Wednesday, December 27, 2006

profile in courage

Gerald Ford

A great statesman is gone. A humble man of great morals and love of country who made a courageous and decisive decision that healed our nation in a dark time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

O Little Town Of Mayberry

Two sparse winding roads, Highway 6 and Route 10, meet at a point West of Mayberry within easy walking distance of Wally’s Filling station. My new car came to a dead stop on Christmas Eve on Route Ten where the overgrowth hides a short deep plunge to the remnants of a dry creek. Of course, as you’re well aware of I’m sure, everything in Mayberry is thankfully within easy walking distance. I stood at a clearing in between two clumps of growth looking down at an old overturned busted rowboat with brown weeds spearing the seams thinking it was worth more than the three hundred and fifty dollar ’59 Ford I just purchased from Rose Temple‘s nephew.

Briscoe Darling brought his dusty pickup to a stop near the car, then rolled through the gravel up close to me. I took one step back. Mr. Darling squinted at me with a “Hmmf, city folk!” look, the four boys standing in back were doing their Mount Rushmore impression, and Charlene leaned across her father’s lap and winked. Thinking of that suggestive wink now sends a chill down my spine enough that I’m slipping on my heaviest cardigan sweater.
“Need a lift?”
“No, I’ll walk, thankya kindly.”
“More power to ya.” He nodded once firmly as the gears stripped and steam rose out of the hood as he drove on, Charlene with her head out the window like a dog smiling back at me.

Gomer’s angular jaw was set with determination as he expertly backed the tow truck towards Wally’s garage. (This followed an amazing conversation on how I might have had an ‘E’ even though the fuel gauge said ‘F.’) If it had been me driving it would’ve gone out through the back wall, down the ravine and into the duck pond. Gomer sure makes it look easy. By the way…is it true that old Roger Hanover was last seen at the edge of the duck pond? Well, one can only hope.

The garage smelled of old tobacco, burnt oil and sweet gasoline. A permanent layer of hardened grease lined the work bench, some of it leaving a strip on my new suit as Goober pulled me away from leaning against it. Wally was gone for the day so Goober took a look under the hood. I left him to it as Barney pulled up to the gas pump in the shiny black and white. He just rolled his eyes and said nothing when I made my complaint about the newly purchased lemon. It seemed the deputy left as quick as he could. When I saw Gomer smiling and shaking his head in thought I recalled what had happened.
“Sawdust,” I said.
“Sawdust,” he replied through laughter.

There’s just something about hanging around a filling station that takes you back to your youth. I used to hang around back in the days when I’d ride in to air up the tires of my ‘56 Schwinn. There was the temptation to dig a few dimes out and try the vacuum-packed beef jerky, beef sticks, and Huckleberry Smash. I walked to the front of the station past the dusty flashlight display and grabbed some jerky. Outside, I grabbed a cold brown glass bottle of Smash. Oh, how can I describe that taste?! It’s like…it’s like…the sweetest nectar of the fruit of an abundant vine from Eden!

Goober said the alternator was shot and that it would be after Christmas before he could get a new one. I told him I needed my car now for a trip to Raleigh. I felt my face flush when he said it was impossible to get one now. After a few unkind words by yours truly he smiled.
“You sure have changed, Al,” he said, gesturing with a screwdriver still in his hand.
“What do you mean, Goober.”
He thought for a moment, wiping his forehead with a dirty handkerchief.
“I don’t know,” he said, “you seem to look only for the bad things in people anymore.”
I looked over at Gomer. He was nodding and looking at the floor.

That shut me up. Later, walking back into Mayberry ‘round midnight, with a rumbling stomach and seeing the evening star directly above the All Soul’s Church bell tower, I prayed out loud for guidance since I’d clearly drifted off the path of those small town ways. Headlights of a singular car shone on me briefly as it whisked by on the way out of town. Two blondes were laughing hysterically - one sounded like a mule, the other a deep, vibrating, husky cackle. A second set of headlights plus a weakly flashing red one, like the glowing nose of a certain reindeer, sped by with the phantom driver leaning intently forward.

At the hotel I gently nudged Asa awake and got a room.

Friday, December 22, 2006

from 1 to 92

Merry Christmas to my fellow vagabonds!

Monday, December 18, 2006

person of the year

What an honor. I'm speechless. Really. First of all, I want to thank the guy above, Jiedguigodg Kswojsjp. Also, all the little people that live inside the walls of my apartment. And most of best friend in the whole world, my pc, H. Packard.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Discovery...on her way!

Beautiful night time launch!

Friday, December 8, 2006

miss ya, Johnny

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