This past weekend we were finishing setting up at the Elks Lodge in McAllen, Tx when an elderly gentleman was rolled on in with an interesting looking sax on his lap. He was being helped by one of the bartenders to the stage area and said, “I’m going to be sitting in with you tonight!”. Much to our confusion we couldn’t figure out if he was joking, maybe he misunderstood that it wasn’t an open mic night, or perhaps he was current elk member who just decided to jump on into the show.
Trying not to look too concerned or confused, we asked what kind of saxophone he had because it looked “different” than the ones we are familiar with. He said it was a C melody sax which we had heard of but never seen in real life. After a few more questions he boldly asked if the band “got free alcohol” to which we replied, “not that we know of”. He did not look pleased at all with that answer. He then said he needed a regular chair since he could not play his sax in his wheelchair. Also, since there was no room for him on the stage, he was fine sitting on the side of the stage. He also wanted to know if we played everything in the key of C…..We don’t…. No worries, he would make it “work”.
First song was Lonestar State of Mind but now with a saxophone solo. Interesting to say the least! After a few tunes we started to become accepting to our newest band members contribution. Again, we had never heard sax on songs like Open Arms, but we made it happen. We decided this gentleman needed a proper introduction. He requested we call him “SAXY JIM”! Everyone seemed to enjoy our newest addition so I guess that would explain why we didn’t notice the confusion coming from the staff. I guess that’s why we ignored OUR confusion with how we ended up with a saxophone player. How do you tell this 80+ year old man that he can’t join your band when he obviously came ready to do so? Maybe the Elks staff invited him? Maybe this was a dream of his and who are WE to say no to a man’s dream. Plus, we didn’t want to be rude, that’s not who we are.
There was a small moment of concern when Saxy Jim was slumped over in his chair. To be on the safe side we made a small request for some water from the bar just to make sure Jim was alright. There was also a moment when Saxy Jim left for a nicotine break. Did no one explain how the break time worked? It’s ok, the man can take a break whenever he wanted. Saxy Jim earned it! There were also a few moments we witnessed Saxy Jim in all his irresistible charm as he attempted to sweet talk the two lovely ladies near the stage. However, they obviously missed out on what could have been some magical sax serenading.
The band was so taken by Saxy Jim we even requested a picture before he left. Would we ever see Saxy Jim again? He did offer his number so he could help in future gigs. He obviously felt VERY accomplished! We took a lot of happiness from seeing him so happy. Yes, there were some hiccups you might say being that we weren’t expecting a guest performer. But again, who are we to deny this man his wish to play with us. He was, after all, a friend or guest of the Elks Lodge, right?
So now we are at the close of the night and we thank the Elks staff for giving Saxy Jim the opportunity to play with the band. Elks Staff however had NO IDEA who Saxy Jim was. Never seen him before ever! They thought WE brought him. NO ONE knew who “SAXY” JIM was!
We all just started laughing because Jim had played us all! He masterfully came in, played his debut, and slipped out into the night like a sax playing ninja! We had so many questions about “Saxy” Jim. How did he get to the lodge? Who did he leave with? How was he going to get home? Where did he come from, and would he be coming back? But most of all, who was this “Saxy” playing bandit. I guess we will have to wait to see what the future brings.