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My Welty story today is “The Hitchhikers,” about a travelling salesman who picks up a couple of hitchhikers in the Mississippi Delta while on his way to Memphis.  “The Hitchhikers” is the inspiration for Kate Campbell’s “Yellow Guitar”:

I saw a man with a yellow guitar
Standing by the side of the road
Through the steam coming off the tar
Posing like some delta ghost
The sun was rising
It was shining
Halfway to Memphis
Halfway to Tupelo

There was a man with a yellow guitar
Standing by the side of the road
I shouldn’t have let him in my car
But his axe is what I had to hold
The sun was high then
It was frying
Halfway to Memphis
Halfway to Tupelo

I only stopped because I’d never seen
So bright a beautiful thing
My only want my only need
Was to hear it sing

There was this man with a yellow guitar
Standing by the side of the road
I knew that I was being charmed
By an angel or the devil I don’t know
The sun was dying
I was crying
Halfway to Memphis
Halfway to Tupelo

Listen to clips from Kate’s music here.  If you consider yourself a serious Kate fan, read the Welty story that inspired her.  “The Hitchhikers” is in A Curtain of Green.  You can also find it in Thirteen Stories or The Collected Stories.

And come see Kate Campbell at the Backdoor Coffeehouse at University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS on January 30 at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is $10 or a donation of food items to the Breadbasket. 

I’ll have more to say about Welty and her hitchhikers tomorrow.  For today, enjoy a little bit of Kate.

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