Archive for June, 2016

pantsAbout 14 months ago, my employer gave me five pairs of wash-and-wear polished cotton everyday pants to wear. Every pair had a hole in the back left pocket, not large enough for my wallet to fall through, not worn through the back of the pocket to reveal skin or Fruit-of-the-Looms, but if you glanced at my backside as I walked away, you might have been tempted to say, “Hey Pedro, are you as devout as your holey  pants?” People didn’t say that, but I’m sure some wanted to say it.

I was grateful to my employer 14 months ago and early  on as some of the holes grew in size. Spilled paint here, scuffs and new unsightly wear in front took their toll. I think they were Wal-Mart pants. All but one pair became unwearable at my work place where my  hours were reduced to five a week, and especially at my aviation museum. I continued wearing them because eating regularly, if not well, was more important to me than new pants. They had become a political “statement” for me, a railing against unkind FATE, the way a bloody, unchanged bandage might be after a minor accident, shared in public to proclaim my discontent with the world.

Even my employer noticed the holes and mentioned them to me. I reminded him the holes had been there when he GAVE them to me. He offered to give me more used pants, but I declined. I had determined to purchase new pants from JC Penney in late May. My protest would be over.

Then I fell at my employer, broke a tooth from a decade-old partial lower dental plate and required a new, complete, lower dental plate. Replacement cost $900. I took a home equity loan extension.  Then the central air conditioning I provided to the upstairs residents broke. In addition to more than $1,000 due for real estate taxes, I owed the central air repair guy more than $1,000. I was morally compelled to reduce the rent for July to compensate the renters for going without coolness in half their residence.  The new pants from Penney’s would have to wait.

I had to have pants I could wear in public, say downtown during lunch hour, without risking being detained by local gendarmes and deposited in a holding cell on suspicion of vagrancy. After most of a year neglecting them, I turned my attention to a corner of a closet where I recovered two pair of dress slacks, DRY CLEANER type. To the corner dry cleaner I went, a step in the right direction. I had also noticed a pair of blue dress pants still on a hangar, protected by a light, clear plastic bag with another dry  cleaner’s logo on it.  Like the pants I had taken to the cleaners, this pair had belonged to Dad. Somehow, they had moved with me to the home where I live now, about a year after he died in December 1994. Five days ago, I took off the plastic bag, unpinned the dry cleaner’s tracking labels and tried them on. They fit just fine.  I’m wearing them now. I just took a picture of them.

Dad died after bringing the recently recommissioned blue pants back from the cleaners. That could have been in 1993 but more likely 1994.

It amazes me how so much of my life still touches things I obtained from my parents’ dying and earlier good will: my  desk at home, a cookie jar I had known as a five-year old, a winter coat, two pair of shoes (no holes in soles) my dishes and most kitchen utensils, forks, spoons, knives, bedroom chest of drawers and a few other things I’m sure. I still owe them for all this. I’m sure they never IMAGINED that in 2016 I would be keeping clothes and things in the chest of drawers I had used as a teenager in the 1960s when we were living on Whittier Avenue as a family! After they were divorced in 1968, mom continued living at the house until selling it and moving to Florida in 1979. That’s when I brought many items over to my then-apartment.

I have three pair of WEARABLE pants for the first time in almost two years, thanks to kind FATE and a father who picked up some blue pants from the dry cleaners in 1994.

I WILL BUY some wash-and-wear pants — and soon, I hope.

All in good time, friends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . all in good time.
Live long. . . . . and proper

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And so

And so
I lay
back down
to bed.

I’ve become an early riser. That makes it easy for me to be working at my airport museum frequently at 6:30 am; occasionally as early as 5:15 or 5:30. The downside is that I have to wait “forever” to run errands before going out to the airport.  This morning, I was awake about 6:00, savoring the morning light sifting through the partly-opened blinds on my east-facing bedroom window. I knew I had time to spend, as I sometimes do, picking up things around the house that would be better-put away elsewhere, cleaning the top of my stove, the kitchen counter, bringing mail from the table just inside the front door to my bedroom desk, Today, everything was pretty much in (uncommon) order.

I checked Facebook and email, found nothing I could not better-address at my airport office.  Wandering into the kitchen for a rare cup of kitchen-prepared store-label instant coffee, I decided to turn the water to my kitchen sink back on. (See earlier post Carrying Water to the Kitchen for background here) I had turned it off last November because it had a slow leak, and even though I caught a lot of dripping water in a large mixing bowl during the early weeks of this travail, I didn’t recover and re-use all of it. Better to just turn off the bleeping water to the kitchen sink. And I hardly missed it. I don’t dirty dishes, I’ve not had a friend over for a visit since 2014 (not having a working toilet helped guarantee THAT as well.). I’ve used five dishes, including my coffee cup, not including forks, knives and spoons, since last October. STILL, I thought it would be nice — rich, even — to have the kitchen water flowing, and even if the drip continued, this time I’d use a larger mixing bowl and be more conscientious about using the collected water.

So I reached down under the sink where the cleaning and anti-fly-and-roach spray are, and turned the handle to return water flow to the faucet above.

Nothing happened. No water flow. DANG!  DAMN, EVEN!  Such  a modest expectation. Such a sub-nominal outcome! I was a little bit crushed, but not bitterly or hurled into the wretching woes of anguish. I’d still bring water to the kitchen. I decided that a friend of a friend who fixed a burst frozen pipe in the basement last December had shut off the flow to the kitchen sink from down below in the crawl space next to the laundry  room. But it was 6:55 am.

And the bank where I HAD to deposit a pay check would not be open to the public downtown until 8:30. After depostitng, I’d have some cash for a long overdue haircut, some new hearing aid batteries (no functioning hearing aids for the past week and a half, and I’ve been okay without) and some decent FOOD (I’ll spare you the details)

I KNEW I was done sleeping. I knew I was in no mood to organize my Vachel Lindsay correspondence and loose papers in the second bedroom which I’ve not touched since 2012 and probably with never touch again. (again, a long story; I’ll spare you) I would arise at 8:20, brush my teeth and drive to the bank. Turned on the local public radio station to hear the same news they had broadcast from 6 to 7 am.  I was set.

And so
I lay
back down
to bed.

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

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Pr’ample. I flatter myself believing I’m a berter songwriter/guitarist/”folksinger” than poet. But my legitimacy I milk from comments and the apparent public esteem for my poems — They could all be “just being nice.” How the hay would I know? –is more important to me than words wrapped around a catchy melody. If you want to read the following as a poem, simply skip over the refrain that follows the second verse and  go directly to the last verse. If you  like the refrain, consider this a song  lyric; food for thought. Either whey, I hope you like it. It’s one of my favorites, I hope I’ve not posted it here at Honey & Quinine recently. If I have, I apologize for the unintended, redundantly  redundant redundancy — or as slick wordbrafters say . . . for doing it again.
DISCLAIMER: Otis Redding had absolutely no part in the writing of the following.

Watching The Tide
by Job Conger

You’re contemplating.
Life passions fading.
No one to love and less and less anticipating.
Can this be what life after 50 is about?
It’s lonely watching the tide go out.

You’re burning bridges
And digging ditches
To bury dreams destroyed by loathesome sons of bitches.
Green fields have turned to sauerkraut.
This grim tableau: watching the tide go out.

They try to distract your heart with happy songs,
But lilting melodies just make you cry.
They feed you cliche: “Tomorrow’s a day away.”
You better jump back into the swim of life
or they’ll leave you high and dry.

Your future’s clearer
as night draws nearer.
If Lady Luck is calling,
you wish you could hear her.
How can you be so cock-sure and still so full of doubt?
You’re busy watching the tide go out.
It’s nutty  watching the tide go out.
I wrote the the first draft of the above (which I transcribed from my third book of poetry  Bears’ sKin)  at 7:50 pm, May 24, 2000.

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

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