Thursday, December 22, 2011


It's hard for most people to give me Chuck Berry presents.  In the last five years or so people have given me old records, forgetting, maybe, that I pretty much own them all.  (Not all the records, but pretty much all the songs.)  My lovely wife Rebecca gave me a tattered copy of The Chuck Berry London Sessions to put next to the tattered copy of The Chuck Berry London Sessions that I've owned from the moment it was issued.  She also gave me a weird and tattered compilation of Mercury sides that I also bought used (and now tattered) pretty much as soon as The Chuck Berry London Sessions was issued.  But Rebecca is also the one who gave me two of my most treasured items.  The first was an autographed photo of Chuck Berry, which she gave me four months after we met and which, I believe, sealed the deal.  That was in 2003.  I don't even remember talking about Chuck Berry in those days, (I usually wait until I'm related by blood or decades to admit to someone that I'm certifiably insane) but I obviously did, and obviously with enough intensity and repetition to allow her to make an e-bay purchase and have it delivered in time for my birthday.  But then, three years ago, the bigger, cheaper gift: a $25 ticket to see my hero at a St. Louis bar and restaurant called Blueberry Hill.  I do remember talking about that, often.  I'd heard rumors, read short accounts, knew this was the place he liked to perform, and that many people came from miles-- thousands of miles-- around to hear him make his music there.  I didn't want the sun to go down on me, or on Chuck Berry, or on the Blueberry Hill shows, before I did, too.  I wasn't even that much of a fan at the time.  But it was something I had to do.  It was the logical and illogical finale to a lifetime of worship.

But things kept getting in the way.  Mainly depositions.  I used to sue car companies a lot, so I flew to Detroit a thousand times, but nothing ever took me to St. Louis.  Things just kept me from going there.

Then along comes Rebecca, and cuts past all of that.  She bought me the ticket, gave it to me on Christmas, a flat out surprise as we ate cinnamon rolls and drank coffee and filled the living room with wrapping paper.  And somehow, in the next few weeks, I wrangled a free ticket out of Delta Airlines, and a cheap motel, and learned on line how to ride Metrolink, and how to walk, frozen, from Metrolink to the King Henry the Eighth Motel and then to Blueberry Hill.

The rest of it is all in this blog someplace or another.  The rest of it is this blog: the whole thing is Rebecca's fault.

The name Rebecca only made it into one Chuck Berry song, and here it is.  But in my world it's Delilah who's worried!

1 comment:

ronnyelliott said...

Makes my holidays. Two lucky people in love!