Stranded Strummers: A Guest Post

My grandfather is a storyteller...I think that's where I get it. He has written some amazing tales over his time and has also experienced some amazing situations. Today he shared this story about playing in a band with my dad, and his adventures on the road, and I'd like to share it. And here is a picture of him too- just so you can picture it. But I imagine he would say "Picture me younger, trimmer, and even more handsome than I look right now...this was 40 years ago."

Back when I lived in Iowa, when my son-in-law Tommy was alive we played every time we got together. There were also about five others who we played with from time to time. When we had lots to drink, I thought we played and sang just great. :-)

Tommy was a great singer, though, and when he was in high school he had his own band. His band was so good that they played at the officers club in Mineral Wells- Fort Walters. Tommy, then 16 and his band were too young to drive so General Mc Kennin would send his staff car to pick them up. Anyway, back to my main story. Every time Tommy and I found a new song we wanted to play, I would make copies, put page numbers on them and send a copy to each of the guys playing with us.

One winter day, years later I was headed to St Paul; I had a service man from the Mineral Wells factory with me. He was a good guy and when he came to see me he brought his guitar with him. His name was Ronnie Dodson, and he was a song writer. I happened to have my stand-up bass in the back of my station wagon.

Sooner or later, we found ourselves driving into a blizzard. About half way to St. Paul the roads got so bad, I pulled into some town where we checked into a motel. We checked into our rooms and then we headed for the bar. About three or four hours later someone suggested to the other stranded people in the bar that Ronnie and I get our instruments and play a few numbers.  (Truth is, it was my idea. Martinis just did that to me.)

One thing led to another, the drinks kept coming our way and the motel manager thought he was having the time of his life. Closing time was 1:00 a.m. but the manager locked the bar room door and we partied until about 4:00 or 4:30.

The next morning, around 9:00 a.m., there was a knock on our door. I opened it to find the manager wheeling in a cart that had scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and ham, and four bloody marys (2 for each).

When he left he said, "If you guys want to stick around tonight, the rooms will be on me." Well, who could turn down a deal like that! The roads were bad anyway. Ha.

Tommy taught me to play and when he died I hung it up.
I have now given my guitar, stand-up bass and my banjo to Sam and Davis and Nikki. When they start the Bennett Band I will get 10 percent royalties.

Ah, the good old days.