When she sang the blues

Scintilla prompt # 3: Talk about a memory triggered by a particular song.

Dozens and dozens of songs make me remember. They bring to mind those unforgettable experiences, cause my lips to smile or my eyes to water, or maybe just make me sigh. The other day I heard a song playing on the radio, and it brought me back instantly to a time when I felt terribly insecure, and incredibly loved, and incomprehensibly confident when I sang along with a desperately talented soul.

Janis Joplin’s Bobby McGee makes me remember when my best friends and I used to go out around 9 pm and come home after the bar closed at 2 am. In between, we drank pitchers of cheap beer, scanning the smoky scene that surrounded us.  We were regulars at a dive bar located outside of Georgetown in Washington D.C. We were 21 or so (or perhaps a little younger — I once got in to this joint using my college library card).

Janis died before I was born, but the legacy she left in her music remains. Something about her unrefined voice and seventies style character is powerful and genuine. We played this song at full volume on our way home with the windows rolled down, and our hair whipped around in the wind.

Our eyes were bright.

My conscience was wide open for all of life’s gifts, joys, marvels and disappointments to begin to shape my future and the present day.

The three of us were the choir for young Janis’s bluesy hymn.

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train
And I’s feeling nearly as faded as my jeans.
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained,
It rode us all the way to New Orleans.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna,
I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues.
Windshield wipers slapping time, I was holding Bobby’s hand in mine,
We sang every song that driver knew.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

From the Kentucky coal mines to the California sun,
Hey, Bobby shared the secrets of my soul.
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done,
Hey Bobby baby? kept me from the cold.

One day up near Salinas, I let him slip away,
He’s looking for that home and I hope he finds it,
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows for just one yesterday
To be holding Bobby’s body next to mine.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing, that’s all that Bobby left me, yeah,
But feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
Hey, feeling good was good enough for me, hmm hmm,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee


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