We all have many different influences during our lives that makes us the people we are today. Some of them are good and some of them are not so good. Either way , good or bad , how we process these and react to them are what defines our character.

Sometimes we don’t even realize for years what an impact one certain event or individual has upon us. Many times it is to late to say thank you or to ask why. This is the case with the Reverend Pearly Brown.

We simply called him Pearly when we were growing up in Macon. Pearly was as big a part of Macon , Georgia as Otis Redding or Little Richard or The Allman Brothers and will be remembered by many longer than Jason Aldean. He was pretty much unknown to everyone besides God and the folks of Macon. Unfortunately , his legacy will probably die out with my generation.

You would always find Pearly playing his guitar and honking on his harp somewhere downtown. He was blind and black and independent as the wind coming and going , blowing from one end of downtown to the other. He survived by donations from passers by but he never asked anyone for anything. Not even help crossing a busy street. He would let you help him and play you a song to thank you but he didn’t want anything for nothing.

I grew up in a very large family where gospel music was sang and played but I had never heard the songs Pearly sang at home or anywhere else before or since. They were songs of great suffering and great faith and it was mind boggling how this blind , black , street musician living in the deep south , could always be smiling and so happy.

His smile was like something that I have never seen. So much so that a hometown band named Wet Willie used his picture on the cover of their best selling album Keep on Smiling!They had to remove it though because he never even knew they took the picture.

It was a special treat as a young man to stand and listen to Pearly play and try to hum along or do harmony. He gave me an undying appreciation for the music he played and the message of love , hope and faith. This coming from a man who had every right to sing nothing more than the blues.

So Reverend Brown today I am sending your sweet , sweet , smile and message around the world. I know it is to late for you to know this but I thank you for everything that you have given me. You touched my soul and my spirit without either one of us knowing it at the time. Well , I guess that’s not true. I believe now that you saw exactly what you were doing to us at the time. We were the ones that were blind.

Keep on smiling Pearly. I’ll see ya later.

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13 Responses to STEAL AWAY

  1. Marie Taylor says:

    Beautifully said and a wonderful tribute. You are continuing his work in your own way.

  2. terry1954 says:

    if you and I lived near each other I would try to talk you into doing something I have wanted to do but have not yet. Go to a blues or jazz club or bar and hear live music

    • Well how “bout this then. We had free concerts in the park every Sunday. Here I’ll take you to one right now. One is called a Country Side of Life and the other is what we call a southern love song. If I don’t love you baby.Then grits ain’t groceries. Eggs ain’t poultry and Mona Lisa was a man. Ahh! That’s love…:) Oh yeah. See if you can pick me out in the crowd.

      • Susan Goldin says:

        Eddie, I like your blog and especially this piece. Did you know the Reverend Pearly Brown? There’s nothing greater than being in touch with our classical American roots — the blues! And what a great musician! Thanks for sharing this. (I am not exactly how to navigate a “blog”, so let me know if I am posting in the wrong spot, etc.)
        Susan, from the Macon Writers Group

      • You did just fine. Yes I knew Pearly all my life. I was born in 1959 and he passed away in the mid 80’s. He was a permanent fixture in downtown Macon. Are you the same lady that I spoke with outside Sydney Laniers cottage?

  3. What a wonderful tribute and you are so right we never really know the influence others have on us until later in life and most times we don’t get to give the appreciation…you did well on this one my friend. God Bless

    any news on anthony?

    • Thank you. He was a special man and our streets just aren’t the same here without him. I called the detective yesterday to find out the disposition of the case but she hasn’t called me back. I think I’ll call Miss Rosemary now.

  4. Kikibee says:

    Hey I’ve nominated you for Liebster Award! I had been reading your blog for quite a while and I loved it. Thanks for being in my blog and please do come by once again.

    Thank you so much!
    Love KiKiBee ^_*

  5. It’s so many years since I heard ‘Steal Away.’ Wonderful to hear it again. Thank you!

  6. Oh my gosh. I hadn’t thought of him in years. What a sweet way to honor him and remind me of his perpetual smile. That’s another beautiful of terrific writing. Keep it up!!

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