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Tiny's Gift

July 20, 1994

Walter Crockett's eulogy, as faxed from The Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, July 19, 1994, and read at the funeral by me, Steve. After years of searching, I finally located the original fax, presented here as received and, presumably, as I read it -- complete with Walter's vocal arrangements.

Tiny ran the honky-tonk on the Golden Road to Enlightenment. But he was a Pilgrim too.

Back in the '70s, when the band was rockin' and the Blue Plate floor was shaking, when Rhonda would yell out, "Sex, drugs and Zonkaraz!!!" -- and Barbara would fight through the crowd with three pitchers in either hand and Beau or Joey Faucher were whipping around behind the bar and the people in the back booths were draped all over the walls while the people on the floor couldn't move an inch without making intimate contact with a perfect stranger, preferably of the opposite sex -- there was Tiny -- one huge human -- a fistful of dollars in one hand, an awestruck young woman at his ear, a joke on the tip of his tongue and a beatific smile on his lips.

"Let's go, people!" he'd bellow at the end of the night, when the clock, always 20 minutes fast, reached five past one. And out we'd file to the parking lot, climb into our cars and drive home -- not one mile per hour faster than the speed limit. Past the Holden barracks, past the dreaded town cops, our ears ringing with music, our minds bent to the task of seeming -- at least until we crossed the Worcester line -- to be as sober as the day we were born.

Week in, week out, year in, year out, for almost two decades this scene was repeated with crowds big and small, with fledgling bands and old favorites. And always Tiny held his post at the door. The two bucks a head grew to 3, then 4, then 5, and the band always got it all -- no more, no less. Tibetan rugs, water filters and pinball games came and went. But the music kept flowing -- Zonkaraz, the Prairie Oysters, Kilroy, Southpaw, Tornado Alley, Big Dawg, the Mighty Bel-Mars, Crockett, the Shades, Wilbur and the Dukes, Sugar Mama and the Bad Dads, Preston-Porter Band, the Holy Modal Rounders, Slipknot, Peter Rowan, Prudence and the Plowboys, the Trailers -- and on and on.

The music wasn't there to line anybody's pockets. The music was there because Tiny loved it. He nurtured it.

And out of this musical nest, this honky-tonk wetland estuary that was the Blue Plate, there came a school of players who valued music more than money; there came a school of fans who knew that a night at the Plate when the band was rockin' could be worth more than a week at DisneyWorld with Epcot and Universal thrown in. Monday morning they'd be carpenters and waitresses and dental hygienists again. But Saturday night they were Dukes and Duchesses in the Blue Plate Kingdom.

Tiny wasn't the ruler of this land. He was just the big guy at the door. He opened that door to the gift of music for hundreds and hundreds of people -- on hot nights he'd prop it open with a rock from the parking lot.

And if you look around you this afternoon you won't have to look far to see a guitar player whose calloused fingers first came to life on the Blue Plate stage, a drummer whose back-beat slapped off the snare and resounded off the wood paneling a thousand times a set, a bass player who's half deaf from being wedged in next to the cymbals, a keyboard player whose rickety rig was balanced on beer cases, a dozen singers who felt a special thrill every time the big guy would look up from his duties at the door and focus all of his special being on the music pouring from their hearts -- and an assortment of professional roadies who loaded in and loaded out of the Blue Plate more times than they want to count, who kept the vocals turned up and the guitars turned down and swapped jokes with the big man over Liar's Poker when the night was through.

And if you look around again you'll see a score of people who learned to dance at the Blue Plate, who learned what music can mean, who had their hearts broken and mended to the strains of "Somewhere, Over the Rainbow," and "Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I want to get lost in that rock 'n' roll and Drift Away."


Tiny ran the honky-tonk, but he was a pilgrim too. Look around -- look within, maybe -- and you'll see someone who followed Tiny out of the purple haze and into the light of sobriety. You'll see some who followed him into mindfulness and meditation, into that eternal quest to Be Here Now. You'll see those who led him, and those who may follow him yet.

Paul "Tiny" Stacy of Holden.

Just One, Big, Human, Being.

Not a god, not a saint -- just a giver and a seeker.

A joker [pause] and a king.

[point to your heart and tap it]

He'll be here now.



Walter Crockett

last modified: June, 2010

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