Thursday, June 22, 2017

By Sea and by Land

Just finished reading Jack London's "The Sea-Wolf", and started reading a couple of nights ago Raymond Chandler's "The High Window". Both written first-person, but very different styles. Jack got philosophical with his main character's transformation, where Raymond's Marlowe isn't philosophical at all, unless it runs deep.

I enjoyed "The Sea-Wolf", but Chandler's staccato style hits home like a punch to the gut. Hmm, what are you doing to me, Raymond?

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lookin' Out My Basement Window

How about that? Bananas do grow in Kentucky
And that's why I don't write songs. Sorry, John Fogerty. Actually, I should've written 'back window', but it's not. And it just now made me think of a line from a Beatles song, "She came in through the bathroom window."

Okay, enough rambling. I had no ideas for this post today, so I figured if I just started writing, something would happen.

Took me a couple of months, but I finally got my desk turned around so I'm looking out my basement window. Don't know why I didn't do it earlier. Now, I have a much better view that looking up and seeing the television, or a wall. I recommend everyone set up their writing areas so they can see some bit of outside.

I see my birds and squirrels and chipmunks carrying on. There's shadow and light. Some of the leaves brightly lit. There's a blackbird walking over the rocks I need to use to complete my pathway. He's staring at something on the ground. There's color now, our orange daylilies blooming, and impatiens, red and orange, growing in our head pot (or pot head). Our concrete Rin Tin Tin silently guards our rock path, waiting for Rusty. A blue jay just made a strafing run toward the feeder.

And then there's our odd couple--our tall Thai goddess beside our gnome, with a lamb and rabbit for company. We keep thinking the goddess and gnome will run off together sometime, but still they remain. Ah, just now a sparrow landed in the patio outside my window. Thought something was food, but it wasn't.

Yes, this is so much better than TV.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Great Saturday Morning Cartoon Breakfast Bash

Yes, sir, folks, the date's almost here for some of us to relive that wonderful Saturday morning ritual we grew up with--cartoons and cereal. Back then it was with lots of sugar, so, while we won't be totally clear of sugar, we'll minimize it. Somewhat....

What, you may ask, is this GSMCBB of which I speak? Well, it happened this way. For some time, Wendy and I have hosted a variety of horror and sci-fi movie parties. And, one day, brainstorming other movie themes, I got on my soapbox (yes, once again) about how kids today are deprived. No Saturday morning cartoons. So, we decided that what's needed, at least for our band of grown-up (sorta) kids would be a Saturday morning cartoon party.

I've assembled, over the years, a bunch of cartoons from back in the day, some on VHS, some on DVD (waiting on the arrival of Jonny Quest, season 1), along with the commercials from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. I'll have a sampling from those three decades, and, whereas I won't show them exactly in the same order or same time that we would've seen them back then, I'll create a reasonable facsimile of the schedule, starting off with and episode or two of Underdog--"There's no need to fear, Underdog is here...."

I'll intersperse with our kid commercials, including toy commercials, cereal commercials, and, hopefully, Keds sneakers.

Food? Glad you asked. Cereal and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, with OJ, and coffee. Lunch will be a bit more adultish, with DIY sandwich materials--luncheon meat, veggies, that sort of thing.

Might even have a sing-along. "Here I come to save the day...."

Keep writing, friends.

Monday, June 12, 2017

... but Now am Found

Yeah, that was just to rope you in. The title has nothing to do with "Amazing Grace." What it has to do with is the pocket knife in the photo.

It's a Tree Brand pocket knife that my 6th grade teacher, Sam Hardy, gave to me when I graduated from high school. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not going to sell it. However, it's spent more time away from me than with me. Oh, it's always been around, but most of the time I never knew it. Here's how it goes.

I carried it around in my pocket for quite some time after high school, but somewhere along the line, I lost it.

Replaced it with another knife, but it just wasn't the same.

Okay, so, let's jump ahead to 1986, 1987... something like that. I'm sitting on the couch in my living room back in Owensboro, Kentucky. Some friends and I are watching some science fiction movies, can't remember what they were now. Anyway, I happen to shove my hand between the couch cushions. I don't know, fishing for change maybe, and I feel something metal, but it sure isn't pocket change. It was my old Tree Brand knife.

Carried it around for a few more years. Lost it again.

Now, my wife and I are going through stuff in our garage, seeing what we can toss, and there, among some odd pieces of this and that, is... yes, drum roll time... my knife. Found this time after more than 20 years.

So, here it is on my desk. I have another knife that I carry now, a Leatherman, also from one of my best friends. I carry it in a belt case. Don't like much stuff in my pockets anymore. Too bulky and lumpy. But, I just like the idea of my old Tree Brand being around. So, I'll shove it in a drawer, try to remember where I put it. I'll eventually forget, though. We'll move. Other stuff will happen.

But you know what. Some time later, I'll be fishing around looking for something else, and guess what I'll find.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Don't Want a Veg-a-Matic? What About a Portable Potty?

Step right in, take a seat
Picking up from my previous post, you'll want to check it out first:

Well, the four of us were on missions now after that first stop. Stuff for a dollar. Or less. Wendy and I are planning on creating some yard art in the back yard, so we were hunting for odd metal pieces--old pots and pans, pie tins, anything large enough we can fasten to a post.

Along they highway we saw plenty of folks who set up shop anywhere they could find a level spot. Here's a picture of one a bunch of neighbors threw together in Harrodsburg, KY.
Anyone have a crowbar for sale? Or a crosscut saw?

And I think this might be where we saw the first of the portable toilets. We didn't buy one, but it's somewhere on one of these tables, I'm certain.
Maybe I can find a cast iron skillet
Time for lunch. We hit downtown Harrodsburg's Kentucky Fudge Company. A mint condition soda fountain and pharmacy from the past. They used to have a guy in there who played ragtime music on an old piano, but the piano's gone. Still has fantastic atmosphere. And phenomenal food. Try the BLT. Wendy always goes for the olive nut sandwich, which I'm gonna have next time. And make sure you try a root beer float. Can't go wrong with that.
What kind of root beer was that?
It was a little after 4 and things were winding down, but we found a flea markety store in Perryville, KY. This is where we found the rest of the portable toilets. Not sure why I focused on pics of portable toilets, but they seemed to be at every stop.

Even found a Veg-a-Matic. We had one when I was a kid that sliced through my fingernail. When they say, "It slices, it dices...," they're not kidding.
It slices, it dices...
When we found the Styrofoam head on a stick, we figured it was time to call it a day. We figured we couldn't top that.
So, that was the capper to our 400 Mile Yard Sale outing. I know the US127 yard sale is coming up later in the summer. I'll bet there'll be portable toilets.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, June 2, 2017

We've Only Covered How Many of 400 Miles?

Kentucky Fudge Company in Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Well, we had to make all these stops. Yard sales, you see.

Like a good story, yesterday's road trip had a beginning, middle, and end. We kicked things off with breakfast in Nicholasville, Kentucky yesterday, before hitting our first stop on the 400 Mile Yard Sale. We all love these Mom-and-Pop diners where the waitresses call you darlin', the coffee is first-rate, and so is the breakfast. And as my wife knows, I do love breakfast. Can't recall the name of the place at the moment, but I'll find it and update my post. They actually had fried bologna. Guilty pleasure of mine.

From there, it was time to seek out bargains. We didn't know at first, but we had to zag a bit to get over to US 68, where the yard sales were, but that wasn't a problem.

First stop on the US68 400 mile yard sale
Our first stop for the four of us (Wendy, myself, and our friends Pat, and Gayl) was near Wilmore, Kentucky. We pulled off the road onto a gravel lane where all the tents and people waited for us. And this was one of our favorite places, mainly due to a young guy working at one of the tents with his father. I guess he was about 10, maybe 11, and just a hoot of a personable salesman. "How are you folks today?" he asked, all bright with smiles. "I'll make you a good deal on some items." Well, how could we resist that charm? Also, stuff was priced to sell. Most items were a buck or less, so, yeah, we made a couple of trips back-and-forth to the CR-V.

Stay tuned for more about the sale in the next couple of days.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Art from the Heart

There's a place in North Carolina, near Holden Beach, called Mary's Antiques and Folk Art.  Used to be it was called Mary's Gone Wild.  And when Wendy and I first discovered her place a dozen or more years ago, it was called something else.

Way back then we were driving along, looking for bookstores, coffee shops, and just anything unusual.  And, there it was.  I don't remember who was driving, but out of the corner of my eye I saw this color explosion of odd miscellany hanging from trees, and scattered around the yard.  We had to pull over.

What we found was the work of a true honest-to-goodness folk artist.  Paint cans and broken glass painted in wild colors, window frames in various states of brokenness propped up against trees, signs collected from everywhere, odd assortments of Christmas lights strung from trees to buildings back to trees, tree-houses with doll furniture, and gospel music blaring away from a speaker.

And then, there was Mary.  Always smiling, dressed as colorfully as the conglomeration of objects she painted.  I asked her if any of her art was for sale.  She said she'd take 10 or 20 dollars for something if I liked it.  Wendy and I found an odd piece and handed her a 20.

That's Mary.  You can't go to her place without coming away smiling or laughing.  She's a living testament to the true creative spirit.  No art classes?  No materials?  Not a problem.  She takes what other people throw away, paints it, glues it to something else, and hangs it from a nail.  Voila!  Art.

We went back there four or five years ago.  Mary was still there, creating, smiling.  Her husband Paul had added more odd buildings on the property, and Mary kept filling the buildings with her creations.  They had built bottle houses, bottle ships, and a bottle pool.  There was also a Coca-Cola house.

We have some of her work hanging on the fence in our backyard. Someday it will deteriorate. And that would be okay with Mary. She’s not concerned about preserving it. She’ll just make more art.

If you ever make it to North Carolina along Holden Beach, stop by Mary's.  Click here to see some of her work:

Keep writing, friends.