Update you didn’t know needed updated… on Friday before I left for Atlanta, the Rude Catholic Dude (not to be confused with Rude Navy Boy) I work with pointed out an ad for a freelance writer in the newspaper. I called and sent in two writing samples. It’s for a local ad mailer doing business profiles AND a statewide entertainment guide called Graffiti. They called yesterday and said, “Hey, come meet us. If you like us, you can have the job.” I met them today. I have the job. I start this week shadowing the current writer and next week she’ll shadow me, then I’m on my own. The manager said he’ll give it two or three weeks and then phase me into a Graffiti spot, IF, I pass muster. Cross your fingers for me!
Onward and upward.
“Back Woods Gold “
Back woods gold
Hotrods to hell
A little sign out front
And the angels are rollin’
Old men laughin’
Hotrods to hell
This song reminds me of home and my dad’s side of the family.
The place I grew up wasn’t even in a town. It was a series of lanes, versus streets, that weren’t paved until I was in college. I guess there were about 50 people in my neighborhood and maybe 75 in our section of Almost Heaven, nestled between the two swinging bridges, one of which was made famous by Jesco White in “The Dancing Outlaw.” Yes, I lived that close to Jesco White. My small claim to fame, I suppose anyway.
My grandpa’s best friend was a moonshiner. I can still feel the sand and grit beneath my feet on the linoleum of my grandparent’s kitchen floor. A pint jar of white lightning sitting on the counter, Ern sitting with his arms crossed over his rather bulbous belly, his constant 5 o’clock shadow, toothless, yarnin’ and laughing with my grandpa, my dad, and uncles. My grandpa unscrewing the lid and letting a curious little girl smell ‘shine until her eyes watered and all of the hair burned out of her nose. Pictures passed around of copper pipes twining around the silver tubular still in the running creek.
Sworn to secrecy for things innocent eyes shouldn’t see.
The entire family, 15 or 20 of us, taking pokes, climbing our mountain, trees rubbing and squeaking in Spring breezes, beating bushes with walking sticks to scare snakes as we searched for molly moogers, or morels, as they’re known, a mushroom that is not a mushroom at all, but a fungi.
Sitting on my mother’s lap, cigarette smoke curling from my Grandma’s unfiltered Camel toward the lamp hanging overhead, like a scene from a mob movie. Instead of playing cards, nervous hands twirl coffee cups around the stained table, my Grandma scaring me with stories of how my great-aunt died and the horrible conditions in the hospital.
Ginseng spread out on newspapers to dry. Strangers coming and going, selling ‘seng and yellow root, my grandpa the local pawn dealer. Laughing over the ginseng root that looked like a person with an “outtie” bellybutton, just like my grandpa. Antique guns admired in the back room, out of sight by all but that same curious little girl who sniffed ‘shine.
Sitting on the counter-top with a washcloth pressed to my forehead while my mother calls Grandma because we only have one car and my dad is at work. Riding in her Cadillac, which was as big as a whale, bright lights and being papoosed for stitches. Another ride in her Cadillac to pick up my cousin because her husband threatened to kill her. My Grandma’s hoarse, smoke-filled voice telling my brother and I to lay down. The smell of leather, the feel of sweat forming under my cheek, eyes squeezed shut, wondering if he really is going to use that shotgun.
My Grandma playing guitar and singing a song she had written that the great Dolly Parton recorded. The look on my Grandpa’s face as he stroked her cheek as she lay in the coffin.
My mother throwing a fit when she learned of him buying black market Viagra in his 70’s so he could sex up a woman AND her daughter. *snort* *laugh* Her ire with me when I took his side. Go Grandpa.
And yes, the day the call came that he had passed away. His minnow bucket in the creek, his back against a tree, a Western on his lap, the ghosts called and away he went. The next day toting my father’s father’s gun with my son at my side, the first day of squirrel season. My brother and I teaching our children to fish, echoing the excitement and pride over a good catch as our father did and his father before.