Blue on South Street

Don't Wait To Tell Your Stories

It was Tuesday February 3rd  later in the afternoon and I had just walked out of Noona's cafe on South street in Springfield. I heard this sound coming from across the street. It was the sound of music, a fierce blues harmonica cutting thru the air. I looked over and saw this man sitting on a bench in front of Finnegan's Wak playing his harp. 

I'm a big blues fan. I've had the pleasure twice in my life to see the great blues harp player Charlie Musselwhite perform. Those sounds coming from across the street that day...I was blown away. At first I just walked on and went back to my car but then decided to grab my camera bag and stroll back to this man. I came upon him and he had just finished up playing in the afternoon and was getting ready to pack up and leave. For you see, Ron "Dr. Spit" Alexander played music wherever and whenever he could get a chance. He would sit on this bench and wail during the day making small change and bills from the folks passing by and take paying gigs whenever he could. He was an artist thru and thru. 

I spent about 15 minutes with this man and knew immediately he was a good person and well liked. As we were talking, people that walked by would stop to talk or say hi to "Dr Spit." He had told me he came from Omaha Nebraska in hopes of landing good gig in Branson and the area. He was a fine man. I explained to him I was a photographer and would he mind if I took a few pictures of him. He was more than happy to pose for a few shots for me. We talked of working together on a photo doc/essay project on him. Kind of what it's like to be Dr. Spit piece. 

I caught up with him again in April but this time I had made a print of him to drop by, as a token of thanks for his time. He knew exactly who I was and I was surprised. After all, how many people passes by this man each day? It was like catching up with an old friend, we talked for a bit and exchanged phone numbers to get started soon on the photo essay.  Unfortunately, Ron passed away in May the day right after the great BB King died. You can say, yeah but BB King made it big, and this guy struggled with playing on the street. I say this guy made it big because all the love and joy he brought to countless people on South Street in Springfield Missouri. He made people happy and smile by doing what he loved to do. He was an absolute success. Here's his Facebook page for those of you who are interested. Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanic

I only took a few shots of Dr. Spit that day and had previously only shown one but here is the series. Always, always know that people come into your life for reason.  Don't wait to tell your stories.

Thanks Ron, it was a pleasure knowing you.