It was a strange series of events that unexpectedly led me back to Richmond for Easter.
It all started at a Greensky Bluegrass show in Raleigh, where my friends left and I stuck around, only to end up in my car by some lake in Raleigh, where I met Walt…
“Do you need help?” he asked. Imagine that, a homeless guy offering me help. I offered him a sleeping bag and asked if he wanted to sleep by the lake.
“I ain’t gay or nothing” he said.
“I’m glad you said that” I replied. At the time, I had no idea that Walt and I would spend our next four days together.
Walt is a man of God. Estranged from his family, partly because he destroyed the house with clubs, a bow and arrow, and whatever else he could find; he just walks around with a Bible and blesses people through silent prayer. That day, he found work as a painter in Raleigh, and after a trip to briefly see his kids in Columbia (and for my performance at Columbia College, which went GREAT) he returned to Raleigh to paint.
Of the memories I have with Walt, a few stand out. I’ll never forget swimming in Lake Johnson, planting corn for our friend Matt, chopping wood with samurai swords,
learning to play the violin, reading books at Starbucks, praying with strangers, jamming with the T-Shirt Ninjas (a rap band that I accompanied on flute and guitar), meditating in the woods, a forest jam session with bullfrogs, birds, and curious deer, or playing flute in the most pretty shaded meadow. Walt observed that there are certain places where a flute just sounds beautiful. As the sun set, Walt beamed with brilliant light. “What were you praying about?” I asked. Walt could barely get the words out: “Just blessing this place and people”. His words were so heavy and sounded so true, and the feeling on them was so strong. It was deep love for this experience we are having together.
Walt and I left a couple things behind when we parted. Walt left his 20 year smoking habit, and I left a tightness in the back of my neck that came from taking myself too seriously. Being just two and a half hours away from home, I showed up Saturday evening for Easter. My next big show is at University of Northern Florida on April 14th, so I’m going to use my time at home to fulfill the tasks my family gives me, have fun, and book more college comedy dates for the Laughs for Freedom Tour, as well as practice new material at some holes in Richmond.
My friend, Deon, runs a vineyard in Richmond, and I took my sister there to play with horses in late March. As I left Deon yelled out, “You’ll be back in Richmond soon, Watt. The horses told me.”
How right they were…