Tribute to a Jukebox Giant

Fat Harold, A Jukebox Giant in the Land of Shag Dancing

In The Land of Shag
Lived Fat Harold,
The Jukebox Giant.

He called himself “Fat”
For a name like that
Was easy to remember.

Giants choose their names
Not to be forgotten.

In later years,
He did grow heavy.
Though as a youth
In uniform,
A trim and tall Marine,
He was not called Fat,
He was Big Harold,
From Little River,
A border town,
Between the Carolinas,
In The Land of Shag,
Down South.

Like all good boys
He came of age
Drinking beer,
Chasing girls,
And dancing.

Then he took to arms,
The Leatherneck Battalions,
trained on Paris Island,
Grew tougher,
Leaner, meaner.

He went in ships
To practice war
On European beaches.

Given leave
To wander ancient cities,
He found himself
In barrooms, far from home,
And homesick.

As a future jukebox giant,
He dreamed of a beer joint
All his own,
And friends
To share a cold one.

Done with games of war,
Home a last,
He came
To storied Ocean Drive,
To partner in The Spanish Galleon,
A beer joint famous
In The Land of Shag.

Big Harold became a giant slowly,
Selling beer by the barrel
And truckloads of shiny cans.

And then came SOS,
The saving grace of the shag dance.
Beach bums by the thousands
Came to boogie,
Toasting carefree times.

Big Harold outgrew the Spanish Galleon.
He partnered in The Pad,
And gave another joint his name,
Across the street,
He called it “Harold’s”,
Not to be forgotten,
FAT HAROLD he became.

The size he was
Could instantly change,
If in a joint, you started trouble,
He seemed to grow
And grow and grow.

The longer he lived
The bigger he got.
The bigger the eyeglasses
He wore.
The big black frames
Were part of his face,
Framing his mischievous eyes.

The eyes were shrewd,
As well as bemused.
His word was his bond
By all reports.
You could take or leave
His final judgement.
To change his mind,
You had to bring a hammer.

But a softer touch
You never knew,
If Harold’s heart
Was open to you.

His heart
Was really the giant part,
Big enough
To throw a party in The Land of Shag,
For all the dancers in it.

Fat Harold’s Beach Club
Became the giant’s final fortress.
He filled it with friends.
And pictures of friends,
With music, drink, and dancing.
The gate of the castle,
the door of the giant’s joint
Was a jukebox bigger than him.

So many people came to dance,
The throng appeared to have one body,
Even a giant as large as He,
Fat Harold’s big best friend,
the laughing, loving mass of Shugs and Bo’s.
Him the star at the end of the bar,
Brightest in the territory.

He left instructions
For a private funeral,
Knowing the crowd
Would fill a stadium.

Makes you wonder,
if on the other side,
the giant is growing still,
as here his legend will.

Beyond this life,
perhaps such giants are a common sight.

Perhaps they gather
To dance and laugh
To celebrate a new arrival,
Announcing an elevation,
The second raising of a brother:
The noble,
Harold Milton Bessent.

Fat Harold,
The Jukebox Giant.

Now among the angels,
Light on his feet as a butterfly.