Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dave Gebben R.I.P.

Our good friend Dave Gebben died the day before Halloween. He had been fighting cancer for some time. From what I understand he was slipping in and out of a coma and finally died peacefully in his sleep. There was a beautiful wake at The Shanti in Soulard and a parade in his honor. I saw people there I haven’t seen in years.

Dave use to sit in with all the bands at The Oyster Bar playing a washboard. His washboard always reminded me of an electric guitar complete with guitar strap and psychedelic paraphernalia attached. He was a member of The Geyer Street Sheiks, a band filled with a lot of great Soulard characters. I consider Tom Hall, Mike Prokopf, Charlie Pfeffer, Steve Mote, and Kevin Keegan friends. I don't really know Alice Spencer but I think I may have met her when I tended bar at the Venice Cafe.

Steve taught me Travis picking on guitar when I was a teenager. This is a style that did me absolutely no good considering my taste in music. Kevin, an old drinking buddy, flew an airplane we use to jump out of in Greenville, Il. He also gave us a place to stay when we stayed too late and got too drunk.

Dave married a beautiful woman named Anita and in the early 90s they bought a small general store/bar in Dutzow, MO. Anita’s brother Tim was probably Dave’s best friend and was there at the end.

After the split with J I used to ride my bike up and down the Katy trail stopping at every winery. Dutzow was the end of the trail and I’d get there just in time for happy hour and 90¢ long neck bottles of beer.

The Washington Airport was right next door. I was able to talk the owner of an old open cockpit biplane into giving me a ride. All it took was cash. Knowing I was a skydiver he did everything he could to terrify me. We did loops, barrel rolls, and screaming plummets to earth. The only thing that scared me was flying a mile or so up the Missouri river. We were a foot above the water. I was in the front cockpit and could hear him yelling,” You know this is totally illegal!”

We all used to hang out at Sue and Jim “Rib Tip” McClaren’s farm in Clover Bottom. We’d have all night poker games. 3 philosophies were always represented; Jack Daniels, George Dickle, and Jim Beam. Jim and I were always searching for the cheapest booze that was palatable.

One morning their plumbing went out and I found myself squatting at a tree in the woods. It was bad enough that their dog Blue wouldn’t get his nose out of my ass, but what sounded like hundreds of wild turkeys were laughing at me. It made me self-conscious!

The males at these parties would always try to out-stupid each other. One January 1st (complete with New Year’s hangovers) we chopped a large hole in the ice of their pond and jumped in. We were going to make it an annual event but the following year the drill bit didn’t make it all the way through the ice. “Thank god this tradition was nipped in the bud,” we all secretly thought.

We still have the annual New Year's Day party out there. But now it’s at Dennis and Noel Connolly’s farm.

When I got married and moved to the county Rib Tip was the only person who volunteered to help. I have never felt good asking people for help moving.

Anyway it’s always about me. I wish I had more to say about Dave. We’ll miss him.

Photo supplied by John Gorsky

8 comments: said...

What ever happen to Sue Carlos?

Doggie said...

I saw her at the wake. She's still at the farm in Clover Bottom. She's a teacher now and has been married twice since Rib Tip.

Bando said...

Dave always sat in with Road's End when we played at Allen Avenue (now the Shanti) or Obie's in Soulard. Always keepin' time, always rubbin' that board. I remember one time he sang Randy Newman's "Guilty" at a Margaret and Mary gig at Allen and it was "hear a pin drop" quiet. I always smile when I think of Dave, and I always will.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with Steve Mote but lost contact after many of us went to college and never returned to Carthage. I had heard he was in St. Louis over the years but no one seemed to know much about his life there. At our last high school reunion it was noted that he had gone into the hospital in Carthage and died, but no one knew of what and it was reported as rather sudden. Can anyone fill me in on how he died and anything about his life? I believe his sister, Kay, is still alive. The last any of us knew of her she had gone to NYC to be a model in the 1960's. Patrick Batchelder,

Diane Gebben Arnold said...

What a treat to find your comments about David Gebben, my little brother. I have been trying to research our family tree which lead me to scroll through pages and pages of Gebben entries; just as I was about to think my efforts wasted, I came across your article reflecting on David's life and death. I miss both him and our brother Rick, who died in '98, so much; it's nice to hear of others who share the loss. My husband Tim and I are heading to St. Louis (we live in NY) in the middle of March and plan on being in the Soulard area on Saturday and Sunday, 3/20 and 31; hoping to see some old Gebben friends (theirs and mine). Thanks for the heartwarming surprise.


leslie Permuter Brownstein said...

Is this the David Gebben from U.City, the family owned a bowling alley?????

Amy Murray said...

I miss both my brothrrs very much this time of yrar however i cant help to think of David.Hé. suré rocked thé washboard and spoons. I was proud of my big brothers. I wil cary them in my heart.til wé meet again.

Melvin Brown said...

The Times we ha at obie's