Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Swing brothers

The Swing brothers were well known all over town, playing most nights at “Maxie’s”.  Carl Swing manned a guitar, Buddy a crisp banjo.  They were two animated redheads, tall drinks of water in flannel shirts and well-worn jeans. They featured bluegrass but would occasionally transition into country western if the crowd mostly wore cowboy boots.  Maxie himself was never sure to whom he was pitching his beers and burgers.  For a while he was trying to lure in the college crowd but didn’t understand that all they were after was cheap drinks and free eats.

Thursday night was Bikers' Night and a neat row of shining Harleys lined the parking strip.  Pity the young ladies who came in looking to meet men. They paid no attention to the lasses just talked biker talk and checked out each other’s Harleys.

Word has it that Maxie was a failed PhD. candidate in philosophy and had a sort of academic nervous breakdown and never returned to this thesis committee.  Maxie kept a stand up table in the front window which held a very thick Merriam Webster's, to keep arguments at bay.  

That was 20 years ago.  Maxie wasn’t the only drop out.  Carl and Buddy never made it past the first quarter as freshmen. Too many coeds and late night parties kept them from hitting the books.  But the Swing Brothers musical abilities saved them from becoming oil jockeys or driving Pepsi delivery trucks.  Everyone who heard them appreciated their talents and tips on Saturday night were generous.

It had been a long long time since I had been to Marie's. I went over to check it out when I was visiting my home town recently  It wasn't the same.  The dictionary was gone from the window and Wi-Fi was everywhere.  They were serving vegetarian burgers and had a long list of draft beers.  There were still the well worn booths, but the crowd wasn't the same.  They all looked like middle school students, dressed in baggy shorts wearing their baseball hats backwards, probably playing hooky from early afternoon classes. Sometimes it's better not to revisit the past. 

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