Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Truckstop coffee and a lost honeybun

By the end of my senior year in high school, in '82, the gal I'd been goin' with since eighth or ninth grade was married and knocked up by one of my friends. Such is the young redneck life.

Summer after high school, I met another girl, at the Future Homemakers of America car wash fund-raiser, and before long was smitten to the point of askin' her daddy if I could marry her.

He said yes, and she said yes, but not right now, thank-you.

Well, that went to hell and ended with a ring-throwin' showdown in the one shopping center in town, 'cause she wanted to spend every weekend at the local dirt track where her uncle ran a car. I like racin' and all, but dang. Every weekend?

High school sweetheart knocked up by one of my hillbilly friends? Love lost in the smoke and dust of a 3/8-mile race track in the next county?

I was feelin' mighty low for a young 'un -- only 19 or 20. I didn't even want to drink.

I remember a few nights of bein' particulary pathetic, sittin' and starin' into my coffee at one of the truck stops in town, listenin' to Merle Haggard sing "Going Where the Lonely Go" on the jukebox. It still comes to mind when I'm lonesome.


Deeper, I think, even than being a redneck, and what gives your redneckedness (?) force, it seems to me is that you are a member of a very ancient and global category that is always in the minority:

You are a romantic.

You're suffering the wounds of a romantic in a materialist real world and a theoretical online world.

From now on I will no longer accuse you of being anti-intellectual.

You are a romantic!

Hail, brother, and well met. Since we've not shaken hands I didn't know you were in the society.
DrLboJo has branded me as such. Your second ... all in favor?

Aye, I reckon so.

The redneck trappings are real, but they came in the time, and in the place -- and in the generation -- of my raisin'.

Unless your birth was of similar timing and spacing, I'll bet I'm of your parents generation, Feodor. Daddy ER was 50, and Mama ER was 42 when little ER came along in '64.

When doesn't mean a whole lot. But it's always meant somethin'.

hat would I long for, and feel wounded by, had I grown up where you live now, I wonder.

(Oh, I prefer "redneckery.")
The pre-steroid, alcohol fueled Yankees of the sixties and seventies and Times Square hookers.

Though nobody misses graffiti laden trains.

You may have been a Lord of Flatbush with your hair in a pompadour. (Billy Joel instead of Bocephus.)

TM instead of ER (Tony Manero).
I can dig. :-)

Dr. ER says she thinks of me more as an Impressionist. Maybe I'm an Impressionist Romantic?

Dang. This is causin' me to recall humanities last studied broadly in '82-'83 at Connors State College, Warner, OK! :-)

Anyway, Dr. ER and I agree that my very best writing -- as testified my a smattering of awards over the years -- are products of quiet contemplation of past passions.

Romantic! Hell yes. Trouble is ur an old romantic. By now you should ought to have transitioned to romantic realist. Then the next step is Cynic. Look around your work area. Can't you see all of them.

Sad stories, are the best stories.
I remember my 21st birthday. The woman I proposed to, and who turned me down, the week before came in that night with my roomate in tow to tell me that they were going to get married and would I be his best man?

At that time I was a romantic too.
So they lived, and I was his best man.

Today, sans medications, it would not be the same outcome.

Reminds me of a Lyle Lovett song:
L.A. County

They are still married.
Saw them at a BSU reunion five years ago. Fat and grey like me, I got the better of the deal. That's what my wife says too.
If I were to lose my job, which is such a part of my self, which seems inevitable sometimes, that might bump me up to romantic realist.
Was without work in the '74 "recession" for 12 months. Kills your sould alright.
I disagree with the great doctor. Maybe the woeful tale of love gone wrong is wonderfully romantic, but the BEST stories are those of love gone right.

I've got a 7-year-old step-daughter (like ER has a twentysomething step-daughter) who has her own daddy and doesn't have to love me. But she does, with her whole heart. How's that NOT better thsn my heart bein' broken 20 years ago?

I can't make it whine on a fiddle or a steel guitar. But I live it every day, and I love it every day. I'm sorry, but you can't beat that.
Well, the best stories to LIVE are good, happy ones. The best stories to read, or hear, or ponder, and remember, are sad ones.

Good news doedn't sell papers.
I agree with that, ER. Which is sad.

I've been working with a rodeo trade publication, doing some work for it. Always has been those feel-good stories about the cowboys and the bullfighters and the livestock.

Took a break from said publication and just came back to it. Editor's looking for story ideas and asks, "The edgier, more controversial, the better." Seems even with a trade pub, controversy stems the readership.
Yeesh. I'd test that. Do something on drug-testing, or the lack thereof, of rodeo stock.
Lots of fodder here . . .

First, for the true romantic, there is little difference between celebrating a love's success, and the bathos of mourning a love gone wrong. Both are equally enjoyable (trust me . . .).

A memory. One year after the events you narrate, which would have been my senior year of high school, I became entranced by a young lady at my school. It was an odd situation - more occasional necking than a real relationship, but to be sure I wanted it to be real - and frustrating, to say the least. We drifted in and out of one another's orbit during that school year, then I was off to college. We hooked up a couple times when I was home on various vacations, then, as usual, drifted apart once again.

In the summer of 1985, the governor of NY came to my little home town, and my old high school band director called and asked if I would be part of an alumni/student band to play for Mr. Cuomo's little appearance. Needless to say, I agreed, mostly for the chance to see Mario Cuomo. The young lady with whom I had been on-again/off-again, I was told, would be coming with her husband (another WHS alumnus) and she walked in and I immediately realized why she had a husband. Yup, you guessed it.

She had the baby around the time I was home for Thanksgiving, and I looked both of them up. That little baby had its 23rd birthday last November (making me feel very old), but there was a long time - until the early 1990's, really - when I considered this entire series of events stretching over a couple years, singular in my life. Needless to say, I reveled in sitting around feeling sorry for myself at the time.

For Teditor, I would agree there is nothing more amazing or transcendent than the love of a child. My children have made me a man - honest, respectable, decent, selfless - in a way even my wife had not. They are the lights of my life.
Re, "First, for the true romantic, there is little difference between celebrating a love's success, and the bathos of mourning a love gone wrong. Both are equally enjoyable (trust me . . .)."

Such is the stuff of the blues, and good country music.
Indeed it is. That is why I am finding my way back to really good country music. I have recently (the last few months) discovered just how good the old band Alabama is. Do I need to apologize again for my disparaging comments about C&W music? BTW, apropos of nothing at all, word verification for this comment is "spityl", which I pronounce as "spittle".
"Apropos" -- a-p-r-o-p-o-s.

"Apropos whatcha find on the front of a cropduster."
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More story telling, please. I think, even better, you should consider recording these as vlogs or podcasts. I'd bet your voice would make the stories just that much better.

(Ring throwing showdown!!!!! I love that phrase. And nope, not at all familiar. Not at all.)

The Actor and I were riding in the car the other day and Hank Williams, Jr. came on the radio. We listened for a bit and I watched for the kid's reaction. I grew up with that kind of music, but he's not been much exposed to it.

"Hey, I kind of like this," he said after a bit.

Oh, yeah.
Thanks, Lisa. :-)
"are products of quiet contemplation of past passions"

sounds a lot like: "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings . . . recollected in tranquility."

Which is how Wordsworth defined poetry, especially as written by the school we now call the Romantics.

We're a small club, us Redneck Romantics.
Re, "Which is how Wordsworth defined poetry, especially as written by the school we now call the Romantics."

Bingo! Dr. ER and I were talkin' Wordsworth in this context yestiddy morning. :-)
Well lookee there! And they said I'd never use my English degree. :)
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