If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Sunday, October 31, 2010

French Toast, Shed, Shingles, Laps

This morning we had French Toast.
I did anyway.
Doggers had French Dog Feed.
It was cold out.
Delmar came in. 
But he licked the butter.


Here is the sawmill shed now...

I have been double dirty dog dared to put shingles on the roof...
as opposed to steel.
No, not asphalt...
Wood shingles.
That I rive.
By hand.

Looks like I need to slap together a shave horse.   

Speaking of double and dirty...

You can't sit down for a minute around here...

Without everbody climbing into your lap.


Mines not big enough.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick, or Treat...

It has become a bit of a tradition around Halloween, for me to re-work this story and post it at whatever venue I happen to be pimping my wares in exchange for criticism. So, with no further ado, let me present...

"The Ballad of Lucy Harper and Timmy Golightly"

Lucy Harper was drunk that night. Drivin’ her Mamma’s big black Lincoln. Hell, Lucy Harper was drunk every night. Drunk and with that Golightly boy, Timmy.

Timmy must have been pretty tore up himself. I guess he passed out in the passenger seat of the Lincoln. They were up there at Sugar Grove, around the corner from my place. Lucy got pretty ill about havin’ to drive home. She told the law her foot gets real heavy when she gets hot like that.

Boy, and her mamma’s Lincoln could flat out do it to. Once you got it rollin' anyway. They say it had the biggest engine Detroit ever put in a Lincoln. I couldn’t say. Never saw it. Timmy did though. Up close. In fact I heard a chunk of that big block was what removed his head.

Lucy t-boned that guard rail the County put up over there at Fairview Baptist, to keep folks out of their cemetery. The Lincoln’s speedometer stuck at 103 miles an hour, Law said. Not a skid mark one. That ol’ guard rail did a right smart job of keepin’ Lucy’s mamma’s Lincoln out of the Fairview cemetery, but Timmy... he made it in just fine.

Timothy Randolph Golightly, was what the paper called him. Said he left the car with the windshield draped over his shoulders like a god damn poncho. Cleared the hood, the guardrail and three plot markers. A total of 117 feet. I reckon that’s some kind of record somewhere. But that ain’t the half of it. That son of a buck landed right next to a hole, fresh dug for a great aunt of his. To top that, Timmy hadn’t even been invited to the funeral.

They say a human head is still thinking for nine seconds after it leaves the body. Can you believe that shit? Longer if it ain’t bleedin’. And Timmy’s didn’t bleed a lick. Whatever chunk of that Lincoln’s motor that took his head off was hot as hell. I guess it cauterized everything. Not a drop of blood anywhere.

They don’t know if his head was still thinkin’, but his body was sure enough busy for all of nine seconds. I saw the place where it hit. The grass was smashed down good. Landed smack on his back...hard.

I'll tell you what. I wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't seen it my ownself. There were hand prints... knee prints too... right there in the dirt where that sumbitch rolled over and got himself up. Then four boot prints... Red Wings, same as was on Timmy's feet... walked right over to the edge of that hole. Old Timmy was after that head of his... chased it right on down into his aunt’s grave, slicker ‘n owl shit.

Lucy, she didn’t last long after that. Wasn’t much left for her to do, I guess.

The Right to (not) Vote

It’s voting time. I know this only because I was stuck in a truck with Bret every day this past week, to and from the job. I don’t vote. It’s not because I’m making a statement or anything, it’s because I forget that there is a big, weird World out there.

And what a World… Why does everyone have to be the “…wacko lefties…” or the “oppressive right-wingers”? Somewhere, not far behind that name calling, there is a fist clenched, people, a mob with a rope.

Oh well. They’ll never change.

Anyway… I am back up on the Mountain for a while.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Neighbors and Hermits

Mr. Harper came to check on me last night. I got home late again—well after dark. He had seen that I raised a few rafters (pictures forthcoming) on my sawmill shed and tried calling—I assume to tell me that he would come over with the tractor and help, and for me not to be lifting those rafters alone. He’s a daddy hen. When he didn’t get an answer, he immediately assumed I had hurt myself with the rafters and was laid up in bed… or worse.

There are a few things to note here: One, I have great neighbors. There are about five. They all keep an eye on me—the special needs kid. You don’t know they’re doing it until my truck doesn’t move for three days, or there’s no sound of tools being put to use. That’s when they drop in to check, “It was awful quiet around here. Thought maybe you was laid up or somethin’.” Anyway, I wanted to hug Mr. Harper, but they don’t go in for that kind of nonsense around here. When in Rome.

The other thing to note is that Mr. Harper assumed that since I wasn’t home and in my house at seven o’clock, I was somewhere else… hurt. This is direct evidence of the infrequency I leave my home. Which would be only when I need groceries, or now, unless Bret and I are working out. Basically, next to never.

John, the guy up at the church paint job, told me that I should become a hermit. His thinking being that it would bring me closer to nature and God. I laughed. Bret even laughed. I’m not starting another religious spiel, but it had quite the opposite affect concerning God.

Where am I going with this? Free-write. I don’t need a summary statement. But I need steam to forge ahead, and I am out of both it and time. But it gives me some subject matter for next time… the Hermit.

Until then… Love thy neighbor.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dinner at the Pope's and the Genius of Mormons.

So I got to eat dinner with eight, maybe nine, priests last night. Bret and I worked late, so they fed us. What were they going to do?

It’s funny; the guys who actually know their religion don’t readily discuss it, or even offer opinions on many things other than their favorite sporting events. While guys like Bret and another fellow who works there, John (for that matter, every layperson I’ve met there), come out of the gate swinging on all the hot issues. That’s all they do, all day, back and forth. I brought ear plugs.

I guess the priests have found their ‘purpose’ in life and learned that going around in circles over politics and what-not, with folks whose formal education was finalized by a GED they received by mail, is a waste of energy better spent in servitude. I wish I could transcribe some of these debates… goodness. Anyway, I know that fretting over such nonsense gives guys like Bret and John, the ‘purpose’ they need to feel fulfilled. So I let them rock.

It does bother me a teeny bit though, that it is guys like Bret and John: simple minds, easily heated to a boil, who are imposing their world on my world… and everybody else’s world. They’ll deny it… but they are.

I think the Mormons got it right, having their own State and all. We have fifty States. That should be enough to delegate one to every major religion, race and lifestyle. If not, we can split up a couple of the big ones. Then, everyone is free to do their own damn thing, in their own damn State: fix their own roads and open all the abortion clinics they want. If you go the way of the Shakers, so be it. We’ll sell your furniture and give some one else your property.

Just a thought. Or maybe it was the paint fumes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dumps and Slumps


I grew up on a 500 acre farm that had half a dozen barns, ponds, a river, an eternity of forest and a dump, loaded with an inexhaustible supply of old cars and assorted explorable junk. I even had my own BB Gun, a .22 rifle and a bow and arrow. And would you believe that there were days, in the summer time, when I would sit in the house with the sun shining right down on the roof and say, ‘I don’t have anything to do.’

I kind of feel like that right now. I’m sitting here, surrounded by roughly one hundred and fifty of my most favorite books, and I have nothing to say. Not one word. I mean, I do, but it doesn’t feel very interesting… like I’ve already explored the whole dump.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wind, Books, Another Different Book, Squirrels and Nuts

It’s windy. I don’t like the Wind. I don’t trust the Wind. I trust the Rain and even the Lightning, who tried to blow up my house. But I don’t trust the Wind. It’s like the big, retarded kid who came to my church when I was little... it wants to play, but doesn’t know its own strength. I miss that kid. I guess I'd probably miss the wind too, if it where gone forever.

But! I love, love, love getting books in the mail! I ordered four. Barnes and Noble's used books on line… the best, and please don’t inform me otherwise, because I don’t want to know.

I got some more kid’s books to help me with ‘Sarah Abigail’… ‘James and the Giant Peach’, ‘Sarah, Plain and Tall’, ‘When You Reach Me’ and ‘The (mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg’. ‘James and the Giant Peach’ is up first. Not quite as heady as the Qur’an, I know.

Speaking of books… I’ve also been reading ‘Great Expectations’… for like the past eight months. I read it in high school. I couldn’t get past the grammar… the pomp and wordiness. I have the same problem with about anything written before 1910.

Since my brain translates everything into images, it makes reading even modern literature tediously slow, but that old school stuff is nearly impossible... picking through all that fluff just to see who’s standing in a room. Anyway, despite only being able to read about ten pages at a go, I love it. It’s much better this time around.


Nothing real exciting at the paint job.  Unless of course you consider... maybe... the huge Pecan trees, who were handing out free pecans by the bucketfull, and the gazillion new squirrel buddies I made exciting… which I do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaks, Tube Socks, Albino Monkies and Nails


So the rain finally came and I got to test my leak. I have a metal roof on my little house that started leaking the moment I got drywall up. Long story, but, I didn’t put the roof on… not saying that that would have helped or anything. Who knows.

Anyway… I either half-assed or flat out ignored the leak for what? Ten years? And yes, its jacked my ceiling up a bit. But I finally resolved to fix it proper, late this summer. And, as of this morning, we seem to be shedding water. It was a fickle leak though, on again, off again, so we’ll see. Then maybe another ten years and I’ll patch the drywall.

had to buy some boot socks. Mostly because my boots were chaffing my massive calf muscles. But Wal-Mart only had tube socks, which, I think are exactly the same thing. No, not the 70’s style tube socks with the athletic stripes at the tops, just plain white with gray toes. But I’m looking at them thinking, ‘I could seriously make an albino sock monkey out of these guys.’ No really. Who in there right mind wouldn't want an albino sock monkey? But there’s no mouth. Dilemma.

Speaking of Wal-Mart. Who’s the marketing genius behind Faded Glory underwear for men?

I got some more work done on the sawmill shed. A rafter fell on my melon. Wow. Shortly there after though, I was admiring my resourcefulness: how I made the lumber and built the shed all by myself. Really, everything but the concrete and nails, I made.

'Nails? Maybe I could make my own nails.'

I've always wanted to have a, Ye Ol’ Blacksmith Shoppe: bellows and anvils, and a leather apron and big hammers... oh and tongs. Then I got to thinking about where I would get steel from and all that stuff, la, la, la…

But really, you always hear or read about the village blacksmith. But, Pip never tells us where good ol’ Joe was procuring his steel from. Where was Britain’s Pittsburgh back then? Where were they mining the ore? Smelting it? This is historical trivia I need to know! 


Paint. Paint, paint, paint.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Guilt, Paint and Muslims...

aIt looks like we might get some rain today. I hope so. Then I’d have an excuse for staying in and writing all day. Yes, I need an excuse, otherwise I feel guilty for sitting inside when it’s beautiful out. I guess I can thank my parents for that, “You need to go outside and play, get some fresh air, it’s beautiful out!”

Maybe not. I feel guilty when I don’t run one night of the week, or if I eat two bowls of cereal, or don’t gather the eggs or pull weeds. How does this happen to a hermit?


So, Bret and I are going to be painting this coming week. I know, “Painting Mr. Le Corbusier?” Hey, it pays well. Besides, I like to paint. Except for the brush cleaning. I hate cleaning brushes (mind you, mine are all pristine), it's ranks right up there with stirring the natural peanut butter. Ugh. 

But, thus ends my little vacation and I have to gear up for the right-wing, Obama, gay and Muslim bashing. Not that I’m for or against any of those things… it’s the bigotry I can’t deal with.

Speaking of ignorance: Bret, staunch supporter of the Bible and Church (by which I mean Catholic, because there is only one Church don't you know), and trigger-happy debater of theology, has never read the Bible. But that's not my point...

My point  is, when I told Bret he should back off the Muslim bashing (let alone the gay bashing, and by Muslim bashing I mean constantly insinuating or flat out saying that all Muslims are prone to murderous violence, because of some hype he heard on conservative talk-radio), and that he doesn’t know shit about Muslims, or what they believe in, which happens to be his god, and the little black book (kind of) that he hasn't read, Bret says,“How do you know, have you read the Qur’an?”


“No, but you can consider it done Bret.”

I’m half-way through. I have yet to see anything other than, “help people in need and don’t stir up mischief in the land.”

Mischief? What is this, Dennis the Menace?


I don’t agree with women being their man’s tilth… but hey, it's not really violent. They certainly don’t advocate turning the other cheek. But the ass-whooping can’t start until you’re backed into a corner. Can't say I disagree there either.

Bret’s big thing is that Muhammad was a violent guy. Or so he's heard. So naturally (in Bret’s head) Muhammad is going to promote violence. Need I remind you Bret, of Saul… Paul. Or did you not read that part. That’s what I thought. Done and done.

It’s a little premature of me to say, since I haven’t finished reading the book, and no, I am not talking about the wacko extremists, but it seems the only hang-up (and so far it's a non-violent hang up) Muslims have with the Jews and Christians is that they took the Word of God that was given to Moses… on stone… and fudged it quite a bit when they put it on paper. Possibly to avoid copywrite infringements, who knows, those Jews are a tricky bunch, ain't they Mel? (Wink. Good luck on that comeback buddy).

Honestly… I agree with the Muslims on this particular point. Man got involved... there is no questioning that. Actually, I think man was involved from day one, and he's a mischievous little creature. But then again, what do I know. I’m a painter this week, who tends to be very slanted (translate: wrong) with my observations.

Tilth. He said tilth.

The sun is up and out. I don’t see any rain.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Readers, occasional and otherwise,

So, I know that it looks like I never write anything. But I do... aces... every day. It’s just stupid, journal-diary crap though, no substance and hardly worth reading. “But really,” I asked myself, “how is that any different from your other posts?” It’s not. So. I am going to post my most intimate journal nonsense, with the convoluted hopes that it will slowly morph into something noteworthy. I'll even settle for entertaining.

Sorry you’re coming into the middle of the show…

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This morning I overflowed the coffee maker. Again. I hate that. It is quite possibly the worst way to start a day ever.

On a brighter note… I finally managed to get my Cracker-Barrel pancakes yesterday. Delicious. And no regrets.

I also picked up the business flyers from the printers yesterday. Bret had dropped them off. In his wisdom, he decided that color was too expensive and had them scanned to black and white, “It looks just about as good as the other, and half the price!” he explained. You know how his bullshitting goes. They look like a 1984 punk garage band’s flyer… mimeographed… ridiculous. He has no taste. I burned them. No really, I did. I will have them re-printed, in color, and foot the bill myself.

Speaking of no taste and 80’s garage bands… weren’t black, fringy moccasin boots made illegal? Black moccasin boots are a deal breaker. Even on Indian chicks.

Speaking of Bret, I had this crazy dream that he was in…

Let’s put us out front of a shopping-mall or a convention center maybe, a modern-ish building: concrete, steel, glass… a loading zone… weekday I would say, or a, Make Snails Your Friend! seminar… minimal human traffic. We’re waiting.

Maybe I had just watched a demonstration on how to properly irrigate the ear, but in my boredom, I was trying to get the gunk out of mine. I was using a tub of a baby-blue something that I knew to be primarily and under normal circumstances used on Volkswagens as a lubricant. It looked forever like blueberry yogurt, sans fruit and greasier. I was putting it in my mouth, trying to get it packed up into my sinuses with the intent of pushing said ear-gunk out from the inside, via the eustachia tube.

Apparently there was some trick I had missed, because I wasn’t getting it to work.

Then I saw Bret demonstrate the process on some kid.

He packed the blue-goo into the kid’s mouth. Then pulled out a pouch of chewing tobacco—leaf—and stuffed some under the kid’s right eye, up his nose, and plugged his mouth full. Then he did this little three-points tap with his finger: around the right eye, left cheek and below the left ear, real quick like. This hamster-size wad of foulness popped out of the kid’s ear.

Bret then repeated this process on himself with similarly distasteful results. Then, since I still couldn’t get it right, I conceded and sat down in the chair—there was a chair now—to let Bret work his magic. I was about to get tobacco stuffed under my eye, worried about how that was probably going to hurt like hell, when I woke up. Darn.

No, but seriously Daniel, interpret.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Watcha Been Up to Steve?"

Usually it's something boring as hell.
So generally I issue the stock, "Same ol' same ol' ", or rough equivalent.
Not that it's in any way exciting, but you asked...


Lately I've been in here...

My back yard...

Small scale.

I know... It's like one of those mighty-hunter photos,
with the guy holding up the rack of his record buck.
It's a Poplar: the cockroach of trees.
It was blocking the light to 'better' trees.
I'll use nearly every stick for firewood, 
the brush is stacked in these nifty, bunny no-tell motels. 

The big chunks are dragged out...

and are being used here...

on my sawmill shed.

That's what I've been up to this week.
Next week I'll be painting...
Same ol' same ol'.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



Like the ghost of some dirigible reliving its tediously slow demise, the Cloud descended into the hayfield, back of my house. Dishtowel in hand, I watched through the window there above the sink, as its stern clipped the treetops along the field’s edge, strewing blackbirds like mute fragments and leaving tatters of its foggish fabric in the branches, dim banners in the morning breeze.

     The snag swung it round and the Cloud settled with a heave in the autumn field, the entire operation, hauntingly silent and without a speck of dust.

     In slippers, I went to investigate. Dog went with.

     Dog was oblivious to the catastrophe and the slumberous hulk that lay in the hayfield, until about midway, where he perked and pointed and let loose a cautionary report. He turned to me for suggestions. I had none, and told him as much, but gave him permission to go ahead and inspect.

     Dog stalked out to the Cloud, sniffed at it, circled its perimeter, with his nose willy-nilly, then traipsed off into the woods on the trail of a more appealing scent.

     The Cloud was as big as any whale I suppose—though admittedly, I’ve never had a whale in my hayfield—and roughly the same shape. I stood back, where I could take in tip and tale with only the slightest turn of my head. It was gray as elephant hide, dense—not even the faintest outline of the woods behind it—and roiling with storm. I wondered at the odds of it being stuffed with lightning and regretted having sent Dog ahead.

     It seemed so very contained, not as I imagined clouds to be. I thought it would have spilled out, all over the hayfield by now. I looked to the end that had clipped the trees. Thin wisps of gray were seeping from beneath the Cloud. There must be a hole, I thought, and it was laying on the damage.

     And if there was a hole...

     Closer, I could see the atmosphere surrounding the cloud’s opaque center: ten or twelve inches of a misty, translucence that kept the ashen whorls contained. It was like looking at the guts of a featherless hatchling through its thin belly-skin. Still fretting a shock, I reached out tentatively.

     There are so many things you expect a cloud to be: moist, ethereal—cool, if not cold— especially one falling from an autumn sky. My first touch was quick: fingertips. I was relieved when there wasn’t even the startle of static electricity. I felt resistance, a membrane of sorts. I put the flat of my hand to it. It was warm. Not the balmy warm of weather, but the warmth left beneath a deep bed of blankets, the distinct warmth of life.

     I pressed. Gently. The skin was delicate, had give, more so than ours. With little effort, I was sure I could push my hand through it. The Cloud began to expand. I took a step back. Then another, before it stopped and began to recede. Then it rose again. It was breathing. 

     Assuming the cloud’s head, if it had a head, was at the end that entered my hayfield, I walked in that direction. Other than its being slightly more bulbous, the Cloud’s front was identical to its rear. There were no eyes, no mouth, no nose. I knew though, that that was where a face belonged—the same way, I suppose, that I know where the face belongs on a tree, or the moon. And when I touched it—its face—I knew, ineffably, that the Cloud was dying.

     “Its Earthed itself,” I heard a tiny voice behind me say.

     I turned and found a large squirrel propped on a twig-sized cane.

     Instinctively, I scanned the field for Dog.

     “Not to worry,” the squirrel said. His voice was male, dry and methodical. “He’s in the woods. Besides, we have an agreement.”

     At a glance, the squirrel could have easily been mistaken for a Gray. There weren’t but three red hairs left on his body; the rest were silver. The shape of his ears though, his size (despite the hunch), and the distinct curl of his tail, defined a Red, a very old Red, whom I’d never met.

     “Don’t you mean, beached?” I asked, looking back at the Cloud.

     “Do you see a beach anywhere?” the squirrel replied.


     The old squirrel came and stood beside me. Leaning on his cane, he reached to touch the Cloud.

     “They come to Earth to continue,” he said, stroking the Cloud. “Die, as you call it. It’s rare though—these days—that they ever make it. I’ve seen only two others in my life. Something almost always gets to them first.”

     The Old Squirrel looked up at the sky. I followed his gaze to the long white stripe being painted across the blue by a passing airliner.

     “Lightning too, hail, even birds.”

     I put my hand back to the Cloud. It seemed cooler now, and its color had noticeably faded along with its warmth.

     “Its storm is passing,” the Old Squirrel said. “The change comes quickly.”

     “Is there anything we can do?” I asked.


     “To save it. Throw water on it or something.”

     “You’re an odd bunch,” the Old Squirrel said, shaking his head. “Be rid of your machines, if you’re that inspired.” He pointed his cane at my truck. “This,” he said, pointing the tip of his cane back at the Cloud, “is beautiful… is what is meant by death. And you want to throw water on it. Watch!”

     The Cloud’s skin was icy now, brittle. Its innards had bleached entirely white.

     “Step back,” the Old Squirrel said.

     The skin gave. The frosted storm hung in the air a moment. A few errant, snowy flecks came loose of the bulk, floated away and dissipated. Then the whole of it collapsed to the ground. The dry white powder came in a rush, like a wave to my feet. I wanted so badly to touch it, but it disappeared before I could even stoop down. There was nothing. No trace. Not even dew on the grass.

     We stood there in silence, the Old Squirrel and I. When I blinked, the Cloud’s image was still inside me: red first, then in blue. Then even that was gone.

     “Rare indeed,” the Old Squirrel said.

     Then again, we stood in silence.

     “I’m Steven, by the way,” I finally said.

     “Skip,” the Old Squirrel replied. And this didn’t surprise me in the least.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I think...

...my brain has been eating too many empty calories lately.

Saturday, October 9, 2010