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This is the story of a kindly old British turtle and a hotshot Minnesotan rabbit who perhaps didn’t embark on a race so much as spend an hour or so running laps around each other.
The turtle had known the rabbit, who was about a decade younger than him, for a long time. The turtle had been playing guitar for an even longer time, and was rather good at it, so at the appointed hour brought nothing but his trusty six-string and a volume pedal.
When they met, however, the rabbit was carrying a big bag containing two clarinets, an electric keyboard and a drum set. At the count of three they took off. The turtle stayed his course, doing his thing and doing it well, while the hare jumped around from instrument to instrument, sometimes keeping up with the turtle, sometimes trying to set the pace and generally falling further behind the harder he tried.
Now it’s a well known fact that rabbits are at their best on drums, which was fortunate because this particular turtle was at his best with drummers. But the jumpy little critters aren’t as good on keyboards (they pound) or horns (they squeak). Fortunately, such diversions didn’t drag the turtle down. He kept strumming and plucking and hitting false harmonics while the bunny hopped all over the place.
So that’s how it was, children, when the tortoise and the hare ran their course. And while it might not be fair to go pitting one of them up against the other, we all know how the story ends: Slow and steady wins the race.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.