Who Do You Love?

What Mr. McDaniel Made 

On Tuesday, I had lunch at my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in the world, which happens to be located five minutes from my house. My favorite barbecue joint is maybe another minute beyond that. There’s a terrific pizza-and-burger joint nearby as well. Manchaca, Texas is a near-paradise in this regard. And we just got a deli, so I’ll have to check that out. If it’s any good, I may never leave this ZIP code again.

In the booth next to mine at the Tex-Mex joint, two gentlemen were having an animated conversation in Russian. One of them sounded pissed-off about something, but I could be wrong about that. Anyone speaking Russian always sounds a little pissed-off to me. (Ditto if they’re speaking German.) (Or English.)

I had never heard anyone in Manchaca conversing in Russian before. Our two most common languages around here are Spanish and GoodOlBoy. So as I was leaving, I thought about pausing beside the two gentlemen and welcoming them to Central Texas, since they obviously weren’t from around here. But at the moment when I might have done that, one of them was gesturing with a crushed quesadilla. So I kept walking.

Now, if I had actually stopped and spoken with them, what would I have said after welcoming them to this small chunk of the world?

Well, I might have asked the same question the restaurant host had asked as he’d seated me. He’d seen that I was carrying the new issue of Rolling Stone with B.B. King, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, and a few others on the cover — and he’d asked me:

“You know what happened yesterday, right?”

Oh, yeah. I knew. So he and I commiserated over it for a few minutes.

And later, as I left the restaurant, I found myself profoundly satisfied to live where I live.

It ain’t perfect, and there are too many born-again churches and Bush/Cheney bumper stickers for my personal taste. But on the other hand —

It’s a place with tremendous brisket and chimichangas. It’s a place that now has at least three conversational languages (four, if you count Baptist). It’s a place where the veterinarian knows the names of all your dogs, both living and passed-on, and buys your books to boot. It’s a place where harp legend James Cotton sometimes shows up at the local bar just to jam with whoever’s playing that night. It’s a place where black buzzards stand guard on cell-phone towers, protecting the community from the Evil Dead. It’s a place where the volunteer fire department serves breakfast five days a week.

It’s a place where we’re glad there was a Bo Diddley.

You know what happened Monday, right?

And if you answered “Yes” to that question, here’s another one to answer just for yourself:

“Who Do You Love?”

6 thoughts on “Who Do You Love?

  1. There’s a whole lot of real estate this week where people are glad there was a Bo Diddley, Brad. SF, for starters.

  2. I saw him play at the Cains Ballroom when he opened for Doug Kershaw back in the late seventies. He rocked the place and shook all those old pictures of country stars looking down on him from the walls. Bob Wills used to broadcast on KVOO from the Cains.

    I hate to see all the old pioneers of rock go. The man I’ve always wanted to meet is Les Paul. I guess I’m not likely to get a chance to at this late date.

  3. Ain’t it the truth, Mad. The Bo Diddley rhythm and sound shook the earth everywhere. I was just so happy that someone I ran into here in Manchaca acknowledged it. Made me feel a little better about my neck of the woods (and even a little better about the world in general).

    Stuart, you’re a lucky man. Bo Diddley was one of the greats I never got to see live onstage. (I do know a guy who played with him once . . . but that ain’t the same.)

  4. Bo Diddely was a great, and i wished a lot more people had got to see him that needed to. (me being one) I’m glad to see that people every where has been touched by his passing, because this tells me that he was more well known than i had thought…

  5. *sigh* Hey, Bo Diddley. For my 35th birthday I went to see Diddley at Gruene Hall (!). When they were setting up before the show, I worked up the courage to go up to the stage and say hello. He was nice enough to chat with me, and when he heard it was my birthday, he offered to sign my gimme cap. He got out a marker and wrote on the bill: “You know Diddley.” I wore that thing for years.

    I’ve decided to see all the folks I can, while they’re here. Thank goodness we went to the May 2006 James Brown show at Stubb’s, ya know? This week, Loretta Lynn!

  6. Comment on Who Do You Love? by nikki
    Date:Tuesday 24 June 2008 16:38
    All these comments about Bo Diddley (Diddley was great, btw) and I was going to comment about Manchaca. I live there too. There are too many bush stickers and too many churches…but great food and a great dive bar out weighs that! The music I have heard in that bar….a lot of it has been amazing! This zip code does rock!!!

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