“You are way too young to know anything about Jimi.”
The smooth-faced kid in his early twenties looked down at his faded blue and oversized shirt printed with a black and white picture of Jimi Hendrix holding a half-burnt joint and exhaling a cloud of smoke through a smirk.
The woman tightened her silver pony tail hanging in between her hunched shoulder blades. Her blue eyes squinted from behind thin-rimmed, round lenses, deepening the cracks of her crow's feet. “Well, I knew him.”
“You knew him?” He stepped onto the mat of muddy grass and wet leaves of her white tent. Unlike the surrounding booths that had also been rented out for the annual fall Ketner’s Mill Craft Fair, hers was vacant of potential buyers with the exception of myself.
“Yup, I sure did. He lived in my apartment complex in Memphis. We’d go listen to local bands together, and then once he started playing his own tunes, our group of friends would all go listen to him at the little bars in the area, walk down the street together, party in his apartment.” She began rearranging the mason jars of homemade sauces and jellies that covered her wooden table, leaving only enough room for a tackle box with “MONEY” scribbled in blue sharpie across the side.
“That’s crazy. I want to see the movie they made about him, but apparently they make him out to be a terrible guy — beating his wife and shit.”
She stopped rearranging the fourth row of mason jars — the blueberry jams — and shook her head violently. “Oh, he was not! He absolutely was not! He was such a great guy. I’ll tell you what, in the 60s everyone did drugs. It was just…a thing everyone did. To pass the time, you know. We were bored. If someone tells you they didn’t do drugs in the 60s, they're lying."
The kid laughed, picking up a jar of the cherry jam and waving at an older woman walking past in the crowd who told him she would “be over at the natural cosmetics booth, sweetie.”
“I’m serious,” she continued. “Jimi was a good guy. He was a good friend. He just got mixed up in a lot of stuff he shouldn’t have been mixed up in. I don’t think I’d want to see his movie. I wouldn’t even know who they picked to play him.”
“Andre 3000. He looks a lot —”
“Yeah, see. I don’t even know who they picked to play him.”
“They picked Andre 3000.”
“Poor Jimi. I hope this movie doesn’t hurt his legacy.”
“I don't think it could. That's cool that you knew him, though.” He handed her a five dollar bill and tucked a jar of apple butter under his arm.
“Thank you, baby!” She put the five in her nearly empty tackle box. “I was also engaged to Gregg Allman for two years, believe it or not.”
“Yup, Mr. Allman. I even ran into his wife once. What’s her name? Stacey something. Stacey Fountain. Yeah, I ran into Stacey Fountain at a concert he was putting on, and I walked right up to her and I said, ‘Stacey. Look at you! You’ve got my leftovers!'”
He forced a laugh, shifting his eyes to the next booth over of muscadine grape juice samples.
“My husband still doesn’t believe me, though. I’ll tell you what. You missed out on the 60s. You really did. There were a lot of drugs to be done, but so much fun to be had.”
“Oh yeah. Too much fun. Way too much.” She replaced the apple butter with another jar, facing it towards the crowd of corn-dog-eating and face-painted people strolling past. “I really miss it.”