We were each other's first true love. We were just kids and it was the early 1970’s when we hitch-hiked around America. Mary was good at coming up with ideas about how to manipulate people into helping us with things we needed. We had all sorts of crazy adventures and there must have been a guardian angel looking over us.
Everything about this music evokes thoughts of Mary and our time together. It would have been ideal to have Patty Griffin sing her song, Mary, at the memorial service. I can call on precious memory to play out dozens of scenes from our life to correlate in every way with the different songs from Snow Patrol. Those lyrics, the music’s sound, and all the different feelings it portends to illustrate might have been written for the story of Robbie and Mary. The Derek Trucks Band exemplify the boundless love she had in her heart with their song, This Sky. Jimi Hendrix could easily have written the next song about Mary. If the title were “Little Bit” instead of “Little Wing” it would have had to of been so. They used to call her “Little Bit” in Daytona Beach. It was engraved in the sidewalk in front of the apartment building and the scuba shop on the beach. The final song makes a fitting farewell foretold from the time when life was still beginning and held new discoveries and experience at every turn.
This digital watercolor is not an exact match to Mary but rather reflects the way I see her in my mind’s eye. It is close and, perhaps, it is a combination of her with some influence of fond memory developed over time.
This is me having a little fun with Photoshop. It is Mary and I both with our son Jeremy from other photographs. We may have been babysitting the little girl.
Mary loved to be the star of the show and she was to me. She also got her chance in Knoxville Tennessee about 1974. We spent almost two years hitch-hiking around the country and one day a guy named Nick picked us up hitch-hiking and we stayed a while at his motel on Clinton Highway. One afternoon we went across the street to Mr. T's Lounge. We had come into a little money and were having drinks. Mary started bragging about what a great dancer she was and how she had taken lessons while she was in grade school for six years. After quite a few tequila sunrises we got her to get up on the stage and try a strip-tease. She was a beautiful, young red-head and she really could dance. I am sure that she had rarely, if at all, ever seen a girl do it, but she was great. It had gotten later into early evening and a lot of good-ole-boys had come in and were filling the tables and drinking beer. Remember, this is in Knoxville, Tennessee in the early 70’s so it was, maybe, a rough crowd. Anyway, She got up on the stage and the bartender put something on. I wish I could recall what it was. She started dancing and the boys got quiet. An old man was sitting in a wooden, straight-back chair right at the edge of the stage and he started grabbing at Mary’s ankles while she danced. He made contact once or twice and it was probably pissing her off, but she just grinned, spun around, kicked him right in the head. He went straight back into his chair, fell straight back to the floor, and everyone in the whole place jumped up and started yelling and screaming, some with their hands up, in approval. She was a hit. The rest of the time we were in Knoxville, she was the queen of the stage at three different places around town. Mr. T’s (across from the motel were at on Clinton Highway), B&J’s Lounge (Brenda and John) (near downtown), and the Continental Lounge (out on Knox Highway). I went with her every time and to every place and they even paid me to run the spotlights at the Continental Lounge… an illegal gambling club up top and a redneck beer bar downstairs… and that’s another story. We went on to live in our own room at a motel down the road I think was called Brown's Motel, then to rent a trailor back up the road a piece in a trailor park called Knox Trailor Park, and finally for a short time at another motel a little further up Clinton highway where we eventually left Knoxville from. There's more to tell about Knoxville.
I will be adding much more here in the future and as I find the time. I know I can come up with some stories of our journey on the highways of America among other things.