I ask "How fast does it go?" and he said "Fast enough". On further questioning I found that it went 6 knots. "One hundred and forty four nautical miles in a day" he said "during which time I sleep, read and eat. I also do repairs and keep watch. In 21 days I can be more than 3000 N miles from here". I had never thought of it that way. Breathing in and out, sleeping, reading and just living and letting the wind take me away. I fell for it and went sailing. -Tom Swaim-

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Mister Little

I did not know Mister Little in fact I do not recall ever even seeing him. Oh I saw his house, although some would call it a shack, and I saw his old broken down T-model truck in front. I don't recall him having a dog.

Maybe I better describe this setting. We lived on a one lane track west of Little Rock, Arkansas that was loosely called "lovers lane" probably because of the folks that would pull in there to have sex. Lovers lane ran off Rodney Parham Road at an angle on the south side for about a mile past our house about where Barksdale Road is now. , the Grays, the Leagues, the Crowders then made a left right angle turn and went up the hill past the Herrington's, Andersons and Barksdales before dead ending at the bottom of the hill on the other side at Rock Creek. If you crossed the creek and traipsed through the woods over the next hill you would eventually come to some isolated houses at what was at that time the end of Markham road. There was no trail that I ever discovered it was just beating through the brush.Where "Lovers Lane" makes that right angle left turn there was a gate and a lane that went straight on. That gate has been transformed in my mind to a magic gate. It is where I start in my dreams of paradise.

The fields there on both sides belonged to the Brady's who were dairy farmers. The lane went straight on through the gate to intersect Rock Creek and with not much more than a trail from there connected with Hinson road, another area of isolated houses. It was said that if you kept following the trail you would end up in Perryville eventually. I never found out as I entered puberty and there were new obstructions to exploring called girls that required another kind of exploring. Some of my first hot torrid love affair involving the touching of skin was held there with a beautiful girl that had the voice of an angel.
About a quarter to a half mile past the gate west bound and just before you came to rock creek on the left side sat a lonely little shack of a house with a broken down T-model Ford truck in front. That's where Mister Little lived. We were scared to death of Mister little. I did not know one story about what evil he may have done. I did not know anyone who ever said they had seen him and I never saw him but we knew he was there and scary.

Now, when I want to take my mind away to piece and tranquility I go to a place just beyond Mister Little's just over the rise at where the lane fords Rock Creek. In my mind that is paradise. The creek is shallow, cold and clear there burbling over the rocks ankle deep. It flows out of the woods bounded by a steep hill on either side from the north side off the lane crosses the lane curves around a grassy area on the east side and is bounded by a clay bank on the west side it has cut out when the water was high. It continues out into a field of high grass and then disappears into the trees further on. That little grassy spot with it's lone tree is where I'll be if you need me.

If I am not there then I will be at Mister Little's house. You see, I am Mister Little now. Without ever knowing him I have taken his place, I am the scary old man now and I know Mister Little's pain.


limom said...

I'm digging those sketches!
Oh and I don't think you've become Mr. Little.
Then again, I don't have to pass your house.

Steve A said...

Did Mr Little have a SWMBO? Thought not. Take good care of her.

Anonymous said...

nice story...reminds me of a similar backwoods creek near Marietta, GA when I was a boy.
bigfoot567...in TX

f said...

'Posting' is acting very weird - if this shows up twice please delete...

Why is it that we, all of us I suppose, need Mr. Little in our worlds? As kids we have Mr. Little, or in my case, the old cat lady. Nobody ever, actually, really saw the old lady. Or her cats for that matter. Be we knew, for sure, that she was old, worn, and wicked in ways that were dangerous to us if we got to close on our way to school. Perhaps we learned the need from our parents - they always had 'someone' who was dangerous.

Up here, north of 49, the 'dangerous' might have included French-Canadians (because they were 'French') of Chinese, because you couldn't understand them either. And they didn't like dogs. Or the Germans, or the Japanese, or as in my case as a kid, all those damn English immigrants always bitching about how good the old country was. They didn't have Mr. Little, they turned their new home into a replacement for him.

But I have wondered for a long time now, and I'm a wee bit younger than Old Fool, why we work so hard at vilifying the old. Is it that we have lost the idea of reverence for their knowledge? What the old once knew is now in books, or, more recently, the Web. Or, perhaps, we do not like them because they represent (especially down around 'lover's lanes' the world over) the decay of youth that comes to all?

I'm still trying to write over there, in my own space, about death - perhaps, only perhaps - some of this is a reflection on that.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Love your line Drawings!!!

Sounds like the place to be.. everybody should have a place to avoid human beings somewhere..

My sister moved to the Rockies in Northern British Columbia.. at first she thought she escaped, after having gone as far west as she could in Canada as she could, to escape the family back here...but she discovered the same people-patterns a way out there too.. best to find it in your mind!! Now she is a complete misanthropist ... I can get that way too .. that is why I live up on a big rock... only the brave dare venture there... and if they are that brave, they are probably interesting...
Take care

Lord Wellbourne said...

I returned here to my homestate last year just to be near the gurgling brook with its grassy banks and old growth trees near the family homestead. As a kid that was my vision of paradise. The actuality has changed with time but the feeling of tranquility has remained the same. I'm only Mr. Little in the winter. The rest of the year I'm the old cat man. In loud Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts. Scary.

Steven Cain said...

Scary's ass! I hear ya... but I'd hug ya, too.

Great write... even the above mentioned part. Love the illustrations. You really need to do more of them!

Oh... and thanks for the new 'some of my bikes' picture... or the old picture that I hadn't noticed before.

Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

Love the drawings and the story. Reminds me of a mother & daughter who lived in an old house overgrown with weeds/plants next to my Aunts when I was girl. Heard they were witches and when you saw them they did look like they were. Turns out the mom was caring for her grown daughter and due to the harassment they became recluses. I was never scared of them but I was intrigued. I wanted so bad to go inside & visit with them but sad to say they were scared of me!