James Taylor - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

by Bart Henry
(Red Bank, NJ, USA)

I was 17 and moved down by myself with 200 bucks. For a kid from NJ, it was kind of gutsy, but in a matter of two weeks, I lived in a shared house with 4 others and had a job. One day, I woke up late for work. I asked my roommate to drive me, but he couldn't. "Why don't you hitchhike?" "I'll be killed!" I said. So silly, but I had never hitchhiked before. Well, I walked down to the main road, sat under a tamarmind tree, and here comes a beat-up old Mazda GLC coming down the road. I could see his bald head a half a mile away..."OH MY GOD, JAMES TAYLOR IS ABOUT TO PICK ME UP!" was all I could think. Somehow I knew it. I got in the back seat, and said "Wow, James Taylor, your my favorite artist. He turned a 180, and said with a furrowed brow, "Who's your favorite?!". "Joni Mitchell" He says, "You're a little young to like Joni Mitchell." I said "Aren't you the same age as her?" He laughed, and said "Nobody works harder than Joan in the busines, nobody." We talked about all kinds of things, other artists work, some things he said in interviews that I wished to comment on......He dropped me off at my job in Charlotte Amalie, the main town on the island. He likes to go to the Caribbean to get away from it all. As the years went by, I met many celebrities here in NYC, but he still remains my favorite memory, because he was so gracious and down to earth. The last thing he said, sort of oddly, was "I'll still be singing for you." and I said "I'll still be listening", and then he shook my hand and then was off to the airport back to the states. Folks, this was the nicest celebrity I ever met. And years past, and I think of two album's names he had since...."Dad loves his work" and "That's Why I'm Here". That sums up his graciousness.

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