Saturday, July 31, 2004

A good day draws to a close…..

I’ve had a wonderful day. It was full of things that make life worth living. My great aunt Jessie had her birthday supper tonight. She is eighty seven years old and going strong. We cooked steaks on the grill and made homemade vanilla ice cream from my grandmother’s recipe. Alaine and Paige came over to accompany me to this. It is so good to have close friends again after such a long drought.

My sister drove down from Birmingham to join us and I had a good time talking to her out on the front porch. We talked about her residency at UAB medical center and various medical things. She was very keen on asking me about substance abuse and what works and doesn’t work. She is seeing a lot of older veterans who are riddled with alcohol abuse and she wanted to know what has worked for me. I tried my best to enlighten her about my experiences. I explained Alcoholics Anonymous and how the process works.

After the supper, Alaine wanted to spend time with me alone. We took Paige home and sat in the car in the driveway. I drove, thank god, as Alaine cannot drive worth a shit. Bless her soul.

“Can we go to the movies again?” Alaine asked.

“Sure, sweetheart. Where do you want to go and what do you want to see?” I asked.

I knew what the answer was.

“Let’s go to Lagrange and see Catwoman.” Alaine replied.

I had to give in as we saw what I wanted to see last weekend. I owed her one and had to relent.

“Sure thing doll. We are headed that way now.” I replied and we gave each other a big hug across the seats.

I drove up to Lagrange, Georgia and found the movie theaters. I hadn’t been up here in years. I was a much better experience than the Auburn theaters. It was practically deserted and the theater was nice and clean.

I didn’t pay much attention to the movie. The movie quite frankly sucked. I spent my time looking at her face with the soft glow of the screen upon it. She looked radiant.

“What are you looking at?” She said with a smile.

“Something very beautiful.” I replied and she smiled again.

“Quit, you are making me blush.” Alaine said.

“Just ignore this love struck fool.” I said as she giggled and went back to watching the movie.

After the movie, we drove back down to West Point Georgia to West Point Lake and sat at the waters edge. The night had grown cool and comfortable. She had on a sleeveless shirt and said she was cold. I held her tight.

“Would you have ever thought you would actually meet someone on the internet?” Alaine asked.

I just chuckled and smiled.

“Not someone like you.” I replied.

“Are you glad you met me?” She asked me.

“You bring joy to my soul darling. You have changed my life.” I replied.

The sound of the lake waves hitting the shore reminded me of the ocean. It was a romantic setting. You could make out the white and green marker lights of boats as they made their way back to the docks to head home for the day.

We finally made our way back home. She decided to stay over here with me tonight. She called her mom and made sure she was okay. She is currently sound asleep in the bed as I type this. I am not to far from it myself. I am yawning more and more frequently as the minutes pass. Good night my friends and I hope your weekend has been as wonderful as mine.

Friday, July 30, 2004

I no longer have a dog and George goes down…..

I hate to say this but I had to give the dog back. My father said he didn’t want me to have a dog in the house and I have to respect his wishes. I do not have a fence and if the dog were to run free then I would be in violation of the local leash laws.

I had a long talk with the owner yesterday and we came to a solution. I am to walk the dog everyday and make sure she has food and water. I will also poop scoop the feces off the porch. I have plenty of time and do not mind doing this. I just want that dog to have a decent life. I am afraid I have become attached to her and now feel I have a stake in her well being. I encouraged the owner to see about finding her a permanent home and he told me to keep an eye out. He would have given her to me as he said he cannot afford to keep her up. In the mean time, I will be her surrogate father.

In other news…..George got busted. Yes, there goes my blog comedy material. I don’t mean to sound callous by this but I write it just the way I see it. George was hilarious to me and his antics were amusing. I couldn’t help George and I knew trying would be fruitless. I have had my own battles with substance abuse and I now full well that only you can change you. You and only you can help you out of such a battle.

I walked down to the Piggly Wiggly this afternoon to buy, of all things, ketchup. I was out and needed some to eat some chicken nuggets I had bought a few days before. Slop was sitting outside the store on the bench as I walked up along with Cap with Tag Guy.

“Yo, white boy!” Slop said.

Cap with Tag Guy just nodded his head hello as usual.

“What’s up Slop?” I asked. I was hoping he wasn’t going to hit me up for money as usual.

“Ole George got busted last night.” Slop said with a smile on his face.

“What a friend.” I thought to myself.

“Busted for what?” I asked Slop.

“Weed, man…..fucking weed! Can you believe that?” Slop said while giggling.

“Felony or misdemeanor?” I asked back.

“Misdemeanor, I think. He should be out this afternoon if his moms can get up the bail.” Slop replied.

“That’s fucked up!” Cap with Tag Guy blurted out.

You really can’t believe what these guys tell you so I will just wait and see what happens.
George’s mom lives on her social security allotment so I doubt she can get the bail up soon unless she has some kind of means that I do not know about. It looks like George may be in jail for quite some time if what they say is true. I will let you all know what I find out and whether he gets bailed out.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

An evening in the woods……..

I was reading trail journals yesterday evening and I got a bug up my butt. I just had to head to Waverly and go camping. It was in the spirit of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Reading the journals made me want to get into the woods.

I gathered all my gear and packed it up and put it in the car. I then drove by the grocery store and got provisions for supper. I wanted a campfire supper. I then drove the thirty minutes to God’s country or Waverly Alabama where my family owns some timber land on a dirt road.

It was a beautiful evening with hardly a cloud in the sky. I sat for a long time just leaned up against an enormous loblolly pine tree listening to the radio. I listened to NPR as all the talk AM stations had sports shows on. Nothing bores me more than AM sports talk.

I then got a roaring fire started and cooked some hotdogs. I skewered the wieners on some hard wood oak sticks that I had whittled off the bark. It was a simple supper but tasted good. You can’t beat Hebrew National franks.

After supper, I sat on the hill above the meadow and watched the sun slowly sink down below the horizon. At first, you think that it will never set and then things accelerate and the sun seems to jog towards its date with the edge of the earth. I hurriedly got ready for nightfall as the light decreased.

After dark, I laid in my tent a long time listening to the night time sounds as I read a book by candlelight. I have a little candle lantern that puts out a surprising amount of light. I am reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe. It is a good book. It is just slow starting and sometimes hard to read because of the language.

During the night, I was awoken to the sound of deer mulling outside my tent. They heard me move and screeched, snorted, and bolted off into the forest. This always makes my heart race and scares me. I don’t care how many times this happens it always make me almost wet my pants.

I cooked a breakfast of sausage and eggs this morning over my camp stove and then packed up my tent and all my gear and headed home. I have just been taking it easy today. I am going to get out and work in the yard in just a bit. Take care and good day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dumpster Diving Dan…….

I try to take an early walk everyday. It helps to clear my mind. If I start out early enough I always see this old man dumpster diving behind the Piggly Wiggly. This morning I stopped to talk to him as he waved hello. I was interested in just what he was finding in there every morning. I will call him Dumpster Diving Dan for the purpose of this blog as I do not know his real name.

“Good morning!” Dumpster Dan said as he waved.

“Good morning!” I replied.

“Trying to get things done before it gets too hot; it is going to be a scorcher today.” Dan replied.

“What do you find in the dumpsters? Anything good? I see you out here almost every morning.” I asked and replied.

“The night shift goes through and throws out all the out of date things overnight. I find meat, veggies, and other things. I rarely have to buy groceries. I shouldn’t tell you this as I am giving out my secret.” Dan said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t take over your secret. I am not too fond of dumpster diving.” I said as I laughed.

Dan just laughed and his head disappeared below the dumpster’s side as he went back to work. He was standing knee deep in trash with some rubber hip waders on.

“You actually eat that stuff? Doesn’t it make you sick?” I asked as I was intrigued.

Dan poked his head back up.

“Nah, that’s why I hit the dumpsters so early in the morning. The food hasn’t had time to spoil. Those sell by dates are never right and you never get sick. They throw away perfectly good food every night.” Dan replied.

“Well, let me continue with my walk. Good morning to ya and good luck.” I replied and started back on my morning walk. My curiosity had been quelled.

Dumpster Diving Dan peaks my interest because he doesn’t look poor and he drives a later model Toyota pickup that is in nice condition. He must be so cheap as to do this everyday. I have heard of people who are so frugal they go to such extreme measures. I bet he has a large sum of money saved up somewhere and will die without ever spending it. I sometimes think that this can be a kind of mental disease.

I had a great uncle like that. He died with hundreds of thousands of dollars in several checking accounts He lived as if he was poor and you would have never known he was rich. We were all stunned after he had passed away and they settled his estate. He lived a pauper’s existence.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A case of animal cruelty……

I have been hearing a dog whimpering over at my neighbor’s house. There were a bunch of younger kids living there and they moved out a few months ago. Apparently, they left the dog behind and come over every few days to feed it. I was curious as to its condition and snuck over today through the side yard to check on it. I was appalled at what I found.

They had the dog penned in on a 6 X 4 foot porch. It had defecated all over the porch and it looked like they hadn’t picked up the feces in weeks. The dog also had no food and water. It was starved for attention. It is a black and white female not much older than a puppy. I would say around 5 to 6 months old. She was so glad to see me and just whined and whimpered and jumped all around trying to get my affection. She was clearly malnourished as you could see her ribs and her backbone.

I decided to take action. I let her out of the pen and she followed me back home. I put down a bowl of water and she greedily lapped it up. I then opened a big can of salmon and put in on a paper plate and she ate it as if she hadn’t eaten in many days. She was just so glad to be out of that pen and get some attention and TLC. She is a sweetheart of a dog and really well tempered. She comes when you call her and has not strayed from sitting outside the door waiting on me.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I hate to call the humane society as I fear she will just languish in a pen and eventually be put to sleep. I could call the police on an animal cruelty charge. I think I will wait and catch the owner and talk to him. He is a young kid in his late teens or early twenties. Maybe a stern talking to and a threat of police action will alleviate the situation and cause him to start taking better care of the dog. From now until that time the dog will just stay over here with me. I am going to give her a bath and clean her up and keep her well fed and watered for a few days and wait for them to show up.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Sadness prevails…..

I feel sad tonight. I am immensely lonely and want human contact. Alaine had to work all day and with her disability it drains her so. She has to bust her ass to make it through sometimes and it does not leave much for me. I understand completely and give her space during such times. I do not bother her much on week nights. I want to go over to my parent’s house but I know mom will just be in the bed and Dad doesn’t get home sometimes till 10 am. I crave human contact yet I want to be alone. It is a strange dilemma.

It is times like this that I can understand why the homeless guy bolted and just took off. I am having those feelings tonight. I want to just escape into the woods. I want to live off of the land. I want to be self sufficient and to not rely on others. I want to learn the ways of my Native American fore bearers and live a meaningful life. I want a life with substance and meaning.

I try to tell myself that things could be much worse. I could live in true poverty. I know that most of you that read may think that what I draw would be considered well below the poverty line but I see things differently. I have great wealth compared to many in the world. I also think about being incarcerated. I could have none of the freedoms I have now. I have the freedom to do what I want when I want it pretty much. I have food, plenty of clean water, air conditioning, a soft, warm bed; I have so many things to be thankful of.

That’s the hard thing about the getting the funks. It is hard to see what you have and you tend to dwell on what you don’t have. I will try to dismiss the funks tonight. I wish I had a pill to take to knock me out until my frame of mind changes. That would be nice to go to sleep and awake to a new day and a new frame of mind. I will just have to make it by. I think I will set the tent up in the back yard and read a book by candle light and listen to the night time sounds. Maybe that will put my aching heart at ease. I just need comfort.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

End of the Evening and another encounter with George…..

We had a great night last night except for one thing. Note to self…..never go to the theater in a college town on Saturday night. The theater was filled with teenagers and college age students more interested in who was calling on their cell phones and making out. They were not too interested in seeing a movie and it was distracting to say the least. They were there for the “scene” and being seen. I cannot judge them too harshly though. I was that age once and I understand the mindset.

(hehe, we ended up seeing Spidey 2. After a nice meal, I pleaded with her and she gave in. No crappy Catwoman flick.)

We did go to Outback to eat and it was good. We didn’t have to wait long until the little square electronic gizmo buzzed and announced a table was ready. I had the Rock Hampton Rib eye and Alaine had some kind of Shrimp dish. I don’t eat out often and it was a real treat. It was well worth the expense. Alaine enjoyed herself and I think we both were just glad to get out and about and out of the house.

I have been lazy today. I walked down to the Piggly Wiggly to get some stuff to make a chicken casserole for supper and to eat on tomorrow as well. There was George sitting at the bench with slop and cap with tag guy.

“Whazzupppp, my brotha!!!!!” George cried out.

“Hey George. Doesn’t this heat drive you guys crazy sitting out here?” I asked.

“Ah, you gets used to it!” George said.

George got up and pulled me off to the side away from the other guys.

“I gots a proposition for yas.” George said with a lowered voice.

Here we go. I knew what was going to happen next. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a zip lock baggy full of a green/grey substance.

“Its good weed man, good stuff. Guaranteed to fuck you up. I will let you have the bag for forty. It’s a deal my brotha!” George whispered to me.

I just laughed. George is going to get busted soon and then I will not have any comedy material to write about. He is walking a very thin line and sooner or later will veer off course. The police are actively watching him.

“No thanks George. I don’t do dope. I don’t need to add to my problems.” I said as I walked away and into the store.

“You lets me know, you lets me know.” George hollered back as I walked in. He always says this after such an encounter.

Now, I am no saint. I tried weed a couple of times in college and it made me so paranoid that it was not a fun experience. I couldn’t enjoy myself and have never pursued it since. I think it has something to do with my schizophrenia. Marijuana + Paranoid Schizophrenia is not a good mix. I would be shooting myself in the foot.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Now this is more like it……

This is how life should be; squabbling over inconsequential things till we get our way. :^) This is a much needed distraction. I and Alaine have been arguing all afternoon via the phone and email. She wants to go see a movie and I told her I would pay and take her. She wants a “classic” date with a meal and a movie. I don’t want to see Catwoman though and she does. It got horrible reviews that you can read here. If James Berardenelli says it sucks then I won’t see it.

I want to see spider man 2. I was a big Marvel comics fan as a youth and still have a huge collection stored away in my parent’s basement. I am going to spend a lot of money tonight on dinner and a movie and I DO NOT WANT TO SEE A MOVIE THAT SUCKS! *laughs* Especially, not if I am forking out big bucks on a frivolous expense like tonight. I, at least, want to make it worth my time.

“But I want to see Catwoman. I love Halle Berry.” Alaine whined.

“But Spiderman 2 is a good movie and it has a love story to boot.” I said.

“Can we go see Catwoman, please?” She pleaded.

Jesus Christ. I am stuck in a dilemma. She has seen the commercials on TV and I hope it is not out in the theater yet. Maybe it is still in preliminary showings for critics and big wigs.

“Let’s go grab a bite to eat and then we will decide when we get there, okay?” I replied.

“Outback? *pause* Pleasssseeeeee?” Alaine pleaded.

“Okay, okay, we can go to Outback but we can only eat a salad.” I said waiting for a reaction. The other end got really quiet. Jesus, she had to pick one of the more expensive restaurants in Auburn.

“I’m kidding. I am just kidding. You can have anything on the menu you want sweetheart.” I replied while laughing really hard. I had her going.

I need to go get in the shower and then get dressed. I am going all out tonight with my Docker khaki slacks, my nice stripped green dress shirt, and my Cole Hahn dress shoes. I am going to give her a night to remember. Maybe, just maybe, the evening will last longer than I expect. (hint, hint) I need to shut up and go get a bath. Good night for now.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Pirates of the Valley……

Man, is it hot today. My thermometer shows 95 degrees and the probe is in the shade. I bet it is close to 100 in the open. I am going to try and stay in as much as possible.

I broke one of my frugal rules this afternoon. I turned on the air conditioner. I was just sitting here soaking wet with sweat and decided to compromise. I gave in. I set the thermostat on 80 degrees and at least that is better than sitting here in ninety degree weather sweating my ass off. I wonder what people did in the south before air conditioning. I guess you just got used to it. That’s why all the old homes like my parents house had twenty foot ceilings so the heat would rise. My parents house was built in 1923 and has enormously tall vaulted ceilings. It is a really neat house and if my digital camera wasn’t torn up I would post some pictures.

I just got back from the Piggly Wiggly and am glad to be out of the heat. I saw George but managed to avoid him. I didn’t want to fool with that crap today. The last thing I wanted was to stand in the heat and hear George’s antics. Sorry, no George post today.

I did stop by the flea market on the way home. It is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The pirate booth was open and I was amazed at what software and DVDs they had for sell and the prices. I am still amazed that something like this is going on in such a small town such as Lanett; a little Podunk town in the middle of nowhere Alabama.

They had Macromedia studio mx 2004 for $50 bucks and that software goes for hundreds of dollars retail. They had windows server 2003 for $50 bucks as well. They also had Adobe Photoshop for $50 bucks. I then walked over to look at the DVDs. They had all the current in-theater favorites for 10 bucks. They had I, Robot, Spiderman 2, King Arthur and many others that are not yet out in retail. They also had tons of popular music CDs at $5 bucks each. I mean everything is current and up to date.

These folks are going to get busted sooner or later and busted hard. They are a nice dressed black couple. The lady is heavy set but wears very expensive jewelry. They must be making a killing because there is always a ton of people crowded around their booth. I wonder if the local police would even care.

Well, let me go work on my computer. I am going to reinstall WindowsXP and clean things up. This should take over an hour but I love to have a nice, fresh install of windows every few weeks on my main computer. Good day.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A date with my friend Risperdal……

I had two stories to tell so I broke them into two different entries as they are unrelated.

I had to take my shot this morning at the doctor’s office. Normally, this is a routine affair but today was different. I tend to be very modest about exposing myself and this ordeal always makes me uncomfortable.

Today was doubly hard. My usual nurse Laurie was off and I had to use the next available nurse. She had never administered this kind of shot. It is a complicated process and not like just a regular injection.

“This is the most convoluted thing I have ever seen.” She said aloud.

This did not instill confidence in me at all.

She fumbled for a long time trying to figure out the process. I sat on the bench waiting and the waiting made my anxiety increase. I also hated to have to pull my pants down to a complete strange and bear my ass.

Finally, she had the injection ready.

“Hon, pull your pants down for me.” She said.

Here is goes……there was a slight pause.

“Big stick so be ready.” She said.

I jerked as she stuck it in really fast. I felt as if someone had stuck a rusty nail into my ass cheek. Man, did it burn.

“All done sweetheart, you call pull your pants back up now.” She replied with a smile on her face.

Boy, was I glad to get that over with. I am so glad to be home and to have that anxiety filled process over with.

I hope tough mornings turn into beautiful afternoons……

Today has been an emotional roller coaster. I had written in a comment on the Frumpy Professor’s site that life can sometimes have a way of throwing a monkey wrench into your machinery and stopping the processes.

I got a pitiful call from my 86 year old great aunt this morning. It was around 7 am. I get up before the sun comes up. She wanted me to come and live with her. She told me she gets lonely and loves me and needs me to help take care of her. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as she talked to me. I feel a certain responsibility for her because of my Meemaw. She would want me to see about her.

“I will cook us breakfast and lunch and you could till the land and start a garden.” She said. “You need to get the old rototiller running.”

The old rototiller in the barn is seventies vintage and probably hasn’t been cranked in years. It would be a project unto itself.

“Myrt, I am buying a house soon but will start staying over with you a few nights a week. You know I love you.” I replied.

“There is no reason for you to spend all that money on a house when you can come live with me. My house is paid for and we can go fishing everyday down at the backwater.” She replied.

“Myrt, I can’t do that just yet. I have responsibilities here and cannot just up and leave them.” I replied feeling guilty.

“Will you come and stay two nights next week?” She asked.

“You can count on it. We will go pick some figs from Bonseil’s house and make some more preserves.” I told her.

“I want you to get me some late tomatoes started and we will get a bed for fall collard greens ready.” She said.

“If I can get that tiller working then we will have us some tomatoes and greens this fall.” I replied to placate her.

“Well, you stay out of trouble and I will be looking for you next week.” She replied

We said our goodbyes and the customary I love you and hung up the phone.

It would be a fantasy of mine to go live with her but I would have to give up much as well. She lives a rigid, pious lifestyle and I would have to conform to her wishes. She goes to bed around 7 PM eastern time. I would HAVE to go to the little Baptist church every Sunday and Sunday school as well. That means dressing up in itchy, uncomfortable Sunday suits. Internet is out of the question. She still uses a rotary dial phone that is sixties vintage. The ancient phone lines couldn’t handle the internet. I have tried with a dial up account and my old laptop when I was over there one day just out of curiousity.

I would love to live in the country though. She also has a mint condition 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo that has sit covered in the garage for years that I could tinker with and get running again. I think I will just compromise with her and start staying a few nights every week. Lets just see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Taking it one day at a time…..

I had an interesting AA meeting last night. We were focusing on taking things one day at a time and how this can help us with an addiction. I tend to try and tackle too many things at once and I know I should just concentrate on the day before me and not the rest of the week or my whole life. Sure, it is smart to plan for the future but I must concentrate on not taking a drink or smoke today first. Let what tomorrow brings come and focus on today. Tomorrow I will treat it the same way; one day at a time. This helps keep a seemingly unmanageable problem seem manageable.

I’ve had a good day today. The social security situation is taken care of and this is a great burden off of me. I thought it would be complicated but it was simple. I and my father just had to show some ID and then sign some forms and that was it. The next month the check will come to my parents.

On the ride home, I had a long conversation with my father.

“What are you going to do with the rest of your day Dad?” I asked.

He sighed

“I’ve got to take your great aunt to go pick okra at a friend’s garden and then take her to the grocery store back down in Opelika.” He said. “It’s my off day and I am worn out. I have to do this every Wednesday.”

My father still hasn’t recovered from his long drive to San Diego last week to move my brother and his wife.

I had a bright idea. This idea would be a good way of further regaining my father’s trust and to pay him back for all he has done for me.

“Dad, I will take her and will do this every Wednesday for you.” I said.

“Are you sure? It’s a big responsibility and you will have to do it every Wednesday.” He said.

“Don’t worry I will take care of it. I am going to start spending one night with her every week as well.” I replied.

“She will be thrilled to death to see you and even more if you start staying over there some during the week.” He replied sounding relieved.

My great aunt Myrtis was born in 1918 and is 86 years old. She still gets around well and you would think she was in her late sixties or early seventies. She can be a pain to deal with sometimes but always treat me well.

I drove over to God’s country (Waverly, Alabama) and went to Myrtis’s house. She was thrilled to see me and had a country lunch fixed. We ate cornbread, fried corn, snap beans with okra and new potatoes and a dessert of sliced peaches sprinkled with sugar.

After lunch, we drove a long ways out a dirt road to a friend of hers house. We spent an hour picking fresh okra out of their garden. After that, we drove down to the Winn Dixie in Opelika and bought her groceries. It didn’t take very long even though she walks at a snails pace. She bought a lot of stuff for making homemade preserves and jellies.

We finally arrived home and she showed me how to make homemade fig preserves. She knows a lot of homesteading knowledge that is almost lost to my generation. I eagerly watched what she did and wrote down the directions and the recipe. She said next week she will show me how to can and store tomatoes and green beans. I don’t want this kind of knowledge lost and will be there next week.

Well, I’ve had a busy day and sorry for such a long post. I am going to fix supper and then kick my feet up on the porch with a good book and an icy cold glass of tea. Be well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A Close Encounter of the George Kind…….

I haven’t seen George in days. I was wondering what happened to him. He is always down at the Piggly Wiggly as long as the sun is up. The rumor was that he was in jail. Slop told me a few days ago that it was on drug charges. I tend to take anything the guys down at the pig say with a grain of salt.

I walked down this morning to buy some eggs and bacon for breakfast. I also needed a fresh loaf of bread. As I walked up to the door, there sat George and Slop. Slop was just sitting there sweating drinking a coke and George looked down trodden as he sat on the bench.

“What’s up my brotha?” George said to me as I walked up. He said it without his usual enthusiasm.

“Hey man, I was wondering about you. Where have you been?” I asked back.

“Man, it be tha police. They be tryin to keeps a brotha down.” George replied.

“Why? What happened?” I asked out of curiosity.

“I gots charged on public drunkenness out here in front of the sto the other nights. I had no moneys for bail until my moms could get it up. I sat in Chambers county jail a few days.” George replied with a hint of anger in his voice.

I thought to myself that it really wasn’t the police’s fault. Our small force here is majority black and they tend to be nice fellows. They are not your typical small town southern police force. I wanted to lecture George that his actions got him into jail and not the police. I personally have seen them let George get away with a great many things. I decided this would be a fruitless endeavor and kept my mouth shut.

“When is your court date?” I asked.

“Next month, I thinks.” George replied.

“Well, don’t miss that court date or you will be looking at more than just a fine. They will put a warrant out for your arrest and you will surely have to do some time then.” I replied.

George just replied, “Fuck da Police!”

“I will see ya later man. I am hungry and have breakfast on the brain. Stay out of trouble George.” I replied.

Slop, as usual, asked for money and I just played the poor broke white boy. I bought what I needed and then headed home to cook breakfast.

Monday, July 19, 2004

New Developments…..

It looks like my house is going to come to fruition. My Father told me last night that he is pretty confident that we are getting the house. He is going to co-sign with me on the loan. I have a key and rode over this afternoon and had a look around. It such a neat house but it is very small. I sat on the sofa for awhile just soaking it all in. I am so proud and almost giddy with excitement. I will have a type of stability that I have not had in years. It will be my own home and a place to put all my belongings. The only downside is that I will be in my sixties before I have the mortgage paid off but that makes the monthly payments affordable for me.

On the smoking cessation front, I haven’t had any cigarettes in days. I still do smoke my pipe occasionally though. I rely on the nicorette gum to help with my cravings and to put something in my mouth. I am going to get a prescription for Zyban Wednesday and that will help with my anxiety and cravings from quitting. I am going to put down my pipe as well for monetary reasons. It is already saving me a great deal of money by quitting the cigarettes. Other than the extreme cravings, I am feeling better.

Also on Wednesday I have an appointment with social security to get that account out of my ex-wife’s name. My father is going to go with me and help with the paperwork. I hope to get this taken care of and get Rachel off as my representative payee seeing as that we don’t have anything to do with each other anymore.

I hope this finds you all well. As you can see I have lots of encouraging things going on in my life. I feel like the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together. Thanks for reading and sharing in on the journey I am taking. I bid you now good afternoon as I need to get some supper started. I am craving a southern style home cooked meal.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Road trip……

I see that the homeless guy and has gone and done a runner. What happened to his position on the mayor’s task force to end homeless? We all have responsibilities and must do things we don’t want to do. I hate cutting the grass but it is something I have to do to keep a home. I hate living on a shoestring budget but know I would go hungry if I do not carefully plan. He had a chance to get back into his children’s lives since he had a home and what does he do? He dumps it all and takes a road trip across the country. I figured this would happen so I am not too surprised. I guess I shouldn’t read his site and try not to but it draws me back for some reason.

I was thinking just then of him using the system to his advantage. Somebody has to pay and work for the services he utilizes. I wonder if he ever thinks of the morality of using these services when he is perfectly capable of keeping a home. That is one less bed or meal for the truly needy. Now he is going on a sight seeing tour of the local shelter near you. I just find him and the way he acts to being extremely frustrating. You rarely read of success stories when it comes to homeless people. I wanted to read about him finally, for once, getting things right and getting back into his children’s lives. If I had two children, I would do what it takes to take care of them and support them even if it meant me having to go through hell and back to do it.

I think Kevin is a professional homeless person and because of his beliefs and ideologies he will always be homeless. It really has nothing to do with his ability to keep a home. He has demonstrated that he can. I guess I could go live that way as well. I would be quite well off if I had food and lodging provided for me free. I could buy lots of nonsense. Go to the movies all the time. Eat ribeye steaks for supper. Man, I could have a grand time with no worries and no responsibilities. I could travel the country riding the rails and living the life of a hobo. I have often fantasized about such a carefree, transient lifestyle.

I cannot do that though. I have a family who loves me and needs me. I have responsibilities that must be taken care of. I have Alaine and she needs me and my friendship. I have so many things and sometimes it is hard. Family can be hard to deal with. Relationships always don’t go so smoothly. Unexpected bills can pop up. I guess I just feel really sorry for the man and the way he CHOOSES to live his life. I will hush and get off my soapbox but know that this man is homeless by choice and not predicament. That’s one of the reasons it makes me so angry when people give money to this guy so he can live a carefree existence. I will shut up and have probably said to much as it is.

Just when you think you got it good, its rain and rains HARD……

I had an interesting night. I am still soaking wet. I feel asleep around dusk just as a good storm was coming up. It was a gully washer. Apparently, a seam on my cheap Wal-Mart tent had torn. I awoke to laying in a puddle and lots of thunder. It was pouring down rain and water was dripping all over me and my sleeping bag. All of my camping gear is soaking wet and weighed double hiking home this morning due to all the water. I just sat there in the puddle for what seemed like hours waiting for the storm to pass. Not fun, let me tell you. I ended up sleeping the rest of the night in a wet sleeping bag. At least I was warm.

I am going to bed. I am tired and worn out and looking forward to a nice soft bed that is dry and warm. Hell, I even turned on the Air Conditioner. I need some TLC. Good night er should I say good morning. I am confused. LOL. It was a tough night.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Heading out……

I saw an interesting post on the homeless guy’s site last night, early in the morning. He said he was packing up and heading to San Diego and leaving Nashville. He said the humidity and pollen were bothering him. He had also stated that it was a post dated post and he had already left. This morning I find that post gone and some Christian mumbo jumbo posted instead. I found that interesting and wanted to share this information. I also find it not too surprising that he is asking for your money again. If you have read about George then take my advice and send your money to a charity and not him. I know these kinds of people. They are cheaters. He will just squander it on cheap hotel rooms and fast food and not what you intended.

As for me, I am feeling better today. I finally got to sleep around 5 am and slept until 10 am. I have been organizing my gear for a little expedition. I am going camping today and it is a good day to do it. The sky is cloudy and overcast and it has been raining all morning. It is really cool outside. It will be comfortable and nice.

I spent a long time going over my gear. I love to do this. I cleaned my water filter and pulled everything out of my backpack to check its reliability. I am ready to go. I have everything all packed up and I am waiting for the rain to abate. I am going to pitch my tent and sit and listen to the radio. I also have an interesting book on Native Americans that I am reading that will lend to the atmosphere. No fire today as rain is forecasted for the afternoon. I might even get wet hiking to the pond. That is all part of the experience.

I now bid you farewell and will start on my journey soon. I need to get out into the great outdoors and clear my head. I need the smells of the forest, the chatter of birds and squirrels, and the sound of running water to put me at ease. I am going to vegetate out in my tent and spend a lazy afternoon doing nothing. Good day and fare well.

A bike ride in the rain…..

I went for a long ride tonight. It was cloudy and overcast. The katydids were out in abundance. There was a soft rain falling. It is now 3am and I cannot sleep. I have lots on my mind and trying to sleep would be fruitless.

I rode down to the Spectrum down by the lake to get me a cold drink. They are open 24 hours a day. I sat there on the curb drinking a cold coke. The tingly goodness slid down my throat. I love a carbonated drink. The parking lot was dead and the workers inside working the night shift were bored. One of the attendants walked outside to talk to me.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“Yeah, I am fine. Just taking a ride. I needed to get out of the house.” I said.

He sat down on the sidewalk beside me.

“Nice bike. That thing even has a suspension on it. Does it ride smooth?” He asked

“I love that bike. It is my cherished possession. It is as smooth as butter.” I said.

“What are you doing out this time of night?” He asked.

“Oh, just getting out and clearing my head. I cannot sleep.” I replied.

“I get that way myself. Life has a way of keeping you up sometimes. I worry about my bills or if I will ever get ahead. It drives me crazy.” The attendant said.

“I know how you feel my friend. Life does have a way of sneaking up on you. Well, I need to head home. I am going to try to sleep.” I said.

We shook hands and exchanged names. He was a nice fellow. I think I have found a new friend. I will stop by tomorrow and see how he is doing.

Currently, I have fixed a big pot of hot tea and am sipping on it. It is Chinese green tea that my ex-wife bought me and has been in the freezer. I am hoping it will make me sleepy. I am going to watch the latest episode of Eastenders and hopefully can fall asleep. I need a stiff drink right now. Good thing there is nothing in the house or I would be drunk as we speak. May your dreams carry you to the destinations you have always thought about. I will close and good night.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Blown around by the winds of life…….

I am not feeling well today so this will be brief and short. I am having a hard time concentrating on anything be it simple or complex. I have the shakes today and my hands are trembling. I hate this side effect of my medication. It makes me almost spill my coffee they shake so hard.

I had more drama with my ex-wife that I will not delve into. I have tried my hardest to stay away from her and have. She just keeps making things complicated and it is frustrating. If you are thinking of getting married, date your new beau for a LONG time. Get to know them well or you could be in a similar situation as mine. I am not perfect either but, dear god, when will the madness end. I just want a lasting resolution to this thorn in my side. It makes me bitter and mean and that is not how I normally am.

I am going to rest today. I have to cut the grass barring any rain and will do that late this evening after it cools off some. For now, I am going to continue to sip on my coffee and browse interesting things on the net. Be well and good day.

Dumped when down...

I had a hard time with compliance and my medications. I thought my loved ones were trying to drug me and the pills were controlling my thoughts. I had to get an injection called Risperdal Consta to help me. I no longer have to worry with a pill box or remembering to take my medicine in the morning. It has helped change my life for the better.

She is lucky to have you. My ex-wife dumped me when my illness got bad. She couldn’t understand it was a disease. I was homeless for many months and delusional. I lived in the woods in a tent.

Be sure to have good communication with her doctor. Sometimes when my illness flares out of control occasionally a two week stint at the hospital brings me back down to earth. I need a safe and controlled environment to get better. Explore your options and I wish you luck.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Dear Old George……

I had a hankering for a roast and some potatoes tonight. I rode my bike down to good old Piggly Wiggly. I chained my bike to the post and heard a familiar voice. It was George.

“Brotha, I need yo help.” George said as he walked up to me.

“My help? Why do you need my help?” I cried.

“Yous is my brotha and I need you to looks out for me.” George said secretly as he leaned forward to talk to me. I thought, “Bullshit!”

My mind raced with sordid details. Why does George need my help? It has to be interesting. Everything is interesting with George.

“What is this about George? I will give you five minutes to spill the beans.” I said as I pondered his next sentence.

“My car is broke down by the spectrum over by David’s automotive. I need some money for a tow truck.” George replied.

A tow truck, a fucking tow truck and he wants money out of me? I laughed to myself at him saying this.

“George how much does a tow cost?” I asked.

“Eighty bucks. I will pay you back. You has my word, my brotha.” George said.

“George I don’t have much more than twenty dollars. I damn sure don’t have eighty dollars on my person.” I said with a scoff. I was being honest. I had less than thirty bucks on my person.

George laughed nervously.

“You has the money. I knows you has it! God dammit!” George hollered back at me.

“George, you goddamned son of bitch, don’t fuck with me, I do not have that money.” I hollered back. I am tired of being manipulated.

George laughed again and told me to chill out. I am tired of being badgered for money down there. Always some black son of a bitch wants a handout and I get tired of it. It happens every time and you would think after asking 10 times and me saying no they would get the picture. No, that is not my luck. I have to put up with panhandling hell every time I want to go to the grocery store. Well, fuck them. I will not give up. They can kiss my ass and get used to the resounding word NO!

The House of Cards……

I tend to be apolitical but some things do rile me up. I will be frankly honest. I do not watch the news. If something is truly important it finds me. I think the local and national news is nothing but a bunch of bullshit, neatly packaged, and made to smell like flowers. I do not believe the crap that comes out of the television set and most media outlets.

I had a bit of news come my way and wanted to share it. First off, are these people serious? Do they think we are the affable? I am speaking of the White House’s proposal to be granted the power to suspend and/or delay the November elections in case of a terrorist attack. I posted this link on Sullivan’s website since I thought he might be interested. You can read the news article below.

I do believe this administration is becoming desperate. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am equal opportunity hater. I dislike all the major parties, republican and democrat alike. I think that most of our current leadership is not interested in what is best for the American people but what is best for them. Special interests abound in our current scene of politics. I will leave you with a quote from The Last Day of my Life.

You can bullshit some of the people some of the time, but you can't bullshit
all of the people all of the time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Storm Stories…..

There is a huge complex of storms to the north heading south. They show the distinctive bow echo pattern that characterizes severe storms. I have hurriedly packed all my gear and am heading out. I love to camp out and survive a storm. I love the patter of rain on my tent and the fierce gusts that accompany such a line of storms. Wish me luck and I will write of my adventures tomorrow.

Real Men Bare the Heat…….

Yes Sir, this is your stalwart camping buddy speaking. I am going to forego the heat and go camping. This will be a true test of manhood. Only pussies sit in the air conditioning and wait for cooler days. I am going to set out on a hike and camp till my heart’s content.

I need to get ready for the Trail. The Appalachian trail that is. I am going to have to face moments like these on my future adventures. I cannot relent and give up. I must trudge forever forward.

I have been organizing my gear this evening and getting ready. I cleaned my water filter and scalded it with hot water to kill any pathogens. I thawed out a pack of frozen wieners and some buns. Those will serve me well cooked over a hot fire tonight. Fire roasted hot dogs, yum, now folks that is living.

My radio’s batteries were almost dead so I changed them and stuck a few extra triple A cells into my backpack. I think I am ready so off I go.

The Dog Days Of Summer……

Man, is it hot here. My thermometer shows an outside temperature of 98 degrees. It is blistering and stifling. I am safely sequestered in my apartment today. No outside for me. I was considering going camping but I think I will just stay home. On days like today the temperature will stay high even until late at night. I don’t want to sweat my ass off in a sleeping bag tonight.

I was going to have to drive to the airport in Atlanta and pick up my father but he called to say he had a ride. My sister-in-law’s mother left her car at the airport for them to drive home. I am relieved. I hate the traffic in and around the airport.

I walked down to the Piggly Wiggly earlier. I didn’t feel like riding my bike. George was out there as usual. Cap with Tag Guy was leaned against the coke machine next to the automatic doors.

“No bike today?” George asked.

“Nope, I decided to walk. I am being lazy.” I replied.

As we were talking I saw a car slowly creep up to the sidewalk beside us. George started to stutter. It was the police. I said hello to the officer and he just nodded back.

“George, you staying out of trouble?” The police officer asked.

“Yes sir, I, I, I, am not doin anything, I mean anything wrong.” George stammered.

“I have told you about hanging out here, haven’t I? We think you are up to something.” The police officer stated.

“No sir, o, o, o, old George is on the, the, the up and up.” George muttered.

“Well, we are watching you. You better be on the up and up.” The police officer followed.

This was my cue to leave. I do not want to be associated with shady types. The last thing I want is to be on a police man’s watch list. I told George and the police officer good day and walked home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Introducing Slop (Big S)…..

I walked down to the Chattahoochee River early this morning. The sun was just coming up. I was bored and restless and just had to get out of the house. I walked the trails behind the train tracks and checked out the water treatment plant beside the river. I watched as the putrid water swirled and foamed. The stench was nasty so I headed for greener pastures. I watched as the water rose in the river when they started to generate electricity up at the dam and opened the flood gates. It rose amazingly fast. The water was dangerous. My dad always told me to be careful of the river and to never swim in it.

After my hike I headed back towards home. I stopped by the Piggly Wiggly to buy some Gatorade. They have it on sale for 99 cents a bottle. I sat out in front on the bench drinking my Gatorade and up walked Slop. I had placed my big backpack up against the wall next to me.

Now Slop is an interesting character. He gets his name because he is like pigpen in the peanuts cartoons. He is always filthy. His clothes are dirty and he reeks of under arm odor. He is a very large black man and probably weighs around three hundred pounds. He walks along ponderously and with much effort. His belly hangs out between his blue jeans and t-shirt. He is always sweating profusely. Everyone down there calls him Slop and he apparently doesn’t mind.

“Hey bro, spare a po black man a dolla.” Slop asked.

“Slop, I don’t have it. I am almost broke.” I said as I lied.

“Ah man, come on, I know you has it.” Slop said.

“Slop, I am broke. Just leave me alone. I am tired from a long walk and just need to rest.” I said but this didn’t deter Slop.

“Are you and George really half brothas?” Slop asked. Slop is not too bright.

I just laughed and thought about my reply. I am as white as it gets. Blondish hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and freckles. It is obvious that I and George are not related. That’s why all the “brothas” got such a big laugh out of yesterdays exchange with George.

“Slop, take my word for it, me and George are not related.” I said.

Slop laughed really hard and patted me on my knee.

“That George, he sho be somethin else.” Slop said.

“Yes he is, yes shure ree, George is an interesting man.” I said as I got up and put my back pack on to walk home. I left Slop sitting there on the bench sweating bullets.

Monday, July 12, 2004

More Piggly Wiggly groupie antics…….

I rode down to the Piggly Wiggly. It is a daily affair for me. A ritual I should add. I buy my groceries as I need them and not in one big batch. I hate putting up large amount of groceries for some reason. I wanted some taco salad for supper and needed some fresh ingredients like ground beef, tomatoes, salsa, and lettuce.

I pulled up to the front and there was George. I didn’t see his car at first and thought I was in the clear.

“Hey, hey, my brotha! Come over here for a second.” George hollered.

There was a large group of black men hanging out down there today. There was Cap with Tag Guy, Slop, George, and a few I didn’t know their names. The quiet ones I call them. It was almost a hundred degrees today and these guys are just sitting in the heat in front of a dumpy grocery store.

“Tell my brothas how long yous been ins the Navy.” George asked.

I just laughed. Okay, it is time to play along and have some fun. I have told George time and time again that I was not in the Navy or never was. He insists that I was some big guy like a special ops corpsman.

“Oh, only four years. I did one tour of duty.” I replied.

“Hah! What did I tell ya? I told you motherfuckas so!” George cried out as he looked around to the other brothers for affirmation. “My man here, my brotha, was a killin machine. He could take every one of those sand niggas over there in Cambodia.”

It’s alright for a black man in the south to say nigger but don’t dare let an African American catch a white person saying that word.

“It’s Iraq George not Cambodia.” I replied back trying to stop a laugh from erupting. I was trying to be serious.

“What the fuck eva. I don’t give a fuck bout those towel heads.” George said.

“What’s this about me and you being brothas and us being separated at birth?” I asked as all the black guys down there started to snicker. George just sat there and smiled.

“We are half brothas. Yo daddy is white. I am going to bring a birth certificate to show you.” George said back to more snickers and choked back muted laughing.

“Okay man, what ever you say. Tell mom I said hello. I haven’t seen her since birth.” I replied back with a dead serious face and all the other black guys just busted out laughing. I left them all and went inside. They were giving George a hell of a time but in was all in good fun. They weren’t being mean. I got my supplies and headed home.

An evening with Meemaw…..

Meemaw was my father’s mother. Never a kinder or gentler soul have I met in this world. I am writing a collection of stories to be given to relatives as a Christmas gift. It is going to be printed by a local company and paid for by me. It is a collection of stories revolving around my grandmother and her relatives and based in Waverly, Alabama. Here is a story I was working on today. I just wanted to share it. It is a work in progress so keep that in mind.

I could hear Meemaw in the next room as I put on my Spiderman pajamas. She was brushing her dentures and then I heard her walk into the bedroom and then the click and buzz of the window air conditioner unit as it was turned on.

“Woo hooo, Jonathon; are you getting ready for bed?” She hollered from the next room.

“Yeah, Meemaw, I have my pajamas on and I took a bath.” I cried back.

“Well good, let’s go sit on the porch for a bit and listen to the katydids and watch the cars go by.” She said as she walked into the room in her ages old night gown and slippers.

We stepped out onto the porch and took our seats in two ancient old rocking chairs. They were painted dark green. It was a warm and humid night but not uncomfortable. Waverly is a sleepy town with a population of 200 mainly older people. Most houses were now dark as their owners had headed to bed.

“Meemaw do you remember being a kid?” I asked. I could never imagine her being so young. She seemed so ancient to me.

She laughed heartily and replied, “I was just as young as you once. Why do you ask such a silly question?”

“Well, what did kids in your time do for fun?” I asked back inquisitively.

“We had to work picking cotton and doing chores on the farm for much of day.” She replied.

“That doesn’t sound like much fun. Did you all play?” I asked back.

“I will tell you a story.” She replied. “We loved to catch a June bug and tie a string on its hind leg.”

This caught my interest. This sounded neat.

“Why? What would it do?” I inquired.

“It would fly around and around on its leash like a remote controlled helicopter. It was like a pet flying machine.” She said.

“Wow! That sounds neat and fun. I want to catch me a June bug tomorrow and try that.” I said as I yawned.

“Me and you need to head to bed. We are both yawning.” She said.

We both walked to my bedroom and I crawled into bed. She kissed me good night on the forehead. I wrapped up tight in the soft covers and drifted asleep to the drone of the air conditioner. Another wonderful day in Waverly came to a fitting and peaceful close.

My yearly budget…..

I sat down on the computer last night and started to draw up a yearly budget with some goals. I was trying to calculate were all my money goes and what are my greatest expenses.

First I formulated my rent. I pay $250 a month in rent. That comes out to $3000 dollars a year. That’s not too bad and probably close to what I would pay with a section 8 voucher.

I then added up a few other things and things seemed okay. I then started to add up what I call entertainment or extraneous things. First, was my smoking habit that I calculated. I consider this a luxury and frivolous. I do love it so and it helps me mentally but I was astounded at the cost of this habit.

I smoke a pack a day. That comes out to be roughly a carton a week. The brand I usually smoke is $30 dollars a carton. At 52 weeks in a year that comes out to be $1560 dollars a year. Holy shit, I thought to myself. That is half a years rent. Just think if I socked all that money away into savings. It would more than double my yearly savings putting me way ahead of the game. The does not include my pipe tobacco hobby which does not cost near as much but adds to the total.

I decided that something has to give. Either it is the cigarettes or it is me. I am going to try and quit. I have one pack left and that will be gone today. I do not do this for health reasons. Sure cigarettes are bad for your health and all smokers know this. I would sometimes get frustrated at the anti-smoking lobbyists and activists. It would make me want to smoke all the more in that I felt they were taking a freedom away from me; the freedom to use my own body as I see fit. I could always see the hypocrisy of the pro-alcohol lobbyists compared to the anti-tobacco lobbyists. Big brother (the state) would never go after big alcohol. The public would not back them and there would be backlash.

I am going to ride down to Fred’s dollar store and buy some nicorette gum to help me. It is expensive but not as much as I would be smoking in the cigarettes. If I can quit in the next few weeks that would save me a lot of money for the remainder of the year. I am going to give this a good try and see if I can do it. I quit once for 8 months and hopefully I can find that same magic again.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Anti-Smoking Nazis…….

I was down, sitting behind the bank on the bench, minding my own business yesterday. I was waiting for trains to pass by but it was a bust day. No trains and I sat for hours. I ended up finishing my book and looking at an old issue of Model Railroader that I had brought.

As I was sitting there, an older, white lady sitting in her car hollers something at me. I was just sitting there smoking a cigarette. I couldn’t quite make out what she said so I walked over towards her car. I thought maybe she knew me or my father. My father knows absolutely everyone in this town.

“Excuse me, miss?” I asked.

“I said that smoking is going to kill you and you are polluting the air.” She replied back with a smirk.

She was an elderly lady driving an older eighties model Buick. This made me angry and I didn’t know how to react at first.

“Lady, you are polluting the air for more than me driving that smog producing piece of crap car.” I replied back with a raised voice.

“Well you do not have to get rude. Quitting would be good for your health.” She said.

“And you minding your own business would be good for yours as well. The next person you do this too might not be as nice as me.” I replied back and then walked away. She cranked up her car and drove off.

I despise people who act like this. I have met my fair share of anti-smoking Nazis. A lot of them tend to be ex-smokers as well. They seem to be bitter at people who still smoke as if they are jealous. I shouldn’t have let that lady get to me but she touched a nerve. I do not smoke in enclosed public spaces. Hell, I rarely even smoke in my own home. I step outside.

I know I should quit but I lean on my smoking habit to help calm my nerves. I was thinking of quitting a few weeks ago and had asked my father to bring me home some nicorette gum. He told me to hold off on quitting. He didn’t want it to cause me to have problems and he said that I should not try to change too many things all at once. I took has advice with a sigh of relief.

I read a news article as to why so many people with mental illness smoke. I will post that article after this paragraph. When I was in the mental hospital the majority of people who were in with me smoked cigarettes. We would line up like jonesing crack addicts for our smoke breaks. If they ever missed a break there would almost be a riot and fights and discord would ensue. Anyways, I will close. Here is that article courtesy of

Friday, July 9, 2004

Fishing down at the ole fishing hole……

I went fishing this afternoon. I just had to get away. I wanted some time to myself alone. I rode my bike down to the spectrum convenience store that is on the road that goes by the lake. I had to buy some night crawlers. I was wearing my big kelty pack and I am sure I looked strange. Many people looked at me with wondering eyes. What is this guy doing on a bike with a huge backpack? Is he homeless? Does he live in the woods? I have often got this kind of reaction from similar ventures. I don’t care what other people think. I know they are saying in this small town, “That is John Minter’s son, isn’t he pitiful?” A small town has a way of carrying rumors.

I went down to the river and fished for awhile. The fish weren’t biting. I sat for a long time listening to my little Sony radio. I sat there thinking about life and general things. Who am I and were am I going? Will I ever be successful like my brother and sister? I ponder over these things often and worry about them. I do not want to be a failure. Some lost soul who wanders through his life aimlessly.

I gave up on the fishing and sat behind the bank drinking a Gatorade. It had grown warm by this time but was still refreshing. I smoked a cigarette as I waited for a train to pass. I love trains and I am a rail fan. I watched as the signal turned from green, to yellow, and then red. A freight train came roaring by, blasting its horns through down town West Point Georgia. It made me feel better.

I think I will go camping tonight. Tomorrow is Saturday so I have no appointments. I will hike out spring road near the pond and pitch my tent. I want to go to bed to the sounds of the forest around me. I want to sit by the fire and smoke my pipe. I want its glow to envelope me. Yes, that’s what I will do. Go camping and rest my soul. I am feeling weary and need some comfort. I need wide open spaces and a broad sky to brighten my soul today. Good night and may you fare well.

Yard work and other things…..

I cut the grass today. I have a huge yard and hate cutting the grass. It is tedious and my yard is hilly. It gets hard pushing the mower on the steep inclines and hills of my yard. I have to do this. I want to prove to my father that I am responsible and am taking care of the house I live in. I finally finished it. That last stretch is the hardest. I must push on though. I am going to help out to pay my way. It is my way of saying thanks to him. Thanks Dad for helping me find a home and letting me rent this apartment.

I called my father on his cell phone and they have made it to New Mexico. I think he said he was in Albuquerque. We talked a long time about their adventures on this trip. They have made quite some distance since Wednesday. That is the day they left Alabama. What a vast country we live in. I know how long it takes to drive long distances as a truck driver. That’s why they pay you to do such things. It is hard work and you have to fight a sometimes 80,000 pound truck.

I rode down to the spectrum on state line road to get some worms on my bike a moment ago. I am going fishing this afternoon. I am soaking wet from sweat and the humidity. That hill to my house is brutal to climb even in the lowest gear on my bike. My bike has a “granny” gear for climbing tough inclines. Most good mountain bikes have this. You crawl along pumping away at the pedals but at least you do not have to walk. It is slightly faster than a walk.

The Keeping A Home Action Plan……

I was talking to a friend yesterday on the phone about homeless people and homeless bloggers. It made me think long and hard. I want to do what it takes to keep a home. I never want to be homeless again. Our conversation got me to thinking. I need to write up a plan of action for the next few years. I am on a fixed income and have to plan carefully to make it stretch the whole month. Here are some of my ideas that I have written down. These are some goals I have. It all revolves around frugality.

1) Prepare all my meals. Stay away from fast food. Eating out is very expensive. The $5 dollars I would spend on a Happy Meal would feed me for several days if I bought a whole chicken for that amount. I would even have chicken stock for soup after boiling that chicken.
2) Put aside $100 dollars every month into my savings account. I can do this and have been doing it. I just have to be very frugal with my money. In a year that
would be $1200 dollars put aside.
3) Save my current savings and do not go into it for frivolous purchases i.e. video games and entertainment.
4) Stay away from the booze. Only drink responsibly. I allow myself one night every week to have toddy and a night cap. Booze is extremely expensive and also bad for my health if it is not consumed moderately.
5) Try to stop smoking cigarettes. I am slowly gaining ground on this. I find myself smoking my pipe much more and it is much more economical in cost. Eventually, I need to quit, period, but I do love my pipe tobacco and a cup of coffee.
6) Purchase one year, three year, and five year certificates of deposit with my savings once I have a sizable amount. This way I will be drawing much more interest than with a savings account.
7) Ride my bike as much as I can. Only use the car if I must travel a long distance.
8) Only use my air conditioning at night. This is hard to do but I have done it all week. Air Conditioning is one of my greatest expenses as far as electricity goes. I
hate getting a large electric bill and it eats up my
9) Purchase my own home and set up everything to be automatically deducted out of my check on the 3rd of the month. That way if I ever become extremely ill again or delusional, I will always have a home and my basic needs met such as utilities.

Well, this is just a start. I will think of more things to save money and plan for the future as I go. I just want to be smart about this and build myself a future. I do not want to wake up in my 40’s like the homeless guy with hardly anything to my name. I do not want to waste my life living in a tent in the woods. Have a good day and be well.

Have Cap, Have tag…..

My internet connection has been down since yesterday. I wrote this yesterday and am posting this today. I finally got it back up after called tech. support.

I’ve had a good day. The cable/phone company came by. His name was Randy and he was a cool guy. They had to switch out my modem. It was a technicality because of the change of accounts. They brought the 3com “shark fin” modem. I previously had a generic Scientific Atlanta modem. My internet connection is noticeably faster. I tested my download speed at Wow, what a difference. I can be a geek when it comes to computer stuff.

I rode my bike down to the Piggly wiggly to buy some stuff for supper. I bought a whole hen. I am going to boil it and make some chicken salad for sandwiches. I will boil it with salt and pepper, some onion, and some celery. I want it to have flavor. This will feed me for days at a great cost savings. I do love a good chicken salad sandwich. I also rode all the way to the farmer’s market. I wanted some fresh tomatoes and some butterbeans. The stuff from the super market never tastes as good as the farmer’s market. They also have better prices, the farmer’s market that is.

As I walked out of the Piggly Wiggly this afternoon, there stood cap with tag guy. If you have only recently read this blog then I will describe cap with tag guy. He always hangs out in front of the Piggly Wiggly everyday. He wears dark sunglasses and dons a baseball cap with the price tag dangling from it. I think he sells drugs while he leans up against the wall or sits on the bench in front of the Piggly Wiggly. Why in the hell would someone sit or stand all day in this heat in front of a grocery store? I think that is his motive.

“George has been talking about you.” He said.

Cap with tag guy rarely speaks so this intrigued me. He usually just nods hello. He is a man of few words.

“What has George been saying?” I asked back.

“George told me you were brothers who were separated at birth. He said you are his kin.” He said.

I laughed so hard at this. I was bent over I was laughing so hard. My stomach hurt.

“You realize I am white and George is black, don’t you?” I asked cap with tag guy.

“George is a crazy son of a bitch. He doesn’t know what he is saying.” He replied.

I have thought all along that George was mentally ill but this took the cake. I tried so hard to compose myself and stop laughing. This struck me as so funny for some reason. Cap with tag guy just sat there and grinned as I laughed. I decided to play along.

“You tell George his brother is looking for him. I need to ask about our mother. I seem to have two and I am confused.” I told him.

Cap with tag guy just laughed and said he hadn’t seen George all day and it was strange. George is always down at the Piggly wiggly.

I do not want to make light of George’s plight. I understand mental illness and how it cannot make sense sometimes. I will be kind to George but I will keep my distance. I am not stupid and don’t want to get caught up in any sordid affairs.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Stormy Weather……

I took down my last post. I shouldn’t have put my phone number up on the internet. That was stupid. LOL! Oh well, you live and learn. If you want to talk then just fire off an email, I will send the number.

We had one hell of a storm last night. It was right at dusk. The storms just kept training over us one after the other. I haven’t seen a storm like this in a long time. It knocked out the power and I had to light candles and use my camp stove to make some coffee. The rain was torrential and just kept coming. The thunder was so loud and immediate that it shook the house. Bam! One crash after another and the lightening lit up the darkened house. It reminded me of all those mystery shows were there is always a storm going on to help build the suspense.

I did something I normally don’t do. I smoked my pipe inside. I normally sit on the porch or just step out the side door. My apartment was filled with the wonderful aroma of Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco burning. I sat in my chair by candlelight as I read a book and nursed a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. I didn’t want to go to bed with such a big event happening outside my windows. I love a good storm. I revel in it.

I finally crawled into the bed and went to sleep as the storm died down. There is nothing like the patter of rain to lull you to sleep. I awoke at 3 am to my covers all amiss. I was having a vivid dream and must have tossed and turned. I dreamed I was having a root canal by a student at a dental college. He didn’t know what he was doing and I screamed in agony from the pain every time he used the drill. I hate the dentist and have a phobia of it and this was a fitting nightmare if I have ever had one. I can have the most vivid dreams. I think my medicine or my illness affects this.

I am off to get breakfast started. I am going to fix a traditional breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and grits. I will slice some cheddar cheese as well. I am so hungry and feel ravished. Good morning and may your day be well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Talking to mother…..

Diana, mom said you called. You got my parent’s phone number. Call me at 1-334-***-**** and we can talk. I would love to talk to you. Thanks so much for taking the effort to find my number and call.

I was talking with my mother. She just got back from a trip to Biloxi Mississippi to the casino with friends. She went with Julia and Jim. Friends of hers that go to the Catholic Church with her. She seemed to have a good time. She seemed more of her old self than I have heard from her in years. I was pleased.

“Are you okay mom?” I asked.

“Yeah, I am okay. I am worried about you. I got your message.” She said.

“I’ve had a hard time with Rachel. You all need to call social security and get that account in your names. They will not let me do it. I have tried.” I said. “Rachel says she called and got it set up so all you have to do is call and transfer it.”

“I will wait till your father gets home this weekend. He wants it in his name. I think he fly’s home on Saturday.” She said.

“Thanks mom. I love you.” I said.

“I love you too sweetheart. I just want you okay.” She said.

My mother was never terribly affectionate when I was a child. She always saw about us. We always went to the dentist and had nice clothes. She just showed her love in a different way. I started to cry after she said this.

“Mom, you mean so much to me and I want you okay.” I said.

“Are you okay? I am coming over to see you right now” She said.

“No mom, I am fine. I am just emotional. I just have not heard you say you love me like that in a long time.” I replied. I couldn’t ever remember her saying she loved me like that.

“I have to spend the night with your Meemaw tonight.” She said. Meemaw is my mom’s mother. That is the name I gave her as a small child and it stuck. All the many grandchildren call her this. I was intrigued. In my whole life she has never stayed over with her.

“Why are you staying with Leta?” I asked. Leta Wheeler is her name.

“She asked me and I do not want to go. You feed the cats for me. I am putting a key under the door so you see about that for me.” She said.

“Well that is interesting. I hope things go well. I will be thinking about you two. Do you want me to go as well? I can sleep in Rodger’s old room.” I replied.

“No, don’t you worry about it. I will be home tomorrow. Come over to see me and we will watch a movie.” She said.

We then said our good byes. It is good talking to mom and hearing her sound so well. She sounded like her old self.

George says hello…..

If you do not want to read curse words then stay away. George was high today and cursing like crazy. I write it as I see it and the following conversation may offend some folks. I curse as well. I try to keep it to a minimum but sometimes life overrides my inhibitions.

I rode down to the Piggly Wiggly to buy some milk. I am a milk drinking fiend. I love the stuff. I was on my bike. I feel it is wasteful to just drive that mile in the car just for a $2 dollar purchase. I pulled up to the front of the store and used my cable lock to lock my bike to the post out front. There sat George with his cadre of interesting friends.

“Whazzup! Motherfucka!” George hollered at me. He got up from his seat and walked over to talk to me.

“George, are you fucked up again?” I asked as I laughed. I didn’t see his car so he must have gotten a ride.

“I am not fucked up. I am feeling gooooood!” George replied back while he did a little dance. He almost fell down.

I didn’t smell any alcohol and I couldn’t see his eyes. He had on some very dark sunglasses. I wanted to see if his pupils were dilated or his eyes were red shot.

“I was just talking about you. You are my friend and I was telling the brothas about you being in the Navy.” He said.

George has me confused with someone else. I have never been in the Navy.

“George, I was never in the navy.” I replied.

“Ah, quit bullshitting me. You are just trying to confuse me.” He said.

“George, I WAS NEVER IN THE NAVY. YOU DO NOT KNOW MY EX-WIFE!” I said forcefully.

George just laughed and patted me on the back. I now think he has a mental illness. That can be the only way to describe how he acts.

“George, I write about you on my blog. It is on the internet. One day you will be famous.” I said.

“What the fuck is a blog?” He said while he stumbled in front of me.

Whatever George was taking, it was potent. I will give him that.

“A blog is a journal I write. I post it on the internet and people can read it.” I replied.

“Tell all those crazy mothafuckas I said hello.” George said.

I just did what George asked. George says hello in a not so nice way unless you consider yourself a “crazy mothafucka”.

The well worn path……

Well, I made it! I have some nasty blisters on my pinky toe though. All in all in was a damn fine trip. I didn’t take as long as I thought. The miles really flew by. I hiked around 18 yesterday and made the rest after getting up at the crack of dawn this morning. I was expecting it to take much more time.

Last night, I slept in a clearing by the tracks. It was hardwoods so the ground was just covered with leaves and no undergrowth. I boiled some water and ate my freeze dried spaghetti and my apple crisp. Both were surprisingly good. I sat by the fire long after dark just thinking and smoking my pipe. The fire crackled and roared and then burned down to glowing embers. It was time for bed.

I lay on top of my sleeping bag for a long while. I couldn’t sleep. I normally do not get scared while camping out but I got spooked last night. I kept hearing noises all around me. It sounded like animals traipsing through the forest. I could hear the rustle of leaves as things moved about me. What were they? I have no idea. My rational mind knows that there are no animals around here that could hurt me. We don’t have bears or big predators. I think it was some possums, a coyote, or deer. We are overrun with deer here. I finally made it to sleep.

This morning, I got up at daybreak and got another fire started. I boiled some water on my camp stove and ate some onion, cheese, and hash brown casserole. All I had to do is add boiling water, seal the top and let it sit for awhile. I just ate it out of the foil pouch so I wouldn’t have any dishes other than my spoon to wash. I then packed up my tent and put everything in the backpack and hit the trail or tracks I should say.

I finally made it Lafayette. The tracks ended up behind the old railroad museum. I walked the mile over to the county courthouse and there sat the car. I put my stuff on the backseat and cranked it up. I sat there for awhile with the air conditioning on high. Man, it felt good. Well, I will close. I am very tired after all that hiking.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Protesting the protesters……

As I sit here waiting to leave, I read an interesting entry on Crystal’s website, the thoughts and opinions of a homeless girl. I value what she writes but I sometimes disagree. She has a right to her opinions and I often ponder over them carefully. She wrote that she was not celebrating the fourth of July and was embarrassed by her country.

I have opinions as well and would like to express them. That is the cool thing about blogs in that you can have an opinion and post it. Here are some of my opinions on this matter.

I do not completely associate our country with government. Our country is made up of millions of people and they are our country. Our government is just a broker and liaison to the outside world and to us. I feel pride in my country and the great people who dwell in it. I feel a loathsome shame when it comes to the farce our government has become. I separate the two things. A government does not make a country. The people in that country do.

I do agree that the level of consumerism and the extent that corporations have enlarged have taken over many of our lives. I want to add though that corporations are not a machine. People run corporations. These are people such as you or me; people with families, bills to pay, cars in the garage. It is a human dilemma and not something that came to be on accident. It should be treated as such.

Now I will concede that corporations tend to take on a life of their own. Most corporations now have the rights of an individual. I think that is unfair. A corporation is a conglomerate of people working for a singular cause. More than likely the cause of a corporation is to improve the bottom line and to make shareholders happy. An individual is just that; a single person working for a cause. That cause is to make a living and to take care of one’s family. This can make the playing ground very unfair. I think this should be reconciled in some way but I do not have the answers

As far as consumerism is concerned, we all consume and the word is thrown around too loosely. We all have to eat. We all have to consume resources to heat our homes and fuel our cars. It is a fact of life. One thing I want to add is that we over consume and feel it is our right. We take valuable resources and use them at an alarming rate and never think of the consequences. This, my friends, will some day come to a crashing halt.

I feel it is human nature to do such a thing. It is human to consume. It is in our genes. Most of us do whatever it takes to make sure our progeny prospers and carries on our genes. It is survival of the fittest. Some are more successful than others and others fall to the wayside. In my opinion it comes strictly down to evolution.

People such as me with a disease will be less likely to carry on their genes. People with a capacity for less intelligence will be more likely to have a tougher go of things. It is a dog eat dog world and most people never see the simplicity of it. I see it clearly. Everything really comes down to sex. Why do we have sex? For one thing it is enjoyable, nature made it so. We want to have it and it feels good but it gives the added bonus of procreation. It is a bonus of making sure our genes survive another generation and go on to perpetrate themselves. Those with the fittest gene lines will survive farther and further spread their offspring. Those offspring will then go on to dictate to the rest of us; those with less than stellar genes.

My, I have gone off on a tangent. My mind is a whirl of ideas today. I am sitting here bored and ready to go. I really got to deep with this post but will share it anyway. I hope I do not offend anyone. I try to keep this blog light but sometimes the intellectual in me breaks out. Good bye and fare well. My ride will be here soon.

The first step is the hardest step……

Today is the first day of my journey. I have everything packed and ready to go. I have two gallons of water just in case. It is going to be extremely hot and muggy. The forecast high is 92 degrees. I went through my pack again this morning to make sure everything is there. I have been walking many miles everyday in preparation. I even tested my water filter this morning to make sure everything was working okay and it was.

I checked all my food to make sure I have enough for the trip. I have 6 clif energy bars as well in my favorite flavor, peanut butter. I cannot wait to try the freeze dried spaghetti and meat sauce for supper and the freeze dried apple crisp. I hope they taste good. Freeze dried technology has come leaps and bounds compared to what it used to taste like.

I looked at my map to make sure there are several streams. Water is crucial on a hot and humid trip like this. I will be sweating buckets. No water = big trouble. That is why I am carrying so much; sixteen pounds of it. I also want to stop and go fishing if the streams are big enough.

I just hope the kudzu has not covered the tracks like it does in the summer. Kudzu is an Asian plant that was introduced in the early part of this century to fight soil erosion in the south. I didn’t do as they intended. It is a vine that covers and smothers everything. Even the trees get covered and look like one huge mass of kudzu. Kudzu across the tracks is a good way to get snake bitten and it is too hot to wear my gaiters. Personally, I am not afraid of snakes and have caught many in my youth, even poisonous ones. I just don’t want to get bitten 30 miles in the middle of nowhere without a hospital. I have my snake bite kit but I don’t quite trust it to keep me alive if I am bitten by a rattlesnake.

I hope to see some relics of the railroads days gone by. I would love to find old equipment laying along side the right of way. An old steam locomotive would be awesome to find. Those are lofty expectations though and just some cool right of way signs would suffice.

My father has to work today because of his trip to San Diego tomorrow so my brother is helping me out. I am going to follow him to Lafayette and park my grandmother’s car at the county courthouse and then he will drive me the thirty minutes to the small dead town of Cusseta Alabama. If my calculations are correct, that will be a twenty six mile hike on the tracks. I need to close. Be good and be well and enjoy the start to your workweek. I will fill you all in on my exploits when I return in about two to three days.

Monday, July 5, 2004

My ultimate expedition has come to fruition…….

I have talked about this many, many weeks ago. It may have been months. My memory can be lax. My chance to hike the abandoned railway line from Cusseta Alabama to Lafayette Alabama has now come to fruition. I am finally going to be able to do it. My ex-wife thwarted my previous attempt.

I will have twenty six miles of hiking to do through the woods and with no outside contact. I will have to rely on my wits and my cunning to survive. It is a completely rural area with no human contact for many miles. It runs through the woods to an almost dead town in the southern USA.

I have been hastily getting together all my gear. I organized all my freeze dried meals and cleaned out my water bottles. I also cleaned the ceramic filter on my Sweetwater water filter. I put all my bottles and the filter in the dishwasher and pushed the sanitize button. I am waiting for them to finish.

I took all my gear out of my big kelty backpack and have been organizing it. I want to take enough to be prepared but not so much as to be burdened. I have it all lying about on the floor deciding what I need. It is a hard decision as I want to take it all in case I need it.

I am making a pile to keep and a pile to stay at home. I pulled out my snake bite and bug bite kit and put it into the pile to pack. I also put in my neat compact first aid kit. I put in an emergency rain suit and my backpack rain cover. Hey, here in the south you never know. I organized all my fishing gear into a little tackle box and my retractable rod and reel.

I sat on the floor and organized my meals. I ordered boxes of freeze dried meals years ago and I have enough left for three days. I packed them in my pack. They save a ton of weight compared to conventional foods. I have been saving them just for this.

I pulled my expensive Kelty tent out of the closet and set it up outside. I wanted to make sure everything was okay. I spent an hour seam sealing it. Making sure all the seams do not leak if it rains. I then left it for the seams to dry. After awhile, I sprayed a garden hose onto it and checked for leaks. I do not want to wake up to a wet sleeping bag if it rains.

I also pulled out my summer sleeping bag and hung it out for the afternoon to air out. I then rolled it up and put it in its stuff bag so it would be ready to go.

I think I am ready. I am ready to go. I have been wanting to do this for over a year. We are going to drive my grandmother’s car to Lafayette and leave it and then my father will drop me off at the starting point.

Wish me luck. I will not be blogging for several days. This is a dream of mine for quite a long time and I cannot wait to get started. I hope I can sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is the big day. I will write of my experiences when I get back. Be well and hike on!!!!!

My first diaper change……

Bear with me here. I have lots of stories of the holidays and this one may seem unpleasant.

Last night I and my family ate roast beef sandwiches and then all decided to watch a movie on DVD. I had stayed over there all day. My parents just recently got a DVD player. It took me two hours to show my mother how to use it one day and she still calls for more instruction. I try to be patient with her lack of technological know how.

Anyways, back to the story, we were waiting for my brother to get out of the shower. He is a clean freak and can wash his hands thirty times a day. This was his third shower for the day. Like I have said before; my brother, the physician, has obsessive compulsive disorder. That makes him being a doctor all the more ironic with him being around blood and sickness all day long.

My sister in law, Jennifer, had run out to buy some…uhmmm…. feminine personal hygiene products. Little Lilly, my niece, sat on the floor rolling and giggling on her baby mat. It was just me and my father sitting in the room watching her with awe. It brings tears to my eye’s to see her sometimes. I wish I and Rachel could have worked out and we could have had a beautiful baby together.

As Lilly lay there, her face turned bright red. She stared to grunt and squeal. She lay on her back and held her legs high above her. Her face turned even brighter red.

“Do you think something is wrong with her Dad?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Pick her up and see.” He replied.

I picked her up and it hit me. A terrible stench wafted up from her. She wiggled with gusto and squealed with great joy.

“arggggg!” I said as I coughed and gagged. “I think she had to potty.”

“Well, change her then!” my father said as he laughed.

“I have never changed a baby. You raised three kids so you change her.” I replied back with a stern look on my face.

“No, no, your mother did all the baby stuff. You are going to have to do it. I will gag and throw up. I have just eaten.” My dad said back like a pussy.

“You owe me one. You really, really owe me one.” I cried back acting angry.

So here goes nothing. I unbuttoned her bottoms and slid them forwards. I pulled out the baby wipes and a clean diaper. All the time Lilly was just loving the whole affair and wiggling like a wiggle worm. I undid the diapers and slid them off. Argggg! I almost gagged. How can something so cute smell so darn bad? I then took out the baby wipes and wiped her clean. I almost had to turn away to do this. I wrapped it all up in the diaper and set it on the coffee table so I could put on a new diaper.

“There you go sweetheart. You are all sat now.” I said to her in a high, womanlike voice.

She just giggled and smiled at me. My heart melted. My brother and his wife are so lucky.

Then something unexpected happened. My brother had brought his dog name Doc with them and doc grabs the dirty diaper off the table and runs towards the back of the house.

“Get that diaper!!!!” My dad cried as we both got up and ran after that dog. We finally caught him and pulled the diaper from his mouth before a mess ensued.

As you can see, my first diaper change was eventful.

Saying thanks and catching up......

I just wanted to take some time and say thanks to a few long time posters and some new ones as well. I also want to say thanks to a new site that has linked me. First off, I wanted to say thanks to The Frumpy Professor aka Pipe Tobacco. You have always taken the time to write your opinions to help me with advice. You have an excellent blog and I have enjoyed our conversations.

Secondly, I wanted to thank gurustu at Gurustu's Worms of Wisdom. You have always taken the time to stop by and read and offer some much needed wisdom. You have helped put my sometimes skewed view of reality into perspective. I do appreciate it good friend. I recommend his site to all of you of need a breath of fresh air and a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Thanks for nominating me on that site as an under appreciated blogger. I am undeserving of such a thing though but it was kind of you to do so.

Thirdly, to Plark, my overseas fellow blogger whose writings often amuse me and make me smile. He often makes me think as well when he speaks of philosophy. I enjoy seeing his world in pictures upon his blog and his writing about them and how he sees his world. You have me checking my horoscope just for the sheer fun of it. Take care and be well and don't teach those Chinese students any bad words. Nothing you couldn't say to your mother.

Fourthly, to Diana in Toronto. You can catch her blog here. She has posted some important things on her blog and has taken the time to offer me support. I think her journal is interesting and has an important message to read when it comes to homelessness. You get to see the other side of the coin; the experiences and opinions of a homeless care giver and support person.

Fifthly, I wanted to thank Crystal Evans whose blog called The Thoughts and opinion of a Homeless Girl was an inspiration to me. I read over the months and saw her struggle. I saw her fight against all odds but she never gave up. She never begged for your money. She used a sometimes insane system and stuck with it and in the end got her a home and off the streets. You gal, made me want to fight. You made me want to do what it took to get a home and keep it.

Sixthly, I want to thank all of you who have posted either anonymously or who I have not named. Exterra I am not forgetting you. I have enjoyed your interaction as well.

Lastly, I want to thank Brian at Brian lost a brother who committed suicide because he could not get relief from his illness. I thank you sir for linking me and I thank you for the great amount of work you have put into building this website. It has helped countless people like me with information, a place to discuss our illnesses, and links to valuable, helpful resources.

Well, that is all I wanted to post for now. Those good folks mean a lot to me and I felt they deserved some recognition. I have an interesting story to tell later and also about my Fourth of July yesterday. Those will follow this afternoon after another family cookout. We are grilling hotdogs. Wheee Doggy!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Today is the big day…..

I know all of you are busy with the holidays and probably will not read this until Tuesday. That’s okay. I still love to write and do so for myself as much as anybody.

Today is the big day. We are going to fire up several grills. Boil 9 or 10 chickens and then grill them until there are smoky and the barbeque sauce caramelizes and coats them. It is customary in the family to see who can eat a whole chicken on the 4th. My cousin Clifton has the record when he ate one and half chickens on a hot and hazy Fourth of July in the seventies. His record still stands. It is a legend that is often told by my father every fourth. I and my brother can usually eat a whole chicken but we can’t beat his record. We eat until our stomachs are disgorged and we can barely move. The only things you want to do are just sitting and digesting or taking a nap.

The condiments are also important along with the homemade barbeque sauce. The sauce is vinegary and mustard tasting. We here were I live cannot stand sweet barbeque sauces. That stuff is nasty. No, it has to be my grandmothers time honored recipe; slowly cooked until it bubbles and condenses into a rich, tangy, spicy sauce. We also have to have homemade coleslaw and buttery, toasted barbeque bread. You then dip the bread into a bowl of sauce and eat it. Man, that is some good stuff and I cannot wait. My mouth is salivating as I write this.

I am going in a bit to drive down and buy a backpack full of fireworks. I have a little extra money and will take care of this detail. Roman candles, bottle rockets, and firecrackers for the kids. The big stuff is for the adults to shoot like the large canister rockets and the color sprays. We are going to wait until nightfall and put on a show in the front yard. I am even tempted to put a few firecrackers in the fire ant hill and light them for old time’s sake. That was something we loved as children to do with firecrackers; war with the fire ants.

May your Fourth of July be fun and you enjoy your families. I am just overjoyed and excited that I do not have to spend this fourth alone. I will be surrounded by my family and loved ones. We will all be talking, laughing, shooting the shit, and eating good food until we are sick. Good day all and enjoy this extra day weekend and this special holiday that commemorates the founding of this great country. It’s Independence Day but I am glad not to be independent in a lonely sense. I am part of a larger group called a family. I am glad I belong.