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A Tail of Two Cats ~ By John Bolton
Our sons have long since grown up and moved away. Our two black cats are like children to us now. I think their stories are worth telling.
Elvis came to us first. Linda and I were biking the Raccoon River Trail on a late summer morning. About ten miles out we crossed a gravel road. The trail on the far side had a shady line of trees.…Continue
I am imagining CBG Heaven. We can all of us play like Robert Johnson or Elmore James - or whomever we wish we could play like. And we can all sing like angels or devils. Heck, we can even dance. And look good doing it.
Okay, here's the deal. Who do you want to do a song with and what song do you want to do?
I want to do the song…Continue
Small Town Hero by John Bolton
Goodland County, Oklahoma.
I picked up the Sunday paper and read the front page headlines.
Oklahoma won its bowl game. Football is big here in Oklahoma. As I started to dig for the funnies and sports page, a photo on the bottom of the front page caught my eye. It was Travis Erbeck, my old friend from Clayton. The bold print read, ‘Small Town Hero: Good Samaritan Dies Saving Girl And Dog.’
I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. It was…Continue
Professor Pete ~ A Goodland County Story
By John Bolton
Clayton, Oklahoma 1934
Professor Pete and Stanley Peters rode the northbound into Goodland County on a gorgeous October afternoon. The steam whistle blew two shorts and long as the train slowed for the town of Clayton. The boys had no idea or immediate concern for where they were. They were both very drunk.
They were dangling their legs from an empty Morton Salt boxcar and Stan stood up to pee. The engineer hit…Continue
Hospice House by John Bolton
Lee and Elaine Hampton sat in the Dr. Allen’s waiting room. Lee was in a wheel chair. Little was said. They had been married for forty five years and would not make it to forty six. Lee was dying of stomach cancer that had spread to his bones. He was seventy and Elaine two years younger.
Cheryl, Doc’s long time nurse, put the Hamptons in a room. Doc came in and greeted them as he used…Continue
Big Bottom Girls by John Bolton
Goodland County, Oklahoma
Maggie Jinks, Susie Slater and Thelma Trueax were the big bottom girls. Big Bottom School which was officially designated but seldom called Goodland County School #9. It was a wood framed one room school house with nineteen students ranging from first to eighth grade. There were no seventh graders in 33’ and the BB girls, as the only eighth graders, ruled the roost. Miss Potter, their teacher. She…Continue
Death Letter Blues – A Sister Zee Story
By John Bolton
May 12, 1929 was the proudest day of Zee Woolfolk’s life. That day she was ordained a minister of God. The Reverend Booker Brown, Zee’s friend, mentor and former pastor, was there with a bouquet of flowers, a presentation bible and a proud, fatherly hug. Zee had dreamed of serving as assistant pastor under Booker, but that was not to be. Booker had been called to a bigger church in Nashville and Zee would remain and…Continue
The Yodeling Deputy by John Bolton
Goodland County, Oklahoma
The week of Delroy Wright’s 21rst birthday was eventful. He was sworn in as deputy in the Goodland County Sheriff’s Department and he a gig to play and sing at a house party come…
Sometimes You Eat The Bear
By John Bolton
Bill True was in a deep sleep when his alarm clock woke him. It was the first Saturday of January, 1932. Bill had slept poorly until that last hour before the alarm went off at six. Saturday was his least favorite day. It was bill collection day. Bill was a milkman.
The job wasn’t making ends meet. His wife, Emma, was laid off from the dry cleaners. Emma was in Clinton, Iowa to help with the birth of their first grandchild. She’d…Continue
Lottery Blues by John Bolton
It was payday Friday and warm for March. Ray pulled on a pair of jeans, cheap tennies, his Howling Wolf tee-shirt and a faded orange cap. He strolled three blocks to County Hospital.
Used to be, Ray was the lead housekeeper at County. Now he was mostly retired. He still worked a day or so a week, mostly, doing floors. Ray was a wizard with floors.
He went down the stairs to the basement of the building and into the Housekeeping office just as…Continue
After arriving in Chicago in 1919, Jackson Black played a lot of blues and worked a variety of jobs. He hoped to make a living playing harp. That did not happen. He began to realize that he was good, but maybe not ‘make a living’ good.
He tried the stockyards for a year. He lasted two at meat packing. He did house framing, shingling and sewer work.
He bought a Harmony guitar and…Continue
Song writing Lesson.
Recipe for an easy blues song.
3 lines per verse. First and second lines are the same words.
The third line ends in a word that is a rhyme or near rhyme for the last word in the first lines.
The third line resolves or answers or somehow completes what was said in the previous 2 lines.
The first line is often about 12 syllables give or take a few…Continue
Jackson's Blues by John Bolton
Monday, November 25, 1963
It was a sad day in this negro man’s life… The day of JFK’s funeral. It was after supper and I was sitting alone in the kitchenette, living room and bedroom of my one room apartment. I was sippin’ Ten High whiskey from a jelly jar and listening to ‘Heat Wave’ by Martha and the Vandellas on WKNR. Not blues, but good music.
Most evenings I will play me some blues. Most evenings I feel…Continue