The Penny Post was a coffee house in New Orleans on Daneel Street that I used to go to in high school and college and even performed with some friends doing Beatles and other songs. It is now called the Neutral Ground. I really never liked coffee before going there - and made up this song in a "Rocky Raccoon" ballad type, as if I had been poisoned by "Bill Bailey," a "coffee bar tender" who volunteered there and played some neat tunes.
Coffee Addiction – Penny Post Song / Legend of Bill Bailey
I'm sitting in front of my laptop, which is actually a "glorified desktop," since I hardly ever take it outside the house (- the battery charged and out, per our home IT expert [13 y/o son] so it can be used when needed), and sipping on some delicious New Orleans coffee. Yet I haven't always been a coffee drinker, which gives rise to this little story. How did I develop this addiction?
While a junior in high school, back when 18 was the legal age for more intoxicating drinks like Dixie Beer from Uptown 'Yat establishments like "Bruno's" or "Fat Harry's" if we looked old enough to get in, my buddies and me found a coffee house. The Penny Post, now called the Neutral Ground, was a throw back to 60s hangouts where we could try our hands at playing non-amplified folk-type music on "open mike nights" and not be exposed to adult beverages. It had a real avant-garde atmosphere and folks could play board games like checkers, chess and backgammon while listening to great music like bluegrass and musicians with all kind of instruments like dulcimers and mandolins.
It was here where I discovered the great taste of coffee per a pot of Colombian brew among the many varied types that were available at the Post, as well as many herbal or caffeine rich teas! Bill Baily, a very engaging "barista host," accomplished folk guitar player and Post co-op employee, was somewhat eccentric and strange but convinced me to take the plunge with a special brew that was the ticket to my caffeine addiction per coffee. Here's a song with a YouTube made for this memory, which I embellished per an allegory of how I was "poisoned" by the fateful first time with liking coffee: Penny Post Song / The Legend of Bill Bailey, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhlJ8rYYKSU:
The day I first went walking in the Post I looked it over carefully especially the host “Bill Bailey’s my name,” he told me with a grin He told me ‘bout the history of the old Penny Inn
Well my friends David, Scott and Neal were also there Bailey talked to us with an evil looking stare Now he seemed friendly but I really wasn’t sure His eyes kept that look as I listened on to more
After awhile Bailey gave us each a list With all the things the Post sells the things you can’t resist The list included munchies, coffee and tea We all looked it over as Bailey started to stare at me
Well I never liked coffee even though I’d tried Neal told me to try once more he said, “You’ll be satisfied!” Bailey fixed me up a cup of secret blend to taste Said, “I’d surely like it there’d be nothing left to waste.”
Well as I drank that coffee my buds were in delight Told Bailey, “I loved it!” that he’d really picked me right Bailey quickly gave a smile and stared me in the eyes I started feeling dizzy as he sang to my surprise
*** Welcome to the Penny Post sit and have a cup The music’s getting going and things are looking up Welcome to the Penny Post it’s the only one The people here are friendly and we’re gonna have some fun
When Bailey finished singing I could hardly see his face Neal, Scott and David wondered why I mumbled in disgrace Told them, “Let’s get out of here I need some doctor’s care!” Told um, “I’d been poisoned by that eerie looking stare!”
Well my friend named Pierre, a learning doctor was his trade Was also at the Post and so was called to give me aid He dragged me to a corner since by then I’d hit the floor He started to look me over as Bailey flew outside the door
After this I couldn’t think my life seemed sure to end But Pierre kept on working on his close and long-time friend Then he found what caused it all what Bailey’d hoped to see The coffee Bailey’d given had some poison set for me.
Well now I still go to the Post my health’s returned to me Pierre saved this life of mine now I still drink coffee Where Bailey’s gone I’ll never know but one thing I’ll never forget The staring eyes of Bailey as he sang without regret ***
Keith John Paul Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA, khorcasitas.yahoo.com.