13 May 2020

[Ellis Millsaps] - Uncle Joe's Band

God damn well I declare
 Have you seen the like?
 Their walls are built of cannonballs.
 Their motto is don't tread on me.

Come hear Uncle John's Band
 By the riverside.
 We've got some things to talk about
 Here beside the rising tide.

Jerome J. Garcia/Robert C. Hunter
Uncle John’s Band, 

 It’s looking today, March 6th, 2020, as if Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president. Things could change. For example as of today we have three candidates from the two major parties left in the running, three men in their late seventies. What are the odds they'll all three still be alive in November? One recently had a heart attack, another is an a obese septuagenarian eating a diet of junk food. I think Uncle Joe has the inside track in the longevity lane.

 When this started a few months ago the Democrats had the most diverse field of presidential candidates ever presented. Now we have two old geezers. How did this come about?

 It came about because black candidates didn't get the support of African Americans and women didn't support the women. Neither group has the standing to do all this complaining I'm hearing today. No national candidate for the Democrats can succeed without majority support from African Americans, and women because of their longevity are the majority of voters and they're more likely than men to vote for Democrats.

                                 [3 weeks later)

On March 6th I decided to wait until the following Tuesday to see how Uncle Joe's band would do. Uncle Joe's band came through in fine form but the day after that last primary vote the whole world changed. Watching TV since then I would be willing to have a do-over and draft Andrew Cuomo as president but I’m fine with Uncle Joe.

Two things have been steady for us through past national disasters: music and baseball.  As I recall baseball only paused for a day or two after 9/11 and I recall the national concert soon thereafter with Tom Petty playing ‘I Won't Back Down.’ Radio provided free music during World War II and jazz bands played for our troops in Europe. Glen Miller died delivering it, We played major league baseball all the way through World War II with a one-armed outfielder and a pitcher with  an artificial leg.

 In my next piece I'll explain why in my opinion we should be playing baseball and how we can do it. Today I'll stick with some music.

 Of course we should be listening to Sting’s admonition, “Don't stand, don't stand, don't stand so close to me,” and maybe the Georgia Satellites’ “She said don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.”

Maybe you’ve seen it on TV or the web but Neil Diamond changed some words of 

                                  [two months after I started, new laptop in hand]

Sweet Caroline as follows:

Hands washing hands,
Reaching out
Don’t touch me,
I won’t touch you

I catch myself singing a medley of ”I Will Survive” and Stayin’ Alive.” In my less optimistic moods I drift to the Drive-By Truckers:

So I'll meet  you at the bottom if  there really is one.
They always told me when you hit it you’ll know it
But I’ve been fallin’ so long it’s like gravity's gone
And I’m just floatin’

Gravity’s Gone, John Michael Cooley

But I think that in this dark hour on the brink of the Second Great Depression the best we can do is follow the advice of Jesse Colin Young:

Come on people now
Smile on your brother.
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now. 

And maybe more of uncle John’s Band:

Well the first days are the hardest days,
Don’t you worry any more
‘Cause when life looks like easy street
There is danger at your door.
Think this through with me, let me know 
Your mind
Woah-oh. what I want to know, is are you


Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...