The Man In The Van

Jay Parks loves music, all kinds of music, pop, new country, old country, and classic rock to name a few.  To some this may not sound so unique, there are a lot of people who enjoy all different genres of music.  What makes Parks different is where he decides to play his music.  On any given day you could be in the parking lot of the Jefferson City west-end Wal-Mart and hear the sound of drums keeping time with some of the popular modern songs.  After closer inspection, you would find the source of those drums, Jay Parks’ van!  Most people approve of what he is doing and will often smile at him and give him a thumbs-up.  He has even recieved some donations from people, which he says comes in handy to buy more drumsticks.
Making people smile and enjoy his music has always been like therapy for Parks, both physically and emotionally.  Not unlike a lot of other people, Parks has hit a few bumpy patches throughout his life.  He has had some health problems, lost some jobs, lost two homes to fire and flooding, but most importantly, he lost his daughter.  Jay says that is one of the hardest things that a parent can go through.  When he is feeling particularly low, he will play some of the songs that he and his daughter listened to, and that will cheer him up.
I have gotten to know Jay very well because I am a cart pusher at the west-end Wal-Mart.  I talk to him quite often and recently asked him if he planned to ever stop playing the drums in the parking lot. His reply, “Not anytime soon!”  He sees the smiles that it brings to people’s faces, and he is thankful for an audience, so he doesn’t plan on halting the music in the near future. I was happy to hear that, since I am one of those grateful persons, he makes my job a little more pleasant.
Jay has played his music from his van in several places around Central Missouri.  He has played at the Wal-Mart in Fulton and Columbia.  With the holiday season fast upon us, Jay says he will be playing some “songs of the season” along with his other music.

The Crusader Raid, Vol. 6, Num. 2
The Christmas Wrapping Paper Issue
December 2013
Nick McCutchen


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