Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rainbow Down

A Man For One Season
Hey!  Here it comes now!  Our Old Friend Summer and even in a warmish place like Florida, Summer makes a difference. The squirrels are getting frisky and not just the ones in the trees outside my summertime doorway. The frisky rascals that inhabit these trailers are warming up as well and coming out of doors and here we go, summer is upon us and we have got to get ready.

I get ready with Bacon. Bacon! Because I also, (even though old and stiff and crotchety) am feeling frisky my ownself and man, I just took a brisk and risky Baconesque Quicksilver ride through a gentle misty sundown rain, wearing gym shorts and flip flops and there was a rainbow over my shoulder, and I don't mean a romantic figurative artsy-fartsy rainbow, I mean there was a real live brilliant little rainbow just the right size for a sundowner bicycle beer run and I took it, man, zipping and darting and cutting across the sleepy highway like drug dealers or crooked stock brokers (or whoever the bad guys are in that movie) were hot on my tail and I just had to Get the Job Done.

See Me Flash By
I have written about the various variations of my rides; the Lazy Float, the Free Century, the Buddy Run and the Phred Stalk and probably more, I can never remember. Sometimes I pile it on so high that even I lose track.

But this zippity-doo-da lickety-split three miles to the House of Beer is all about bringing home the Bacon, evoking the Inner Messenger and saying “Hey Summer! I'm still here Old Buddy! What? I know man, I can't believe it either!”

Danger Man
Lickety-split and when I get there I dash inside and whip my three-dollar Goodwill messenger bag around my neck and reach in for my wallet and the girl behind the counter is accustomed to me now, but the first time she twitched and jumped a little when I thrust my hand into the bag and seeing her reaction I laughed like a maniac 'cause let's face it, I ain't the Mild-Mannered Trailer Park Cyclist right this minute, it's me Kevin Bacon Lickety-Split Quicksilver and I need that beer! C'mon, Honey, it is only sprinkling right now and there is a sundown glow and a rainbow but that can change at any minute and then it will be Summertime Thunder and Rain and I don't have a name for that ride yet.

Then like a bandit I stuff the six-pack into my bag, whip it smartly around so that it lands just right in the small of my back and I leap for the door. Shazam! Take that,  Bad Guys! and Boom! I'm back on my bike and I'm too old and stiff and crotchety to do one of those flying cyclocross leaps into the saddle but I do a pretty good rapidissomo mount anyway and I have already down-shifted and I accelerate impressively and with alacrity away from the store and by the time I clear the parking lot I am hitting a good clip and the rain has stopped and I feather the brakes to clear the moisture from my rims and I lean over into the drops and cut hard and fast around the corner. Was that a stop sign? Who knows? It was just a red blur to me and I pull hard on the upstroke so my flip-flops dig into the toe clips and I'm breathing hard because let's face it, I am almost two Kevin Bacons in the real world but this ain't it; this ain't the real world, this is Florida at the front-end of summer and there's a rainbow watching and I don't want to let it down.

Never Disappoint A Rainbow
I don't go to saloons much anymore because of the exciting and interesting and frequently disastrous results of my forays into public drinking establishments. Me, I'm all about Sundowns and Gentle Rain and One Friend At a Time. It seems that lately, though, all my One Friends seem to be either Over-Married or Long-Distanced or Pedaling the Far Country, if you know what I mean. But what of that? One of my oldest and best friends of these my waning years lives only a few trailers away.

Canyon de Chelly
Or he did. As I sit here drinking my ill-gotten reckless beer, I am looking out my window at a U-Haul Truck. Coyote is leaving, returning to his Ancestral Home of deepest Arizona for some reason or another. He has good reasons for doing so but man, you are talking about a guy with whom I have shared more windshield time and middle of the night interstate philosophy sessions than any other two-legged creature on Earth. Or in Heaven for that matter. We used to joke that we spent more nights in rooms together than we did with our wives. Except it wasn't a joke; it was the truth. Coyote would take extended leaves to patch things up and then come back out, always loyal and always, by the time he came back, Just In Time. I was the Owner and the Boss and didn't have that luxury and when Number Two left because she “Didn't want to be a single parent anymore” Coyote was there and his Ol' Lady and when it all came crashing down (the first time) and there weren't that many loyal friends to be found, guess whose couch I crashed on?

Every Picture Tells a Story
Yeah, I know. Stiff upper lip and all. Hell, we hardly see each other or even talk much. But that ain't the point. The deal is, should something come up and some filthy lucre were to be had, all I had to do was walk a few trailers over, let my old friend know that it was time to saddle up once again, and off we would go. And that is a pretty big deal. Coyote was the Facilitator. He took care of all the crap that distracted me from the finish line. He was really good at it. It was like having a fully-amped Lance Armstrong riding domestique in a bad climb in the Tour de Hell.

How Many Hearts Are Broken By U-Hauls?
Ah, man, this is only Life. Life its Ownself. That U-Haul is pulling out in the morning. When it pulls out a chapter of my life will have been written and polished off and hopefully, for my brother Coyote, a new more better chapter will begin.

Bonne Chance, Coyote!

Still Here
 That Rainbow is gone now but it left behind a sneaky beautiful twilight that will serve just fine.  As for me,  I am fast enough, for now. I am quick and daring on a bicycle and I am still here and now comes summer (as it always does) and I will be alright; all of us will be alright and our chapters are still being written and that is just right. The finish line is out there and we will sure enough find our way to it and that, also, is just right. 

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Refugee Camp

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheez Whiz

I gotta tell ya, guys, this crazy Booger of ours is growing in popularity at such a rate that I'm not sure I can keep up. And before I get started with today's post, let me say this: no matter how high I fly, no matter how great my greatness becomes, I will always remember all three of you guys and don't worry, as soon as I get the Pulitzer I'll send you autographed photos of me hauling ass to the South of France where me and George Clooney and Johnny Depp will sort out All the Trouble In the World and ride bicycles.

As the Trailer Park Cyclist, I am required by the UCI to mention “bicycles” at least once per post. I asked and was informed in a personal letter from Pat McQuaid that no, I can't say “bicycle” four times in one post and make it count for four posts, so there ya go.

“There who goes?” You probably are asking yourselves. Well, you. There you go.

What am I talking about? Who knows? But back to the Booger...

Jared Is A Drug Addled Bully
I strongly dislike bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes and after High School, they take on a darker and more insidious form. In our little corner of reality, bicycle cycling, they can be particularly foul. For example:

Bathroom Scale:   “For Pete's sake, get off me. You're killing me! I can't breathe!”
Closet Mirror:        “Do you realize I can't look the other way when you expose yourself like this?                                 
Your Kind-Hearted Friends:    “But what a great personality!”
Fellow Cyclists:       “Good thing Spandex is stretchy.”

So anyway, You Get the Message and you make a brave and well intentioned decision To Do Something About It. But what? What is the answer? If you are like me, you go into the kitchen and get a big slice of cheesecake and a double dip of Ben & Jerry's and you go sit down at the computer to figure it all out. Then it hits you:

“Bicycles! Of course! I used to ride a bicycle all the time when I was a little kid and I was never fat and life was good and that's it! I'll get a bicycle and start riding everyday and I will once again be thin and popular and happy...”

So to celebrate you pop open a bottle of wine and get out some Cheez Whiz and some Ritz Crackers and go back to the computer to shop bicycles and cycling and then the bullying begins in earnest.

Honey,  There's Some Guy With Greasy Hands Sleeping In Our Bed
First you find out that things have changed since you were a Little Kid. Bicycles now cost a month's pay and require a full time mechanic even if you don't have a spare bedroom. If you want to get back into cycling you will have to give all your money to your Local Bike Shop and start sleeping on the couch because Bike Mechanics require quality accommodations. But, being of firm resolve and not willing to be daunted, you take a deep breath and head on out to Walmart, where every problem in the world can be fixed.

(Side note:  Once, while in the South of France drinking wine and eating Cheez Whiz with George and Johnny, we figured out (after the fourth bottle) that the path to World Peace was to build Walmarts in every city in the world. We figured out that is why all these foreigners are so angry at America. They don't have Walmarts.)

So Anyway...
Where was I? you get to Walmart and the kid in the bicycle sectiion takes a bike down from the rack to let you see how it feels but the front wheel falls off. He chases it down the bicycle aisle (which is in the toy department) but bangs into a shelf loaded with talking dolls and they all start talking at once. Bedazzled and confused, you give up and wander off to the front of the store and there is a Subway counter there and you get a foot long Meatball Sub and a Diet Coke and sit down to cry. You cry and eat the meatball sub and promise yourself that you won't get up and get one of those Subway Cookies but there they are; there they are and that Jared guy probably was a big liar and really got skinny by shooting meth.

The Truth
The worst bully of all is ourselves. We fear failure and in any effort at joy or self help we tend to seek the Path of Least Resistance and that is okay. Water does it and has been quite successful at doing it for Eons but us, We the Human Beans ain't water, we are a sad and self-loathing race that was created in the image of God and then set about Trashing the Temple as best we can. We can't help it, it is called Being Human and food really tastes good (most of the time) and don't even get me started on Beer. Beer is one of the greatest things on the Planet and if God had not created it one of us Beans would have figured it out. Wine too. And Cheez Whiz and Ritz Crackers.  And Peanut M&M's, with beer. (If I never give you another word of bad advice, sometime try a bowl of Peanut M&M's with beer.)

Back To the Bicycles
Bicycles are a solid and real answer to keeping a fit mind and body but a Bean can go crazy trying to sort it all out. When I started this Booger it was gonna be about my Journey On the Path of Bicycular Enlightenment but somewhere along the way my inescapable Literary Genius took over and danged if I can wrest control from his egotistical hands. But I'm trying and meanwhile I intend to cut back on the drama...wait...give me a minute, the Cops just pulled into the center court. I'll be right back...

Sigh. Okay, it is two hours later and the firetrucks just left and nobody died so where was I? Oh yes...

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy
The hard part about bicycles is that new ones are pretty costly and the cheap ones at the Big Box are not worth buying. The answer, in my Trailer Park Opinion is to find a used, preferably old bicycle at a yard sale or thrift store and then stop whining and figure out how to fix them yourself. Bicycle repair (like literary genius) is inescapable. But it is easy and along the way you will meet new non-bullying friends and gain a little piece of self respect and that is how it starts. It worked for me. It will work for anybody.

As for you (my three Regular Readers), I realize you guys already know all this stuff. But last night Bill Clinton appeared in my dreams and ordered me to go forth and spread the Word. It may have been all the corn beef and cabbage I had for supper or a trick being played upon my tormented soul by Ernest and Julio; I don't know. But some bullies are scarier than others and when you dream about Bill Clinton it gets your attention.

Print this and leave copies around the office. It may help some poor lost Bean discover cycling. Also, next week I'm going to start running advertising and frankly, I need the money.

Yer pal, TJC the TPC

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Nonsense Dispensary

Monday, March 12, 2012


The Sun and the Moon and the Stars
As all of you know, a Syzygy Event is one in which three or more Heavenly Bodies find themselves in Planetary Alignment. What a phenomenon! In the Wild and Wacky World of Astrology anytime this happens all manner of insanity ensues, because we humans need very little to send us over the edge into a condition I call Syzygyitis. Law Enforcement All the World Over will confirm that a Full Moon makes the Saloon Crowd crazier than usual, so what the hell must happen when THREE full moons line up and send their Crazy Rays into the Hearts and the Souls of the Addled?

I will tell you.

 I know what happens because I live at a place that is 100% chock full of sufferers of Syzygyitis. They got it so bad that they are crazy when even ONE planet lines up. This place is practically a leper colony of crazy. Recent experience proves it to be so...

Saddle Up and Hang On
It was a typical Saturday afternoon when it all began. The weather has been windy, wet and weird and not conducive to pleasurable rides. As a Gentleman Cyclist I insist on dignity and decorum when out and about on two wheels and so Meteorological Circumstances had forced me to huddle indoors, sipping strategically on alternating doses of Beer and Bourbon. (I am cautious: I never drink Rum during Celestial Upheaval). Finding myself at a loss for worthwhile endeavor, I decided to repack the hub bearings on a recalcitrant rear wheel I had found one day up under Coyote's trailer. I had put this chore off for awhile and it was time.

Fish Tank Bike Shop
My Living Room Bike Shop is at the very front of my mobile home. There is a fine large bay window there where I installed a workbench and there is good North Light and plenty of room and I spread some newspaper on the bench and began. If any of you are familiar with the process of removing a cassette and the seals and cups and carefully getting out the crusty little bearings and cleaning and repacking all of this then you no doubt realize the amount of alcohol, swearing and bloodshed involved. It ain't pretty and it is bad enough on Bright Sun Shiny Days but this was a day when the Planets Were Not Smiling and neither was Old Tim Joe.

There are times when that big bay window at the front of my trailer might as well be an aquarium filled with Kook Fish. As I worked on that wheel, chanting and doing shots and waving a small sledge hammer around in a menacing manner, the natives were getting restless out there in the Park. We have new Tenants and they bring with them New Troubles.

Nadine in the trailer across from mine is new. I had my suspicions when she first appeared and subsequent events have only confirmed my theories. She has afternoon Gentleman Callers who don't stay long, a testament to Nadine's skills or the inadequacies of the gentlemen. As soon as one of these guys leaves, it is only a matter of moments before I hear the boom boom boom and the walls of the trailer vibrate as a dark colored sedan with ridiculously large and shiny wheels pulls into Nadine's parking spot and yet another gentleman  (also dark colored) leaps out and runs inside. He stays the least time of all and runs back to his vehicle and boom boom booms his ass out of the parking lot.

Miss Nadine is a little one-woman economic stimulus package for the Park but I fear those dollars are not being well spent.

So this other new guy George in the Trailer Across the Way has twitched his finely tuned antennae towards the direction of this booming. He has admired Miss Nadine in her comings and goings and now that his theories (like mine) have been confirmed, he decides to pay a visit. George is about my own fiftyish age and apparently he is very pregnant. He is short and not handsome and  looks like he may not smell all that good; yet he is possessed of that drunken confidence that tells him that all women find short, fat, smelly and pregnant old men irresistible and thus armed with this misinformation and fortified with whiskey and bravado he struts over to her trailer. The Planets Above quiver in anticipation and for just a nanosecond shift out of alignment.

Always wear a Helmet When Re-Packing A Hub
Me, I'm trying not to watch but it is impossible. I don't own a television and don't need one. I have instead this aquarium of Kook Fish and they are entertaining enough. But my work suffers for it. These bearings are very small and slippery and that boom boom crap vibrated a couple off them off of the bench, I think. I am crawling around on the floor with a flashlight and when I hear shouting across the way I leap up, or try to. My search has carried me under the bench and I don't bang my head all that hard but then it doesn't take much of a bang to get your attention. The remainder of the bearings fall to the floor. Three of these small steel planets roll over towards me and Yea and Verily line up perfectly right under my nose.

I am a careful sipper of refined spirits and long ago learned the beneficial effects of Drinking Responsibly. But it is painfully obvious that 'Ol George skipped class that day and he is doing such a fine job of playing the part of the Rejected Lover and Buffoon that the only way he could improve his performance would be if he were wearing a donkey head.

Trailer Park Drama! Or, The Morning Becomes Etcetera
Nadine is shouting through her closed door and George is loudly muttering dire threats and this brings out George's twenty-something son. Now the Kooks Are On the Loose. I do not know what happened to the Son of George but remote observation on my part would indicate he may have once been kicked by a mule. He is the Epitome of Oaf and always smiling and bobbing his head in time to some distant music that only he can hear, and thank God for that. I have intuitive knowledge that it is Banjo Music. Son of George now stands in the middle of the parking lot shouting unintelligibly at his Father, who is now kicking futilely at Nadine's door.  . From my window I cannot hear what he is saying; his back is turned but somehow I get a sense that his pleas are accompanied by drooling and now: Enter the Chorus.

I don't know who these chicks are. They are vaguely familiar. I think I have seen them before, but I can't tell; they are of a type seen in Walmarts and Malls, Tattoo Parlors and Truck Stops all across This Our Mighty Nation. They have very black hair with bright pink and green tips. They are invariably pudgy and tattooed and they have black fingernails and tight-fitting pants that leave considerable real estate uncovered in a manner best described as unfortunate. They wear lipstick that is somehow never right and it is either their lipstick application or some form of unrelieved constipation that gives them a facial expression that would be a smirk except that a smirk requires some kind of brainwave activity and latent contempt, both of which are apparently absent in this case. And a lot of cigarettes.

But there are Two of Them and we need a Chorus and they're all that we have. They set up a clamor that distracts All Players and brings out of doors the other denizens of the Kook Tank that have hitherto been either unconscious or involved in their own pathetic pursuits.

I Say Thee Argh!
At this point I have given up on the wheel on my bench. What started as a prayerful cloistered Saturday Afternoon of wrenching and drinking, of jazz on the stereo and the tinkling of piano music and the tinkering of small tools and the satisfaction of a job well done has idiotically and inevitably devolved into a Pageant of Depredation that is now at a volume level and crowd factor that will soon enough result in Police Attention.

What Now?
Then, from just around the corner, comes the sound of Boom Boom Boom and all the dogs begin to bark and the sweet music on the radio pauses for a Hemorrhoid Cream commercial and now I have Had Enough. The crack dealer pulls back into the Park and gets into some mildly heated exchange with drunk-ass George. They apparently reach some form of accord and George and the Son of George and the Chorus noisily and sans Beauty and Grace retreat unto the Trailer of George. The Crack Dealer goes into Nadine's trailer and as another heated exchange starts up I take the opportunity to slip out and go across the parking lot to his car. When he comes out I am sitting on the hood. I'm Plenty Pissed but I almost smile when I see the “What Now?” look on his face.

“This ain't gonna fly,” I say.

“What ain't gonna fly?” he says.

“This. You know what I'm talking about.”

“You need to be quiet, Pops.” This is one of those split seconds that explains why I don't own a gun.

“I AM being quiet. But that's about to change.” I get off his car, deliberately turn my back and walk over to the middle of the parking lot. Then I turn back around. There is no danger or bravado going on; it is a dance. I have danced it before, at many times, in many places. He of course has a gun, and no doubt an AK47 in the trunk. They all do. They are all really just a bunch of punk ass losers who live in constant fear. Fear of the Law, fear of each other, fear of a future that holds no promise other than more fear and also certain jail time. Right now it is fear of this possibly dangerous crazy old white man. He knows which way the wind will blow if this escalates. My part of the dance is easy. I give him a way out that allows him to save face and he will go.

“Look son, I don't care what you do as long as you don't do it here.”

“I ain't your son,” he says, getting into his car. He boom booms his ass on out of there. I don't expect to see him again. Out of the corner of my eye I see the curtains fall closed from where Nadine has been peeking out. Two Koo-Koo Birds with One Stone. I go back into the Safe Haven of the inside of my trailer and pour myself another shot of mediocre Bourbon.

I Use Lithium Grease
There that Coyote wheel is, sitting on the bench. I count the bearings and they are all there, in the little jar  that I use for degreasing. Here on the wall is me Little Darlin' Schwinn and over there is the recently re-built Mongoose that gives me so much  joy when I do lazy figure eights in the Springtime Sunshine. I reach up and take down the thirty year old tube of Shell Brand Lithium Grease. It is light tan in color and it is a clean and fun and easy grease to use when repacking bearings. It even smells good, in some odd way that reminds me of other things and other days.  This is a Lifetime Supply of good, clean lithium grease. There is no way that  I will use all of it, ever.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Spaghetti Western

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tree House

In the Beginning
As many of you are aware, I am a Carpenter. I am a builder of buildings and a repairman of mobile homes and a cooker of meat and an eater of same; I cut large pieces of wood into smaller pieces and then put those pieces back together into shapes and items that humanity is pleased by and for which they will pay money. I also take large slabs of meat and cut them up into individual units and lovingly baste them with magical sauce and expose them to fire until they too are something that is good and desirable and something that I also hope will one day garner pay and adulation.

And Also...
But that is not all. I do other things. I am a cyclist and a bicycle mechanic and a rider of bicycles. I don't cut them up; bicycles come already chopped and assorted and assembled into pleasing shapes. My job is to keep those shapes pleasing and while I am possessed of the ability to take a box of bicycle parts and put them together until they have become a wondrous steed of miraculous wonder and joy what I really like to do is ride my bicycle and put her in the repair stand and oil her moving parts and keep her clean and silent and happy until next time.

(Disclaimer: I am not a misogynist nor a pervert (as far as I can tell) but every time I write about my bicycle it gets a little weird. If it makes you uncomfortable just skip over those parts.)

And Still More Also...
I also and delightedly take words and phrases and assemble them into sentences and paragraphs that may or may not be pleasing and desirable and may or may not one day bring me money and adulation; it is a thing that is hard to know and were I to be paid for it I suspect some measure of joy would be lost in the doing of it and so I am happy to leave that part of my cosmos a bit of a mystery.

You don't have to worry about fame and fortune in the writing world if you keep using words like “delightedly” in a sentence.”

“You are no doubt correct, Voice, but shut up. I'm elucidating here and I do not require assistance.”

I Have Dogs
Meanwhile, just as the Voice interrupts my stream of wisdom Toby the Trouble Puppy gallops into my writer's garret and leaps into my lap. It is early morning and while Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog is noble and dignified (in comparison) Toby in the morning requires hilarity and dog kisses and will not be deterred; he is one half Jack Russel and one half Pit Bull and All Terrier. He has the personality that I wish I had and until I laugh at him and let him wiggle and lick and do his clown act there is nothing to be done.  Pontification and elucidation will have to pause for a Dog Moment.

You weren't doing all that great with the pontification and elucidation anyway, said the Voice.

“You know, Voice, one of these days...”

Tales Of Future Passed
But where was I? Ah yes...I am a Carpenter. Yesterday the Blonde broke out her Family Album and sorted through some pictures that, as always, created a bit of sogginess but it was also fun to look at old pictures of job sites from the Days When I Was A Builder. My friend Coyote was (and still is) a fairly skilled amateur photographer as well as a highly skilled driver and handler (of me) and I had forgotten some of these jobs; here was me with no gray hair and my brother Broc in all his fierce glory and my other brother Theodore and old Mountain Man Gary, who was a Muscle Shoals Blues Man (bass guitar) and perhaps the best carpenter I ever knew. These were days gone by and people gone by as well and like I said, there was a little sogginess and also it started me down memory lane which can be both a sad and joyous road on which to tread.

But that is neither here nor there. I am a Carpenter, I have built many things both large and small.

Calling Mr. Peabody
Recently I had an experience that was soggy and profound and more than a little religious. To share this experience with you it will be necessary to fire up the Quasitron 6000 Wayback Machine. Please excuse me while I get more coffee and another shot of Morning Rum (steadies the hand for typing) and also so I can sharpen my rusty ax and chop up the big old oak tree that crashed into my trailer during last night's tornado. The Whispering Pines Trailer Park is a busy place. (But that fallen oak was fortuitous; it takes a lot of firewood to get a head of steam on the Ol' Quaz this early in the morning.)

Okay. It is five minutes later. Don't ask. Everyone hang on. When I strategically kick the Quasitron 6000 just right we will all be instantly transported back to 1990:

“Don't be afraid, honey. It's just Tim Joe. Go ask him.” We are sitting in a lushly tropical rear garden in Florida. Everyone is thirty-ish and successful. They are not smug about it, but they might as well be. A lot of things have not yet happened. But today it is a beautiful and sunny afternoon on the East Coast of Florida. There is meat on the grill. You can hear the Atlantic waves crashing on the nearby beach. A sweet little seven year old girl, the daughter of our host, climbs onto my lap.

“Tim Joe.”

“Yes, baby?'

She speaks in a shy whisper with her head tucked into her chest. I have to bend close to hear. The circle of friends, wine glasses in hand, well dressed and successful, pause in their conversation to also listen. This Tim Joe is a newcomer to their circle, but he has come on fast. He built the new pottery studio for the host; and the beachfront home for one of the guests. But this is an insular circle, careful of who gets in and they are curious (and maybe a little  jealous) about this intimate development. Chelsea never speaks to grownups. But her boyfriend is Tim Joe's nine year old son and all of them, (after all is said and done) all of them in this insular little circle are family, tribal members of the Inner Circle.

“Will you build me a tree house?”

“Of course I will, baby.”

There is polite laughter and some kind of applause and then conversation returns to the gossip and yesterday's sailing and the other things that they talk about at such affairs; but Tim Joe is not listening. Shy Chelsea has run off to other pursuits and one day she will be an anthropologist. But here in 1990 Tim Joe is looking up at the big old Live Oak tree that shelters the yard and embraces and comforts the gathering. He is looking at the pattern of the sturdy limbs of the tree and envisioning where struts will be placed and where the ladder will go and how he will anchor such a thing to a tree that has had the audacity to have grown in a place where sometimes the wind blows with ferocity and seriousness. He turns to the host.

“Will it have a roof?”

“Of course. She wants to have friends over for sleep-outs and she wants a little table for tea.”


Back To the Future
Outsider my trailer door the birds are singing their asses off here in Old Hawks Park. This place where I live, this place here by the River is part of the migratory pattern of many types and species of flying creatures and no small amount of swimming ones. It is a beautiful place and very quiet and early morning is a good time to remember things and distill those memories into words to share with your friends, if you are fortunate enough to have friends. I am a fortunate one and it gives me pleasure to share these memories with you guys. Hold on a second...

“Yes Toby, I love you. Good boy. Yes, that's a good boy. Love the Puppy. That's a good boy. Oh, ear licks! Oh good boy. Yes, love the puppy. Ok. Ok. That's good, puppy. OK. That's enough. Ok. Bye Bye puppy. OK. BLONDIE! Get this varmint out of my hair! I'm Blogging over here!”

“You want an egg sandwich?”

“Yes! And it's about time you woke up! I'm a sensitive artist and need my morning coffee and food and so on and how am I ever going to achieve greatness with such slipshod handling ...”

She's already gone.

“I know.”

So as these migratory feathered fowl serenade me into yet another Monday I will relieve your pain and suffering and wrap this up. One day my phone rang. I heard a voice that I once heard every day but now never. Sometimes insular circles are hollow and made to be broken. I don't know. My friends did not drop me; they are all still there. What happened was a lot of stuff happened and the years went by and now here we all are: apart.  My phone rang.



(I have many names. I have lived long and variously and all these various adventures and lives require lots of various nomenclature.)

“Hello, Cromwell.”

“Hey Buddy! How have you been?”

“What do you want? I've been fine. But you're speaking with exclamation marks and that means you want something.”

“Of course I want something. Why else would I call?” Textbook Cromwell. “You remember that tree house you built for Chelsea a while back?”

“Vaguely,”  I reply.  He laughs. I really love this guy. I wonder what happened.

“That was a dumb-ass question, wasn't it? I forgot that you never forget anything. Anyway, we want to take that tree house down. Chelsea's been at college for a long time and nobody ever goes up there and we just thought you might want to take it down.”


What Goes Up...
Four hurricanes and many years have not diminished this little work of art that I created so long ago.   I have always been proud of this tree house. No nails went into the tree, I used careful joinery and and chains to hold her in place. The ladder was designed as a structural member and here she is, this icon of my memory and now I have the privilege of taking her down, the honor of undoing one of the hallmarks of my past. So much has occurred, so many things have changed in my life, yet here is the tree house and here was Cromwell and in a way nothing has changed at all.

As we loaded the aged wood into the back of my big old step van, Coyote laughed.

“It doesn't seem that long ago that we were taking this wood out of this truck to put up in that tree, Boss.” I have a lot of names.

“It was yesterday, seems like.”  I look back at the beautiful old oak.  She looked somehow empty.  But she was, after all, a tree.  They do fine without our help.  But she looked...empty.

“How long ago was it?” He throws the last piece of worn out and used up wood into the truck.

“It was a long time ago.”

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Bird Sanctuary