Fathairybastard said...

I think I posted a comment somwhere here a while back about seeing Govt. Mule about 10 years ago as the lead up band to the Black Crowes in Austin. Had never heard of them and was driving down to the gig and listening to them being interviewed on KLBJ when they mentioned off hand that they were part of the Allman Bros. You know I about shit Myself.

Gig was in a tiny little place that no longer exists, about the size of a high school arena. very intimate compared to what you usually experience at one of those things, unless you know someone and get to sit on the stage. Very cool. Huge envy.

Jewels said...

I really enjoyed this post. I surfed in via blog explosion and have added you to my blogmarks. Take care. :)

FHB said...

Wow. Those were the days. I remember that conversation. So much water under the bridge since then. Cheers brother.