Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Dancin' Jimmy is Gone

We found out last night that Dancin' Jimmy died at home in Buffalo about three weeks ago. Jimmy was someone we met at Schooner Wharf several years ago. He was usually pretty quiet, sat in a chair near the stage, and 'danced' in his chair, rocking, squirming, and snapping his fingers to whatever the groove was at the moment. Somewhere along the way, someone painted one of the white plastic chairs in wild colors and painted "Dancing Jimmy" on it. It became his spot. Those who knew him might use the chair, but gave it up when he showed up. One night (we weren't there but heard about it later), Jimmy got into a fight with someone and the chair got heaved into the bight. For all I know, it may still lie there on the bottom.

Our lives intersected with Jim's at a time when he was having physical and emotional problems, brought on by his increasing drinking and whatever mental problems he had. He came and stayed with us for a night or two, and we transported him to the airport when his father sent him a ticket to come home. He vowed to come back after getting his life in order. To the best of our knowledge, he never did.

Jim was immortalized in Carl Peachey's song, Brand New Day, along with Cuban Johnny and "Judy". The verse about Jim goes,

"Dancing Jimmy went a little too far, he can't drink in the bar no more.
But the music lives inside of him, so he dances outside the door.
Don't you know he's doing so much better since he found a place to stay,
Down at the end of the road it's the start of a brand new day."

From Costa Rica Calling, by Carl Peachey, 2002.

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