Thursday, June 30, 2011

As the Crow flies ......

It seems like yesterday I drove to Slidell, La from Hattiesburg, Ms.  I needed some time to unwind.  College, work and an unending love triangle,  had taken it's toll.  A place I once ran away from, I despretaly wanted to return to, even if just for a while.  I knew where you'd be, one of my oldest and closest friends.  No call or page necessary, I was always welcome.  Stopped by my other Mom's house on the way.  It could be 2 am or 2 pm and Mrs. Chris would have a pot of coffee brewing and plenty of time to talk.  Many, many great conversations were held at that kitchen table.

It felt good to walk into that bar, we owned that bitch, Minicapelli's.  We won more money on those pool tables than we could at 2 full time jobs. I held my head high, I was the man in here, BlueBird 23rd.  There you sat, like the Don Dada, a King even, always with your striped Polo shirt, light blue jeans, boots, gold chain, watch, ring.  Just watching your bar, scoping the suckers and the sharks.  I felt like you knew I was coming tonight, you were waiting on me.  "What up Dave," I said.  "Just keeping it real, Jimmy-James" you replied while shaking the "shaka sign" towards me.  "Shaka?"  That was new to me.  "Come sit down, I got this pitcher of Purple Haze for you, and a little something-something for later."  That wicked grin flashing like the cheshire Cat.  "For you?", I thought.  You were just too damn smooth, already had a beer poured by the time I got to the table.  "You know I don't smoke weed anymore, but thanks anyway."  "I know dog, but I ain't gonna stop offering, and one day you will accept."  "Good times" I said as I gave him a hug. We both just busted out laughing, *CLANK* toasted those glasses up and downed a beer each.  We had done this so many times before, but is was different this time.  It all felt different.  We hadn't talked in weeks, so how did you know I was coming tonight?

"Where is Scott?"  I asked. (His brother and my other closest friend.)  "Aww man, you know Scott, probably drinking with his girlfriend."  "That's how he rolls" I replied, *CLANK* downing another beer.  We drank, pitcher after pitcher.  We smoked pack after pack of cigarettes, Camel Special Lights for me, and Doral full flavored 100's for you.  I know a bunch of our partners were there, but  I don't remember exactly who.  People had gotten caught up in bullshit, the "War on Drugs."  Several close friends were in jail, or prison.  Just because they wanted to feel better for a little while, some just didn't want to feel anymore at all.  "Comfortably Numb" plays inside my mind, we loved that song.  Even today I think of times I just wish I could be sedated., just "Comfortably Numb" for a little while.

Darts were played, the music was raging (Eye for an Eye by Soulfly), pool games were won,  and money was flashing all around the room.  Now we would say we were "Making it Rain on 'em."  "Who thinks they can beat us in pool," you challenged, "double, triple, or quadruple to one, we win."  I knew you were fucked up then, never go over double or nothing.  Remember that time you won that $600 off that kid and when we confronted him his friends threatened to stab us if we didn't leave him alone?   "Jump up, jump up and get down, Jump around."  House of Pain rocking on the Jukebox.  There were many homies there, some special ladies too.  I remember feeling the love for weeks after I left.  Some people even called to make sure I was aiight, back in Hattiesburg.

The bar finally closed, somehow I woke up at my moms house the next afternoon.  Ohhh, that Purple Haze, god damn my head was pounding!  I lay there thinking about the night before, I just couldn't get that smile off my face.  I kept seeing you, smiling saying "Just keeping it real Jimmy-James."  Did you really know I was coming or was I just tripping?

Years later I was faced with some of the hardest decisions I would ever have.  Wrecking my mind and my heart, literally tearing me apart, what should I do?  I battled those decisions for weeks.  I was driving back from Slidell one day on the interstate and I was falling to pieces.  I could have run off into the woods at 80 mph and I wouldn't have given a fuck.  I was about to ruin the rest of my life.  Then, like an Angel, you appeared right there before me.  I could see through you, but you were right there in front of me.  It was like a fallen Jedi master, talking to his pupil.  I thought I had lost my damn mind, but I kept driving and I told you my story. 

That day you changed my life, my whole outlook on life as a whole. Looking straight into my eyes I heard those words again, "Just keeping it real Jimmy-James" and in a instant I knew what to do.  It was so simple.  I just started laughing, and so did you.  Several times since then you have said it and I have listened.  Those words have kept me from screwing up big time, several times.

For grins and giggles, I looked up the meaning of "Shaka" on the net last week, just out of curiosity.  It said "til we meet again."  I almost fell out of my chair at work.  I ask again, how did you know?  It has been to long, it took me over 10 years to put this into writing.  I wrote this all to you, because I never got the chance to thank you, brother.  Thank you for saving me.  R.I.P. David Ladd Crow  1976-1998

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