Sitting here listening to Thelonious Monk

I am sitting here listening to Thelonious Monk as I have done oftentimes before. Monk TIME cover

Except now I know that his mother’s people were from Conetoe. And his mother was from the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount. Monk was, too. (For our international readers, these are North Carolina references whose significance is not readily explained but is profound. The difference between the Edgecombe side and the Nash side, for instance.)

This means that Billy Thigpen’s grandfather and Rowland Bullock’s grandfather, for sure, knew Thelonious Monk’s grandfather. My grandfather probably knew him. It means that my other grandfather and his brothers probably knew Monk’s people in Rocky Mount (knew who they were).

What does this mean?

Without doubt, Thelonious Monk is the only Edgecombe County native who was ever on the cover of Time Magazine. He was a genius. I do not have the words for his music. (Try this.)

Is Conetoe in that music? Edgecombe County? Billy Thigpen’s grandfather?

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