By the way, to everyone who has been keeping an eye on me and seeing me clearly, thank you.
THIS IS CORRESPONDENCE I HAVE HAD WITH SOMEONE WHO KNEW MY FAMILY A LONG TIME AGO. BEFORE I WAS BORN. It’s edited for anonymity. Unless the dude who took the picture of the marsh will let me give him credit. All of the photos in this post are ones he took and sent to me. I have a canoe, too! Silky is like Shiny, isn’t she? Except not as pudgy! Man, Shiny never would’ve wiggled her way onto a canoe! Ha!
MY REPLY FOLLOWS.
“Well, since you’ve blown my cover do give my warm regards to your Mom and Dad.
They are very good people. Listen to them.
And yeah I can see your Mom smiting the shit out of some poor Southern Diamondback, but I really can’t see your Dad doing it. I see your Dad pining the snake and removing it from the road and measuring it.
Your Dad is a shy man by temperment, but he’s a natural story teller and teacher.
Ima tell youz a story! A very short story.
A few months after your folks had moved to St. Marys I came to visit. Your Dad was hard at work making a new Orchard (peach?) and had prepared ground for what I seem to recall was about an acre of good sized bagged seedlings. All the heavy stuff had been pretty much done. He was showing me the potential orchard and I was doing my nodding thing and agreeing and looking around and thinking YIKES! this is really interesting….. and we’re walking down a row of holes and I just drop off. I mean, my left leg just drops into a 5 foot home for a peach tree because my vision is lousy and I’m listening to your Dad. Your Dad keeps on going for about 3 minutes,quietly talking to me,not realizing I’m in a peach pit. He missed me at the end of the row and came back and retrieved me. He’s a very competent. He may have a different version of this story. Don’t believe heeeeem.
As far as Summer Schedule is concerned…. I do technology work for elementary schools for (some) School District.
Holy Shit! You, (unnamed ally), if you’re not a creepy old drunk dude from Florida – are welcome to write to me anytime! That was the best story ever! Can I put it on the weblog? Nobody reads that shit, don’t worry:) (there’s your emoticon)
It is – and whoa the weight of the gift you gave me in that story is just now settling into my chest.
I think it may have been Gus who lived in the henhouse. Dang! Going way back now! You know a few summers back – my dad and I built a shed together that I designed as a hexagon in honor of that beautiful old henhouse back behind the open trailer shed.
It was a pear orchard. It’s gone now.
So much for the “civilizing influence” of Jacksonville. Shadowlawn will always be home to me. Though Asheville is where I will likely live for a good long while. I feel like I am just getting started here.
Do you recall Bill Tiger? He found my number a few months back and – whoa – after he introduced himself:
“My name is William BlahBlah – well, Bill and I knew your…”
I interrupted. “Bill Tiger?” “Well, yes. That’s me.”
And I was squatting in the backyard at the dome house watching as a straggly haired Bill Tiger lit a fire in a hole, and we were quiet and concentrating as we laid the foil wrapped potatoes on top of the the wood that sent up little wisps of bright grey ash as we settled the silvered potatoes in and then covered them, to bake.
Bill Tiger showed me, quite patiently, how to bake a potato in a hole.
It was sunset, and by the time the potatoes had been unearthed and a proper fire built in their stead, well – I was tired and cranky and I didn’t like the fire light and I was sitting right in the middle of the path that led to the point, in this awful frickin’ aluminum chair – with the band-y plastic things as a seat and back, this one was faded, mildewed yellow and beige. The beige may been white at one point, but in my memory – it appears beige. And I had on my Mom’s scratchy striped poncho deal and she wasn’t paying attention to me at all and the potatoes seemed raw at the center.
Man, I think that might have been one of the earliest parties I wish I’d left earlier. It was fun – with Bill and the potato and the quiet of sunset…but, I recall how sinister the night felt and how I just wanted everybody to leave so it could be quiet and normal so I could go to sleep and get out of the lawn chair, which was on uneven ground and tilted and I just kept trying to keep from rocking.
I think I have to publish this exchange, Mr. (unnamed ally). Not only is it beautiful…my quick response to your message and the memory that burst forth (along with about a hundred others) well, it is evidence that I do, indeed, have a remarkable ability to recall pointless scenes with precision.
Yes, I saw my father’s Seminole jacket. He got it when he was in Boy Scouts, back when old Florida still had Native Americans. Or at least Native American jackets.
I am glad you work in the schools. I would like to be a professional, grant-funded storyteller for low-income school districts. That is one job I think I could handle:)
Thanks again for the correspondence. It is totally okay if you are a creepy old drunk dude from Florida. As long as you’re harmless. Hope you have a good night. Thanks for swapping stories with me. Faith