Originally published in Arthur No. 18 (Sept. 2005)
T-MODEL KNOWS BETTER
T-Model Ford is the 85-year-old self-proclaimed “Boss of the Blues,” also known as “The Taildragger.” T-Model Ford is featured at length in the new feature-length documentary, You See Me Laughin’: The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen (available now on DVD, more info at fatpossum.com). Every couple months we call up T-Model at his home in Greenville, Mississippi and talk about something that’s been bothering our mind. Got a question for T-Model, or something you want him to address? Email it to email@example.com
Is it hot down there in Mississippi this summer?
It’s hot… but I’m still standin’.
How do you deal with the heat?
I just sit out under an acorn tree somewhere and drink water. Just don’t get where the air can’t get to you. You’ll be alright.
What about mosquitoes and no-see-ums and chiggers?
Well, the mosquitoes are at nighttime, and then I’ll be inside. Daytime, I’ll be out there, when we don’t be bothered with them. But at nighttime, heh, you be bothered with ‘em.
So what do you do if it’s hot at night?
I got an air conditioner and a fan. I let it run, and when I go in there, it’s cool in there. And then I pull off everything but my shorts.
Have you ever had a problem with honeybees having a hive at your house?
Get you some diesel oil where you put in trucks. And get your spray gun and pump it up. Don’t turn it to just one place, let it spray all over. And you get in there. When it hit em, they gonna leave or they gonna die. You’ll get shut of ‘em. You’re gonna get that queen bee. He can’t do with that diesel neither.
I have a friend who’s very sad because one of her friends died unexpectedly. She’s very sad and is having trouble eating. What’s the best way to deal with grief, when you’ve lost somebody you love? What’s the best way to get through that?
Tell her to get on her knees and pray to the Good Lord to let her get over it, and don’t worry ‘bout nothin’. If you worrying about something, it’s gonna continue, ‘til you die. Look at me: all my brothers and sisters done died and left me here. I’m 85 now, and I ain’t worried. A tree fell on me, got me in bad shape, but I’m still goin’.
I heard you just drove up to Flint, Michigan in your ’79 Lincoln, the one with 200,000 miles on it.
Yes, indeed. It went up there and back down without any trouble. It went 60, 70, 80, NINETY… it took it. And didn’t use no oil. And it’s ready to go back again.