Reaching Sunward

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Story time with B.B. King

Friday night, Karen F. and I went to see B.B. KingBBKing

at the Mountain Winery and here’s a little tale… Now, B.B. is 83 years old and still touring, which means the guys from Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones have something to emulate! B.B. is a happy old man from Mississippi, and he sits in his chair onstage and plays Lucille in between telling stories. He told us a story about when he was 18, and learned to drive a tractor on his cotton farm which he was sharecropping… He was a-way down at the end of a row when he saw a man go into the shotgun shack where he lived with his new bride. So he told his boss he stubbed his toe, that he needed to go home and get a bandage, and went to the house to see what man was visiting. His wife said “it was your daddy” and B.B. said, “well where is he? There’s flatland Delta for miles and I don’t see him.” Then B.B. said, “you know there’s all kinds of women…big ones, itty bitty ones, curvy ones, straight ones, but women of all shapes and sizes have hips. And they’ll let you know when you’ve crossed a line by putting their hands on their hips. And at that point, you better start cryin’ while you’re begging for forgiveness.” Then B.B. slapped his right knee, leaned back in his chair, jiggled like a bowl of jello, laughed silently, and as he came forward laughed out loud with whoop hoo hoo and a he-hehe laugh that tickled everyone in the audience pink, because we could tell he just tickled himself pink tellin’ that story. Then he sang a song about not wanting ANYbody to visit his wife, not even her sister. Now my Nana (great-grandma) had the very same laugh… a laugh that seems quintessentially Southern, although I don’t know why. Nana was born in Alabama in 1907. She died when she was 93 years old. She would say things like “that man can park his boots under my bed anytime” or “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket but I’m gonna sing anyway.” And she would proceed to sing, a sound I can only compare to cats squalling (sorry, it’s true and I’m glad I did not get my singing voice from Nana). Then, she’d slap her right knee, lean back in her chair, jiggle a bit, laugh silently, then lean forward with a whoop hoo hoo and a he-hehe. There’s probably a song in that.

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