Gypsy’s

Kinky Friedman –Roadkill

“Then one fine day on a deserted beach somewhere on Jalapa just off the coast of Mazatlan, I found myself walking and talking with another Jewboy. A Minnesota Jewboy. It was a warm, tropical day but he kept his black leather jacket on the whole time. Maybe he felt a cold chill coming from somewhere too far away for anyone else to feel. Maybe it was the way of his people. If he’d ever had a reason for doing anything it was one he’d never reveal. Like Sherlock Holmes’s reticence in explaining a case in progress, Bob Dylan was righteously cautious about unlocking the spiritual machinery that was his life. It was enough that he’d written: ‘She never stumbles / She’s got no place to fall.’

‘I knew a gypsy king.’ Bob was saying. ‘Travelled around with him in Spain.’
‘Never been to Spain,’ I said.
‘He had ten wives and over a hundred children–’
‘At five bucks a pop, that’s almost enough for a second show.’
‘And there was a young boy who was kind of mystical, sort of an idiot-savant. He could catch a fly with his bare hands. He’d move his hand very slowly and he’d always catch the fly.’
‘A fly like in baseball or a fly like the one Emily Dickinson heard when she died?’
Dylan ignored this question. Of course, Dylan, as a general rule, ignored all questions.
‘Anyway, I came back on the road for a while and then, some years later, went back to Spain and visited the king again. This time he was all alone.’
‘He’d gone acoustic?’
‘The wives had drifted away as he’d become older and weaker and so had the children. He had only one wagon left of the many he’d once owned. I rode with him in that wagon. It was a lonely ride.’
‘What finally happened to the gypsy king?’

Bob did not answer right away. Like the sad-eyed lady of the lowlands, he seemed to be watching gypsy wagons rolling along on the breakers far out at sea.

‘When you die,’ he said at last, ‘they let you off the hook.’
Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson had been like spiritual bookends for the musical and possibly mystical, if dusty, shelves of my life. They both know what it’s like to be gypsy kings. They also know how deafening and spirit-grinding loneliness can be once you’ve been king of the gypsies. I look up to both of them for wisdom and advice even though they’re both shorter than anyone except Paul Simon.

But I wouldn’t for any reason try to get inside either of their heads. Once I’d gotten there, a small hand might try to catch me, moving very slowly, like the windmill wheels of a gypsy wagon…”

van Gogh Gypsy Wagons

Vincent van Gogh –The Caravans – Gypsy Camp near Arles

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