Saturday, May 7, 2016


Anyplace else, maybe I could 
have been happy forever. This 
was fairly close to the best. I 
had no TV. The few times I had
to get one out of the closet  - 
(what they used to call a 
'portable TV'.  Sure sounds 
funny now, when you can have 
the whole entire world with 
you anywhere, on your wrist
or in your hand as a phone or a
tablet. This 'portable' was a little 
10 or 15 inch screen-size we
kept in the closet)  - were the 
times when my parents or family
came to visit, or stay for a Summer
week or something. I well remember
one time they kept me on edge the
entire time with their intrusion of
television  -  all that laughter and
noise  -  in my own living space. 
One of those nights they anxiously 
awaited the Country Music Awards 
or something, a show broadcast from 
somewhere in Nashville. All those 
sickening music people doing their 
stupid stuff. I just left the house for 
a few hours, simply unable to put 
up with it. None of it just ever 
meshed well with me; I just
never understood what
people were doing.
We had a few very basic grocery
markets up there, in the most 
preliminary stages of 'supermarket'
formatting. Weird names too, like
'Super Duper', and 'Piggly Wiggly',
or something like that. Inside, they
were small, with narrow aisles, 
and a really simple check-out 
system. Not much room for 
anything excess, but people loved 
them anyway, as if they'd really
and finally entered the modern 
era. I remember a few of the times
there really well  -  we'd go in
whenever we had the necessary 
15 bucks or whatever it took to 
get stuff needed, like soap and
toilet paper and cleansers and
the usual dumb stuff. Money 
wasn't exactly just lying around.
It was like that for lots of people,
not just us. One time I remember
seeing a Time Magazine in the 
rack, with this guy James Taylor
on the cover  -  long, black hair, 
a mustache, etc. Nothing like
he is today  -  but he was just
breaking then, and had hit the
big time, for a few years anyway.
I saw that and it was as if I then
realized the 'modern' world had
moved on, continued along without 
me, all that New York City and 
all its music-business stuff. 
Another time, when I got to 
check-out, there behind the 
counter was the blond girl 
graduated now and gone on to
a little job, I guess, who, when
she was a Senior in high school
used to get off my school bus, at 
the Troy Hotel stop, that area, and,
instead of going on to school went
into that hotel  -  where all the 
hunters and seasonal hunt-club
guys would be staying, and do a 
'day's work' in there, instead of
going to school. Paid in cash. I
knew all this, and she didn't keep 
it from me; just said instead it was
more important she could bring
some cash money home to help 
out rather than just waste a day
away in that school. I knew  -
didn't want to, but did. And I
never did a thing about it. I 
played the driver, that was all, 
and  -  in that context  -  left all
the value-judging and caterwauling 
to others, if they cared. Maybe I 
was wrong, but maybe I wasn't. 
The funny thing was, too, how 
none of the other kids ever said 
anything either, her girlfriends 
and classmates. Or maybe they 
did and just no one cared. But 
there was enough enough
self-righteousness and religious
pride around there that someone,
I figured, would have made noise.
And probably had my job over 
it too. In the Super Duper, I just 
said hi and gave her my very 
best. One thing I do, still to this
day, remember about her, and I
never could quite figure it out.
She wore pants, and whatever
she wore, I guess they were 
always a bit too tight, but 
they weren't tight, more just 
ill-fitting or cheaply cut, so 
that they rode her ass-cheeks, 
in a really crummy fashion, 
like they were always getting
crunched up into her butt.
One strange experience I had 
there was with the attorney at 
our closing. I do forget his name
right now, but well remember 
his office location  -  across from
the Ben Franklin store in Troy, 
and, actually, next to the Troy 
Hotel (that fine, old structure is
gone now, and it's a parking lot
next to the Troy Bank). He was
a skinny, I mean really skinny,
guy, maybe 35 or 38; just a local
lawyer for property transactions,
deeds, transfers and wills. What
struck me about him was how he
hunched over and most-carefully
read everything, each document,
as if every word and comma was
of complete importance. He had 
a tray-full of sharpened pencils
atop his desk, and as he read, 
everything and each, he led 
along with that pencil point. 
His hand had an ever-so-faint
shake to it. I would just watch,
mesmerized. He'd say nothing, 
just a drag-along mutter as he 
read. His heavy suits, worsted
or whatever that is, were too
loose and flowing on his thin
body, and he seemed always
to be about a half-day late for
a shave. More than a stubble, 
but not much. As if, by three
pm each day, he should have 
shaved again already. He 
talked, when necessary, in 
a thin, nervous voice. It was 
really all almost eerie. Since
we didn't know anyone up there,
and were working from afar at
first anyway, he was a property
attorney that the bank hooked us
up with. He did everything, over 
maybe a month and a half, and 
then called us in for the closing.
It was early November by then.
I remember having a dream, 
beforehand, about the place, 
something deep and resounding,
in which it was mentioned that,
up there, it was now the 'rainy,
mountain season.' Dream talk.
But damn if, all the way up 
and when we got there, it a
wasn't teeming rain for three 
days, and the cold, damp 
was about  40 degrees tops.
One time, it was Spring, and 
we were driving Route 6 by
Wyalusing Rocks, Marie 
Antoinette Lookout, and, just
about by the Camptown 
Racetrack sign, from which
Stephen Foster had written
that song. It was a bit moist 
and rainy out and the roadway
on out right side was higher 
up than the roadway on our 
left side, all part of a deep,
downward slant to the land 
there. It was, evidently, 
walk-up time, or Spring
migration time, or mating
time, or something, for the 
frogs. They were, literally by 
the hundreds, leaping down
from on the right, onto the
roadway, and just getting 
splatted by cars. All over 
the road. It was gross, and
sad, and horrible. I guess it 
was slippery too, but no one 
lost control. It was one of the 
stranger, natural, sights I've
ever seen, ever. It kept me rattled
 myself, for a bit of time. I tried to
wonder, or envisage, some grander 
and larger picture of things, things 
of that natural world, that I figured 
I must be missing out on. Why could 
God, and Nature, or whatever, (and
even 'would' instead of 'could'  - there's
no 'why could' about God, I figure),
allow such a confusing overlap, a
confluence of conflicting events like 
that, to take out so may frogs? In 
this case, frogs completely unaware
and innocent of their ways and means,
being decimated for following their 
time-worn and instinctual drives,
which took them over the deadly
roadways of Man.

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