|Three Rivers Petroglyph site, New Mexico, photo by Bill Hicks|
It's Sunday morning and we're about to undertake a trip down to Tarboro, NC to visit Libby's dad for his birthday. There's a whole cluster of birthdays around the end of September/early October in our extended family--five or six of 'em. It's finally thank gawd and at last turned fall here, after the summer held on straight through September with mostly temps up into the 90s. And out here in the Piedmont South, you can't mitigate anything by saying, well, it's dry heat. Like they do in Utah or Pie Town, NM. This equinox the light changed like it does, and the sun has drifted down the tree line to the south, like it's supposed to. But until mid-week it's been burning up--no rain for nearly a month, trees seeming near death, the woods so dry some yahoo with a 4 wheeler could have burned us out in a jiffy. Then this week it rained for two or three days straight. Down on the coast, Wilmington got 21 inches and people were kayaking in the streets. (A guy told me that at work--he was bringing us some steel-clad batteries that came out of heavy equipment--he said his Wilmington branch had to close for the flooding, something they never did.)
Libby's going to spruce up her dad's bathroom for his birthday. Pretty new shower curtain and towels. He's a very guy guy--doesn't see the need, lives in a spartan kinda way, in the retirement apartment he moved into last year. I changed his guitar strings last time down. He started playing guitar when he was 72, and loves music, still sings in the choir. When Libby's mom died I suggested to him that maybe he should get into cooking, learn how to do it. We knew a widower down on Ocracoke who did just that, baked cakes and pies until he was in his 90s. Libby's dad was utterly offended at the idea. He's got a little kitchen in his digs, but seems like the extent of his cooking is probably a can of Campbell's now and then.
Anyways, before heading out, I want to mention a wonderful blog I found today, called "Utah Savage." You should check it out. I put a link up in the links section here. It includes even a novel, as a section, called "The Narcissist." Which surely will find a publisher, as its author dreams of finding. Where's Black Sparrow Press anyways? I'll definitely be checking back to see what she's up to. Her most recent post is made up of her answers to one of those "Fifty Questions" things you might see if you tend to thumb through certain magazines. Here's just one of her answers:
9.To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? Answer: To very little degree. My life led me around by the nose.
I like that answer a lot, probably because it has been my experience as well. It's always amazed me when I run into people who have some big plan, who even had the plan when they were 13, who followed the plan, step by step, who say now, at 50-something--why yes, I knew I was going to be a _______ and it's worked out great. I have an old friend who played music and studied medicine and specialized in a certain area because he knew that you could have time off in that area (i.e., there were no emergencies), and he moved to a coastal region, built a sailboat, sailed on great trips when he had the time (and he had the time). It all worked out, far as I know. But I'm pretty much like Ms Pendleton--things came along. For example, I never ever had the idea of being in a band, much less a band that was kinda successful if you measure success by getting paid to go to various European countries, or getting mentioned favorably in newspapers and reviews, or being in a kinda lauded (or I'd say now, much later, over-lauded) musical about the sweetened up life of an unreconstructed murdering sadist in 1870s Missouri who was eventually assassinated in 1881. I did not plan any of this. And as I've mentioned here before, the dang trees have grown twenty feet taller since I put up the cabin, and are situated just as tenuously in the rocky ground around the house, and could at pretty much anytime take the house out like a sledge hammer taking out a cockroach. So yes indeed.
Go check out her fine blog. She kinda reminds me of Charles Bukowski, just a little. And not the bad Charles, who got awful on camera to his last wife. More like the Bukowski who endured life working at the Post Office, then ended his wonderful novel "Post Office" by winning at the track, quitting the post office job, and writing the dang thing.
11.You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? Answer: I'd let them finish trashing my friend then tell them she/he is my friend. Then I'd watch to see how they react.