Posted tagged ‘book preview’

The Imagination Will Set You Free

September 26, 2009

        I had a patient who was confined to home her entire adult life.  Before the Internet she had a good life and many friends from all over the County, but after the Internet came in, she extended her connections around the world.  She could describe Australia better than many people who had been there.

       She was an early book editor for me and even inspired the character Mason Marley.  I would send her chapters by e-mail and she would read them and send back suggestions.  She once told me the installments reminded her of the eager anticipation of the “Saturday Evening Post’ as a child.  

         She especially loved to help embellish Mason Marley.  “Oh, have her smoke a cigar here, Bibey.” 

        “C’mon Mason, you don’t smoke.”

        “I can’t in real life ’cause of my lungs but I can in fiction.” 

        She wrote a book herself and had a lot of good advice on agents, editors, and lawyers that I follow to this day.  My only regret is the process is so long.  I would have given anything to be able to hand her a signed copy.

          I used to ask her about confidentiality.  “You know, as your doc, I’m supposed to protect your privacy.  I worry a little about this.  I’m afraid people will figure out who you are, or least who inspired the character.”

        “Oh Bibey, you are such a silly boy.  I hope you tell the whole world.”

        When I finally get around to that, I’m gonna tell you about her book too. She was one of the most special human beings I’ve ever known.  She knew the imagination had no limits to unlock a life of grace and dignity.  She showed me how every time I visited her. 

         Before she died I had not only permission but her encouragement to tell her story.  Mason understood with literature we can have a bit of immortality, and she cheered me on towards the finish line at every visit.   When I get there, much of the credit is to her.  

Dr. B

Harvey Billiard and Bowl

November 22, 2008

        If you guys are gonna read “The Mandolin Case,” I want you to be on the inside of local culture.  Now that y’all are my friends, you need to know where to find people in town you can count on in case you were to get in a jam. 

        So, here’s how to get to Harvey Billiard and Bowl, or the B and B as we call it.  From downtown Croatan, the County seat for Harvey County, go east on Main St.  When you get to Bibey Drive (named for my grandfather) hang a right.  That will take you by the old Hospital.  It has been renovated as office space for most of the Docs is town. 

        Follow that to the outskirts of town. You’ll pass a huge old pin oak that lightening splintered last year.  Just past it is Lee Highway.  Take a left there, and the B and B is a mile on the right.

        You can’t miss it.  There is a gravel parking lot and a front end loader sits there most days.  There will be a few used cars for sale, and there is a trailer park out back, where Lou manages thirty units.  We play music there one Saturday night a month.  A sign out front says “Triditional Bluegrass Music.”  Lou realized it was misspelled, but he’d already paid for it.  He said he’d change it next time.

        Lou Bedford is the owner.  He has the best cheeseburgers in town.  A Mina bird named Minne is at the cash register.  Minnie can mimic anything so don’t say anything you don’t want folks to know.  That bird can do the best ambulance siren imitation you’ve ever heard.  The paramedics taught it to her.  By the way, if you want to know where to eat in the South always look for law enforcement or EMS vehicles- they know the local landscape better than anyone.

        In the back Lou has a pool hall and a couple of duck pin bowling lanes.  There is a regular card game there every Friday night.  Indie played every week, but after Blinky died, he didn’t go for a month.  After that he played, but not as regular.

        It’s a dry county, but folks know they can get a Pabst Blue Ribbon at the B and B.  All you have to do is put in a few extra coins in the Coke machine, and press the Tab button.  It’ll spit out a PBR- just don’t tell anyone.

        The B and B is a regular hangout for bluegrass boys, golf hustlers, card sharks, and assorted ne’re do wells.  Most society folks wouldn’t be seen there.  You could count on a fair deal at the B and B.

          From time to time I go to the B and B to conduct important business.  Just don’t tell my mama- it would worry her.

Dr. B

Molly Tenbrooks

October 22, 2008

        Other than her Mom and Dad, I’ve known Molly longer than anyone in the world.  I was her doctor in the newborn nursery, and about half raised the child.  I saw her through grade school, cheer-leading and college.  She married Johnathan, her high school sweetheart.  I wasn’t as close as her Dad- he gave her away, but if she’d had a best man I guess I’d been it after her father.  We went to the wedding, and my wife bought them a real nice little silver platter at Belk’s.

        At the time of the Mandolin Case, Molly was in her twenties, but she looked like a teenager.  She was 5’2″ and 118 pounds, a tousle-haired brunette with dark eyes and olive skin.  I thought she was almost as pretty as my wife was in our engagement picture.

        Molly loved motorcycles.  She and Johnny used to ride Indie’s Indian Motorbike when they were in High School.  Some folks tried to make out like the relationship between Molly and Indie wasn’t right.  That was not just a lie, but a damn lie.  I was beyond angry when they tried to advance that argument.  In the Mandolin Case,  Molly turned out to be very important to Indie.  He said it was most unusual for such a young woman to help save an old man, but she sure did.

          Molly was just a kid, and an unlikely heroine, but she was determined.  There is a part of the story that hurts.  She suffered some abusive behavior from one person- you’ll understand when you read the book- but she was able to overcome.  Whenever she bowed up to help Indie it was part of how she healed.  She might be just a young’un, but I have all admiration for her.  She was strong beyond her years.

        Molly’s favorite actress was Julia Roberts, but her movie choice was ‘Fried Green Tomatoes.’  Her favorite song was Molly and Tenbrooks (no surprise there) and she would ask Indie to do a fiddle kick-off every time we played it.  A lady named Tag got her hooked on the Beatles and classic rock ‘n roll.  Her favorite T.V. show was ‘C.S.I.’ and she liked ‘House’ too.  House reminded her a little of Indie, but she thought he took the character a bit too far.

         Tough as the child was, her taste in books was young and feminine.  She liked ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables.’  Her favorite blog is The Lit Connection.  It is on my blogroll.

        Molly loved horses, bluegrass and Bill Monroe, so her name was quite appropriate.  The song her parents named her for, Molly and Tenbrooks, was about a turn of the last century horse race.  (I think in Kentucky)  She was athletic too, and played basketball and ran track in high school.

        Molly moved up North after high school, and returned there after the Mandolin Case was over.  As I began to write up the story, I realized she hasn’t been back to Harvey County for the last four or five years.  I’d love to see her again; she was a favorite patient.

        I’ll close with the words to Bill Monroe’s song, and send the words out to my little friend Molly Tenbrooks.  All the best to ya, kid.

        ‘Run ole Molly Run, Run ole Molly run.”

        “Tenbrooks gonna beat you you in the bright shining sun.”

        Ain’t no one ever gonna beat you, Molly.  You’re as tough a young lady as I ever ran into and I’m proud to have known you.

Dr. B

Blinky Wallendorf

October 15, 2008

        I never knew Blinky Wallendorf’s real name was Herman until after he died.  We all called him Blinky.  He got the nickname from a nervous twitch of his right eye.  Indie said it was a tic.  Betty Wallendorf was not satisfied and took Blink to a neuro-opthalmologist at Tobacco Triangle U.  He diagnosed it as involuntary blepharospasm of undetermined etiology, but it was still a tic.

        To break down the doctor talk for you, involuntary means Blinky didn’t have any control over it and undetermined etiology means I don’t know… what the hell it is.

        Of course Betty Wallendorf went all over town and told everyone how this high powered specialist was so much smarter than Indie, and Indie never said a word.  In truth the guy called Indie after the work-up and said, “Hell Indie, it’s just a tic.  I don’t know what the woman wants me to do about it.”

        Indie never said anything in public, but he did tell Blinky he thought part of it was stress from the void in his sex life, which made Betty Wallendorf all the madder.  It was true though.  Blinky and Betty hadn’t had sex in ten years.  Betty was a mean woman, but Blink never cheated on her.  I’m not sure if it was virtue or a lack of opportunity, though.

        Blinky might have had a nervous twitch of his eye, but he had a steady hand.  He was a fine poker player.  He and Indie played every Friday at Pete’s place.  Blinky could shoot pool better than anyone in town, and he was a great drop thumb banjo man.  He was lousy on the dobro, though, and worse with the fiddle.  He said Indie was the only guy in town smart enough to play the fiddle.  That made Betty mad too.

        Blink was a short, stout fellow, 5’7″ and 220 pounds, and much of it in his belly.  His sparse hair was a mousy gray, and his eyes were grayish too.  He had arcus senilis, that peculiar ring around the cornea you see sometimes.

        Like me and Indie, bluegrass music was his favorite.  He knew all the words to ‘Mother’s not Dead, She’s Only a Sleeping,’ and ‘Please Daddy, Don’t Drive Drunk No More.’  He liked country too, especially Dolly Parton.

        Blink wasn’t much of a reader, and tended to favor Batman comics.  Indie gave up on trying to interest him in literature, but still loved him like a brother in spite of his lack of formal education.

        Blinky was Indie’s best friend.  When he died I thought it was gonna kill Indie too.  One thing I always admired about Indie was his loyalty.  He never dissed Blinky.  After Blinky was in the grave, there were a few times Indie might coulda made himself look a little better to blame it on Blinky’s habits.  But, to his credit, he never did.  

Dr. B

Dr. Henry “Indie” Jenkins

October 13, 2008

        Those of you who who have read the blog a long time already know Indie.  I hope you will bear with me.  I have a number of new readers, and want to get them up to speed.

        Indie is one of those old docs who has been around town for as long as anyone can remember.  Nowadays he leads a quiet life at the Nursing Home.  All that is left from his office is Barney, the skeleton who stands watch by his bedside, a few books, and his stethoscope which stays wrapped around Barney’s neck. 

        Indie was a fine fiddler, but seldom plays these days ’cause of arthritis.  He loves roses.  They let him have a small patch of ground at the Home, where he still grows some today.  Indie sees to it every lady at the Nursing Home has a rose on her birthday.  He says he can’t take care of the whole world, but at least he can make his corner a bit brighter.

        Indie had a lot of fine traits.  He was a loyal sort, and empathetic, especially for the less fortunate.  He took care of all comers, no questions asked.  A lot of folks said if he’d been paid fifty cents on the dollar he’d been the richest man in town.  He was a doctor, not a businessman, and none of that bothered him in the least. 

        People knew Indie was a smart doctor.  We had one Doc in town, old Blowhard Blake, who was politically connected, but couldn’t pass his Boards.  Many patients saw him because it they thought it looked good down at he Club.  But they didn’t tell people they had a chart at Indie’s too.  When the chips were down, they’d go see Indie; they just tried to hide the fact in polite society.

        Indie was loyal, but he did get tangled up one time.  Years ago, we had a French foreign exchange student in town.  Indie had a restored ’47 Indian Chief motorbike and the girl became infatuated with motorcycles and bluegrass music while she was here.  She wasn’t much of a student, but there ain’t a man in town who ever forgot how she looked in that cashmere sweater Indie bought her for Bastille Day.  As far as I know she only learned two American phrases while in the States-  “Motorbike ride” and “Cool Whip Indie!”

        Ms. Jenkins was not impressed.  Indie didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did, and when Ms. Jenkins caught up with them at the Cabin it warn’t pretty.  Of all the trouble Indie got in that was the worst.  I helped Indie negotiate his way back to Ms. Jenkins’s good graces, but I warned him I’d not be able to get him out of a jam like that again.

        Indie always felt bad about it.  When Ms. Jenkins died, he told me if he could only take back one mistake in his life, the French girl would be the one.  I was sure Ms. Jenkins forgave him, and told him so.

        Indie lived hard.  He smoked way too much, and it was always Benson and Hedges.  When we played music he drank too, but he was sober at work.  He took some Vicodin for his back, and I was not sure he always got a prescription for it. 

        By the time I came back to town, Indie was middle aged and looked older.  He had Parkinson’s disease and walked with a shuffle.  He’d been out in the sun a lot in his life, either fishing or playing music, and never got in the habit of sunscreen.  His face was a road-map of deep etches, wrinkles, and scars where he had a couple of skin cancers removed.  He was bald on top, and didn’t have much hair on the sides either, but did have a swatch on the back of his head.  Indie called it an old man soul patch.  Indie has some soul, that’s for sure.

        Indie’s favorite song is ‘The Cherokee Shuffle.’  The tune references his Indian heritage and is a self depreciating reference to his unsteady gait.  We share a love of Mark Twain, and ‘Tom Sawyer’ is his favorite.  He liked the movie “Catch Me if You Can.”  He said it was ’cause Decaprio was so clever, but I believe part of it was ’cause that FBI man couldn’t help but take a liking to the kid as the story wore on.  ‘Shawshank” was Indie’s favorite.  He saw it as all about hope and plus they let the hero cuss some.  Indie liked that.

        I realized something about Indie just the other day.  I know him better than anyone in town since Ms. Jenkins passed, and I still don’t know his middle name.  I asked him about it at the Nursing Home, and he said it was ‘Indian,’ and changed the subject.  I’m gonna have to research the matter and find someone who knew the family before Indie moved to Harley County.  I tried twice and Indie warn’t gonna go there.

        In spite of all of Indie’s rough ways, he was my favorite Doc in town.  When Indie got in trouble with the system, I had to go to bat for him.  He woulda done it for me.

        And I have full permission to tell his story.  At first Indie said not to go to print until he was gone, but he changed his mind, and wants to see the book before he’s outta here.  So, I’m gonna press hard to finish the final revision by the first of the year.  Somehow I’ve gotta find the strength to play my mandolin at his funeral too, ’cause I promised him I would, and I can’t let Indie down.

Dr. B

The Agent Part II

October 11, 2008

        The phone rang in my Nashville hotel room.  “O.K., Bibey.  It’s time for serious discussion.”

        Dang, it was The Agent.  The voice, seasoned by years of whiskey and cigar smoke, sounded like a man who gargled hickory nuts as he spoke.  I’d recognize it anywhere.  I met him once before.  It was late at night at the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention.  It had been over a year since he looked at my first rough draft and agreed to take me on if I followed certain guidelines.  Since then we had communicated by e-mail or a messenger at times.  He agreed to a second meeting- I saw it as a good sign.

        “Sure boss.  Where do we meet?”

        “Train Station, dark-thirty.”

        “Not the airport?  You ain’t gonna fly in?”

         “Good Lord son, ain’t no Agent ever represented any Southern writer and flew around on airplanes.  Don’t forget that.  If a man tells you he can sell a story about the South and travels by air he’s an impostor.  Think about it.  Didja ever hear any writer try to wax poetic about a tarmac?  Hell no.  Train whistles, now that’s different.  I can work with that.”

        “Hm, I hadn’t thought about it I guess.”

        “Well it’s true.  No hobo ever hopped a U.S. Air, either.  There ain’t one ounce of Southern literature about commercial aircraft so it you’ve got any of that in the Mandolin Case, better get it out.

        “Well, no sir.  Matter of fact we ain’t got an airport in Harvey County, so not to worry.”

        “Good.  Now listen here.  I’m gonna look different.  After you posted that picture I had women from all over the country chasing me, so I had to shave.”

       “That one that got after you with the tennis shoe find you, boss?”

        “Shut up Bibey.  No pictures, ya hear me?!”

        “Yes sir.”  I hung up and headed for the train station.

        Dark thirty.  I was right on time.  I went back to the Club Car as instructed.

        The Agent stood up to shake hands.  “Have a seat Bibey.”  He poured up an OBAN.  

        “So what did they say in New York?”  I asked.

        “They said you were so country they couldn’t understand some of what you said.  You have no credentials.  They couldn’t figure out how you wrote it.  It has it’s flaws, but at the same time they thought it was a hell of a story.”

        “You think it’ll sell?”

        “It has a chance, at least with me as your Agent.  You gotta know the big city, and I’ve got it wired.  Here are your instructions.”

        I opened the envelope and unfolded the notes.  “Back story?  I think I understand.”  A year ago back story was a herniated nucleus pulposis.  Man, had my life changed.  “Tell me about that.”

        “As you do your last revision, I want you to flesh out the characters on the blog.  Your readers may recognize some of them or know some of the Mandolin Case and remember a detail you forgot.  I want this story to stand the test of time.  You can’t get a single detail wrong.  You need to know what kinda smokes these people like, their shoe size, what movies they prefer- everything.

        “I know ’em better than anyone, Boss.”

        “I’m sure you do, but you need to down-load brain to blog to where everyone else will too.  If you’re gonna immortalize ’em then you better get it right.  The fiction history book demands no less.” 

        “The fiction history book?”

         “Yeah, I’m writing it.  And whatever you do, don’t give up my address.  I’m gonna winter in New York anyway, but I don’t need every nut in the country chasing me.”

        “I guess one of me is enough.”

        “Mercy, Bibey.  I think so.”

        “You know Boss, all I ever wanted was a chance to show what I believe to be true with my story.”

        “You’ve shown me that, Bibey.  I believe in you.  Now I want the rest of the world to see it too.  If you get the revision right, I’ll do my best.  No promises, though.”

         “I”ll do my best.”

        “See me in three months.  Atlanta.  I have to meet there there with Charles Thombley.  He’s a negotiator.  He’ll monitor your blog along with me for the next quarter.”

        “Hey I think I know him.  His people made a fortune down there in real estate futures right after Sherman came through.”

        “That’s the one, Bibey.  I only deal with the best.”

        “Hey boss, does that mean you think I’m the best?”

        “Hell no, Bibey.  You’re my project.  But, you have become a good writer.  And you have a great story.  I’d rather have a good writer with a great story than a great writer with a lousy story.  Write character back story on the blog.  Start with your next post and keep at it till the first of the year.  I think you’ll get there, but don’t give up your day job.”

         “Yes sir.”

         Heck I like being a Doc anyway, so I was sure I could follow his advice about the day job.  We don’t have an airport in the County, but if we did I wouldn’t fly when I went to Atlanta, either.  I never liked to fly anyway, and now I realized it qualified me to be a Southern Lit guy, I wasn’t about to start.

        Come next post, I’m gonna follow his advice and start to show y’all all about my people.  If you spot something I’ve missed let me know.  In a way my book reflects what I believe about life- we’re all in it together.  If I get published someday, my agent and you guys deserve a lot of the credit.  I’d a never gotten this far without you.

Dr. B

Dr. Larry McBride/The Memphis Connection

October 7, 2008

        One leg of our journey was medical.  We were close to Memphis anyway, and I wanted to get up with my old pal Dr. Larry McBride.  Larry is a Toxicology expert, and was instrumental in the Mandolin Case.  I wanted to pick his brain before the final revision of the manuscript.  My memory for old facts is pretty good, but Larry’s is superb for anything in the toxicology realm, and I trust his recall on those events better than my own.

        Larry now lives in Memphis, where all his wife’s people are from.  He grew up in Texas though, and still goes by the old code-  ‘A man’s word is his bond.’  He has a sign up in his kitchen- “Seek the truth, it will set you free.”  In the Mandolin Case, Dr. McBride did just that, and some of his testimony was critical.

        His farm is a bit like the Bomb Shelter- you can’t get there from here, and the GPS wold not track it.  But it is easy to find.  All you have to do is ride through the country in west Tennessee outside of Memphis till you come up on an old 50’s vintage red and rust fire truck in a hay field, and hang a right there.

        Nowadays Larry leads the life of a true gentleman farmer.  He suggested we tour the farm for daily inspection on the four wheelers, so we hopped on and rode through the woods.  It hit me how different our lives were nowadays.  In our youth, we were consultants for Physician’s Liability in regular battle with a bunch of sharp lawyers.  Now Larry writes opinions on cases, but is no longer on the front lines, and neither am I.  He spends his days on a New Holland tractor bush hogging.  I can see how a man would have time to think out there.  It was all quiet.  The wind rustled through the trees, and the hawks soared on the updrafts. 

        Larry’s wife is involved in the western Tennessee animal rescue mission so they have a dozen or so dogs in various states of adoption.  I guess Larry is more about saving old dogs than old docs these days- it might be a better cause anyway.  I know one thing- his pups have hit the canine lottery- they spend their days in chase of the deer and squirrels that coexist with them on the property.

        The dogs ran along behind the four-wheelers.  They were Bagel, and Track and Trail, and Pride and Prejudice.  One little fellow no one wanted to adopt was named Clopsie (based on Cyclops) was a permanent fixture on the farm.  Poor Clopise took a liking to me right away.  I know dogs can’t think in abstraction, but I guess a little dog with one brown and one blue eye could identify with me.

        We sat down at the Beach, the best fishing hole on the farm, picked blackberries and muscadines, and reminisced.

        “Bibey,” Larry said.  “I tell you the truth, I wouldnta given a nickel for Indie’s chances.  How is he?”

        “Poorly, Larry.  Just turned up with lung cancer.  I don’t think he’ll get through the winter.”

        “Dang, I’ll have to get down that way.  Indie had his faults, but dishonest warn’t one of em.”

         “Yep.  He’d love to see you.”

       “Maybe I’ll take him a bottle of muscadine wine,” Larry said.

        “Oh man, you know he’d love that.  You remember when he made a few bottles at the Nursing Home and they blew up?”

        Larry laughed.  “Yep, you can’t change Indie.  You give him my best.”

        “Will do, Larry.  Hey let me ask you about chapter 42.  Do you think the hospital lawyer ever understood the pharmacodynamics on the normeperidine?”

        “Heck no, man.  That boy was just like Olden, ABCDA.”  (A Board Certified Dumb A^^)

        “Ain’t it the truth?  You know, I can still see his face when you testified.”

        “And old man Watson on the jury- he got it too, I’m sure.”

        “Yeah boy, them was some days, Larry.  Hey, how bout some of them Farmer’s Market steaks for  supper,  I’m buying.”

        “Sounds great, you need to get out to Memphis more often.”

        “Oh, we will.  We’re already planning for next fall….”

Dr. B

Dr. Tom Bibey- by request

September 25, 2008

        I have had many folks ask for a picture, so here it is.  This was a sketch mid way through the Mandolin Case.  My hair was jet black then so I did ‘doctor’ the photo to reflect my current hue.  I believe Pande would call it blond, or perhaps chrome, as they say on her blog, but in reality it is salt and salt.  It ain’t even got enough tinge to look like that stuff y’all put on the roads up North when it snows.  In fact it looks like the snow- I was generous with the sketch to give it as much color as I did.  In real life the pepper is, as the song says, “gone but not forgotten.”

        There are reasons for the sunglasses.  For one, the work I had to do in the Mandolin Case involved some quaisi CIA-like activity.  This is part of the reason for the secrecy.

        The other though, is not known to many folks so y’all don’t share it.  Since the Mandolin Case is now history, I suppose I can give up this much.  Tommy Bibey has one green eye and one blue eye. 

        I only lose about three golf balls a year, but if you play in the South and find a Titleist marked with a green dot on the left, and a blue one on the right, you will know that Tommy Bibey was there.  It stands for one green eye, and one blue one, but also for BlueGrass.

        Now that I have given up my identity if you run into me on the bluegrass road come up and and shake and howdy.  I’d love to meet ya.”

Dr. B

Old Green Eye/Blue Eye

Old Green Eye/Blue Eye

Gracie Muldoon and 24/7 Bluegrass

September 24, 2008

        I love the name Gracie, don’t you?  It makes me think of the great George Burns.  He loved his Gracie so.

        Someone asked George Burns what the secret was to his long life and he said, “Everyone has to have an act.  Mine is George Burns.”  Cool.  I adopted his notion- mine is Tommy Bibey.

        I never met a Gracie I didn’t like, and I recently met another one I want to tell you about.  Her name is Gracie Muldoon (what a cool bluegrass name) and she runs a 24/7 bluegrass radio station at WorldWideBluegrass.com.

        Several of my readers have asked me to stay on the lookout for good Internet bluegrass radio sites, so I checked it out.  These guys have it going on- it is well worth the listen and has Dr. Tommy Bibey’s highest recommendations.

        I promised Gracie I’d let her know when my book is released.  As far as I know it is the first medical novel in which the mystery is unraveled by a loyal band of bluegrass brethren.  I might even call in and announce it myself.  Dibs on the announcement go to Dennis Jones at WNCW 88.7 NPR radio- he asked first and I always honor my commitments and dance with who brung me, but Gracie is second in line.

        And Dennis, much as I love ya man, I gotta tell you if Gracie’ll let me dance with her too I guess I will if my wife says it’s O.K.   She’s a little better looking than you brother, but I’ll never abandon you- you’ll always be my favorite bluegrass DJ in the world.

Dr. B

Indian Summer Gig

September 21, 2008

        We had a gig down on the river today. 

        I think I told y’all, but Indie’s Cabin washed away in the great Eastern N.C. flood.  Well, I knew they had a cabin down there a lot like Indie’s old place, so I got a notion to check him out of the Nursing Home and take him with us.  We carved his name in an old tree stump and told him the bluegrass folks dedicated it to him-  ‘Indie was here,’ it said.

        Indie loves the fall of the year.  Always has.  He says the autumn air is crisper and his lungs fare better.  Besides, fall always reminds him ain’t nothing permanent.  After Blinky died Indie was a bit more melancholy, and fall suited him better than ever.  He’d lived eight days a week anyway but after Blinky was gone, he seemed to make even more of an effort to do so.

        He had a big day, a large time as he says.  He sat in his lounge chair and smoked cigarettes and greeted old music friends who hadn’t seen him out in a while.  He got inspired and fiddled a slow one with us- ‘The Kentucky Waltz,” and rendered it pretty, too.  I don’t think Indie had played in public since he wound up in the Nursing Home.

        He drank a Coors or two, and when we played the second set he went to the river and helped the kids with the ‘Rubber Ducky Regatta.’  Indie ain’t nothing but a big kid anyway.

        After the gig I took him back to the Nursing Home, and got him tucked in.  Ms. Jenkins is gone now, and all he has left is me and Barney the skeleton.  And his roses- he stops to smell them every day just like he tells me to do.

        The other day I found some old sketches of Indie I thought you might enjoy.  I should have dated these- I think they were about mid-way through the Mandolin Case.  It was a pressure cooker, but except for the fact his pal Blinky was gone I don’t think it changed Indie too much.  You know how it is – some things never change and them bluegrass folks are like that.  And Indie was bluegrass people as much as anyone I ever knew.

        Here he is:

Fine Doc and Master Fiddler

Fine Doc and Master Fiddler