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
Tiny ran the
honky-tonk on the Golden Road to Enlightenment. But he was a Pilgrim
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Tiny" Stacy of Holden.
Big, Human, Being.
Not a god,
not a saint --
just a giver and a seeker.
[pause] and a king.
your heart and tap it]