We found her downtown.
She’d been missing more than a week.
She sat on the sidewalk,
Leaning against the wall
In front of O’Neills.
Her hair was dirty, stringy
Black circles under her eyes.
She had lost a lot of weight
Weight that she really couldn’t afford to lose.
She looked tired.
“Why don’t you come back home, Ginger?”
“We miss you. We want you back.”
“I’m never going back there,
“This is so much better.”
“Where are you sleeping?”
“I don’t need to sleep”
Where are you eating?”
“People give me stuff,
“I make do.”
“You can’t live your life this way!”
We stood to leave. “You know you can always come home.”
“Not gonna happen.”
We started walking back to the car. Tears, choking.
“Mom, Dad – wait up”
She was running to catch us
“What is it baby?” her mother asked, hopefully.
“Do you think you could spare a couple of bucks?
“You know, for old time’s sake.”
Today’s picture is worth 139 words.
I had no photo but I had some mental images that I wanted to share.
Welcome Richard Dixson High School Class of 16, I’ve been asked to speak to you guys about the path of life.
First off, I wanna go on record as sayin’ that I wasn’t even aware there was a path of life so I went home and googled it. I found it in google maps too. It runs right ahind the Piggly Wiggly on Herkemer Street. I can’t be 100% sure ’cause I didn’t get a chance to go down there yet… but it looked like, on the map, that it’s a walkin’ path and it starts up hind the elementary school before meanderin’ with the stream and past the Auto Parts Store. Then it runs back o’ the Piggly Wiggly, but y’all already knew that, and curves slowly south over that rise where the kids all go to make out and ride their BMX bikes. Then it cuts down past the Drive In and ends at the old quarry.
I would also like to recommend to you kids that the old quarry is a much better place to make out than that BMX track – less crowded… more romantic.
Anyway, it got me thinkin’ that this really has been my life.
I don’t ‘member much that happened before elementary school. I recollect listenin’ to Ike on the radio with my dad and we watched him on the TV a time or two at the dry goods store. I recall ridin’ my bike and harassin’ my sister on a pretty regular basis. That’s ’bout the time that I started smokin’ too, but I don’t ‘member much more than that. So, just like the path of life, I pretty much start at elementary school.
In High School I spent a lot of time at that Auto Parts Store getting the things I needed to rebuilt my old ’49.
When I got that jalopy runnin’ I met my wife, Sarah Ann, at the Piggly Wiggly Store; we been married long time now, more years than I cares to ‘member. She was a cashier and she had the hots for old cars. She was a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly when cashiers had to punch the numbers on the register, knot just move things in front of a laser beam, like today. Back when they counted yo change into yo hand ‘stead o’ just stackin’ it on yo palm.
We had our ups and downs, just like that bicycle track, but eventually we wound up down by the quarry. Down by the quarry, where it’s more romantic, and where kids come from, if yore knot careful. Sarah Ann and I wound up with a few. A few kids that is, and now we got us a passel of grandkids too.
So I was talkin’ with Sarah Ann about this speech what I’m givin’ y’all now and pointin’ out the parallels in our lives with that path (the one I didn’t even know ’bout till the other day) and we decided we’re gonna go hike that path this weekend. The kids and the grandkids are comin’, and y’all’re all welcome to join us if ya want. We’re gonna set off from behind the elementary school on Saturday mornin’ about 8:30 and go all the way to the quarry. If ya decide to join us bring plenty water. It’s important to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hope to see ya there.
My dad finally told me the story behind my name about a month before he passed away. I think I believe it.
I was born late in the afternoon on 03 January 1947. My mother and father had had a fight on the morning that I was born. They weren’t throwing punches or anything; they were throwing words and apparently some feelings were hurt/damaged. He refused to tell me what the fight was about but I would suspect it was something to do with food. They always fought about food. Eventually they divorced over food, after the great “Pot Roast Debacle of 1963” but I’ve already written about that.
“This is overdone, it’s mushy!” one of them would say.
“No, that’s how it’s supposed to be!”
“Too much salt.”
“Chilies? Where are the goddamn chilies?”
“I’m not even going to ask what this is supposed to be; I’m going for a hamburger.”
“Huh uh, you eat it! I’m not going to!”
I won’t beat this dead horse any longer, you get the idea.
Anyway, I was born slightly after five pm that afternoon. It was dark outside and it was before fathers were allowed in delivery rooms so my dad spent the time sitting in a waiting room staring at his reflection in the darkened window, drinking unpalatable coffee from the 50 cup percolator, that had sat there all day, and chain smoking Raleigh’s. He saved the coupons.
When they finally came out and told him that the ordeal was done he was pretty seriously hyped up on caffeine and nicotine but he followed the orderly down to fill in the paperwork, as requested. One of the forms they handed him was my birth certificate. Dutifully he wrote his name as father, and filled in my mom’s name to complete the “parented by” section. He got to the blank where he was supposed to write my name… hmm? They had previously agreed on a name for me but he was thinking about that fight earlier in the day. The agreed name was unceremoniously tossed aside and I was festooned with the grandiose middle names of my two grandfathers.
My maternal grandfather, had been killed when my mom was a teenager. His name had been Lawrence Ephraim Brock. Ephraim was penned neatly, in all caps, into the blank space.
My paternal grandfather was still very much alive and he hated his middle name. He hated it so much that my uncle’s middle name is Junior because Grandpa refused to saddle anyone with his name and Grandma wanted a son she could call Junior. My uncle was Harry Junior Kerr, and my grandfather was Harry McCool Kerr. The animosity that my grandfather felt for the name McCool was clearly not something my dad thought much about when he wrote McCool, in neat block letters, behind Ephraim on my birth certificate.
My grandpa was pretty upset about my middle name and for the rest of his life he continued to remind my father of this simple fact, but on that day, my dad was only thinking about the fight and getting even, or getting ahead, as my mother lay sleeping in her recovery room five floors above.
I guess he showed her! My name is Ephraim McCool Kerr, and I’m happy to meet you.
You can call me Mac.
“Pa, you been to Reed’s Seed & Feed today?”
“Well, don’t ya reckon ya oughta?”
“We need hay fer the horses and sheep, and we need something to put out fer the deer. Something what’ll keep ’em away from the truck patch.”
“We got other stuff they kin eat.”
“Well, mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, Wooden shoe!”
Composer: Milton Drake, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston
Gary stood in the theatre lobby with Cinnamon, or Scarlett, or whatever her name was clinging onto his arm. She was eye candy, nothing more, hired by his publicist to attend the opening because he couldn’t come out in public with Matt. This close to the glass front of the building his attention was focused, riveted, on his reflection. He noticed the girl, she was pretty enough but nowhere near as beautiful as he was. Anyone could see that.
The reflection showed a confident man with jet black hair slicked back close to his scalp. His pencil mustache lent a “devil-may-care” look to his visage, and his teeth were perfect. The white suit was cut ‘just so’ and he accessorized with a six inch long cigarette holder and a perpetually burning Lucky Strike clamped between his teeth.
The girl had obviously been hired because of her looks. She was petite with short, curly blonde hair and a peacock feather framing her face. Maybe her hair was red, or brown. It was tough for him to tell in the reflection. She wore a short white silk dress that showcased her lithe form. He thought she might have been a dancer in real life.
Murray clamped a hand on his shoulder, “Time to go in now, Gary. They’re gonna roll the picture soon.”
Still watching his reflection Gary leaned down to the girl, “Cinnamon,” he whispered, “stick with me. I don’t want to lose you in this crowd.”
“Margaret.” She whispered back.
“Margaret, my name’s Margaret.”
“Oh right.” He twisted the lit cigarette from the holder and handed it to her. “Here, take care of this, will you?”
Keeping her hand on his arm, she looked around and finally tossed it in the direction of a waste bin by the popcorn counter. She missed but one of Murray’s people took care of it.
“I just know you’re going to like the picture, Scarlett,” he said. “I think it’s some of my finest work and I just love musicals, don’t you? I do an absolutely spectacular job with those new Gershwin tunes.”
Local Disc Golfer Shoots 24 on a Single Hole
Thomas McGlen, a fixture on disc golf courses in the metropolitan area, shot a 24 on the fifth hole at Gingritch Park Disc Golf Course today. McGlen was playing a pickup game of skins with other locals when, without warning, his game simply fell apart. The hole was won by a local hustler with a score of 5; shot brilliantly by a man known only as Y2Carl, since reinventing himself almost 18 years ago.
Also present for the game were:
Ronaldo Sawtooth, a self-employed small engine mechanic with a shop just outside the city limits. Ronaldo is an accomplished golfer and gourmand in the southland. He’s a two time runner-up in the famed “Iron Arm” tournament held at Gingritch Park every autumn. We spoke with Ronaldo about what happened. “Well,” he told our intrepid reporter, “No one was really surprised, Thomas isn’t very good at this game anyway, but we like to let him play cause he’s like… well to be blunt he’s, easy money. Ya know what I mean?”
Landon Preece, another participant in the game told us that McGlen appeared to melt right in front of our eyes. “He couldn’t stay out of the OB. At one point he had to make the same shot five times for it to carry into fair territory. That scene from the movie “Tin Cup” kept playing through my mind only in Tom’s case his whole round sucked, not just that one hole. That was a big difference with the movie, ya know. Eventually he sneaked up close enough to the pin that he was able to nail a one foot putt. Barely.”
Kelly McGlen, Thomas’ second cousin, couldn’t comment on this story because he was unable to stop laughing. Occasionally he managed to catch his breath for a moment only to lapse immediately back into uncontrollable fits of hilarity. This reporter slipped a business card into his pocket and asked him to call if he was ever able to regain his composure. When this story went to press, he had not returned calls so it is assumed he is still laughing.
The last member of the group is Dr. Louie Willy who seemed most concerned about the uncontrollable laughing of Thomas’ cousin. Dr. Willy advised Kelly that if this condition should persist for more than four hours he really ought to contact his doctor. Dr. Willy flatly refused further comment.
We contacted Tom McGlen by phone later that same day to see if he could offer any insight into the quagmire of bad golf he had sunk into. We woke him from a nap and he denied any recollection of the incident.
Mr. Sawtooth has kindly agreed to forward him a copy of the video made with his cell phone. We’ll follow up on this story as it develops. If it develops.
To sleep at work
To rob banks
To break into skating rinks and
practice all night long
When I say something stupid
When I want to cheat at golf
When I really need to snatch that
Maybe if I don’t have the money to go to the movies
Maybe when engaged in some form of espionage
Maybe, every so often, when Andy
is talking about TV
If I can’t talk the cop out of that ticket
If I want to scare the dog
If I have to make a clean
Every time Aunt Beryl wants to pinch my cheeks
Every time Mama calls me by my full name
Every time it’s
my night to do the dishes
Quite a list, huh?
I guess the answer is, “Pretty much whenever I want to!”
Would I be using it?
Or abusing it?
In my life I know I’ve lost a thing or two
I’ve lost coffee cups, jobs, and hockey games
Lost my mind.
Lost my shoes.
Lost track of what I was doing.
Once I lost some underclothes in my girlfriend’s mother’s car.
I hope she never found them.
I lost money in real estate. It was the recession of ‘08
I’ve lost luggage, reservations, my faith, and my way
I’ve lost keys.
And lost a memory or two.
I lost track of lots of old friends from school and submarines.
Facebook helps with that, a little, I guess.
I once had a box of crayons. The one with sixty-four.
I tried to wear them all down equally but the “Pink” never got smaller or lost its point.
Cerulean Blue, my favorite, went missing.
I worried for two days.
I accused my sisters of taking it.
Which they, of course, denied but, my creativity suffered. Don’t ever lose your favorite colour!
I took up smoking and hanging out with a rough crowd. Just look at me now. I’m a mess.