It seems like it was only yesterday, and maybe it was, that sunny Thursday afternoon one weekend back in 1973 when my Salzburger friend and I, Gnorman Gnann The Gninth, decided we were tired of watching chickens fry and further decided we were ready to try to do something positive and soul-purifying with our lives, so we loaded up the trunk of my 1955 DeSoto with enough luggage to smother a bull elephant, I’ll tell you about the Salzburgers later, and the cooler full of Budwine(TM) for those unexplained emergencies that occur when the moon in in phalanx and the tumbleweeds all have thoraxes (or is it thoracles?) bellowing in the Oklahoma moonlight and so we headed out down U.S. 441 looking for buried treasure and old Satchmo records and; wondering where we would find some of each, we stopped off and picked up my mother and stuffed her in the trunk (well, it was a rumbleseat, really) that we had, using a 1924 arc welder’s kit and proper Klieg lights converted from previously being part of a bathtub that say in the UPSTAIRS bathroom of a converted rooming house only a block from the train station in downtown, Syracuse, so my mother could sit back there; which reminds me: I used to know this guy who was so small and sickly when he was a child that his parents absolutely refused to let him ride in the car with them, so they would go on vacation in the car by themselves, accompanied by his DEVILISH little sister, who didn’t have a name that I can remember, but he wouldn’t be with them, because they were afraid he would catch something from them, so instead the three of them would meet him THERE by picking him up at the post office in the designated town they were to vacation in, having mailed him there in a VERY large manila envelope, which probably explains why he eats chocolate ice cream to this day; an abject act of rebellion, if you ask me, and you didn’t, because, after all, postal rates were lower in those days, so it took a while for him to get there but they were able to put some food in there with him and a candle for him to see by and some pulp novels and he never burned a hole in the envelope before he made it to the destination because they had cautioned him about biting the hand that fed him; which makes me think about someone I used to know whose parents were SO strict (well, really his father was, not so much his mother, who would occasionally let him watch television when his father was out-of-town on a trip or simply following the center line of an unfamiliar highway to see if it eventually merged down to a point like you see from a distance), and one especially harrowing time for this guy his father locked him in his room for 33 days for some real or imagined misdeed and then went out-of-town chasing truant carrots or some such and left his mother there and she mercifully chewed the padlock off and shipped him out in a squash crate to Valmy, Nevada 81747 (or is it 82922?), which reminds me that the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west, except for a small portion of Panama, where the twist of the isthmus actually GIVES the appearance that the sun, in only this one place and in no other anywhere that I know of, appears that it sets in the east and rises in the west, and we continued on down U.S. 441 and the load getting lighter and lighter and I stopped to see what was going on and my mother told me “You didn’t need any of that ol’ Budwine(TM) anyhow, so I’ve been going along dumping it out;” and looking up the road that we had just come down I noticed pink patches of grass along the road and all of sudden cars were coming along and would hit a patch and get stuck in the road, the sugar in the soda coagulating in the hot sun, causing the road to turn into a gigantic mess of flypaper, only oversized stuff, catching cars along with flies, so Gnorman Gnann The Gninth and I (he’s a Salzburger) beat a hasty retreat back to 30601-land with less Budwine(TM) than before, dropped my mother off at daycare, and set out for an afternoon in the mountains with his girlfriend Tish O’Mingo, whom we picked up after looking FOREVER for her house and then looking FOREVER for her in her house and finding her cowering in a corner of the attic and then we drive across town and found Nyborg Batfish, Esq. languishing at the adobe of his girlfriend Eugenia Eschmalz, collected what was left of them both in a couple of buckets and headed out for the mountains we stopped outside of Lula in a converted schoolbus that someone had turned INTO a junk store and piles of old 78 r.p.m. records, so luck being ours, we proceeded to return through LaGrange because it wasn’t far out of the way between Gainesville and Athens, and we HAD time and gasoline, stopped in to see Cotton C. Doyle and he wasn’t home so we talked to his roommate Graham Flowers until three in the morning and after that we drove back in the 1955 DeSoto with everyone asleep and next time I’ll tell you something I find very interesting, like why there are no cotton mill villages in Wisconsin and this killer beer I drank once in Zelienope, Pennsylvania that used to be made by a little old man, but his arthritis forced him to retire and now he sells travel trailers which reminds me of the time I once came back to Athens through LaGrange, but that’s another story for another time.
April Fool! Bless any of you who got this far: it was difficult enough for me, and I wrote it! This column is a tribute-of-sorts to the Athens Oberserver’s tribute-of-sorts to me in the March 28th issue. I am truly honored. Please, don’t anyone attempt to diagram that article/sentence (there was only one, as you guessed by now), and I’ll be back next week with something only slightly less run-on. Thanks for the time and the space.
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