The background of this page is a “Diamond Dog” (color enhanced). It is a carving from a piece of scrap metal fashioned by the late Keith Duckworth [ died Oct 10, 1999 ].
He made several of these diamond dogs for all of his friends. I cannot tell you exactly why Keith made them or what they represented to him. I can only point you to the lyrics of David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs”.
Keith was a unique character in my life. Most often, I saw him drunk and on pills. And in the beginning of our brief friendship, he would never remember who I was.
That changed one night as we were bringing a night of partying to a close. I was in the beginning stages of my harmonica playing, a gift I had not fully realized until I met Keith. He had been playing that night at various times of the evening.
At a stop sign at Congress and Elm, only the two of us headed east, I said, “Keith, your my mentor in harmonica playing”. His stupor seemed to disappear and with a disarming smile, he just said, “Cool man” and he started to blow.
That night, I had entered his inner sanctum. That night, my “course correction” in life started (unknowingly). I began to feel uneasy as I “hung” with the crowd following that night. My drinking and drugging was more of an automon response to being around the crowd. My smiles were brief with roots in confusion, not happiness.
I started a converation with Keith at a Christmas party in 1998. We were in Jim Paul’s kitchen. I was leaning up against the stove, Keith was half-way sitting on the counter that housed the kitchen sink. “Hey man, I got to tell you something.” His demeanor was like that of a 11-year old boy who was about to tell me he found his dad’s porno mag collection. Though, I could tell this was not a proud moment. It felt more like he was seeking asylum for something he had done. “I did heroin the other day. I mean, I’m not doing it all the time and I hadn’t done it in a while.”
My smile and my buzz was washed away and with an intense stare I said, “Man, why are you doing that? Your going to fuckin’ die if you do that again! Damn dude”. The conversation ceased as some people walked in with their drunken and stoned smiles.
Days went on and so did our partying. On October 3, 1999, a mutual friend of ours Chris had just passed away from a heroin overdose. All I could think about is how Keith could end up the same way. Keith attended his wake. Along the way that day, Keith told several people how much he loved them, almost as if he were saying goodbye.
A week later, I had dream early Sunday morning. I was in an apartment filled with friends. Keith was not there. A girl who I know named Brandy walks up to me. We kissed. As we kissed, I tasted blood from her lips. A very strange and vivid dream it was. I was profoundly impacted by it.
I left Austin later that Sunday afternoon. As I was driving back to Dallas, I received a call from my friend Kevin. He said, “Keith died last night”. I cried for miles knowing that Keith had died in the same apartment as Chris, who was only one -week dead. Heroin overdose – damnit!!
From that day forward, my world changed. The Lord grabbed me tightly and did not let go. He would speak to me in another dream that would change the course of my life forever. He reminded me that, “I am no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir to God’s kingdom”. Galatians 4:7