Yea, Squeaky’s got ’em all right; any red-blooded American knows “The Blues” denote rhyme, rhythm, lyrics and notes picked, strummed, sung or whined, and in a minor key if possible. Squeaky, alias William H. VanDeaver the IV, Yankee panhandler come lately to Edisto Beach, saved from hunger and heat stroke by a single mom, waitress Cindy who was working at Whalen’s restaurant and bar. If you read the local papers, you may remember Squeaky and Cindy striking up a friendship, Squeaky cleaning up his act, his story climaxing when Cindy revealed him to be the father of her 22-year-old son. A few of the more romantic among you even wiped away a damp spot on your cheek upon reading their nuptials, at least until you realized one more happy twosome lost “tourist” status and became candidates for the “most people lead lives of quiet desperation” category. Course, if this drivel is new to you, you’re demanding, “get on with it.”
Jesse, guitarist and crooner, occupying one of the tables between extinct gas pump island and front door of Whalen’s, waiting on the other half of his band to show, struck up some wisdom with this itinerant trumpet tooter, down for the week.
“What happened to that vagrant that washed up on Palmetto Boulevard from New York you was writing about? Didn’t he end up tying the knot with Cindy, the waitress who rescued him from heat stroke,” Jesse asked, ready to fire up a conversation. “Yep, sure did,” I answered, equally ready to get the words flowing. “I saw him at the marina yesterday; Squeaky’s the name he goes by, and he mates for one of the charters, Fin Chaser I think. Anyway, he was cleaning fish and mumbling about Cindy getting on his case; seems the honeymoon’s long over.”
“Another case of regularity,” Jesse retorted, “proof of my tourist theory.”
Well, I’d heard this theory before, but wanting Jesse to ask me onstage, I capitulated, “and what theory is that?”
Jesse was ready to enlighten. “Take you for example, hornblower, you’re here for a week or so; the beach, the fishing, the restaurants, the people, are all fresh and new to you. You are happy to be here, everything around you is fresh, exciting and different. You’re a tourist! Well, hang around for a few months, and let all that newness and freshness evolve into ‘regular.’ Then you become like Squeaky and Cindy, the fussing, th e feuding, the, ‘how long has it been since?’ happens to lots of marriages.”
“Don’t children and making a living contribute heavily to regularity?” I weakly rebuked.
“Yea, couples forget to treat each other special, whatever the reason. That’s why I’m single.”
“Oh, so you’re preaching from the elevated pulpit, not among the congregation?” I added, realizing my chances of sitting in with Jesse’s band were dimming. “Would be nice if couples would be treated and treat each other like tourists from time to time.”
“That’s my whole business,” Jesse answered. “You want to come up later and play a song or two with us?”
“Back in the saddle,” I thought. Changing the subject I asked; “what do you think about the fact, half the country’s on the dole, half the people pay no income taxes and we need far less government, but don’t mess with my Social Security, my Medicare or my subsidies?”
Jesse didn’t skip a beat. “I’d say I stirred up half the readership with my tourist theory; you can stir up the other half by alluding we get rid of most the congressmen.”
“According to the Tea Partiers, that ain’t a new notion,” I fired back. “Anyway, the editor suggested a bit of politician needling might be in order. Think I’ll stick to music, at least for now, and leave the political bashing to paid syndicated columnists who write all those fancy words to tell folks what they already know.”
(Johnny Roland lives with his family by the Four Holes swamp near Cameron, raises prawns, and plays the trumpet. Email responses may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.)