You can’t beat live Donny Hathaway no way

Terry gave me a Donny Hathaway song which made me fall in love with them both. Terry he was a pal first and I was not attracted to him but would wave to him from my 50 cc scooter when he was walking into or out of the Greek restaurant where he worked. Later I found out that he didn’t wash or iron his work shirts but instead stopped on the way and bought a white waiter shirt at Value Village.

Terry was in the South driving from horse track to horse track (he had a bookie that worked out of a smoke shop) while managing a pretty famous jazz guitarist (Terry was a jazz guitarist, too — one time we drove Joe Pass to the airport) so I flew down and he picked me up at that minuscule Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma and we drove around and that’s when I fell head over roper boot heels for him. At a Memphis hotel, maids giggled up and down the halls and we got my menstrual blood on the curtains.

One time we were at a fruit stand eating peaches in a different state my sky blue cotton skirt swinging back and forth like a dreamy bell. Peach juice dropped to the gravel below in slow motion the drops hit dust and jumped back up to resemble a 1960s chandelier. Terry turned to me then and said, “If we don’t stay together we will always be with people who love us more than we love them.”

I was so gone for him that I would grocery shop in my Grandma’s molting fur coat and rhinestone slippers, smiling large because when I loved Terry I loved everyone else too. If you walked with him he would throw bones to both the sweet dog and the snarling cur, exactly like Jesus. How about this: Terry shook half a bottle of baby powder over his head in the morning, jog with his eyes closed and walk around wearing just a shirt. Like that profile of Willie Nelson in the New Yorker years ago where they were all in his bus and he only had a shirt on and was naked from the waist down! Must be a musician thing.

Of course it all ended disastrously. Donny Hathaway had jumped off the Essex House in NYC.  I married someone else as did Terry. Then Terry died of jaw cancer and I flew to his funeral in the Ozark Mountains and even his dogs were devastated, walking so slow with grief. But Terry left me Hathaway’s A Song For You and for years I cried when it came on the radio. But I don’t anymore.

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