August 15, 2010 2:15:00 AM
The other day I got an e-mail from the boss lady here at the paper explaining how we are going for a new look in our columnists'' photos, so a new picture was the order of the day.
I hate getting my picture taken. I don''t mind snapshots and the like, but having to pose, smile, or not smile, on command encroaches on my comfort zone.
Since I bill myself as a semi-professional guitar player, a picture of me holding a guitar was suggested. I have a good boss. She graciously granted me creative freedom. I could choose the location. Easy for me -- I chose the very popular watering hole at Zachary''s right across from the courthouse.
A few years back I hit a patch of gravel on what, for most of my life''s journey, had been a blacktop road. I had a choice: Jesus, Whiskey or Loud, Loud Music. I decided to go with a combination of Jesus, Loud, Loud Music and Coca-Colas -- pass on the whiskey. Well, maybe one or two Miller Lites every now and then. I made a call down to Zachary''s and asked them to give me a chance on Thursday nights. If there wasn''t a crowd, no charge. We had a deal. For several months, every Thursday night I got to play for some pretty nice folks who seemed to like my not-so-Loud-Loud music.
Most Fridays a few of my pals and I get together for lunch. As the member of our group who has the shortest to-do list, choosing the eatery falls on me. More often than not, I steer us toward Zachary''s. It''s not that they have great salads, a grouper po-boy (my favorite) and excellent service. It''s because Zachary''s, unbeknownst to them, once helped me pave over a pretty rough spot on life''s highway.
But back to this picture thing.
I had the right setting. Next, I had to choose the right guitar. Like all pros and semi-pros, I have a favorite guitar that I gig with; however, getting a picture made that will run every other week or so warranted something special. I chose my cherished Martin D-35. If there''s such a thing as a status symbol, it''s the only one that I have ever owned.
It hadn''t been out of the case in two years or so. The strings were completely dead. I restrung it with a set of D''Addario Mediums. When I heard that G chord ring, it was like this girl I like to remember ever now and again jumped in my lap. Well, maybe not that good, but close.
Rather than the tunes that I normally play, my old friend took me down roads that I hadn''t traveled in a long time: Jimmy Ruffin''s "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," the Chi-lites'' "Oh Girl," and the Drifters'' "Under the Boardwalk."
After all these years, I nailed "that chord" (Key of C -- 3X3210, for you pickers) that Zally played on "You Didn''t Have To Be So Nice." If I do say so myself, a catchy slow arrangement of "Eight Days A Week" jumped right out of the sound hole -- divine.
I know. Enough rambling about the place, the guitar, on and on. How did the picture turn out? Sorry, after all this going on ... I haven''t seen it.
I completed my 60th lap around the sun last month. I like revisiting those old landmarks that I have enjoyed along the way. Prompted by getting my picture taken, I was able to make a visit by simply opening a dusty old guitar case.
Now, if I could just find the one that had that girl in it.
Editor''s Note: New columnist photos will debut soon.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
5. Pulitzer finalist Martin to deliver reading Thursday ENTERTAINMENT