Baltimore

When I go down to Baltimore
Ain’t no carpet on the floor
Come along and follow me
We’ll go down to Galilee
.

Well, I used to go down to Baltimore, lots.
My friends Bob and Chris had a place on Saint Paul Street, back in the day. It was nothing but guitar playing, singing, and arguments about folk music all night, every night. The music would get started as soon as dinner got cleared off. Sometimes you could hear the sound of the music out in the street. We all sat in a circle and went round-robin until everybody needed a break, and at that point, it would be storytime. I remember telling the story about Bill and I going on pilgrimage to a Trappist monastery, and the dismay that had caused among the monks. Bob and Chris told about how their son Robby had flummoxed the Kindergarten teachers by singing the alphabet song as a twelve-bar blues. Then Robby would come in because we had woken him up, and we all quieted down until he went back to sleep.
Some of us would roll on until about two in the morning. Then those of us who had jobs would go to bed. Diehards would be strumming and arguing till later.

After a few days, Bob and Chris would sweep us out of the house if we hadn’t already crisped our welcome by arguing too loud at four in the morning.
And, we’d leave singing to Chris:

Hooka tooka, my soda cracker
Does your mama chaw tobacker
If your mama chaws tobacker
Hooka tooka, my soda cracker.
When I go by Baltimore
Chris needs no carpet on her floor
You come along and go with me
We’ll go down to Galilee.

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