John Lennon/Paul McCartney
James Brown/Bob Marley
Tom Petty/George Harrison
The Band/Led Zep
Roy Buchanan/Stevie Ray
John Coltraine/Miles Davis
It was the fourth of July and it was so hot that the lizards were not only crawling on front porches but they were turning colors as they scampered.
Thornton Krell was in another new town preparing for another min-brewery performance. As he walked up the hill on Serenity Street, he passed by a house displaying the stars and stripes. He said “Happy Holiday” to the scowling woman standing beneath the flag.
The woman responded by asking “where do you live”.Her background music sounded like the music playing when someone is so suspicious that they are ready to call the cops. Background music that suggested a fear of strangers. Background music that hinted “what’s a person like You doing on a street like THIS walking in the sun on such a fucking hot day in MY neighborhood.
Krell answered, “I’m from Centerville. It’s a real nice place.” and he continued his stroll.
Krell was a walker. He had become a walker during his time in Viet Nam. He kept the habit upon returning home. If his destination was in walking distance, he left his car and bike behind. Walking distance was ten miles….five miles out and five miles back.
Paul Revere and Raiders/Jay and the Americans
As he walked, Krell was in the habit of mentally comparing musical groups. If he had tickets for both and they were playing at the same time which one would he choose to see?
Jerry Lee Lewis/Fats Domino
Little Richard/Chuck Berry
Krell walked a lot even before Nam. He was one of those kids who didn’t take the bus and did walked a mile and a half to school every day as well as a mile and a half back from school. Exactly halfway through his walk there was a four way stop, patrolled by Mrs. Johnson who said hello and goodbye to Krell at least four times a day.
Johnny Rivers/Rick Nelson
James Gang/New Riders
Jefferson Airplane/Buffalo Springfield
At the stop was a corner grocery store owned by a guy named Red Burns who had run the store when Krell’s father was a kid. Everybody who stopped at the store called him “Red” or “Burnsie”. Krell was too polite for such casual language with an elder. Krell always called him Mr. Burns. Red appreciated that pleasantry and usually gave Krell an extra piece of bubble gum for being a “good kid”.
Blood Sweat and Tears/Chicago
Krell learned that good manners had rewards.
Also outside of Burnsie’s, Krell would run into Wilson. Wilson was beloved in the neighborhood. Nowadays, Wilson would probably be described as “special”. He was a tall guy who wore an Elmer Fudd hat regardless of the weather. Krell only knew Wilson to speak two words. Those two words were these:
Johnny Cash/Willie Nelson
Stevie Wonder/Ray Charles
Dionne Warwick/Dianna Ross
Diana Krall/Norah Jones
And Wilson didn’t say those words to everybody but he said them to Krell every time that they met at the for corner cross walk. Wilson “helped” Mrs. Johnson and it was rumored that Wilson was her cousin who had been shell shocked in WW2.
Everybody called Wilson Wilson except Krell.
Whenever Wilson said “hey boy” to Krell, Krell would respond…”Hey Mr. Wilson”
And Wilson would laugh, his too loud laugh.
Krell never knew if Wilson was his first name or his last name.
It took Krell a few months to realize that Wilson disappeared.
Upon the realization, Krell asked Mrs Johnson “where’s Wilson” to which Mrs. Johnson simply said “he lives somewhere else now.”
This was good enough for Krell.
Billy Joel/Elton John
Steve Miller/Bob Segar
Michael Jackson/Bruce Springsteen
Buddy Holly/Kurt Cobain
Dave Clark 5/Monkees
Glen Campbell/James Taylor
Pat Benatar/Joan Jett
Joni Mitchell/Bonnie Raitt
Lost in thought, heat and reminiscence, Krell never saw it coming as he walked through a red light on speed trap corner, twenty yards from the burned out shell of what once was a coven.