Catching a Girlfriend in a Cold Cruel World, Part 3 - At church!

Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:03 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: A few days ago, you mentioned how you knew guys who'd met girls at church and ended up dating them. I’m not much of a church guy and most of my readers aren’t. But I wouldn’t mind a church girl. How’s that work?

Doc: “Meetin' up girls at church! There's a difference between MEETING a girl at church and startin' to like her and goin' to church just to pick up women. Boy, you don’t want to get the Lord mad at you. But, a church is a good place for a lonely man. He can get the Lord in his life and maybe he won’t be so lonely and maybe he won’t be too selfish to get a good woman.

“But I gotta tell you something else, Tondy. Not all those church girls are sweet an innocent like you might think. Some of them came to church and gave themselves to the Lord because they have a past. They mighta been strippers, or crack heads. You can’t know. They might be gold diggers goin' to church to meet a good simple man who will be gullible. You might end up getting eaten alive. And I would say you deserve it.

“If after all that, you want to go to church to meet a good woman, you need to do some homework and some soul searchin’. Church is where you go to meet the Lord and then He might let you meet a Christian woman. A good woman in church ain’t lookin’ for a man to fornicate with. She ain’t lookin’ for a foulmouthed man who starts cussin’ and hollerin’ when he ain’t getting his way. She’s lookin’ for a good man, and a man who is seekin’ spiritual things. But you can do that - you can seek spiritual things.

“You gotta dress nice for a church girl. You ought to get you a Bible and start reading the New Testament, specially the red words. That’s the ones Jesus spoke. Then, you gotta go to church and try to follow along in your Bible during the preachin’ and listen to what the preacher says. After church, they might have a fellowship time, where people hangs out and gets to know each other. Be a little shy, and stand there looking pleasant. A woman might approach you. If not, just come back the next time. Keep it up and one will, no doubt in my mind.

“Don’t worry if you don’t know much about religion. Tell her you’re new at all this and are lookin’ to make changes. Church gals like a man who can admit he has made mistakes and is willing to change. You might want to ask her if there are any books that would help you. She will tell you! Church gals like to read, and they like to HELP men who are willin’ to read. If you get this far, you can let mother nature and the Lord take their course. That’s all I am gonna say about you meetin' girls at church. I don’t want the Lord to get mad at me.”

"Good women like good talk. Dirty women like dirty talk. That’s all there is to that one. Me, I ain't never liked no woman what talked like a sailor."

Tondeleo: Doc, some guys say that women want you to talk dirty to them; to use a lot of sexy talk. What do you say?

Doc: “Good women like good talk. Dirty women like dirty talk. That’s all there is to that one. I ain't never liked no woman what talked like a sailor. Don’t never talk dirty around a good woman. It’ll turn her off. Decent women like decent men. I’m a decent man.”

Dressing Nice

Tondeleo: How important is it to dress nice? Would you agree that clothes make the man?

Doc: “Clothes don’t make no man. I seen a lot of so called men dressed up and they wasn’t nothin’ but dressed up sissies. They’s got a magazine for them up town. It’s called GQ an’ I ain't seen nothing in GQ but dressed up sissies. No real woman would want a man that’s a sissy.

But a man needs to learn how to dress good. A good man feels good when he looks good. You ain’t gotta be in a three piece suit or nothin’. Just gotta be sure you’re clean and don’t smell like BO or onions or cars. If I been out in my shop workin' on cars, I stink even if I don’t know it. So I always take a bath and clean up afterwards and put on clean overalls and a shirt. Oh yeh, an you need to shave a couple of times a day, if you want to be with a woman. I learnt the most important time to shave is at night, right before going out to eat or whatever. Shavin' just in the mornin' don't get it. Ain't too many women go for that look where a man is all covered in stubble. And ain't no woman gonna want to rub your face if it feels like sandpaper."

Catching a Girlfriend in a Cold Cruel World, Part Two

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 11:41 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: When we were talking a few minutes ago, you also told me to stay away from singles bars. It seems to me as a single man, that a singles bar would be the best place to meet women. But you disagreed.

Doc: "Of COURSE I disagreed! You ain't gonna find no girlfriend at a singles bar! Girls don't go to singles bars looking for boyfriends! They go there lookin' for lonely guys who will buy them drinks all evening! They aint there lookin' for husbands. An' they would see YOU comin' a mile off! You look scared, lonely and unsure of yourself, so you feel like you gotta spend a lot of money on a girl to keep her attention. She would milk you dry! An' you would still be alone at the end of the evenin'. Stay away from singles bars. Go to regular places where there's regular people who ain't desperate.

Tondeleo: Ok, I get the point, I think. Doc, so back to where you told me how to get a few girls to sit with you in a booth for the price of a few sodas[see previous post].What then? Like how do you get their phone numbers, or get them to go out with you afterwards?”

Doc: “Ain't that hard either, Tondy. You just listen a lot and say things that make them laugh. Girls like to laugh. But they don’t laugh like men laughs. We laugh at things that are funny, like passin' gas' or burpin'. Women laugh because they are FEELIN' something that the rest of 'em are feelin'. It's a group thing with them. I cain't explain it, cause I’m not a woman. Women like to laugh together cause they is all feelin' the same thing. Just remember that much.

Same as fishin'. I don’t eat what fish eat. But I know what they wanna eat, an’ I prepare myself to give it to em.”

“We’ll sit there an I might throw out a couple of things what maybe one of my sisters said, or my neice Marilyn. Marilyn talks a lot an' says things what I don't always unnerstand. So do my sisters. ‘em. I might say something like, “My sister said somethin’ that I don’t understand. Mebbe y’all gals know what she means. Is it really true that a girl thinks… and then I will say what she said that I didn't understand, but am interested in. That’s one thing you can do.

Todeleo: “How about the number? How do I get her phone number? Her REAL phone number, Doc, because frequently a girl will give me a number, and then when I call it, it is the number of a business, or just a disconnected number. I need to be able to get her phone number.”

Doc: “Yeh, you need that. Well, you cain’t seem desperate an’ you cain’t seem like it really matters either way if you get it or not. So you might look at yer watch an’ say, “Whoa, it’s getting late, I gotta get outta here an get my beauty rest. Gotta say I had fun wi’ y’all gals. Hope you did. We had some good laughs, didn’t we?" That’s to remind ‘em how fun you are. That’s when you pull out a pencil and paper. A pen might make you look too slick.Leastwise for me it would. You Brits might be OK with a pen.

“Then you go, ‘I’d like to do this again. Any y’all got phone numbers?’ An’ you know they do. Then say, “Heck I don’t need ALL y’all’s numbers. How bout YOU, who helped me with the sodas? You’re a pretty good helper. I’ll give you MINE if you’ll give me yours!’

An' then write down your number real quick, and tear it off for her, an hand her the pencil an' the other half the paper. Most of the time you’ll get it. If you got a cell phone, when you get the paper back, you could tell her you're gonna try it out to make sure you can read her chicken scratch handwriting. If her cell phone rings, then you're good to go. If it don't, you can look at her funny an' say something like, "You musta really thought I was gonna CALL you! I ain't NEED to call you - I can just see you here the nex time," or something like that. But you gotta keep it in good fun.

If you check her number and it DOES ring, you can say, “I gotta WARN you, I might try it out in a couple of days.” Then you call her in a couple days. From there, if you cain’t do nothin’ I cain't help you.”

“It’s like fishin’, Tondy. You have to know what you’re fishin' for and where to find the fish and what

the fish are bitin’. Then, once you catch ‘em, you gotta know what to do with ‘em. That’s your business.”

Tondeleo: OK, right. So that’s how you might get a date from a club. I'm not too social. How about at a library or bookstore or museum? How could I get a date from someone I saw at a place like that?

Doc: “We had a liberry most every place I done lived. Ain’t had a bookstore or museum. A liberry ain’t too hard. It’s still like fishin’. 'Cept a girl at a liberry’s gonna be bitin' on something else from a girl at a dance. In a liberry, you got to have a reason to be there. You’re tryin’ to learn something. You are in a learnin’ mode.

“And you cain’t be in there to be learnin’ about deer huntin' or nothing what only pertains mostly to men. I know’d some gals what gone deer huntin', though. But not many. No, you’re in there to learn about something a woman might be interested in, but a man wouldn’t know so much about.

Except maybe you might be wanting to learn more about fixin’ cars, and that’s not too bad. Why? Because a girl might have a car, and it might need some work, an’ that’s a reason to give her your phone number. I done that once a while back.

I had been outside when she pulled up and when she turned her car off, it kept runnin' for a few seconds. That’s called dieselin’, by the way.I ain't say nothin' to her at the time, but I could tell she was pretty embarrased by it. She looked red in the face and when she got outta her car she was makin' a mad face at it.

“So that time, I went in and picked up a Chilton’s book. They tell you how to fix cars. I waited for her to go sit at a table and then I sat where she could see me, and I held the book up in front of me a bit like I was readin' a newspaper for a few minutes. I waited til I saw her lookin' at it. A few minutes later, I walked over with the book still in my hand, and said I heard her car runnin' on when she turned it off, and that by doin' that it could break her crankshaft, and then she’d have a ‘spensive repair.

“That got her attention. Then, I said I could fix it, probably for less than fifty bucks. If it didn’t fix it, it wouldn’t cost her nothin’. She asked if I was a mechanic, an I said “Actually, I’m a guy who fixes near about anything. I could fix electric stuff, could do carpentry work and even a little concrete work. But I would like to fix her car for her, unless her HUSBAND or BOYFRIEND would mind. And guess what? She said she didn’t have a husband or a boyfriend!

“I told her I could fix it on Saturday, an then gave her my number. And, in case something came up, I didn’t want her to sit around waiting for me, so I would need her number, just in case! She gave it to me, and on Saturday, I went over and fixed it.

"Use your head and your heart."

“Guess what else I did, Tondy? I took along some GOJO (hand cleaner), some rags and some clean clothes and shoes! After fixin’ her car, I cleaned up out behind her house and went behind a tree and changed my clothes! I knocked on her door to tell her I was done, and she kept sayin’ how clean and neat I looked!

She came out and listened to her car an’ then invited me in to eat with her. She figured I might get hungry out there workin' so hard. We ate, an afterwards sat on the porch talkin’ an’ I got a kiss before I left! Just on the cheek, but that wasn’t the last one I got from her, either! I called her two days later to ask how the car was and then went back midweek to “check on it,” and got another kiss! Girls and women like to be taken care of and like a man who can fix things. I got to be a regular handyman, I did!”

“But it don’t have to be a car book. A fix-it book can work, or anything else, that will give you a chance to approach her and ask her something. Use your head and your heart.”

Minimum Wage: What's wrong with that?

Friday, May 16, 2008 4:44 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: "Doc, I've been taking your advice on how to meet and talk with women. As you know, I'm not American and I live on the money I make writing, and..."

Doc interrupting: "So what, Tondy? You tryin' to say you ain't got enough money to take her out once you got her interest? A woman don't want no broke man. Don't blame her. A man needs to be able to make some money and show a woman a nice time. Hard as a woman works to get ready for a date, the man better be able to make it worth her time. What you tryin' to say, that you can't afford to take her out once you got her attention?"

Tondeleo: "Well, not exactly, Doc, and it's not just me in that situation. Plenty of young Americans are working for minimum wage and find themselves in the same situation. A person really can't live on minimum wage, much less have any kind of life, or money for dating."

Doc: "Tondy, you sound like a crybaby. Here's how it works here in America. Minimum wage ain't MEANT to be lived on! That's why they call it minimum. That means as little as possible. And so what? If you have minimum skills and cain't do nothing, or if you do minimum work, why should you be paid more than minimum? You shouldn't!

And you ain't supposed to be stayin' there. Minimum wage is the bottom step on the ladder, not a place to live, Tondy. Here in America, everybody knows that already. Even immigrants who can't speak English knows it. You start off at minimum if you can, and take what you can get if you can't. Then you start learnin' and increasin' what you is worth to the employer. As you get worth more, they pays you more to keep you from quittin' and goin' somewhere else and makin' money for them.

I ain't a rich man. As far as the world's concerned I'm a poor man. But I ain't in debt, and I don't cry about it, an' I never been on welfare. Welfare is a bad thing to give to someone who is able to work. It's bad for a person to be given money if they is able to work but they won't workin.

The Bible says if a man won't work then he shouldn't eat. It's in there. It ain't about a man who CAIN'T work, it's about a man who WON'T work. Let that man go hungry til he WILL work.

When you pay a man not to work, he gets to be afraid to work lessen he lose his benefits or SSI check. I know people like that. The years go by an' you can't really live on welfare, an' you can't make no money so a man jus' feels lower n' dirt. An' his woman got to work an' he don't feel like no man. An' he gets to drinkin' an' druggin' an' fightin' an' gamblin' tryin' to deal with is pain. That's why I have slept out on the streets rather'n be on welfare.

But, Tondy, I always been willin' to work when I was able. Sometimes I got hurt on a job an' couldn't work for a few weeks at a time, but when I could I would take my guitar an' sing on the streets an' people would gimme a little somethin' for singin' for 'em."

When I would get better, I'd look for work, an' I'd do mos' anything. I LIKE doin' body an' fender work. I like goin' to a place where all they have is young guys that ain't real body men. All they can do is replace parts, but cain't fix a panel what's been hit hard. I can do that. I can take a junk panel and can use a torch an' hammer an' dolly and beat it back to the right shape an' use just a little mud [body filler] on it. But these new boys, cain't do that.

No, I cain't fix EVERYTHING. Lookit this, Tondy: Saddest picture of a wrecked car I ever did see. A wrecked '55 Chevy convertible. Hit a tree an' pushed the motor back three feet. Frame's shot, front clip is gone an' the body is twisted. A cryin' shame. In good shape, that car's worth more than $10,000. But I couldn't fix that. I don't think no one could. A man what wrecked that, all he can do is cry.

A wrecked car is no better than a wrecked man.

I like paintin' signs. I done pretty good at that. But in some towns they ain't no body shops hirin' an' nowadays the sign shops mostly use stick on letters so they ain't hirin' any signpainters. I have took work in sawmills, paintin' houses, carpentry, plumbin' you name it.

An' I will sometimes work the first day for FREE, boy. FREE, then the boss man can tell me what he will pay me. An' I worked many days for less than minimum wage while I was learnin. Now, they can see what I can do an' I get paid 10 or maybe 12 dollars a hour, under the table, which is better 'n waitin' til the end of the week an' gettin' all those tax reductions taken out.

Immigrants understand that. They get a gold [goal] an' work toward it. They work hard an' put off havin' fun 'til they has some money. An' they's willin' to learn whatever they got to learn so they can make a life for them an' their family.

I have met a Mexican doctor who does windows an vinyl sidin.' He was a doctor down to Mexico, and came here. He started off here as a laborer 'cause at first he couldn't even do windows an' sidin' He did it for 5 dollars an hour. He didn't say he was too good to do that. He wanted a chance to make good an' he is doing it. His brother is a professor in Mexico an' is comin' to America to do windows an' sidin' for $10 a hour. Americans won't do that hard work for $10 a hour. But you come back in ten years an' those Mexicans will have their own business an' a big house an' fancy cars. An' the Americans who turn up they's nose to $10 a hour is still going to be broke an' still complainin' about it.

"Minimum wage is for minimum work, Tondy. That's all they is to it."

When I ain't got no money I ain't never asked a woman to go out. A broke man ain't got no business datin' and partyin' and all that. He needs to work and get a stablished. I would work, get a place to stay, an' a place to wash up, an' then I would ask a woman out when I could treat her right an' be able to put on the charm and make her glad she was with me and not someone else.

Minimum wage is for minimum work, Tondy. That's all they is to it.

Catching A Girlfriend in a Cold, Cruel World

Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:56 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: I confess. I am a bit shy around girls and women. I have never been very outgoing, and have been rather studious. Also, I am small, around 8 stone currently (112 - 115 pounds in US weight) and I feel under confident. So, I decided to get whatever counsel I could from Doc. I suppose I went to him for information because he is confident, and has a lot of friends, and he is quite free with his advice, if he thinks the person asking is sincere, which I am! I need all the help I can get.

Doc can tell you all you need to know about making friends, both male and female. He plays down some of the stories I've heard about him, and says it's just a bunch of hogwash. But there are still those people whose eyes light up when you mention his name, and can tell you a few tales about his younger days.

So on one of my visits to his bungalow, I was asking him how to meet women, and how to get one to go out on a date with me. I asked him how he did it, back in his day. One reason this is important to me is that when I am in the States, I feel like I just cannot compete with American blokes. They are bigger, stronger, more outgoing and they have more money and fast cars. I have little confidence and am quiet and studious. And I am always short of money.

So I asked Doc how he would get dates and make female freinds, especially with him being a poor man, and not very educated, in a culture that values money, power and education.

Doc: “Getting a woman to talk to you, getting a girl to want to go out with you. Is that what you mean?

“Taint nothing to it, Tondy. Catchin' a woman ain’t no harder than catching a fish. How do you catch a fish? Well, first you have to know a little bit about fish in general. Like where are you gonna find one. You ain't gonna find a fish on the side of the road and they sure as heck ain't gonna jump in your pan or on your plate.

“Some men are stupid. They think just because they’s hungry and likes fish that fish oughtta be jumpin' on their plate saying ‘do what you want with me.’ Well that ain't gonna happen. Same with a woman."

“Some men are stupid. They think just because they’s hungry and likes fish that fish oughtta be jumpin' on their plate saying ‘do what you want with me.’ Well that ain't gonna happen. Same with a woman. Just cause you want a woman friend and are feelin' all lean an hungry aint gonna get you a woman, Tondy. Any fisherman knows that.

“Where you find fish? In the water. You ain’t find ‘em on the side of the road. A man ain’t gonna find a woman if all he do is go to work an come home and watch TV. Nope. Ain’t gonna find a woman if all he do is hang out with his other friends which is men. No, a man gotta go where the fish is, or in your case, Tondy where the women is to be found.

"You aint gonna find one sittin' in your room lookin' at that innerweb, either. You might think you met one, but she might just be a HE, an' HE might just be a robber or stick up man. You ain't know what you're dealin' with on that web. They got that inner web over to the liberry at Bryans Road an' my friend Harold thought he met his future wife an' she turned out to be a 47 year old dude who was just on that web for kicks! You ain't wanna fish in that pond, no doubt!

“When I was young we din’t have much places to meet girls. Had farms, had a factory, had a liberry, had a general store, had dances sometimes, an' had church. That’s it. But you can find where the women are and then go there. But that ain’t all.

“You gotta take your tackle. You need 'quipment an you need bait. You don’t just take your line an hook an a fork an' tartar sauce an think you’re gonna have a fish dinner. You gotta know what kind of fish you’re after an' what it bites on. An you have to be slow an patient and keep real cool.

“Like when I wanted a social type gal, I would go to the dance an find me one that looked unattached an' wasn’t too busy wi’ her girlfriends. Then I’d find me a reason to make the approach. You can’t jes go up an say ‘Hi, I’m Tondy Thomas an' I'm a Brit, an I wanna go out wi’ you.’ No.

But bein' a Brit might help you. It makes you stand out. And it gives you a 'scuse for bein' little an' pale an' skinny. A lotta girls like the girly way you Brits talk. That could work. I ain't never been too good lookin' or rich, but I play music an' I usually got a hot rod or somethin' that makes me stand out. An' back when I was goin' out I weren't a drunk or a pervert. I ain't never talked dirty around women.

Here's somethin' that my ex brother in law taught me twenty years ago. You might take an empty cup that they was selling soda’s in, an as you walk by might catch the eye of the one you have your eye on an say, ‘I’m goin’ up to get me another soda. Any y’all want me to bring you back one?’ Then you have a second to catch her eye an’ look friendly but serious at the same time.

They might say ‘no,’ an they might not. Even if they say no, you can stick aroun’ for a minute and chum the water. [Note: “Chumming the water” means to throw out a little bait to get the fish to let down their guard, so later you can put some bait on a hook and the fish will be ready to bite it – Tondeleo)

“Now, when you're standin’ there with your empty soda cup, you have a reason to stay there an' a reason to leave. They can’t hurt you, an' it gives them a chance to see you ain't no pervert or weirdo. So you might say something that they ain’t used to hearing.

“See, a pretty girl always is hearing compliments from dude who wants to get a hold of her. Ain’t no shortage of men with bad lines. They’s all hook and no bait. Nope, don’t ever tell a girl she looks pretty or that she has pretty hair or nothin’ like that. It don’t take no brains to come up with that, and also, where you gonna go from there?

“You wanna say somethin’ she ain’t expectin’. Here’s somethin' you might try. Talk to the UGLIEST girl in the bunch first. That way they can see you're harmless an’ just a nice guy on his way to get another soda. I would say something funny, most of the time. That's 'cause I'm pretty funny, an' if you ain't got looks an' ain't made outta money you gotta find SOMETHING you got goin' for you. For me, I am a little funny, but I ain't no joker or clown. An' I always show respect.

"You might wanna get a girl laughin’. Not laughin’ like you’re a clown or a comedian, but laughin’ because you are nice and because she is relaxin’ aroun’ you. You might say somethin’ funny about the band what’s playin’ or make a remark about some other girl that is supposed to be so pretty, but you know the other girls don’t like her.

“Once you do that, an’ the prettier ones see you’re willin’ to talk to the ugly one, they figure out that you’re different and they can trust you. Then you can start workin' on talkin' to the one or two you is really interested in. Sometimes I have found that I like the ugler one better anyway. She got to try a little harder and ain't always so demandin' as the ones what think they is all that.

Tondeleo: “You said not to say things like she has pretty hair or how good looking she is. How do you start a conversation with a girl that you’re interested in? I’m shy, and a lot of guys are. I take it that you weren’t very shy…”

Doc: “Shy? No, I definitely ain’t shy! But weren't never smooth, neither. I ain't insecure. I am what I am an' I am comfortable with that. That's important.

If you know how to catch a fish and you can learn how to catch a woman's attention. When you’re talkin' to the uglier one, you also need to listen. Like with fish. You might be chummin' the waters, and minnows and blue gills may be coming up for the chum. An you might see a large mouth bass, over out of the way. He’s the one you really want. So, you CHUM the little ones, while paying ATTENTION to the one you want, and he starts to trust you, 'cause you’re different than the rest.”

Tondeleo: “So what kinds of things do you actually say?”

Doc: “Well, like I said, you might say somethin’ funny about the band, or the bouncer, or any other person who’s up front or seems important. Say it funny, though, not like you’re wishin' you was them but you’re not. Then, pending on how they react, you can start kind of teasing one of the girls in the group, but do it good natured. Like maybe you would tease your girl cousin. Just poke a little fun at her, and then back off. That’s part of chumming the waters.”

“From there, you might look down at your empty soda cup an say, ‘look at what y’all girls done. You made me forget to get my soda! While I’m getting mine, I’m gonna get some for y’all too.’ Then look at the one you really are wantin’ but haven’t been payin special attention to, an say, ‘An I need YOU to give me a hand so I don’t spill ‘em.’ An you just nod with your head the direction of the bar or soda fountain an start walkin.’ Nine times outta ten she’ll follow. An, as you’re leavin', Tondy, you holler for the other gals to try an’ get ya’ll a booth.

“So, you an' the pretty one get the sodas, an the two of you come back to the booth an you got you a whole booth full of girls. An’ the pretty one is now thinkin’ you’re a good provider an she doesn’t want the other girls to move in an’ snatch you up. That’s one way you might meet a girl or two.

"One more thing, Tondy. It ain't all about looks. You ain't really interested in a good looker who ain't about nothin.' Lotsa good lookin' girls is like chihuahua's on cocaine. They is picky, nervous and they yap yap yap all the time. It ain't worth puttin' up with all that yappin' an' complainin.' It's better to have 160 pounds of curves than 110 pounds of nerves. No doubt!"

Explaining Doc Stevens and this Blog

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:25 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Hi, I'm NOT Doc Stevens. I'm Tondeleo Lee Thomas. I'm a journalist and traveller. I am based in Bromley, Kent, UK, where I have a bedsit that I am nearly always gone from. I grew up living quite internationally, being a miltary brat, and then holidaying Summers with an aunt in Madagascar as a teen. I love America and try to get assignments as often as possible there. I am frequently in the Washington, DC area doing research and spending as much time as possible at the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

I'm writing this for Doc Stevens because he can't type well, and doesn't have Internet services. He doesn't have a "puter," either. But he is rich with good thoughts and a good head and a bit of a quick wit, considering his life.

Doc has insights and front porch wisdom that I want to pass on to you, and he doesn’t mind if I do it. “I have a pinion bout everything and there’s nothin’ I won’t talk about. Sure, you can put it on that interweb if you want. That's freedom of speech.” That’s what he says.

Most of these blog entries are made from conversations I've had with Doc out on the porch or in his back yard while he lays in his hammock at the end of a hard day’s work. Some of them are from interviews over the phone. Whenever I'm with him, I have my recording stick handy, to catch some of his gems.

He and his family got a telephone in 2002 and he is still kind of wary of it, but will talk to me when he is in a talkative mood.

Oh, and he wants you to know this. The first time we met, I asked him what he was a doctor of. He said he wasn't a doctor. So I asked why they call him "Doc" Stevens. His answer:

"Why they call me Doc? Heck, I aint a doctor of nothing.’ Listen this all got started years ago when I was working on Mr Mitchell’s farm on Nanjemoy Creek. There’s some good catfishing in the creek, and someone gave me a flatbottom boat. I got a bad back so I aint into hefting that boat into the water even tho it’s alumium. So I built me a dock, an I was the onliest one round there that had a dock so they took to callin me Doc. They call me Doc Stevens because that's my last name: Stevens. That’s all."

I'll be typing his material close as I can from the way he says it on the recordings, and to the best I can understand it. I'll probably post some of the sound files on here as well so you can hear just how he talks. He has a style all his own, not really a southern accent, more of a well travelled but rural one. It is reminiscent of the brogue that is spoken in southwestern Virginia among the mountain people near the border of Tennessee where Doc's family came from. I like it, anyway. Maybe you can pinpoint it better than me.

Doc is living in a small house in southwestern Charles County MD, with his niece, Marilyn. He usually introduces her as "Marilyn, the daughter of my brother what died." He has been taking care of her since his brother Wayne "passed on" when Marilyn was nine years old and her mother had already taken off and gone back to Tennessee or somewhere down south. He is fiercely proud of Marilyn and extremely protective of her. Having responsibility for her has given him stability and has gotten him to actually care about his life and take some degree of interest other people.

I am hoping he will let me put some of Marilyn's words on here. She is 18 or 19 now and has some fiery opinions about a lot of things. Seems to run in the family. As time goes on and we build trust, I am hoping this blog will give some good solid glimpses into a shrinking world - the one of uneducated but intelligent country people on the edge of society and who are invisible to most of us.

From the August 16th, 2008 post:

Writing Doc's thoughts, opinions and ramblings is not an easy job. First off, because he mumbles, and his English is atrocious. He misuses words and mispronounces a lot of them.

On the other hand, his lack of education and culture is part of what makes his opinions and advice interesting. Most of these postings are made from recordings of phone calls and one on one conversations. Whenever I visit Doc, I have my digital recorder on, and when I leave several hours later, I have enough fodder for a dozen or more blog postings. Doc has an opinion about everything and there is nothing he won't talk about... well, unless it is something that I try to bait him into pontificating on, and then he can get sort winded pretty quickly.

As I listen to the recordings, I usually transcript them based on however I am feeling at the moment. Transcripting with only mild deletions or editorial comments is a task in itself. I do my best to spell his worlds the way he pronounces them, and also to try to have the postings make sense.That is harder than I first imagined. However I find it to be a positive challenge and I am starting to get into the flow of it, and to know what he means by certain malapropisms the instant he mumbles them.

As for the photos on this blog, I carry a digital camera with me when I visit him and when I am able to go with him when he and Marilyn are playing music somewhere.I take as many pictures as he allows me to. Sometimes we will go for a ride while visiting - "C'mon Tondy, let's go for a ride and you can buy me a sandwich an' bring one back for Marilyn" - and part of the deal is that I can take a few pictures of him if we find a place that is interesting. Again, he gets antsy about it sometimes - "My mama warned me about men like you what want's to take my picture" - and other times he seems impressed that someone would want to see pictures of him on the "interweb." The pictures are posted randomly with the postings, just as I go through the pics that I have and then try to match them up appropriately to the editorial content.

I gave one of my old digital cameras to Marilyn and she has gotten some good ones of Doc. He is more relaxed around her and lets his guard down. Most of the ones where Doc looks more relaxed or even nearly pleasant have been taken by Marilyn. She has also made recordings of some of his musings and has emailed them to me when he takes her to the library for Internet access.

Anyway, that's how it is done. I also have video of him playing and singing and several of him and Marilyn at different venues and also playing out on the streets. I plan on putting them on Youtube at some point. I may also link the original sound files of these postings where possible and when I can find them on old SD cards, just so you can get the feel of how it is to talk with him.


Doc called me all excited to let me know he got an email address:

"Tondy, I got one of them addresses so I can get electric mail on the interweb. Marilyn set it up for me up at the liberry. We can be gotten in contact with now and answer about once a week if you don't mind bad spellin' unless Marilyn is with me. My name on there is DocStevensYes at Hotmail dot com ."