Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Saturday, April 06, 2013

F is for Fats . . .

They rolled a beat-up piano
right in the middle of the basketball court
in our tiny high-school gym.
You, Fats, banged out stride while the sweat
rolled down your face. 
We danced white-kids' bop not five feet away
and fell in love with your gravel-voice
and your music -- "Blueberry Hill," 
"I'm Walkin' to New Orleans," 
and "Ain't That a Shame."  
I never knew a piano could sing like that.
I didn't really know you were already famous.
Your hands just cajoled that piano,
making music, crossing over, and 
from that moment, I was a fan.

When Katrina came to New Orleans, 
Rumors swirled that awful night and 
the next long, long morning 
that you were gone. I still remember
the photos of your rescue in that dread time.
We went on down to New Orleans,
cleaned books in a musty basement for a month,
and walked through the city,
sweet dixie and blues spilling into the night,
your city, Fats.
I'm only one of many who remember you
and hold you dear.

Today, Fats Domino remains a permanent resident of New Orleans, where his Tipitina's Foundation raises funds for musicians in Louisiana. Read more about Fats on Wikipedia and about Tipitina's Foundation here.