“Oh, well, we should probably get my keyboard out then.”

inUncategorizedon February 15, 2013

Ironing Board Sam has bad luck with cars – but somehow always manages to coax out every mile they can give him. The day he moved to North Carolina a few years ago, his old van broke down just a few miles from the Music Maker office. When Sam rolled it into the service station, the mechanic could not believe how Sam had driven a car with a cracked engine block even an inch. Fortunately, with help from loyal supporters, Music Maker was able to find and purchase Sam another car to ensure he had transportation to gigs.

A couple weeks ago, Sam called the office from the side of interstate 40, having run out of gas. Our French intern Raphaël and I jumped in my van, filled up a gas container at the station, picked up my daughter and jumped on the highway in the middle of rush hour.

We pulled up behind Sam as the sea of cars sped by.  Raphaël and Sam tried to pour the gas in but it just went down the side of the car – the funnel on the container was broken, and the safety cap would not come off. After trying several MacGyver-style ideas, we ended up with an old paper cup standing in for the funnel and we found some success.

By this time a state patrolman was checking on us. He and Sam talked, the cop smiled, Raphaël gave him one of Sam’s albums, and everything seemed to be going our way. The car started, the patrolman made way for us to rejoin the highway and we were off.

Just as soon as we started, Sam slowed way down, drifted into the safety lane, then back into the highway. From the van, Raphaël and I saw an enormous flame and backfire come out the tailpipes of Sam’s car, so once again we all ended up on the side of the highway

Raphaël and I then noticed the undercarriage of Sam’s car was glowing hot red. He jumped out and sprinted towards Sam’s car, knocking on the window to get Sam’s attention. Sam rolled down the window and asked “What’s up?” as smoke poured out of the car. Raphaël, taking the situation a bit more seriously than Sam, yelled “Your car is on fire get out!” Sam replied “Oh, well, we should probably get my keyboard out then.” They opened the trunk to unload Sam’s gear. From the van I was wondering why they were not running, convinced the car would explode – like the action movies tell you.

Fortunately that did not happen – another patrolman arrived on the scene, and helped Sam check under the car for any flames. There were none, but Raphaël and I began loading Sam’s gear into my van while chatting with the patrolman about towing the car. While weighing our options we turned around to see Sam driving off in his car that had just been on fire. We all looked at each other in amazement. The patrolman smiled and said “He truly is something isn’t he?!”

The next morning at 7:30am, Sam called to say his car wouldn’t start. I was not surprised – but I went over to try to help him jumpstart it anyway, as he has to head to Orange County Charter School to teach the kids about Blues. Of course, we had no luck, so MM staff members took turns getting Sam to gigs and home.

This morning I am at work, and my goal today is conjuring up another car for Sam. Bluesmen can’t earn income if they can’t get to their gigs, and there are only so many rides MM staff can provide. Sam’s Caddy lasted two and a half years, transported him to gigs all over the region, and only cost $1000 – we think that’s pretty good. I’ll continue to make calls and peruse used-car websites in order to get our man Ironing Board Sam back on the road, so he can continue to captivate audiences with his music.

  • Thank you for all the good you do! #Blues

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