BAILEY, JR.: I was on my way to church. It was my Sunday to play and if I’m not mistaken it was the first Sunday when it happened, the flood. And I drove in the flood and so I was surrendered by the polices. It was in that spot and a lady was getting ready to call the police because she saw me, my car had stopped. And so the police came and he got me and opened my door and got my guitar and put it on his shoulder and said, “Where you trying to make it to?”
And I said, “Greater Bethel Church.”
And he said, “Okay, well we’ll get there, as soon as I get you out of this water.
And I said, “Thank you so much. Praise God!” (both laughing)
So he assisted me here to the church.
BAILEY, JR.: He got me out and I got here. So, some of the members, they couldn’t make it.
Jimmy, Brother Jimmy was here and Fred Francis was present and also Brother Robinson. So Brother Robinson got me home and asked Brother Jimmy to take me home, so he take me back to the house, which I appreciate all that too.
BAILEY, JR.: So what happened, the waters got up towards the seat that I was setting in. And when the police came, he opened the door, but I tried to open the door first and the pressure was so tight, I couldn’t open it. I couldn’t get it open. So he smashed it open and he said he was here for my safety.
BLACKMAN: That’s right.
BAILEY, JR.: Yeah.
BLACKMAN: Where, where, where did your car—? Where do you, what neighborhood do you live in?
BAILEY, JR.: At that time, I was off of Clarksville Highway at that time.
BLACKMAN: Okay. Oh, so you were right there at Clarksville Highway trying to get here to Greater Bethel on the south?
BAILEY, JR.: Right, right.
BLACKMAN: Okay, so where did you—? What happened to your car, did you just have to leave it there, abandoned?
BAILEY, JR.: We had to leave it there and it was towed. We had it pulled to a safety spot because it was ended. It wasn’t no more good, no.
BLACKMAN: I can imagine the police coming to get you and your guitar.
BAILEY, JR.: That’s right, yeah.
BLACKMAN: I heard stories about B.B. King and how he “got to hold on to Lucille” and other musicians holding on to their own. What was your first thought when the water was coming in your car?
BAILEY, JR.: I was just setting there, I couldn’t move and so after I start fixing to get some help, I tried to get the door open myself and the pressure wouldn’t let me open it. But I was gonna get out of there, I was gonna come out anyway. (laughing)
BLACKMAN: One way or—
BAILEY, JR.: Because it just covered the car, the tran [transmission], everything just covered except the top. It stopped right here at the seat level. Yeah.
BLACKMAN: Did you—?
BAILEY, JR: That around, that was around, say, pretty close to 10:30.
BLACKMAN: On Sunday morning May 3rd?
BAILEY, JR.: Mmhmm
BLACKMAN: Okay, now when you were driving and you were leaving Clarksville highway, you were driving, did you see the water? Did you know? I know we had the rain on Saturday.
BAILEY, JR: Yeah I did, but Clarksville Highway was clear.
BAILEY, JR: Up until I got to Jefferson Street, because I made a right turn on Fifth and Jefferson and I got stuck under the railroad track, the railroad trestle, yeah. That’s where, everything was clear until that. But when Jimmy was carrying me back home, I didn’t know that much water was at the flower company, Hody’s Flower Company was buried and I said, “Wait a minute, I didn’t see all that coming to church, you know.”
BLACKMAN: Right. Just in that little amount of time.
BAILEY, JR.: Right. So when I got here, very few people had made it here.