What can YOU say in six sentences?
Ten o’clock Friday morning, two women in housecoats were smoking in dinette chairs on a porch no bigger than a sheet of plywood. Two shotgun houses away, three men worked on a late model Ford, hood raised, its right front wheel on blocks.
One of the shadetree mechanics kept hitching up his pants, which required that he bite the tip of his cigarette to free his hands. He was bare-chested, a twentysomething David – only bronze, not marble – and one of the women fixed him with a hungry stare.
Around a few corners, but on the same side of the tracks, smoke curled upward from a takeout rib shack’s grill on wheels. The establishment was Goodwill-bin small, barely big enough for the cook, whose blaxploitation sideburns were 50 years out of date.
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Six-thirty that evening, at the other end of Greenwood, one of the finest R&B (heavy on the B) bands I’ve ever heard was making the catfish dance in the nearby Yazoo River. After each song, five people clapped – mine the loudest.
Incredibly, fewer than 100 people, most of them white, were within sight of the stage for this free concert. Two couples and a few children danced, and then the band broke into Albert King’s “I’ll Play the Blues for You.”
That pulsating classic lured a ribsman from his kiosk to the forefront, and he was all-by-himself poetry in motion … SMOKIN … causing men to look at their shoes, women to bob in their seats and one little girl to wander onto the street and imitate his moves.
If his homemade barbecue sauce was half as spicy as his thrusts, even teetotalers would’ve stampeded the beer tent.