For those who were not around in 1958 or didn’t have access to Nashville’s 50,000 watt, clear channel WLAC at night from around 9:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning, 4:00 a.m., i think, it is sad you were not mesmerized by Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles, and Big John R playing Lonesome Sundown’s two sided 45 rpm hit when it was released on Excello Records, a label i probably had at one time on about 100 blues records — they were good deals from Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin and beat the hell of the baby chicks Wolfman Jack sold on the Mexican 250,000 watt station after being mentored by Hoss Allen.
Lonesome Sundown’s 45 is still in my record collection. “I’m a Mojo Man” and “Lonely, Lonely Me” have been at the top of my play list since the late nights in the upstairs bedroom i shared with my brother Joe when i hid the radio under my covers with me at 14 testosterone charged days of a 14-year old and listened to the blues.
“I’m a Mojo Man” was what i longed to be.
“Lonely, Lonely Me” was what i believed i was and what would be my fate.
Recently, i have felt i might have returned to my prediction of lonely, lonely me. But then, i discovered friends, Tom Bradley and Frank Kerrigan have, in their own way, expressed their idea of the way our politicians (and their supporters) should interact.
i recently shared the link Tom sent me, a column from David Brooks. Then he doubled down and shared a column by Albert Brooks: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/opinion/sunday/political-polarization.html?fbclid=IwAR10uHJtYNJIfcph51KdxBk3oaFWGKXGV9tfYFSNeRyAm5xbmgQIEpSt9rQ
Both articles are thoughtful, insightful and to me comforting. There are some folks out there who can articulate how i feel about this mess we have gotten ourselves into and there are even more who apparently agree with the two Brooks and me.
Then Frank posted a bunch of photos he took in Washington, D.C. and his sentiments expressed in his captions echoed the articles of the two Brooks. i was encouraged again. i’m not a lonely, lonely me.
While Tom and Frank (and the Brooks, not brothers) were revealing my relevance to me, i am in the midst of reading Gordon S. Wood’s Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. i have always been intrigued with the two statesmen and contributors to the founding of our country. When i saw it on the shelf at my favorite bookstore (yes, they still have a few privately owned bookstores in San Diego), the Book Catapult in North Park, i grabbed it. After finishing a couple of other books on my side table, including Slavish Shore: The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr. by Jeffrey Amestoy, i picked up Wood’s tome and began. i am about half way through.
It is very thorough, not something i normally get into. It’s lengthy. Unexpectedly, i am entranced. Wood uses quotes from both Adams, Jefferson and their peers to delve into how our government, specifically our constitution was created. The way their world worked compared to ours today was different, even the cultures of Virginia and Massachusetts were different as well as the other states to be.
What is most impressive is these two men and the other statesmen from the thirteen commonwealths wanted to create a government that worked, recognized such a government needed checks and balances, and even though there were significant differences in their opinions about what their future should be, created what i believe is the best solution for a working, effective government ever. Ever. And Amestoy’s book on Dana demonstrates the desire to do what was right continued to be woven into the fabric of our country even though one-sided ambitions were also prevalent.
Being people, we have skewed the workings into something that doesn’t seem to be working now. Our politics, our culture has created “my way or the highway” operation. Lines are not drawn in the sand. They are drawn what scarily look like battle lines. Denigration of those with differences of opinion, denial of the obvious, passion for causes with no consideration of the ramifications, yes, and even lying are all aimed to get what one segment or another wants. What i learned in McClain Elementary School about the communists believed the ends justified the means seems to have been adopted by all of our current political positions. i was taught just the opposite, and still believe we must do what’s right, not what’s wrong to achieve our goals. There are good (and bad) folks on all sides. Deal with the issues in the right way.
i am hoping there are enough sane folks out there who, along with David Brooks, Albert Brooks, Tom Bradley, and Frank Kerrigan who will not allow this…this…i struggled to find the right noun here but finally agreed with myself my first inclination was correct…insanity to rule our lives.
Thank you, guys, and of course, Lonesome Sundown.