Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted and Me - It was the Summer of 1980 and . . .I was not teaching school . . .and Drinking and Fishing in the Kankakee!

Aug. 12, 1980: In an emotional speech to the Democratic National Convention, withdraws his bid for the presidency.

I was not moved. It was politics. God, I am such a mean cynical bastard about our elected officials.

Senator Ted Kennedy died of a brain tumor, actually the brain tumor does not kill but complications to all the other organs ( renal failure e.g.) due to the tumor put out the lights. This I know.

Everyone with a thigh is moved. . .moved I say . . . to recount their tales of the Old Lion of the Senate and to somehow insinuate themselves into Ted's Tale. I have a brace of them -thighs -not tales - nicely fleshed but masculine. I got one tale of Ted.

Here goes. In 1980, I was in my fifth year of teaching English at Bishop Martin D. McNamara High School in Kankakee, my third year of dating the lovely and witty Mary Elizabeth Cleary whom I would be blessed with in marriage, partnership in parenthood in 1983 and forced to send back to God in 1998, and in my sixth year as 5-string banjo ( C tuning)/Guitarist ( Gibson J240) with Sons of Reilly's Daughter with Terry McEldowney ( singer) and Willie Winters ( Vocals Guitar). On special occasions we'd be joined by the great Whitey O'Day!

We were practiced and for the most part profesional.

Sometime that summer we were asked to play in the Auditorium of Mother McAuley High School to warm up the house for Senator Ted Kennedy who was running for President against the aimless Jimmy Carter. I was a Jimmy Boy until about two weeks into the Carter White House when the Man from Plains revealed himself to be the Bunny Phobe Bored Round the World.

Anyway, we were excited to play a freebie for a Kennedy. We had played at the Old Beverly House on the triangle at 103rd/Ashland/Vincennes for Sarge Shriver who could not pack a phone booth a couple of years earlier, but this was the Bloodline Himself.

We played Irish songs, Italian songs, Polish songs, Jewish songs, and C/W hits much to the thigh-tingling excitement of the crowd - Teddy was late. Congressman Marty Russo got there ahead of Teddy and pumped up the crowd some more . . .still no Teddy.

Terry McEldowney asked the crowd if Marty Russo were not the "Tallest Trunk-Stuffer they had ever seen?" Much to the amusement of the best Congressman the 3rd District ever had. Still no Teddy.

We were asked by impressario Boz O'Brien to do one more set. We did. I broke two strings on the 5-string Willie did guitar work for Ballads Danny Boy & Kevin Barry. I was bent over getting out strings and got knocked over by security Teddy was on!

He said "Hhhhhhhheerrrrreeeee innnnn SHA-Caw-wah-Gow!!!!!! . .. .yadda yadda" Five minutes and gone all the while I was monkeying with two strings I'd not need that day. I never saw his mug, shook his mitt or said Howdy. I was on the floor stringing my banjo. Show Over. Ah, Teddy, I hardly knew ye! God speed.

Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy - Show Over.

1 comment:

Max Weismann said...

Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy - Show Over.

And I hardly missed ya