Shufflin' Off From Buffalo

Shufflin' Off From Buffalo

One time, after a few friends played in Buffalo, I took one of the songwriter's advice and "headed west, took a left then followed my heart down South..." Well... sort of anyway.

First stop. Kent, Ohio to say hello to Carney Dee. Diane was a good friend of all of ours. She sold Ferris Wheels. Gorillas. Booked every act a two-bit, and some times hot-shot traveling carney would pay for. She drank beer for extra money. She worked for Leroy at his diner. You've NEVER been served by a better gum chewing hip swinging big breasted wise talking cook/waitress as she. Leroy was a beer can collector's supplier. We'd empty the cans for Leroy. Canžt sell full beer cans to Beer Can Collectors.

One time she came through Saratoga with ten cases of Gemini Beer."Allright boys . . . I've got to go to Boston and sell an Octopus ride. I want the cans empty by the time I get back!"

Diane wasn't home when I made it into Kent. She lived above the Main Street's theater marquee. Every now and then the cops would knock and plead with her not the change the letters into naughty phrases . . . and if you do, please put on some clothes.

The last part they really didn't mind that much. She was beautiful and they cruised Main Street often.

I went to a saloon for dinner, catch the Cub's baseball game and chat with some folks.

The owner and his wife were nice. There was a high tension around town. It was just after the kids had been murdered by the National Guard. Most of the Guard came from the area. Hitchhiking strangers were viewed with a suspicious cold, insecure eye. I ate some, talked sports. Mostly about The Cubs, then got around to what had happened at the school, the young kids they knew in The National Guard... and my traveling through. The Wife looked at me really trying to understand. She was leaning forward trying to get closer to me.

"What's your mother think?...Isn't she just worried sick with you out with all those lunatics running around? Don't you get scared?" I said I'd traveled since the get go and My folks figured people who didn't know me were more scared of me as an unknown. She shook her head and made sure I had plenty to eat.

I found D. the next day after sleeping behind a fraternity's dumpster.

We spent some wonderful time in that town. Often eating breakfast on top of the Kent Theatre Marquee/front porch over-looking Main Street. We'd be dressed in silky dressing robes. I borrowed one of hers.

Carney Dee is one of the more wonderful, original folks in universe.

Time to check the compass and get back on the track west.

Coming up into Michigan I got a ride from a father and thirteen-year old daughter returning from a clog dancing festival. Fine conversation. Sweet young lady. We look out the windows at workers in the fields.

"Shame they have to be out there in the hot sun. Hardly any money rotten conditions."

I nodded and agreed.

"Ought to get the niggers out there."

Oh well . . . I was getting a hundred plus mile ride and the girl had some years to dissipate her father's ignorance and bigotry.

Ann Arbor and Willis Allen Ramsey was playing The Ark.

He has a tune, I think called, "North-East Texas Women." Toward the end everybody is bonking a glass or bottle or making some sort of syncopation.

He played, "Going back to old Missoula," and I reckoned it was time to keep movin'.

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