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Monday, June 15, 2009

KERMIT

Kermit Pruitt 15 jun 09


After almost 20 years of my hair less than half an inch long, I came to a time where I was tired of clipping it myself and tired of going to the barber shop, though Kermit's is a good barber shop to go to. I wanted to stop fooling with it. So I let it grow over several months to see about letting it grow out long enough to make a bob in the back, with the idea that I won't have to fool with it any more. Turns out I was fooling with it just about all the time as it was getting longer. Couldn't keep my fingers out of it, so strange to have hair this long, never had it long before. Had to shampoo during a shower and dry the best possible with a towel, refusing to buy a blow dryer, and it takes hours to dry.


Guys with long hair told me I was in the awkward stage and to be patient, when it gets longer it will lay down. Mine doesn't ever lay down. It's inclination is to stick straight out and grow straight out until it gradually starts to bend downward pulled by gravity. But a hair has to be awfully long to be effected by gravity, especially mine. As it grew past 4 inches I had to keep a hat on all the time or it would just stick out all over. I called it my Sid Vicious didn't die look. He grew old and got white headed. When I don't put a hat on it, the hair sticks straight out all day long. Once I've put a hat on and flattened it down a bit, it will stay down for awhile. I think of black men before the freedom fro putting pomade on their hair and wearing a nylon stocking on their head to keep the hair down all week so they can take the stocking off Friday night for the weekend.


The hair got to the place that the wrong people were looking at me, like old hippies. I started looking more and more like an old hippie. I've never wanted to identify with any one way of thinking/believing/behaving. I want the freedom to think/believe/behave according to my own understanding, not somebody else's that gathers a bunch of people to his/her 'philosophy' because of whatever reasons they have for wanting somebody else to make their decisions. It's too much like living in a nursing home, where other people make your decisions, for me to jump into that circle, or any other.


Kermit Pruitt is a good barber and I like going to Kermit's shop. Kermit has been a bluegrass bass player about all his adult life. He plays bass with the Rise & Shine Band, the Jubilee's house band. He plays acoustic bass and electric bass, acoustic guitar and electric. He can play country, bluegrass, old-time and rockabilly. At the Hillbilly Show in October, year after year, he lip-syncs two George Jones songs. I've seen Kermit impersonate George Jones so many times that when I hear George Jones I see Kermit in my mind. The audience at the Hillbilly Show loves George Jones and everybody thinks an awful lot of Kermit. Put them together and you have an audience of people like me who see Kermit in their minds when they hear George Jones's voice. Kermit does it right too, and everybody sings along. I think George Jones is as beloved among country music listeners as Ralph Stanley is loved by bluegrass listeners. Ol Possum just has it right.


A few years ago at the Hillbilly Show, Joe Irwin was singing a couple of songs by Johnny Cash, actually singing like Johnny, and with his own voice, which happens to be naturally close enough to Cash's he can sing a Johnny Cash song. I tend to think Joe can play Johnny better than Johnny plays himself. At this show, Joe and Lynn Worth were singing as Johnny and June. They did it right, too. Very first lick on his electric guitar, Kermit's pick broke in half. He had to play out the song with half a pick and get used to it right now.


Kermit has a sense of humor that's going all the time, too. He's like Ernest Joines in that way, all the time seeing something funny to laugh over. On the red pickup he drove before his new white one, he kept a tag in the middle of the front bumper with an image of a multi-colored frog. With a name like Kermit, we tend to wonder how tired he must have got with everyone making references to Sesame St. Kermit deals with it by putting a frog tag on his truck, meaning he has a great sense of humor about it. He thinks it's funny too. It's a whole lot better than being named Big Bird.

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