Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

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Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts

Friday, February 8, 2013

Swamp Rat

That's where I grew up y'all. 

I mean I lived in a house...went to school and church in buildings but, this is where I spent at least half of my childhood. It's Lake Cascade. We lived on Cascade Dr...a small neighborhood, that came off the truck route, made a loop along one shore of the lake and then back out.

This is where we played. When I was little, I got at least two whoppins for goin' down there without supervision. We found a dead gator down there one time...he'd been shot and hacked up. There was a baby gator that lived in one the pools around the lake. Seemed like he stayed on the same stump for a year. 

Of course, the place was the natural habitat of our arch enemy, Satan's charm bracelet...

I guess we just tried not to think about him.  There was a little island in the lake that was said to be so covered with Cotton Mouths that if you looked hard enough you could see it wriggling. Maybe it was a defensive mechanism...mentally we put them all out on the island. I did watch a fella kill one in the water with a bow. That was pretty cool...back to hell you go.

There were big, high banked canals that would connect some of the pools with the lake...we never went in those. That was a strip of black water running between 6ft  walls of roots and holes. We did swim in the lake though. Out towards the middle of the lake there was a homemade diving platform built in group of cypress trees. One of my fondest memories is being out there with my brothers and their friends. I was still wearing the bubble (an egg shaped piece of styrofoam with canvas straps that chaffed and dug into my under arms), I must have still been pretty little. They were trying to get me to jump off into the water. At my size it looked like were were 50ft in the air. They finally bribed me into it by promising that I could be the first to kiss Daddy when he got home from work. It was quite a race to meet him at his car in the evenings...with my tiny legs I didn't stand a chance.

One day, me and a buddy of mine come up on a fella that nearly drowned. His canoe had turned over and he couldn't swim. We helped him in the last few feet. It had to be a strange scene...two ten year olds draggin' a grown, gasping man out of a foot and a half of water. The most absurd part was that, except over sink holes, the water never really got that deep. He could have bounced off the lake bed from 100 ft out. 

It dried up every couple of years...or drained. Sink holes would drain it. The other side of the lake was near wilderness. It was crisscrossed with dirt roads...and pocked with sinkholes. Sink holes are just creepy. A perfect cone, about 150ft across and down to a pool of jet black water. Every once in a while they'll crack open in a populated area. Gainesville had a couple of big ones open up in the middle of town.

You can see the waterline on the cypress but, obviously this was taken after a long dry spell.

In its Glory.

The little cinder block house we lived in is gone now. In fact almost all the houses are gone now. The airport bought up most of the neighborhood years ago. It wasn't a fancy place to start with and now it's gone back to wilderness. 

Probably overrun with *&^^%% Cottonmouths.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Shoulda Stayed at the Bus Station.

Found a box of old pictures and articles.

You wouldn't believe the trouble a stupid little picture like this could cause...especially in the Midwest. 

Let's get one thing straight at the start...I was not looking for trouble. I didn't care enough about the art class or school in general to be causing trouble. It was my senior year and I was getting enough hassle at home over my grades and coming home late. I wasn't some kinda rebel...I was bored.

When I say bored, I don't mean a kind of romantic teenage boredom...motivated by a restless intellect chaffing against the restraints of High School. No. I was just plain bored. I hated sitting in a room for six or seven hours a day when I could be chasing a golf ball...or girls.


I can only remember one place in school where I felt unfairly restrained...and that was on the football field. One afternoon, we were running scrimmages toward the end of practice. First team offense...second team on defense. I was playing corner and assigned to a wide-out. This kid was at least a foot taller than me. They kept trying to throw him screen passes and I kept busting up the play. I could see it in his eyes...every time his number was called. Worst poker face ever.

"Bartlam! We can't practice the play if you keep breaking it up!"

You don't have to know what a screen pass is or anything about football to understand just how utterly absurd an approach to practice this is. So, I just stood around the rest of the afternoon thinking to myself..."no wonder you people suck at this game." With crap like that...culminating in an incident where I only just kept my Daddy from confronting one of these idiot coaches...I decided not to play anymore.** As the next summer ended I was courted by these clowns but, I'd had it with 'em. I spent the football season working so I could buy some new golf clubs.

"You'll always be able to play golf but, the days you can strap on pads and hit somebody are numbered."

"No not really...they sell that stuff at sporting goods stores. I could suit up and execute perfect cross-blocks on shoppers at the grocery store." No...I didn't say that...out loud.

I had kept my grades up enough to play football and golf. By my senior year, even golf couldn't keep me in the chair. Along with the artwork, I found an article about the golf team playing in the 1990 State Championship. I was in the picture but, listed as absent due to sickness. That was nice of coach Wyatt but, the truth is, I had failed geometry. I didn't know he'd done that until a week later when a friend's mother asked if I was feeling better. Ha.

I was even starting to lose my grip on the read and retain classes. I could still retain absolutely everything I read but it's hard to retain what you don't read. I've still got a note written by one of my English teachers in big red letters..."Erik. I'm at a loss with you. Not only was your paper late but, you quoted something you read on a McDonald's place mat."

I didn't care but, don't mistake my disinterest for ethos. This was no protest. I just didn't have any idea what I wanted to do with my life. It's not that I couldn't figure it out. I never contemplated the question. What? Like a career? Get real!

The least vague notion I had was of maybe going to Art School. I did OK in Art Class or, as you might guess by now, I had done OK in there. Things started to come undone in the first semester of my last year. We were turned loose to pursue our own projects. Mine was hanging out. It was so easy to do...there was a radio in there.

I don't remember the first time I got the construction paper and poster paint out but, I do know that I had no intention of turning these things in. I liked 'em. I still do...the one above, strikes me as especially cohesive and evocative. I don't know.

I was just goofing around...which is the first reason, the art teacher, Mr Duncan?, Doogan?, Deedlebell? hated them.*** I wasn't spending enough...meaning any...time on my assigned projects. That was a reasonable point. It was a class after all.

"Stop the nonsense and get back to work on your project...whatever that it is."

I fully intended to get back on my project once I figured out what it was...maybe another mountainous valley painted entirely with shades of purple. I could take a mulligan on the assignment involving our favorite colour..."reveal something about your character." Boooooring. Where's the construction paper...just while I think about it.

Coupla day's later Mr Dundard walks by, sees the slide there...and goes berserk. At first I'm's his class...he told me to stop...I should've done a better job of hiding them...then he pissed me off.

"I'm not gonna have this pseudo-intellectual crap coming out of my class!"

Pseudo Intellectual? They're stick figures and bright colours! They offer nothing to the intellect. They're anti-intellectual you nob. I was pissed sideways by Mr Dolt's naming and assessing my motivations. Nevermind he was butchering them. It was his trespass and violation of the most precious piece of private property a person owns...that between their ears. This is what's going through my mind when he snatches up another Slide painting...this one on canvas board.

"These are my materials, my canvas board and I wont have it wasted." Then he ripped it in two. Ha Ha What? He was wired for sound y'all...was I about to get the horns? It was hilarious.

The thing you have to understand about Mr.Dellder...he painted trees.Trees that were meant to look like trees in the winter, summer, spring.....fall. Sometimes they were on hills. No matter the season or elevation there was always a small red bird perched on a limb.

Mr. Dabdag had studied Art on a Baseball Scholarship. The school's mascot was a Cardinal. The Art College at Ball State University is not Savanna College of Art and Design but, it's still an art school. You can image how well his trees were received by the cool kids in the Quad. How it stung when he saw the grades of those who were doing pieces that "anybody could can't even tell what it is."

Maybe I had accidentally opened a few wounds. Whatever. They were doodles...good doodles...they were not a hill I intended to die on. I wasn't even turning them in for the love of cup cakes. I gathered up the survivors and shoved them in my bag.

That would've been the end of it if Mr.Dobbins had done a better job gettin' rid of the rent painting but, he'd had his catharsis. He was spent. He just tossed the pieces on the table and left.  One of the other kids in the room, an anxious trouble maker, gathered up the pieces and left.

It wasn't until the next morning, headed to my locker, that I saw, in the otherwise empty trophy  cabinet, my picture on two pieces. Hah. It was funny and I appreciated it but, on the other hand, all I could see was hassle. Mr Duderdoo couldn't help himself from lashing out at the fruity art, and my buddy couldn't resist a cause. I'm sure he would rather have been running a pirate radio station but, you take what you can get in a small town. I didn't care what Mr Doodoo thought of the doodles and I had no interest in some kinda corny high school protest. If I'd just stopped doodling when was told to.

The three of us ended up in the Principals office to hash it out. How stupid is that?

I didn't go to Art School.

* The Teenage Martha...fine, fine, fiiiine as frog hair.
* * During a similar incident, where I had refused similarly stupid instructions..a coach said I was "dumb as horse." This from somebody in sans-a-belt shorts, who continuously tried to run bubble screens without the bubble.
*** It's amazing how my brain has a ridiculous capacity to remember things and how my mind, for reasons unknown, will scrub it clean in parts...I wish I could control it like a Super Power.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yee Haw! Enter the 80's.

Look what I found yesterday... Photobucket I'm almost certain I got this as a present for my 7th birthday. That was the only real birthday party I had as a little kid. It's still got a lot of the pieces too. Photobucket Stuuuupid cops. One of the clearest memories I have from early childhood is seeing a commercial for the premiere of Dukes of Hazzard. There's a couple of reasons it sticks, I was at a friends house. He had a toy spaceship from Battle Star Galactica. It was an early one that shot plastic missiles. Recently a kid had choked to death on one of these missiles and the toy had been taken out of production. This was the horrific discussion, stamped forever into my six year old brain, that our parents were having when the commercial came on. The commercial momentarily wiped that out...and we come to the other reason why this moment sticks out...and replaced it with sever disappointment. I had heard there was going to be a show called Dukes of Hazzard and I had convinced myself that it was going to be a show with Knights and archers like Robin Hood. Crushed. It didn't take long to get over it though and of course, I loved the show. How could you not? I Am Somebody! I found this in the same box...Ha. Photobucket It had to be from a few years later...but, it's definitely early 80's. This is the flippin elementary education I received. Understand, I don't have a problem with Jesse. He's a con artist...and you can't hate the player. If individuals and corporations allow themselves to get got...that's on them. In full disclosure, I should point out that I have shaken the man's hand. It was in Indianapolis. It was in a hospital where Maze's mother worked and Jesse was going through the halls shaking hands.* "Mahh Frrrriendah"...that's what he said as he reached out to grab my hand. Sweetest of all...I was wearin' an Elvis T-Shirt that had a Confederate Battle Flag as a background. I bought the shirt at a leftwing hangout...a punk rock record shop...obviously a different time. Blueeeeeeee.....Orrrrrrrrrrrrange...Blueeeeee.....Orrrrrrrrrange! Then there was true obsession then as now... Photobucket If you look closely you can see a Bulldog being swept up in a Blue and Orange tornado. It's hard to explain just how much I hated the Georgia Bulldogs at this time in my life...almost as much as the Seminoles but, the Gators were beating FSU like a drum at this time. Georgia made clowns of 'em every year. Obviously that was long time ago...b****es. The only actual art teacher I ever had was at Sable Palm Elementary. I'm not positive but I think her name was Ms. Robertson. She had red curly hair and glasses. She was always in a checked shirt and faded jeans...and nike tennis shoes. She was cool and even at that age I remember thinking she was young..and she was compared to the other teachers I had. She had a turn table in the class...always the Lovin' Spoonful. I actually learned things in that least I remember things I was told in the class. For instance, did you know that the reason why many portraits from early American history are so goofy lookin is because they were done by house painters trying to stay busy in the winter? I don't know if it's true or not...but, I remember it. She was great and like I said...the only real art teacher I ever had. Anyway... *This was the same week that Mike Tyson was charged with raping a lady in Indianapolis...there was a Black Expo or something going on there that week. I'll fix the pictures later. If anybody knows why the new blogger won't recognize paragraphs that would be helpful too.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who's Winning?

The most vivid memories I have from childhood involve Gator football...SEC football. These aren't slide shows of partial images jumbled up with bits of conversation and thoughts that may not be congruous. Nothing is obscured behind embarrassment, lost to boredom or flattened by the years. Just pure...almost cinematic memory. For those games, I know where I was, the sequence of events, the emotional impact of those moments and how they lingered like it's happening now.

Still, there was one mystery about these games that confused me for years...a lot of times it was just me and the radio.

Where was my Daddy?

To be sure, the fondest of these memories are with him. There's a Saturday night in 1983, Florid v. LSU in Baton and him huddled in a corner of my parents bedroom because that's the only place the radio would pick up the game. We strained to hear the call between the static and the vibrating roar of the crowd. It was two souls in a suburban bunker during the Cuban Missile Crisis desperate for news.

As the game wore on what we could make out wasn't good. The Gators were winning but LSU led by quarterback Jeff Wickersham was driving the ball deep into Florida territory. I was already trying to convince myself that the Gators had enough time to score once they got the ball back when Wickersham dropped back for what was sure to be a touchdown pass...INTERCEPTION. Wilber Marshall, legendary Florida Linebacker and future NFL Hall-of-Famer, had miraculously snatched the ball out of the air.

It's the very last highlight of these clips. I'd never seen it before writing this.

Florida wide-out Ricky Nattiel said "all hell broke loose on the sidelines"...and on Cascade Dr. in Tallahassee. We made such a ruckus that it scared my Momma and she yelled at us from across the house. We didn't care. That moment is still one of the most joyous outburst I can remember.

Then there are moments like this one from 1984...Georgia.

The Bulldogs had moved the ball to the two yard line...first and goal. Setting up one of the most dramatic moments in football...the Goal Line stand. With four chances to move the ball a couple of yards...mentally you concede the touchdown.

I remember every moment of it...the jawing after the first play and how my heart fell when I thought they'd scored on second down...then elation as it looked like a fumble...and the crash back down when they recovered the ball. That was a cosmic sign. They were going to score...DROPPED FOR A LOSS. Fourth down!

I'd been laying on some pillows in front of the tv the whole time...squeezing the pillows, banging on the pillows, beating my head against the pillows. I can still remember the feeling of my coupled fist pressing against my forehead as I instinctively moved into a position of more time. I could hear the lawnmower outside and I thought about trying to get Daddy but there wasn't enough time...please just one more stop.

Pillows flew...a moment only dampened by the absence of my Daddy.

I showed him the video the other day. He asked me..."When was that boy...when did that happen?" " happened while you were cuttin' the grass."

It wasn't until I got a little older that I realized he just couldn't stand watching sometimes...he just couldn't take it. We bought him a brick at Florida Field a couple of years ago with the inscription..."Who's Winning?". Some of the greatest Gator moments of the 80's I listen to by myself...and as a consolation I got to deliver a lot of good news.

It wasn't always good though...and it's a cold night in the fall of 1982 that sticks out the most. I was sitting in a chair in our kitchen, lit only by a small fluorescent light above the sink..listening as the Gators lost to flippin' Vanderbilt. That was about as low as it could get.

Just one week before me and Daddy were ridin' high as Cheech and Chong. The Gators were ranked 4th in the nation and we were going to Florida Field for the first time to watch the Gators beat up on unranked LSU. It didn't go that unknown LSU back named Dalton Hilliard left that game a superstar and we left broken hearted. Obviously the Gators were pretty tore up about it too...losin' to Vanderbilt the next weekend...flippin Vanderbilt.

BUT...It all helped set the scene for the next year, there's always next and Daddy huddled in the corner around a radio desperate for revenge hearing the words INTERCEPTION..a moment me and him have never really stopped celebrating.

Next up...Adam and the Georgia Bulldogs.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grandaddy at My Age...Daddy as a Teenager

Last night as we waited for an apple pie to come out of the oven, my Grandaddy's sweet tooth and diabetes came up.

"How old was he when he when he was diagnosed?"

"Thirty eight...and we wouldn't have found out then if Momma hadn't tricked him into going to the doctor. He thought he was takin' her....boy that's one of the few times he ever really got mad with me."

"Why with you?"

"I wasn't so sure about them people he'd, I set him an appointment in Tallahassee. He just did not like goin' to the Dr."

I'm 38. Same age as my Grandaddy while all this was goin' on. My Daddy would have been a teenager or maybe his very early twenties.

How am I suppose to actually process and conceive a story where my Grandaddy's my age and my daddy's a teenager?

What like...Fred made an appointment for George and....NO.

Whenever it happened it happened in my mind in the early 80's...that's when and how I mostly remember my Daddy and Grandaddy together before Gradaddy passed away.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Post #11

Earlier this week I stood in my drive pondering an asinine observation that I'd been presented with.

The next night at Five Guys I was asked to consider what I wanted on my hamburger and announce my decision to the girl takin''s like required. Well that too turned out to be an utterly meaningless moment in time.

Of course I got the soggy, wilted lettuce pasted with mayonnaise to the top bun of my cheeseburger.

My expectations for burger stands aren't high...and it wasn't my last meal, it wasn't even that they didn't do what I asked them to do...what I was paying them to do.

It's the pointless exchange...a Kabuki Dance. And like the fact that a Latin batter can't hit pitchers named Dave this episode has been filed and is now taking up space in my brain...they never go away.

No wonder it's a struggle to maintain worthwhile memories.

Course I don't know what I did today that's gonna stand out 20 years from now...
Me and the boy watched Bo Diddly videos while his Mamma got ready for church.
I went to meet somebody who didn't show up for coffee.
I was an usher at church.
Sermon on Faith was good Abraham, Mary and Martha, Kierkegaard
I had some dirty rice that was pretty good for dinner.
Cleaned my pipe
Went and got some coffee...smoked the pipe.
Went to the grocery...not really seeing anything durable enough to last.

Weird. I enjoyed the day and this is certainly not a call or declaration to make every moment count. Who's got the energy for that crap? We live memories though...grasp on yesterday has already started to weakin. Lord willin I'll be sittin' somewhere 10 years from now with just a handful of memories from this whole year...most of what I'm doing right now is destined for the void. The implications are just weird.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Post #10

Sometimes I hear things that are painfully vapid and stupid, but they're presented in such a way that you don't really have a choice but to follow them out to their ludicrous, meanigless ends. Like coming to a four way stop with three dead ends.

I had the sports radio on in my little room the other night...Finebaum had been off for hours, but I just hadn't bothered to turn it. Anyway...the top of the hour sports news comes on and the announcer states that some batter...he had a latin name I can't remember...was "still having trouble with pitchers named Dave."

Seriously? Did somebody write that down believing it was worth pointing out? Are we to believe that this batter has some sorta mental hang up with pitchers named Dave. Are there managers out there desperately seeking pitchers named Dave to deal with him? Evidently you could just pick somebody from the stands named Dave and put him on the mound...or maybe there's some tendency in all pitchers named Dave that present a problem for this batter. Anybody bother to ask about their middle names?

What, for the love of cupcakes, am I supposed to take from this information?

Nothin' it's just some inane observation about a coincidence...a verbal and mental rice cake. Yet, I can't help myself from taking a's been politely offered up.

How much of our brain space you reckon is clogged up with memories of crap like this?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post #3 1/2

The wife's been reading the blog...again!

I guess at least this way I don't have to watch her looking at me like I've got a peanut bush growing from my head.

Post #2 was depressing...Post #3 is confusing.  This was her response...

"I was anticipating something specific that happened prior to your non memory of memory."

This is the mental hall of mirrors that I live in.

Sugar it's just an observation about memory as memory...I'm not even sure if I remember the actual event at all any more.

Love, e.f.