Where Is This Place?

i have been away for a while. It was caused by something strange to me. Hi. i’m back, at least for now.

You see, i had been planning to pick up my rapidity in posting — somehow that phrase makes no sense to me — when i completed the writing part of the book. That has been done: the manuscript has had its final edit and in the hand of the designer for layout. i also finished assigning photos to where they belonged in the manuscript. Essentially, all the real work of creating is completed. There will be more work with my editor (Bless you, Jennifer McCord) and the designer (Rudy Ramos, i’m excited with your work so far and wish i could make up an excuse to meet you in Flagstaff). We will be making the manuscript and photos into a finished product for printing. i’m also working with Susannah Greenberg, a public relations consultant to let people know the book is out there.

Right now, the plan is for the book to be published in May. Susannah will be sending out announcements about the availability to buy, and you, my friends, may get  some duplications in the announcements.  My intent, as it originally was, is to make it available to those who want to read it, to give some folks something to consider when they might deal with similar situations, to champion our women in the military, to provide landlubbers a glimpse of what a life at sea is like, and hopefully, to not lose money on the effort.

But it’s done. i launched into a handful of my tasks on the to-do list, now filling about six pages of a spiral notebook.

Then, i stopped. It’s been rather weird lately. It was like being in a vacuum. i don’t remember being in a vacuum. Ever. i started working at something, not necessarily of my own will, somewhere around six years old. Now some 72 years later, i didn’t have to do anything. i wanted to do a lot of things, i wanted to write. Hell, i’ve been writing for me since  sometime at Lebanon Junior High. i’m a storyteller. i wasn’t in the mood to tell stories. For a bit more than a week, i did essentially nothing (bad golf doesn’t count).

Oh, i’ll come out of it. i’ve learned to just keep on doing, mostly what’s necessary, and i’ll get by. It was just a weird two weeks or so, being in that vacuum.

Then i realized the problem just might be sewing machines are now smarter than me.

i figured that out when one of my sister’s sewing machines began a conversation with me.

It was in her work room where she sews, which is apart from her weaving room — Now, folks, my sister is a marvel, her art in weaving and sewing will blow your mind. But her creme de la creme of sewing machines communicated with me. Martha has several. My wife has two, one of which is squirreled away in our garage attic. All of Martha’s and both of Maureen’s sewing machines are smarter than me.

It was in my conversation with that sewing machine on Signal Mountain i realized the sewing machines were working on taking over the world. They are setting into action a plan to overtake all of the world’s government computer systems, all of social media, and the, gasp, cloud, to control our mines. i do not know their purpose, but i am sure they are soliciting the help of women to gain their objective.

Thinking about it, i initially concluded it was not always that way. My mother had a Singer sewing machine. It required pedaling to make it go. No electric wire to an outlet. No batteries. Foot power. i wonder where it was before my parents added the den onto our cottage on Castle Heights . i’m guessing the living room. i just flat don’t remember (my sister informed me after i first posted this is was in the downstairs bedroom). But i do remember that pedaling Singer sitting next to the pine paneled wall in our den after they added on.

That old Singer was a marvel. It had an oak wood cabinet with little drawers on each side, i guess for the spools of thread. The foot treadle was black with metal grill work. My mother and grandmother could make that Singer sing.

i was thinking it wasn’t smarter than me. Then i remembered the bobbin. So, maybe not. And maybe that old Singer and its friends were the beginning of the takeover.

Those days when that old Singer Sewing Machine was around were golden days for me. i’m now out of touch. i’m not upset or anything. When one gets old, one clings to what one was where one was and hardly ever thinks about the dark side of those times. Simultaneously, one now not only complains but fears the present and how today’s folks are dealing with it all.

We didn’t have air conditioning. Didn’t seem to bother us. Funny. Maureen and i don’t have air conditioning in our home now, but, of course, we don’t live in Tennessee but in what i consider the best climate on earth. We played outside, even after supper (not “dinner”). There were lightning bugs (fireflies). There were also mosquitoes and nobody made us come in because a mosquito bite was going to kill us (unless we were in Africa where they had tsetse flies). We had bees. Even though their stings hurt like heck, it didn’t keep us from going barefoot. We were tan and no one put on sunscreen. We had cap guns and BB rifles and one-speed bikes with a metal basket hanging from the handle bars, and we rode them like maniacs but not to school, but we did walk to school by ourselves, and would see how fast we could get the metal go-round thing on the playground at recess (do they even have recess now?) to go round and round faster and faster while hanging on for dear life unless we lost our grip and went tumbling in the dirt. And we fought each other and played “King of the Hill,” and would come home for dinner (not “lunch”) with mud and bruises all over us to eat baloney and cheese with mayonnaise on white bread, Wonder Bread.

And we played “mumblety-peg.” i’m thinking anyone under 50 is not likely to even know what that is, and if some boy tried to play it today, there would be protests of millions of people marching on his parents’ home and demanding they be thrown in jail and he be sent to a foster home.

And we didn’t need freeways. In fact, if someone had said “freeway” to me i  would have  been puzzled but curious. Of course, even out here in the Southwest corner, there weren’t twelve vehicles for each family, and there were only pickups, sedans, coupes, and convertibles, max two per family, no SUV’s and no pickups looking more like Tonka toys than work trucks.

And we went to church. In coats and ties, and dresses. And we went to Sunday School, then church, then again that night and on Wednesday. And we sang and prayed for real. But even though we thought the others: Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ — and there wasn’t a Catholic Church in our town, so they had to hold lay services at their homes — were a bit odd, their sect was of no matter when it came to having friends.

And we wondered about sex and held the girls up on pedestals, apparently even when some of them didn’t want to be on a pedestal.

But you know what? It’s different today. But it’s the same. Folks are folks. It’s the times, “The Times They Are A’Changing.” If i don’t understand them, the time or the folks, then they don’t understand me.

i’m okay with that. Seems like that hasn’t changed.


1 thought on “Where Is This Place?

  1. Our preacher held up a shirt (Wednesday night class) and asked what color it was. Some said blue. I said Azure. He goes “what”? I said there weren’t that many colors when i was little so we made our own. When you use the blue and color hard and thick, you then take your knife and scrape the picture to make a different color blue. The class turned and looked at me and the preacher said, “a knife”? I said yes, we all had pocketknives. i still have two or three and i carry one with me just in “Case”. I’m glad i grew up in a small town.

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