Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Betty's Story

Hello Music Lovers,

In Matanchen Bay there is an organic fruit drying business named Groupo Organico. They dry a lot of organic fruit and send most of it to the USA. A good chunk of it goes to Europe also. Business is good and, last year, the owner, who we will call The Italian (who I have known for over 20 years), sold his business to a guy from Vancouver B.C.. We will call this guy The Musician. Now, this guy got his start in the fruit business long ago by hocking his beloved Fender guitar. And got it back. And hocked it again. And got it back. Now there is a little tropicrock band in the Aticama area.

Well, now. Enter Betty. Betty is an early '70s Ovation 1617 Legend hollow body electric 'silver label' guitar. She was born in Connecticut, where all of the real Ovations are born, and was raised and lived most all her life, until last summer, near a place called Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. She was purchased new by a woman we will call Dorthy. Now, Dorthy had ambition and she could sing a thunderstorm up on a dry day. She figured that having a fine custom instrument and her long hair and long legs could give her a leg up in Nashville. Dorthy named her Betty, after her mother. Now 18 years old, a lovely springtime and no parents to tell her no, she hitched to Nashville to seek her fortune. After all, Glenn Campbell played an Ovation. And she did OK. Until she met a man named Harry Watson. He was a sweet talking drifter man who knew talent and when he saw Dorthy playing for change at Nashville Union Station he got greedy. They married that spring in 1974 and she had a baby girl in December. Harry got her a booking at the Grand Ol Opery on the same ticket as Dolly Parton. Things went well and a record deal sorta emerged from a badly drunken after show party. Good money in advance and Harry scooped it up and pissed it away with women and drugs. Appointments got missed. Dorthy started doing drugs and Betty, along with her daughter, who we will call Opel, were largly forgotton for too long a time. At 20 it was 'working girl time' and Harry just disappeared, never to be seen again. Dorthy o.d'd so close to the edge more than once but somehow found the will to move on. And she did - to Red Boiling Springs and lived in a back-to-the-lander T-pee. She was an organic farmer. Opel grew strong, went to college at NYU and became an important doctor. Dorthy picked Betty up every afternoon and played 'on the porch music' every day. No drugs, no booze. She loved her Camels though. Betty came to smell like the sweet strong smell of a fresh lit Camel. In the end, at age 57, Dorthy was found on the porch, holding Betty in her arms. She had been dead for days and her face was smiling like the first light of dawn - she had finally found the Note Of Creation, and we poor humans, can only hear that sound once. Opel found her on Saturday morning on the summer solstice. Betty was a torment and wisely put up for auction on Ebay. By now she was worn, cracked and repaired after the really cold winter of '76, her case was long forgotten and her strings were rusty wires. I was the only bidder. She arrived on the Bonny Slope in a box with her story and I strung her, and she sang like the Sirens Of Aticama.

I sure hope The Musician gives her the love she deserves.



  1. I live about 20 miles from Red Boiling Springs!

  2. Hello Hembree,

    Small world! I read some of your blog and plan to read more. You seem like a real fine person and I am pleased to know that you are in the world. Good luck to you.

  3. Wow Hembree! My favorite book and movie happen to be To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow.

  4. You sure can write a story. I am alwasys looking forward to reading your blog.