May 29, 2010 9:14:00 PM
A few weeks ago No. 1 Son and I were headed over to Rolling Fork to check on Mama. I pulled in McDonalds in Winona for my second cup of coffee -- a small senior citizen''s, two creams, 50 cents, keep the change for the Ronald McDonald House.
I checked my Blackberry. I had mail. The subject line read, "Need Guitar Player on Short Notice."
"Mr. Truesdale, my mother gave me your e-mail address out of the paper. I wanted to see if you could help by chance. I am getting married next Saturday at 10. I am having a small wedding at a little church out in the country from Brooksville."
Before I''d gotten to "Brooksville," I knew where this was heading. My ever-so-sharp 59-year-old brain had already concocted one lame (plus two real) good reasons why I couldn''t/wouldn''t, no matter what.
"There is no piano or electricity in the church. We weren''t going to have music; however, I think it would be nice to have someone play the guitar while I walk down the aisle." (I never cease to be amazed at how many of you dear readers read all the way down to "semi-professional guitar player" in the column tag.)
A church with no electricity and no piano? Now she had my attention. You can give me a good helping of "old time religion" any day of the week.
"I know it is very short notice. Are you available? If so, what would you charge to play for the ceremony? Something very simple."
Now let me see ... Play something simple (I can handle simple), in a church sans piano and electricity (liking that old time religion), and then there was that "charge" thing (that cash register in my head was shifting into overdrive). I wasn''t hooked, but she had me nibbling at the bait.
At 59, living the life that I''ve led, I''ve found myself in more than a few places/situations where I had no business being. Not saying that I didn''t enjoy every minute of them -- it''s just that in my old age I find I''m a bit more cautious about jumping into things.
I made a call to Noxubee County.
"Wonderful families. Super nice. You''ll like meeting them. I think they have interests in the feed supply business," my friend told me.
No. 1 Son, who''s a pretty good guitar picker, sat quietly taking all of this in. I looked at him, "You in?"
"You know I am," giving me that grin. I love that boy.
I called the Lovely Bride to accept her invitation. She asked that we play for five or so minutes before the ceremony, and play "The Wedding March".
The Lovely Bride was a delightful lady on the telephone. I had forgotten about the charge thing.
"How much will you charge?"
"I don''t know," stumbling around. I am a sucker for lovely brides.
"Well, I need to know."
"Your Dad''s in the feed business, right?"
"Fifty pounds of your best dog food for Max, my Lab, and you got a deal."
"Are you serious?"
The heat was on. I would play mandolin and No. 1 Son would back me on guitar. We had to learn "The Wedding March" and come up with three more tunes. After umpteen telephone calls and e-mails between us, he and I decided on "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and actually what turned out to be a pretty fair rendition of "Pachelbel Canon in D Major," old time style.
In the wildwood
The church didn''t disappoint. It was an old Presbyterian church, about 10 miles west of Brooksville, built I''d say pre-1850 or so. It was beautiful. The pews didn''t offer much "seat" room and the back rests were almost straight up and down. Not much chance of falling asleep, unless a member wanted to find himself on the floor.
Complemented with the beautiful flowers arranged by a frantic aunt and candles that glowed along the walls, the sanctuary would have held its own up against the most opulent cathedrals in the world. That''s by my standards.
No. 1 Son and I gave it our all. The acoustics were alive. Nashville recording engineers couldn''t capture the sound that those old wooden walls gave off.
The Lovely Bride was an angel. The Handsome Groom stood tall. If he was nervous, he didn''t show it. They pledged their love, the preacher pronounced them man and wife, they kissed, turned and faced the congregation and began a new life together.
It was a beautiful ceremony and an "always remember" adventure for father and son.
No. 1 Son and I packed up and headed back home. We stopped at the bakery in Brooksville for a sandwich. I asked had he ever gotten paid for a gig before. He hadn''t. I congratulated him on becoming a bona fide semi-professional guitar player.
He gave me the strangest look and asked, "Dad, what am I going to do with a half a sack of dog food?"
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
2. A Southern favorite: Rick Bragg to speak in Fayette ENTERTAINMENT