Saturday, August 09, 2003

Hey Doug! It's really good to see your Times Romans on the screen. Last I heard you were teaching at Northeastern in Boston?, and I know you're married and now have a baby? I saw you at Todd's wedding, but we didn't get to talk. It's good to know you're around the blog.
Yes, the Appalachian Fair is on its way. My memories are similar to yours, I guess - the ducks; the strange Lynchian connection; the music that I remember was once really great. I also saw Merle Haggard there, with my parents. I remember my Dad saying to me, "Don't ever forget this." My dad used to win some tacky stuffed animal for me at those booths. I remember in particular a pink and white bear, huge, full of those beans that, in a few days, were flying around my bedroom after I'd already punched a hole in the thing. I remember a lot of guys spitting and me trying to imitate them, including my dad, who, when he was trying to quit smoking, would chew Red Man.

On the other end of the spectrum, this weekend here, in J.C., the 7th annual Umoja Festival is being held Fri. through Sun.. It usually goes on in Carver Park. Umoja is Swahili for Unity. It's basically an African/African-American celebration. Do you believe it? This year, it was held at Freedom Hall, and I've enjoyed it - a lot of booths with crafts from West Africa, and even Caribbean and African cuisine. Pretty amazing for around here. One booth, Joan's Caribbean Cuisine, served some great jerk chicken and other stuff. Art dealers up from Atlanta and other places. African music. I've been really impressed, and it's the first year I've heard about it. It receives little advertising though, mainly in a small paper here called News and Neighbor. Did anyone else in J.C. see or hear any other advertisements?

Lisa, I don't know why forgetting about a murder would make you feel you're going insane. But if it helps, I remember that murder. I didn't know the people, though. I heard about it through Randy Hixson, soon after it first happened. I remember he went to the funerals. (s). There was all this upset, naturally. It's funny, how you hear a story, about something that actually happened to people you don't know but, in a way, do know indirectly, and how you replay it in your mind. Also everyone who tells it, tells it differently, since they weren't there, of course. I always picture a squarish blue car, and then a series of events, certain clothing, hair a certain length, a smell in the air...I imagine standing there while it happened, or watching from above, like I'm flying. And then, I do know Jerry Henninger, who has performed in several J.C. bands, was dating the woman at the time she was killed.

Later, when I was working at Buffalo Mtn. Camp, in the retreat center (late 90's), we had this group of Jesuit priests come in from all over the country for a conference. One of the priests, a guy from Detroit, wanted me to take him somewhere "scenic". I decided on Beauty Spot, even though I hadn't been up there since the murder. On the way there, I told him what happened. What I'd heard. He was wearing his priest's robe too. Brown, with a hood; I shit you not. He was from Detroit, and my story "triggered" (pardon the pun) a memory of his own, when a man threatened to kill him in the inner city. I remember he said something priestly and profound, while this person held a gun to his head. He said something like, "If you feel this is something you must do, for your own well-being or someone else's, then I am ready to help." The guy dropped his gun in the road and ran off, he said. We got to Beauty Spot. It was foggy and drizzling rain, and he prayed the entire time we stood up there. I haven't been up there since.

On An Entirely Different Note:: I just need to discuss this. It's funny, not long ago, my brother called me. While we were talking on the phone, his voice echoed; you know, like he was in the bathroom or somethin'. I ignored it, and we talked, and then, while he was trying to tell me something, his voice was straining.
I'm like, "What's wrong? What're you doing?" He says, "I'm taking a shit."


Needless to say, I hung up on him. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, and it has happened to me more than once, not only with family, but friends too. Why do people feel it's ok to talk on the phone while they piss or shit now? Is it just because we are now free to do so?--unencumbered as we are now of the twisty chord? Somehow, the removal of the telephone chord has created this situation that, call me old-fashioned, I find disturbing. It's like, people now think, "Man, I'm so relieved; I no longer have to piss alone?" One of the things that's always comforted me is that I DO piss alone, and shit alone, and I will continue to do so and hope others will do the same. We need to nip this in the bud. What's next? You're eating dinner with soemone, and they just drop trow and piss right there in the floor so as not to interrupt the "natural flow" of conversation? Or, suddenly, being alone in a bathroom stall is disturbing, creating some kind of unwanted separation anxiety that---now--is unnecessary because, hey, I can always call someone while I'm pissin'?
I'm ready for a bumper sticker. So--while everyone is thinking of Lynchian J.C. moments per Doug's request, maybe they can come up with a good bumper sticker for this problem?



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