The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #29


The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #29

One Picture

One Element

One Emotion

A Pool Hall 


“…And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin’ down highway 41″    

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10 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #29

  1. Ramblin’ Man

    Yesterday I asked my mama if I was adopted, ‘cause no one else in our fam’ly has copper penny hair and freckles. Her answer left some wiggle room – I mean, you tell me, what kinda on-the-up-and-up answer is a song? And a old one at that.
    We were in Gruene, Texas, just outside’a New Braunfels, in this rickety old building that wasn’t much more than a concrete slab with walls and a roof, and she was warmin’ up for a set with her old buddy, Dickie Betts. I’d been buggin’ her the whole darn drive from Chattanooga, even followin’ her onto the stage. She pulled me close and her soothin’ voice just flowed outta that mike: “Your father was a gambler down in Georgia, he wound up on the wrong end of a gun.” Then just like she taught me, I sang: “…and I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, rollin’ down Highway 41.”
    So, like, what if that ramblin’ man didn’t want a screamin’ brat slowin’ him down, so handed me to the first woman who was gettin’ off the bus, and he just kept on goin’ down Highway 41?
    Well, that’s okay. I love my mama.

      • Thanks! I grew up in San Antonio, practically a stone’s throw from Gruene. When I saw the photo, my figurative jaw dropped. Many times I’ve sat with my fam’ly at a picnic table overlooking the Comal River, just down the flagstone sidewalk from The Hall, dinin’ on mouth waterin’ BBQ. The musty-smelling barn across Gruene’s one intersection has evr’y kind of antique and “collectible.” Watchin’ what tourists buy in the Emporium brings on a hearty roll of my big denim blues. Many years ago, I treated myself and my then-beau to a night in the lovely antebellum B&B (Texas IS the south, after all). Since my first visit, an upscale boutique wine shop, filled with nothin’ but Texas grape products and sundry accessories, has taken over a 1920s cottage. There’s even an official parking lot and spaces for motor coaches and tour buses. Thanks to Mamie, I had a lovely stroll through my growin’ up memories.

  2. A Texas DPS cruiser roared into the lot, siren wailing, lights flashing, and gravel spraying. The fellas I had provoked took off, leaving me on my ass, holding a busted lip. A state trooper stepped out and walked over.

    Looking down he said, “Ain’t seen you before. Causin’ folks trouble?”

    “Trying to make a living. Just, doing the best I can,” I said.

    The trooper frowned. “Look like the sort who winds up on the wrong end of a gun.”

    “That was my daddy,” I acquiesced. “Best card sharp in all of Muscogee County.”

    “Not exactly the kind of legacy to take up Son,” he said.

    I told the trooper I’d headed over to the dance hall to hustle up some cash to catch a bus out of Gruene, en route to New Orleans. But then I ran outta luck and them boys took me up and turned me out.

    “Momma said I was born in the back seat of a greyhound bus rollin’ down highway 41 and she wasn’t lyin’. Came in from Nashville and got stuck when I ran outta money.”

    “Well you best be leaving, understand?”

    “I do,” I said.

    Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man.

  3. Randy lent against the open door of his Dodge pickup truck with his 40 watt double bass stereo system blaring out “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers. He sang a few lines as he waited for Scott in the Gruene Hall’s parking lot.
    “…And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, rollin’ down highway 41…″
    Scott swaggered over and stood there, legs apart, staring him down.
    “If I remember right, you were born in yer Mami’s backyard, with a shovel up yer arse and a greasy rag for a diaper.”
    “You got what ya wanted earlier, now why d’ya call me here?”
    “I want that too, for the whole weekend.”
    Scott pointed at Randy’s Dodge, his pride and joy. What could he do except step aside in silent acquiescence?
    “Thanks, ‘Buddy’. Keys in the ignition?”
    Randy nodded. Scott opened the glove compartment and cleaned his Cuban heeled cowboy boots with Randy’s chamois, smiling triumphantly. Straightening his Stetson in the side mirror, he closed the door and started the Dodge.
    “Now, boy I’ll have this right back after I’m done. Don’t yer worry about a thing. And Randy? You know now that I always go on top.”

  4. ‘Your grandfather toured the States as a teenager, hitch-hiking. He got into all sorts of scrapes. Once, he and his mates climbed a water tower, no steps, very little to hang onto, hugely dangerous but they made it, along with paint and brushes, of course. They were at a dance in a hall somewhere in Texas, I think. In the picture he took, the tower was backlit and his message can’t be read,’ Mum said.

    ‘What did he write up there,’ I asked her.

    ‘He was always a bit cagey about that,’ she said. ‘Something about celebrating burying something. I just accepted he wouldn’t tell me what it meant but you ask him next time you’re visiting your grandfather. You’re not much younger than he was then; maybe he’ll tell you.’

    I waited till he’d had a few. Cackled like a demented rooster when I asked. Boasting about, well, you know, his, like, his first time. He made me promise I wouldn’t tell Mum.

    When I left his place, he was singing,

    ‘…And I was born
    in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
    Rollin’ down highway 41’.

    Only he’d changed ‘…And I was born…’ to ‘…Burying the bone…’. I can guess what that means.

  5. FX: Sounds of mild street traffic under guitar playing “Ramblin’ Man”

    Derkwood – “ … and I was born in the back seat of a greyhound bus rollin’ down highway 41.”

    FX: a few coins dropping into a hat.

    Passerby – “Say, you’re pretty good”

    FX: Guitar playing stops

    Derkwood – “ Why, thanks. I’ve been playing since I was just a kid. Got my first guitar for my 6th birthday, and took to it like ‘a house-a-fire’. By the time I was sixteen, my friends were tellin’ me I oughtta play for parties and maybe record some stuff, but I don’t know. You see, when a feller goes commercial he has to start playing what other people want him to play, and it becomes more of a business instead of an expression of spontaneous inner creativity. “

    Passerby – “You mean like the folks that perform over there?”

    Narrator – “ Both men look across the street to Gruene Hall.

    Dirkwood – “Yeah, those musicians have sold out to commercialism! Say, thanks for the donation. You got any requests? I can play whatever song you name.”

    Narrator – “And Derkwood played requests for passers-by for several more hours. Made nearly $25 that evening.

  6. Agree to Disagree
    Danielle Lee Zwissler
    Wally Kurtz was at Guene Hall for the fifth night in a row, spouting off about the Cleveland Caveliers and their loss. “Curry is nothing but a terrible player.”
    Jimmy Boss laughed. “Hell, if he’s so bad then how come he was shooting those three pointers all night?”
    “Luck, dumb luck.”
    “Yeah, and I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus Rollin’ down highway 41.”
    “What the hell does that have to do with anything?” Kurtz said as he took a drink from his tall glass of Budweiser. “I tell you, that Curry was lucky. He had more guys on his side, and he still didn’t shoot like Lebron.”
    “Nobody shoots like Lebron,” Steven Miller said. He was the bartender, and loved to stir up trouble. “Even Lebron doesn’t.”
    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Kurtz slurred.
    “It means he…nevermind.”
    “If you’re in Cleveland you like the Cavs, if not, get the hell out.”
    “That’s pretty much it,” Miller agreed, and then they all drank to that.

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