Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Big word. Heck I know I missed an "m" in there but I'm just trying to watch my diet and limit the mm's.

Two folks talking is a hard thing to re-concile. I've been trying to get a few points across to my wife for nearly thirty years. You'd think we'd figure out a secret language that would work. For all I know we're language challenged. Maybe we just don't really have anything to talk about to start with.

I was stretching my jaw bones the other day with someone who stopped by my porch. I was innocently whittling a ball in a cage and watching the pollen turn things yellow. This person wanted to teach me something. It doesn't matter what the something was so much as it was the effort.

I tried to understand. I really did. It's not like I've got a closed mind. I got my druthers that's for sure but I try to listen. After all, I believe that everything is changing- might as well let my mind go along in the same direction.

I think we got tripped up on who we were and where we be from. Now you take me. I've done some moving about, not a lot mind you but I know what it's like to be stuck out on an Interstate with my thumb out and a cold front roaring down the road in my direction with all of the traffic someplace else.

I've even been to school. Some people hold that schooling against me. I learned more about people in school than I did about the subjects I studied. Folks have odd ways about approaching (or hiding from) life.

Right now, I give myself the luxury of changing my mind if I'm motivated, I'm of the opinion that folks have a hard time accepting each other.

Some folks I think are jealous of the way others are. I even admit that I have tendencies in that direction. There are one or two writers that I just drool over. Damn they are fine with stringing words together. But I also know I just can't do it the same way. Bet none of those famous authors had Mrs. Linville tossing boys in desks around a room while teaching grammar. They never knew good old Madame Pross and her damn French bunny rabbit trying to teach me French.

But what I think is important is the energy folks put into their lives and the way they share them. It's a hard thing to do. Thinking back a second I'm reminded of my days on the road. Some folks would pick me up and say not a word after I told them where I was trying to go. Others folks opened up about their lives and asked me about mine. It takes a fine person to be a conversationalist. I don't make no pretenses about being good at it but damned if I don't try to ask questions and be interested. I guess some folks just aren't that interested.

If those folks can't get you thinking like they do well, they just sort of draw back their heads into the shell turtle-like. Pe-cu-ular. Indeed. Course, some of them hiss on the way like a good old snappin turtle. Remind me of a fundamentalist I met one day. He picked me up on I-40.

It was a nice day. Sun was shining. My hair was tied back neat and clean. My backpack was on the ground and my thumb was out there for all to see. A Ford Fairlane slows down toots his horn and the whole kit-and- cabboodle coasts to a stop a bit on. I grab my pack and jog on up there to open the door. No sooner was I settled in the seat then the accellerator was punched and grinning Jim looks over at me.

"Are you saved?"

Now usually the first question I get is where are you headed or what's your name. Not "Jim" he just asks "Are you saved?"

"From what?" It seemed like a natural question of clarification.

"From what! He repeated my question and we were passing a Kenilworth shifting gears. "From the Dee-vil. That's what. Are you washed in the blood of Jesus?"

Now I know I'd been on the road for two days without taking a bath but I didn't think I smelled or nothing. But I think I knew the drift we were taking.

"I can't say that I practice whatever brand of religion it is that you happen to embrace like a loose woman on payday but I've never killed nobody, I've never stolen from anyone, and I happen to talk to my ma and pa. Figure that's better than some." It was meant innocent like. Really.

"Unless you've been washed in the blood of Jesus and made him your only Lord and Save- vior, well then you're riding with the devil."

"I looked at him and asked, "Are you the devil?

He slammed on the brakes and jerked the car to the emergency lane. "Get your white ass out of my car. Deacon Jim ain't got no room for sinners."

I got out of that door and looked back in. I couldn't help myself. I raised my hand and did the old "V" for victory gesture. "Peace."

"Peace my ass."

And he was gone. Some folks just get riled too easy. Not more than three minutes went by. That Kenilworth that we'd passed miles back drifted up to me and stopped.

"Going far?"

"Tar Heel."

"Well climb on in."

The trucker was a neat old guy. He'd served in the navy on a sub-tender during the war. He had a six pack of beer in a cooler beside him and shared it. His nickname was "Slick" because he locked wheels on a rig once when he hit an oilslick over in Tennessee. Controlled that truck with wheels locked and missed hitting a school bus loaded with a High Schoool Band. State gave him a commendation for safety. He never mentioned he was mildly stoned at the time. Nice guy. I'll bet he'd even give Deacon Jim a ride.

Just the way the world is.