Doc Stevens and Marilyn's Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 29, 2008 10:54 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: I was able to call on Doc Stevens and Marilyn briefly on my way to Dulles International Airport (in VA, about an hour and 45 minutes from Doc and Marilyn's place in Nanjemoy, MD) on Saturday the 27th. I rang them up to let them know I was coming, because Doc is suspicious of anyone coming down the twisted dirt drive that Doc Stevens NoTrespassing leads to his house, and after dark he comes out with a fully loaded 12 gauge shotgun if he is not expecting visitors. "Aint nobody come down this road by accident, Tondy. If I aint invited them or Marilyn aint, then they got no business down here and need to be run off." That seems to be an attitude that is common among rural Americans.

I pull down their long winding dirt driveway, wondering how they ever found this place to live in. I am a regular visitor and still drive right past it sometimes, and each time I come down the driveway at night it seems longer than it did the time before.

I pull up near the front of the house and honk my horn a couple of times and cut the engine off. Doc's dogs, Dale Junior and Stubby are barking and growling and charging at the fence, hoping that they can devour me for their evening meal. Marilyn comes running out to greet me shouting over her shoulder, "Doc! It's TONNN - DEEE-EEE - and he's in a RED rent-a-car! A RED one, Doc! Ha ha! They gave him a RED one! " and she opens the front passenger door and begins mucking about with the tuners on the radio of my rented Ford 500.

The Ford 500 sounded (by it's name) as if it would be an exciting Yank car to drive, when I contracted for it. It isn't fun at all. It is designed more for the infirm, the elderly and the cluelessly boring. It is a poor handling, underpowered and unimaginative and unflavoured piece of rubbish that Ford US has been attempting to sell to Americans unsuccessfully, so they have unloaded bulk of them to the rental companies and fleet buyers.

Anyway, Marilyn is trying out the stereo and going from station to station, and adjusting the balance, tone and fade. I hear the screen door open and close, but Doc is nowhere to be found. Then I look into the rearview mirror and see him coming from behind my car, fumbling with his trousers a bit.

"Doc you weren't whizzing on my rent-a-car, were you?" I ask incredulously, fearing the answer.

"Naw, Tondy, I was lookin' at the sight of you in a red car instead of the sissy green ones you always get... Yeah, I DID give it a little "country boy car wash" back there ... just the bumper. How was your Christmas? Didja get anything from your family over there in England? Did they send you some crumpets?"

Doc knows a few English terms that he's picked up somewhere, and uses them as often as he can, usually in an effort to take the mickey out of me. I tell him Christmas was ok, but that I am waiting to return to UK to celebrate with my mates. Doc and Marilyn invite me in, and offer me some leftover turkey, ham, turkey "stuffing" and some American food I am not familiar with.

"Tonnnn- dyyyy! You oughta see the HARPS I got for Christmas! Good ones, this time instead of Doc's old ones from when he played harp! He got me some real PROFESSIONAL ones! Lee Oskars! Eight of them! Now I can play like I want to instead of suffocatin' on Doc's old wore out harps...!"

Marilyn is so happy she is squealing in a singsong fashion that I have only heard in females of the Appalachians and some parts of North Carolina. This makes sense of course, because Doc and Marilyn's family come from the Appalachians and they have lived in various places in North Carolina and still have relatives there.

Doc says that he called his old friend and bandmate from the 1970's, a Dog-mess Jonny (whom I have just looked Googled and discovered is a real person! He was a harp player for Vigilantes of Love, and now resides in Athens, GA, and teaches at University of Georgia!), and that Dog Mess told him to get Marilyn the Lee Oskars. So he did.

"I painted a boy's 29 Chevy rat rod and used some of the money for them harps. Got 'em off the innerweb. This gal down the road showed me how to do it and paid for it on the innerweb too, and I gave her the money to take care of it. Them's the ones what Dog-Mess Jonny said to get Marilyn and I done it. He's a pro on that harp."

I ask about the name "Dog-Mess" and Doc says that back in the 70's he and Jonny played in a band called the Colored Man Blues Band and he gave that nickname to Jonny and... "he still uses that name to this day. But he aint playin' blues all the time no more. He went to college and then to that next kind of school and is a professor at a COLLEGE down Athens, Georgia! He's a teacher down there, and he is Jonathan Evans to them! That is all they know him by, Tondy! He got 'em fooled and they don't even know he plays the blues. They think he's just a geek. But me an' Marilyn know better. She played for him over the cell phone and he said she is real good. He's right. He's a pro, and Marilyn is real good. But them college boys thinks he's a professor, and we know he's a bluesman! "

I ask Doc what's so funny about that, and he says it "just is." I remind him that people don't know all the things that HE does and he tells me that it is different for him 'cause he has a lot of things he had to learn to put food on the table, and "it don't mean nothin'."

Doc goes back into his bedroom and comes back out, displaying a garish black and white polka dotted guitar strap at me. I have seen pictures of a blues singer with a white guitar with black polka dots on it, on a CD cover at Doc and Marilyn's, so I suss that this strap MAY have some connection to that CD cover, by the way Doc is handling it so gingerly.

"Lookit that! Lookit that, Tondy! Now THERE'S a Christmas present! You know what that is? That's a BUDDY GUY GUITAR STRAP and it's signed by BUDDY GUY! Buimageddy Guy SIGNED it, Tondy! Look! It says, BUDDY GUY '08. 08 is when he signed it. That means he signed it this year! This woman what I know went to see Buddy and me an her is kinda close, so she bought it for me LAST SUMMER and kept it a secret since July - an gave it to me for Christmas! A BUDDY GUY guitar strap with his name on it what he wrote himself! With a SHARPIE!"

I ask Doc if he's going to use it, and he said that he HAD planned on using it, but then his friend Bruce "what's got the innerweb, only it's doll up only" looked it up on Ebay and found one just like it selling for $300. So now Doc says it is a family heirloom and is going to be put in his strongbox just to be shown to people who are blues fans and no one else will be allowed to handle it.

"Tondy, something like this, people'll steal. You leave it sittin' out even in your own house, your friends'll steal it. I got customers what would steal this and then look me dead in the eye and swear to God they never even seen it. No, you don't take something like this out in public, Tondy. It's too dangerous and it might get tooken."

Doc carefully folded the Buddy Guy autographed guitar strap and put it in an old billiards cue case. Then he carried it back to the recesses of their house, to hide it somewhere, or to unpack it and lock it in his strongbox to protect it from would be burglars. I am not at all certain that he would totally trust ME with the actual location of this new Stevens treasure.

doc stevens and marilyn christmas"Yep, Tondy, I don't know what they got for you when you get back to England, but you tell 'em me and Marilyn sends them American Christmas greetings, and a happy new year and that Marilyn got the harps she been prayin' for and hintin' at, and that I got a Buddy Guy guitar strap what he signed hisself and I did not pray for it or hint at it, but the Good Lord and that woman knew I'd like it and they was both right."

I assured Doc and Marilyn that I would convey their message and that I was getting quite peckish and could we eat. Marilyn let me know that the microwave would ding soon and that my first plate of food would be ready. I DO miss home, but they do their best to treat me like family. Happy New Year.

Doc Stevens on the Government Bailout of the Big Three U.S. Automakers

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5:31 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: This is from a conversation a few weeks ago with Doc concerning the US Government bailout of the big three U.S. Automakers. He had come up to the hotel where I was staying and he and Marilyn spent the evening watching cable TV (which they do not have in Nanjemoy) and flipping channels on the remote. Doc tuned in to a CNN story about the proposed US Government bailout of the American auto industry. He was fussing and grumbling, so I knew he was thinking and I got out my recording stick and hit "record" while he gave his analysis of the situation.

Auto1 Doc: Well, Tondy, this don't sound like America to me. It sounds like Russia or Europe or somewhere else un American. In America, the idea is that if a man makes something and goes to sell it, he will either do good with it or go out of business.

If he don't do good, he OUGHT to go out of business, and if people's workin' for him, they ought to go find someone else to work for what turns out a better product. Or they could come up with their own product what is better. That's how it is supposed to work and that is why in the used-to-be, American products was pretty much the best in the world. American companies did their darndest to make the best things they could and then sell them at the best price.

Building good products and selling them at the lowest price they could was the American way. That's why a lot of cars that used to be made aint out there anymore.

They USED to be all kinds of American car companies, Tondy. I can think of Studebaker, what went out of business in the 60's, Tucker closed up in the 50's, like Willys, Crosley, Nash, Packard, La Salle, Kaiser-Frazer, Hudson, Packard and some more I caint remember the names of. Even American Motors what made Ramblers, AMX's and Jeeps went out of business and Chrysler bought Jeeps and they still aint making a good product, in my opinion, cause I do body and fender work and Jeeps is rust buckets after 10 years. Worse than any other I can think of.

But, aint no one from the Big Three went crying to the government to bail out any of them other companies! They was GLAD they closed up and figured if you caint compete, then go out of business! All them folks what worked for them companies had to go find other jobs, and some of them had to move, or move in with relatives. But GM, Ford and Chrysler din't care a hoot about that! It was just more money for them and they laughed all the way to the bank.

I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Them Japs can build cars what Americans want to buy, and they last good and keep their value, like American cars use to do. If Honda, Nissan and Toyota can build cars and trucks, and some of them are built here in the USA - then their aint no reason why the American companies caint do it. It aint that they caint, Tondy. It's that they won't. They has gotten fat and lazy and greedy.

Tondeleo: So, Doc, are you saying that the US Government should take over these companies and run them, or that ....

Doc: NO! Heck NO! That Federal government couldn't even run the Post Office! If they caint run a Post Office, how they gonna run three giant car companies? They'll screw it up like they done with everything else they touch. Remember they bought that AMtrak back there in the 80's or 90's and it aint never made a dime, they just keep using taxpayers money to prop it up. So I'm against them bailing out the car companies. Give that money to people what work for them - give it to the working people as they need it to help get situated. Make sure the retired folks don't lose their pensions. That's one idea and it would save money.

A better one would be toe have them taken over by and run by the people what run Honda, Toyota and Nissan. They been able to give American people good cars and trucks and keep the prices right and keep the quality up. I say let the Jap Big Three run the American Big Three and give us some better Chevy, Fords and Chryslers. I bet they could turn it around in 10 years, Tondy. Heck, even Daimler couldn't make Chrysler do good. That's why they dumped it. So, work a deal with the Japs. Make some good cars and make some money. And people would get to keep their jobs. Not the fat cats. Just the working people. Japanese eat cats.

Doc Stevens' Review of Circus Olay (Cirque du Soleil) Kazoo Show (Kooza)

Saturday, December 13, 2008 3:25 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: One of Doc's customers gave him a ticket to the Cirque Du Soleil show at the National Harbor in Washington, DC. They gave him the ticket and some money for snacks, in exchange for sitting with their teenaged son, Tommy. Tommy's father was too busy with work to be able to take his son, and he thought that Doc might enjoy a night out on the town.

Doc called me at my hotel in Flint, Michigan where I have been since Wednesday evening, enjoying the freezing winds of a Michigan winter. When I saw Doc's number on my mobile, I grabbed my recorder, because I knew it just might be a worthwhile conversation, since I had only been away from DC and Doc and Marilyn for two days. Doc was all excited about the programme, and immediately began giving a full review of the Cirque Du Soleil show that he saw, which is called, "Kooza."

Doc Stevens Cirque Du Soleil 2 Doc: Hey Tondy! I went to the Circus Olay last night! Roy bought me a ticket if I'd go up there and sit with his boy and watch that thing. I din't wanna go at first, because I aint never seen a Mexican circus afore and din't want to.

Tondeleo: Uh... Doc, Cirque Du Soleil isn't a Mexican circus. It's from Montreal, Quebec. French Canadian, actually, Doc...

Doc: No, it's Mexican. That's where the Olay part comes from, from bull fighting. That's what they say when they stab the bull. Olay. It's a circus what Mexicans come up with and it was pretty good, no REAL good. The Olay means that they stabbed the bull of coming to America and everything is going to work ok for them and for America.

Aint' had no bulls in it and aint had no elephants, lions or tigers or monkeys, but it was good even though all it had was Mexicans, except for some Chinese girls what I'll tell you about later.

The show is called Kazoo, but they ain't played no kazoos in it.[Actually it is called "Kooza."] They had a full band with drums and horns and guitars and two girl singers. A Mexican girl and a black girl.

The Circus Olay is really a story acted out by these Mexicans. It's about how hard it is for Mexicans when they come here alone and need a job and everyone else is rich they think, and how they slowly become Americans. It's like a hidden story, Tommy said. [the customer's son].

It had a some clowns and cops chasing them at the beginning, like real Mexicans go through when they come to America. And the cops didn't catch 'em, Tondy. Just like they don't catch them here most of the time.

It starts with a little Mexican in Mexican clothes coming to America. He doesn't know anything about where he is but tries to fly a kite, meaning he is reaching for the stars. He has a gold. Then a man appears and has evil powers and tries to change the little Mexican. I think he is like a drug dealer getting him to do drugs if he can or to sell them. He was like pimping that Mexican and getting him to do bad things, I think. Every time that little Mexican would get comfortable, something bad would happen.

There are more and more people coming on the stage and putting the new little Mexican through all kinds of trials and tests and he don't know who to trust.

There was two men what I think was supposed to be like folks from the government by the way they acted. They kept messing things up and could not get along with each other. They keep showing up from time to time.

Then some skeletons came out. People dressed like skeletons. They was showing how much death there is in coming to America to have a new life, because you could die getting here, or die by someone killing you, or maybe drugs or gangs. Rats came out too. Not real ones. But the rats like if you is living in the city. Then they ran down a manhole cover, like the kind of life you have if you are poor in the city, even though America is rich. You are not rich and rats are part of your life for a while but not forever.

They was Chinese folks in it too, Tondy because Mexicans ain't the only immigrants. One of them kept being given more and more chairs to sit on like they was hoping he would fall, but he did it safely. They stacked a whole pile of chairs and he kept climbing higher and higher. Like if you do more and more you will climb higher and higher, but you got to pay attention.

Then the Chinese girls came out. They might of been Philippines girls. These gals could bend over backwards until their heads hit they's backside and then they kept bending backwards till they could look at you from between their legs. I aint sure how they done it, but you aint allowed to go up close and look at them. You will get throwed out.

They will bend over backwards to get a good job and do it, if that is what it takes. They walked backwards on their hands and a man danced on their stomach on one of them. The Man will take a vantage of a Chinese girl or from the Philippines. But they beat him at it! Just like in real life.I would like to give one of them a job. I could not afford all three though.

Sometimes they brought in people from the auCirque Du Soleil 3dience and showed how even Americans get taken in if you don't know what the Man is up to. A girl was made to disappear and a man came up and got his pockets picked right there in front of everyone and nobody went to help him, not even me. I wanted to, but I didn't, so I am no better than the rest.

The Police kept chasing him, but they would mess up every time.

They was some guys on a high wire. It was to show how the Mexicans would take dangerous jobs but work together to keep each other safe. They were not only up in the air on a tight wire, they had to jump rope. They even rode a bike on the high wire, because those people will do anything just to have a job. That is like the dangerous jobs they take with no benefits or protection.

Another guy was like a dishwasher and every other kind of job that makes you do too much at one time. His woman would keep laying more and more things on him. He was trying to juggle to please her. She is in the best of Mexican clothes, but is like a American woman who would do the same thing. He did it all. He would juggle more and more things and never drop any of them. He did all he could to do to please his woman here in a strange country.

They had this thing like two wheels with two guys dressed like devils on it. It kept going round and round and they would jump on the inside of the wheels and then on the outside. They was like the Democrats and Republicans. Both of them was the devil and they didn't even like each other and what they did was scary, and made you not believe your eyes at what they could do. It was like the election, I think. You did not really like them but you did not want them to get killed or fall. One of them was no better than the other.

Them two guys really was like the Democrats and Republicans. Like they was out there putting on the show for the race, and sending out a lot of fear and doing things you know you couldn't do. But then, when the race was over you ain't really see them anymore, they was at work behind the scenes. That's because America aint about Democrats and Republicans.

The bad guy from the beginning kept showing up and every time there was thunder and lightning, and it shows that bad guys and con men are every where in this country, no matter who you are, there is someone trying to get you to do drugs or make a dollar off wrecking your life.

In the end, the new Mexican figured out how to make friends in America and all the people there found friends and love and even got along ok with the Man. At the end all of them came out together which is what America is all about. It brought a tear rolling down my eye.

Then we went home. Glad we are natural born Americans, Tondy, I tell you what.

Note: On my way back through Washington, DC on my way home for Christmas, I am going to try to get Doc to do a video review of the Circue Du Soleil programme, "Kooza," and put it here on the blog and on YouTube. I think people will enjoy his excitement and interpretations.

Tondy gets a Mans Hair Cut. We have picutres.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:35 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

This one is wrote by Doc. We have been wroking on Tondy to help him look like a man. He is litle and can not hlep that. Skinny to. We have wroked on fattening him up now for more than 1 year; been taeching him to not walk on his tippy toes. Plus i been teachin him how to protect hisself with weapons what won't git him in troubble. He has put some of those lesons on this blob.You can find them back there some where.

Tondy Hair CutIt is a lot of wrok for he was never tuaght how to be a man at all over there in Englad. I have aslo worked with him on how to meet grils for he needed bigtime hlep on that one. But now gues what. He has a girl freind. She is litle like him but is a real girl this time if you know what I mean by that. Some of them lesons he has put on this blob to.

Aslo, we have been showing him how to get dressed. We call it Man Eye for a Sissy Guy. For he did ware at first around here these things; skin tighgt blue jeans what was RED! Same thing but aslo in YELLOW and in WHITE! He would ware girls shirts with long sleves and a hole for him to sitck his thums throuigh! He wuold ware shirts what was made of black fish nets like a hookers stockings! Aslo he would ware littel slip on sneakers what soms was red, some was yellow and some was checker board! And walked on tippy toes.

He wuold then get upset when the boys round here would call him sissiy baby. He did wiegh only 105 pounds and is 5 foot 7 which is skinniy even for a Brit. Now he is 115 pounds. They do not use pounds for weight only for money. They say what they weigh is in stones. But I told him he do not weigh even ONE stone, maybe just a small rock.

But now we have goten him some new clothes what he wares when he is down here: Camo hat. Camo shirts (2of them) mens jeans. Hunting pants. Cargo pants.Tennis shoes what covers his ancles and is black. How to stay off tippy toes. He still did go buy two hats which is white and a white swet shirt like a women would ware, but he does not ware it to much around these parts.

Now here is funny. One thing was left which is his hair which is like a girl not a man with long hair which is ok if it is worn right but his is not, more like a girl. A man can have long hair in a pony tail or parted in the middle but no bangs. Bangs is for a women.

I was typing back an forth with Mike at the LiveBluesWorld ware I have my own site not done by Tondy. In his typing back and forth Mike wrote that Tondy was a good freind to me an Marilyn and that SHE must be a nice WOMAN. I typed back that NO Tondy is not a woman but a male type creature. Mike could not beleive that! He said he had seen picutures and did still think Tondy was a girl. But I said no he is not. His eyes is not bad. Tondy did really have that look about him of a girl or a sissy and that is not just us over here teasin him. Is a true fact.

I said to him Mike that Tondy does look like that Woody Alien when he was young but Mike said yes but still thouhgt Tondy was a girl. That was right and did help us when Big Dave came over. Big Dave talked with Tondy about what hapens if you get locked up over here and look like a litle woman but is in a jail cell with some men who is VERY lonely and it is not something you want to hapen so stay out of trouble. Big Dave said a mans hair cut would help Tondy be ready lee reconized as a male and not a female. Guess what. Tondy agreed and said he had been thinkin about that more and more hisself!

We were very haDoc Stevens Marilyn Big Dave Tondeleoppy as you might imagine. Now Tondy has a fresh home made hair cut which cost him nothing but about 15 minutes of seting still and lettin Marilyn use her sizzers on him. Then we took a picuture of him. You will like the new improved Tondy. He is a hit around here even with the dogs who stopped barking at him so much. Tondy is getting to be a good sport. For a Brit.

Doc Stevens on Alcoholism, Quitting Drinking and Alcoholics Anonymous Part Three

Monday, December 8, 2008 6:44 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondy: That's a pretty good idea, Doc about drinking hot sauce or mustard to get that burn that you like, instead of drinking liquor. I never heard of that. But, you seem to be hitting pretty hard on Alcoholics Anonymous. I understand some of your issues, but a lot of people are being helped by AA. Are you implying that people should not go to AA?

Doc Stevens Big Dave 2Doc: NO, Tondy! I ain't saying that. But I AM saying it ain't for every body, and some people cain't really go to AA, so if AA is the only way, then how is every one going to get help?

Like a cop. If a cop pulls over someone for drinking, or if the judge assigns someone to go to AA and they go there. Then they see the cop saying, "Hi! I am Sgt. Bill and I am an alcoholic." Do you think the cop can do that when he pulled half those people over for DUI?

Big Dave: Yeh, Tondy. I had to go to A.A., court assigned, which means either I had to go to A.A. or go to jail. I didn't want to go to jail again,so I went to A.A. I wasn't going to quit drinking, I just figured I'd cut back a bit. And, if the cop who pulled me over had been there, and said HE was an alcoholic, too, me and him would have been going round and round out there in the parking lot afterwards. He'd look like Popeye the sailor man when I was done with him.

Doc: That's right, Tondy. A cop would get jumped out in the parking lot, or even if he got up to go use the toilet. Cops aint real popular with people who been pulled over for DUI, and if the cop is an alky, too. Anyway do you know where a cop goes? A cop goes to F.O.P. [in the Sates, the F.O.P. is the Fraternal Order of Police, where police officers go to drink and relax away from the general public. Americans joke about how funny it would be if a Sobriety Check Point would be set up outside an F.O.P lodge! - Tondeleo] The cop goes to the F.O.P. and drinks all evening to try to unwind or forget his problems and then drives home under the influence, knowing nothing will happen to him, unless he is in a wreck but then his fellow cops will cover for him. So, a cop ain't really going to go to AA. There is a lot of cops with drinking problems. I know three or four what drinks. They call it going to Choir Practice.

A judge aint going to go either, for the same reasons. And doctors and school teachers don't want to go, because people need to trust them with their children or with their lives if it is a surgeon and you don't want a drunk teacher teaching your kids or a drunk doctor operating on you. These folks ain't likely to be willing to go to AA and say, "Hi, I am an alcoholic," and I don't blame them.

Then there is folks what work at night when the meetings are. They can't find a meeting. Folks what cain't drive or don't have a car cain't go. People without enough money for gas cain't go. So they is a lot of people with drinking problems what cain't go to AA.

Big Dave 2 Big Dave: And a lot of women won't go, because of the men. And some of them who want to get help can't go because their old man won't let them - and the old man won't go, or maybe he doesn't have a drinking problem, and figures she started drinking by herself so she can cut back by herself. And there's always the 13 Steppers that make some women not want to go to meetings.

Doc: Tondy, you didn't know what 13 Stepping is, when Big Dave talked about 13 Steppin' that girl. There is 12 steps to recovery in AA, and 13 Steppin' is when you find someone of the opposite sex, unless you are funny, then it is the same sex, and you start pickin' up on them to help them get "cured" quicker.

It is pretty easy to be 13 Stepped in AA because your self esteem is in the toilet, and it really helps you to want to come back to the meeting if someone is flirting with you, or thinks you're a catch. But after a while, if you're just there to get sober, you get tired of all the screw ups trying to hit on you.

Ain't no decent woman with a drinkin' problem wants to keep havin' unemployed rednecks trying to pick up on 'em. Hey, I faced that, ["Yeh, Doc, unemployed rednecks kept hittin' on you!" Big Dave interrupts] I mean, women flirtin' with me an' wantin' to come home with me, and I am not a good lookin' man or a rich one. But I am nice to most everybody, I usually have a decent truck and I play music, so that counted for something. Some people quit goin' to meetin's because of the 13 Steppers what goes to AA.

That is all I meant. What can a person do if they cain't go to AA? First, find some good people to hang around with. Stay away from the bars and the people you used to drink with. I say, "If you ain't gonna straighten up with me, I ain't gonna go to hell with you." If they cain't handle that, then they have to go. You flush that toilet and move on.

Number two is where do you find good people? For me, it was finding a little church where the people was real and serious about helping people. It weren't no big and uppity church what don't believe nothing. It was a Bible believing Church, one where Marilyn was going because the lady down the road went there and took Marilyn to church with her. Sometimes I drove her there myself and sat out in the parking lot in my truck. One night, I was waitin' out in my truck and one of the men came out and invited me in and he sat with me. That meant a lot.

The preacher was a working man and he preached his heart out and he preached from one end of the Bible to the other. I mean he covered more ground than a Weight Watcher's picnic! At the end he gave an altar call and I went up front and got on my knees and asked the Lord into my heart.

Big Dave: I done that once, too, but not at a church. I was in jail in Orangeburg, [South Carolina] for driving on suspended, no insurance, runnin' a red light and CDS with intent. I told the cop it was for personal use, but, that doesn't count. Anyway, I asked the Lord for help and He helped me. But I am not much of a church goer.

Doc: I ain't a choirboy, neither, but it's good to have some good people pullin' for you. Here is how you can find a good church. Look in the parking lot. Watch the people. If they are looking too snooty or it is nothing but big fancy cars, you might not feel too welcome.

Doc Stevens 015 If it looks like regular ordinary working people you might want to go in. Then inside, if the people sing out real loud, not self conscious, and the music is good, not funeral music, it is probably a good one, because the Lord will be there. In a good church, the preacher will preach from the Bible and will apply it to every day life so you can understand it, and the people will say "Amen, or "That's Right" or things like that, because they have experienced what he is talking about. It lets you know that they are free to be themselves. At the end, in a good church there will be an altar call or a chance to ask the Lord into your life.

If it ain't got that, it probably aint gonna be strong enough to keep your interest or change your life very much. That's my opinion. When I am traveling, I try to find a Pentecostal church. Good music, good preaching and full of flavor. Pentecostal churches are like what boogie woogie is to music.

Going to a lively church will help you find forgiveness and strength to overcome alcohol or anything else you are battling.

Then there is thinking different than you did before. You can't think good things about getting drunk and be able to stay sober. You gotta see drinking as your enemy and being sober as your friend. I used to think I had wasted a Friday night if I didn't get drunk. Then, I changed my thoughts to thinking I had wasted a Friday night if I DID get drunk. Every Friday night I could stay sober was a victory and I hated losing.

You got to get rid of that "stinkin thinkin." That's an AA saying and it is true. So is this one; "you need to get a check up from the neck up."

I had to learn to stay sober because we are like 20 miles from the nearest AA meeting that I liked and I did not always have the gas to go there or had to play somewhere. Now, I try to not play in bars, and I never, ever take Marilyn to a bar. Never. Nothing good would come of it. She is a good girl and good looking, and in a bar that means that someone would put his hands on her and then old Doc would think he was a cop and it would be a replay of the old days which aint nobody wants.

Doc Stevens Marilyn Big Dave 1 Stay outta drinking places if you are going to stay sober! If we play a festival or a party or BBQ, then we bring some soda's and tell people we aint havin' nothing stronger than that and they is usually ok with that. Even the biker parties we have played at. They understand and respect that and is always respectful of Marilyn.

Big Dave: Yeh, she's a nice girl and don't need to be dangled in front of idiots. It's just asking for trouble. Doc's right about that, Tondy. Don't go into a bar with anything or anyone who could get you drinkin' too much or fightin' and don't carry much money, maybe a $20, and don't carry any real weapons. Doc is a champ on improvised ones, though.

Doc Stevens on Alcoholism, Quitting Drinking and Alcoholics Anonymous Part Two

Saturday, December 6, 2008 2:58 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: In the last post Doc gave some family history of his relatives in Scott County, VA, and the alcoholism that he says is in the blood. He talked about his first tastes of whiskey and how it affected him, and how he began to quit drinking. Here is more from that same interview. His friend Big Dave had dropped over by this time, so he added a few comments.

Doc: Ok, Tondy. Here is something what I learnt about alcohol what is important. First, it's got nothing to do with how much you drink whether you is an alcoholic or not. It's either in your blood or not. Like for me, the first drink of whiskey was like the heavens opening up. It was like I had tasted it before and had been lookin for that taste all my life, even though I was only 12 or 13. I took that drink of Jack Daniels and on the inside I thought, "YEAH! This is it! It's what I been lookin for!" It didn't taste like something new. No, it was like meeting a old friend. That is a danger sign, I learnt later.

Big Dave: It wasn't like that for me, was it Doc? I didn't like the taste, but I wanted to get drunk. And it didn't take too much to do it. I could get drunk on three beers back then. But you always held your liquor pretty well.

Doc. Right. I could hold my liquor better than any of you all. I drank maybe half of that fifth an really didn't feel anything but more alive. Ready to go. Ready to get in a fight or go steal something, but I did not feel tipsy or any of that. No, and that is a bad sign too. If you get drunk on two beers, you aint no alcoholic. You may be a problem drinker later on, but you aint no alcoholic. Big Dave would drink till he was stupid and it weren't that far of a trip for him. Maybe a sixpack.

A alcoholic gots it in the blood, like the tolerance is already there. They all said of me that I could hold my liquor and I could. I was the one they got to drive when every one else was passin' out and pukin. But not me. That is a bad sign too, Tondy.

Big Dave: Doc, you used to get drunk and wake up with cuts and bruises and have no idea what happened! You'd try to right some wrongs and end up getting thrown out or locked up for the night. That was regular for you, when we were in our 20's. Tell Tondelo about it.

Doc: Big Dave is right. That's another one what I had. That is blackouts. Like it don't mean faintin.' It means drinkin' a bit and then not knowing what you done while you was drinkin. I done that a fair bit. One time, I had a bottle of Scotch an the neighbor's boy, this was down Mount Olive, North Carolina, came over. I had taken a few drinks, and when he came over I asked him to take me for a ride. I remember that much.

The next day he called me an' said "Doc, I aint comin' over no more. You scared me. It was like it wasn't you, but someone else inside of you."

I didn't believe him. He said I had gotten my snub nose 357 [a powerful pistol with a 2" barrel - Tondeleo] and had stuck it in my waistband and had told him to take me around to the different bars in Goldsboro because I wanted to find someone who was picking on someone else or a man hitting a woman and I was gonna teach him a lesson. I didn't remember ANY of that, Tondy. Then he said for me to look at my bottle of Scotch. I did, and guess what - it was empty!

I didn't know anything about what he said, but I knew it was full at the beginning of the evening and now it was empty. That's called a blackout. If you are having blackouts you are a alcoholic. You need to find a reason strong enough to get you to quit drinking right now.

Big Dave: Tell 'em about AA. I took you to the one at Sacred Heart over in La Plata. You went there and to one in Indian Head for a while. You liked that at first.

Doc: I told Tondy about that before you got here. Like I said, I went to AA to get help, and it did help some, but it aint enough. Or aint enough for me. First, cause they said that you should come to AA on any night what you usually would drink. I never drank on any kind of schedule. Mostly when I played music, but if I showed up at AA instead of at my gig, I would have been homeless!

My second problem was that not everyone who drinks a lot is a alcoholic. Some is just problem drinkers. Big Dave would be in that group. It's not in their blood, it is just a bad habit or a social thing for them. And guess what happens? Now they is problem AA'ers! They used to drink every night and neglect their family and now they is at AA every night and neglecting their family!That ain't no good.

Big Dave: What got you to quit? I remember you told me at the time, but I didn't really care because I was thirteen stepping that girl [apparently an insider joke, because of the way Big Dave and Doc laughed and punched each other's shoulders - Tondeleo] - what was her name? - back then and I didn't care why you quit. It was just less competition for me! I was glad you dropped out!!!

Doc: It was having to introduce yourself as an alcoholic and telling yourself that every day. I did not need to hear that, especially coming out of my own mouth. "My name is Doc and I am an alcoholic." "Hi Doc."Just Doc with no last name. Aint nobody s'posed to use last names there. That is a good thing to say when you is still gettin' drunk and are lying to yourself about it. Like they say, If you have problems because of alcohol, you have an alcohol problem." That is true enough.

But I did not want to keep confessing that about myself, no sir. If I did, I woulda kept acting like that! So I began to confess "I am Doc Stevens. I got a last name. I live sober and right. I am a man and I take 'sponsibilty for my choices. I choose to live right and be a zample to every one I meet not just today but every day. And I need the Lord's help to do that."

That worked for me and still does.

Here is my last gripe with AA. They say to pray to the God of your understanding. Well, the God of MY understanding is what got me in trouble! My understanding aint no God. In jail they said that anything could be our God - a light bulb or even our locker! I would have to be double drunk and on the floor to believe that! No, it is not the God of my understanding, but God as I understand Him.

See, Tondy, I got my grandaddy's old AA books, and the new ones has changed it. They prayed to the real God, and so do I. He can help a man and bring him up from the gutter. But a light bulb or a locker cant do nothing for no one. I asked the Lord up above for help and He helped me. He saved my soul and saved my life.

But they did not want to hear the easy answer because it might offend someone if you say "I asked the Lord into my heart and he gave me a new heart and a new mind and a new life and reason for living. You might want to do it too." You can curse in them meetings and say the Lord's name in vain but you aint supposed to say it like He is the answer, because if you do, you ain't cool in their world. Only if you get up there and cuss as much as you can when telling what a bad guy you used to be.

Well, I am ashamed of what I used to be. I am ashamed of my days of darkness and all that I did so I didn't want to tell them all the dirt. I went to AA for a while and it did help some people. Just not for me.

Do I still get tempted? Well YEAH! But I aint tempted to going back into my darkness and hurtin' my loved ones. I drink other things. Sometimes a bottle of hot sauce will do the trick. I like to drink Jamaican Pepper Sauce.

One thing I drink now, and this aint no lie, I drink mustard. I drink it right out of the bottle like I used to do with whiskey. I like hot mustard, not that yellow French's mustard. My mustard of choice right now is called Chipotle Mustard. Silver Spring Chipotle Mustard. Marilyn found it up there at the Safeway in Bryans Road. It comes in a squeeze bottle. I carry one of those with me and I squirt it into my mouth when I want that burn that I like so well. I might drink one of them little bottles in a evening if we are out playing music. And I pray to the Lord for strength and He helps me.

Put this on the blob, Tondy. It might help someone to beat whiskey so it don't wreck their life.

Tondeleo: You can download the A.A. "Big Book" on the Internet at www.aa.org/bigbookonline A.A. has helped members of Doc's family and members of my family and several of my mates to get help. Doc's opinion above is just his experience and is strictly his opinion.

Doc Stevens on Alcoholism, Quitting Drinking and Alcoholics Anonymous and more Part One

1:06 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc used to be quite a hard drinker. He says it runs in the family and that for as long as he has ever been able to find out, hard drinking and fighting and cheating goes way back in the family tree on both sides.

Doc stopped drinking around about the time he took the job of raising Marilyn, his niece when she was nearly eleven years old. What does he do now to deal with his desire for alcohol? Here is what he says, as best as I can understand him.

image Doc: Yeah alcohol pretty much runs in the blood in our family. Mama was a Falin from down Scott County Virginia. On Clinch Mountain. In Clinchport. Some in Gate City where my great grandaddy ended up. His name was Andrew Jackson Falin. He was wrote about in that book Trail of the Lonesome Pine what became a movie in the 1930's. He was the one in that book called Jack. He was a black Falin. Had black hair. Red Falins has red hair.

We got Falins, and Hortons, my great grandma was a Horton, kin to Johhny Horton the singer who was also a racist and I aint, That is my mom's dad's side. My grandmother on her mom's side was a Taylor from Kingsport, Tennessee and also was Carters, of the Carter family which sing and where June Carter is of.

My grandaddy was Gideon Falin and he was a drunk like his daddy, but he done better for himself and moved outta there and wouldn't never let any of us meet our people down there because he said they wouldn't do us any good. Later I learnt he was scared we would start acting like he did and his kin when he lived down there. I heard the stories, and he wrote down a lot of them in his diary and he wrote down his life story when he got older. He was good at that, which is odd for a Falin or any other mountain man. He even wrote some when he was drinking and it sounded like me when I was drinking, when I read it after he died.

Alcohol done our family no good. Even getting out of Clinchport, my Grandaddy went back to drinking and lost everything, then sobered up and got on his feet. He worked at Bethlehem Steel and coulda been a Vice President when he was 39, but got drunk and didn't show up for the interview! Then he got drunk because he was so mad at himself for doing that. He stayed drunk most of the time from 39 years old to 43 years old. He got canned and then a friend in the Masons got him a job at Western Electric, but he would have no retirement because the job there was a favor. He only went back to drinking one more time and was hospitalized. But then he never went back to it. So that was good. His two brothers both was musicians like he was, but died broke and alone and drunk as I heard it. One of them named Garland Falin died in Coos Bay, Oregon in a hotel room with nothing to show of his life.

They was all talented but alcohol did them in. As for me, the first time tasted alcohol at 12 maybe 13. It was beer and I didn't care for it. Drank some wine and it was ok. But then one of my friends gave me some Jack Daniels and BLAM! It was like the heavens opened, Tondy! It tasted familiar, but I aint never had it afore!

I liked how it burned going down. I started drinking it right from the bottle and wouldn't let any of my friends have any of it. They didn't much like it cause it was too strong. I drank about half the bottle, I think. We had that liquor hid out in the woods because one of my friends stole it from a house where he played music for a party. He stole it and hid it out there.

Well, the next day I got wanting more so I went out there by myself and drank as much of that Jack Daniels as I felt like and it was like that was what I was born to do with my life! I tried some Southern Comfort and J&B and some Johnny Walker Red and I liked 'em all!

So I was just born with it in my blood. I wished there was whiskey coming out of our spigot and not water. Not to get drunk so much but to be able to taste that burn.

Well, long story short, it didn't do me no good either. When I drink whiskey, I become a defender of the weak, if you know what I mean. I hate bullies when I am sober, but if I have had a few, and then I see a man being mean to a woman or picking on a little guy, I am right there in the middle of it, which aint too smart. I aint no cop, but I think I am when I have had a few.I think I am a big cop!

I aint the best fighter in the world and only weigh 190 to 205 depending on how much I been eating, but after two or three shots, I am pretty mean, and fast and don't put up with no BS if you know what I mean.

When the chance came to take care of Marilyn, I had to cut all that mess out. Now I tried that AA which is Alcoholics Anonymous. It was ok, but I got tired of saying "My name is Doc and I am an alcoholic" and then having them all say, "Hi Doc." We would then try to all top each other's stories about what a jerk we was when we was drunk.Every meeting, you have someone stand up and tell how drunk he used to get, or she if it was a woman, and after while you get to enjoy telling the story and you don't want to be boring so you add to it to get the laughs.

But after a while I had a revelation. How am I ever gonna get better if I keep announcing to myself and to other people that I am an Alcoholic? You can hypnotize yourself to become whatever you say you is and you will be that.

I said in one meeting, "I am Doc Stevens. I used to be a Alcoholic, but the Lord done delivered me from it, and now it is in my past, under the blood of Jesus and you can do that too, if you want. It aint me what done it but Him. The power came from Him so the glory will go to Him."

Well, they weren't ready for THAT one! No sir! I coulda said anything I wanted but that was too strong a drink for them! My sponsor told me that it was very good that I found help in religion, but that I needed to just cooperate and fit in. Cooperating and fitting in is what got me into trouble in the first place, so I decided I was not going to do that. I only went a few more times after that. But I am still sober.

Doc has NOT approved of all of the adverts that appear in the sidebars of this blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008 8:26 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: I just got an email from Doc who was very upset because of some of the adverts in the sidebars of his blog. It stems back to the posting that he had me put up about G*y M*arriage and G*y S*x. I had to put the asterisks in place of the vowels above, because adsense will find the words and put pertinent ads in the sidebar.

imageDoc and Marilyn had gone to visit a neighbor and went on the Internet to look at his blog. You can imagine his rage and embarrassment at the pictures of two g*y men embracing, and other adverts for g*y hook ups and other things that run contrary to Doc's standards.

He wanted me to call those people at "Goggle" and tell them to get those pervert ads off his "blob." I explained that Google has crawlers (not night crawlers for fishing) that read the words used in the text and will put up adverts based on the words he used.

I went on to preferences and blocked the links to the specific adverts that were on the sidebar so hopefully you will know that Doc does not condone that kind of behaviour or activity.

Here is the message from Doc loud and clear to the whole world, slightly edited so you can comprehend it:

"I do not approve of any of those ads telling men to kiss on or to date other men. A man should find a woman, and he should not go after another man in that way. There is too many women in the world and after a man has met every woman in his age group in the USA, if he has not found one here, then he should go to England and all them countries over there and check out all the women and if he caint find one there, he can go to Africa and meet all them women there, and if he caint find one there, he can go to India and China and any of them countries that is left and the Philippines where there is a lot of good looking women what make good wives cause I seen ads for that. If out of all those women where I have mentioned if he caint find one, he should give up. But do NOT think that means you should get with a man. You are just too picky and should start over again here in America because while you was out in them other countries, some of the women you missed here in America got divorced or their old man broke up with them and they is available now. - Doc."

Doc Stevens' Angry Song to a Cheatin' Friend

Monday, November 24, 2008 11:15 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: When I was in the States in October, Doc was fit to be tied because he learned that a friend of his who lives more than a thousand miles away left his wife and kids for another woman. Doc and Marilyn were very close to the whole family and could not comprehend the madness of this man leaving his wife and kids.

When Doc gets touched emotionally, he has the gift of writing a song about it, and I have been there three times now when he was writing a song. The first two times, I was unaware, because something happened that I knew made him upset and he went back into the back room with one of Marilyn's notebooks and came out a few minutes later looking relaxed and said he just had to get something off his chest. He wasn't gone five minutes, but had written an entire song.

For this song, I was there. He got word from his friends' 11 year old boy about their Daddy leaving them for another woman. Doc was furious, upset and fit to be tied. Marilyn kept saying, "Oh, No" over and over again. Doc got Marilyn's notebook and a pen and started writing feverishly. He was writing as though taking dictation.

When he was finished, he shoved it at me across the table and said, "Here. Put that on my blob." I did do some spelling corrections.

A Song For A Cheatin' Piece of Trash

By Doc Stevens 2008

v1) You had a good life, and a good wife, but you threw them both away

your kids loved you more than you could know, but you just walked away

You left your home, your wife's alone, she cries both day and night, You've left it all I hope you fall - and pray you'll see the light

v2) A man can't hope for very much, in this short and hard life

but somehow life had smiled on you with a job a home a wife.

But all you had weren't good enough for a big man such as you,

You met that whore and walked out the door - I hope she humbles you

CHORUS:

You would not be happy with all the good things that you'd have

You lived your dream and fell for schemes of

a woman that was trash

We tried but you wouldn't listen, you just had to go your ways

Now lose it all and when you fall I'll laugh in your poor face

{Break}

Chorus again

v 4) Your children cry and wonder why their dad's left them alone

your girlfriend's kids are livin' large, now Big Man's in their home.

You're a hero now, in your own eyes with your brand new family

But the one you left was God's own best and before too long you'll see.

v5) I hope your wife can find the strength to fight for what is hers

you made a vow to love her so, for better or for worse

You're worse than what she took you for, I'm glad she'll soon be free

From a selfish fool who left his jewel for that W - H - O - R - E.

You would not be happy with all the good things that you'd have

You lived your dream and fell for schemes of

a woman that was trash

You got coke up your nose and blood on your clothes, and when you're moneys gone she will be too

So lose it all and when you fall I'll laugh in your poor face

Chorus and ending.

I have seen Doc write another song in the same time frame, about 5 minutes when he was touched, moved, sad or mad. In fact, as soon as he handed me this one to put on his blog site, he said he wasn't through yet, and wrote another one, on the same subject, and with more aggressive lyrics than I thought we ought to put on this blog. I am holding it for him for "later."

The tunes seem to come just as fast, and he sits down and plays them immediately afterwards. Now I am wondering which of the songs I have heard him sing are originals and which ones are just what he remembers of old country songs from his boyhood. But, this is one he specifically wanted on the "inner web, so that sorry excuse for a man can read it."

Doc Stevens' Opinions on Raising a Boy to Be A Man

Friday, November 14, 2008 3:34 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: I have hours and hours of video of Doc pontificating and solving the world's (and America's) problems. In fact, I have found that it is quite common for American working class people to think in black and white, and to feel that the world's problems would be pretty easily solved if one had but common sense.

In this video, we were finishing up the evening meal and I set up my camera for an evening of interviews and recording, and asked Doc if he'd mind talking a few minutes on raising kids, specifically raising a boy to be a "man." Doc tells me regularly that there is more to being a man than just not squatting when one "takes a pee."

This video will also give you insight as to how these blogs are created and what an editorial challenge it is to make a written document from Doc's speaking. You can hear his dogs barking outside, and other sounds. Anyway, I hope you enjoy getting to hear firsthand what I have to deal with in order to get these blogs together.


Click below to watch and listen.

Doc is in Dallas, Texas and some other places in Texas for a few days.

Monday, November 10, 2008 10:00 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Me typing Doc Steven's blog

Tondeleo: Doc just rang me up to report on his trip to Dallas, Texas and some surrounding towns. Between his pronunciations and my not always being able to suss out exactly what he is actually trying to say, our conversations are comical sometimes.

Actually, this call made me realise that I ought to just post some of my footage of my interviews with him and his comments and advice on YouTube rather than try to decipher it all. He is serious, but is also VERY funny, and I am never quite certain if he realises how humourous he actually is.

Doc: Tondy - This Doc down to Texas over in Dallas somewhere but it ain't Dallas right now it is somewheres near Dallas about more than a hour from the airport which I am going to tomorrow. I come up here yesterday and played last night and slept this morning and today helped a man at his ranch for because he is putting me up with him and his wife and feeding me and tomorrow we are going to the airport.

Tondeleo: Doc, do you have any clue at all where you are?

Doc: Yes, Tondy in Texas where there is a college A and M what is here. They is a real good chinese restaurant called Panda with a cute little chinese waitress what is working there to go to college. She will be good at it. I want to go back tomorrow and get a picture with her. That man Doug where I am staying brought me here and then I told him I have been in Texas since last week an seen nothing but roads, hotels and parking lots and that is all I will think is Texas unless he shows me more Texas.

He drove me around his town here and showed me the college and then some old houses and a cowboy church with a bullpen outside and then to the Wal Mart. I aint buy nothing but he bought something. I walked around and looked at camo shirts and hats and pants and boots and chairs and dog tents and gloves. Looked but not touch lessened they try to 'cuse me of shoplifting and put me in a mexican jail and then where would I be?

But that aint the point Tondy. Now I can do inner web like you and like a little blob over at a blues innerweb place. Called this (I can hear papers shuffling around and Doc trying to figure out how to read a url) Tondy are you there? It is called www.livebluesworld.com and I have my own Doc Stevens blob or webspace and Marilyn showed me how to put pictures on there and those VCRs from YourTube what you put up there. Now I got some friends from cyberspace and they are real nice folks. One of them, Mike, wrote something what made me write a hymn on it. He made a tear roll down my eye.

Tondeleo: So Doc, I'm glad you're getting so refined and getting to be able to travel again! I heard that Marilyn made it back from Pennsylvania so Nanjemoy will be repopulated fully by Wednesday. I know that must warm your heart, Doc.

Doc: Yeah, Marilyn done called me already an said she is safe at home and fed the dogs. I need to get back home and in the garage and guess what? Get some checks cashed up the store. They was real good to me an fed me good an put me in a Marriott in Dallas and then a small hotel in Palace Teen ["Palestine"] and I stayed at some peoples' house with a lot of money up in a place called Grape Vine and now am on a ranch. They got money too and beds with cloth roofs on em. Like in the old timey movies. But I can't wait to go home, like Dorothy said, Tondy, there's no place like home, there's no place like home. Is that true even if you're a Brit? No place like home?

I assured him that it is true even for Brits that there is no place like home, and that I would see him in a couple of months or so, but to keep in touch.

Doc Stevens on Gay Marriage, Gay Sex and all that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 2:17 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc Stevens 018 Tondeleo: Doc, you probably haven't heard, but California has voted to make it so gays can't get married anymore there. What do you think about that? I KNOW you must have some thoughts on it. Come on and tell us.

Doc: Tondy, first off, these ain't pot plants. They's weeds. But, I know when you're jerkin' my chain and when you talk about homo's wantin' to get married you figure you already know what I'm gonna say and you're tryin' to get a rise outta me, but you ain't gonna do it.

But here's what I think. I got a sister down Kingsport and she's shackin' up with a guy she ain't married to an' she and he don't wanna get married. They been together 'bout three years and she's been married twice already. So that's one thing. They aint gays. And they don't wanna get married. That' something to think about ain't it?"

You got straight folks, that's the name for folks what ain't gay, an' they just want to live together and not get married. People used to cry the blues over that one. But now you got homo's, both men and women ones, what you say want to get married. That's a new one out here, at least to me!

Homer Rathwell's boy, I think he's a gay. I ain't never asked him, but you can sort of tell. He ain't sissy like YOU, Tondy, but that's because you're a Brit and a office boy. He's American and he hangs with girls, always has but don't never date none of them. Every now and then he'll bring some sissy looking boy over for a sleepover and you can hear 'em giggling back there if you're visitin' Homer.

Now what if he wanted to marry one of them boys what he might be having gay sex with? Well, Tondy (laughing) that'd be the end of the sex - if they got married!

But I ain't care WHO he has sex with as long as it aint me an' as long as I don't have to hear about it. That's between him and the Lord. From what I hear, though, the Lord don't go for it at all.Ain't never did. But them folks ain't exactly carin' what the Lord wants and don't want. They care about what THEY want, so totin' out the Bible ain't gonna make none of them change their ways what don't want to.

Tondeleo: Doc, a lot of people think that gay marriage and homosexuality in general is a threat to straight marriage. I bet you have some thoughts about that, too!

Doc: Tondy, you're a piece of work. Gay marriage ain't never threatened none of my friends' marriages! And I ain't never been tempted to kiss a man! There's too many women out there for a man to go after another man. 'Cept in prison but I aint talkin' about that. Aint no one want to go to prison no way, and it is all about the punishment, aint it. I try to stay away from them places.

Naw, I think the biggest threat to marriage ain't gays, it's cheatin'. Cheatin' an drinkin' too much and drugs. They's a big threat to marriage, if one or both is smokin too much reefer or smokin' rock. Spendin' too much money'll threaten a marriage, too. Lot's of folk break up over one of 'em spendin' too much money. But, Tondy, cheatin' an adultery's the biggest threat to marriage, in my book. There, an' you aint got a rise outta me.

Doc and Marilyn's Business Cards. Yes, business cards.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:41 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc called me on his new pay-as-you-go mobile phone to tell me how pleased he is with his new business cards. See, a few weeks ago, after he got his mobile phone, I was telling him he needed business cards, which he had a hard time comprehending. I explained over and over again that not EVERY one who would like their kind of music knows where they live, and not every one wants to drive out in the country to ask him and Marilyn to play music.

I didn't think he was comprehending any of it. Then, out of the blue, he asked me in early October to take them to the "liberry" because he had a plan. Marilyn had found a company online that makes self inking rubber stamps, and she and Doc decided that this was the way to go. He figured all he had to do was get a stamp and then they could just stamp their info on the back of other peoples' cards.doc stevens & marilyn card closeup

Doc said, "Heck Tondy, everywhere you go people is giving you they's cards for free. All we gotta do is turn 'em over and stamp our stuff on 'em and BHAM! free cards!"

I showed them how to order online, helped with the spelling and layout and let them use my Paypal account.  Within a few days the stamp arrived, and they were in "hog heaven," as Doc said.

They were able to get hold of a bunch of business cards from a guy they met who got axed from his job, and they'd X'd out his name and put an arrow pointing to the back. And there on the back, in bright red is all their info! Both Doc and Marilyn are pleased as can be! Now they feel professional and are handing them out to everyone they see. Doc is quick to point out the "innerweb" address of his "blob" that is also printed on the card.

Doc Stevens on Raising Kids, Morals, Making Money, and more.

12:23 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: You know, Doc, some people would find it interesting that you give advice on raising kids, dating, socialising and making money, but you don't have any kids of your own that yoDoc Stevens 03u mention and to some people, you're dead broke. How do you have any credibility?

Doc: I ain't GOT no credit ability! I pay cash for everything. Why you asking that? Don't want no credit cards. If I cain't pay for somethin' then I ain't s'posed to have it yet.

Tondeleo: No, I mean how can you know what you're talking about. That's what that means.

Doc: Yeah, I uh knew that - I was just messin' with you Tondy. But with raisin' kids, I been with plenty of folk who cain't raise kids. When it come time to raisin' Marilyn, I thought about what they done, and whatever they done, I 'cided I warn't gonna do it.

Like, if the grown ups is drinkin' and smokin' dope and doin' pills - oxy cottons is real popular out here and so is meth - then how you gonna tell the kids not to do it? An you always gonna have the drug dealers tryin' to get them started or people at school. If you want your kids good, then you gotta be good. They ain't stupid nowdays, Tondy. They can tell if their momma or daddy is drunk or high. I ain't never drunk or done drugs around Marilyn.

I ain't curse at her or use no fowl language around her an' I don't put up with it around here for the same reason. She don't like it no way herself either. She's a good girl and don't like "no-counts."

You gotta set the 'xample. That's what I tried to done, an' it made me a better man, too. You ought to do that Tondy.

Tondeleo: How about your female relationships... do you or did you set an example for Marilyn? You don't have to answer, Doc. I'm just wondering out loud.

Doc: Naw, Tondy, I aon't mind answerin'. I ain't never hung out with no trashy women; ain't like no loud mouth women. Ain't like no substance 'busers. I ain't hang out with no loud mouth men, neither. I ain't hang too tight with no men what is substance 'busers, an' I ain't never tell 'em where I live. An' if they find out, I let 'em know they ain't welcome. A substance 'buser'll steal from his own mama. I ain't havin' none of that 'round here.

You don't want to be bringin' no man or woman with problems to your house or wherever you is livin.' You ever heard of stalkers? Even women is stalkers nowdays, Tondy, an' you can't let them know where you live or expose your family to them. They can be dangerous.

Tondeleo: As you know, Doc, I have some problems in my dating life, especially in meeting nice women. I have been hurt a lot by pretty women who seemed ok at first, but then turned out to be horrible. How do you know if they are a problem? How do you know if you need to put them down?

Doc: You LISTEN!!! Tondy, that's what I been TELLIN' ya! A woman wants to be listened to. They ain't want to be pawed all over right away. If they do, they ain't no good, 'cause they know they can distract a man by showin' him all they's goodies an' lettin' him sample them. She's 'fraid he'll find out that she's mental or somethin'. You ain't want that.

You LISTEN and find out what she says about other men she has had an her kids an' her job an all that. You'll hear if she says all the men in her life are bad, or if she's complains or if everybody but her is the bad guy. Get out quick! If you don't, you are settin' yourself up to be the next bad guy and she ain't worth it. It's faster to just go home and stick a fork in your head.

Tondeleo: And, money? You talk about working and making money, but by most peoples' standards, you're poor.

Doc: Poor? I eat, got lights, got clothes, got a roof, I got a bed, I got guitars, I got tools, and I got friends. I'm healthier than most folks. I'm happy. I work. What's poor about that? I been poor. I been so poor I thought about pullin' out my teeth and puttin' them under my pillow. But I ain't poor now.

"I been so poor

I thought about pullin' out my teeth

and puttin' them

under my pillow."

Poor is mostly in the mind, Tondy. It's lookin at what you DON'T have 'stead of what you DO. You might see someone gots a big house and a lot of cars, but you ain't know they's problems. If you had their stuff, you'd have their problems.

Tondy, think of this. You can only be in one room at a time. You can only drive one car at a time. You can only get so drunk or so high. You can only know so many people. So why does a man need more than that? After more than that is just problems.

I seen a man on the TV cryin' 'bout losin' all his vestments up there on Wall Street. He still got a house a car a wife an' kids an' his health. What's he lost? Just some money. I ain't lost any my vestments. My vestments is my skills, my tools an' my guitars an' Marilyn. She's a vestment. A man's kids is a vestment. You take care of your youngin's and when you get old, they'll take care of you. I ain't poor. Just ain't got much cash on hand. But when I need it, I go out and make it, or sell something' or whatever I got to do. That's what a man does. Ain't lookin' for no handouts.

Doc and Marilyn Celebrate My Birthday! Thanks!

Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:13 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: I'm working in the Washington, DC area for a fortnight, so I rang up Doc and let him and Marilyn know I was stateside. I happened to mention that I had a birthday coming up, but I figured he might be just too backwards or country to actually celebrate something as trivial as a friend's birthday.

He said they we're going to be home for the day and to come on down. I got in my rental car and headed down Route 210 towards Western Charles County in Southern Maryland. Doc and Marilyn live about 35 minutes from this rural motorway. It is a world away from Washington DC, and is only an hour and fifteen minutes by car. Of course there is no public transport there.

Imagine my surprise when I knocked on the door and Marilyn greeted me with "SURPRI-I-I-I-ISE, Tondy! It's yer BIRTHDA-A-A-Y! Uncle Doc tol' me so!!!" Then Doc came from a back room and handed me a Wal- Mart bag with the handles tied in a knot and said, "Here, Tondy. It's for your birthday. It'll help ya look like a man, not a sissy baby."

I opened the bag and Doc's gift to me was a MosTondeleo's Birthday1sy Oak brand camouflage shirt like he and most of the men in Nanjemoy and other parts of rural America seem to be so fond of, no, obsessed with. I have no idea why a man would want to look like a tree, and who a man would want to hide from, from the waist up! It's a bit silly, really, isn't it?

You don't want to get in an argument with a rural American about "camo" being silly looking, or not making much sense most of the time. You will probably get your backside whooped. I went to a wedding last Summer with Doc and Marilyn where the Bride's gown was trimmed in camo, the groom was in camo, including a new pair of camo boots, and the minister had on a camo shirt with pictures of white tailed deer hidden in it here and there!

Doc has camouflage shirts, hats, under garments, boots and house shoes, but he wears mostly bib overalls or blue jeans with them. I ask him if he is trying to make it appear as though a pair of trousers with no feet or torso are walking through the woods, and he shakes his head and says I ain't no American.

Marilyn reached behind the couch and pulled out a gift bag with tissue paper (well actually serviettes, or "paper napkins") poking out the top. She had bought a black hat for me, a baseball style hat, with a logo on it. "Happy Birthday, Tondy! Here's a 'merican hat so you can fit in a little better with the boys 'round here. Put it on! It'll fit YOU because it fit me. You got the same size head I got!" I put on the hat and then the shirt, and Marilyn squealed and clapped and Doc shook his head and said now I looked like a Brit trying to hide in the woods. I just can't win with him.

After that he and Marilyn drove me up to Indian Head, to show me the Black Box Theater where they have played, and where he met Duane Mann, whom he thinks is the greatest. "He's a producer or somethin' like that, Tondy. He said me an' Marilyn sound real good."

Then they let me pick where I wanted to eat. In western Charles County there are not too many places that serve the kinds of food I'm accustomed to, and that Doc can afford. I ended up having to choose among the Chinese restaurant, the B&J Carry Out ( a purple and red mom and pop diner with a yellow and red sign out front ) and the Lunch Box.Tondeleo's Birthday 4We ended up at the Lunch Box, where like in most American eateries, they think tea is a cup of hot water with a tea bag laying on the saucer beside it. No milk, either. I put the tea bag into my cup of hot water and added cold milk to it, whilst Doc and Marilyn shook their heads in disgust. Doc paid for his "cheese steak" sub, which is a steak sub, with melted cheese on it, and Marilyn's "BLT" and my bowl of vegetable soup.

When we left, Doc took pictures of me out in front of Chuck's Butcher Shop, which is next to the Lunch Box, and I took a couple of pictures of him, and we went over to see Bruce and Sue Williams and then back to Doc and Marilyn where we ate ice cream and cake and sang some songs. I got to record some more stories and do an hour or so of interviews and then had to go back to my hotel in DC. I told Doc I would make sure I wrote about it on my "blob" as he calls his blog. It was a wonderful 27th birthday. Thanks, Doc and Marilyn!

Doc Stevens, Bull Lips, Turkey Necks & Blue Crabs

11:01 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc Stevens at ChucksTondeleo: Doc has been trying to get me to go crabbing again. He had me drive him up to Bryans Road to Chuck's Butcher Shop and bought a bunch of bull lips and turkey necks and wanted to have an experiment to see which one the crabs like best. I have never acquired the taste for Blue Crabs and I don't like the fact that they have to be cooked alive and I don't like handling the bait.

Doc: Tondy, it's cause you're a sissy. Even Marilyn likes goin' crabbin'. Bull lips ain't really lips, Tondy. It's really his butt! Ha! Nah, it ain't his butt. It's just the tough meat off a cow or bull's face. Ain't no good for eatin' so it's cheap bait, an' it lasts a long time if you're using a trotline. And bad as the crabbin' is this season, you need it to last and you need something crabs like. They love bull lips.

Turkey necks work good, too. We use 'em on trotlines an traps and hand lines. But I'm likin' bull lips now, too an; we wanna see which ones the crabs go for the most. Turkey necks or bull lips.

Tondeleo: Ok - now Doc, explain to me more about what you call crab pots. They're not really pots, are they? Aren't they more like cages? Tell me and the people who will read your blog more about these crab pots.

Doc: NO!! It ain't no pot, Tondy! You COOK your crabs in a pot, an' there is a crab pot that you catch 'em in, but it ain't a pot, The crab pot what you catch 'em in is a big square cage made out of galvanised chicken wire. Got too rooms in it. Upstairs an' downstairs.

Ones I use got two throats or openin's downstairs, They can get in easy but they can't get out. In the middle is the bait box where you put the turkey necks or bull lips. That parts made out of hardware cloth so the crabs cain't get to the bait an' eat it.

The top part of the crab pot has holes cut in the floor with a little tunnel so the crabs can get up there pretty easy, but cain't get back down. The ones I use also got little cull rings in the tops so little crabs can get out, but the big ones, the keepers cain't.

Tondeleo: But why does a crab go in there in the first place? How does it know to go in the bottom doors?

Doc: They ain't doors, they's openin's! When the crab smells the bait, he tries to get to it, so he circles round an round til he finds the openin.' Then when he gets in, he cain't get to the bait and knows he's trapped. What's a crab do when he gets trapped? He naturally goes up, towards the top of the water, That's where we want him to go! He stays there til we pull the pot up out of the water and yank him out. Him and his buddies.

Tondeleo: How do you know where your crab pot is? You throw it off your boat - how do you get it out of the water? How do you keep the tide from moving it? The people on your blog might need to know that…

Doc: Then the people on that blob ain't using theys heads. First off, you pit a couple of bricks inside or do what I do which is I frame out the bottom of it in rebar…

Tondeleo: "Rebar," I don't know that term…

Doc: Rebar!!! Rebar!!! What you use when you make a sidewalk or a driveway. It's a pig iron metal bar for strengthening the concrete. You get it up at BR Supply in Bryans Road. You put it around the bottom of your crab pot. It works as a anchor to keep the pot from drifting. Then you tie a line to it an on top of that you tie a Clorox bottle or a ZEP bottle if you run a body shop, an' that's your marker buoy. And you write your name on it with a magic marker and put other marks on it so no one can mistake it for theirs, and if they do, you can catch 'em red handed.

Oh yeah, and you put weights on the line so it don't float around at low tide and get cut by a boat propeller. You cotta think of everything Tondy. It ain't as easy as you think.

Tondeleo: Anything else we need to bring in the boat?

Doc: Of COURSE, man! You need a scap net to scoop up any strays. You need some bushel baskets. You need GLOVES. You need a culling stick to measure if the crab is five inches or not. If not, you gotta throw 'em back.

One more thing. Drinks an' sandwiches. Let's go into the Lunch Box and buy some grub an' I'll tell you more about how to be a good crabber. At more than $100 a bushel, it's a good thing to know how to do. Plus, Dave what owns the Lunch Box likes the way you talk that English an' drink tea with milk in it like a little girl.

Doc Steven's Original Songs - I just found out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 1:50 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Most of the time, when Doc and Marilyn are playing music, they do all the old music that he likes and which is pretty much all Marilyn knows because neither of them listen to the radio. There doesn't seem to be any one genre that he plays, just stuff he likes and it has to have a good beat. Other than that it may be American roosts music, then blues and if her remembers an old classic Rock song he might play that (and he will deny that it is rock, for some reason) and then he may do a Motown song or something that no one has ever heard before, but he insists is an old one that everybody knows.

Doc and Marilyn are primarily street performers, and play at family reunions, festivals and pig pickin's and some country weddings and Doc Stevens 038receptions. I was not overly surprised to learn recently that Doc is a songwriter, because he seems to be able to create whatever it is that he is lacking, and can make almost anything. I am not mechanically inclined and not very creative, so most of it is a mystery to me. From making something mechanical to writing a song he doesn't know is not that big of a jump, is it?

We were talking about songs and music, and when Doc said he'd written dozens of songs, I asked why he didn't sing them more often; I had never heard him sing any of them.

Doc: Yes, you have heard 'em Tondy! I just ain't tell you which ones I come up with and which ones is just old songs I know. I make up songs all the time, but I ain't good at writin' 'em down. Marilyn, she been writin' 'em down an' sometimes she records them on that thing you gave her. But I ain't never get the words the same way twice. I cain't hardly remember the words to the songs what was wrote by real people.

My mind goes blank an' I just start makin' up words on the spot an' sometimes I forget the tune an' make that up, too. But that ain't truly song writin. Other times I pick up the guitar an' just start singin' what's on my mind. Marilyn says that IS songwritin'. I ain't never thought of it like that afore she said so.

Tondeleo: I NOTICED that on the DVD which I posted parts from on YouTube. I never heard California Blues sung or played like that before! Is that some alternate version or did you make it up?

Doc: Tondy, my mind went blank on that , so I had to start making things up. I couldn't remember nothin, so I made up the middle parts of it an' it didn't come out too bad. It just ain't the way that song goes for most people, but next time it'll be different again, lessen I remember it right. If a man's mind goes blank, he cain't just stop playin' or singin' Peoples' LISTENIN' an' he owes them to keep on. That's all that is.

Tondeleo: You said that some of my favorite songs you sing are originals? Like what?

Doc: That one, "Some Men DO Buy the Cow." That's one of mine. I wrote it for a weddin' me an' Marilyn played at, down Bristol Tennessee when my girl cousin got married a couple years back...

Marilyn, get me those words you wrote down for Some Men Do Buy the Cow. Give 'em to Tondy...

Marilyn: They's in my notebook from school - under the couch - you can get 'em yourself Uncle Doc...the pink notebook.

Doc: (finding the notebook amongst some old socks, an empty potato crisps bag and a couple of empty coca cola bottles) Here ya go Tondy. That's one of 'em what she wrote down the words for... I done a bunch of wedding songs for folks.

Tondeleo: Can I put them on the Internet, Doc? I'm not trying to push you, but people would love to hear them. It might make people want you to play at their weddings.

Doc: Man, I don't care. Just put my name on 'em so it don't get stole an' put on a greetin' card or Randy Travis don't start singin' it as his own like what he done to Peggy Hill [of the American animated programme, King of the Hill - Tondeleo] that time. We seen it on TV what he done to her. That's a cryin' shame. Put my name on it so he don't steal it as his own.

Tondeleo: No problem, Doc. I'll make sure people know that it is your song. When did you write it, so we can list that, too?

Doc: I don't know, 'bout 2005, I expect. Marilyn were about 15. So mebbe 2003, yeah that's it.

Tondeleo: I'll get it on the web and make sure they know it's YOUR song and that no one steals it. Maybe we can video you singing it and then put it on YouTube?

Doc: Yeh when I ain't so tired like I am now. I just fixed a lady's car what got rear ended an' the insurance company gave her $680 for fixin' it an' I done it for her in one day so she could go to work tomorrow. I'm whooped. Video it later.

Some Men DO Buy The Cow

Words and Music By Doc Stevens, 2003

Well today is your big wedding day

and you know were all surprised

You look so pretty in your wedding dress

I can't believe my own eyes

You been together all these year

and never made it right

and now we're all here gathered round

and you're in your gown of white

They say a man won't buy the cow

If he can get the milk for free

But you roped him in and got him hooked

And he knows now nothin's free

I'm glad for you it's all worked out

We thought he'd break your heart

You gave and gave and paid his way

We knew that wasn't smart

But today we can congratulate

What we didn't think would come

He stepped up to the plate

And made a date and now he is your groom

They say a man won't buy the cow

If he can get the milk for free

But you won him with your lovin heart

And now he's what he oughta be

They give out samples at the grocery store

To get us to buy their goods

But a man won't sign no contract

Based only on free food

You proved us wrong and he did you right

And now's your wedding day

He got your samples an he bought the rest

We're proud as we can be

Some men really do buy the cow

After rollin' in the hay

They say a man won't buy the cow

If he can get the milk for free

You beat the odds

You're makin' vows

And before your God

You're what we'd hope you'd be

(Spoken: "Hey girl, you're a wife!" )