Friday, July 13, 2007

Summers Past

I used to would spend my summer days down at the shopping center, home of the Piggly Wiggly. There was George waiting upon patrons for his fly-by-night taxi service – that old jalopy of a car of his was always illegally parked in the fire lane. George would ask me to buy him one beer which I always thought as odd. Shouldn't an alcoholic want multiples like six or twenty-four? Little did I know at the time that George always kept a large bottle of cheap wino wine under his car seat. The beer was just a treat. We would grow to be good enough friends that he would begin to share that terrible swill with me over time. I much preferred those little ice-cold green bottles of Heineken myself.

Then there was Big S or Slop as he was known down there. Every day, like an omnipresent sun, he would sit on a bench begging for spare change. He didn't drink or do anything dastardly. He just liked sodas and loved to eat. He abhorred work. He would tell everyone his meth addicted sister and her five kids took all his disability money. I rarely believed him unless I had a few beers in the old gullet and was feeling gullible. Big S was known to lie or embellish his tales quite often. And boy was he a terrible gossip. Slop and George were the information grapevine of the gang. Nothing missed their astute ears and attention.

Ferret and I would become fast friends last summer. He was homeless - sleeping in a tent down by the river. I would gladly walk down every morning to drink a beer and share breakfast from Sarah Jay's. We had some good times on that broad riverbank. I almost envied Ferret of his homelessness. I found keeping a home and the resulting responsibilities to be much harder than just being a homeless man. I was also so naïve at the time. Ferret so desperately wanted a home and would have traded places with me any day.

I have been looking back over the past few summers this morning and realized how transient my life can be over time. I am bounced around from one place to the next like some red headed stepchild. I am hoping that my current abode is a place where I can put down roots - a place to house me and Maggie for a long time. Abbagirl's mention of the gang this morning got me to thinking about them and the times we spent together – lazy summer days without a care in the world other than when I would have my next smoke or buy my next beer. Much has happened in a year.


Eric Valentine said...

It's always nice to reminisce a little. I like to hear about the gang occasionally, for I believe they are part & parcel of you and your life as it was, and to a point still is.

Coupled with your illness and all the trauma that, that brings, is really what creates such an interest in you and your blog. Through that medium, you write good stuff! Well done Andrew. :)


I bet you miss them!! or not??!
I'm glad you're posting more! makes my coffee taste so much better reading your afternoon blurb.

abbagirl74 said...

Oh!!! This did bring back some memories. I remember when I first read your blog, I went back and read every single archive I could get my hands on. I remember commenting on them as well. Times have changed and life does go on. I truly believe you will grow roots, strong ones. I believe that your good will and compassionate personality, your flair for words, and your selfless acts of love have already given you such a strong foundation. I am so proud to be called your friend. Thanks for the kind words booger. Love ya!

Eric said...

People are such fascinating creatures full of contradictions, foibles, virtues and quirks. You have a gift of showing us the people in your life so vividly and the way you talk about all those around you forces us to look at not only them, but at those i our own lives with knowing eyes. Your gift makes us take people in as individuals and I thank you forthat.

justLacey said...

And so begins a new and exciting chapter in your life. May it bring you the joy and tranquility you so deserve.

Rich said...

Your blog has taken on somewhat of a bland look Dude. It that some kind of self expression of how you are feeling emotionally?

Andrew said...

Hey Rich,

I thought the old template looked too busy with the three columns. I want the blog to be about the writing and not all about eye candy. I feel pretty content lately though. Thanks for checking and asking.

Aaron said...


I scoured this blog looking for your email address so I could send you an offline message, but either I'm blind, or it isn't here. Either way, I thought I would just pop my message into a comment.

I just wanted to let you know again how much I love reading your blog. I'm sure you hear that all the time, but I continue to be amazed by the "stickiness" and the magnetism of your writing.

I am so freakin' swamped with blogs to read, as well as my own writing, and dozens of other tasks as well. However, no matter how busy I am, I find myself always willing to take the time to read your posts word for word.

Just wanted to let you know! :)

- Aaron

Andrew said...


Thank you. Your kind words really made my night tonight. I will have a bounce in my step for the rest of evening and I am not being patronizing by saying that. Take care and my email is not on the blog so you didn't miss it. I have a lot of anxiety about email in general and took it down. Take care!


nengaku said...

I just discovered your blog recently and have really been enjoying reading all your previous posts. I am really inspired by your writing. I, too, have some pretty serious mental illness problems and have also recently started a new life. I did mine a bit different - I moved to the country and live alone now. I started a blog too. If you would like to see it:
Keep up the writing, man. I need people like you in my life.

Andrew said...


You are living out a long held fantasy of mine - to move to a little farm or home out in the country and live alone. I would have made a stellar hermit. My homless days were those of extreme isolation as well and I can wax romantically about them and piss off some of my readers at times. I will check out your blog this evening and thanks for the comment.


Cheryl said...

Reading your summary was like taking a walk down memory lane. I feel like I've been through so much with you. A lot has changed, but much stays the same. Now you're hanging out with Rosa and your new neighbors and sharing your days with us. I've always enjoyed your company and hope to know you for a long,long time.

Annabel said...

I did like reading the Piggly Wiggly stories, but I think you're in a better place now. You have grown so much in the few years I've known you. I am still amazed by you. Thanks for continuing to share your journey.

princessoctober said...

I haven't been by in awhile, but, I'm glad to know your doing well.


Very interested in reading your posts.I doubt if you will ever know who this person is,no matter how much you try and try.Well did you ever have a prince in blog?


Beautiful Post Andrew.
I really enjoyed it!