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!" )

Stevens and Marilyn on YouTube.

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:45 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: I just got some video footage of Doc and Marilyn emailed to me, as well as a DVD of them, so now we can put them on Youtube. Doc thinks all this is a miracle.

Doc: "Tondy, go head and put 'em up. I don't care. I ain't never been on TV on 'puters on that innerweb. Now me an' Marilyn can go to the liberry an' watch ourselves on the innerweb. We ain't good like no professionals, but we can keep a beat and we're cheap cause poor people can't afford no professionals. We play a lot of BBQ's and family reunions and a festival here an' there.

We ain't that good, but people like us. Not a lot, but they like us.

We got some other videos what people shot an' gave to us. You can have them if you like. We ain't got no use for 'em." Cover1

Tondeleo: The person who sent me the footage for Doc and Marilyn already had it made into a decent DVD.

One thing that is amazing to me is that Doc rarely uses a mic. He project his voice and fill up most indoor venues. You'll notice that if you go to youtube or see the DVD. He isn't using a mic at all on this DVD and still projects almost too loud over the guitar. When you hear this, you'll understand why he says he doesn't need to be amplified, but his guitar does. Go to Youtube and search for Doc Stevens and you'll find him.

I'll make some copies of it and give them to him to do what he wants with them. It's from a performance in Indian Head Maryland, USA, at The Blackbox Theater.

He can be emailed at

Doc Stevens: More on Raising a Girl

11:37 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Here are some more excerpts from Doc's counsel on how to raise a girl. You have to bear in mind that he has no children of his own, he says, and that Marilyn is his niece that he had to start raising just before her twelfth birthday, when his brother died. He has done a marvelous job raising her, as anyone can tell after spending a few minutes with her, and she is the pride of his life. For once, she came into the room and added her two bits worth.

Doc: Anyways Tondy, a man's job, if he's gonna be a daddy or in the place of one, is to raise a girl to know how to recognize a man who'll respect her and not take the vantage of her, if you know what I mean. They's always wooden headed boys out there just tryin' to see what they can get, an' most of the time all they can get is a girl pregnant and then they get cold feet. We ain't havin' none of that 'round here. The man's gotta be involved like bein' there when a boy shows up an quizzin' him a little bit here an' ther an' findin' out what he's about.

Like it ain't happenin' that a boy'll drive up here in my driveway an' DocStevens & Marilyn 3 blow his horn an spect Marilyn to come out an' hop in there with him. No sir. He comes to the door, an' comes in an' talks wi' ME first, an' lets me know where they's goin' an' who else is goin' an' when they's gettin' back which is when I set a time for. Ain't none of this 2 in the mornin' stuff, cause I ain't sittin up that late waitin' for her. An' I ain't goin' to bed til she gets in. That's IF he qualifies to take her out.

Tondeleo: DOC! You're talking about a 15 year old or 20 year old??? C'mon, man! You gotta lighten up, Doc! This is the 21st century!!

Doc: What you mean lighten up? First off when a girls' 15, she ain't got no business goin' out with a boy in a car or truck. That's a afro-daisy-act if you know what I mean. He'll get her out there and make her think the moon is blue. AIn't much gonna slow him down an' you can't expect no 15 year old girl to be able to resist, with him bein' older an' all that. No, I ain't talkin' no 15 year old. When she was 15, if a boy thought he needed to see her, he could come over here and hang out with her an' me both at first, and earn my trust before he is gettin' alone with her, an' it ain't gonna be out in the barn or in the shed or in her bedroom. They can be where I got public access when I want. I ain't tryin to be a uncle stepgran'daddy an' she ain't gonna be no single mom.

But when she turned 16, we turned on some rules an' those are the ones we stick with pretty much. Now that she is twenty, she's learnt that if a boy don't want to meet the old man, and spend a few minutes talking like an adult, he probably ain't about nothin' and ain't gonna amount to much any way.

Tondeleo: You don't think that's too restrictive? She's TWENTY ONE, Doc!

Doc: Yeh, she's twenty one. An' she ain't a mama yet and she ain't shacked up with no deadbeat an' she ain't never been in no trouble at all! I can tell you this much, Tondy, she wouldn't go out with YOU. She knows how you are an' she ain't impressed with your way of livin'.

They ain't but one way to make a baby,
an' people do it an' then wonder what happened.

Twenty one years old don't make no difference in right an' wrong an' 21st century whatever that is don't make no difference. They ain't but one way to make a baby, an' people do it an' then wonder what happened. You did the one thing to make a baby an' now you're shocked you got one an' think everyone ought to feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that you're that ignorant. Nobody just accidentally gets pregnant, they just don't do nothing to keep from gettin' pregnant. That's ignorant.

As for waitin' up for her, that's just about caring, Tondy. We got all kinds of deer out here, dogs runnin' wild an' anything could happen to a person out late at night - age ain't got nothin' to do with it. Yeah, I wait up for her an' she 'preciates it.

She don't go out that much anyways cause most the boys round here ain't qualifed to go out with her cause she don't want to be stuck out on some back road bein' pawed all over by a redneck which is likely to be the last time he does that when I find out cause she will come home madder'n the pope when he found out what all them priests was doin.

Marilyn: Tondy, you don't understand cause you're a boy an' you don't respect girls. Uncle Doc ain't too hard on anybody. I've had three boyfriends and they all knew the rules before we got involved and they knew I like it that way. It wasn't a problem and they all like Uncle Doc because they didn't none of them have real daddies at home that could teach them how to be real men. Uncle Doc got them working with him our in the shop and helped them with their cars and self defense so they could look out for me - everything. He even got one of them a Christmas present. I feel lucky to be like this. Most of my girlfriends don't have any kind of older man to be there for them. Their mom's boyfriends are just there to be with the mom and to live there rent free. That ain't happening to me. So there.

Doc: You gotta help a girl find out what she wants and don't want so she can pick for herself who ain't worth messin' wit so she can be free when a good one comes along. An' no, she don't have no interest in you, Tondy cause you ain't no 'merican an' you talk like a sissy. She said so herself, you talk girly.

Marilyn: That's right, Tondy. You're a Brit.

Doc Stevens on the Changes in His Life the Last Eight or Ten Years: Part Two - Raising A Girl

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:01 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

    Tondeleo: At the end of September I was able to get Doc to talk for well more than an hour nonstop, and was fortunate enough to have good batteries in my recording stick. Bit by bit I'm transcribing it and putting his talks in an order that makes sense. He goes from subject to subject and then back to where he left off, which makes him difficult to follow. Here are some of his thoughts on raising his niece, Marilyn.

    Doc: When my brother died an' I had to come up to Maryland to raise Marilyn, it was a hard time for both us. Her mama was gone to somewhere in Tennessee with that piece of garbage she took up with, and now her daddy was gone. She didn't barely know me an' I was lookin' a bit rough around the edges from living close to the edge for a rack of years.

    Tondeleo: So how did she react, how did you cope, how'd you end up doing such a good job with her?


    Doc: First it was socialist services I had to deal with. Had to prove I was 'sponsible enough to raise a girl. Had to shave, cut my hair - they ain't tol' me to do it, but Bruce down the road said it would help an it did. Had to prove I had what it takes. A clean shaved man looks like a sissy to me but looks more like a mama to them or somethin' so I done it.

    Then, it was learnin' girls. Ain't never been one an' ain't understood too many. Marilyn was smart but carried a lot of drama with her. She would get mouthy an' tell me I warn't her daddy which I agreed to, but said I was the only thing keepin' her from bein' taken to a foster home, which no one wanted to happen, so she would settle down.

    You gotta give a girl a lot of sit down time. Talk with her an' listen to her an' teach her how things really work. Ain't like TV. A man needs to show a girl how a decent man acts, too.

    Like, a man ain't s'posed to be a drama queen. Has to get hold of his feelin' an' not be losin' his temper all the time. A man needs to work hard an' work steady so he ain't broke all the time. He needs to make her feel protected, too an' show her how a man acts who is decent.

    Tondeleo: What about all the feminine stuff that a girl needs to know? As she became a teenager, and wanted to date... How did you handle that?

    Doc: Well, I ain't no good on all that stuff what pertains to women and girls like once a month if you know what I mean. The ladies up the church helped with that a bit. She liked going to them church camps and stuff what they has for kids. Made that part easier. She prays a lot an' prayed for me to be a good stand-in dad for her. Church was a good thing. A man ought to take his youngin's to church.

    I'm good at providin' and protectin' but I had to figure out a lot on bein' like a dad. But that's a whole lot of bein' a dad. Yeh, I did go over to the school a couple of times when boys put their hands on her an' one time a boy she turned down got actin' ugly an' I had to drive over there an' give him a man to man. But all that cut out once they knew she had a grown man who cared about what happened to her and would back her up.

    See, Tondy, predator boys is lookin' for a girl what ain't got no daddy or who has a daddy what ain't there for her. I ain't like that. Once word got out, them kinds of boys went looking for easier pickin's.

    Now dating. I done a LOT of teachin' her about boys. Specially teen age boys. They don't think, they just act. They will say anything to get a girl to put out, and she had just better resist especially if she liked the boy an' did not want me to hurt him bad. If I hurt him bad, he would be gone an' I would be in jail an then what would happen to her?

    Tondeleo: Isn't that a lot of pressure to put on a teenage girl?

    Doc: A lot of pressure??? No! Getting' knocked up at 14 would be a lot of pressure. Havin' a baby an' droppin' out of school would be a lot of pressure. Getting' clap or AIDS would be a lot of pressure. Ain't no abortin' round here. You play you pay. So, no it warn't no pressure really.

    I think what ain't fair is the pressure some drunk 16 year old boy might put on a 14 year old girl whose old man ain't care enough about her to look out for her right. A real man would talk to a boy what seemed interested in in that girl and find out what he's about. You can't just let any lonely boy go out with your youngin. You sound like one of them socialist workers, Tondy.

    Tondeleo: What would you have done if she had gotten pregnant as a teenager, Doc?

    Doc: I don't rightly know. I can think about it in my imaginary mind. I think I would be mad first. Mad cause I was brokenhearted. Mad at me that I din't show her how a respectful man treats a girl so she was thinkin' he truly loved her when all he wanted was somethin' else.

    Then I would be mad at the boy. He was just bein' a boy, but I tol' every one of them what wanted to take her out that I was doin' the best I could to raise her up for her husband one day an' I expected his help doin' it. If he didn't, I would count it as disrespectin' me and then me an' him would go round and round an' I din't think he'd want that.

    I think then I might go out in the woods an' cry a bit an' ask the good Lord what to do.

    But Marilyn ain't never put me in that position. She don't like no boys what drink or swear or talk dirty or does drugs. That makes it easier for me. She is a real lady. She is pretty an' that makes it hard for her sometimes, but she got a lot of big dreams an' ain't none of them include bein' stuck in a shack with a drunk ol' man an' a bunch of dirty kids an' bein' on welfare. She's a good learner an' knows how bad she wants a good life.

    One other thing what helped is we done a lot of travelin' round an' she seen for herself what problems comes if you just do what's easy. An I tol' her bout all the mistakes I made an' her mama made an' she don't wanna live that way. She will make a good life for herself. Ain't no doubt in my mind.

Doc Stevens Interview on the changes in his life the last Eight or Ten Years - Part One

Monday, October 13, 2008 10:41 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: Some readers may know that over the past several months Doc has come out of his self imposed musical exile. He's played music since he was a kid and traveled around America playing with different artists and local bands. For a while he went by a stage name, and due to his lack of education, he pretty much played the role of the introverted burnout.

Then, his brother died and he took responsibility of raising Marilyn and he dropped out of playing music, other than at home and for places where people knew him, and it brought a stability to his life.

Here is part of a long interview I had with him when I was in the States last week. It will probably end up being several posts. He was relaxed, talkative and had just gotten back from playing at a wedding reception in DC where he and Marilyn were very well received.

Tondeleo: So, Doc, when you were playing with different bands, you said that usually people didn't know how uneducated you were...

Doc: Silence is the dumb man's friend. When I'd keep my mouth shut, aint no one know'd that I didn't know too much or that I didn't talk too well. I just kept my mouth shut mostly, and played a good rhythm guitar, bass or drums and sometimes piano. They don't care if you ain't much on conversin'.

Tondeleo: I know you played in different local bands and then went through a rough spell and lived on the streets and kind of hand to mouth for a while.

Doc: Yeh... I was depressed and things weren't goin' so good. I stayed out west in Wyoming for a while tryin' to get my thoughts together. I had a little money saved up and some money from a settlement but I gave a lot of it away and helped some family members an' relatives.

I ain't much on money. Like I ain't never been into havin' a money collection. I'd rather have a friend than to have a hundred dollars in my pocket. An' money ain't much good if you ain't happy.

I left Wyoming, and went to Senatobia, MS. Lived off Peyton Road with a buddy of mine what I met in Memphis. Memphis is a hour or so north of Senatobia. Stayed in Memphis for a while. Went to North Carolina, Goldsboro. Was in Kentucky for a spell, staying in Nicholasville, outside of Lexington. I like Kentucky real well and want to go back there one day. Played a bit of music there and worked in body shops.

My brother up in Maryland passed an' he'd wanted me to look after his daughter Marilyn. That was my call to duty an' I took it real serious. I had to prove myself to the Department of Socialist Services what meant no unemployment, no runnin' around and to clean up. I went all clean cut like a office boy. No beard. No mustache. No long hair. Squeaky clean.

You got to look like the people you want to impress. Wanna impress office boys, you gotta look like them.

It's worth it to me to be able to do what my brother wanted and to raise Marilyn. She's 22 now, but says she's 18 sometimes. She ain't no 18, but she says a lady never tells her real age.

Tondeleo: Didn't Marilyn get you back to playing music in public again - like isn't she kind of paying you back by getting you out of the house?

Doc: Yeh. We always sat around in the evenin' playin' music or I was teachin' her about life, but I didn't want to take her to no bars. She don't need to be around that. Once she hit 18, she was old enough that she wanted to play out at family reunions and barbecues and festivals and such. So, we started goin' wherever people asked us to.

Then I had to borrow a cell phone. Got my own now. Had to get DocStevens & Marilyn 4email too. I am tryin' to move ahead real slow, but am movin' again in playin' music. Got some of my guitars shipped up here from Bristol one at a time as I would get money orders and send them to Ace down there. Just got my dobro back up here in September. Some places only want acoustic an a regular guitar just don't cut it for me. Had to have the dobro. But Marilyn has got me to get circo-lating and percolatin' again. I probably owe her.

They's a lot of good musicians out there, Tondy. A lot of them. I ain't that good, but I'm easy to deal with pretty much and I will show up if I say I will.

One thing with Marilyn is she also got some of the church folk from her church to talk to me when I would get the blues and that would help a lot. They helped me reconnect with the Lord, so that is a good thing. I ain't perfect and the Lord knows it, but I ain't what I used to be an' I probably aint what I'm gonna be, neither.

How the Government is Supposed to Work, In Doc's Opinion.

Thursday, October 9, 2008 4:35 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: The other night I was in the Washington area and drove to the backwoods of Nanjemoy, MD to visit Doc and Marilyn. They had been at Bruce's house watching the presidential debates on Bruce's satellite TV ("It shoots them pictures all the way from America to outer space and back to a tv set, Tondy"). Doc and Bruce were educating Marilyn on how it has all changed in America the last several years. Every now and then I would try to correct them, and of course, I was wrong because I am not American. Fortunately I had my recording stick to catch Doc's summary of American Government and how it works. Here are some pertinent excerpts.

Doc: Tondy, you ain't no American so you don't understand what they is doin' up there in the government. See, America was found on the idea that the people give rights to the government. The government don't give rights to the people. I learnt that in 8th grade.

Here's how America is put together. It was God on top, then the people and then the government. The government is s'posed to answer to the people, not the other way around. That's why they's called public servants.

When the government tries to take the place of God, we got problems. In all them other countries, the government is in the place of God an' everyone loses.

We learnt in 8th grade one nation under God. They could talk about God back then in school. The people is in the middle and the government on bottom is why we have free speech. The government can't tell no American what he can say or not say. We have freedom of the press which means we can write what we want and the government cain't stop us.

Freedom of religion is the same thing. They cain't tell us to have religion or not, and we don't want no government to join up with religion. Nope, you let 'em in an' they'll take over an' make the church part of the government. That's what they did in England what set the people off an' I don't blame them. The government's job ain't to tell us when and where we can worship the Lord.

They's other rights. Like to own a gun, not just for huntin but to protect your property an family. Cops cain't get there on time, so a man or woman has to protect they's own selfs and then the cops get there and do the paperwork. You also need a gun to keep the government from getting out of control like it did in England afore they came to America. People what caint protect themselves will be victims of government.

They's more rights, too but I can't remember 'em all.

They don't give us freedoms, the Lord does and then we give some power to the government.

Here's another thing about America. I count on this one and so do you. Well I do, you cain't cause you ain't no American. They cain't throw a American in jail. Even the president cain't put you in jail. To put a American in jail, you got to bring up twelve people like him or like her if it's a woman American, and only if everyone of them says the person is guilty can they be put in jail. If you don't agree with that, then you can appeal and ask for a new trial. And they don't try the PERSON, Tondy, they tries the EVIDENCE. Evidence don't lie, people do. If the evidence aint there, nobody's going to jail. It is important to put an American in jail.

Here's the last thing I can remember about the government. Has to do with presidents. He can only be there for four years, and if he does a good job, another four but that's it. He needs to go. That way he cain't mess us up too bad. Look at what George Bush done and then thank God the president aint serving 6 years at a time.

If the President is wrong and breaks the law, the American people can peach him. Throw him out and let the vice president finish out. That's the way it was set up for over here Tondy, not like England where you come from, but we are getting worse and worse.

The government wants to say the Lord don't exist, so they can be on top over the people and become what's it dictators? But not that, just controlling the people and takin' everything the people earn and spending it how they want, which is why they used to teach us that Russia was so bad. It was a atheist country where the government is in the place of the Lord. America is trying to do that, and it will go broke just like Russia did. That's your history lesson, Tondy. But it aint like that in America anymore.