The Renninger's antique fair and flea market in Mount Dora is a huge event that pulls people in to central Florida from all over the country. Robert Newlen flew here from Washington D.C. and Elaine Pines, drove up from Miami Florida. For them, this is an annual pilgrimage. Terry and I joined them when they decided to shop the flea market. While they hunted for bargains, I broke away in search of a sketch. Very little of the worn and rusty merchandise interested me. The one thing I searched for was an old working fountain pen, but I never found one.
It was at the end of the second row of endless clutter where I found Odell "Bluesman" Maxwell singing the Blues. He had a twangy, sharp, resonant and soulful was of playing. I quietly set up my artist folding chair and got to work. Odell seemed to simply speak the lyrics with the guitar played along in unison. He would shout out to anyone who paused, saying, "Hey, how you doing?" "I got the blues today." One woman responded, "I am sorry to hear that, but the music is wonderful." Another woman asked him about his fingering style. He always let people know that they could leave a tip and many people did leave a dollar in the large glass vase. He never seemed to mind me sitting and sketching. He let me know he had been married 7 times and he was still playing the blues. I laughed. His brow was glistening with sweat. As I sketched, I was lost in the moment rocking to his music. Odell was a true jem perched in among the lost and neglected clutter of peoples lives. He is an Orlando Florida native, a true southern home boy. There is something real, raw and true in every song.