The Lucky Bastard Tribe

Racial divide depends on slotting: White is white, black is black, Latin is Latin, Indian is Indian, Asian is Asian. Except, all of that is demonstrably false.

There is one human species. If this disappoints you, a member of the Lucky Bastard Tribe, you’ll literally have to migrate to a different planet. Only Africans live here.

As the writer James Baldwin, addressing the facts, noted, there is no white, but there is a mass of people who “need to be white.” As in, European. And there is no such thing as “European.”

The “Europeans” were an African tribe that migrated from the First Continent and landed by sheer luck in the most advantageous geographical area for farming, metal mining and domestication. Pale skin came to dominate the region as evolution did its work and the need for melanin declined precipitously.

The Lucky Bastard Tribe settled in what is now called Europe. They chilled, paled, played with their resources, used them up and wanted more. Their resources, the ones made of steel, gave them the ability to conquer the world.

The Lucky Bastard Tribe created “history,” a term which means “stories of pale ones who won,” and “civilization,” which was a synonym for Lucky Bastard Tribe.

The writer Saul Bellow, a firmly entrenched “European” not noted for humility, was asked by an interviewer why he thought there was no literature beyond Western Culture. “I’ll be glad to read the book written by the Poet of the Zulus,” Bellow replied.

He was being sarcastic. Zulus were savages—we all knew that. Literature came from cultured people. Bellow died before science could inform him that there was only one human race.

“You are the poet of the Zulus,” wrote the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates to Bellow, in his recently published book “Between the World and Me.”

Saul Bellow, like me, like all pale-complexioned people from the Lucky Bastard Tribe, one of about fifteen original tribes out of Africa, was African: Poet of the Zulus. Culturally, he became Jewish, a sub group of The Lucky Bastard Tribe. The origins of literature, art and learning are African.

I had a doctor appointment in Bethalto on Route 140, next to a Speed Lube oil change place. I dropped off the car for an oil change and met my doctor. Then I went to get the car.

Two charter members of the People Who Need to Be White Club, the Speed Lube owner and a customer, were having a conversation about East St. Louis and “how bad” St. Louis had become.

Customer (paraphrasing): Remember when you had to drive through East St. Louis to get to St. Louis? St. Louis, the whole city—bad with them.

Owner (paraphrasing): Yeah, they’re everywhere.

Customer: The wife and I stopped to get a bite at Burger King in East St. Louis. And this car full of black guys parks next to us. They parked three inches from my car! They were going to rob us. You know what I did? I hit reverse and backed straight back before they could do whatever. And got the hell out of there.

Owner: It’s just getting worse and worse with the blacks. (to me) Oh, you’re ready to go, sir. Let me ring you up.

(I sign the bill.)

Me (paraphrasing): I’m writing a book about the NAACP’s civil rights struggles in Alton. (suddenly you can hear a pin drop.) I think I’ll relate this encounter when I get back home. Would you even serve black people?

Owner (agitato): Hey, I serve anybody. We didn’t use any bad words. I just said “blacks.”

Me: Good afternoon, gentlemen.

(I walk to the parking lot in back. The Customer, maybe 50, chases after me.)

Customer: Hey! Don’t you walk away from me. (I turn and stare at him.) You want to settle this?

(I pull out my cell phone.)

Me: Hit away, go to jail. I don’t care. (and I don’t)

Customer: You’re the one wants to hit.

Me (quote): Fuck you.

Customer (quote): You’re too ugly to fuck.

(The Customer gives me the finger, turns, stomps back into the Speed Lube.)
I’m not insulted. I may indeed be too ugly to fuck.

Imagine that carload of black kids pulling up to Burger King. Bad parkers? Probably. Hungry? Oh yeah, want some burgers. The white guy next to them? Is whack—look at him pulling out because of us. Had the kids had larceny on their minds, they’d have driven after him.

This anecdote is a consequence of fear—the very fear we instilled in people of color, and now they might get us—gross ignorance, and of needing to be white. And this is how I will die: some jackass with a gun puts me out of my misery.

And goddamnit, I am ready.

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The Two Rs

A new study has been published showing that raccoons and Trump Republicans (Trumpublicans) are “dumber than warm spit.” The study, published by the Phish Fist Institute, a centrist think tank, reported that raccoons, when placed in voting booths, voted for loonies, head bangers, xylophones, “crunchy things,” slinky toys, and the newly created category “Sara Palin, Special Limited Edition Looney.”

The response to the study was swift. “It’s fake news,” said lawyer and Trump apologist Rudy Giuliani. “The temperature of the spit makes absolutely no difference.”

Raccoons were likely to vote for what they perceived as masked candidates, or candidates whose views were duplicitous by design. Their religious views indicated that voting raccoons tended to see trash cans as God.

The coons’ Trump Republican counterparts voted much the same, showing a marked preference for candidates with dead eyes, who slapped their girl cousins on the behind, had hidden in a barn for forty years “waitin’ for White Jesus” (known as Pencians), or dreamed last night they were in Hillbilly Heaven.

Dr. Marcus Felton, chair of the online university “PhD U.” (Pennsylvania Hot Damn Ululation), led the study. 25,000 Trump Republicans and sixteen raccoons were surveyed. More raccoons had been recruited, but they all fell asleep.
“The new Trumpublicans are depressed, afraid, outraged,” Felton remarked. “Thus, President Eisenhower today is a Libtard. Raccoons are smarter and better problem solvers. Also, to a raccoon a garbage can is a garbage can, no matter what the color of the God/owner.”

Roseanne Barr, when asked to comment, said “The Muslim Brotherhood and ‘Planet of the Apes’ had a baby, Valerie Jarret, who then had a baby, Mike Pence.”

Old Squinty, the head of the National Office Council of End-times Raccoons (NOCERS), said he and his tribe figured out many years ago that they were smarter than Trump Republicans. “They leave trash everywhere,” Old Squinty commented. “They believe littering laws attack their right to be pigs. Heck, every time a holiday comes around, me and my coonster kids eat so damn much leftovers, we gain a pound apiece.”

NOCERS has begun a recycling business called Yes, We CAN! Raccoons encounter so much tonnage of aluminum cans and paper products discarded by Trumpublicans, they decided to market the moldy gold. Fortune 500 is predicting Yes, We CAN will be the hottest stock of the next three years.

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Barack to the Future

The Chicago Park District has etched in stone, the edict that all parks bordering lake Michigan are for the people in perpetuity. No buildings may be erected, no businesses (not counting drink stands) run. Just open space for the benefit of millions. Now the Park district, under the egis of Mayor “Rahmfather” Rahm Emmanuel has announced The Big Lie. The project? The Barak Obama Presidential Library, in Jackson Park, south of Hyde Park.

Barack Obama is behind it. If he weren’t, I wouldn’t be writing about it. Obama and Emmanuel have been pals since they were young men when Rahm was an alderman and “Barry” was a community organizer.

In my days working for Mayor Richard J. Daley and his wife in the Gallery 37 arts project, I and all the other artists of the city frequently met Rahm. He raised the money for Gallery 37 by soliciting funds—by strong arming businessmen. Rahm is a little fellow (he comes up to my bellybutton)—nothing wrong with that. But he has “little fellow complex.” He fights big guys and wins for sport. He and his attack brother Ari, agent to the stars, are bottom feeders out for revenge.

Mind you, the “library” part is no longer in play. The library will be on some other site. Though, Rahm always refers to the Jackson Park project as “the Obama library.” The Chicago Park District, unless a court stops it, is going to violate its own sacred oath. Why? Money. Construction money, road money, improvement money—for the foreseeable future. Screw the people.

I voted twice for Barack Obama. The historical fact of his election was inspiring. He seemed to stand for an ideal but was more functional than great. I am astounded that he and his wife would be a part of this boondoggle. Even if the presidential library idea was intact it would still violate the law. The parks belong to the people. Bullshit.

If the precedent is set, if in-perpetuity-land can be stolen, kiss the Grand Canyon, Arches, Alaska, the White Mountains, etc. goodbye. Kiss the West Virginian Appalachians adios. Farewell, Yosemite, Big Bend, Ozarks, the Tetons. Ta-ta, suckers. Given the penchant of the smart phone generation, it’s good riddance. You can “climb” the Half Dome in Yosemite and not get hurt!

Barack, you can stop this. President Obama, you should stop this. The park land is sacred. If you wield your power for this, your historical legacy is land thief, open lands rapist, not first African American President. If you play Chicago machine politics, you are just another cynical overlord in the same vein as the Daley clan.

In other words, you’re like them. No different that Trump. Brothers in theft, in fact.

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The Snapper

May 22, 2918 “The Snapper”

The American Bottom is sated. After a week of rain, water comes up to the edges along Routes 3 and 111. Water critters from raccoons to lizards and skinks to snakes and turtles were making their perilous journeys across roads. I was driving north from Edwardsville at mid-day, when I came upon a large snapping turtle, its head going in and out of its shell.

So, I pulled over. Car were making no efforts to slow down or stop. I walked along the shoulder to the turtle, now snapping its jaws, in no mood to thank me. The damn thing weighed about ten pounds.

You have to respect a turtle whose name is “Snapping”, not “Snappy.” I got behind it and took hold of the rear shell area. It bowed its head over the opening, mimicking the whack made by an old timey paper cutter. You know the saying: “Turtle can’t get you from behind.”

No, it can’t—if you hold it firmly and account for the four scabrous legs each armed with rapier-like claws, if you don’t tug the body toward you or hold it too far away and the turtle’s weight makes your shoulders weak, if you don’t lose your mind when the dinosaur stiffens legs and neck and head and snaps the machine with balletic grace, if the howl of the creature from the black lagoon doesn’t make you cry for your mama.

And there was the audience factor. Other drivers began to get interested when they saw my three failed attempts to lift The Thing, my imagination providing commentary: Car full of girl students, must not let go, must not whine, must not move my face; oh my god, what would my dad do; OMG, if it bites me, hold up my bloody stump and yell “Freedom!”

Then there was a lull in the traffic. I grabbed Old Ned or Old Nelly or whatever the hell its name was, extended my manly, pale arms and carried the shitting, pissing dragon across the highway! I only tripped once! I tried to lower it gently (yes, I took it where it was headed, don’t be telling me your turtle IQ), but Ned/Nelly hissed and spat and tried to turn upside down, emitting the worst breath I’ve smelled since Scout the cat ate some raw chicken, and my hands started slipping and the monstrous mouth of the monster opened wide and I could see the depths of hell of Chelydidrae serpentina

I dropped him/her on his/her head in the tall prairie grass. It (the snapper not the grass) flipped up and over and took off for the pines of Roxanna. It probably called Turtle 911 to report it had been molested.

The Department of Natural Resources in Springfield called to tell me that the National Rifle Association has put me on their enemies list as a “Pussy Opposed Willfully, Wantonly Etc. to Shooting Turtles LIke a Normal Person Ecstatically Would (POWWESTLINPEW).

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The Intervention

I met Danny at the Irish Eyes Pub on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. Actually, I saw him before I met him. He was standing on top of the bar and reciting Dylan Thomas from memory. My friends George and Mel were egging him on. It was great theatre. He would take requests, from “Hamlet” to “The Man with the Golden Arm” to sections of “Ulysses.”
On Thursdays, “open mic dirty song night” at the bar, Danny would stand on stage and sing his one and only tasteless blues ditty: “I love my baby, though she’s only thirteen years old; she’s only thirteen but she’s got the body of a…twelve-year-old.” And the crowd would go crazy.
Danny was an ER doctor. He would line up bar patrons with medical issues and consult with them. I once saw him stitch up a guy’s hand and douse it with rum. Everybody loved him. No one thought for a minute that they were enablers.
He was two distinct people: a brilliant and skillful doctor… a tortured drunk. The drunk was outgoing, a would-be actor. Sober Danny would sit in a chair all day and read, his photographic memory soaking up knowledge. He was the smartest man I ever met. He was the sickest man I ever met.
Danny became a “circuit rider,” an ER for hire in small Illinois towns on weekends. He loved the job and the freedom it gave him to read, study Japanese, and (secretly) write. He rued the fact that he couldn’t write—come up with an original idea.
One Saturday night, Danny called me from an ER in southern Illinois. He often had stories for me, thinking, I suppose, I was his surrogate. A sheriff had been catting around his county. The sheriff’s mentally unstable wife wrote obsessive letters to her family members, every day. The sheriff had opened his Saturday note, only to learn his wife was in the local cemetery, sitting next to her dead grandmother’s grave. He drove to the cemetery and found her wearing her wedding dress, her head destroyed from a shotgun blast. Her body was brought to the ER, to Doctor Danny.
True love evaded him—until he met Helena, a nurse practitioner in, of all places, a remote hospital in Alaska. They worked with natives and read and drank, through courtship and marriage. They moved back to Chicago.
One night, Helena found Danny passed out in front of their apartment door. He had lost control of his bladder and bowels. Neighbors were understandably upset. There was a message from a local movie theater for her. Danny had heard a patron say the word “nigger.” Alcohol made him violent. He attacked the patron, a much younger man. He was lucky the kid didn’t kill him.
The following week, a bleeding pregnant woman was wheeled in to Danny’s ER. A nurse tried to wake Danny up. She smelled alcohol. Danny staggered into the ER and put his unwashed, ungloved hands between the woman’s legs. Another doctor intervened. Danny was fired.
Helena contacted a state agency run by a doctor who had had a leg amputated when, drunk, she had fallen asleep and pinned the leg underneath her. The leg couldn’t be saved. The doctor now devoted her life to expediting interventions with impaired physicians.
Danny got a letter from the state requesting a meeting. He didn’t know his friends and his brother from San Francisco had all gathered at the meeting place. We were instructed to write letters to Danny which we would read at the intervention. I remember being scared that I had somehow betrayed my friend.
Danny arrived for what he thought was an inquiry. He opened the door to the room where we had gathered, glanced in, spotted his brother…and began to laugh. Helena stood and tried to embrace him. He pulled away and turned toward the door. Police blocked his way. He had two choices: sit through the intervention and be hospitalized or be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.
He sat and smoked and listened. He shook his head, glared at Helena, smiled at his brother. When told by his wife about him having lost control of his body functions, he spoke his one and only retort: “that didn’t happen.” The interventionist told him bluntly to shut up.
Several hours later, Danny was a patient in recovery in a hospital. Specialists would determine when he was fit to be released. This would be a huge blow to Danny’s ego, to have to accede to his peers.
Over several months, Danny served Helena with divorce papers. He wrote to the folks who had confronted him and informed them they were no longer his friends. We were told this was not uncommon—ridding oneself of one’s past.
He lost his medical license. He took up watercolor painting and absorbed himself in Japanese culture. Helena met and married a wonderful man and had babies. I never saw Danny again.
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Some of our greatest literature is about revenge. As I kid, how I loved revenge movies. The 50s Noir movies, the “Blaxplotation” genre (“Shaft…right on”), etc. Lee Marvin and Terrence Stamp, two great and underrated actors, were in classic revenge films.

In “Point Blank,” Walker (Marvin) goes after the guys who framed him. Does he get them? Of course—he’s Lee Marvin. (See Marvin’s Hickey in “The Iceman Cometh” if you doubt his acting ability.) “The Limey” features Terrence Stamp coming from England to exact revenge for the murder of his daughter. Even the wonderful Michael Caine did a turn as “Harry Brown,” an old man, retired mobster, who wipes out young people—very satisfying. And who can forget Uma Thurman killing hundreds of swordsmen/women in “Kill Bill?”

Shakespeare did not pen the phrase, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” He did write the greatest revenge play of them all: “Hamlet.” Hamlet plots killing lots of people (what teenage male does not?), but he actually kills no one.

Is revenge, the killing of a person or persons who killed your beloved, the best form of retribution? I say no. Because the person you bumped off is gone. What then? Kill Bill is kill. All the teenagers are dead. The mobsters are dead and more mobsters will seek honor in coming after you. Shaft’s shaft has gone limp, Sheba Baby is Sheba Old Lady.

Instead of threatening your concubine with: “I will kill you,” try this: “I curse you with shingles!” Shingles is the answer!

Give your enemy shingles… and watch as he/she pussifies, burns, weeps, pulsates, pustulates, palpitates with itches, panics, pleads for God to kill him/her (not this time, sucker!), screams in agony, begs to die, the kid behind your victim points at his/her flaming, scaly head and screams, “Ma it’s the monster from “The Terror!” (Monday nights on AMC) YES!

Claudia, you who wouldn’t kiss me on prom night after I shelled out a hundred bucks for a corsage and a limo: I hope you get shingles! Hedi Weiss, gum chomping theater critic of the Chicago Sun Times who wrote: “Watching Mr. Baldwin’s play is like riding a slow train up a very steep hill”: I hope you get shingles! James Franco, rapist of literature for films and least talented actor on the planet, in the universe: I hope you get shingles! Kanye, you murmuring, mountebank Minnie the Moocher of “music”: I hope you get shingles!

I feel better already. To the Trumpstars: the billionaire and his wife; Sarah Huckleberry Hound; the Witches of West Wing; Ugly Rudy (who’s ugly? You are!); Michael Cohen goes to jail ashore, hallelujah; Lil Pissy Pence: I hope you get shingles!

As for Don Blankenship, coal executive (he said Obama was responsible for the 29 miners’ deaths HE was found guilty for): Revenge! May Walker and the Limey and Shaft (right on!) drill into your shaft, fill it with coal dust powder and baby, light your fire. Oh yes—and give you shingles.

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The Facts

I am not a journalist so much as an essayist. A reader offended by a newspaper article, one hopes, understands the difference between the story and the story writer. A reader offended by my opinions can vent to me, stop reading my work and or equate my opinions to me as a person. Or threaten me.

Writers are under siege all around the world. Despotic regimes cannot survive if the free press reports the facts. And they view essayists as trouble makers. The more extreme among the despots think nothing of killing journalists or writers. Truth and despotism are opposed. Worldwide from 2001through 2017, 780 journalists have been killed. A newer trend shows women journalists to be more likely be a target.

“The New York Times and a third-rate reporter named Maggie Habberman [sic], known as a Crooked H flunkie [sic] who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected.”

The quote is from a morning tweet-a-thon posted by our president. See photos of him posing with Haberman in the Oval Office, his arm around her. His words and thoughts reveal low intelligence. To use a baseball cliché—because I’m an essayist not a journalist—the facts show us a “farm club” right-winger trying to leap into The Show. Having been raised by wealthy, racist parents, our hero boasts of his Mob connections, his misogyny, and his willingness to step on the little people.

By reporting what the man wrote, I am telling a factual truth. By writing what I feel about it, I am expressing my opinion—my emotional truth—which may delight or anger some of you. I don’t care.

Maggie Haberman is a widely respected journalist. Each of her stories contain at least three fact sources—good journalism. The fact that the facts have been declared fake does not change the facts.

Evangelical pastor addressing his congregation: “There has been some confusion among evangelicals as to what currently constitutes sin in the eyes of the church. So to clarify, we now condone the following conduct: lewdness, vulgarity, profanity, adultery and sexual assault. Exemptions to Christian values also include greed, bullying, conspiring, boasting, lying, cheating, sloth, envy, wrath, gluttony and pride.”

That is satire, of course, by Garry Trudeau in this morning’s “Doonesbury.” It reflects the facts of the evangelical church’s shocking willingness to overlook the above commissions and acts of our president which clearly have nothing to do with Christianity. Why?

If your response includes the words “lyin’ Hillary,” you sir, you ma’am are sycophants. You ought to be ashamed. You are equating not answering—either because you can’t answer, or you are still pissed off about that black president who had the temerity to win an election, mostly because of a solid black vote and an overwhelming white vote. You lost. And you’re going to continue to lose because the world will not spin backwards no matter how hard you pray.

What are the options for coopted evangelicals and right-wing populists? Gun toting: Happening. Insulting workers or patrons of stores because of cultural dress or color: Happening. White terrorism: Happening. Assassination: Happening. Whoa, who got killed? Elijah P. Lovejoy, Martin Luther King, the Kennedy brothers, Malcom X, the current student and church massacres, lynching (4,730), and the list goes on.

Journalists and essayists, writers in general are being killed the world over. As if my brothers and sisters will stop what they’re doing. A friend of mine recently told me that I needed to stop pissing people off re writing. The friend had heard people in their church discussing me, how I didn’t belong here and I had better learn my place. Stick to whimsy. They like that.

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Ayn, You’un

Paul Ryan is going home. Yay! He wants to spend time with his kids. Yay! Kids: Dad, please, no more Ayn Rand!

If you haven’t noticed, novelist and Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand is hot with current Republicans. Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Steve Bannon and the ilk. If you haven’t read Rand, you don’t get the fuss.

I read all of Rand’s (Ayn, not Rand Paul) books as a teenager. In the age before internet porn, teenage boys read Ayn Rand and masturbated. Rand was all about European elitism and selfishness and exploitation of the world’s resources for their own benefit—I mean Objectivism. Her prose is purple, swollen, erect, explosive.

Let us imagine seventh grader Paul Ryan in his bedroom, reading “The Fountainhead,” about a visionary man (white narcissist of course) named Howard Roark who sublimates by designing buildings, or “Atlas Shrugged,” where America is falling into ruin, its government systematically seeking out brilliant people and stifling their creativity, for the greater good.

And little Paulie R. plays with his hairless little friend between his legs and formulates his own ideas regarding the downtrodden and the rich.

The Objectivists are “brilliant” people—just ask them—defined by a second-rate philosopher who lived a soap opera life of scandal, was not the least objective, and a scribbler of succulent prose who proposed that elite Europeans should more or less stomp the little people on their way to building giant erections (skyscrapers). It doesn’t sound sexy to modern ears. And that’s one of the problems.

Republicans loathe intimacy but like orgasms. Many prefer illicit orgasms. They’re all about the squirt. Ayn Rand is a prose squirter. It would be a match made in heaven (except, Rand was an atheist), Ayn and Stevie B. and the right wingers masturbating around a campfire. (Ronald Reagan was a regular at a California nature retreat where he and Henry Kissinger and others squirters peed together. I’m not making it up; the New Yorker wrote a feature about it.)

But. Rand would despise the current Republicans with their collective tiny IQ. Not for her, evangelical squirters and “Babbitt” squirters and the like. Ayn was a smart Fascist.

“She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.” The great writer Flannery O’Connor writing to a friend about Ayn Rand, Rand having commented that Spillane was better than Tolstoy.
It’s not just the turgid writing. Objectivism failed to note that the vaunted freedom of the supermen would come at the price of creating what we are just now aware: the rape of the planet, to the benefit of businessmen and no one else. Business, like evangelicalism now cries with the voice of tRump: We’re endangered, too much regulation, war on Christians. Bullshit. The war is on us.

So … Paul Ryan, you onanism-loving son of a gun, settle back and read NBR—nothing but Rand—until you puke of pusillanimous prose poisoning. You long ago rejected the art of thinking, and you are condemned to keep your mouth shut. As for your kids, may they rebel and make your Ayn Rand-loving self, miserable.

Congratulations on your retirement!

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Riddle Me This

Black is white,

Achromatic white is not black,

And Custer was yellow


African is Asian,

Asians Bering gifts are Indian givers

And whiteface Andrew Jackson sees red


First Man was bronzeblack,

Huitzilopchtli’s Aztecans copperybrown,

And Jefferson is jaundiced




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Bud’s Hole

It has been a while since I wrote about my friend Farmer Orville. We’ve both had some health issues lately, and we’ve cut back on the cookies. But I’m happy to say we had a great visit this afternoon. He told me what was wrong with him and I countered with what was wrong with me.
Orville and his wife Quilt Queen have had a guest for the last two weeks, Bud the Dog. Old Bud, his Irish setter’s face as white as ash, is sharing quarters with Ruby Puppy. His mistress, their granddaughter Kate had a baby, and she needed Bud to be taken care of, and Bud loves Ruby Puppy.
Which is a miracle if you know the full story. A couple of months ago, Bud started having seizures and trouble breathing. Anticipating the worst, Orville hiked out to the dog/cat cemetery just left of the beehive in the north meadow. He dug a grave next to Reba the farm dog and Cat the barn cat, both noble animal friends of mine. He called me on the phone: “Bud is dyin’, I’ll be burying him tomorrow.”
Miracle of miracles, Bud rebounded—Orville opined that a comely bitch in heat must have passed by—and these days he runs around like a pup. Bud’s grave went unfilled. “Well,” Orville said today, “I am ailin’, you are ailin’, Bud is old. We will hold us a contest, see who gets Bud’s hole.”
I am not in any particular hurry to lie in Bud’s hole. Oh yes, it would be much less expensive than Gent’s Funeral Home, but I just am not ready for the Home or the Hole. Besides, it (the hole) would have to be lengthened; I am a taller drink of water. You could fit two of Orville in the hole, or one Bud. “Well then,” Orville said, “Gene, we’ll put you in the compost heap. Tomato planting is not too far off.”
I told my friend that I had heard a song on a bluegrass radio station today: “Only two things you can count on/True love and homegrown tomatoes.”
I will get my fill of homegrown tomatoes this summer. Every year, I set up a tomato tab—a running account of how many pounds of those luscious red babies I consume. At season’s end I present the list to Orville and pull out my checkbook. He then slaps the checkbook out of my hand and tells me to forget it. It’s the same with the “pick your own” blackberries. Such rituals remind me that I am a lucky man.
Orville tried to send me home with a cake. Fortunately, I don’t care for cake. You never know with a dressed-up, iced-up cake. Strip away the artful icing, and the thing is a gamble. For every German chocolate cake, there is a Bundt cake or angel food cake or sponge cake or fruit cake—things you eat then feel guilty about the next day, like that dressed-up “girl” you met on a blind date. Besides, cake will lead you sooner than later to Bud’s Hole.
Bud is alive; magic is afoot. Orville talks non-stop about death, which only makes him animated and more fully alive. I am alive and headed for a nap, to sleep to dream about dancing girls—there had better be dancing girls in heaven.
And true love and homegrown tomatoes.
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