RIP Snowman

Hey folks, this is Red, been taking a break from my adventures the last few months, “Chillin' Like A Villain” in a small town I won’t mention, possibly or not in one of its many fine jails, somewheres on the backroads and/or byways of this great nation of ours. Well, it came to my attention that Mr. Jerry Reed, one-a my biggest dang idols and inspirations, done passed from this Earth the other day. This is a pure shame, dang to rights. Jerry was just a helluva great finger pickin' guitar man, pert near the best I ever did see or hear, better'n old Faron or Chet or even freakin' Yngwie, least by my judgin'. His playin' warmed your heart, 'specially if'n you was in a faraway place longin' for home, or was stuck in a bad situation, or even was fightin' an enchanted undead army or whatnot. Now, I don't know how to say this without soundin' a bit soft, but he also came to me in dreams sometimes, pointin' me on the right path. So, I would say that I know me a lot about the Alabama Wildman, even though I don't know a whole lot about much else.

One-a them things I do know is that Jerry Reed never, ever, ever opened for Dexys Midnight Runners. I seen this lie kickin' 'round the Internets since the Snowman died, and I am right now gonna nip it in the bud and put a stop to it real quick. How do I know that? Because I have it on high, personal like authority that Jerry tried to kick the crap outta them backstage at the US Festival in 1983, just after the Clash's final set.

See, I was in my state-or-local-municipality-issued bunk the other night, snoring away, when I had another of my fanciful dreams. Now, y'all might think that a simple person like myself would have pretty simple dreams - beautiful ladies, fast semi-trucks, talking dogs, alien blood suckers attempting to torture and/or kill you, etc. - the same dreams everybody has. And you would be right. However, this turned out to be one-a my special dreams, the kind I get ever once in a while that seem to predict events that may or may not occur in the future, and may or may not have to do with some truck stop chorizo I ate earlier in the day.

Anyway, there I was, riding in my dream big rig with a beautiful lady, putting the miles behind me, smokeys a wavin' at me and letting me speed on by - a perfect night in Dreamville. That's when Snowman showed up, billowing out of my dashboard in a ghost-like fashion, ready to tell me somethin' important, no doubt.

"Red!" hollered Jerry.

"What? What do you want, Snowman? Can't you see I's in the middle of one-a my right-fine truck-drivin’ dreams?"

He looked around a bit. "Oh yeah! Nice rig," he said.


"Red, I've come to you in a dream to tell you something very, very important."

"What is it, Jerry? I got my ears on!" I still love the old CB lingo.

"Well, first, I've done kicked the bucket. Caught a cab. Passed from this Earth. Don't worry about it, it had to happen sometime. See if you can get over to the house and maybe bring a covered dish."

I was stunned. Jerry had never gone so far as to invite me to his house before!

"And secondly, now that I'm gone into spiritual form, I'm gonna need you to do something for me."

"What, Snowman? I'll do any dang thing you ask!" I said, and I would have, too, since he'd done gone and invited me over to the house and all.

"Red, I need you to correct a grievous error for me, a major mistake I made in my life, something I did that's haunted me for years. Red, I just about killed the fiddle player in that Dexys Midnight Runners band one night many years ago, and I need you to make it right for me."

"Uh, sure Jerry. I'll take right care of that for yah. Hey Jerry..." I said.

"Yeah Red."

"Who's Dexys Midnight Runners?"

"Well, Red, lemme tell ya. In 1983, Dexys Midnight Runners was just about the hottest band on sliced white bread. They had a huge worldwide hit with "Come on Eileen", which a lot of people thought was one-a them working class anthems about how poor folk could find love too despite the oppression of rich people, since the band wore a old, sorry clothes with their armpit hair hangin' out, and danced around the street and whatnot. Really, it was about the singer's girlfriend givin' him some kinda pox about the crotchal region."

While I’ve had similar problems with women-folk, notably a Gypsy witch who gave me a case of crabs like you wouldn’t believe, it don’t mean I like to hear about such matters. "Uh, that was very informative, Jerry. Tell me, how did you end up almost killin' the fiddle player?" I asked, but now not really sure it was the greatest idea to help the ghost of Jerry Reed do right by an almost dead fiddle player.

"We was at the US Festival in 1983 - Big Concert, lotta Bands and celebrities. So, David Geffen owed Burt Reynolds a solid, so he got my band on the bill. However, he musta owed Burt big time, because he didn't put us in some kind of obscure slot, he put us on right between two of the biggest acts in the world at that time - The Clash and Dexys Midnight Runners."

Just then another ghostly form billowed out from my dashboard. It was a pasty-faced dude with short hair and bad teeth. This was becoming like some dang ghost convention.

"Hello, Red. I'm Joe Strummer from the Clash. I'm here to confirm that Jerry's story is completely true," said the new ghost. Then he kind of winked at me in an odd fashion.

"Uh, ok, I really wasn't strugglin' to believe him or anything..." I said.

"Oh, don't mind me. I'll just take a listen and hang around 'til you finish. Carry on," said the ghost of Joe Strummer.

Jerry smiled at the new feller. "Hey Joe. Long time no see. Now that I'm dead too, maybe we can hang out sometime. Anyway, back to the US Festival. So, we go on after the Clash. And lemme just say this. We were ON that night. Tight. I was finger-pickin’ and singin' and havin' a damn ball. Hell, we even got that Rock and Roller audience into it, even though they kept callin' me Bandit and wonderin where my dog was. I weren’t even the Bandit until the third dang movie! But that could be expected."

"So, we go off the stage, crowd lovin' it, we’s baskin' in the glow of all that applause, and such. Heck, even the Clash hung around backstage to watch our set. Dexys come out right after us, and got ready to play. The singer grabs the mic, and says, and I'll never forget this because I had to ask Joe here what he meant, he says to the festival crowd...”

“That was right shite, wannit?”

“And I was so taken aback it knocked me breathless.” Jerry looked a might choked up, even now.

"I can confirm that I told Jerry that 'shite' is English-type English for 'shit'," piped in Joe, still smilin' in that weird way and givin' me a look that mostly creeped me out.

Jerry composed himself and continued. "Well, Red, you know how I'm pretty easy goin' most days and don't take myself real serious. Hell, I starred in the film Highballin' - I can't get too uppity, you understand. But what that guy said, stealin' my joy like that, ruinin' one of the best times I ever had on stage, well, that really set me off, and when you get an old Southern Boy like myself riled up, we get kinda crazy, you understand."

I did understand. I'm one of them Southern Boys.

"So I grab my backup guitar Bessie Sue, and I jump on that stage, fixin' to take a swing at that dumb ass singer in his damn rolled up overalls and no shirt. 'Cept, well, I tripped over a guitar cord and fell back into somethin’ kinda soft. I heard a wimperin', I got up, and I saw the fiddle player impaled on his bow. It was horrible. I kinda panicked and took off. Nobody chased me, and Geffen was able to pin it on a drunk roadie who kinda looked like me."

"Yes, it was quite cowardly on your part there Jerry, quite so," chimed in Strummer.

Jerry shot Strummer one o’ them annoyed looks.

I love ol’ Snowman, but I’d heard enough. "Ok, so what do you want me to do about it, Jerry?" I was gettin' kinda snippy now that Jerry and his weird friend had barged into my perfectly good truck drivin' dream and plum took it over with this nonsense.

"I want you to find that boy and apologize to him, Red. That's all I want you to do. Later, gator!"

With that, Jerry's foggy essence billowed back into the dashboard. Weird Joe Strummer was still hangin' around, though.

"So, Red, fancy rogering a ghost?" said Joe with that weird look in his eye.

I didn't need to speak English-type English to know what this guy meant.

"Get the hell out of here, you Limey fancy boy!" I swung at him, but it just went through his smokey form. He quickly disappeared back to wherever it was he come from.

I woke up from my dream, and resolved to someday honor Snowman's last wish, but being that I was in jail and all, it probably wasn't going to happen soon.

So, this will have to do - Helen O'Hara, Steve Brennan and/or Roger MacDuff, you bein' the three fiddle players in Dexys at that time, whichever one of you was impaled on a fiddle bow on account of a crazy mad Jerry Reed fallin' on yah at the US Festival, Jerry offers his sincerest apology.

Freightliner Fever, part 1

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