A Soul Man’s Blues
There is no glamour to the life of a soul man. If it is glamour that you want then you had better choose to be a doctor and cure breast cancer. The soul man is a person who gets plenty of joy in his good deeds but enjoys few to no benefits.
The first time that I met a soul man was in a cafe where they had a live band playing. This one guy, a black man wearing a fedora got up to the microphone and sang while he strung his guitar. He sang his heart out, telling tales about how his dedication to raise himself above the trappings of his birth led him to follow music. He gripped me and made me want to change my life. I waited for him outside after the show and got a chance to talk to him. I asked him what it took to be a soul man in the 21st century.
“Son,” he said, patting his chest with a closed fist and a steely-eyed stare to the sky. “All that you need to be a soul man is right here in your heart.”
From then on I went into every interaction in my life with the mantra ‘what would a soul man do?’ There aren’t many opportunities to ask yourself that question when your job is driving trucks across the country but one particular situation made me rethink my life as a soul man.
I was cruising down the interstate when I stopped at a diner for a late lunch. The traffic report was telling of a pileup farther up the road so it made sense to stop for lunch and wait it out. I parked my truck near the window, entered the diner and sat in a booth by the wall. A waitress with a checked apron came over and smiled to me as she passed me the menu. I smiled back and ordered the special. Every trucker knows that the best meal in any road-side diner is the special, whatever it may be, whether you believe in healthy diets or not.
She served me, I ate, I paid, and just as I was about to leave she put a hand on my arm and stopped me.
“Hey,” she said. “I noticed that you came in with that truck out there and I’ve got a favor to ask of you. My sister needs a ride up-state but the bus service doesn’t stop nearby. Any chance you could give her a ride to the next town?”
The people that I worked for at Cross-Country Trucking strictly prohibited me from carrying any unauthorized passengers but I couldn’t bring myself to leave a lady stranded. I did what any soul man would have done.
“Sure,” I said. “Have her meet me in my truck.”
I went into my truck and waited. A short and busty girl came round from the back of the diner, hopped into the cab and introduced herself as Mercy. She started talking about how she needed to meet her cousin upstate as I pulled out of the diner’s parking lot and onto the highway. That was the last thing that I remembered for the rest of the day.
I woke up in the dead of the night in a motel room with a headache worse than I had previously thought possible. I had no idea how I got there and went to the reception desk to ask where I was. The guy at the desk gave me a confused look.
“Sir,” the receptionist. “This is the Haybache Motel. You and some girl came in at sundown looking mighty friendly. I gave you a room and you went in together. While she signed the register she mentioned something about you two meeting up at that convention on weight loss motivation that came into town. She left about an hour later.”
“A girl…” I started, and then the memory of picking up the waitress’ sister from the diner came flooding back. I ran outside and checked the parking lot for my truck but couldn’t see it. I checked my pockets for the keys, didn’t find them and rushed back to the room to look. They weren’t there, and I couldn’t find my wallet either. That girl had robbed me! Needless to say, that was the end of my life as a soul man. It was also the end of my employment with Cross-Country Trucking.
I thought this site would be extremely interesting to those interested into this style of music.. With that said. I have posted a few stories which are just linked below.