Monday, February 23, 2015

The moment when I realize that life is not a win/lose proposition
That less really can be more
That your privilege doesn't always and inevitably result in my disadvantage
I have my own privileges, sweet and hard won
That moment when I realize that I have enough
More than enough
More than I ever could have imagined
More than I deserve
That moment when I final put down my sword
shoulder my shovel
and be here now

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Down the Road with Uncle Buck

According to my Uncle Boyd, Uncle Jack and Uncle Willie used to play this song.  Apparently they used to play with the Coleson brothers, Pete, Pat and Pig, traveling to barn dances in a wagon.  Pig "weren't all there, but he was a hell of a fiddler."  Jack played the guitar, I'm not sure what Willie played. My Aunt Amy played the mandolin, Grandpa played the fiddle and Grandma played the pump organ, but only "down to home" as they say. All of them sang out of shape note hymnals at church. 
Boyd talking about Willie:  "Willie and Buford Diggs were on a troop train some 'eres between Ft. Smith and Tulsa when they dropped that A bomb on the Japs. Never did make it to the war."

Talking about his twin grandsons: "Them little boys, they're a handful. Piss cutters, both of 'em."

I have no idea what a piss cutter is.  

He's super smart, very well educated, but that's how he talks.  I guess you cain't escape your raisin'. Listening to him reminds me of my mama. She worked hard to keep the country out of her voice but it always leaked through, especially when she was around the rest of them.  

They're a dying breed; well except Amy. She'll outlive all of us. 85 years old and she put up over 400 quarts of pickles last year. I asked Boyd what she did with them and he said, "fed 'em to all them damn grand kids."


My old pals John and Michelle buried their daughter this week. John's daughter Rachel was actually Michelle's step-daughter I met Rachel before I met Michelle. She couldn't have been more than two or three at the time.  Rachel and Kiva were close contemporaries and best pals when they were little fellers. Both of my girls spent a lot of time with Rachel, first when we lived in Ashland in the 80s and later in Portland. John and Michelle moved to beautiful, old Sellwood and we came later to the house in St. Johns. We drove cross town regularly to see them and they came to our place. Our girls shared birthdays, sleepovers, camping trips, Country Fairs and Dead shows. They watched my kids for New Years Eves and opening nights, I watched their two oldest when the youngest was born. We were in and out of each other's lives until the kids were in middle school.  Not long after, Rachel went off the rails pretty badly; drugs, crime, a bad crowd. She eventually pulled her life back together to some degree, but may have fallen off the wagon. I haven't heard the cause of death, but she was struggling with sleep apnea and asthma, which certainly couldn't have helped.

Losing my contemporaries is bad enough, but when my kids' contemporaries die? Jesus.

I went through a box of photos looking for pictures to scan and send to my friends. There sure are a lot of dead people in my photo albums.The pictures of me might as well be of someone else. Who is that woman? No-one remembers her; not Sequoia, not me.

The photo above is of John, Sequoia, Rachel and me at Jimmy and Konnie's west coast wedding.  Not long before that, I bought a mandolin for Sequoia and then commandeered it for myself. John, Sequoia, Jimmy and I played music all weekend long, one of the first times I ever did that.  This photo was taken on the rocks above the river. We all jumped about 20 feet into a clear, deep pool and I was such and idiot that I let my daughters jump, too.  They were free range kids, no doubt about it. It's a wonder they survived.

Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end.