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Monday, February 3, 2014


justin throws a dart in the mancave
I wanted to write you last night when I came home from Superbowl Sunday, but it was so late and I was so weary from being up since 6, no nap, 45 minute drive both ways, coming home at night in rain. I've learned to take the back roads and stay off the state highways. Our new highway patrolmen are predators. In the past, that didn't go here, but now it does. We've had good ones in the past, really good ones. The most recent to retire stayed here and became chief of police, our first who was not a thug in my time here. I don't like seeing the blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. It ruins my day for several days. Last time was really bad: 57 in a 45 and driver's license expired a year and a half. I was in my old man camouflage, a Farm Bureau Insurance ballcap. With this hat and white hair, privileges occur. People open doors, speak without defenses. I wore it when Kathryn and I went to Roanoke to see Willie Nelson. People spoke to me like I was somebody to respect, which really blew my circuits. It was an audience of country people. The women at the tshirt table talked to me like I was an old friend. The hat and white hair made the highway patrolman talk to me like he was talking to his grandpa, with respect. The hat didn't save me from having to spend $263 plus tag office fees. The whole experience makes me want to stay home all the more. I'm so paranoid on the highway now I could be arrested for going too slow. Melvin and I made it back to Whitehead where he'd parked his truck. We meet at the parking lot of an old defunct country store and take turns driving. Sometimes it is determined who drives by who has enough gas to get there and back.

melvin sends a dart on its way 
Again, the answer to what comes next when I turn my back to the world of the false, corporate news, fake human beings, people so self-serving even their wives and children can't get through. Every time I go to town and see people I know to talk with by chance, and when I get with friends that drink wine or friends that drink liquor or friends that don't drink at all, I pay closer attention now. I have realized that the people of my world, the people I live among and everyone I know, are wonderful people, most of them people I can trust absolutely, and they can trust me the same. This is actually the world I live in, not DC or NYC or LA or anyplace else, even the next county. My world is Alleghany County NC. I don't even like to cross the county line anymore, except when I know I won't be long, maybe to hear live music. Last night with Justin and Melvin, Crystal and the kids, I was paying attention to them reminding myself they are my world, my world is a wonderful place. We look after one another's interest in my world. I don't mean like butt into one another's business, but when somebody needs a hand or an assist of some sort, all it takes is seven numbers on a telephone. In my world, we support one another. We back each other up, right or wrong not a question. Nobody in my world is a fake human being. I live in a world of hillbillies. They are my world. I never allow one of my hillbilly friends to feel shame over being a hillbilly. I keep them knowing hillbilly is good as it gets. You were fortunate in the luck of the draw to be born a hillbilly. For one thing, hillbillies know about and live respect. Respect is something I see little of outside these mountains. I've become so mountain over time that when I visit friends in a city, it's a very short time before I'm thinking of the people I'm around: Don't you know anything about respect? You look down on the people I live among, but they, at least, know something about respect. I learned respect in the mountains.
baby vada faye
This picture of Vada is out of focus, but it feels to me like it represents her better than one in clear focus. There is something about an out of focus picture that brings it to life somehow, suggests motion. We see each other's faces in motion. She performed for us during the Bruno Mars dance music at half-time. Crystal made video of her dance and put it on facebook. All of us were taken by the Bruno Mars music. We unanimously agreed this was the best music any of us had ever heard on a Superbowl halftime show. The band played music in abundance. Vada has a charismatic charm. She sings and sings, songs from children's tv, songs mommy taught her. I don't dare draw a conclusion, but I see in Vada her great-great grandmother, Faye, who played guitar and sang the old songs all her life. I knew Faye. Vada sometimes seems to me to be Faye herself. She walks like Faye, is featured like her, even has the same look in her eyes. I can attribute it to genetics too, and don't know where to draw the line. I still feel like Faye is in Vada. As a newborn baby I could see in her infinite happiness when she saw that Justin and Crystal were her parents. It was evident to me that she already knew them and was tickled like crazy she turned up their baby. She still has that delight being with them. She's natured like Faye so much it's like the same person to me. Faye had a charisma about her too. She sang with old-time string bands at jams with her music-making friends. Faye was the one playing rhythm guitar and singing. I'd like to see Vada grow up, to see the woman she will become. I think, though, I already see her.
he didn't catch it
I knew Justin when he was Vada's age and had the good time of seeing him grow up. He is the same Justin now as the Justin I knew then. The very same. He has more experience now than then, but that's it. He has the same attitude toward life now that was in him then. In like manner, I can see the woman in Vada in the child she is now. Justin and I know that we have had previous lifetimes together, the most recent as brothers. We have always felt like brothers, even when he was little. He had a dream a year or so ago, so vivid that when he woke up he didn't know where he was at first. He said the dream covered the whole lifetime from childhood to old age. He said it was like a documentary with him in it. We were close as brothers and I died young in my teens, explaining our age difference now. It even felt to me like I knew Justin before when he was a little kid. I took him to his first theater movie, the Kevin Costner Robin Hood, then all the Ninja Turtles, which I enjoyed as much as he did, plus I had the enjoyment of treating him to them. I took him to see The Bear and Gladiator. I ordered The Bear from netflix and we watched it again last weekend with Crystal and the kids. He said he remembered every detail of the film. That's the kind of retentive mind he has. Motivated, he would have been a whiz in school. But he didn't care about school. He was the generation that listened to Korn, Slip-knot, System of a Down, Kid Rock, Linkin Park. He likes old-time hillbilly music and bluegrass, too. He likes Hank Williams one, two and three, Rodney Carrington, Larry the Cable Guy, the Fast and Furious movies, all of them. When I'd "baby sit" him and his sister, Sheena, I'd rent a kid's movie or two of their choice. We watched a lot of movies together. On his 16th birthday I gave him the new Kid Rock album that was dynamite in it's moment. When his dad heard it, he took it away from Justin. Next day Justin took it back and his dad never noticed.      

the new bow


  1. Man oh man...when I read what you write, I do with patience, like I can really take a load off and sit and enjoy. Thanks for that.

  2. Love your writing and a glimpse into your beautiful life - I love the line, "Faye was the one playing rhythm guitar and singing. I'd like to see Vada grow up, to see the woman she will become. I think, though, I already see her." Thank you for this wonderful post.

  3. Since I am a very big believer in karma and reincarnation I am sure you and vada met many times before and will again as will you and others in your life now...on a side note...Hank Williams was my very favorite singer when I was young...I would put his recording of Your Cheating Heart on to play and put it on repeat and listen to if for hours...would again if I could...Him and Lefty Frizzell...another favorite...but he may be before your time...