Monthly Archives: May 2015

My First Ghost. Our First Date. My Last Exit

The following is an excerpt from my memoire, “The Kid Who Got Away.”

Gipsy and I returned to a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and the old carriage house in the French Quarter. We hadn’t unpacked our bags, and we certainly hadn’t unpacked our belongings from the moves we’d made from the just three days before evacuating. Her apartment had been completely destroyed, mine had been under eight feet of water for three weeks. Once again, my Angels were working overtime. All of my belongings were safe and dry in our new digs.

The compound we lived in had a carriage breezeway above which lived a well-known New Orleans writer, Jimmy Nolan. Above him were the usually empty apartment of the owners. Both had beautiful old wrought-iron balconies with hanging Boston ferns and tons of plants soaking up the sun. Through the carriage breezway was a slate-covered courtyard with huge tropical plants.

Just around the corner from trendy Royal Street, 624 Dumaine Street was huge by French Quarter standards. built two floors high with 1600 sq. ft.of space, skylights and a newly installed modern kitchen, it was magnificent. The only sounds you could hear were the “clop-clop” of the mule driven tourist carriages and the bells of majestic St. Louis Cathedral. We shared a wall with the Madame John’s Legacy, the mansion/museum that the now-famous fire scene in “The Vampire Lestat” was filmed.

The first thing that made me feel somewhat uncomfortable were the looks. The other occupants of our little compound would greet me each day as if expecting a different response to their “Hi Jesse” than the one they got. Eventually,  I asked, “Why are you looking at me in that way?” Their response was not what we expected.

“Have you noticed anything strange going on in your place?” I said, “No.” even though I had. “Well,” he continued, “Somebody hanged himself in your bedroom and every couple who’s ever moved in their has goine through a terrible breakup.” Hmmm, I thought, maybe that explains the eery vibe we’d both felt since returning.

Then, I saw my first ghost. (To be continued)


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I’ve been rolling solo for my entire time here in San Miguel. Occasionally, lonely would creep into alone, but I have been quite content. I enjoy my solitude. San Miguel de Allende is a very small town, though.  Meeting someone was probably inevitable.

I’d seen her twice before: once at Juan’s Coffee Shop, the next after one my gigs at VC and Friends. Both encounters were brief. Both left lasting impressions.

Suddenly, there she was, in the doorway of Dean Martini’s, a tiny local blues club. I happened to be there by the doorway just as this lovely Mexicana hit the same doorway. I told her I’d seen her before and that I was NOT going to let her get away again. We sat next to each other at the bar.

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Kismet?

The place was packed full of suckers there to see the Mayweather-Pacquiao Aerobic Exercise Demonstration. The fight SUCKED. Our conversation did not.

It was quickly obvious to me that this was a very interesting person. A former competitive gymnast, her laughter was like a playground full of happy kids. As we sat there next to each other, she quoted Chomsky. She told me she thought Prague was more beautiful than Paris or Rome. When she moved from Mexico City to San Miguel, she bought a dilapidated 300 year-old property and remodeled it to her own design, creating a first-class BnB I’ve since spent time there: many rooms, multiple terraces and a view of the Jardin and La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel unlike any other I’ve seen.

She revealed her age. I had guessed A LOT younger. I asked her why she looked so young. She said, “Because I’m almost always happy.”

She gave me her phone number. I called. We went out on a First Date.

Stay tuned…

From A Facebook Posting:

“Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I don’t know the source, but I have been informed that there are some rumors floating around New Orleans, rumors stating that I have “passed away.” I do not place much credence in these rumors, though there have been times when, living the life I am living, I feel I may have actually died and gone to heaven.”

THE VERY NEXT DAY:

“File this under, “WTF!” Members of my new band, SpyBoyZ, have taken several weeks of vaca time. I’ve been home, mostly, wood shedding on guitar. A friend here in San Miguel called yesterday and said, “Are you OK?” I said, “Sure. Why?” “I heard your band isn’t playing because you had a heart attack and went to the states.” I’m considering posting a daily photo holding that day’s newspaper with the date clearly visible.”

Here’s how I see it unfolding, my death that is (hopefully, sometime in the distant future):

I am rolled onto the stage in a wheel chair, I kick ass with a monster band to a sold out house and, during the standing ovation, two beautiful, jealous chaquitas start a fist fight, realize it’s me that’s the problem and storm the stage before security can grab them. They riddle me with bullets and as the EMTs carry me off, I bring the microphone to my lips and say, “Thank you. Good night. I love you.” I drop the mic with a thud as it hits the stage floor and they cart me off. I’m gone at 123 years of age. My ashes are then planted in a bio-degradable urn along with a few live oak seeds in New Orleans’ City Park, after a second-line led by Bill Terry and the Treme’ Brass Band. My ashes nourish the seeds and a new live oak tree grows in City Park. Hopefully, someday someone will sit beneath this big beautiful oak tree, gently strumming a guitar in the shade and composing a sweet song of love.

The End.

Be excellent to each other and remember: Think twice before hitting “Send.”

P.S. “Meow. This guy couldn’t write a word without my inspiration…

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I am his MUSE!”

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The Haunting II and The Haunting Blues

The following is an excerpt from my memoire, “The Kid Who Got Away.”

He was a plump, fair-skinned little creole gentleman in a bowler hat. His high-pitched slow New Orleans-creole drawl was soothing and comforting. “Hello, I’m Mr. Glover. Priestess Brandy from Voodoo Authentica tells me you’ve been having problems with a heint. I’m here to help.”

I had approached Brandy, a strikingly beautiful voodoo priestess from the temple down the street, asking for help with the strange occurrences at 624 Dumaine Street. She said that Mr. Glover was the Man when it came to quieting unsavory leftovers from long ago. Doctors, lawyers, the well-educated and the not so elegant of the French Quarter had brought their ghostly problems to Glover.

We welcomed him into our not-so-peaceful home and he asked, “What seems to be the problem?” I told him some of what we were experiencing. I told him about the uneasy looks from the occupants of the other apartments. How they’d revealed that someone had hung himself in our bedroom. I mentioned the noises and footsteps from the attic above our heads.  I told him about the cats.

Magic and the Walrus were sitting peacefully on the couch when their heads snapped to attention. The door to the atrium (my office) to their immediate left opened up. Again in tandem, they watched something we couldn’t see move slowly from their left to their right. Their heads stopped as they gazed in the direction of the bathroom door to their immediate right. It opened slowly then slammed shut.

On another occasion, Gipsy was bent over washing her face in the sink between our bedroom and the guest room. Straightening up she notice me standing in our bedroom staring at her. She said something to me and bent back down over the sink. She suddenly stood up straight and looked back at me. I was gone. She then realized that at the moment I was in the middle of my second set at Margaritaville, just as I had been everyday since returning.

Then, we told him about the strangling and the Leathery Face. (To be continued)


nolatravelinman

Dating a quality Mexicana woman is not for the impatient. I had become used to moving at the speed of horniness back in New Orleans. There are lots of woman who dance to that tune here, too. There are others who don’t. There are times when I feel like I’m in acting out an old-world courtship routine. Patience is the rule. My personal trainer told me he’d met a woman once and asked her out. She said no. He repeated this daily ritual for THREE YEARS before she acquiesced. They’ve been married for 30 years.

As a former girlfriend, Ellen Wheeler,  told me, “Take your time. Don’t blow it!”

As a musician, I started playing the blues in my early teenage years. Mr. Almo, a former professional living in the projects I grew up in, taught me. I then switched to bass and started playing with some pretty major heavyweigts in the blues dept. I now front a blues band, SpyBoyZ, here in San Miguel. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This week, my world was rocked. B.B. King is dead.

I was very fortunate to meet him once. Bonnie Raitt introduced me to him backstage at Lincoln Center’s Tully Hall. She said, “This is maybe the most sincerely sweet person I’ve ever met.” He was gracious and yes, very sweet, with a smile that lit up the room in a gentle, muted way. I only got to spend a few moments with him. I knew every second of it that I was in the presence of something more than just a great talent. I got the essence of that when I watched him perform.

I sat third row center. On the bill that night was Bonnie, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dr. John (solo) and Mr. King. He walked casually out to center stage, as he had done so many, many times before. The audience erupted, filling the air with tumultuous applause. As always, by his side was his trade mark black Gibson, Lucille. The Thunderbirds started up and B.B. King began to play.

It was just great blues by a master for the first three songs. Then, somewhere in the middle of his fourth song he turned it on. I don’t know how it happened but, I got it. Suddenly, he filled the Alice Tully Hall with some sort of sorcerer’s energy. The room began to shimmer, the crowd disappeared and he became a medium of some sort. I could see, feel and hear The Middle Passage, the auction block, long hot days in the sun picking cotton with blistered, bleeding hands, the whippings, the hangings, the Mississippi Delta, the blues clubs of Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, New York…all of it. I remember thinking to myself, “THIS is why we all know his name. This is the blues.”

Thank you so much, Mr. King. Thank you so much.

B.B

Be excellent to each other and remember: Think twice before hitting “Send.”

P.S. “Meow. I guess we’re officially joined at the hip now.”

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