I Am Amazing

August 24, 2013

The signs on the Great River Road Trail say, “Bicycles Only.” Which explains the charity bike event I saw, bike after empty bike headed east toward Alton. Technology has figured out a way for bike owners to stand in Alton and electronically . . . Oh, okay, there were people on the bikes, mostly teenagers, all doing good for their community. I just hugged the right shoulder and tried not to get run over.

And there were walkers. Three of them, two girls and a boy, neared me at Stanka Lane. The girls wore black spandex shorts and sports bras—I don’t remember the turquoise and polka dot colors—and the lad wore floppy blue shorts. “Hi!” they shouted to me, from five feet way—I could have heard them from Missouri—giddy as they could be. I hi’d them back. Polka Dot Girl asked if I would stop. She took hold of my left arm and rotated it, looking at my five Indian artifact tattoos. “Are they real?” she asked.  I could have asked her the same question (politically correct readers, let your hair down for once), but I told them what the tattoos represented. “You’re amazing!” Turquoise Girl shouted.  I found myself fantasizing about throwing the 130 pound boy into the river, then taking the maidens up on a bluff and singing, “The hills are alive . . .”

Ah, me. “Youth is wasted on the young,” and old age is waisted on the elderly.

And on the happy kids went. I watched them for a moment(s)—to make sure they were safe—then I turned into Stanka Lane, headed for Stroke Hill. And there I met Hummingbird Man. He always is shirtless, is finely muscled, deeply tanned and has a bleached blond ponytail that reaches his waist. He has six hummingbird feeders in his front yard; the trees around him were filled with hummers awaiting their turn. We talked birds and sugar to water ratios, and he said he admired my fitness for “a man of my age.” We said our goodbyes, and his last words were, “Humminbirds are amazin.” Modesty prevented me from a rejoinder.

I will tell this story to Farmer Orville this afternoon, as I buy my home grown tomatoes and we pick the last of the sweet corn from his back field. That’s right . . . we will be a-maizing. He will laugh about the girls. His laugh is like thunder claps. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” Boom! Boom! Boom! He will give me an extra pound of tomatoes for free because (all together now)

I am amazing.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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