- Daniel played standards with the old guys, but what he loved to play were old-time slide tunes. One night, some white boys from a fraternity yelled forward to the stage at the black man holding the acoustic guitar and began to shout, “Play ‘Dixie’ for us! Play ‘Dixie’ for us!”
Daniel gave them a long look, studied their big-toothed grins and the beer-shiny eyes stuck into puffy, pale faces, hovering over golf shirts and chinos. He looked from them to the uncomfortable expressions on the faces of the old guys with whom he was playing and then to the embarrassed faces of the other college kids in the club. And then he started to play. He felt his way slowly through the chords of the song once and listened to the deadened hush as it fell over the room. He used the slide to squeeze out the melody of the song he had grown up hating, the song the whites had always pulled out to remind themselves and those other people just where they were. Daniel sang the song. He sang it slowly. He sang it, feeling the lyrics, deciding that the lyrics were his, deciding that the song was his. Old times there are not forgotten . . . He sang the song and listened to the silence around him. He resisted the urge to let satire ring through his voice. He meant what he sang. Look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.
- He drove home from the bar on Green Street and back to his house where he made tea and read about Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg while he sat in the big leather chair that had been his father’s. He fell asleep and had a dream in which he stopped Pickett’s men on the Emmitsburg Road on their way to the field and said, “Give me back my flag.”