I helped him peel his black Lycra shorts down over his hip and thigh, scraped raw and embedded with gravel from the road. He winced and bent his head back in pain. He breathed deep, in and out, to keep from crying. Blood rimmed the edge of the peeled place, and the center was pink and white. While I hurried to get the first aid kit, he hobbled to the shower to bathe the wound.
“Not too hot,” I called. No answer.
When I returned, he was gingerly allowing the lukewarm water to run over his thigh, sluicing blood down the drain. Eyes closed, teeth clenched, he turned his face toward heaven in agonized supplication.
Her hand-me-down dress was way too big for her, hem nearly reaching her skinny ankles and the waist not touching her anywhere. Her dusty legs went directly into dirty red Keds, not taking on any socks, clean or otherwise. No one had bothered to wash, brush, or trim the mousy, lank strands that fell limply over one eye and down to her shoulders. Though someone had, maybe a month ago, given her a “manicure” with hot pink polish. It was mostly chewed or peeled off by now, but a few of her grubby fingers showed remains of hot pink.
She sat on the stiff office chair by the social worker’s desk, studying her chipped nail polish and dangling her legs which didn’t reach the floor.
“Now, tell me your name.”
She peered up briefly through her stringy hair, said “Neecy,” and looked back down.
“Is that short for Denise?”
Neecy shrugged her thin shoulders in the baggy dress, and said no more.
[On a website called Hillbilly Culture, run by Amanda Williams, I am writing daily exercises and posting one on the site. This is another one I liked, so I decided to post it here].
During our recent visit to Nashville, we sat in on the live broadcast of The Music Row Show on WLAC. Former Temeculite, Scott Southworth, hosts the show with charming sidekick Heino Moeller. We sat in the corner of the studio, quiet as mice, while Scott and Heino interviewed publisher Woody Bomar and writer Brett Jones. Afterward, we had our picture taken with Brett Jones, who wrote “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “I Wanna Be a Hillbilly,” and “Crazy Town,” which he played live for us on his well-worn acoustic guitar. Both men were real, down-to-earth, and welcoming. We left the studio after two hours on cloud 9 and floated to the car, amazed that we had the privilege to be with such accomplished Nashville musicians. Thanks a million to Scott for the invitation.
I suppose you’d like to know what words of wisdom I took away from the evening. I would, too. I didn’t take notes because I didn’t think it polite. I also didn’t expect to learn so much. I was also so star-struck that I didn’t register much of what I heard, except Woody Bomar’s saying, “I tell aspiring songwriters that it never hurts to ask.” I took him at his word and later asked by email if I could send him some songs. He said yes, I sent them, he rejected them, and that was that.
However, the whole evening’s broadcast is available on the website. Just google The Music Row Show, and you can listen to it in the archives. You might hear me laugh in the background