moon child

Virginia does not like this picture, but it is my favorite, because of her exuberance.
Hesitantly, Virginia asked me if I could help her put something in the paper about the birth of her daughter, 50 years ago today.
  Hell yeah! If it weren't for Virginia and her husband Randy, I wouldn't be here now. They salvaged as much as they could of the Goose after the flood and helped me rebuild.  So could I do her a favor? How about a thousand favors?
   So I wrote this:

Most people who are old enough remember where they were when man first set foot on the moon. But Virginia of Thomasville has a special reason to remember that day: She was giving birth to her daughter Annamaria. Virginia’s husband Randy was in the waiting room as she labored. “I didn’t really want to come in, because Neil Armstrong was getting out of the spaceship,” he jokes. An estimated 530 million people were also glued to the TV. But the eagle had landed in the delivery room too, and Anna was born. They called her their Moon Baby. Anna grew up and went to college and married and had Luke and Randi. She worked at MODOT for 17 years before leaving to join her husband, Randy (there are a lot of them here), at White Church Equipment in Pomona. Today, she turns 50. They celebrate with Moon Pies. Happy birthday, Moon Baby! 

Where were you? I was at a cafe on the square in Dwight, Il, with my friend Laura. It was her hometown. It was also Diana Oughton's hometown, and the following March, Diana would blow herself up in a Greenwich Village apartment while building a bomb for the Weather Underground. Needless to say, the Dwight folk knew each other. I had mixed feelings about the moon landing. It was a time when protesters thought the US was devoting too much money to the military industrial complex (Vietnam) and the moon race, and not enough to ending discrimination against blacks and women. And yet I was a science fiction buff whose first thought was, "We've only just now gotten to the moon?
   A month later, I was at Woodstock.
   The year of 1969 was a vintage year, for Virginia and Anna and me. 
I'm so excited! It's been forever since I was in print on paper! And Page 1!


sisters in law

Auntie Barb and Mom
At barely 17, my mother married, my father left Paris Island and his bride for the war (Okinawa, WWII), and my mother went to live with his mother and younger sister in Alabama. My cousin Glenn sent me this picture of her mother and mine, saying how remarkably similar we look to our mothers in old age. That's a little convoluted. Anyway, the mysteries of genealogy have always escaped me, and all I can think of is that I am blood related to both of these women, and Glenn only to one of them and yet to me.


one step forward

Jacob with bleach bottle
 It looks like it snowed in my yard. Also on my new deck and car (not pictured). None of us had any idea the paint would peel off so much and blast so far.
   Now the yard needs to be powerwashed.


jailhouse rock

Powerwashing and bleaching
 I guess we can all agree that almost anything would be better than this. The front is (mostly) pink, but the rest of it looks like this. Yeah. So it will be painted, and I was going to go for pink again until I found out that the Goose was once the hoosegow. Yes, in the late 1800s it was a jail, according to a 96-year-old lady who stopped to chat with me. Her grandfather kept records of all that went on in Thomasville, and this building was erected in 1889. The windows were cut out later, when it became a filling station, a cafe with an apartment upstairs and, "the old post office," as one local calls it. But jailhouse. Let's rock with that. I now think gray. I'm ready to perk it up with violent trim. I'll take votes on that.

After powerwashing

The grays. Going with the less blue one, bottom.


sprucing the goose, part 12 million

See how dark that untreated wood is? Well, after just ten years in place, it also had big holes and spongy places. So we decided to switch it out. Sadly it was under construction while Erin was here, so she didn't get much use of it. We bought just enough wood, and now it's perfect. I have yet to style it (awaiting painting of the front), but with the workers I have, that will happen soon!


goose duck duck

 There were a few odd ducks at Blue Spring on Saturday. Well, there were a lot of them.


on deck

 So the deck kind of needed replacing. Like, there were big holes in the boards, which were only installed ten years ago. But anyway, off with the old, on with the new (treated) wood. The remaining old wood has been ripped off, and the new wood is sitting in a pile underneath. Erin and I bought the wood, and then drove two blocks to the float outfit. By the time we got there the 12-foot boards were almost coming out of the five-foot truck bed. Yikes! But then we floated down the Eleven Point River in kayaks for a couple of hours, seeing no humans, but an otter and herons and minnows—without either of us dumping, though I came close. The river was about a foot high and still a bit murky, but where the springs fed it it was clear aqua and cold. When we got back to the truck, Erin rearranged and restrapped the boards, and we drove home at 40 mph


the guest room is ready

"My sister is going to divorce me if I don't visit Thomasville," my sister said. I have had very few of my near and dear here since I bought the Goose ten years ago. My brother, Chris, has been here and helped me build it out. My daughter and family have been here. A couple friends driving through have stopped. Granted, you get half of my bedroom—and now with sleeping quarters downstairs! But this is the summer of guests. Starting today, when my sister arrives—if her plane ever gets off the ground.


about the weather

 Sailors and farmers and islanders and people who live in flood zones always keep a weather eye out. Oh, also mountain climbers. So being many of these, forgive me if I pay too much attention to the weather. But it's so violent and dramatic here! And spotty. I can have a deluge and two miles away—nada. So the day before yesterday a really ominous shark of a cloud swam over T'ville. But no rain. Then yesterday there was a sudden and torrential downpour. It hit Dianne's farm too; her day's haying was undone. So today she posted a meme, "If you every feel like you have control over your life, just start a farm."


setting fourth

Isaac and Camilla at the Fourth of July parade in Block Island

The de rigeur watermelon in Eames chair photo

Guests arrive for hot dogs, hamburgers, ketchup, corn, watermelon etc.

People from all over, including Randy, arrive to hear Dawson Hollow, a band categorized as indie-folk, who were surprisingly good,  and watch fireworks.


no pot to piss in

This is Randy. He's my go-to guy when I'm in desperate straits. As I was when I could hear that the kitchen sink, the bathtub and the toilet were all gurgling when water went down any drain—they are all connected. Randy always reminds me that he's a Hatfield, so I don't want to get on his bad side. He came over and we experimented. We finally ascertained that the septic tank was full. Why, I don't know, unless the field was damaged in the flood. This was Friday.
So I called in Bobby of King John to come on over with the honey wagon and pump out the septic tank. He couldn't come until Tuesday. No showers, no dishes, not much flushing for four days. But the pumpout didn't help.
So then I called in Bill, a contractor who has been doing a lot of work in Thomasville since the flood. He had the temerity to buy a piece of Bill Dugan's land Right Next to the River, even after seeing up close and personal what the river did to us. He wants to write a book seeing himself through the eyes of his dogs. He also wanted to know if I was a liberal. "Of course, I said. I'm from New York!" "DeBlasio," he spat. I said, "Us New Yorkers don't like DeBlasio mush more than Trump. Familiarity breeds contempt." And we left it there, because I knew from Dugan that he was a Trumpster. He diagnosed my problem as being in the pipe leading to the septic tank.

Bill brought in one of his guys, Jeffrey, to try to blow out the line with a blast of water. Jeffrey asked me if I knew who owned the trailer across the street. I told him it was Bear (not that he's set foot in it, as far as I can tell), and then Jeffrey blurrted out his life story. He's 55 and has been living in his car for the last three weeks. He broke up with his wife of 30 some years (he was her second husband when she married him at 18). He paid big money to put her through rehab a decade ago. She's been clean since, but lately she's been catting around and sending money to Nigeria, which he suspects is a scam. Anyway, the water could not blast out the blockage. The next step was a rotor rooter. Or digging up the line.
Michael, another of Bill's guys, was fortuitously coming out to Thomasville and could rent a rotor rooter. He and Jeffrey rooted around and—came up with roots! Surprise! A nearby tree had grown into the line. It seems like they had found the root of the problem. And my problems were gone like water down the drain. For now!
I have detected a certain amount of boredom with my homeowner's problems on the part of my dear readers. I can't imagine why. Let's just leave it that I'll be back to entertainments and scenery soon, but not quite yet. 


spiffing the goose

I think the crape myrtle will bloom this year.
 Pretty green at the Goose. The tree that got pruned is the one that hangs over the deck—this pic is post-pruning. He cut what was endangering the oof, but I kept the shade on the deck. Cat pruned the shrubbery away so you can see the goose again. And should be easier to paint.
   Then Rodney showed up to mow. The "grass" is mostly weeds and violets, but it sure looks better mowed! Most people in this town are named Randy, but there is a Rodney here and there too. It's hard to believe that in the east I have never met a single Randy or Rodney.
   Now if only Bobby would show up with the honey wagon, I might be able to take a shower, wash some dishes or flush the toilet. I'm guessing that the flood must have damaged the septic field, because with a few months use a year, it should have been good forewver withouit a pumpout.

Rodney whacks the weeds. He also mows the graveyard in town.


cat up a tree

 That's Cat. I should have asked him what his name is short for. He has a job driving a semi during the week, but on the weekends he does trees. He used to be a logger, and his bucket truck is his "retirement plan," he says.
     He had a lot of call for tree services this past week when we had a derecho storm sweep through the area. It was right after that that I noticed a giant split branch headed for my roof, which is flat and rubber and could tear.  I mean, it might have been there before, but that's when I noticed it. So Cat came, joined by his son, 22, and girlfriend, ?, who left the kids at home to help dad load all the brush in two trucks.  I like that box elder a lot, and I hope it survives the surgery.
   Tomorrow's episode: A visit from the honey wagon! Hopefully.


color the goose

 Some of you may remember going through this before. But it's time to paint the Goose. I don't want to mimic the distinguished coloration of the cafe across the street. I would appear part of the Christian development.
  It seems a shame not to use this opportunity to change colors. Black has been suggested, but I suspect I'd be burned for a witch. I refuse to consider gray, because depressing. Coral and orange have been suggested.
   And still I like pink. Not too pink, or as Dugan says, "You'll attract every cowboy for miles around." I can't remember what I used before, and anyway the names change. Was it Cake Pop? Gentle Embrace? And the colors look different in every light and on every surface. Also I am NOT painting that plastic screen door, and I don't much like pink and white
   Still open to suggestions. Somewhat.
The cafe will now NOT be opening that soon as their well has faikled to pass inspection. They will have to put in a new one.


there goes the neighborhood

This print was made from a found negative by Bill Dugan. The cafe is on the left. The Goose is on the right, when it still had an extra room on top of the canopy. This is the old bridge, the one that existed when I first visited Thomasville some 20 years ago, shown around by Ann and Bill Dugan.
I took this picture today. The cafe's profile is much the same, while the Goose has lost its second floor bedroom and gained glass block, thanks to Chris Garrison and a deck.

This is the new interior of the cafe. I wish I had an old one for comparison, but trust me, aside from the ceiling the feeling is entirely different. As in upscale. Some of the people around here are worried they will no longer be able to afford to eat here. There is even a portable stage for those upcoming big events.

So hmm. From the POV of the soon-to-be room for let, the Goose looks pretty shabby. Not as bad as the bombed-out place next door to me owned by Randy and Virginia (the girls of T'ville are eager to buy it, but it's not for sale), but not that great.
  Which brings me to my next question. If I paint the Goose should it remain pink?


the slab

 I am not willing to take the road over the slab as yet—too much water. I saw somebody go across in what looked like a sorry-ass humvee. But I can't resist going to put my feet in the water and listen to it rush and watch the minnows. It's just too great. And then there's the road to and fro, a never-failing delight.


the winner is. . .

The Yellow Table!
Thanks to all who voted. The yellow table won by a landslide, and the aviator's table has been banished to the upstairs for use as a desk, per Dianne's suggestion. It's her yellow table after all.


no flash floods

Looking downstream on the Eleven Point
 Two rivers run under the bridge next to the Goose, the Eleven Point and the Middle Fork. They meet just downstream. After four inches of rain in torrential storms yesterday, I'm amazed that, unlike some people nearby, I have power, but more amazed that the rivers stayed pretty much within their banks. It makes those of us who still live in Thomasville—and there aren't that  many—nervous to have a flash flood warning. But today is beautiful, and the rivers, while murky, are nowhere near flooding.
Looking downstream on the muddy Middle Fork

Looking upstream on the Eleven Point. The cafe is on the right, and Bill's is on the right hidden by trees.
To refresh your memory, here is what the river is like when in flood.