Tuesday, July 5, 2016
5th of July
[The Lewis Gun was manufactured by British Small Arms, better known as BSA. They also made great motorcycles, including a single cylinder model called the Shooting Star which I rode for a few years in the late 1960s. I'm hoping that BREXIT will bring back the BSA, complete with its vertical block seam, its dripping oil and limited life span, and its utter beauty. Take that BMW, and Yamaha.]
On Fathers Day, while I was driving back from Johnson City, Libby's dad was in Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro getting some high grade surgery to repair a shattered lower arm, wrist, and hand. They put in metal plates and screws, and he'll have some issues getting on planes now, except he's unlikely to ever do that again anyways. He also broke his upper arm when he fell after getting up in the mid-night to check his outer door for some reason, something he was never supposed to do, but couldn't remember not to do, the old head-of-the-house routine still there floating around in the old cranium, clear as crystal but unmoored to some extent, while the new stuff, the every day realities, seem more like dreams or imaginings. He'd had a very happy reunion with much of his family, and everyone drove home thinking how well he was doing, all things considered. You have to add that phrase. He's 92. He'd spent the second half of '44 in France and Belgium, and the first half of '45 in Germany.
Last night I was looking into a little cardboard box labeled WW II Memoribilia in black scripto, sitting in his lift chair in his old room where he fell. He was hopefully asleep in the rehab facility a couple of miles away. The family doesn't see him being able to come back to the room, so Libby and I--mostly Libby--were sorting through things. In the little box were a few aluminum German Mark coins. Back in '43 the Germans were making coins out of aluminum because there was no available steel or copper beyond the ravenous war manufacturing machinery. There was also a little horseshoe thing from Rocky Mount Tire--aluminum with a copper penny in the center. I couldn't read the inscription too well, but it seemed like Rudy had possibly gotten that around the time he got on a troop train in Rocky Mount, NC. I figured maybe he kept it in his pocket all through his European travels. Who knows.
There was also a packet of cards and notes Rudy and his wife Lucille had exchanged through the 50 plus years they'd been married, love notes, cards, sweet exchanges of sentiments like "it gets better and better to live with my very best friend." Both of them wrote each other lines like that, start to finish, at the bottom of birthday cards and mother's day cards and father's day cards. Libby shed some tears looking through all of this, these very little bits of a whole life, her mom and dad's life. "This is the last little bit left," she said to me. Lucille died in 2000, a quick unexpected stroke after a happy church event. She woke in the early AM, said to Rudy that she had a terrible headache, then collapsed. She died the following night, having seemingly waited for Libby to arrive from Ocracoke, a long drive with a ferry trip. Among the bits of paper we found a newspaper interview with Libby and I in the Island Breeze, about our CD and our music life on the Outer Banks, from about that time, the turn of the Millennium. What a pretentious concept. I wrote a song about it on my song CD. They even named Budweiser "Mellennium Bud" for a little while (right now they're calling it "American" I think). I quit drinking Bud some years ago, not that I wouldn't take a cold one if I was sitting out in left field in any ball park in this great land of ours.
We're looking for a nursing home for Rudy that will be much closer to home here. Libby's going out this early afternoon to check on a place that's 8 miles away instead of an hour drive. It'll stretch our fleet of 1999 pickup trucks. As we rode back in the deep night last night we were speculating on the current dizzying election cavalcade spinning by like a merry-go-round while we watch from a wood bench that needs some painting before winter. Could it be, we said, that Bill Clinton snookered Trump into running, thus tossing a spanner into the spokes of the already thread-bear Republican Party--the very same Party that had succeeded in actually impeaching him for an absolutely justified Imperial Blow Job that absolutely everyone gets whenever they like--comes with the room Sir. It must be of some delight to the Clintons that Lindsey Graham is in a state of conniption. He was the prosecutor in that Impeachment I believe. Meanwhile, it's reported that our current Attorney General, North Carolinian Loretta Lynch, may well stay on in the post in the coming Clinton Administration. Continuity, continuity. We are also reassured that firebrand Lizzie Warren tells us almost daily that Hillary is a "good listener." That's a good character component surely, and a nice contrast to a guy that apparently listens to no one.
Summer, which simply is, is most definitely here. It's a wet one relatively. All the tick species are thriving, and seem to care little for the mists and sprays we apply to ourselves. it's time to mow the grass again. That seems to keep the critters down. We've got to get some trees felled before the hurricanes arrive in September. Or August. I wrote another song about going to the DQ in the middle of the summer. We don't have a DQ here in Siler, just a Sonic. I never go to the Sonic, but I do think their endless ads are pretty funny. In my song, about a trucker who stops at a DQ, the trucker relates: "It was the middle of the day it was the 6th of July, they was families on vacation and they couldn't decide." All those voters, cones dripping on the floor, blizzards clogging up their straws and their arteries. There should be some Platonic quote to end this, about the fundamental character of democracy. Takes yo pick, good listening grifters or candidates for Emperor. Which wooden horse do you want to ride next? A century ago exactly we were in the middle of the Battle of the Somme, according to Nick Faldo, on the Golf Channel. He said nearly a million people were lost in that battle, which lasted a quarter of a year he related to Terry Gannon, former N.C. State quarterback.
Apparently he was short by a half-million,or possibly he was just talking of Allied losses. The carnage was at any rate indecisive. There's a lesson too.