Saturday, December 22, 2007

Birthday Boy

I'm thirty-one today! Here's a little something I found while cleaning out a box downstairs. Published Thirty years ago (obviously).


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reflecting and Remembering

It has now been nine days since my father died. It's been so busy around here lately, I just haven't found the time to sit and try to get the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions down in writing. But make no mistake- I've been mulling, pondering...

So here's a few simple thoughts: I miss my dad. I don't think his death has really sunk in yet, but I am truly starting to feel his absence. Seeing him every day- or talking to him every day- was not the norm for the last few years, so I think a little time had to go by before it really started registering that he was gone. But he is, and it's starting to hurt.

It strikes me as shocking- and amazing- that I watched someone die. Even more shocking that it was my father- but just the simple thought that I watched someone take their last breath is surreal to me. The end was a touching tribute to faith, family, and love- he was surrounded by family, my sister and I were at the bedside, touching him, and he died in my mother's arms. It was dignified- but earlier in the day I was overwhelmed with feeling insulted that death, or anything, would put my sweet father through such an ordeal. I will not forget the sound of the “death rattle.” Katie told me she now understood how someone could call death “evil.” However, the end was triumphant. My mother held Dad in her arms and he left us peacefully. It was the most Christian thing I have ever seen.

The visitation and funeral had several hundred people in attendance. The chapel held 300 people and there were still folks standing in the back. I was driving the car directly behind the hearse heading to the cemetary and could not see the end of the cars following us in my rear view mirror. The funeral itself was very joyous. There were tears of course, but a lot of laughter, some beautiful hymns, an upbeat version of “I Can See Clearly Now,” and even a show of hands for how many in the crowd had ever been to a concert with Dad (a lot). The preacher leading the service (Jim Biedenharn) was perfect and really knew what Dad wanted for his “farewell,” and when my father's body was being taken to the hearse, we gave Dad a standing ovation for a victorious life well lived. He was loved.

Dad was a great father- not perfect, but a loving, warm, earnest man who has left a wonderful example for his children to follow. It is strange to realize that the man to whom I have most looked for guidance and direction is gone.

I do think he was always a little baffled at how a conservative, Republican, Protestant father could have led by example and spawned a liberal, Catholic, vegetarian, Democratic son. But he did! He was always supportive of me, and I am who I am because of him.

A close family friend told me the other day that Dad told him how proud he was of me when I became a Catholic. I never doubted that, but to hear that means a lot.

I am sad he will never meet his grandchildren. But I'm more sad that his grandchildren will never meet him.

Dad called me “Sport” my whole life, the irony of which is not lost on me.

He was the Ground Monster, a creature that chased children but could only get them if they were standing on the ground. Cars, trees, porches, and swingsets were our saving graces.

He loved the song “Greensleeves” and whistled it really fast to be the theme song for our Reid Family Adventures, where we would all climb on a swing tied to a huge pecan tree branch and pretend it was a hot air balloon.

He created a bed-time game show called Hug My Babies, where my sister and I (and any other lucky kid who happened to be spending the night) would answer questions competing for the grand prize, a hug. The host was Justin Time, the announcer was Cliff Dweller.

We used to wrestle in the front yard. Inevitably this was devolve into him tickling me until I couldn't breathe. Not so much fun, but a fond memory.

He would bring home big pieces of cardboard for us to slide down the hill.

Many of my friends called him Papa Reid. Jeremy called him P-Daddy (short for Pretend Daddy). Chris Blue called him Diamond Dave.

He loved music and taught me all about bands and singers and who played guitar on what albums. But his tastes went far beyond classic rock. In 1998, Dad went with me and Jeremy to see the Beastie Boys in Atlanta, not because we needed a chaperone, but because Dad really liked the Beastie Boys. He was the first person I ever knew to like Alice In Chains, Portishead, and Radiohead. He really liked Faith No More. He has two Audioslave CD's. He loved Beck.

I always enjoyed talking to Dad about all of our Africa interests because he was really interested. This is not to say that the rest of my family is not interested, but their interests are generally because Katie and I were involved in it. Dad was fun to talk to because he thought the subjects themselves were interesting, and I always appreciated that.

I could go on and on about Dad, and I probably will in future blog posts. But I'll end this with the text that the editor of the Vicksburg Post, Charlie Mitchell, wrote for his weekly editorial on Monday, December 10th. Vicksburg is not a huge town- it's less than 30,000 people, I believe- but not too many people have the editor of the paper write an article in tribute to their life. I am damn proud of my father David Reid, my dad and my friend whom I loved dearly.

Remember David Reid, who never lost the melody
by Charlie Mitchell

We met in elementary school.

After those days our encounters were rare and brief. They came at predictable intervals as we aged, in grocery store aisles, at back-to-school nights for our own children, reunions.

Exchanges with David Reid always went past, "Hi, how are you? Fine and you? Fine." He always had something wry, something personal, something sincere to say.

David made an impression, a good impression. He was consistently upbeat.

It was good that the Post had David on the front page a few weeks ago, "outing" him to the world for what was probably the most outlandish deed of his life. David was one of four Hinds Community College commuters from Vicksburg who in 1973 carved, in giant letters, "Remember Duane Allman" into an earthen wall along the then-new Interstate 20 near Bovina. Prompting the news story was a performance in Vicksburg by Gregg Allman, brother of the legendary guitarist who had been killed in a 1971 motorcycle wreck.

The carved memorial lasted for years, becoming an icon to I-20 travelers. Gregg told David and his co-conspirators the family had seen photos and appreciated the gesture. That meant a lot.

Anybody who knows anything about music--and David knew a lot about music--will tell you that Duane Allman, though a rocker's rocker, always kept the melody, never lost it to the noise.

And so it was with David.

He was keenly intelligent, with an excellent memory, but he didn't care whether anyone knew it or not. Impressing others wasn't something he desired to do. David was as casual as the Hawaiian shirts and wide-brimmed hats that were his stock-in-trade.

He and his classmate, Tricia, equally smart and warm in her friendships, formed a marital partnership in which they derived pleasure from being considerate of one another. Money didn't matter. Having a posh house didn't matter. Having the newest car didn't matter. What other people thought, did, cared about or worried about didn't matter. People mattered. Relationships mattered.
Together, David and Tricia infused their ideals into their children, Erica and Christopher, talented and creative children who have become talented and creative adults. The Reids equipped their daughter and son with roots and wings the way great parents do--a grounding in values plus decency plus a yearning to explore, learn, serve.

Word that David had cancer came years ago. Tricia, an Internet blogger before that term was even invented, wrote about it the same as she had everything else. Both were realistic, prayerful, confident, scared, accepting the challenge. What choice did they have?

They won a hell of a lot of battles, but, as the cliche goes, not the war.

Just a few weeks ago, a backache sent David to the doctor. It wasn't a
pulled muscle. It was another malignancy. The verdict: David would die in a matter of weeks.

They say hospice nurses are compassionate, which would be expected. But they're also pretty seasoned. After David's nurse had her first private meeting with him, telling him how things would go, I'm told she left the
room in tears.

The end came last Sunday night just as forecast, family and friends all there. A free spirit became free.

Encounters with people like David Reid are brief and rare. When they happen, listen for the melody. They've learned to sustain it through the noise.

-- Charlie Mitchell is executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him
at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Last Leg of a Long Journey


Sorry that this is the first post I have made in months. It seems that many people who have been following the health of my father via my family’s blogs have already heard the recent news, but I want to make a formal post on my blog as well. As most all of this blog’s readers know, for the last three and a half years, my father, David Reid, has been fighting cancer. Valiantly, I might add- always optimistic, full of faith, and resilient in the face of daunting odds.

Sadly, it seems my dad- and all of us, in a way- are approaching the end of the journey. Thursday afternoon, after having an MRI done to determine the source of some back pain my father was experiencing, a three inch tumor was discovered on his backbone. After examining the results and the continuing spread of the cancer (which spread while he was already receiving the only chemotherapy that was having any real results), it was determined that there was nothing more that could medically be done.

He has been given about 6 weeks to live. He has been referred to hospice services and all further treatments will be palliative care to reduce the pain and make him as comfortable as possible. Understandably, the family is in a bit of shock. We knew he wasn’t doing well, but we were certainly not expecting this. My sister is already in Mississippi and assisting the family. I am currently still in South Carolina, as I am taking care of school business. My semester has been declared “incomplete,” and I am taking the next day or two to try and slam out a few final assignments. The more I get done on this end is that much less I must do next semester. And ensuring that arrangements are made now will make the transition back into school easier come Spring.

Katie and I will be leaving Tuesday afternoon for Mississippi. Katie will return to SC after the Thanksgiving holiday, and I will remain in MS with the family for the duration of the illness. It is going to be an emotional, messy and stressful next few months. Thoughts and prayers are still very much appreciated.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Houses, Burma, and DADA

It seems that my blog has been in perpetual catch-up mode this whole year. Not only is there much to tell over the last few weeks, but I haven’t even finished posting all the pictures from my trip home to Vicksburg this summer. But here’s some of the big highlights as of late:

As most folks who read this blog are aware, Katie and I have been in the process of buying a house. Now first off, we were not looking to buy a house. We were in no way in the “market to buy.” But this one just plopped in our lap via a friend of ours (and now a co-worker of mine) who had recently bought a house on the same street. We looked, we liked, we studied, we made an offer, it was accepted- all in less than two weeks. And while I was in my first two weeks of grad school. Yikes. Poor Katie had to assume the bulk of the work on this deal, as I was just not able to make myself available to realtors and mortgage officers and the like.

So the house is nice: 940 sq. ft, screened in porch, big back yard in the Olympia neighborhood, which by all estimates is on the “up-and-up.” There are definite quirks to it (a small awkward kitchen, a claustrophobic little bathroom) and some spots that need fixing up, but over-all it’s OK…EXCEPT (and you knew there’d be one) that the roof needs to be replaced. We were told that it was 5 – 7 years old, but after two separate inspections, we’ve been told it is in bad shape and is much older than that.

So that’s where we are. Stalled while we try to hammer out a deal with the sellers to get some kind of assistance with the roof repair. I think we’re being remarkably fair, not asking for much at all. We’ll assume a large portion of the cost- we just want a little help to cover the costs. We’ll keep you posted. Here’s a link to Katie’s blog with a photo.

My internship with Lutheran Family Services is going well. Good coworkers and interesting work. Last week I had a Burmese woman throw up in the back seat of my car. (Luckily she was savvy enough to grab a plastic bag). And I taught 6 people (4 Burmese and two Vietnamese) how to ride the city buses. And I personally had never done it before so it was new to me AND none of the 6 spoke English. Nerve-wracking but fun.

My parents are alright and my Dad is doing well. My sister Erica is in an awesome new play called Soire√© DADA: Blinde Essel Hopse that looks to be fabulous. It opened Friday night to a full house. That’s her third from the left.

Dada 2

dada 1

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nose, You Remember Grindstone, Right?

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World
Well, I am so so far behind on my blog, and I know it.

And this is just a quick post tonight. This week is my first week of grad school. It's been very enjoyable thus far. I've made some friends, met some nice professors, and have gotten excited about what we will be learning.

I also lost my hat. $#@&!

This week is three days of orientations (two down, one to go), then two days of field placement. Saturday is all day meetings about two of my classes which are "Distance Education" classes even though I will be in the room with the professor; thus, everyone must come to Columbia prior to the first session. Then next week is "Block Week" which is five full days of field placement (plus my two night classes).

THEN, the next week is Labor Day and we have no classes. The funny thing about that is that Mondays are the days I have 3 of my 4 classes, so factoring in the holiday, I really won't start two of my classes until September 10th!)

I also secured a 10-hour a week Graduate Assistantship which will be in the Office of International Programs for Students and will be starting the first week of September as well.

Lots going on. It's about to get REAL real, son.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Africa Tetris!

Yes, really. It's the coolest thing. And it's pretty hard.


I scored 11 minutes, 28 seconds on the medium setting. I am a nerd.

It is 1:30 am and I Cannot Sleep.

You Are 77% Tortured Genius

You are smart. Brilliant in fact. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse.

Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst.


You Communicate Like a Woman

You empathize, talk things out, and express your emotions freely.

You're a good listener, and you're non-judgmental with your advice.

Communication is how you connect with people.

You're always up for a long talk, no matter how difficult the subject matter is.

Yes, but I make love like a real man!

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.

You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.

Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.

Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!


Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.

You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.

An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.

Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Your Daily Dose of Minutia

OK, I’ve been home over a week now, so I guess I should get back to blogging. I’ll get some more posts about the rest of my Vicksburg trip up soon. But first, I’ll catch you up on what’s been happening in the last few days.

I've been really lazy. Sleeping late. Especially last week. This week I've got lots to do, but those first few days back, I tried to do as little as possible. Paula completed a Triathlon. Fuzzy ran a half-marathon.* I slept late. But I did it with style.

For those of you who do not yet know, Katie is now gainfully employed. She is the Community Education Program Coordinator for Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Today was her first day, and she seems to have had a good day. She was all cute and nervous when she left this morning.

I have also been on the job search- or rather, a graduate assistantship search. But a regular old part-time job would work, too. Earlier this summer there was an opportunity to get an assistantship which would have been a good one, but perhaps a little hard to work with my schedule. I was willing to give it a go, but alas, the funding fell through. I got back to Columbia and immediately started prepping the old resume. Thanks to Doyle Stevick, I have lots of leads, and I went to campus last Wednesday and wandered about turning in applications to folks in the College of Ed and the campus library (which was more fun than it sounds because I had my Somali buddy Aden with me and we stopped in to see Fabian and Dianess Maganda). I have an interview with someone this Wednesday afternoon (also thanks to Doyle), so hopefully that’ll turn into something.

I’ve also been gearing up for the new volunteer recruitment season for our refugee tutoring program. We’re looking to expand to ethnic groups other than Somalis, though they will still likely receive the bulk of the tutors we get.

Katie and I have enjoyed just hanging out after our 6 weeks apart. We hit our regular joint Pizza Man on Tuesday with our pal Mike, I hung out with Doyle and Kara Thursday night, we had Thai food Saturday, we've been back to the Somalis's apartments, and Katie and I have been watching lots of DVD’s. Nothing exciting, but really nice. So that’s what’s up. Next week kicks off the semester with orientations and internship meetings. It’ll be fun, though.

* Oh yeah, seriously- big ups to Paula and Fuzzy. Great job.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by baldman76
Unbelievably, six weeks have come and gone and my time in Mississippi has drawn to a close. Tomorrow morning I grab my suitcase and a small black kitten, load up and make the 10 hour drive back to South Carolina.

The clich√© says “Home is Where the Heart Is,” and if you split your love between two places, it means you are blessed with two homes. My home is Columbia, South Carolina, with my wife Katie, but I've also been home with my folks for the last six weeks. I am very glad that I was able to make this trip. I just wish I could do more to help.

OK, so it's on the road again. More pictures and stories when I get settled in in SC.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


This afternoon I went to the Vicksburg Family Development Service and led a 45 minute discussion about why you should volunteer and the importance of community service. I was asked by Dave Heard (who is a part-time employee of the coffee shop) if I wanted to talk about my Africa trip or something, and I felt that I could really speak about volunteering from strong first-hand experience. I spoke to 12 or 13 boys and there were 5 adults as well. It went pretty well.

I say this not to toot my own horn but to say that while Vicksburg may be far from perfect, there really seems to be people working to try to make it a better place. Maybe there always has been and as a teenager I never noticed, but with the downtown revitalization, the active arts community and then groups like the one I spoke with today, I am finding Vicksburg more appealing. There's problems, yes. But there are folks who try to help, and that counts for a lot.

More Visiting

When I make these rare extended trips home to Mississippi, I never get the chance to see everyone I want to see. This time is no exception, but I am really happy to have seen as many folks as I have. And it's not just the folks I always make it a point to see. I have seen several folks that I have not seen in years. And I must say, I have MySpace to thank for some if it, because I have reconnected with some friends and acquaintances that I had lost touch with since my departure from MS in January of 2001.

Last Monday, after having lunch with Lindsay Cacamo, I ran into Erica (Penginger) Livingston, an old running mate with whom I spent inordinate amounts of time for many years while living in Jackson. Erica was in town from NYC because her Grandfather passed away, and though it was a terrible reason to bring her back to MS, I look for silver linings, and seeing her was great. Both of us had things to do the day we bumped into each other, but having not had a real conversation with each other in years, we settled comfortably in at Cups just like old times and visited for the next four hours. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to meet up again before she left town, but the chance meeting on Monday was swell. Yes, swell.

Continuing with the visits, last Wednesday I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Chris and Laura Collins and their three adorable kids. I had seen Laura back around Thanksgiving but only briefly, but that was how I learned they were back up from the Coast (Katrina pushed them back northward).

Chris and Laura


I got to know Chris while working at BeBop Record Shop in Jackson back in 1998. I worked in the store warehouse for a few months and really hit it off with lots of the folks there. Laura was the bartender at Hal and Mal's and- really- everyone loves Laura. She's just cool cool cool. They moved off to the MS gulf coast sometime before I left for AmeriCorps, and though I kept up with their whereabouts, I really haven't talked to them in years. Now they're back in Jackson, they have three great kids, a great house and life seems to be treating them very well.

I will always have a bond with Chris because I saw Tom Waits in concert with him back in 1999 at the Chicago Theater in...uh, Chicago. At the time, Tom Waits had just put out his first album in years (Mule Variations), and the tour was a BIG deal. Chris's sister lived in Chicago (this was before Erica was there), so we both ended up there for the show, albeit it separate shows. There were two, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Chris went to see Waits on Thursday night, but I had scored two great but EXPENSIVE seats (Fourth row, Orchestra Pit!) for the Friday show with no one to use the second ticket. After much cajoling, Chris relented and agreed to buy the ticket and go see the show with me.

Great show. We sat on fold-out chairs in FRONT of the front row. Twenty feet from the man himself. The show was great- fabulous, really- but it was that much better because there's someone else who knows how great that show was. It's a bond that can only be understood by a true Waits fan...(By the way, the jerk has now seen Tom Waits THREE times, but I don't hold it against him. Much.)

So it was great to visit Chris and Laura, meet the kids, wrestle the kids, climb in a big pile of pillows with the kids, ride bikes with the kids, take pictures with the kids, play on the playground with the kids- These kids are really cool kids, y'all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Visiting the Cat House

If you have ever had a conversation with me about my parents, then I have certainly mentioned that they own a lot of cats. And I mean A LOT. They are what are what I like to call Crazy-Cat-People.* But maybe y'all haven't truly understood what I mean when I say they have lots of cats. So I will now present you irrefutable proof, in the form of photographic evidence:







Mama Cat
Mama Cat


Campbell (named after Bruce. Word.)





Stimpy and Rudy
Stimpy and Rudy

Little Guy
Little Guy



The Kittens (The one on the right is Doozer, and he's coming home with me)
The Kittens (The one on the right is Doozer, and he's coming home with me.)


The Scutter


NOT PICTURED: Smoky and Vanna, who look just like Tony and Baby.

I am not kiddin,' folks. There's a hellava lotta cats here.

* Crazy in a good way.


HP #7 Cover Art

It was fantastic.

We're gonna have to talk about this book sometime, Dear Readers...

Quick Update

Hello, Dear Readers. I have been the social butterfly this last week and have seen many friends* and family. I'll get some photos up soon as well as some posts that tell about the last few days. But I'm in the final week of my trip and the days are filling up, so bear with me if it takes a few more days to pick up posting again. Later!

* Last Monday was the Day for Redheads. This last week was the week for Chrises**: Chris Collins, Chris Blue, Chris Black, and Chris Zuga. There's a lot of us out there. It's a movement.

** How the heck to you pluralize Chris?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tired and Feathered

So today the cousins and I initiated the second phase of Operation Clean-Up Mamaw's House. The mission was a success, albeit a more subtle one. Though the work we did is not as obvious as it was in the first assault, we managed to get rid of two full bags of garbage and three bags of magazines, rearrange some shelves, and vacuum at least 50 parakeets' worth of feathers and bird seed. And I was covered in both. Birdy and dirty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Today Was Evidently My Day for Redheads.

Chris and Lindsey
Originally uploaded by baldman76
First I had lunch with an old pal Lindsey, then Erica (The Livingston formally known as Peninger) shows up and I spent the next several hours visiting with her at Cups. I'll post more about Erica later, because I'll likely see her more this week, so there will be more dirt to dish. I'll talk about Lindsey first.

Yesterday was the first time I had seen Lindsey in 6 years. Back in 1999-2000, I worked as the Program Coordinator for the Madison County Cultural Center (MCCC), and Lindsey was one of the “kids” that took ballet classes there. I guess she was 14 when we met, and over the two years I was there, I got to know her better. If she had some spare time, she'd come hang out in my office, and she was always good company. Smart girl. Good conversations.

In addition to her taking classes at the MCCC, we also hired her as a camp assistant at our summer arts camp, and she kinda became a co-worker of sorts for the summer. When I left the MCCC, I had JUST turned 24, and she had just turned 16. End of story. Lost contact.

Ah, but for the power of MySpace. Out of curiousity one day I was searching for folks that I had known at the Center, specifically for some of the folks that would be in their late teens / early twenties. I was curious to see what they looked like, what they were doing, etc. Had no intention of actually contacting them. But when I found Lindsey, now at the ripe old age of 22, I took a chance and sent her an email. And lo and behold, over the years she'd been keeping up with me via the MCCC's old director, Mark McCrary! She was happy to hear from me, we've been emailing over the last month or two, and since I was in MS, we met for lunch to catch up face to face.

And it was really fun. It was a rather “fractured” conversation because we kept bouncing around from topic to topic, veering into tangents in an attempt to elaborate on everything that has happened to us in the last 6 years. The years since I left Mississippi have been the most important years of my life, and Lindsey has of course, graduated high school and come into her own as an adult. So there was WAY more to discuss than we could conceivably talk about in the span of two hours. There's still a pretty good age gap between us, but the years melted away when we got to talking.

When we first saw each other, I remarked that I didn't really expect to see her again after I left MS, to which she replied that she always felt that we were destined to see each other again beyond those years at the Center. So here's to taking the time to reconnect and discover those “surprise” friendships that suddenly reappear and make life that much more enjoyable.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

BEE-to-the-EYE-to-the-Double EL-WHY

Billy Middleton (and Sophie)
Originally uploaded by baldman76
So in one of my previous posts on Jeremy “The Cap'n” Mucha,' I mentioned that I also met a guy named Billy on the first day of second grade who completed the Three Musketeers of my upbringing. Today is his thirtieth birthday, and he was in Vicksburg visiting his family today. So I went over to his folks' house for a bit o' visitin.'

We spent a good hour or two catching up, talking about grad school (my upcoming first year and his current experiences in the USM creative writing Masters program). I haven't seen Billy in two years (since my last month-long MS visit in '05) and it is always good to visit with him. We always get ourselves to laughing. I don't tend to hear from or see him as much as I do Jeremy, but it's always remarkably easy to settle into a conversation just like no time has passed. I guess that's what knowin' someone 23 years will do.

We were both sans wives this afternoon (which is a shame because I don't know if Katie has ever met Billy or Monica, Billy's wife), but I did meet their chihuahua Sophie (AKA Booplee (sp?)). It looks like I may see them again next weekend, so I'll hopefully have a few more pictures to post.

Happy Birthday, Billy.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Foxy Reid-Bane
Originally uploaded by baldman76
So this is a picture of Foxy, my grandmother's dog. Foxy and I have quite a bit of history together. Years ago when I was living in Jackson, I was driving home late one night when I saw this dog running- panicked- on Fortification street up and down the on-ramp onto the highway. Certain death if she kept going.

Well, I felt moved to help the animal, so long story short- I caught her. It took a while, because where she was running and HOW she was running required me to make several big loops onto the highway and back off at the next exit, turning around and driving back to the on-ramp. Finally I got her off the ramp and up into a parking lot, where she fell at my feet and rolled over on her back. Thinking to myself “This is how people get emergency room stories” I picked her up and put her in my car. No one was mauled, and she became my dog for a while.

At the time I was working increasingly long hours, so I felt that I wasn't giving her enough time. Eventually, I was hardly ever home to spend any time with her, nor was my sister. When my grandmother's dog, Sandy*, died, I offered her Foxy, and thus she became my Mamaw's dog. And now she is lazy and fat (Foxy, not Mamaw). She eats lying down. She's almost as wide as she is long. But she seems happy, and she always seems happy to see me. I don't know how dog brains work, but it seems that she certainly recognizes me when I show up. She's a big fat sweet dog.

* Sandy was part Chow / part DINGO. Scary-ass dog.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Matthew and Scott
Originally uploaded by baldman76
As mentioned in a previous post, the stealth cleaning assault on my Mamaw's house was not a solo operation. I was accompanied by two other operatives, my cousins Matthew and Scott. After we cleaned, we hung out at the coffee shop for a bit, then wandered about in the book store next door.

As always, I enjoyed seeing them, and I'm sure I'll see them next week, because they're also itchin' to get back over and clean some more at our grandmothers.

Putting Obsessive-Compulsiveness to Work

I like to clean and organize (except don't say that to my wife because she'll laugh at you for saying something so silly). But I really do. And beyond spending quality time with my parents, there were other motives behind my trip.

See, I come from a family of pack-rats, but I seem to have somehow broken free of this habit. I don't like having a lot of stuff.* Give me a one gift and I get rid of two things. And while I am quite guilty of creating little piles of papers and such around the house, I don't like clutter. I have actually put myself in a little bit of a bind because I am suddenly finding that all my clothes are wearing out and tearing up because I wear the same few outfits over and over because I have given a lot of my clothing away. It's just how I am. I keep things that are sentimental to me, but there is a rather draconian vetting process that determines what stays and what goes. My motto: "A memory should be a thought, not a thing."

So a trip to my folks' house is both a blessing and a curse. There's so much to do! But I never get it all done...Their house isn't dirty, it's just cluttered up, and Lord knows they've had plenty of more important stuff on their minds lately. So I make it a point to do what I like to do when I'm here: organize, clean, and purge!

We've all been cleaning out magazines, sweeping under furniture, rearranging rooms, all to streamline the house and make it less stressful for everyone. For example, is there REALLY a reason to have the last four years of Entertainment WEEKLY (56 x 4= 224)? The answer is NO. It's been very productive and we've made good headway on a lot of projects.

AND my Mamaw Bane allowed my cousins Matthew and Scott and myself to clean up HER house, too, so we spent 2 hours yesterday vacuuming and purging newspapers and such from her house. That was great. She's fought against anybody coming over and cleaning her house (a matter of pride, I'm sure) but we were smooth and slipped in under her radar under the guise of a "visit from the gransons." It must have worked swimmingly well, because she told Mom today she's hopes we can come back over next week to do more work. Awesome.

So that's what's been up lately. I am planning some visits in the next few weeks, but for the most part it'll still be clean clean clean over here.

* Books and CD's excluded. Katie has accused me of wanting to get rid of HER stuff while my stuff seems to magically get overlooked when it comes to simplifying. It's somewhat true...FINE. I admit it! OK!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Harmonies

While Jeremy was in town last week, we went back to see the New Harmonies Smithsonian exhibit. Here's a few more shots taken when the room was not full of people.

New Harmonies Exhibit

New Harmonies Exhibit

New Harmonies Exhibit

New Harmonies Exhibit

Jeremy at Listening Station, New Harmonies Exhibit

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Someone's Got Some Serious Etch-A-Sketch Skills

So last week, Jeremy, my Dad and I walk into the Highway 61 Coffeehouse and there on the table is this amazing Etch-a-Sketch drawing.

Now, we often find pretty good drawings when we pop in. There's some good etch-a-sketchers out there. But WOW. Jeremy and I immediately went for our cameras, and Josh (he works there) told us that they had taken a bunch of photos of it already. Now Daniel has a photo of it posted on the wall of the coffee shop. All they know is it was a guy from Houston. He drank a cup of coffee and left, spending only about 20 minutes inside. Amazing.
CLICK HERE to see Daniel's picture of the table-top "still life" which inspired the sketch. Amazing. [Note that the figure in the drawing is a small statue of Willie Dixon. And note that that small statue is painted on an old leg of a bath tub.]