Ace Blevins was born as the song “Biloxi” says, “down around Biloxi”. Ace was a Gulf Coast cracker, amongst shrimpers, hippies, preachers, tourists, in a very colorful place. As a child, Ace knew there was something bigger, something that made him feel wonderfully insignificant and at the same time as important as anything on earth. Within that thought, he felt connected and a sense of peace that was hard to explain. As Ace grew older all of that would be challenged.
The Pentecostal fever that was riding high on the Gulf Coast in the late 60’s, waging war on “them there hippies, and all their love and acceptance”, was a hellacious thing on young Ace. He just couldn’t quite wrap his young mind around the “us” and ” them” thing. It seemed to him and although he never said a word for many years, that the Christ he was reading about was not the same Christ he heard about from the pulpit at the “The First Come First Saved” Holiness Church on Rue Magnolia. Aces Grandmother, Gernie, was the churches’s piano player, and had the ear of God at all times, and you didn’t even have to ask her. She was telling Ace what God liked and more importantly what God disliked at every turn of his life. Her belief system worked kind of like when our Mommas used to tell us to always wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident, that folks would think good of us. Well Gernies belief was that you had to get saved constantly in case you met death unexpectedly. That was a lot of pressure on young Ace, but the preachers weren’t the only influences in his life.
Around the time that Ace turned 15 he kinda made a shift, unconsciously, but a shift anyway, and threw his lot in with “them hippies”. He thought they had it all figured out, but even if they didn’t they seemed like they were having a hell of a lot more fun ! Well, you should have heard the fussin’ and the hollerin’ around ole Aces house when all of that came about. The prayer chain at “First Come First Saved” was red hot and going all thru the night. Ace was dragged to every tent revival from Lake Charles to Pensacola, where the “us” and “them” was alive and kickin’. “Be in the world, but not of the world” he heard over and over again, but Ace saw it as if anyone out of the church loop had the cuties, so don’t touch ’em !! As Aces hair grew and the fringe on his suede vest blew in the wind, he hit the road running. Running to or from was not the question. He was escaping, clearin’ out of Dodge! The towns and the experiences were a blur….New York, San Francisco, Miami, he wandered everywhere that his thumb would take him. In Isla Mujeres Mexico, Ace fell in love and got his heart shattered so fast, he still isn’t sure she wasn’t an apparition. Through Aces life tho, his spirit gnawed at him. He needed meaning, and more he needed to be connected to some basic truths about life. Ace was a searcher, sure enough. Some folks thought Ace was a lost soul. Ace just knew he hadn’t found his harbor yet.
Ace worked odd jobs, kitchen work, ranch hand, but his favorite was something he’d seen all of his life. Ace was living in Corpus Christi and went to work on a Shrimp boat, named “Stand Up Seven”, after the Captains favorite band, the Mysticqueros, a bunch of run n guns from Austin. The “Stand Up Seven” captain was Clyde Boudreaux, who had fled his hometown of Timbalier Bay when he was 15 after a little misunderstanding with the local constable. Something about a missing tug boat and the constables daughter. It’s all a bit foggy still, but thing one thing Clyde knew was that he and the law didn’t see things the same way. Clyde was a seasoned man by the time he crossed paths with Ace, and he had learned a few things out on the water. Through time and example, Clydes favorite way of “preaching”, he showed Ace about God. Somewhere in those years shrimping in the Gulf with Clyde, Ace learned not to divide, but to bring together. He learned to love not hate, to be slow to talk and quick to listen. Ace found God in the waves, the Gulls, the Shrimp, the laughter. He found God in his mistakes and his successes. Always God, always there. He found room in his heart for everyone, and prayed they would do the same for him.
One day not too long ago, Aces Shrimper “Open Arms” was found aground just off of Mexico Beach Florida. Ace had suffered a heart attack. That day, the world went on about its business and Ace was wonderfully insignificant and the most important thing ever, all at the same time. Aces ashes where scattered in the Gulf waters, “down around Biloxi”, not far from the “First Come First Saved” church on Rue Magnolia.The Gulf was calm, the sunset was especially spectacular, and God was everywhere.