Saturday, July 29, 2006

vignettes from the past few days:

-signing papers at the mortgage brokers' in a nearby town...99 in the shade and 99% humidity as usual outside- and it looks like we'll be moving from west park lane on the south side to south lark lane on the west side...but even across town is a major ordeal
-taking nailed boards to the county dump near another small town, in the lowlands off the road where the turtle jumped out at me the other day- the '68 ford is happy out here, as you can tell, when a farmer or a driver, surrounded by nothing but fields, sees a truck like mine it momentarily takes them to another era. passed a few dead trucks along the way.
-moving something for my stepdaughter, another truck crossed the yellow line coming right at me, gave us a start. the four-yr.-old almost jumped from his seat. he's more used to my overreaction than the stepdaughter is, though, maybe.
-got a coupon from sambucca joe's from dave the media marketer which hit the spot when that lowland was anglin' through the ford windows...
-got a postcard from the red sea, from peggy the lazy gardener, and i'm glad she remembers detasseling (I linked right to it) because now she's thousands of miles from it, back in scotland. ironically my students are now predominantly saudi, homesick for the red sea...
-cleaning out the shed, which was full of ants, was looking down, picking up a phd (post-hole digger) and a bunch a rake-handles and knocked a saw down on my wrist which made the blood flow & left me a little woozy...then tonight the lightning came through & had to pick some of the previously ant-riddled debris back out of the yard...the saw, landing on my wrist as it did, gave me a kind of warning maybe. don't kill yourself. it'll all come out in the wash.
-then at the trailer-park laundromat (dryer, lawn mower & car tires (not to mention margot's caravan, god rest its soul) have buckled under the stress) up the street, they keep having the new york times, which doesn't make much sense and is especially baffling in light of the fact that even now there are still lots left when i walk in at 10 pm on the weekend. wonders never cease. maybe they'll start dropping piles at my doorstep.
-am vigorously giving away stuff, after a lifetime of collecting, and have two new philosophies. one: i don't need both a picture and an overstuffed chair, reminding me of a given era. am giving away the chair. compress memories into small, manageable items. but don't lose them. music, writing, gone by the wayside temporarily, professional activity hanging by a thread...
-two trips coming up, one with the family to arkansas, one with my son to a new home in kansas. makes ya love the open road. makes you grateful the oncoming traffic gets back between its lines, just in time, so i can watch out for that desoto lowland turtle, eli's pirate flag, corey's dance, & a beautiful wife's 49th, one more time.
-and here's to a new life on the west coast for the doc & her beau- may the sun set softly, gently, skip like a stone on your horizon...they call it the northwest, but if you're thinking alaska- and everyone should be- it's not even fact, it's always been my theory that 'ketchikan' as in ketchikan ferry is really just short for 'ketch this ferry if you kan, absolutely, chek out the pines & the jumpin' salmon, the whales & such that follow the ferries just to see what they stir up in their wake, and don't get me started on what 'sitka', 'juneau' and 'nome' are probably short for...
-thunder's arrived, which has put the dog in a tizzy, turned the night on its ear. summer here is a sauna, a wretched, ant-filled saw-on-the wrist type of affair, but i'm grateful for tales of summers elsewhere, blueberry country, the northern lights, the view back east from the flint ridge. it is what you make it, and a bit of rain'll settle the dust....
-was explaining to the four=yr.-old why flo is my favorite of the 'cars' (because she has fins- maybe you have to have a 4-yr-old in america to know what i'm talking about), when, lo & behold, a '48 something-or-other appeared, on a truck bed, in the motel parking lot...had been talking about bonnie & clyde in class, thinking about how a picture, an account, a look in the eye, can take you back to an era- explaining, to a class of mostly saudis, what 'rural texas' and 'depression' meant- to the best of my ability. but also in that motel parking lot- it's travelling season- a motor coach with custom-lettered 'welcome ya'll' on the doorway. notice (i did) that y'all is spelled wrong. and it turns out, life was full of links, before the web ever came along...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Incredible concert. The Shutdowns' final farewell concert turned into a cd release party. Their cd, Incognito, is also incredible. Doesn't have a date or a place on it, but let me be the first to say: it was released here in Carbondale-Murphysboro, in July 2006. The guy in the middle is my son, Justin. He organized the concert- and is the drummer. And pulled it off pretty well, considering. The band is fantastic, a class act. Original songs, good performing ability, good music, good fans, a genuine love for the whole act. My hat's off to them.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

though i haven't really finished my murder mystery yet, i was surprised & delighted when two sons each wrote one. here they are- enjoy!

Midnight Eyes, by Justin
Murder in Gettysburg, by Noah

it's the rage, and there might be more coming! hope you'll join us!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

got a few minutes? read my murder mystery....i've been reading them, so i thought, this is what i ought to do, write what people read. took me a while to get my head around the idea, but here's my start. hope you like it. comments welcome.

Monday, July 03, 2006

more into bicycling these days, considering a move in which i may have a different route- my present route takes me out on the old highway, to a busy but newly made corner where the old highway runs up onto the new highway- and from there, past grasses parching and going to seed, up to the red-and-yellow corner where two red-and-yellow convenience stores and a red-and-yellow mcdonalds -they all have the same marketing trick- have ruined what used to be a beautiful area, a gateway to the shawnee. from there down a pretty glade to the wide-open arena parking lot, a wide expanse of pavement- occasionally full, as during basketball season, and, for example, tomorrow when it will be full of fireworks-watchers. when i was walking this was a wide-open meditative desert; on a bike it's time to notice the wind direction. the one steep hill is the artificial one by the entrance of the arena itself- with its welcome sign, its sculpted gardens, and a bench- as a walker i'd look forward to it.

today i found a flag on the highway, right where the old and new meet, at the turn-off lane. i'm not a flag-waver, but i picked it up and carried it in. why not? it's not meant to just sit there getting run over. in my office it's now just sitting there, looking over unwatered plants; i forgot to bring it home. the plants, i'll water, eventually...the pavement, though, will have to wait until november.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

an early happy fourth of july to the americans of you out there, and i'm thinking of those of you in exile, some of whom are at least occasional aren't missing much, in terms of the fireworks anyway, in this town, it's always been very hot, very steamy around here, even at dark when they start, and we all have to work the following day, so it's not like you can make an evening of it. and, this being a small town, of course you see people you know out there, and the kids being small and all, you deal with the fact that fireworks are at their base violent and scary- maybe that's the point.

but if nothing else the writing i've been doing has reminded me- that though patriotism is not fashionable in my set, it's a lot harder to write off love for a country when you've trod on as much of it as i have- the spine of the rockies, the big muddy just around the corner, the old hills in the east that they call mountains, the cactus deserts, the bayous, the red-rock canyons, the pine forests. and the people- sometimes you only notice it when you come back- when you're here, it's easy enough to get angry- how can they vote for this guy? why are they arguing about how to get out, quickly or gradually? just admit it and get out, it was a mistake. the country will survive- it will get its reputation back, eventually- one can only hope!

hello out there- have a good one, say a prayer for us, and remember, when you come back- you'll be welcome home!