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The Curious Case of Mary Woodson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's not every celebrity that has a name that is linked to hot food as infamous as "Al Green and the Hot Grits Episode."
We've all heard bits of the tale. But not from the horse's mouth.
It is a true story about love, infatuation, deceit and sadly, death. People vaguely know the story, about how this married woman fell for Al Green and then later, scorned, poured ,boiling hot grits on him. What still fewer people know is that after that episode she calmly raised a revolver to her skull and blew her brains out.

This is a first-person account from Al Green himself, which resonates even today with the celebrity worship we see everywhere around us, and the basic relationships we have with people we like or so-call love, only to find out that they don't love us. It's worth taking a minute to remember, "The Curious Case of Mary Woodson."
Al Green's words:
"It was at one of those prison concerts, for the inmates at the New York State Correctional Facility, that I first met Mary Woodson. She was the kind of woman that when you first saw her, you'd take a second look, and then a third look, and then, after a while, your eyes would just become accustomed to turning her way. Mary was a radiant and ravishing woman. Mary had a classy way of carrying herself: She was statuesque graceful and proud. She was at the prison visiting a friend but she never told me what her friend had did to land in prison. Mary had all kinds of secrets, more that I could have imagined at the time. I casually asked Mary where she was heading after the concert but I already knew the answer and it was "There's nowhere else you're going but home with me."

But Mary didn't fall under my spell quite so easily. She begged off my invitation to come back with me to the hotel. It was late, she had to get up early. So, I offered her a ride in my limo into the city. I wasn't pushing anything. She was pretty and I liked having pretty women around me." But Mary had other things on her mind, right from the beginning. She was a real woman, I loved the smell of her perfume, she was new and exciting.

After my tour, I returned home to Memphis, Mary was in town. The infatuation I had for her blinded me to all the warning signs. I didn't care where she had come from or the baggage she'd picked up along the way. When I asked her about her past, she lied and told me that she had never been married and of course she didn't have any kids. The truth was, Mary had left behind a whole family in New Jersey to come and be with me but I'd only find that out later, after it was way too late.

Soon, her husband had come down from New Jersey to bring her back. She refused but he wasn't going to let her go and made it clear that she belonged to him and their children. She was living out a fantasy on borrowed time.

One night, I was in the studio working on new material when the door opened and a good looking woman rushed in and gave me a hug. It took me a minute to recognize her, her name was Carlotta Williams, a flight attendant I'd met on my travels.

When Mary came to the studio later, I introduced the two women and suggested that we all go back to my house.

The women seemed to get along fine as we all piled in my Rolls Royce. Carlotta sat up front with me and Mary sat in the back.

I kept glancing at Mary through the rearview mirror, disturbed by the strange expression she had on her face. Once she caught me looking at her and fixed me with a cold, appraising stare that sat my nerves on edge.

I went to my room to change my clothes. When I went to the kitchen, Mary was standing at the stove, stirring a big pot of water with a wooden spoon. She turned around and asked me had I ever thought about getting married, I replied, "Maybe we should talk about that in the morning."

When I asked her what she was cooking, she didn't answer me. Then suddenly, she whispered in my ear, "I would never do anything to hurt you."

Carlotta was in another part of the house listening to music. I then decided to take a bath. After I got in the tub, I soon heard a noise, I looked up and Mary was standing with the steaming pot in both hands. In the next second, my world exploded into a thousand splatters of pure agony. Mary had added grits to the water, making a thick, boiling hot paste. With all her strength, she hurled it at me. The grits scorched my naked back. The pain was so intense that I started screaming.

Carlotta burst in. "Al!" she screamed. It was then that I saw the egg sized blisters rising on my burned flesh. Mary rushed out of the bathroom.

Carlotta called a ambulance and was tending to me as best she could-when suddenly, we heard a gunshot. Despite being in pain, I rushed to Mary, she lay on the floor dead, clutching a gun.

With you and my children as my muse
I will paint for you a lifetime
A portrait of devotion and friendship
A panorama of passion and admiration

All I ask is that you gaze upon it with an open heart
And you shall unquestionably love me again

- Daryl R. Swensson -


ThatchickNik said...

Wooowwwwwww. That was some heavy reading. Where did you get this story? If it happens to be a book, please give me the title. Fascinating. Its seems as though she was a tormented soul...

February 18, 2009 at 11:22 AM
Craigjc said...

It's from Al Green's book, "Take Me to the River,". An old one, but simply fascinating.

February 18, 2009 at 12:17 PM
Assertive Wit said...

wow...every man fixated with appearances alone should read this...always important to know more than "she's just BEAUTIFUL"...

February 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM
LaBellaVida said...


February 19, 2009 at 5:34 PM

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