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Friday, November 17, 2006
drunken mountainman poet Joey Gatski
Listening to:computer whine
Weather:35, overcast
I can't remember when or where we met, or how long I've known him. But it's definitely been at least 10 years, maybe more. If Gatski sounds familiar it's perhaps because his dad was "Gunner" Gatski, who was a coal miner, a WWII veteran, and best known as an NFL Hall Of Fame football player. That's probably a pretty big shadow to grow up under.

Joey is a fascinating guy. He's probably about my age, lanky, light colored hair, his face mostly bones and sinew, teeth showing years of coffee and cigarettes, with the scent of last night's many beers or homemade wine or a friend's whiskey lingering. He's always carrying stuff, a backpack with his handmade bamboo flutes sticking out, or a couple plastic bags with an extra hat and maybe a few copies of his latest CD, a paper bag of this and that. He's always headed somewhere, just stopping for a cup of coffee or some water.

He's one of those guys who is either homeless or damn close to it much of the time. He's been known to camp in the woods between apartments, and he knows a shitload about the plants and critters of Appalachia. Depending on the season he might offer you a bit of ginseng root to chew on, or some goldenseal. Everyone knows Joey, and you can't walk down the street with him a block without stopping to saying hi to a handful of people. When he's feeling pretty good, he's pretty joyful and entertaining to be around. And a flirt, he's always calling the ladies beautiful. When he's in a foul mood, he'll suck you in to his dark madness before you know it, and next time you see him you'll think twice before crossing the street to say hi. But thankfully those moods are few and even farther between than they used to be.

Joey is also a guitar player and singer/songwriter. He'll sit in with you on harmonica on a blues tune, too. His glory music days were hanging around with the late great Stu Archer, writing songs and backing up Stu, on one of their greatest hits like the classic Chicken Coupe de Ville.

The other morning he came in to the Blue Moose and sat on the stool next to me. After a few minutes of the usual idle morning Moose chatter with Wally, Gretchen, Bruce, Al, etc. it was time for me to head off to work. We'd been bantering that day about seeing a few more turkeys and deer lately in our neighborhoods. As I was putting my PDA into my briefcase bag and getting out my money, Joey said "the creatures of the forest are some of my best friends in this world. Occasionally I have to kill them and eat them."

permalink posted by cat 10:01 AM

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drunken mountainman poet Joey Gatski