Lanny, the Indian singer

Years ago when my brother Paul was alive, he introduced me to an Indian family. I was so honored to meet true American Indians. They were beautiful with their brown skin and jet black hair. And no, they weren’t red.

My brother Paul was a humble and gentle man who loved his beer and lived a humble life doing errands for friends, taking up for the underdogs, and living in old houses and/or basements. He’d take an old empty house in the middle of the woods and turn it into a castle. He was so proud to find a nice set of dishes for his house or a working radio. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t slow or autistic in any way, Paul just had a big heart.

For a while I lived with him when I was about 29 years old. I had a horrible boyfriend who was an alky and an 8-baller. That meant that he did a myriad of drugs. He’d take coke to speed and then smoke a joint to even out the high. Then he would get the ol’ spoon, lighter and needle. He never did it in my presence but our relationship began to quickly sink. I knew he was on something. I left him and went to live with my brother in a basement in Burgettstown Pa. Everybody loved Paul there.

There were about 5+ of us living there. He even made the most awesome shower for us to stay clean and there was no shower in that basement. He made the curtains and all. We were outcasts. I came away from a bad relationship, another was a school dropout who didn’t get along with his overpowering mother, another was what people would call a bum so to speak. He had lived everywhere, and then there was Lanny, lovingly called “Chief.” He was older than all of us by about 5 to 10 years and his brother Timmy was younger and very good looking.

My brother and I would go clean bars after they’d close down. We wouldn’t get home until about 5 a.m. or so but the owners gave us anything we wanted like coffee and cigarettes. One bartender named Tubby always had Sheepshead mushrooms left over for me. He was very nice and none of them ever approached me disrespectfully. He give us $5 or sometimes $10 and Paul would go to the corner store and buy a roast or steak, about 5 potatoes 🥔, and come home and make dinner for all of us. We were grateful and satisfied.

They drank somewhat heavy and we’d start to sing and sometimes praise the Lord. I never was much of a drinker then and still, but I fit in. Our harmony was outstanding. I was so used to seeing Lanny drunk. One night, he opened up his mouth and began to sing an old Smokey song and blew us away. (Smokey Robinson.) My how that big Indian man could chirp. He was like a beautiful bird in the Springtime.

Memories. I have a slew of them. But this one makes me smile. You never know what someone has gone through in life. Lets not judge anymore. Let’s just pray for souls. That’s what Jesus would have us to do. Yes, I guess you can say that I was one of those so-called “bums” out there at one time. But God gave me a song and great memories.

God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that anyone could fathom.


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