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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WHITEHEAD IN SNOW

find the turkeys




Drove to town today in 18 degrees. On the way back, I stopped at Jr's for another 6 half gallon jugs of water. Yesterday's tracks were drifted over and the whole driveway was drifted from bottom to top. I thought I'd give it a go. Got stuck right away, first thing. I take the snow shovel with me now, so I shoveled the snow away from the front wheels and it still wanted to hesitate coming out, but it took hold, and once it got traction, it came on out. I walked to the house and back. It was a good short exercise walking in snow from above the ankle to below the knee. It was the snow from last night that was dry and crystalline like all these snows have been that are on the ground now from several weeks ago, rained on and frozen, that the wind blew across the ice into drifts.
Not many cars on the road today. Needed gas. 16mpg from a couple weeks driving on snow and ice. On highway it gets 20 and better. That's what the 4 cylinder truck did. The Catfish is 6 cylinder. Every time I drive it, I'm impressed by how well it goes. The one time I kicked it into passing gear was like one of those rocket sleds in the 50s where they tested ability to take G forces. There were motion pictures of a camera on the guy's face when it's accelerating really fast. That image came to mind when the car took off like a rocket so instantly I realized in a hurry I needed to be in full command of steering. I've never owned a car that would do that. It felt like it took half a gallon of gas in a few hundred feet. Brought to mind the urban streets racing movie The Fast & The Furious when the nitro tank kicked in. A lesser version of same. Way lesser. The kind of lesser I can handle.
It's a beautiful world out there covered in white. I especially like The Peak in Whitehead while traveling Air Bellows Gap Road through the long valley where Jr's family farm used to be. The great meadow in white with a few round bales and clusters of black cows around them, and the cows out walking on their trials in the snow. The apple tree orchard. The Peak up there in white with millions of vertical gray lines, the trees. I've seen this valley and this mountain in every kind of weather there is. It's beautiful in every one. Ankle-deep snow with the ice crust doesn't seem to be much of an enjoyment for cows to walk in. Very few trails through the snow and them made by several cows, paths. The old Blum farmhouse and outbuildings where Jr's lifetime friend Joe Blum grew up is one of the old farmhouses that has been kept up well. Elvira Crouse grew up in the house Taylor's live in now on my right after the barn on the left side of the road. It's calendar scenery through there.
Liberty Baptist Church on the right, snow piled high all around their driveway/parking area. A beautiful little country church, kept up well, a graveyard full of Whitehead people, Jr's dad one of them. The old man's tombstone is a rectangular block of polished black marble with a modest roof cap over it and a foundation below it. No words or numbers on it. Just plain the marble itself. At the bottom of the foundation is one word MAXWELL. A man of constant sorrow. He's buried alone next to his son who committed one of the county's great scandalous murder/suicides that wrecked to the very foundations the lives of the people nearest to him. I wonder if old man Wylie chose to have his name forgotten. A meaningless question. That's his business.
The next church on the right, Landmark Union Baptist, has Tom Pruitt in the cemetery, his mother and dad, Tobias and Luella, his brother Millard, who chose to be buried with his family instead of in the cemetery of his own church. Tom told me more than once that he could take me inside the church and show me the place, like in the hymn, I can tell you the time, I can show you the place where the Lord saved me in his wonderful grace. I never asked him to show me. I felt like it was his personal private place and I didn't want to invade it, like I could never walk through a cathedral in Europe as a tourist when people are inside praying. Other people can walk through taking pictures and think nothing of it. I'd look in from the open doorway and go no further. Even now when I drive by Landmark in Whitehead, the memory of Tom's place inside the meeting house is there. It was then Regular Baptist.
Wagoners and Richardsons, then Love's, then Jean's. The people in her house now have put a big black star on the outside wall. At the corner is the Whitehead Primitive Baptist church. Beautiful meeting house. The landmark of Whitehead and it's down to 2 or 3. Whitehead Store is still there, but not a store any more. The people that robbed Whitehead store and put Welter out of business hurt the entire community of Whitehead. All that was left after Whitehead store was the tractor shop on the hill, Maxwell Equipment. The driveway drifted over. Snow drifted around the wheels of tractors parked in front.
It felt good walking in the door at Jr's house, the place that was the same as my home for months into a couple years. All of a sudden one day I didn't live there anymore. Back to my house where the spirit was asleep. Now in his house the spirit is asleep. I took some pictures of the living room and kitchen, just so I'd have them for memory while the furniture was still in place. Ross keeps a radio playing fairly loud on WBRF to make potential thieves believe somebody is in the house. When I hear it I think if any of Jr's spirit was left lingering in his house, it sure is gone by now, run out by the racket. Vibration cleanser.
I enjoyed seeing the views out the windows again, the familiar furniture, the kitchen I kept spotless for Absentee Police surprise inspections and Social Services surprise inspections, that crazy period of time when threats were coming down on us from all directions if-you-do and if-you-don't, you're going to the nursing home. I tried to keep up with all their bureaucratic bullshit to keep them pacified instead of setting off alarms. The calm that came over me after Hospice became involved was notable. I had these negative forces struggling against Jr's own will to be allowed to die at home. But we got er done. We made it on through to the finish line with the help of the best humanity has to offer giving us appreciable assists. It was a steady stream of memories flowing through my mind in the house, so much time and so many details in the nutshell of my head. It was like a movie of constantly changing scenes, all in the same location.

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