Late last Saturday evening after not being able to rest, I went out and sat on the back porch. There was a slight breeze coming through the airy wicker chair and the off balance ceiling fan made a constant clicking noise. The leaves trembled the unmistakable sound of fall. The predictable percussion and weekend crowd came from the Windy City Grille. It quieted down. So I knew the band was on their break. That’s when I could hear the rhythmic drumming traveling from distant hills. This was the Turner Family’s annual goat roast and picnic. David and I couldn’t attend. Earlier in the week Avatar was admitted to the hospital and had only been home for a couple of days. We couldn’t leave him alone.
Besides, large crowds, especially at night, are hard for me to navigate. I enjoyed listening and remembering Sharde, her brother Bill, and cousins leading a huge procession of people dancing to the fife and drum band. Other hill country stars that also performed were R L Boyce, Kenny brown, Luther Dickinson, and Blue Mother Tupelo. You’ll see the same local folks there every year, along with fans from all over the U.S. and from different parts of the world.
People still talk about how Como was once the smallest, richest town in the country. I say money can come and it too can go. That’s an interesting statistic from the past. In my opinion it’s a shallow claim to fame. I feel the wealth in this area is measured in its people and rich musical heritage. I feel the real pulse of the town’s past is the people and rich musical heritage. The bronze marker s along main street remind us and now serve as points of reference for roots music scholars and aficionados. Definitely, I was like one of those many visitors to Como wanting to document and preserve the blues. I arrived with what felt like an entourage that consisted of a Mississippi Roads cameraman, four friends of the turner family, a photographer- reporter from Santa Fe New Mexico, my assistant, me and guide Bella. It was Martin Luther King weekend 2003. My long journey to Othar’s home was only a few hours but the experience was one that I will never forget. It brought me back to help a friend with a sojourn to Como in October of 2005.