New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Beautiful Day or I was going to hang myself this morning but it was too nice a day.

Going out.
Coming in.

Riding a bike while making a video is not easy. This old dude is not near as grumpy as he looks. 73 degrees F but still in a flannel shirt. First time I have had jeans on in at least two years. I, like a lot of old men, do not find them so comfortable now. I have had these since they were new. I think I bought them in seventy something.
Unloading crew. You can tell it is warm. It is the first time in two months she has not been layered up. She brought me a Twinky and I brought her a bag of "mints in dark chocolate".
I stopped and payed homage to this old radio/record player. Makes me sad that I cannot salvage everything. I just do not have a dry place to put it. I suppose I could bust it up for kindling but I would feel guilty.
Found on the road. All will be sorted into the appropriate boxes until needed.
Birds eye view when they are on a bombing run. I can just hear them now "let's shit on that thing".
Mustache and ponytail flying in the wind. You can tell I have been indoors a lot as I have turned quite pink.

I hope that can hold me for a week as more dreariness, rain and wind starts tomorrow and will probably last until the end of time. I put the rope away but I know where it is.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Roger, Go At Throttle Up


Roger, go at throttle up........

Words that abruptly ended the controlled part of that flight. Unlike "Houston we have a problem" where we lingered on for days with hope that was finally fulfilled these words were like a guillotine that indicated that it was over. Now.

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and I were on the east coast of Baha Sur, Mexico in the Sea of Cortez enjoying the delights of sailboat cruising. It was not because we had money but mostly because we did not. On the day of this event were were in fact in a little bight on the coast named San Marcial. The day before we had surveyed a pass very close on the rocks not fifty feet from were we anchored. A very narrow pass that was close to the rock cliff that was the shore. I am sorry I do not have pictures but even if I had a camera believe me I was to busy to use it.

Excerpt from the log:
Monday, Enero 27, 1986. Survey reef.
Tuesday, Enero 28, 1986. 1500-Departed San Marcial southbound.
1600-Anchored San Marta in 10 feet sand.

We visited Santa Marta because we had sailing acquaintances that had built a structure there. It was a house by my standards but I doubt that most Americans would see it that way. It was elevated and if you looked at the water marks on the trees you could see why.

And that is where we were. The space program was a world away. Little did we know that soon an illiterate Mexican fisherman would bring us the news.

Excerpt from the log:
Thursday, Enero 30, 1986. 1100 Departed Santa Marta bound for Tambobiche.
1115 Narcisso
(I do not remember what this was but it did not take long)
1130 Underway again. (see it did not take long)
1330 Punta Gato (abeam).
1400 Tambobiche.

Tambobiche is a small fishing village on the east coast of Baja Sur. The only access is by boat, foot or a very crude dirt air strip. They are completely off the grid. They do not know what a grid is. They fish and they hunt and they make children.

However we had a friend there by the name of Manuel. Manuel is illiterate, likes tequila and beer, likes Americans (there an easy touch) and is an accomplished con artist. Great guy. He literally (by his account and verified by his esposa) road a horse to a ranch and kidnapped his wife so they could run away and get married. Seems they were in love but her father did not like this ne'er-do-well. An age old story.

When we arrive in Tambobiche Manuel came out in his boat and with tears on his face (literally) to bring us the news of the Challenger. We were so out of touch that it did not affect us at all but we acted concerned. Of course later I had many thoughts about it which I will not share here.

This illiterate Mexican fisherman was more aware of what was going on in the world than we were. Later we come to find that most of these Mexican pheasants were far more aware of what was going on in American politics and in world politics than most Americans. I was embarrassed many times when trying to discuss politics that I was so deficient. I have come to find that many Americans do not know where Washington D C is, or where the white house is and think that New Mexico is a foreign country.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Happy Birthday Princess

Happy Birthday Princess
This was taken just after her 11th birthay. Today she is twelve going on 20.
I built this for her to take home. She is my bicycle girl. I would rather ride with her than anybody. We have been riding together since she was 4.
She is not a little girl anymore
like she was then. She is one of the few that can cut me down with a smile. They number less than I can count on one hand.
We have had 10 Christmas and birthdays together. Last year she was denied until after her birthday. This year she is not supposed to phone us or answer calls from us. Her mail is intercepted. I must have done something really bad.

She brought me the revelation of Oldfool and took away the stigma of being a fool. I'm her fool and proud of it.

Please excuse a maudlin old fool but I had to do something for her birthday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Thoughts on a Steampunk Logsplitter

There were several suggestions made that I should make a steam powered log splitter so I took an old butter wrapper and a ball point pen and started to make a drawing. That did not work so well as the pen got really slippery and I noticed that It did not seem to be very readable (at all) so on to plan B. I then flattened out an old toilet paper roll (we seem to produce a lot of these) and took an old broken crayon I found in the dryer once when I combined drying my clothes and adding colorful designs to my shirts. Unfortunately I mistakenly used it one night when I was setting fire to the stove and needed some paper to start the fire. Some stock I had in an offshore oil drilling outfit and an agreement I had with a Nigerian prince went missing about the same time.

No matter as I already had figured out that not only would I get more visits from the fire department than I would ever want but even if the Rube Goldberg thing with the 16 foot walking beam had worked the rusty oil drum boiler and sewer pipe cylinder would use more wood than I could split to keep steam up to pressure. Not to mention that homeowners insurance would probably be canceled throughout the neighborhood. Oh well it was too much work anyway.

So I went to You Tube knowing that if I needed a solution then some redneck out there has probably already done it and made a video of it.

I really like this first one.

If I can just find a flywheel that I can apply pedal power to I can use some of these old bicycle parts, get my exercise and split wood. I just need to remember to drink the beer later. I get a tingling feeling of withdrawal between my legs when I see this thing in action. One would not want to forget where ones thumbs are. All three of them. I really cannot understand my inner longing for this thing. It must be a Flintstone thing.

Where do I get one of these? It looks like the screw off the front of a "Journey to the Center of the Earth" science fiction boring machine and I want one. I've been looking but I have not yet found a video of someone trying to open a beer with one but I am sure one has been made. "Here hold my beer and watch this" is a phrase that is used a lot here in the south. It would look good on our beat and battered old redneck pick up truck. There are several videos of this type in operation and some are downright scary.

Once upon a time in another life I was an enthusiastic black powder pistol shooter. I quit before I thought of this next demo or put an eye out. These geniuses are black powder firewood stackers. I am qualified with black powder which means I know enough to leave it alone.

I am glad they do not live around here. I already see and hear enough death defying acts when the fireworks stands are open.

The next one is multi purpose and would be my first choice. It is quiet mostly but I suspect it could get noisy if you pissed her off. You'll notice her ass right off.

I have made it a point to be courteous to females of all sorts and especially human females that know how to use an axe. Extra care should be used if she has it in her hand.
Yet another example of "There is no such thing as mans work".

I don't know who this girl is but I like everything about her I can see in this short video.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Anger and Its Consequences or Dangerously Pissed Off

It has been a long time since I have been angry in fact I cannot remember the last time. Then there was last night. I have trained myself to not have anger and last night reminded me why. I do not remember when but sometime when I was a young man I decided I had to get away from anger as it was pointless and did not make me feel good. Anger hurt me. I am into feeling good. Over the years since then I have felt a lot of disappointment and helplessness but seldom anger. Disappointment and helplessness is not good either and is another subject for another time however it is a better alternative than anger.

Anger is an unreasonable feeling and by that I mean it does not even have to have a reason. We always attach a reason but it is seldom real. Mad is a word that is often substituted for anger but mad is that level of anger where insanity takes over. Mad is often used to indicate a person is bonkers, crazy, insane, slipped a cog or deranged. A person can be mad without being angry and a person can be angry without being mad but if it gets to the "mad" point then watch out. Pointless violence can ensue when insanity reigns. We have witnessed that recently in the news from Arizona. Anger became mad and the resulting violence changed lives forever. We see it every day in drivers against bicycle riders and other drivers.

I have not been mad as a result of anger for at least 25 years and then only occasionally but I remember it well. It was not a pretty sight. I have witnessed it in others many times.

My solution was to discipline myself to redirect the pain of anger to the ache of disappointment. By doing that I sometimes can reshape what I find disappointing and make not only myself but some others feel good. When others feel good I feel good.

Last night I lost that discipline and I became angry. My anger was born out of disappointment and frustration. I let it get away from me. I did not get "mad" and punch walls or throw things. I got angry and it made me physically ill. Its aftermath is with me today like a hangover. Words were said and words can not be unsaid like a bell cannot be unrung. I will not get over it I will just have to live with it.

It will be said that this anger is over things (stuff) but it is not. It is over having little regard or respect for someone else and their things. The things themselves are of no importance. I either have to get use to that or remove the aggravation. I am working on both. Ooooom. Breathe deep.

I truly hope this is the last visit I have from this dark rider that comes out of the smoke and shadows.It is fading already. Red eyed from the consuming anger within. The dark red on the blades represents the dried blood of old wounds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Tom Swaim and His Electric Mattress Pad

Of course as soon as it got cold my electric mattress pad decided to take a vacation and go south for the winter. It was an old 12 volt model I had left over from my trucking days and I have had it about 15 years so I guess that is not too bad except that now the same item cost one hundred (count'em 100) dollars. Now I know I am a real candy ass but I figure that I am between 70 percent and 90 percent finished with living and any discomfort to prove my manliness is just not going to happen if I can help it.

This old bus is state of the art insulated 1951 style which means it is insulated with cardboard and some foil. Needless to say that when it is below freezing outside and without heat it is below freezing inside about like a cardboard box. I sleep on a thick air mattress ($8.75 at the Chinese outlet-walmart) by choice. It is the most comfortable mattress I have had in years but there seems to be no amount of padding I can put on it when the temperature drops into the thirties that keeps my body heat from wicking through it especially when the wind blows around this giant sized beer can. When the heated mattress pad decided to vacation I had to get into a sleeping bag when it got really cold but no more. I now have a new electric mattress pad and all is well with the universe.

There is one problem.and that is I don't want to get up. I have become more like Br'er Bear this winter than ever. I wake during daylight hours but just barely.
While on the subject of heat during these cold times I would like to introduce an oldie but goody. My nephew gave this to me 10 or 15 years ago but I had no idea that I would ever use it. It is a 240 volt 2400 watt electric heater from the fifties (I believe). I never thought I would use it and took it because I really like the style. Not many houses are wired with 240 volt outlets. It turns out that when our house was rewired it was not only done with really heavy duty wiring but a 240 volt plug was put in next to the living room window for a window air unit. Well last winter our central heat quit when it got really cold and I took this out of storage and put it to work. As soon as it warms up the central heat works again. It just does not work when you need it. This little heater heats the floor rather than the ceiling and it does it with considerably less electricity. What a concept.

I refurbished this jewel during the summer and it heats our under 700 sq ft. (65 sq m) tiny house better than the central unit. I don't think much of central units.
It is really heavy duty inside and not a transistor in sight. It is an example of true electro-mechanical. That tube at the bottom of the case is the thermostat sensor that operates the thermostat in the upper left corner mechanically. The cast aluminum fins have the heater elements inside and there are two of them. The electric fan is five blade so it runs very quite. The motor itself is 120 volt and taps off between the heater elements to get its voltage. It has a mechanical over temperature switch on the casting.

When it comes on it takes a few minutes to warm up but once warm it radiates heat constantly whether the thermostat has it on or not. The case never gets too hot to touch. It is completely baby safe. What a masterful piece of engineering.
A new paint job was in order so I made it stand out. I left the name plate. What steampunk junky could resist a name like "Electromode"? When it is cold and blowing outside and the kids come in they are drawn to it like to a real stove.
As you can see by the growing sawdust pile I am back to cutting wood. This time I quit when my back starts to hurt. I am a quick learner when pain is involved.
I am a couple of days ahead now and I'm comfortable with that. It has been warming up a little so I have not been having a 24 hour fire.

I was having a little trouble with getting the stove to draw so I took this 18 inch section above the roof off. The pipe is only 2.75 inches (7cm) in diameter so it is small to start with but it was choked down to about 1.5 inches. No wonder it wanted to smoke.










Not very big to start with. The sections below the roof line were not nearly so bad. It was only the part out in the cold.






It did not get replaced and it draws better than ever.
There is still some leaking around the pipe but that is soon to be fixed. This little pipe goes up though a plate over the old 7 inch stovepipe fitting so I am going to put a cap on that. Six year ago I gave away my old one because I would never need it again. Yeah right.
Here are the links to the stove post so far.
wood stove Nov 2, 2010
wood stove Nov 6, 2010

The garden and play yard does not look so good in mid January. Everything is a mess since the storm and some really hard freezes. Our Aloe plants even froze. Everything is done for except my flower pot of mustard greens. I planted that in the fall because I had a few seed left over from another planting and it has kept me in all the mustard greens I want. The seed I planted in the ground did not do anything.

I am almost ashamed to show this as a winter picture after looking at all the pictures of places where it really gets cold and nasty. Especially post from our friend Christer in Sweden. I have to put on a jacket just to look at his photos.

As you can see I have things to fix but I do not think I will plant this year. It is too expensive and I am having a hard time dealing with failure. The green you see is the clover coming up.

About a week ago I tripped the main circuit breaker on my brain and when I tried to reset it I must have gone into safe mode as I have not been able to think, concentrate or figure out anything. Especially concentrate. I guess my brain was taking some time off. It keeps telling me that it is the most important part of me but sometimes my stomach says the same thing and when my bowel says they rule, they win. I think maybe winter time lethargy is serious this year. I seem to be taking the "indifferent" part of lethargy serious.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Cold

Yes it is cold. It usually is cold in winter. My highest heating cost are in January and my lowest depression is usually in February. My wood stove works and that is nice. Unfortunately I messed up my back cutting wood for it and now I'm out of wood. It's too painful and stupid to push it so it is back to coal burning electric heat. At least I have enough wood to last through tonight.The wood laying under the stove is drying after I pulled it out of the mud.

Pitiful but I have backups and then I have backups for the backups. I am saving this to warm the place up in the morning. 26 degrees F (-3 C) this morning at 0400 so it was in the low fifties indoors when I got out of my warm bed. I know that is not all that bad for those whose shoes are freezing to the floor but it is pretty cold for one who has spent his life in the south so I don't want to hear about it.
I can survive no matter how cold it gets however I am trying to live a comfortable pleasant life not just survive. I leave proof of survival to those with the hair shirt.
For me having a couple of electric radiants, a backup generator and two propane radiants makes me feel secure and we all know how important that is. I have a backup for that too. It is called a single sleeping bag and a warm woman. For what it is worth the wood stove puts out the most BTU's in the shortest time and it does not complain as much. You will find that gets more important as you get older however I would miss the complaints.
I rebulbed the tiny electric heater I made for my tiny bathroom removing the 100 watt bulb and replacing it with 150 watt halogen. That is at least a 50 percent increase and halogen runs hotter so it is even more. I can tell the difference and that is what counts. Since my legs are usually bare even in winter I can tell the difference.
I made this little bulb heater over a year ago and it has served me well. As a recap I made this out of brass pieces from the thrift store to be as steampunk as I could. After a year I still like to look at it. Shows how simple I am.

Margaret Whiting died at the age of 86 Monday. She was old enough to die but what makes me sad is that she will never know how light she made my heart feel with her singing. Her voice set the standard for pleasant female voices for me.

There was more to her than we will ever know.

Her husband who was 20 years her junior passed in 2009. He had been a porn star in gay movies.
Much more than we will ever know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Recent Events or Us Monkeys are an Endless Source of Entertainment for the Gods.

The recent weather that has brought reality to the southeast Ununited States brought a little havoc to us who should have been a little better prepared. We had some gale force winds here and we did not properly prepare. I don't watch much TV and unlike other old men my age I refuse to sit and stare at the weather channel all day. I just look out the window when I want to know what the weather is or I actually go outside.
SWMBO thought she had it secured. This was this last summer. I looked it over today and I don't think it is worth trying to repair. More on that later.
As you can see some parts are just a little broken.
This shelter for the tools fared a little better but it is severely injured. I think I have become a little soft in my old age.

This is just "stuff" and can be fixed or replaced. Those people who are stranded by the snow are just inconvenienced, mostly, but some will prove that survival of the fittest still prevails.

Meanwhile we are once again being taught the lesson that words don't just hurt. They sometimes kill. Even if you say something you don't mean the language being what it is may convey an idea to someone else that will hurt, maim and kill. Are you to blame? Yes. Keep you tough mouth shut or pull the trigger yourself.

Personally I know that I will protect myself and my family with deadly force if necessary but that does not extend to eliminating some perceived threat from the government or those who are employed in the government or any other group that the mind can conjure up as a threat. I've noticed that all those who are so vocal against everything seem to be rather well off. Where are the real downtrodden, the naked rock throwing hoards.

This is us. We are our own enemies. As Pogo said "We have met the enemy and he is us".


Where is the Gandhi monkey when we need him?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Last Flight

Seth couldn't believe his good fortune. First he met a man with a slightly pointed chin and slanted bottomless black eyes that just happened to have a big airplane that needed a pilot. With in a day he met another man that needed some cargo moved. An idea formed and Seth for the first time in several years became very exited.

I guess I should start at the beginning. Seth was a pilot but he had the misfortune of getting old so he was a has been pilot. We used to refer to a man like him as a de-frocked airline pilot. Being a pilot was his life. Because of the law when he turned 60 he was unceremoniously turned out. There was a ceremony all right but it seemed more like a funeral. He had money, he had a boat, he had three ex-wives but he didn't have an airplane. He had never needed one.

Two years he had been retired now and he still didn't have anything to do. His life had been being an airline pilot and on his day off getting ready to go back out to be an airline pilot. His psychological world was shredding at the edges. His being in command of a big airplane and having the scrambled eggs on his hat was the binding in that edge and it was gone. To top it off a study had just come out that found the average age of death for retired airline pilots was 62. Gloom.

Then he met that man with the pointed chin and the slanted eyes and seemingly by chance the another man who needed some cargo moved. He was so excited that he never noticed how much alike these two men looked.

A few day after their initial meeting he met the man with the airplane again in a coffee shop by arrangement and explained to him that he knew a guy who needed some cargo moved. The man with the airplane was enthusiastic about hooking up and told Seth to set it up. To show good faith he gave Seth a manila envelope with one hundred new one hundred dollar bills in it and a key to a hanger in Mohave.

No one has seen him since.

Antonov An-2 nicknamed "Anny"
I have never flown one but I did climbed all over one and volunteered to fly it if they ever needed a pilot. It is impressive and crudely built but to me it was a thing of beauty. The door behind the crew member in the beginning of this video leads into the tail section where I found I had standing headroom. The engine is a nine cylinder 1000hp radial. It has a sound that will cause a pilot to cover his lap to hide his shame. This video is what I call aviation porn.
Built in 1947 and still in service.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Old Fools Journal: A Further Comment on the BP Oil Disaster or bend over and let's see if this shaft fits

Tony wanted his life back. This is his life. Tough huh?

This is getting old but it is an ongoing discussion here. People out of work and not compensated, businesses lost forever, a way of life gone forever and the government patting us on the head and saying "it's not so bad". Now on top of everything the government has such a low regard for the people here (relative to it's low regard for the "Amurican Peoples" as Boner calls us) that they are trying to shove erroneous testing down our throats. What really pisses me off is it will never be back to the crappy way it was in my lifetime. That's just ole selfish me.

Here is a link to an article in our local news rag. It questions the quality of our seafood if you don't want to read it.

Things we know that the government does not know or at least claims not to know.

We know now where the oil is that they can't account for. It has been seen.

They do no know that my wife is the only person in Louisiana that will eat less than a dozen shrimp at a sitting. She doesn't like shrimp. For every one else a dozen is a snack, two dozen is an entree but the government says 4 jumbo shrimp is normal serving. Maybe with a dozen oysters, and a couple of catfish filets otherwise that's just a taste. Hell, I had a dozen and a half (farm raised from Thailand) with jalapeño fried squash and sweet beans for a light lunch today.

They don't even know what they are testing for. No one but BP knows what's in the dispersant they used and they ain't telling.

The health fall out is likely to happen 10 to 20 years down the road on someone else's watch.

Sawyer, the Sanibel, Fla based Toxicology Consultants and Assessment Specialists, has recommended that we severely limit our seafood intake. I already severely limit my intake of beef and milk because of the stuff they feed cows and now I have to limit food grown in my own front yard.

BP is still up to some of it's sleazy practices but not everybody is standing for it.
Here is just one example. This is only one of many. I no longer think there was ever any intention of BP to operate in the interest of the general public and I believe they have no intention of doing so in the future. I want them out of here when they run out of money.

Boys and girls I don't even pretend to know how this is going to turn out or to be educated and wise enough to run things. I am aware enough that I can see that the oil industry and our elected government officials think that I am too stupid to know when I am being covered in bullshit. The government, bless it's moronic heart, seems to think that just because we are stupid enough to elect them that we are too stupid to know bullshit when we taste it.
Mr Hayward on his yacht 'Bob' during the race around the Isle of Wight. Tony got his life back but this rich bumbling fool took it away from thousands now and many thousands more to come by sleeping on his watch. I wonder if he eats shrimp.

While I'm at it I might as well get this off my chest.
I am sick to death of middle aged pale pink white men in coats and ties who have no touch with the people telling me day in and day out what the "American people" want. The inadequate politicians that won elections by default can't seem to open their mouths without spouting these words. I have yet to hear one say anything I want and the last I looked I was one of the so called "American People". I may never go to the polls again.

Now I'm going to breath deep, stop eating meat laced with gun powder, drink clear cold water and think only thoughts of a far off place called paradise. If that doesn't work then maybe a bottle of wine will help.

My apologies for this awful post.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Brown's Hole and Naked Boys or A Time of Innocence

Brown's Hole 1948. If you look close you can see the diving board just below the center.

At the end of 1948 or 1949 there was a major achievement in my life. In those days there was no school bus so since we lived only two miles from the Brady elementary school we walked. The school was located at the intersection of Markam Street and Rodney Parham Road. Both at the time were gravel roads. Markam Street was a straight east/west road leading into the heart of Little Rock, Arkansas. Rodney Parham was like a snake between 12th Street on the south and and Highway 10 on the north. We lived on Rodney Parham about a half mile northwest of Judge Parham's place. Once off Markam and past Andy Arans sawmill the second curve was a 90 degree turn to the west and a half mile or so further on would cross Rock Creek one of three time on this stretch between Markam St and Cantrell Road(hwy 10). We called this turn Browns curve because when coming from town if you went straight instead of turning you went to Brown's house. My aunt Wanda tells me they once had a slaughter house there.

That curve had no other distinction when there was little traffic but as cars became more plentiful and became faster eventually a combination of booze, gasoline, speed and mechanical brakes took its toll. When I think of it now I always remember it with a burning car wreck. During the time of this tale it was where I left the road on the way home from school in the spring and autumn . I'd pass Browns house and pick up a well hidden trail through the trees that followed along the bank of Rock Creek.

It was rough trail and not suitable for a bicycle but I took mine back there anyway in the summer riding some and carrying some. No easy task as I was small and this was a 1940 vintage single speed 26" Hawthorne and not known for lightness. I was a little shrimp. In the sketch above the trail crosses the stream and a little further on turns west and becoming many trails going to all corners of the world. For me one led to another then to another and then to Rodney Parham Road not far from home. I never saw anyone else in this part of the woods not even the other boys so I sort of considered it mine. I thought I was a native Indian (we didn't yet know the term native american) and strode along barefoot with the supreme confidence of belonging. There was no danger except those a young boy can conjure up when adventuring and the occasional broken whiskey bottle the enemy white man had used as traps waiting for the unaware barefoot boy. I still carry a scar on my foot from when I learned that many whiskey drinkers had traveled these trails before me.

In the sketch where the path crosses the contributing brook and to the right out of sight is a relatively wide sandy bottomed slow moving basin. The water would get warm there. One day while lolling around naked in that pool washing the summer sweat and stink of preteen boys off and discussing the intricacies of swimming a dare was made. It had to do with deeper water. The water we were in was maybe ten inches deep. Deep enough for twerps like us to float in, almost. "I can swim", "You can't either", "Yes I can", back and forth until those dreaded words "prove it" were uttered followed by "I dare you". Those are powerful words.

As far as I was concerned I could swim starting on the day I was born. I had no fear of the water and never felt threatened by it. If I was on land I could walk, in a tree I could climb, in the water I could swim. I even believed I could fly. I was a little snot that didn't yet know I could be killed. I had not been in water over my head but I had dog paddled in shallow water and could stay under water swimming for quite a long time so how hard could it be.

The Big Boys were over in the deep spot by the diving board. The deep part was probably 12 to 15 feet across and quite long but I don't think it was more than six feet deep. It had a firm mud bottom with the mud only being a couple of inches deep. Just enough to be icky and give you incentive to swim.

So we traipsed our scrawny white asses over to where the big boys were. They were running and diving off an improvise diving board. I don't remember how we got around to it but the big boys got in on it and egged me on. I started to wade in off the bank but they all started yelling that I had to dive in. Oh oh! I hadn't bargained for that but I was not about to lose face so I walked out on the board and jumped. It wasn't as deep as I thought and I found I could bounce off the bottom and not have to swim a lick but I was there to show I could swim. Dog paddling over to the bank I climbed out and ran back to the diving board to jump in again. I did not yet know what adrenaline was but I know now that at that young age I was already a adrenaline junky and my brain was getting a fix.

The big boys were yelling dive, dive. I said I couldn't so one of them came over to me and said don't be silly, come on I'll show you and he did. I did not like to be the center of attention but that day I was and it felt great. After getting over the initial fear of jumping head first into the unknown those guys kept me at it until I could get my butt then my feet higher than my head before entering the water. What a day. I slept well that night.

When I look back on that event several questions come to mind. Like why can't I remember any of the boys names not even the one that made the dare? Why was it OK for boys to go off into the forest, all carrying knives, get naked outdoors together and swim in an unsupervised stream? My only restriction was be home at dinner time. There was no TV and some in these woods had no electricity. The roads weren't paved. We didn't have a phone yet but we had cold running water in the kitchen. There was no bathroom. The out house didn't have a door and no light. Contrary to popular belief we had toilet paper. Catalogs were not suitable because they were too slick. When did calling the places where we swam "swimming holes" go out of favor? I'm sure there were varying thoughts about the title of this post that has nothing to do with swimming.

That place is still there but it is buried under layers of concrete and ticky tacky houses waiting for the readjustment. I spent a afternoon traveling around that area about 12 years ago. I found that no one knew that the drainage ditch that went behind their house was really Rock Creek. No one knew that it was the same ditch that was bridged three times on Rodney Parham Road. No one knew that the graveyard further down the road used to have a little white church called "Pilgram Rest Baptist Church" next to it. Many do not know the cemetery is there even though it is right next to the street. I didn't see any boys anywhere outside and it was summer.
My aunt pointed out that the church sat out closer to the road but this is from the perspective of a five year old which is my strongest memory. I am unable to sketch a credible mule and wagon or a T model Ford but they should be in the shade of that tree. I hope that someday I can make that sketch happen.
The church still exist I'm told but has been moved. I walked in this cemetery last in 1993.
The driveway, such as it is, turns into a trail through the woods and comes out at
Mr. Little's.

Further down stream there was another "Browns Hole" on the south side of Markam Street. It was much larger and had a rope swing. It was a very social place.

The major achievement? Learning to dive of course. I may not remember the names of the other boys but I clearly remember that day and learning to dive.

There was one other major event there on another day and that was the day the girls showed up to see all the nekkid boys. Most of that story goes like this "suddenly there was a hoard (more than three) of dresses (females wore dresses in those days) parading up and down the bank. Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle,giggle, screech, I saw it, giggle, giggle, giggle,etc." I would have recorded it but wire recorders didn't really come out for another 10 years.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Winter Solstice 2010 Sunset

This was taken at the moment the sun touched the horizon, such as it is, through the neighbors junk. Like mine it's all valuable I suppose. If I ever get around to the high fence here I'm going to leave a hole in it for the solstice. It was cold and there was no warmth in this sun but there was promise. It's twelve days later now and the promise was kept as I can already see it inching closer.

The only holiday I know off that is celebrated world wide has past but some of the troops here on the ignorance front have not yet received the cease fire order as there was some activity last night with die hards using up their remaining ammo at 10:30 PM. Several mortar rounds, rockets and some cannon fire but I have not heard of any fatalities.

There is plenty of aggression on the street in this season of "peace on earth good will to all". All you have to do to witness it is go out in traffic. My guess is that some people did not get what they wanted for Christmas.

You might want to stay out of traffic as they are bragging about only 610 traffic fatalities for 2010 in Louisiana. One is too many. Traffic deaths are down over last year but I think it's because there is no money to go anywhere. I know I'm not the only one to drastically reduce driving in 2010.

New Orleans made it through the first day of the New Year without the usual shooting. It didn't start until day two. I'm sure it'll be made up for. They shoot each other there. You'd be safer in Baghdad. The cops there were busy arresting each other for DWI. Good work guys.

I did venture out for some perishables. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) decide to serve up our New Years cabbage in some of her world class Minestra. For those not familiar that is Italian soup similar to Minestrone only much lighter and thinner. I like it better. It has no pasta or beans and this version reeks of garlic. I want "reeks of garlic on my tombstone". I love the stuff and I eat it straight out of the ground with the dirt still on it. Peanut butter and jelly with garlic is delicious. Who's obsessive?

The minestra was wonderful and so were the black eyed peas with salt pork and cornbread. Black eyed peas, pork and cabbage are a tradition for us. It's based on some kind of superstition but I don't believe in superstition as it is bad luck. We do it anyway just in case.

We fried another turkey after Christmas.

If you put your finger in there it will become crispy. It looks like motor oil but it's not.
I know I've shown fried turkey before but this is the first decent video I've made of it.
This was such a small turkey (11 pounds) that we could not get it to stay on the hook with the tail down which is the preferred way. This still worked out well as you can see by the following display.Like the barbarian I am I stood there and devoured a thigh, part of a leg and the back grunting and growling occasionally to warn away intruders. SWMBO had gone to bed as she was still weak from her recent ailment so no one witnessed my debauchery. At least I didn't rip off my clothes and smear myself with the grease.

It's warmed up to 50 degrees F but the wind feels like it comes off a glacier but I have a warm fire some music so I'm not complaining. It's time for some left over black eyed peas and cornbread and then a nap to dream of being farther south.