Topic: "Second Line (2)"
As a general rule, Frodo rarely takes note of the passing of a 97 year-old, 37-year veteran of the United States Postal Service. Narvin Kimball, who died last Friday at his daughter's home in Charleston, South Carolina, was a different, personal, story for Frodo.
Frodo and Sam spent many hours in the company of Mr. Kimball. When he began to croon "Georgia on My Mind," while fingering his banjo, angels danced on the floor of the Preservation Hall in the City of Orleans. Narvin Kimball's passing is that of the last original member of that famous Jazz Band.
Mr. Kimballs' first banjo was self-constructed from a cigar box, some string, and a stick. Some years later he made his first professional appearances on Mississippi riverboats, and he recorded with Columbia records for the first time in 1928. While walking his mail route, he first came up with the idea of his band, the Narvin Kimball Gentlemen of Jazz, playing at the Preservation Hall of New Orleans. The concept was bought and paid for by the Jaffe family of New Orleans, and the doors opened in 1961.
Narvin Kimball last played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a 1999 PBS performance. Shortly thereafter he suffered a series of strokes that quieted the dancing banjo.
Narvin and his wife moved in with their daughter in Charleston after Hurricane Katrina. In a few days, Narvin Kimball will return to the City of Orleans. Big Jim Robinson, Billie and DeDe Pierce, Sweet Emma, and all the rest will welcome him home.
Dear reader, how long can we sing "Hold that Tiger, Hold that Tiger, Hold that Tiger..."? No Hobbit ever walked from that Hall without the the tingling solo of a banjo playing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," echoing in the canyons of the mind. The people, the music, the smells, the heat, and the humidity, it was, indeed, a profound experience.
Frodo will "second line" down the hallway this evening, and Mick, the Wonder Dog, will think he's the strangest of Hobbits.