Monday, June 12, 2006

Free Associating

Sunday, noon: I trekked out to the Red Rock community center to drop off some information to the Old Red Rock Cemetery Association and to make a contribution. I decided to abstain from the community feed and auction and drifted back to Bastrop, making a stop at each of the Red Rock cemeteries along the way. When I drove up to the new cemetery, I was greeted by two big black gamboling dogs. I pondered the advisibility of getting out of the car, but they didn't seem to be much threat, so I proceeded to make my memorial visit to two Mobley granduncles. The dogs skipped and frolicked beside me and my new worry was that I was going to have a hard time getting away from them. I suggested they go on home. They snickered and continued to play.

My visit to the graves was brief - just long enough to place a red glass pebble at each marker. (My alternative to placing flowers that are going to die or turn tacky in a few days.) I braced myself for the process of separating from the dogs. When I turned back toward the car, I realized that they had vanished into thin air. Nothing but sparse fields around me, the nearest house about a quarter mile away. Not a dog to be seen, and they had been bouncing around me just a few minutes before. No hair raised up on the back of my neck, so I'm assuming they were not ghostly visitations. But it was really spooky how quickly and thoroughly they disappeared.

Sunday 5:30 p.m.: It's only a matter of time before little brother disowns me. We spent the better part of two hours baking in the sun while we assembled a second canopy to help shade the larger of the two decks. The first, on the smaller deck, made such a radical difference in the way the plants are surviving the 90+ degree heat that I decided it would be a good idea to put a little shade on the other side of the house. I could barely move by bedtime. Between pruning the red photina menace on Saturday and working on the canopy on Sunday, every muscle in my poor elderly body is pissed off. The good news is that the canopy is assembled and already making a difference in the amount of morning sun hitting the house. The bad news is that it may be September before I can persuade David to come back for a visit.

In a side note, we took a brief break and watched the parent roadrunners feeding their baby. I had seen them earlier teaching him to run up and down the street and avoid cars. In the high afternoon sun and a temperature of about 99 degrees, the little toot was out rolling on his back in the middle of the asphalt, looking like he was having the time of his life.

Monday 9:15 a.m.: I'm continually surprised on those occasions when I listen to the morning music program on KUT-FM how often the host John Aielli pulls a tune out of thin air that evokes intense memory twangs. It's happened so many times that I begin to wonder if there is some weird telepathy going on. More probably it's because we are approximately the same age and grew up with similar electic musical tastes. This morning, just as I was turning off Mopac to make the swing over to Balcones Drive and work, the old boy started Perry Como's Round and Round. I'm instantaneously swept back to 1958 or so, to the parsonage/church at San Gabriel, while at the same time getting a little boost of enthusiasm from a song that I heard so many times in my early childhood. Nice little lift to start the day.

At the risk of causing various relatives to cough up hairballs, I will confess that this was just after I had indulged my inner child with listening to part of an album by Johnny Ray. Just Walking in the Rain comes from the same approximate period of my life and was a song I was particularly fond of. (My mother hated Johnny Ray, so I have no idea how I managed to acquire my fondness for two or three of his songs.) How odd that John Aielli was apparently in the same mood this morning.

So I'm sitting here at my desk, remembering the back room in the parsonage at Oak Hill. It had a wall of windows that looked out on the big back yard and the cow pasture beyond. I had a small record player and a stack of records that I had acquired from various relatives and church members. I spent many a hot summer day in that back room, no air-conditioning, with the windows open and entertaining myself by playing the same songs again and again.

"Find a wheel and it goes round, round, round
As it skims along with a happy sound
As it goes along the ground, ground, ground
Till it leads you to the one you love..."


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