I first saw them in Atlantic City sometime before the war. I had just opened a popcorn and peanut stand across from the Steel Pier and one mid-May afternoon, music both oddly macabre and hauntingly serene whisked through the salt air and up the tattered boardwalk.
As I followed the music and approached the pier, I noticed the sign:
Each performance was only a nickel and every afternoon at 1:20, I took my seat up front to the side. Many days, I would be the only one there and it was fine by me.
Abbie, as I called her, played a lovely mandolin and Gerry, the younger of the pair, tickled the ivories on her accordian. The two would harmonize old folk tunes they learned in the Appalachian Mountains growing up. How these two found Atlantic City, was more than a mystery. They were hauntingly beautiful and at times I could swear they could read each other's thoughts. I wonder if they knew that I loved them both.
By early September, they were gone. When I asked a janitor what had happened, he shrugged and pointed to a poster touting some new diving horse act. "It's cheaper," he said swishing his broom. "They don't have to pay the horse..."
I spent most of my life trying to find them and now, as I lay here, hope they can finally play for me again. On the other side.