A life of blues

I wasn’t all that happy to have to wait for my last assignment to begin Sunday night. It was the end of a cold, rainy day of work for me and I had arrived at Chicago’s NAACP Westside chapter membership dinner exactly on time. I was just about the only one who did.

I soon learned things were still being set up and guests, including award recipients, wouldn’t be arriving for at least another hour. To be honest I was frustrated enough to blow off the assignment. “I’m on time. If they’re not, that’s not my problem!” was the initial thought process. Then reason came to the rescue and I reminded myself it was my job to stay put. To gut it out and wait. So I found a chair in the corner of the tiny banquet room in the Austin neighborhood and kicked my feet up. It was 20 minutes before the guy who would make it worth the wait came limping through the door.

Milton Houston, wearing a navy three-piece suit with a top hat, walked in with a steady but slow pace. His feet barely came off the floor as he made his way across the room. His face was lively and full of character though, and his voice was scratchy and high-pitched, although I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. He gingerly leaned over and unzipped a black bag and pulled out a guitar. I immediately started thinking I may have found the subject of my next photo project.

Turns out Milton is the front man for a blues band and has been making music in Chicago for decades. He played to a crowd of about 20 people Sunday, but it didn’t matter. The guy can play.

With my high school football season project now complete and my street hoops project ongoing, I’ve been looking for a new subject to really sink my teeth into. Maybe Milton is it.

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