There is a river not too far from here. Hop, skip and a jump that way. You’ll be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
If you exit out our front door and take a right, just follow that road straight out. Over the tracks. Right down that way, on the left, is the access. Mind you, don’t keep going straight. That’s the new bridge and if you’re looking to get to the river you’ve gotta hang that left there or you’ll miss it. Then hell, you’ve got to drive pert near to the interstate before you can turn around.
When I was little, we didn’t take vacations in the sense that most families do. When my mother was little, they did the same as we did. My great-grandparents used to own a little trailer down at McCubbin’s Point, squished in amongst those little trailers inhabited by others from our town, and my mother spent her youth there. A lot of the population here spent their youth there. In local waters.
I was raised in those local waters. I saw people baptised in those waters and I saw the trees sway against the soft, summer wind there when I was young. To say that the river here affects me is an understatement and to say that I simply cannot understand those that don’t feel the way I do is the same. Those smells are ingrained in my being. I remember once, on a rare day without child a long while back, I went there with a friend. We stood in the river up to our necks, beers in hand, and said nothing. I remember thinking that that day, standing in those local waters, was quite possibly one of the best days of my life. That friend drowned years later and when I think of him now, I think of that day.
I have a hard time recalling my childhood, though it was good and perfect really, but I recall the river. I can walk down the incline, across that small creek, and out to the bank and immediately remember the time I wore my new jellies there against my parents wishes and lost them. I can remember my mother frying biscuits and cousins and tents full of skeeter eaters. I remember that.
There is music that is like a river to me. I hear it and it’s somehow familiar and it somehow feels like home. To be fair, I’m at least somewhat in love with all the music I lay out here but there are bits and pieces, compositions and mixtures of words that I occasionally run across that stand above the water.
King Jim bears the essence of my river. Between quite possibly the warmest banjo I’ve ever encountered and a soft voice lulling, I see the remnants of the old bridge of my childhood and I hear the rickety sounds of cars passing over the new bridge with seemingly no regard for what was there before and what it holds for some. But it’s okay and it is good. I have those memories and every summer, we’re forming our own, tacking them on top of what was there before and filling out that tree. King Jim is soundtracking.
I don’t know which way to turn, I got two rivers…
King Jim :: I Still Believe [MP3]