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Thread: Tocky's Tales

  1. #176
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Great story and beautiful pics, Dia!

    Being half of a mixed-race couple now since a few weeks I wonder if we'll ever encounter the kind of racism you describe, like if we'll ever get racist comments when we we're walking hand-in-hand down the street or in the city center. Hasn't happened so far but I suppose it could happen. I haven't worried about it so far and I don't plan on worrying about it in the future. Of course if push comes to shove I'm prepared to defend and protect my girlfriend.

  2. #177
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dia View Post
    I'm still concerned with the racism that's running amok in our country and that my granddaughter, her now-fiancee and their beyond-precious little man have to endure that outright racism on occasion, but thankfully, so far it's just been a few nasty glares in their direction or a quickly-spoken snarky remark, both of which can be ignored. I absolutely HATE it that my sweet granddaughter and her partner have to be on the defensive too often when they go out together and though both hide it well, I know it's there. I just wish I could re-make this world into a better place for them and my great-grandson.
    I don't think it's as dire as you fear. I've worried too that it's making a comeback but I think it's mostly the assholes are more vocal and, as you said, that makes them more visible and now you know who they are. Most families have at least extended family of color now. Heck, check my pics from last weekend on FB. The Tocky family got some soul. What's funniest to me is that it's usually the most racist member who now has a grandchild of color and has to change their tune. In fifty years we will be so mixed the racist crap will be gone. Of course then everyone will hate blondes so you are still screwed. Nah kidding. You will be dead. Me too.

    You have an absolutely lovely family and I'll kick anyone in the nuts who says different. Those eyes and that smile of your grandson tell me that boy needs to be thrown in the air and spun in circles and taken fishing and to the zoo and to a carnival. Thanks for sharing your story. You are a peach.

  3. #178
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    What is your earliest memory? Think back. Got it? Nope. That ain't it. We remember a lot farther back than we think we do. I was in an antique store as I'm want to waste a weekend doing and saw an old push walker/stroller thing made of sharpened steel and splintery wood as we used to do it and it sparked a memory. It was a different color but it was the same as the one I recall. I was at my grandmothers between the smokehouse and her back porch minding my own business putting things in my mouth to see how they tasted when I was put into this medieval device by my oldest sister. I have claustrophobia. I cannot stand to be confined. Of course I didn't know the word for it then. Or many words at all. I understood she was doing it for my good and knew they were talking about me but as soon as their attention was diverted I crawled out again and was captured. This time she spun the wooden multicolored balls above the tray and that was kind of cool. I spun them myself. I distinctly recall doing so. The claustrophobia was too strong. I had to escape again. I did it till she gave up.

    But here is the thing, I couldn't walk. I walked for the first time before my first birthday. I recall that too. The stretched tan vinyl of the couch was so high and I had to land on my feet holding on before I could toddle on. They discovered I could do it later on and thought I just up and started but I recall the first time and nobody was around. This was before that even. Children remember. Everything shapes them. It does from the start. Never ignore your kids. They are smart little bastards. When I had kids at home I didn't care about anything else in the world. You try to build a sort of cocoon around your family and try to keep the bad out. You can't of course. While Elliott was showing me how to sear steaks Rick brought my daughter up the drive. She had been standing in the road. Jesus Christ. You fail. You are a horrible father. It happens that quick. I just hope she remembers the time I saved her from drowning over that incident. But then, she was a teen at that time so of course she would recall that.

    But kids remember, don't think just because they are little they don't. And they learn about society from those memories. I like to say I picked cotton. It makes me sound like I slaved in the fields and knew what my forefathers went through. Hardly. I was four. I rode to the field on a cotton sack and rode back pulled by my dad after he was bone tired the same way. We were doing it just to help a neighbor anyway. If it rains on it then you get a poorer grade of cotton so everybody pitches in before it does, even a kid who can only pick a half row to the adults three rows. Still better than Sally Field and Danny Glover in Places in the Heart. They couldn't pick cotton for shit. It's like this bird pecking motion and done damned quick. And Vivian Leigh? Bitch would have starved to death. Save Tara my ass.

    Anyway, you fill these long cotton sacks that drag the ground and take them to a flat bed trailer where a scale is used to tally the weight. Nothing modern looking, more like a long J where you hang the bag on one end and weights on the other. At the end of the day you are given your total and paid. The white folks helping just took the man at his word about the adding up but not the black folks. They knew better, had a better feel for it, what with doing it more often or maybe being less trusting and with good reason. The weight wasn't right. There was a lot of arguing back and forth. Brummett, who owned the field, was telling the black folks they were wrong and making it a racial thing. The black folks were having none of it and saying it was a fairness thing. They were aware they were outnumbered but were trying to stand firm and it wasn't easy for them. A lot of the whites were taking Mr. Brummett's side.

    That's when my dad and Mr. Hall stepped up on the trailer. Well now, it's an easy thing to just reweigh the stuff (though most had been unsacked by that time and wasn't possible to redo), how about you let me and Joe here do it and be done with any argument? Well, he didn't like that idea. They were just being niggers and wanting something for nothing and blah blah on and on but as he talked it became clear to me he was hiding something. He was getting antsy. Mr. White stepped up then and grabbed the weights and my dad and Joe the bag and hung it and what do you know? He was cheating them. Well there must be some mistake, why those weights must be off, he would never on purpose cheat anyone. Uh huh. Let's just reweigh them all then to make sure. He had been cheating everyone, black and white, and that shut up the ones on his side because he was cheating them too. It took a long while to re-tally everyone's total and folks were tired and mad. Brummet was sheepish now and when it came time to pay did it quick and without argument.

    I rode home on the empty cotton sack. Dad complained a bit that I was getting too heavy and I knew how tired he must be. Soul tired too. But dad, it's fun. "Yeah, I reckon you ain't too heavy yet", he said. I wonder if he knew I would remember that day.

    When I was in my thirties I was riding my Harley to Oxford to return some movies I had rented. I took the old way. Mr. White had a store at a bend in the road we called Dogtown. I just pulled up and filled my tank and went in to pay. There was a row of chairs by the motor oil with about six old men in them. All of them were sound asleep and my dad and Joe among them. Funny as it was that these old fellows would fall asleep that way talking over the days news and yesterdays memories it touched me. I debated waking Mr. White but in the end figured it wasn't worth it for a few dollars change. I just slipped a twenty into his shirt pocket and eased on out trying not to let the screen door slap. Those men may not always trust their fellow man, I'm sure they had seen a lot, but they had easy consciences enough to just drift off in each others company and nobody minding the store.
    Last edited by Tocky; 23rd Mar 2019 at 14:17.

  4. #179
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Dad was more right on more things than I ever gave him credit for. I know I gave him hell being so wild so there was a lot to teach. All I saw was the excitement of situations. He might gripe about things that didn't make a damn but when it got serious he was calm and protective. How the hell do you do that? I can't even fathom it. I remember once when he had taken the whole family to Kiamie's for a burger. It was the only bowling alley in Oxford back then, it had a side room for pool and just outside the door a liquor store. Everything a growing boy needs. It was spacious. They don't waste that much space anymore. Anyway, it also had a cafe and Rosie made the best burger plate in town and we were eating when a fight broke out. It wasn't one of those shouting a lot of words fights. It was a throw down bloody nose meat smacking punches table turning over serious as shit fight. Dad got up and stood between our table and the fight and at one point caught one of the boys going down and asked him wasn't he ready to call it quits. He told them both there are families here and they didn't need to see this. He managed to shame them. I wish I could recall his exact words. Whatever it was it made them quit.

    Yeah. That ain't me. I admire that kind of thing. I like to think I would do that but I sincerely doubt it. I would have been one of those boys. I know because years later I was. I was on my way back from Oxford one day in my mid teens and stopped when I saw Aubrey and Lee mowing the church graveyard. It was split by the S curve of the roadway and half had already been mowed. Aubrey had had it with mowing. He said he was there before Lee and Lee owed him just to let him leave and him finish the rest. Well Lee wanted me to help him finish for half of the pay he was going to get. I had only stopped to talk to my buddy Aubrey but sure, I'm no stranger to hard work. No skin off my back. I went home and got my mower and dad asked me was I sure he would pay. The man just knew things. I said yeah, why wouldn't he? Yeah. I went back and mowed till we were done.

    He was going to get the money later that week but he never paid me. He avoided me. It wasn't the money really. It was the principle. He promised he would pay me. I told him he would or I would take it out of his hide. You say a lot of shit not really meaning it. It did piss me off but I could have gotten over it. Then I saw him at Kiamie's one night out in the parking lot. Words flew. He was with his buddy Cal and I was on my lonesome. I was tired of his shit though. I was just going to kick his ass. I was tired of empty words. He was a fuck. I was smoking a cigarette and thumped it at him. It hit him right in his white T shirt center chest. Ah it was perfect. Beautiful. Sparks flew when it hit. He batted at the coal like a maniac. It was funny as hell and I knew right then I would remember that moment forever.

    We went at each other then. He couldn't fight worth a damn. In spite of the fact he out weighed me by a hundred pounds he was slow and I was quick. He did not use his bulk to try to wrestle me but chose to duke it out which was a mistake on his part. I never caught a blow and delivered a dozen or more. But the thing is he had this layer of fat on him. Body blows were like punching a wet pillow. There was no telling how much good I was doing. I could never quite get a solid blow on his face because his arms were so thick and that was the one place he protected. Finally I found a way around his defense and landed a good one on his jaw. It knocked him back and he had surprise and fear on his face. That was what I wanted to see. By not paying me he was saying he didn't fear me. I was smaller. He could overlook me. He had just discovered he couldn't.

    At this point his buddy Cal stepped in and separated us. I didn't want to quit. I wanted to cement that look. I wanted him to know he couldn't do that shit to me and get a pass. I wanted him to remember that. But here was this new problem. Cal figured his buddy was losing and didn't want him to royally get his ass beat. Least that's what I figure. But to quit now was saying he was safe as long as Cal was with him. I didn't want that either. Cal was saying I had done enough and to let it go. I was saying hell no. I hadn't gotten my moneys worth yet. I have to give Cal credit. He stood his ground. Maybe he had been excited by the fight and wanted some but he had no justification yet to just jump in swinging. I don't know. He had me wary though. I looked over his shoulder at Lee and he was gaining some courage back from it but not enough to open his mouth yet.

    I wasn't sure I could take them both though and I didn't want to lose the standing I had just gained. I told Cal I would take him on then but JUST him. No two on one shit. Cal seemed amenable to that idea. He was too amenable and that gave me some pause. Maybe he was good. He looked mean enough. I wouldn't find out though because just then some girl came out of Kiamie's saying the cops had been called and we better leave. Nobody wanted to get arrested so we left and it wound up like most of my fights, just a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, like I got a whiff of a steak and they took it away. On the other hand maybe I would have gotten my ass beat. As it was I had the memory of that cigarette hitting Lee in his white T and him frantically beating it out. That was gold.

    Lee died about fifteen years ago and the first thing out of my mouth was "I'll never get that money now" which was ignoble of me even as a joke.

    I have a lot of good memories of Kiamie's. Tammy took her shirt off for me while we waited in the back seat on Aubrey and his girl to get back with some booze. That was as magical as it was unexpected. Many weekends we bowled or played pool but mostly it was foosball. I was a hell of a goalie. I had that quick wrist twist that burned the ball all the way to back of the other goal. That metal slapping sound and Elton John singing Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting on the juke and all of us cutting each other with whatever burn hadn't gone around too much yet. And now it's gone. Torn down. All of us obsolete and not just us but our way of life.

    A couple of years after dad had died I met a fellow at the local store who recognized me as his son. He had known dad as a young man and I drew as much out of him as I could think to about those days. At one point he mentioned fighting a forest fire with him. I hadn't known then he had even worked for the forestry service but found out it had been with the CCC. He grinned as he recounted a big fellow who had tried to push dad around and dad telling him he would just have to bring him down to his level. So what happened? This fellow was just going to leave it at that? He acted like he was. What happened? He knocked him out with one punch. Well there was one more thing the man had bested me at. I've never knocked anyone out.

    Not really a moral in this one is there? Here is a pic of Kev, my boney ass, and Aubrey back then. Wish it was in better shape. We never thought to take many pics in those days.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by Tocky; 22nd Apr 2019 at 20:12. Reason: I got my reasons

  5. #180
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    When we were kids my cousins and I would meet at my grandmothers house and depart on various adventures. Landy and Harvey were maybe eight years older than me so they didn't want me tagging along but I thought they were cool so I tried. Sometimes I was locked in a room until they could escape somewhere but sometimes not. They talked of movies I couldn't see yet like "Last House on the Left" and "Easy Rider", all the cool stuff. They had real rifles they squirrel hunted with, sometimes in the neighbors yard where they got in trouble. One thing we all had were sling shots. Landy had one of those wrist rockets back when they first came out. When we learned old man Herron had tried to molest my sister we vowed revenge. Dad would have killed him so he was never told.

    We gathered shirt pockets of rocks and waited for him to use his outhouse. He usually did right after dinner. His outhouse hung over a gully out back of his house and in the back of it was a cut out where his balls hung. Huge gouty bulls balls they were, like two hand grenades in a pale stocking. Ripe and ready for our rocks. Not a one of us missed the first round. There may have been a few misses when he was standing up cussing us but we had done damage by then. We ran shouting things back. A last "leave my sister alone you old pervert" and we were around the bend of the road. They were pretty cool cousins to have... mostly.

    Landy was always a little off somehow though. He was always breaking my toys but in interesting ways and for interesting reasons like the time he used my Western Auto big rig trailer to bake bricks in because he had heard that's how it was done with red clay. Never quite got the fire hot enough in that makeshift oven to match a kiln but it was an interesting effort. He didn't give a shit about your stuff though. He didn't care much for anything except finding some interest in something and everything or everyone else be damned.

    I was a more sensitive kid. I liked excitement and learning things and adventures and stuff but I had a soft side. I raised a frog from a tadpole and set it loose in a pond near my house. I also raised a robin. It had fallen from it's nest and was just a fuzzy little thing nowhere near ready to fly. Everybody said it would die but I dug worms and picked them from tomato plants and fed him every day after school cramming it down his open beak. I gave him water from a dropper and he grew and thrived. He got big enough to fly and I was going to teach him. I knew it was past time but I had a boy scout camp jamboree thing for a week at camp Yocona. I promised myself I would after that. Meanwhile my parents promised to feed him. He was a greedy little thing bordering on chubby at that point and I had dug a weeks worth of worms in a coffee can for him.

    When I got back with my wicker basket and new merit badges and memories of new friends and the things we had done my mom gave me the bad news. He was dead. What? He was perfectly healthy when I had left. Landy had come down and somehow killed it. What? Then I recalled how he had put a toad in a can and anesthetized it using hair spray then cut it open to watch it's heart beat. There was something missing in Landy. I never forgave him for my robin. I looked at that stiff hairspray covered body in the bottom of the cage and ached that I had held onto it too long. A predator had come into my home and gotten it. Had Landy turned out to be a serial killer I would not have been the least surprised.

    He didn't so far as I know. His dad left him a few hundred thousand in cash and property but he blew it in a couple of years. He raised a daughter and son on his own after his wife died of cancer. He was always moving somewhere to the next big thing to strike it rich, never satisfied with anywhere or anyone. He married again and was offered a good management job in his wife's fathers company but turned it down and then lost his new family somewhere down the line. He was always a huckster and seemed on something to make him hyper. He was a salesman at several points but never made anything last. Harvey tried to stay his friend but when he went to visit in Iowa Landy would hardly speak to him and left the entertaining to his wife while he drank alone in his garage. He was strange. No accounting for some of his behavior. I pretty much wrote him off and had a family of my own to raise anyway. We lost touch. We aged.

    Then one day recently I was looking to see if the town of Mount Airy was worth a stop the next time we went to the Smokies and stumbled on something called- LandumC goes there- on Youtube. Yeah, it was him. He had a lot of his travels on there with little lectures on what happened here or there. One had well over a million views. Some had as little as six hundred. Most of them were of crime scenes and murder sites but I think he finally found most folks liked the Andy Griffith stuff. Even after discovering the money was mostly in the advertising on the Griffith stuff he still was going all over to do the ax murders and robberies and death stuff. I guess he finally found his niche.

    Here is one of his episodes- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_LtKk9yCqc

    I guess this has been a weird sort of story on it's own. Is anyone still reading these things?
    Last edited by Tocky; 28th Apr 2019 at 03:50. Reason: spellzing

  6. #181
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I read that. I shudder to think what I might've done to someone who killed an animal I was caring for.

  7. #182
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I was ten and he eighteen. He had gone back to Memphis and I wouldn't see him till his mom's funeral when I was in my late teens. I let it go. I couldn't quite forgive him but I tried to be adult about things. People change sometimes and I hoped he had. I'm not sure that we should but we tend to give a greater leeway to family. I took it hard that day. I might have tried to beat him if he were around then. As it was I had to let it go. But you don't really do you? Some resentment lingers. Some watchfulness over a callous disregard for life as well. It was a damned strange thing to do.

  8. #183
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    "left the entertaining to his wife while he drank alone in his garage"
    for some reason I found this quite profound and I'm not sure why.

  9. #184
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    It's like he was bi polar and at a certain point tried to erase himself. I forgive him. I know it doesn't sound like it but what else can I do? But you think about what they did and how it made you who you are. For instance I've always been ashamed I flunked algebra in college. But the thing is I went wonky on math early on. I was good at it at first. I wasn't the best but I was up there. Then came sixth grade. It's the grade I made the core of my lifelong friends in. It's also the one where I developed my math hiccup. I look at a problem and panic. Even simple ones. It doesn't matter that I really know the theorem or rule, I still can't see it until I can calm myself. The only thing I can liken it to is my claustrophobia. I know the roof of a cave won't fall in but I can't tell my brain that. I don't know where my claustrophobia came from, childbirth I suppose, but I know where my math hiccup came from. Ms Reid.

    She was a natural born mean person. Loved to inflict pain. And she was good at it. Best I've ever seen. I've had my share of paddlings, sort of a connoisseur, and I know. Never one to exactly follow the rules, I've had belt lashings, paddlings with those hole filled ones, and peach tree limbs. Nobody could hold a candle to Ms Reid. Nobody.

    I had been lucky until that morning I was the only one to get a problem right. I kept my head down, never volunteer, never raise a hand, but your turn comes. Oh I had seen her find some excuse to beat kids and figured I knew how to avoid it by being meek. It's the tall grass that gets mowed. You couldn't make yourself small enough for her though. I slipped up without even knowing I had. I had such a fear of public speaking. We were sent three at a time to write our homework problems on the board and wouldn't you know I got the hard one. I had done it and correctly and faithfully chalked my numbers on the board. I was the only one who had gotten it. I sat back down and heaved a sigh. It was done and I made it. But no. She called on me, just me, to go to the board and explain to the rest of the class my reasoning. Oh god. Just me before the class. I sat and explained it from my seat. Not good enough. Somehow I stood and walked to the board and explained in detail every step. I made it. I overcame my fear and spoke by just concentrating on each step. I went and sat back down after she had said I could. Thank god that was over. I was even proud of myself for a fleeting moment.

    Go wait in the hall. Huh? Was she talking to me? Go wait in the hall. Why? What did I do? You know. No I don't. What did I do? You rolled your eyes when you got up to speak to the class. Oh Jesus. She was right. I had. Like a horse upon glimpsing a snake, I had rolled my eyes in fear. She thought it was in some defiance. But I didn't mean to. You did. Go wait in the hall. There was only one thing that meant. There was only one thing to do. Go wait in the hall. My turn. She never accepted explanations no matter how valid. I could only hope it wouldn't be bad. I had seen the tears in the eyes of those who had come back after those loud licks. I was tough. Tougher than the others. She wouldn't get that out of me. I would show her. I had done good. I had no reason for punishment and I would be damned if there would be tears in my eyes when I came back in class. I went to wait in the hall.

    I was a determined little bastard. I knew there was nothing for this but to live through it. I was not going to cry out as I had heard others do. No matter how bad I would stay silent. That would be my way of defeating her. I would come back into class dry eyed never having made a sound. All the others had come back with wet cheeks but not me. She took forever to come into the hall.

    There was no point trying to explain to her. I knew that. It wasn't explanation she wanted. The only words she said were bend over and grab your ankles. She drew out that first lick. She knew all the tricks, both psychological and physical. She was practiced and in retrospect I can admire the expertise of it. The first lick had to be a surprise both in timing and in shocking violence. Your mind is still looking for an out and hoping it won't be as bad as you imagine. Just when I was thinking she must be occupied in something else the lick landed. Like a musical note that had waited a beat and a half too long it was unexpected. It knocked me forward so quickly and with such force I had to catch myself to keep from landing on my face. I was in push up position. To add insult to injury she said "oh come on, I didn't hit you that hard". She had. I had never felt anything so painful in my life. Every nerve in my ass was on fire. I've never felt anything as painful since either.

    Ah but she had a new trick I had not heard her do before. She would tap me five or six times between each hard lick to keep my nerve endings burning just on the edge of unbearable before each hard lick that made me stumble. Each lick I thought could not be worse and yet it was. There really isn't any point in describing it. Nothing would come close. Maybe I should have cried out. Maybe if she thought she had broken me the following licks wouldn't have been so hard. She went the full five and gave me a surprise sixth. I survived.

    She told me to take a moment to get my self together and then come back and take my seat. That felt like an insult too. It's true I had to tuck my shirt back into my pants and fight the pain down but it was a humiliation too. I was going to be tough. I didn't know. I hadn't made a sound, true enough, but my eyes were welling with tears and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried as hard as I could. I hated her for that most of all. They would see my eyes wet and red. They would see the pain and humiliation in them. They would know she had bested me. Even Karen who had a crush on me. I sat right behind her. Those eyes full of pity and me unable to even fake a decent smile. Even the sitting was a thousand bees stinging me.

    When I saw blood on my underwear I checked myself in the mirror the next day and discovered I had blood blisters and bruises on a wide swath of my ass. I knew that wasn't normal but I kept quiet about it. I threw those underwear away. It was over. I even forgot about it so much later that month that my mom caught sight of them when I was changing one morning. They had long since scabbed over and were healing but I suppose they looked pretty bad still. I tried to get them to just let it go. I had. I thought. But no, they had to go to the school and raise a fuss. Nobody else had made a fuss. One thing a kid doesn't want is to be singled out. I found out years later that dad had even called her a drunk. Apparently he knew some dirt on her. I was so afraid others would think I had told. I needn't have worried. She was as worried as me that others would find out.

    She treated me with a snide contempt the rest of the year as if I were some sort of weakling. She said things like "take your time" and "we wouldn't want you upset" and even made a show of paying students to give them a lick with her paddle as if she hit them as hard as she did me. She didn't but she was sick enough to hit them hard- normal hard- and nobody took her up on a second lick. I didn't take her up on those licks. I didn't trust her. Just the thought of her made me sick to my stomach. She ruined math for me. My grades suffered. They picked up the next year but I don't think I ever averaged more than a B again. It took me twice as long to take tests after that. I would get this awful trepidation.

    I might have squeaked by with a passing grade in Algebra 101 if I had made that last test. If I had gotten a seat near the front so I could hear half the things said that would have been good too. It's true I was still heart sick over Laurie. It's true I had a first time student teacher. It's true I partied too much and didn't give it my all because I knew I could cram and make A's and B's like I had in high school. But you can't skate math. Those page long problems don't solve themselves. Nothing rote about it. Aside from theorems there is nothing to memorize. But I blame Reid too. Maybe I wouldn't have panicked and blew off that last test and lost my scholarship otherwise. I knew it was a third of my grade and couldn't bring myself to go to class that morning. But I wouldn't have met my wife and had the family I do either. I wouldn't change that for any grade.

    I failed though. I let her defeat me. I let math defeat me. I thought for a time I would pick up a book and learn it all backwards and forwards just for myself but I must have been well and truly whipped. I never have.

  10. #185
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    All of the following is just rambling thought but it bumps the thread up and maybe next time it will be a coherent story.

    I went to my fortieth high school reunion recently. I wanted to see Steve. He was always a better friend to me than I was him. He laughed at all the stupid shit I did and said. We shared each others science fiction books and talked of the plots. A book club of two. If he was in a class I sat next to him. But honestly I found him a shade too boring. I liked the excitement of the stoners, the bikers, the girls. So many areas we just did not overlap. We didn't hang out much after school. About the only time we had was when I was in football and we killed time at a burger shop before a game. Then my knee started to act funny. There was this exercise where you lay on your back in full pads on the ground and at a whistle you got up as quick as you could because there was a guy running at you full speed and you had to bring him down or be run over. Pretty brutal but kind of fun. My left knee would give way when I was hit. I digress. I quit in my sophomore year. My knee got better for thirty years. Then it started wanting to drop me again. I collect canes. One day I may use them.

    But I like Steve. It's always fun to catch up with him at these things. Unlike me he made a career of the Air Force. Avionics technician. He has been all over including Colorado Springs which we had just come back from. I made him laugh with all my stories of why I'm no longer in the Air Force. He made me laugh with his stories of squeaking by in it. Bill Murray was right. Service stories are great stories. But I noticed Karen didn't come sit with us like she had done at other reunions. We were all sort of grouped together alphabetically in school and were friends. She usually came over.

    But Mary Lou came over. I braced myself for another horror story of Laurie which thankfully didn't come. Instead she talked of her mothers passing. I hadn't seen it in the papers until she was buried. I would have gone. I liked her mother. I saw her eyes tear up as she spoke of her so I told her something nobody knew. Not long after Laurie and I had broken up I called and talked to her mom, going over my feelings and everything I had done wrong. I was lost as to how to break my feelings off and she helped. We both made fun of my treacly deep forever teen love and she got me to laugh at myself but in a sweet and sentimental way. Mary Lou was grateful for my revelation. She then told me Laurie and her had not spoken since the funeral. Why? She had blamed her for everything that had gone wrong in her life. I didn't understand but wasn't sure I wanted to so I just said that no, only one person is responsible for that and it isn't you. I saw gratitude again but damn it she had made me wonder about Laurie again. How was her son doing after Afghanistan? He was a spook at Langley now. Whoa. In a weird way that made sense. A truth seeker. What is hard to get becomes obsession. I figure it was hard to get truth out of his mother. Perhaps. I mean, what the hell do I know?

    Later my wife, who had also noted Karen's distance, pulled me aside and filled me in. She had talked to Steve's wife on the sly. Turns out Steve had been corresponding with Karen on the computer. All friendly stuff until it started getting too friendly. He was caught at it and turned his computer over to his wife. Something similar had happened to me. One of my wife's friends had been coming on to me, telling me what she was doing to herself in the tub over the phone, a torture some like to do to married guys, so I turned the phone over to my wife. Ended that right quick. But Steve's wife pretended to be Steve to see how far Karen would take it. All the way. So a bit of a schism in the old gang. Ouch. I felt badly for Karen and surprised at Steve. He was less the fuddy dud than I thought. Things you would never imagine happen. They happen all the time, even at our age. At least it wasn't me this time. I haven't the testosterone for that crap anymore. Not that I have ever been the sort. Nooooo Mr. feelings here.

    Talking to Mary Lou got me to wondering what Laurie's son looked like. I occasionally wondered what our children would have, provided she didn't ditch me every other month, and I could prove they were mine. But hell, people do change, small adjustments anyway, and there is always Facebook these days. I had already let several of my classmates friend me so surely some of them were her friend and I could check out her page. Originally I only let my best friends and family on my page but hell, it got to be I felt like an ass not friending back. Anyway I found her page. Not much of interest there. Just pictures of her mostly, no family, no friends. She was still pretty, damn her. It confirmed to me my worst instincts about her self-centeredness. She bragged on her Mercedes and her business trips but little of human interaction... except for one guy she was seeing. To me it seemed grooming behavior but there was one saving grace. In a shot of him smiling she had written "love that happy smile". Hmmm maybe she has grown and does care how others feel. Maybe. Maybe he won't just be for awhile like all the rest. I hope she finds real love and learns to give it after all.

    That once was enough stalking for me though. There hasn't been any drastic change. I'm sure she hasn't thought of me a half dozen times in all these years anyway. That's just the way that works. The dumpers never think about the dumped. Thank heavens things happened exactly as they did though. Life has been a lovely trip. I doubt I could say that had we stayed together. I sometimes think it would be fun to find out every little detail of her life and tell her every little detail of mine since we parted but I'm certain she wouldn't be interested. Too bad because there was some funny stuff in mine and I'm sure there would be things in hers I would find interesting but then people are more of my kind of thing. I love them. They are what make life for me. Even you reading this now. I love you for your uniqueness. I want to hear what makes you the way you are.

    Recently I had a birthday. I'm 58 now. Every day I look in the mirror and think how did I get so damned ugly. They gave me a party and most gave typical gifts but not my daughter. She is the heart of my heart. She gave me a medieval helm and low "The Search for the Holy Grail" references were on. The black knight never loses! Come back! I'll bite your kneecaps off! The next day she took me out for Japanese hibachi and we joked with the cook about vegetables all the way from the far east... of town exotic Kroger. A cutup cutup cook he was. Then she took me for ice cream the way I had her as a girl and reminded me of our times together. We finished with a stop at Square Books where I took her as a youngster and we always discussed ideas and authors. We still do. Everything from the space program to southern authors making a living from just being southern. All the wonderful authors we've met there from Larry Brown to Charles Frazier. And one named Chico Harris who I had read all through my life from articles in The Daily Mississippian to a weekly rag called Oxford Town till the one he puts out now called The Local Voice. I could not believe they did not have his book "Dear Tonda" at Square Books. I've given him rides when he was hitching, I've written him about various articles he and Jim Dees have done, I've supported his arguments on Facebook, I've met him at my daughters art shows, but not yet gotten his book somehow and they did not have it at Square Books. Sacrilege. So after this disappointment we went to take pictures of the new mural in Oxford. My daughters mural in Houston had just been written up beautifully in Mud and Magnolias magazine. My heart soars for and with this girl, my Knot-head.

    I had forgotten the book "Dear Tonda" when I get a call to come by. My daughter has picked it up signed personal by Chico. What in hell would I do in life without my girl? Things could have gone so different and yet I lucked out like I deserved it or something. As the redneck song writer Garth Brooks said, thank God for unanswered prayers. Thank God Laurie and I did not stay together any longer than we did. I am the luckiest bastard who ever lived.

  11. #186
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    In fifty years we will be so mixed the racist crap will be gone.
    That was always my hope, and I'm looking forward to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    Of course then everyone will hate blondes so you are still screwed.
    HEY! Just because I shave my head it doesn't make me not blonde. On behalf of this much ridiculed minority, I'd like to extend to you the most sincere "screw up". Wait, is that how it goes? Hang on...

  12. #187
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    I thought the screwed Caucasian minority were redheads.

    :3

    Derp, derp.

  13. #188
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Well I'm sure they get their share.

    Screw up has always worked for me. Here then is some screw ups on the Buffalo river.

    The Buffalo is a swift running river that cuts through rocky canyons it has carved itself over no telling how many thousands of years in middle Tennessee near the town of Waynesboro. You rent a canoe and leisurely glide down it if the water is low or fight for your life if it is high just after a rain. Picture the river in the movie Deliverance and you have a good idea. Hell, it even has the same name as that one in Arkansas. There is a spot to camp and head out early in the morn so you get time to see and do everything before the pickup point far downriver. There are waterfalls and rope swings and points to cliff dive and lots and lots of bends.

    My wife and I are not everyone's cup of tea. You have to be able to take a lot of directness and passion about every little thing. We can be loving to an embarrassing degree or angry to the same degree within a period of five minutes. We always overlook the anger and never think about what others think of us. I have no idea how we work but we do. Love I guess. Nevertheless we have many friends that have gone with us to this very place. One of them a couple I worked with once upon a time. We camped and drank and smoked and told stories around the fire and laughed and departed to our separate tents. Being passionate we made love on the air mattress in ours. I say make love like it is some tender thing. No. Imagine monkey's throwing bowling balls and dancing to heavy metal music. We are not real good at control and through the thin skin of a tent I'm sure there is little left to the imagination.

    Rena asks "do you reckon they heard us?" after. Well hell yes. We knocked the damn plug out of the air mattress fuck sake. So after that embarrassment she has to go pee. Only the damn street light illuminates our camp spot really well. We have to go between their tent and the woods. There is no other spot out of sight, no camp designated latrine except at the nearby store which is closed, and there are tents all over same as us. We are very drunk. Staggering in fact. I only notice this when I have to hold her hands as she squats. Hurry they may come out for some reason. There is only maybe eight feet between us and the woods and she at first squats nearly on their tent. You can't wet the side of their tent crissakes! They are a young party hard couple like us but there is a limit to even lax decorum. I'm sure they heard us. You know how drunks try to whisper things? Yeah. Like that.

    So she goes. I know they hear. Worse, I notice the streetlight across the way makes a shadow of her bare ass on their tent. Jesus I'm amused. Then when she is pulling up her shorts she goes stumbling into one of their tent poles. Oh hey, just in case you missed anything, here is a bell ringing TING as one of her many rings connects with the metal pole. Not that anyone could sleep through our laughter. So we go to bed and sleep like children until dawn. At breakfast we act as if we have done nothing wrong though the other couple is a tad more subdued than previously.

    We get out on the river and it is swollen from recent rains. It even sprinkles on us for a time after we push off. My cousin and her husband have driven up to join us and we get into a splash fight with our paddles while my work friends slip farther up stream. I even took pictures of this. The river is so swift we have a hard time paddling to the waterfall which is on a tributary just off the main river. We get there as my work friends are leaving. We do the usual picture posing before going back to narrow channels of whiter water. I want to catch up and keep our group together so I paddle a bit harder.

    There are some deadfalls where the bank has given way and a random tree has fallen in that we have to go around. With the river rushing like it is some dodging is difficult. We see other couples hit and tip over. So many lost six packs of beer must tumble along the bottom of that river. I even had one of my buds tell me his canoe went down one time and just never came up so he swam to shore and walked back to get another. You always see somebody turn over. It just can't be helped at times.

    Around one particularly sharp bend where the river has eaten out the rock wall there is a dead tree middle of it nearly against the wall. We have seen others ahead tip and fall there. We have also seen couples get out and walk their canoes across a sandy peninsula just before it to keep from having to go around it. I figure as long as we keep to the inside of the flow we will make it around fine. But I can never get my wife to paddle on the right side of the canoe at the right time. I can't even correct her on it most of the time because she takes such offense.

    In this curve is a tree at water level skinned white of bark and slick as a beaver chew. It has also been chainsawed into of a section for a gap of about five feet center of the curve. The navigation does not go as planned. As a matter of fact the gap is drawing water so hard it is a suction for anything afloat. It pulls our canoe into it. We sure don't want to go through it and end up against the rock wall because it is eaten out below water level and will tilt our craft down and under and maybe us with it. Our only shot is to push off against the tree itself. I'm already pushing off on the aft section and I tell Rena to push off on the fore section. I'm successful in pushing forward in that way from my end but I glance forward and see that she is leaning out over the gunwale to push. No don't! I lean opposite to counter the shift but too late. She has stretched too far and goes head over right into the rushing water. It's deep there and she can't swim. Scares the shit out of me. Didn't do her any good either.

    She came up gasping and grasping and latched onto the upper part of the tree where several limbs jutted upward. I immediately dropped my paddle and grasped the slick tree with both hands. There were no small limbs on my side, just a trunk as thick as my own trunk. I had to exert maximum effort to keep my hands from slipping. I used my stomach muscles to pull the canoe over to where she was clinging and shouted for her to get in. I shouted again. She is holding on and won't budge. Get in! I can't hold on forever. Do it NOW! No it will tip. No it won't! I'll hold it still. We don't have forever. Get in! I feel my grip slip and bear down. Get in! Please baby just get in. No. Don't shout at me! Please, you don't understand, I can't hold on that long. I could. I did. We argued back and forth as I begged and cajoled and tried from all angles to get her to just step her leg over and hop in. I felt my muscles were going to pop and was scared that they would begin to twitch from the strain and make me lose grip anyway. The trunk was so slick.

    We were still arguing when my cousin came gliding in and clamped her hands on both our gunwales. They had seen our predicament and paddled back. Her husband grabbed some of the smaller limbs and steadied the rear of their craft and between the two of them made ours steady with theirs. Rena climbed in. My relief was way more than physical. I had been racking my brain about what to do. If I had let go to drift ahead the canoe might have been sucked into the gap and turned. As it was we were able to make it through the turn with me paddling like hell and pushing off the way I had wanted her to do.

    Everyone had gone ahead but Rena wanted to pull over at a sand bar. I tried to argue we might lose everyone but to no avail. It angered her to no end I would even bring it up. Everyone always stopped at a place on the river not far up that we all cliff dived from and that was where I figured we should stop. She was so upset and I finally saw that and felt like a dick. I could have lost my baby and there I was wanting to catch up to the group. We pulled over. It took quite some time for her to recover emotionally and for us to continue on down to the picnic spot where everyone waited. Not my proudest moment.

    That would have been our last time there I think had it not been for our daughter wanting to go with her friends and the boy she would later marry. We made it that time without incident to the place where we jump off the cliff. It's a big bend and on the other side of the river from the high cliff is a wide sand bar we always picnic at. The water was really high that day. It always is after weeks of rain. We always swim across after and it's not a hard swim because it is hardly twenty yards or so. I've done it dozens of times. This day the water was rushing harder than I had ever seen it so it was not so easy.

    I got to mid stream and found myself struggling. I actually had doubts about making it across. You have to swim against the current at an angle but I was stuck in the middle barely making headway. Finally I broke through and pulled myself onto shore gasping for breath and with muscles twitching trying to recover. I look out and see my daughter in the same spot I had trouble and she is losing ground if anything. I don't think I would have gone back in for my best friend but for her there was no question. I swam to her and pushed on her back. Each push sent her a little ahead and me a little behind to swim harder to catch up and push her again. But it worked. We made it across. As I'm once again gasping, but harder this time, she says "race you to the top old man" and takes off. I start to just let her go but then I think she will just dive off without looking. I try to shout about looking before you leap as I make it to the top but too late as she dives over just as I get there. Right behind her I do look before I go over. She surfaces just as a canoe comes along side. Jesus.

    Age makes us look. We know enough now that we don't trust fate. We have drawn the good cards so long we know the wrong ones are bound to turn up. The pack only has so many cards. I had to remind her of the time I pushed her across just a few weeks ago. She didn't remember it at all and she was taking MY GRANDCHILDREN to the river after heavy rains for weeks. I could not dissuade her. She promised they would wear life jackets. Okay. No jumping from the cliff. Okay. Alright but those bends can take a kid under and pin them against a wall that slopes away from the surface. It's dangerous. They went. They did fine. Luck is still holding. My breath was holding until they made it back. Damn her for being so much like me. People drown there. The Tutor kid lost his grip climbing the falls and had to be air lifted out. Then he got better and went to Afghanistan and never made it back. Luck does not hold forever.
    Last edited by Tocky; 13th Aug 2019 at 00:48. Reason: TMI

  14. #189
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I've been wondering, how do you break a cycle? It's so easy to get back into bad old habits, fall back to the same old patterns. Willpower can get you through a lot, of course. I would not have been able to quit smoking otherwise. It has carried me a long way. And I've been a witness to someone struggling with alcoholism while everyone around them is trying to get them to quit. But they won't. Because they don't want to. You can't save people from themselves. Or can you?

    I was extremely reckless when I was younger and did quite a few things that got me in danger or some other sort of trouble. Part of it was the poverty I grew up in -- rich kids spend more time on piano lessons than climbing trees. Part of it was that I made some bad friends and some bad choices. But I think a not insignificant part of it is also bad blood. You see, it runs in my family, this sort of thing. The graves of my ancestors are littered all over Europe and beyond. Evey major conflict over the last couple of centuries, you can bet my family has been there, often on the front lines. Fighting Napoleon, fighting the Japanese, fighting the Bolsheviks, fighting Hitler, fighting Stalin. That's how my family thrived -- by dealing death. That's how they got their titles, their holdings, their wealth. Fortune favours the brave. Until it doesn't. Easy come easy go.

    Needless to say, nearly every man in my direct family line, as far as I know of it, has been in the military at some point in their lives -- my father, my grandfathers, their fathers, their grandfathers... One of my distant cousins who's more into the stuff tracked a line down to the 17th century. And even now some of my relatives take part in this: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Afghanistan again... lots of other wars I can't even bother to remember. But of course these days it's not an opportunity to make a fortune any more. It's just a job like any other, killing some poor bastards far away from home. So it goes. And being reckless doesn't necessarily get you any medals outside of a war, of course. It also gets you in fights. It gets you addicted. It gets you to gamble. It gets you to a point where you sell your family icons for a pittance. That's also a part of our family's history.

    So why am I not following what seemed to be the fate of so many in my family, either on the battlefield or outside of it? Part of it is that I didn't want to. Part of it is that I knew not to want to. My father didn't get any glory from his time in the military. He got a bad leg and worse memories. So I was never pressured to join up. But... I've been thinking about it and it kind of boils down to one simple thing -- my father read me fairy tales when I was little. The thing is, my father often worked long hours and I was incredibly bored at home. So my father coming home was something I always looked forward to. Sometimes I would fall asleep while waiting. Other times I'd wait until he had showered and eaten and he would read me stories until I fell asleep. And sometimes, when he was so tired that he just crashed into the bed, I would climb into the bed with a book and he'd read it for me until he fell asleep. And then I'd quietly tuck him in and switch off the light.

    This is how I learned that books were magic. This is how I learned to read before I even went to school -- because I wanted to figure out the magic. This is how I read everything in the house, including the encyclopedias. I've never been outstandingly smart. But I've always been book smart. It helped me get through subjects I was struggling with in school, because I'd often already read at least something about it. It helped me do research, because of course I'd know the libraries like the back of my hand. It helped me figure out the internet, and computers in general, because I would browse Usenet, because that's where alt.fan.pratchett was. It helped me learn languages and countless other things. It has helped get my life back on track when it has been about to derail multiple times.

    It's more than just the simple thing I made it out to be, of course. It's that my father found time for me no matter how tired he was, without brushing me off. He took me to museums, helped me with homework, and with so many other things. And if something needed doing, he did it without complaint. Because it was the right thing to do. He did tough, menial jobs that were way below his education level (agronomist) just to feed us. If my father didn't have a particular kind of character, things would have turned out very differently.

    Anyway, why have I been thinking about all this now? Well, I happened to visit my grandfather's grave the other day. I never knew him. I've only seen him in pictures. Because he did the right thing at the right time. Because it was necessary.

  15. #190
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Genetics are powerful. A bird dog will point at a bird having never seen one before or knowing another dog which has done so. Love is more powerful as your story shows. It breaks the conditioning of centuries. You are a lucky man to have had the father you did. I hope you have or will have children of your own and pass down this new thing, this better thing.

  16. #191
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Ron died. Ronzo. Ron Shapiro. He was an Oxford icon and legend. He came here by way of Jackson Hole, Wyoming following a girl he had met from here. His first job here was at the only legal pot farm in the US at the time. This obvious hippy with a bowler hat and pony tail had a military secret clearance and they hired him. Hell, me and Richard smoked a doobie with him in the small projection booth while he ran a film and it was so small that when one of us dropped it nobody could bend enough to pick it up. He brought us movies we would have never seen like The Last Temptation of Christ and Rocky Horror Picture Show and I certainly would never have seen Deep Throat had it not been for his midnight showing. But it was more than just a place of movies where you could bring in an iced down cooler of beer with you. He had world famous authors who hung out there regular like Willie Morris and Barry Hannah just to be there. It was so bohemian. Blues musicians played there for the hell of it. It was the place to be if you had any weird in you at all.

    The Hoka cinema died in 1997. Such a shame. It broke a lot of hearts and my wife and I went to the final celebration there. I got to tell him how I took my wife on our first date there and how I first kissed her there the first time. In a weird way I owe my life to Ron. Who knows how things would have turned out between us if not for the Hoka, this former cotton warehouse made of tin turned movie house. The whole town owes him, certainly us hippies, but maybe I owe him most of all. He was a great guy. The sort to offer you a place to stay if you were down and out and not be joking. He loved everybody and everybody loved him. Some have even brought up the possibility of making a statue to him on the old Hoka site. I will donate to it. He already has an award in the local film festival named for him. The Ronzo. He was one of a kind.

    I urge you to watch this short documentary about Ron and his movie house we loved so much. It's interesting, it's funny, it's my past and so many others who came through this little burgh. Just now it breaks my heart.



    I'm going to miss this crazy fucker.


  17. #192
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I've been in a bit of a blue funk since Ron died. They aren't making any more like him. Our time, the age of freedom is over. Maybe in pursuit of fun we went too far at times. But did we deserve the world we got as punishment? Oxford is nothing but condos full of rich assholes. The common guy or gal, the fun ones, the dance till sweaty and dizzy, the tell loud stories and do crazy things just for the story ones are fading away. Will anyone climb the side of a bar just to dance on the roof anymore? Can you walk down the street with a lit joint and ask the first person you see if they want any only to find out they are passing you theirs? It's all gone to obnoxious preps and their well heeled and heeling bow heads. There is no bohemian element anymore. Or that's how I feel. Maybe I need to take my wife dancing. It's been a decade or better since I've even been in a bar. I haven't even been in my buddy's Diamond Back biker club in that long and he keeps sending me notices of what band is playing this week. Not that it really has to be a bar. Maybe just doing something crazy with friends would work.

    "Don't look back. If you do it will pull at your heart so much all you can do is look back." So said Scarlett. But that's all I've been doing here isn't it? The older you get the more you look in the rear view. The more you lose too. Aubrey died. That's another thing I learned at the class reunion. He is the one on the far right in the motorcycle pic above. I should have kept in better touch, but then, that works both ways doesn't it? Cancer. He smoked more than anyone I know. First thing when he woke up even. Freedom is a double edged sword eh Starker? But you and me knew enough to quit. We were made of sterner stuff. Yeah. I don't know how you did it but I stayed drunk for a month. Every time I wanted one I took a drink instead. One habit beaten down with another. Not so certain mine was strength.

    Boo hoo poor me. Hell with that. Here is a story where we went too far. Sean was my sister in laws first husband. The youngest sister in law. He was good looking and funny and went too far which was fine by me. Anything for a laugh. Troy was the one who married the middle sister and he was anything for a laugh too. All us brothers in law had gone out for a good time together. I had just gotten my camcorder fresh after they put them on the market in the eighties. I had been filming mostly family stuff so it was high time we went filming crazy stuff. At some point we were in the grocery store. I think we had orders to pick up something. So Sean finds a sweet potato shaped like a penis. He walks around with it hanging out his zipper while I film the look on peoples faces. It works as you think it does. He asks them have they never seen a sweet potato before and pulls it out to show them it's just a potato. He even tries to scan it still poking out his crotch at the checkout. Cheap laughs. Everyone is cool. No cops called.

    So we went to the police station. Up to the main desk. We want to report a potato flasher. Sean does the bit and gets a weak smile. Cops buddy comes up and gives a bigger one before he ambles on. Then Sean starts taking the desk sergeants lack of humor as a personal challenge and lays on the cop stereotypes. That gets no smile. I'm filming all of this with the heavy shoulder mounted VCR thing and he is doing the donut thing. What kind do you like? I bet it's the one with the hole in the middle. Come on bet with me. And other equally lame stuff. Only he is going on and on with it and I see the cop is getting annoyed. He is asking what kind of donuts they have back there and guessing so I just interrupt with "well what kind of restaurant is this anyway?" which gets another half smile so Troy and I drag Sean out while we are on top.

    Then we pick up Sean's car from the mechanic as he tries to pay him with potatoes. Somewhat amusing. Next to that place is a telecom thing that has a wide obelisk of TV's playing. In front of it is dog poop so he takes a stick and flings it on the window saying there is nothing but crap on TV tonight. That was getting lame again but I gamely chuckled. If the store had been open it would have gotten us in trouble but it was the weekend.

    Troy needs to go drop off some reels at his uncles. I ride with him and Sean picks up my wifes brother Bubba who is still in high school at that time and we all head out to the country at stupid speeds. We pass each other at various points and try to keep each other from passing. There is a lot of trash in the floor of Troys old truck so I get the idea to give them something to think about as Troy swerves to keep them from passing us back. Styrofoam cups and McDonalds bags and half burgers weeks old hit their windshield. It was grand fun. Until they passed us back. Then we got to see what trash they had. We even got to see what they had in the ash tray. Unfortunately they ran out and began throwing pennies which could have pecked our windshield so we backed off. So far so good. Nobody has run off the road or anything.

    So I get this idea about running off the road. We are passing his uncles corn field. I've always wanted to ride through a field of stalks in a vehicle. It's dry stalks left after the picking so no corn on them. Why not? Turns out Troy has too. So off we go into the field at breakneck speed. It was glorious. Tappity scratchity plunk flap whackery as we mow them down. We do figure eights and donuts and follow our trail and veer off and it's all I thought it would be. Sean has followed our lead and is doing the same in his newly fixed car. Only we can't see each other except as disappearing stalks so it's a near thing a time or two as far as missing each other. That just adds to the fun with sudden swerves to avoid each other. We finally drive out with over half the stalks down and it not being as much fun anymore. I bet you thought we were going to head on crash.

    Then we pull up to his uncles and he comes out to meet us madder than hell. He has two of his shirtless overall wearing big ole boys with him and one has a shotgun. What the hell? Did you just run through my corn field? I look back at a stalk hanging from the tail pipe. Uh... yes... it was just stalks left after harvest right? Yeah but they were for gathering so the pigs could eat them. He berated us a bit for being stupid. We volunteered to go pick them all up but he was too mad to let us. He wanted money. The fuck you say. Yes, money. We each had to pay eighty bucks over that. I still don't know why we couldn't have just picked them up and taken them to his barn or whatever. It was fun but not eighty dollars worth. Still, it was a story. I've not forgotten it.

    Nobody forgot what Sean did either. Turns out he wasn't as funny as we thought. He had a paranoid evil streak when it came to women and held my sister in laws head under water yelling at her to admit she was cheating on him. You would just have to know this girl to know how ridiculous that was. Her sister yeah. That wouldn't be so hard. But not this one. She was loyal and sweet and hadn't a cheating bone in her. Turns out he was insane. Me and Rena moved her out one weekend and she never went back. We never let Sean near her again. She has a good husband now. Not so exciting maybe, but a decent guy.

    Maybe we went too far sometimes. Maybe we didn't respect property or laws. But we didn't mean anything bad. We paid for our deeds. And when one of us turned out to really be an asshole we turned our backs and protected the ones really at risk or hurt. That counts for something right? I like to think we didn't deserve a bunch of rich bastards moving in and putting up a buttload of condos anyway.

  18. #193
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Oxford held a little easy style New Orleans parade for Ronzo today. It's just the sort of thing he would have loved.

    https://www.facebook.com/thelocalvoi...2462262531072/

    You may have to have facebook to see it. I don't know. Also don't know that anyone cares to but I thought it was cool.

  19. #194
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    It's Halloween. My favorite time of the year. Leaves turn. The air has a bite. Spooky shit doesn't seem so far fetched. I've had spooky shit happen. Room 137 was the worst/best. But I've had more than my share. Most don't

    have one story to share and I have several. To be clear, I believe in science and only science. I can't discount what I've experienced with my own senses though. If I'm insane then so be it. I can't deny I like the strange things that

    happen. They make life less mundane. The shadow that passes between my bathroom and unused bedroom down the hall my animals make note of. My wife has seen it. My dog and cats may perk up when it happens but mostly it

    can be ignored. It doesn't bother me. The roll of tin foil that managed to slide out long ways from the top of a cabinet to fall end first on my right hand three times in a row while I was cooking can be discounted as vibration

    movement over time. The CD that flew off a shelf next to my computer to hit me in the chest is a little harder but what the hell. Not much has happened in the last ten years.


    What happened on the land is something I'll never forget though. When you are alone in the woods miles from anything at night things stand out. I've told the story before. It really freaked me out but time and distance have a

    way of flattening the peaks of experience. It becomes one of those things that happened. You know they did. You recall them perfectly well. But you can discount dispassionately over time. Ha ha you are a freak and you don't

    believe yourself anymore than anyone reading this does. But you can still remember. That's the hard part. How do you fit that into what you know without just admitting you are crazy? Am I even afraid of being crazy? Not really.

    So much of our every day lives is so disconcerting and so much of what people believe is so nuts. Crazy is codified into the system. Religion is in no way logical and quite frankly batshit crazy. If I'm crazy then I'm just another in

    the vast majority of lunatics and a nice one who means no harm. I won't even force you to believe as I do.


    So I owned a hundred acre wood. I called it my Winnie the Pooh woods. I worked there clearing trails and building a small cabin of cedar logs on the weekends. It kept me in shape. I had an idea of cutting a key way and

    building a lake. I had a guy come out and bulldoze so that I could survey the possible water level. I used a bobcat dozer myself to clear some trails. Their wasn't a neighbor for miles and I liked the solitude of working hard and

    alone.


    I was doing that one evening. I had hauled a culvert in the back of my truck down to the creek bed where I had to tie it off to a tree to pull it out of my truck. Then I pushed it in the deep cut the creek ran through with my

    bumper. I had thirty acres on the other side I needed to have access to so I spent the rest of the day shoveling dirt around the huge culvert. It was so big of a cut that I had to come back the next day and do the same only I left

    the truck up at the gate that time. I can't recall why. The road was solid if a bit washed out in places. Maybe I just liked the walk down the long dirt road knowing it was all mine.


    I worked all day. I didn't even stop to eat, just to drink water. Every so often I would look around just because it was so quiet but I would soon go back to shoveling and tossing. By sunset I was patting it solid with my shovel. I

    would gather some stones to put around it later to reinforce against a strong rain current. It would wash out anyway but I didn't know that then. I gathered my shovel and pick weary but happy the job was done. On my walk

    across the pasture to the woods proper I noticed the whippoorwills. They were gathered on both sides of the road in the dark trees. There must have been a hundred singing a strident whistle, all asynchronous. It seemed the

    sound of madness. So urgent. So many. I had never heard anything quite like it and marked it as a marvel in my mind. I made my way to the top of the hill where there is an open area and turned to look back. They all stopped at

    the same time. It gave me the strangest feeling. For as out of sync as they were to suddenly all stop at once was odd.


    I crossed the open area with remnants of a logging operation in scattered piles to the other side where woods and brush closed in near the road again. I guess I didn't want to give up the day. One more bit of work wouldn't

    hurt. I gathered a pile of logs and brush and set them ablaze. Since I feared the dryness of the area I put them in the already clear road with no crisp grass ready to catch. I let that burn down and gathered more. My thoughts

    wandered looking into the fire. Things said and did long ago, people parading before my minds eye, regrets and joys. Suddenly a loud POW issued from the dark outside the dome of firelight. Incredibly loud. I stared in it's direction

    wondering what could have caused it.


    Do you understand how strange that is? You think yourself alone and the most improbable sound happens? After a few minutes I began to doubt myself. It was so improbable I wondered could I have imagined it. There is

    nobody for miles and no sound of traffic. No sound beyond the mellow hiss and crackle of fire. Just when I thought I would never know it happened again. This time a few feet to the right. Could it be a gun? It was loud enough to

    be a 45. I didn't think so. To me it sounded like a large limb bent until the point it breaks. When it did it again a few more feet to the right I assumed it would be a trend and looked to where It would next happen. All I could see

    was darkness and I was well aware how clearly whatever it was saw me as I stood in the firelight.


    I didn't move though. Only enough to track it's progress. I thought of calling out for it or them to leave because they were trespassing but the advantage wasn't mine. The situation was surreal enough to leave me paralyzed

    with curiosity and wonder. There was a touch of horror to it as well, but mostly the curiosity. I understood the idiot who follows the blood trail then. I wanted to know what the hell it was. I couldn't charge it out in the heavy brush

    and sloping rough terrain but it would soon cross the road and I could charge it there. When it sounded near the edge of the road I simply stood there though. I thought of all the implications of charging into the dark and before I

    knew it had sounded on the other side of the road. My chance gone.


    But I would have another. It went in a circle like the numbers on a clock. I didn't think to count the number of times it made that loud crack but twelve sounds about right. I listened intently. There was never any sound of

    movement. I watched intently. It always stayed maybe ten feet beyond the limit of firelight. It was always around four minutes between echoing cracks. I never caught any glimpse of it though I strained where I thought it was

    moving and where I would soon hear it again. Was it someone who owned land nearby? Perhaps they thought I was the trespasser. Were they trying to scare me off? I heard it near the road on the other side. Three quarters of a

    circle so far. I could charge it now. Now was the time. The only time. But what would I be charging into? Despite my rationality I couldn't help but feel the presence of something supernatural. That held me. It wasn't the possibility

    of a gun. I hadn't seen the slightest hint of muzzle flash. I was trying to think while being held in thrall. When it cracked again beyond the road I knew I would never know.


    There was never the slightest sound until the sharp sudden pow, full of force and dominant. It kept up the deliberate pace until it was one space from connecting the circle where it had started. I listened a long time but the

    connection never came. The fire burned down without my moving. The light dimmed as it turned to red coals and near total dark. There was just enough light to make out my shovel and pick. I could have grabbed my shovel when

    I charged it, if I had charged, but never thought to. Then again suppose I had lanced a friend being a dick in the dark to scare me? I was still under the spell of it. Listening. Listening to nothing.


    I cleared any debris near the fire and once again looked for any twig ends unburnt like any woodsman would but there were none. I kicked a bit of loose dust around the edges and pissed into the heart of the coals. Maybe that

    sort of precaution seems out of place under the circumstances but I was determined not to show any fear in case it still watched. I picked my pick and shovel up onto my shoulder and gave a resentful swing like a batter until they

    were on my other shoulder. Then I walked off. After maybe twenty paces I began to speed up and then to run. I gave completely to the creeps I had been feeling. I didn't stop until reaching my truck where I threw my tools in back

    and shut and locked the door.


    The next day I got up early, before anyone in the house, and without coffee drove fast to the land. I would find evidence of who had done that to me. There would be tracks crossing the road in the dust. There were none. There

    would be limbs broken or something dropped. There would be some sign. There was none. Only my own tracks.
    Last edited by Tocky; 3rd Nov 2019 at 21:59. Reason: For Pig. This is going to take triple the room. Won't save indent either.

  20. #195
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Its like you write this expecting no one is going to read it.
    Editing dude, editing
    and I dont mean the content, just whole block paragraphs are really hard to read, at least for me.
    Last edited by PigLick; 2nd Nov 2019 at 07:06.

  21. #196
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Yyyyyeah. Why don't you show me how that works with a story of your own?

  22. #197
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    touche

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