Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hitchhiking with Larry

Wabi-Sabi. Here are a couple of videos to serve as an antidote to Trump Fever. The first one is a Zen Humdinger starring Robert Sund in a walk-on role. Robert was a poet and he died in 2001, but we don't forget. And Fishtown is still there, if you know how to find it. This is called Wabi-Sabi.
The second one is to get you dancing. It is the Jerusalem Steel Big Band playing their version of the Happy Wanderer. Everybody join in to sing Val-da-ree, Val-de-rah, Val-de-ree, Val-de-ra-ha-ha-ha. You gotta love this one.
Yes, there is a cure for Trump Fever. Get your relief today.

Gun Control.  Charles Blow writes a column for the New York Times. He favors gun control and has the mighty power of his newspaper to back him up. But read this column -- where he talks about his own brother, who is a gun collector. And his brother takes him to a gun show to see all the weapons, and they have a civilized debate about who gets to own and use what weapon. But Charles Blow can't even convince his own brother to change his mind.
I have plenty of friends, gun-nuts on the one hand and peace-niks on the other hand. Nobody has changed their mind. A discussion on this topic is not fruitful, not at this time.
Roger Cohen also writes a column at the New York Times. Cohen is my kind of guy -- spends a lot of time in Paris, owns property in the south of France, living the life. He fears the rise of Donald Trump. He speaks of the decadent Weimar Republic that led to the rise of Hitler and says it can happen again in America, so we have been forewarned.
Roger Cohen is a good and forceful writer, but is he really my kind of guy? His life is utterly foreign to me. I don't spend time in Paris. I don't own property in the south of France. What do he and I have in common? Very little. Still, I would rather live in his world than in a penthouse at the Trump Tower.
To get my feet back on the ground, I called Stuart Welch, former owner of the Rexville Store in LaConner, Washington. Stuart has the answer to any question you can ask. Maybe not the right answer, but "I don't know" is not in his vocabulary. Stuart fears the rise of Ted Cruz more than he fears Donald Trump.  I'm not sure why -- he said this at the end of a long conversation on other matters. Stuart probably has a good reason for fearing Ted Cruz, and I will keep that in mind.
But -- this goes on and on because I know a lot of people -- Elaine Kolodziej is my former boss, the esteemed publisher of the Wilson County News in Floresville, Texas. She favors Ted Cruz above all other candidates, and she is one smart cookie.
Now to get this all mixed up -- Stuart Welch is well acquainted with Elaine Kolodziej in Floresville, Texas. That's because Elaine, for many years, has sent a courtesy copy of her weekly newspaper to the Rexville Store in LaConner, Washington. And Stuart likes to read her newspaper, although his politics don't jibe with Elaine's politics. And I will take credit for introducing these two vital people to each other, pro-Cruz and anti-Cruz.
So there you have it. I myself with will vote for Hillary Clinton. She's okay.

Hitchhiking with Larry. Here is an excerpt from a book I am writing. Tom Blethen left his job at the mental hospital in New York in February of 1973. He was hitchhiking to Texas to get some fresh air. He camped on Padre Island, but the mosquitoes and the humidity drove him batty. Later he went to Austin and had a good time....

He partied for a few weeks, on the town, a guest of the good people of Texas who seemed more than willing. Food here, beer there, plenty of pot, sunshine and sweet ladies. He took to being pals with Larry, a guy from Arkansas with a twang as thick as peanut butter -- even though it was an embarrassment -- not Larry’s twang, but his age, easily 30. What were the two of them doing in this college town? It wasn’t like they tapped you on the shoulder and said you were too old. Heck, there were graduate students older than 35, and superannuated panhandlers going gently into the night. Maybe no one else but Tom noticed, but he and Larry were getting past this.
A tornado leveled the small town of Marble Falls, out west 60 miles from Austin. They saw it in the paper, talking at the coffee shop.
“Larry, we ought to go out there. We could help clean up the mess, just do it to be good citizens, if they paid us, even better.”
“Well, we’re just fucking the dog here,” Larry said. He had a big grin, all the time. Teeth with no future, a scrawny build and no education.
Decided and done, they got their packs and hitched out to Marble Falls, wandering through the small downtown, the whole town with its guts spilled out in the street. Nobody was around, which surprised them. They walked slowly, awed by the destruction.
“Look at all the washing machines and furniture in that store,” Larry said, point at an emporium with the roof gone and plate glass windows all smashed.
Just thinking about those goods might have triggered an almost violent response from the sheriff’s deputy as he came roaring up to them in his Ford Victoria. He screeched to a halt, jumped out of the car leaving the door open, and marched towards them, in a blinding white starched shirt, holstered gun and shining boots.
“What the hell are you doing here?” The deputy said, loud as brass.
“You’re going to turn around and get out of this town as fast as you can walk. I don’t care where you’re from, but you don’t belong here. Now git.”
Tom and Larry stood there like idiots. Larry’s shit-faced grin made the deputy even madder -- but he couldn’t help it, he was always grinning.
“You goddam hippies better start running or you’re going to jail,” the deputy said, hand going near his gun.
Tom acted fast, grabbed Larry by the shirt, and they began to dog trot back out to the highway, their packs bouncing on their backs, panting, a quarter mile, than slowed a bit to a fast walk, not talking, clearing the edge of town, past the houses, out to empty fields by the highway, then slowed to a ready walk, but kept going a good mile before they stopped for a smoke.
“Geez, we were gonna help,” Larry said.
“Yeah, we weren’t doing anything wrong,” Tom said, but he had figured it out. “It’s they were scared. You saw all that stuff lying in the street. That’s everything they owned, and they didn’t know us from thieves.”
“Well, they could have asked us. They could have checked us out. We didn’t mean any harm. It was going to be one brother helping another.”
“But they were scared. That’s why the deputy was so up tight”
“I don’t want their fucking stuff,” Larry said.
“Doesn’t matter. We ain’t wanted. Let’s get back to Austin.
“I tell you, I’m never coming to a place like this again. Stupid rednecks.”
“Wrong place, wrong time, that’s all,” Tom said.

That's all for this week. Thank you for reading my words. I really appreciate that.

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