Hugh Downs Donated a Dolphin

Hugh Downs donated the first dolphin.

excerpt “History of the Groove, drummer’s story” Russell Buddy Helm ©2013

all rights reserved


Marchetti and his radiant earth mother wife and their five month old baby lived on a clean and simple vintage all wooden twenty two foot cabin cruiser fishing boat. The kind that shrimpers have been using in the shallow Florida waters for many decades. Their home was tied up to the new dock, inside the dolphin lagoon out on Key Biscayne. Marchetti was a hippie new breed of old salt. He had trekked across India with a set of tabla drums. His pen and ink drawings of angel sprites hung on a place of honor on Banana’s wall. He talked to the dolphin, in their language. The dolphin hung out with us a little. Mostly he cruised around the big lagoon. This was the biggest body of water he had been in for many years. His dorsal fin was bent to the side in a grotesque droop from swimming in a circle in a small tank for God knows how long.  He would come over to the side of the boat when Marchetti got the mackerel pieces prepared; jammed with a big dolphin vitamin into the section of cut fish.

When Marchetti would thump on the side of the boat, he would cruise over but stay away. Ric had explained that in order for the dolphin to hunt in the wild, he was going to have to relearn how to keep his nose down, to get sonar signals back from schools of fish in front of him, instead of raising his head to beg for food from a human. Marchetti tossed it out there and let him go get it himself.

The baby talked a lot with the dolphin. They chattered back and forth with each other, the baby just strong enough to hold himself up against the bulkhead, the dolphin up close to the hull; they were connected. Some of their gurgling and chirps sounded like the vocal improvisations Tim Buckley was doing on stage in his trance singing, but with the huge sound of the drums driving him. Here it was quiet. The breeze through the pines sounded like whispering violins in a French movie..

Marchetti was telling a story about crewing on a huge sailboat crossing the South Atlantic. In the middle of the night while he was on watch, with the huge star filled sky overhead, sitting up the bowsprit with the foam dancing under his feet as the prow cut through dark water, he found himself having a conversation with himself. “What is your name? What do you do?…” He looked down and saw a dolphin riding the bow wave looking up at him with a twinkle in it’s eye. “He was talking to me. Asking me questions..”

excerpt “History of the Groove, drummer’s story”

Russell Buddy Helm ©2013

all rights reserved


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