The Pickle Jar
Times when God got me out of a pickle!
My friend Terry prayed with me before I left.. prayed for safety, no car issues, etc.. The last thing he said was 'I miss you already'... Well... God must have heard that one. My trusty Ford Expedition was completely loaded and was hitched up to my home - me and my 17 rv were going out for a 'short time' to NC to ride out the covid thingie. I had called Terry almost as an afterthought to let him know I was about to pull out of Nashville. He said, "Oh well let's meet up... I want to give you some money". I have a real hard time with refusing money - it's definitely one of my weak points. So I said Ok and we agreed to meet on armory drive, which was kind of near his house but right off the highway so I could be on my way. Terry is a good Christian, whereas I am a failed Christian. But anyway, he prayed for me after giving me some gas money he said he owed me for some solar panels I sold him a few weeks prior (I don't think he owed me any more for them, but Terry is like that). As a Christian brother, he prayed for me there in front of a bun factory, prayed for safety, etc. And like I said, the last thing he said before we went our separate ways was "I miss you already". Terry had hooked me up with a number of people that had helped me land somewhat on my feet the second time around in Nashville area. I also played for tips in front of his store at Marathon Village, which he was always happy to have me do. It seems like a small thing, but I needed to do that for a time if for no other reason than to get my musical stuff together - find out what 'worked' and what didn't. And just basically come up with a varied repertoire, which I started to do during that time. I actually lived almost an hour from downtown nashville at that point, in this hilly 'town' called cumberland furnace, which was 25 minutes from Ashland City - the place where I hosted an open mic and hooked up with some other musicians and fine people. So I was there about a year before Covid hit. I still remember the Friday night I was playing at a restaurant in Brentwood - hardly anyone was there except the staff. They had announced that afternoon the quarantine etc so I cut it short. My friend Paul was there so afterwords, we went to publix grocery store to find all manner of meat and toilet paper and other items people view as necessities, had suddenly vanished. I knew then it was the beginning of weird times ahead. I instantly lost my income from gigs, lessons (tho I did do some skype lessons - Here's my attempt at advertising for more., and one other thing I was doing, so I had no other ideas in my head except to go out to NC where my ex-wife would let me park my RV on her 5 acre property - yes, it's sounding more like a country song by the minute - or a premise for a hoaky sitcom).
Sooo, I'm standing in front of this bun factory and I'm heading out to hills of northwest NC.
I never knew a Ford Triton V-8 engine could sound like a briggs and stratton 2-stroke lawn mower but in a matter of seconds, that's the noise coming from under my hood. And the car suddenly was barely moving.. I managed to pull around the corner dumb-founded, having no idea what just happened. Eventually I thought to call my friend John, who is a grand mechanic. I said, "John can you tell me by listening what this might be?" I heard him say "No that would be too hard to do..." I ignored him and held my phone up to the briggs and stratton sounding V-8. "Turn it off", he said immediatley. He knew what it was. A blown-out spark plug, which is where the threads on the plug are not tight (it's manufacturer defect so say many), so eventually (like over 285,000 miles), the plug physically blows out through the top of the cylinder by the force of the piston, along with the coil pack and whatever else get's in it's way...I knew very quickly that this was definitely not a job for a guitar player.
So I get Terry back on the phone.. "Uh.. remember when you said you miss me already? Well you can still see me if you want." Terry it turns out, couldn't see me since he was on a painting job (I think), but he did have an aquaintance who did road-side service out of his (wait for it) 1992 Ford Expedition, which he had retrofitted to hold a whole lot of parts and tools etc. Whoever heard of such a thing? I hadn't. Turns out this guy could fix anything and probably had - he'd been doing it a number of years. This on-site emergency mechanic couldn't come out till the next morning but I wasn't being picky at that point. It just meant I had to spend the night and heck, I had my house with me and I was in a very low-traffic area, except for the railroad traffic which I heard all night - I was on the other side of the fence from the busiest railyard in TN.. I had some interesting dreams, not sure about rufus.. But true to his word, he was out around 7am the next morning, him and his wife/assistant, and they went to town fixing the thing - they put inserts into the dohickimus and then recalibrated the fronker valves - something like that. Remember, I'm a guitar player.
So dude, you may be asking, "how is your car breaking down a blessing?".. Well, the car was going to break down at some point. those plugs were ready to blow. But the fact that it happened in the place and time that it did, within coverage distance of a guy that fixed it for a fair price, was willing to work with me on payment, via my friend, and the fact that I already had a buyer for the car I sold to pay for the repair (I had very little money to pay for this repair, but I did have another car I was planning on bringing back to NC once I got settled. I had a friend who told me she would buy it for her son if I ever wanted to sell. Of course this repair necessitated that sale - so it was basically a done deal and the repair was paid for in a week or so). and that I didn't break down in nowhereville somewhere between nashville and NC.. all of these made it much better. Things are going to happen in life.. can't avoid it. But the answers are there if we don't despair - hey that rhymes. Jesus put it this way "In this world you will have trouble - but take courage, I have overcome the world."
welcome to MISSISSIPPIANS
Sold all my musical gear before I moved to MS. It's the only way I had enough cash to get there and then wait the 7 weeks before I got paid on this new job I accepted (actually this wasn't even close to being enough for that length of time but my plans generally always look better in Excel Spreadsheets than they ever work out in real life). I was in Fairview, TN at the time enduring a bad year financially. I was working a remote programming job with a company in Denver area - (sitting in my camper working on my laptop), then I wasn't. After a year, the company hadn't gotten the customer contracts it had anticipated (which was why I was hired). So, I was the last in and first out, as the accountants say. It was right around Christmas I remember.
I did a few things for money but wrongly assumed I would just waltz into another semi-cushy IT gig like I had for the last 7 years in Nashville. Programming jobs were in demand I had happily discovered back in 2011. For seven years (roughly 2010-2017) it was good - I went from one contract to another, always going up in payscale. And now the 7 lean years were apparently kicking in.
So I was a bit picky at first when it came to selecting the job postings which recruiters would email me.
(In the meantime, winter had lingered on - lots of weird weather these days.. I remember there was once a 60 degree swing.. one day we had storm and tornado warnings, the next day we had snow covering the area and ice warnings... I also remember navigating to the back of my packed storage unit (no small feat), to fish out boxes of old DVD's (remember those?) that I had stacked against the back wall, then carting them down to a small pawn store I had located via google maps that actually still bought DVD's (they paid 50 cents to a buck a piece as I remember)... That got me just enough money to get a propane tank exchange so I wouldn't freeze in my camper).
Fairview, TN, where I had moved in Fall of 2016, was further away from Nashville than Franklin, where I had lived and worked for 6 years... and so I had said "no" to a few jobs the recruiters sent my way that would have required me to commute at least 40 minutes or so into nashville or to the other side, near the dang airport, where it seemed all the jobs he sent me were located. As time went on, I was less picky. But it didn't matter. On numerous occassions, I had had 2 and 3 interviews, plus a number of tech screens, and then - nothing. After substantial time and interviews on a number of potential postitions, recruiters, I have found out, don't even bother to call you back or return your emails to tell you they picked someone else. So I drove Lyft – yeeha.. but it wasn't enough. And I ran my Chevy Malibu into the ground doing it. (I remember one time taking this couple from 2nd street in Nashville (which was recently blown up) down to Jack Daniels Distillery - over 2 hours to lynchburg, TN. It was good money. But I had an issue with my rear tie rod or ball joint or something that would get loud if I got over 50mph.. I was so concerned the couple would say something or worse that the car would collapse.. I kept talking quite loudly to them, making empty conversation so they wouldn't notice the noise. Most of my rides were not that far, around town or to and from the airport. But everybody it seemed started driving Uber and Lyft around this time and so the competition at the airport made it not worth waiting for those rides.)
At some point into this period of misery (January of 2018 if I remember right), out of the blue, some recruiter in Mississippi found my resume online and called me - saying that I was a good fit for a company he was going to pitch me to. I said OK. I didn't know Mississippi from Mrs. Doubtfire- had no connections there, but at this point I wasn't saying no to anything. And that's where the money was supposdedly. Long story short, I packed up my dark blue expedition and gray cat and headed the nearly 400 miles down the natchez trace into a land unknown. I found out it was a land of heat and tornados and floods and big bugs and fried everything.. but hey, we all adjust. There was a lot of good that came out of my MS adventure. I actually started my video blog on that day, but I'll talk about that some other place.
After a few weeks into the job, it was going farily well - I was settled in to a degree, learning the job etc, but still llving on fumes and pennies in my ford expedition cupholder and pawning my favorite guns etc (I wouldn't get paid on this 1099 contract till 30 days, plus the billing time - which ended up being over a month and a half). Before I left fairview, I had left a few items that I had posted on craigslist in the care of my friend back in fairview and low and behold, a few of them sold... So he sent me the money – think it was around $150... and so I was happy for a few minutes..
I went to this grocery store I found not far from where I worked,
which was at one end of a complex of high-end stores called the renaissance somethinorother.
I remember getting back into my ford, then remembering that I needed to check my left front tire (maybe for air pressure?).. so I got out, shut the door, checked it and went to get back in – cept I had locked myself out..After a few seconds I realized I couldn't get back in and I was so p----. I really was. I was mad at God too.. For messin with me (tho I guess he wasn't the one who locked me out). I finally get a little cash and now I'm going to have to spend it all on a locksmith to open my dang ford which I would have no money now even to put gas in. I called a number of locksmiths – maybe 3? It was a Friday night at around 5 so there wasn't a lot of them in Ridgeland, MS waiting around there office for my phone call. But I did find one. He gave me a reasonable price for the task at hand – but it was still going to drain most of my newly aquired funds.. .great.. So he came out in his car, think he had his family with him. Probably got him just before they were going out to dinner. People like that fried food down there. Fried fish, fried chicken, fried hush puppies, fried everything.. But anyway, I didn't ask him where he was going to eat, I just wanted to get in my car.. Ihad already explained on the phone that I was from out of town etc so I didn't waste any more breath on trying to have him feel sorry for me and give me a price break .. He had already quoted what was admittedly a reasonable price for the task at hand. And he was coming out onsite on a Friday night no less. So he stuck that wedge thing in my window and used the other thing to do whatever he did to open my car door. Took him about 3 minutes I think.. Well that was easy I said.. And I reached in my car to get my wallet. I was babbling on with something else as I had my back to him... “I don't know if you need to see my license” (I always feel like people suspect me of being a ciminal in these situations for some reason so I was trying to assure him this was my car and I did have the money, etc). So I continued - “let me get the money out here... blah blah”.. I turned around to pay him just long enough to see him close his car door and say “have a blessed day buddy” and give me a wave before he drove off to enjoy his family fish fry... Yes, he already had decided to do it for free. Maybe his wife talked him into it, who knows.. But that was my experience over and over in MS.. People who jost do good things for other people.
my backup guitar
crunch... I knew immediately I had forgotten to put my guitar in the car with all my other sound gear.. So yeah, I backed over it.. I found out those dang gig bags don't hold up much to even a light compact car..
Ive never been one to get attached to things really.. I'm not sure why.. But guitars are the same way.. I usually have no more than 3 at any given time, which is strange for someone making a living playing one.. I know a lot of players who have rooms full of guitars
– and each has a specific role and purpose.. I guess I've developed a 'travelling light' mentality long ago. Anyway, I didn't cry or curse or get real upset, it was just a subconscious thing really – 'huh, I just ran over my only guitar hours before my CD party'
Within 10 seconds I was on the phone with my friend Dave who ran Fairview guitars.. .”Dave, I have my CD release party tonight and you'll never guess what happened.. I just ran over my guitar”... “NOOOOO!!!... OH NOOOOO!!!...” that was him, not me... I appreciated him mourning my loss since I hadn't really done it properly.. but anyway, practicality always looms in my mind.. It's gone, lets move on.. So I continued.. “Would you by any chance have something I could borrow for the night?”... "Oh man.. gee I don't think so.. I don't have any used guitars in the store right now.. oh wait a minute".. (suddenly the smallest bit of hope arises from the growing despair in my heart - I had definitely begun to take it as a sign from God to abandon my music career, like when Atilla the Hun broke his sword). But then.. "I do have that Martin that just came in"... A Martin.. only the highest regarded acoustic guitar manufacturer in America for over 40 years.. .well shucks, that'll do I guess. So we made the arrangements and low and behold.. I paid him over the next month or so for my new (and much better) main guitar.....
The truth is I had been wanting to upgrade anyway.. But didn't have any funds to speak of.. I did research on this model and it retails for aournd $1500...So I think the reason I was able to get it for $500 or thereabouts, was one, it was used (obviously), and two, some cosmetic damage that had been repaired by one of the best luthiers in nashville (dave told me all this).. the cosmetic damage was indetectable...and I was never one for cosmetics anyway - in fact I never wear them.. Ha.. So this is my new guitar - and since that time I've probably played more gigs with it than the other one (maybe)...The old one I deposited in a dumpster somewhere West of Nashville (I suppose I could have sold it as 'slightly used - some cosmetic damage'). Or some guys might have tried to salvage the wood or even hang the damaged relic on their man cave wall to tell all their friends what happened and to relive the memories of all the gigs they played on it or whatever... I had had the fender acoustic for about 6 years and it served me well.. But hey it's just a piece of wood and strings..the magic is in the music.. and I don't have a man cave anyway.. get over it all you guys that have a gazillion guitars hanging on your wall..
After settlling in a camper in the MS petrified forest (I didnt' know there was a petrified forest in MS either, till I lived there), I bought a van I shouldnt have. A Chrysler Town and Country Van..
(Turns out that 'town and country' moniker means 'leave town, break down in the country'). But I get ahead of my story.
The van actually looked good, but it had some noise I pretended I didnt hear (I really needed a car so I was a bit desperate to buy this immediate solution to my immediate problem and to ignore my gut feeling that this wasnt the grand bargain the good ol MS boy was tellin me it was)..I decided this was the one I was going to buy and I did. Long story short, a few weeks went by and I decided to go back to nashville on the weekend. This became a normal routine as I was finishing my CD project at the recording studio up there, tho the driving time was a killer - 16 hours round trip. So this weekend, with my new van, I decided to go the natchez trace route, and I broke down.
"God I dont know what to do"... thats my standard prayer in these situations I've noticed.. My mind was in a fog really.. I had been listening to music on my ear buds while driving this wonderful town and country van I bought against the urges of my inner instincts.. I needed a dang car and the guy was recommended by a friend.. So I ignored the knocking and other noises it was clearly emitting during our test drive and instead chose to buy into the banter of the dude trying to unload – I mean sell me the thing.. “I”ve driven this a long time, never had a problem with it.. I always change the oil every 1000 miles” or whatever...
I ended up right on the border of Alabama and Mississippi in really no mans land.. no exits, no gas stations, no cell coverage, very little traffic... (I didn't know it then, but would find out in a few days that the water pump was bad and had caused the engine to overheat - that much I did know)... in any case, it was dead. I don't remember what time it was...probably around 10pm .. And it was dark. It was then I noticed the remoteness and wildness of the natchez trace - like as in, wild animals... there was also, as I said, no discernible traffic on the natchez trace at that location and hour. I do love the natchez trace.. it's remote, very scenic - but you know, people die in beautfiul, scenic wildneress areas all the time. I'm not sure at what point they stop appreciating the beauty and start recognizing their state of danger and lostness, but the gravity of the situaion was definitely setting in for me.
"I don't know what I”m going to do God”.. I said, just in case he hadn't heard me the first time. And I truly didn't. I was stuck on a remote parkway late at night, near the border of Alabama and MS where there is no nearby exits, no gas stations even off the far-away exits (I had made this trip before and learned the hard way to make sure I gassed up before I got into this stretch), and oh yeah, there was also no cell phone coverage.
But then....In a matter of seconds of the prayer I mentioned above - I didn't even hear this guy pull up.. it was like, he just appeared... rolled down his window and asked "do you need a ride?"... “Uh...Yeah.. I think so..” So I went with him... He was going to the Louisville area to pick up his daughter.. he had come from Lafeyette, La.. and so he had quite a drive ahead of him and had driven quite a ways already.. in fact, he told me he couldn't get off this road.. he felt like he was trapped on the natchez trace.. his gps kept directing him back to it.. but he had just found out why (tho I realized it was God who brought him by to pick me up)... One of the settings on his gps had inadvertantly gotten changed to 'avoid the main roads' or something like that.. So instead of taking him the logical way of intestate 55 or interstate 20, both of which get you to nashville/lousiville.. it took him by way of bill douglass sitting like a dummy in a broken-down town and country van in the middle of nowhere on the natchez trace... If they ever make a movie my life (probably be a multi-part sitcom), in this particular episode, they'll undoutbedly change quite a few things. I'm quite certain.. Number one, it turned out that we were both poltically similar in our views... I was a white northerner and he was a black southenerer...
I had tried having a cat a few years before and he just didnt work out.. He was a shelter cat and was a good fella... but he just meowed ALL THE TIME... I was a little concerned my apartment building neightbors would complain ... I think he was too young to be removed from mamas care, so after a few days, I took him back to the nashville animal shelter… they are very loving creatures over there (the humans that is) and promised they would find him a good home.. So that was that.. but a few years forward and the thought again was going through my mind as I'm brushing my hair one Saturday night (I try to comb my at least once a week), "I wonder if I should get a cat again..".. We had cats when I was married and I always liked them okay.. but since divorce and travels and living in a van for awhile, it just hadn't been high on the agenda... But I had been in my new apartment now for a few years and was 'settling down' so to speak, having respectable jobs where you sit in a cube, and becoming mainstreamed back into 'normal' culture etc... and I was wanting a furry companion again. (incidentally, I just remembered I wrote and badly recorded a song called 'I need a new kitty'. Here's the link if you're into badly recorded songs about cats and divorces).
btw, one thing I've noticed in my life is that people feel strongly about cats – either they like them or they absolutely disdain them.. So if you're in the latter category, just go ahead and skip this story since you won't relate at all to my desire to have a feline companion...(From a practical standpoint, a 3rd floor apartment is not a good choice for a dog, imo... I saw a lot of people in the complex have dogs.. some real big ones.. but it seemed like they were always having to take him outside at all hours, or having to deal with complaints from neighbors (like me for instance) about barking etc.) But a cat is easier if they're not much on the wild side. And they make litter boxes for them and their generally okay with being indoors or left alone for most the day etc. Maybe I relate better to cats too.. they're known as being independant and not being overly needy, wanting to be left alone, giving affection etc on their own terms - maybe I'm a little like that too, who knows.
I went to church the next morning and wasn't thinking about the cat idea of the night before.. I was driving golf carts that day for the parking ministry.. the parking lot of Grace Chapel is a big thing and they provide the service of carting people to the door after they've parked. (I had been wanting to help out in some way, so after checking my pulse, they said I qualified to drive the golf carts :-]).
So that Sunday morning I was chatting with one of the other golf cart guys when we both spied a little gray speck darting under the cars about 100 yards away or so... turned out it was this little kitten - probably 2-3 weeks old I'm guessing.. trying to avoid being run over.. So I drove my cart up to the spot, reached under the car he was hiding under at the moment, and dragged out this little creature, who was imploring me not to eat her (at least I'm guessing that's what she was trying to tell me) in her cat language..
Thus began the 7 year saga of me and rufus (I'll get to the name shortly). ..
Since that day, she had become my companion, she's gone with me everywhere I went, including a 16 hour trip in my ford expedition to New York State a couple of times.. She got used to travelling with me and actually enjoyed it. .She definitely didn't like it when a few times I had to leave her for a few days or weeks and have friends look in on her.. She was with me in Franklin, Fairview (where she adjusted to living in a camper and getting to go outside - her favorite thing, to hunt mice in the woods etc).. She also went to MS with me, met a friend (a black kitty which hooker had) when we lived in the double-wide, then to the great MS petrified forrest, where she would worry me when she would venture into the woods for hours at a time.. Cats have their peculiarlities and Rufus definitely had hers
video of her running/jumping... Oh yeah, the name 'rufus'.. I assumed (not sure why) that rufus was a male cat but after our first visit to the vet - (I still remember those girls at the vet ooohd and ahhd over rufus)... I found out rufus was a female.. But I kept the name, who cares.
Rufus died this year unfortunately and yes I miss her. But we had good times together and she did not suffer in her passing. I thank God for giving me my gray companion.
Shortly after the weekend in hell fiasco mentioned above, I was without a vehicle, sitting in the ms petrfied forest campground.. and I was actually quite petrfied.. It had dawned on me that I would lose my job if I couldn't get to work... and then my very which already seemed like it was hanging by a thread over multiple possible disasters, would unravel... I remember burying my face in my hands as I knelt on the bench of my camper.. calling out to God is desparation.. I had gone through the whole she-bang on craigs list.. it seemed like everyone that sells cars on craiglist in the jackson, ms area is a crook or scam-artist, so I didn't want to do that again – plus I didn't have any money, having spent 8 gazillion dollars on the prior weekend... I looked up for a second and noticed my neighbor Dave loading up his trailer.. so I thought, I'll go help him.. he had me a lot..
I was looking anywhere for places to play during the covid thing in summer of 2020. I was hanging out in the rural hill country offnorthwest north carolina, a beautiful region with really decent people. Most restaurants/bars were in various stages of being closed or locked down or whatever they called it, but most weren't doing any music - at least in NC... But I did find a place
in Bristol TN (which is half in TN and half in VA - kind of like East and West Germany during the cold war era I think) who said I could play for tips on their back patio (whoopie).
(By the way, Bristol is the true birthplace of country music - it later moved to Nashville).
I did the math and figured if I made more than $22, it would be worth it, after figuing in gas cost. Anyway, it went fairly well, people tipped good tho there wasn't a ton of people out there on a wednesday night. On the way home – around 10pm or so, my Ford started losing power – like all of it. .It was then I noticed the heat guage was maxed out.. so I limped off the next exit on rt 81 N.. chilhouee..
Though it wasn't really chilouee, it was the exit before Chilhouee, where there's basically nothing.I pulled under this former gas station on the corner of an access road and another road because it had a streetlight... I opened the hood and found one of my radiator hoses had busted. It was the small hose that went into the heater core (I think).. Anyway, all my fluid had dumped..
I'm not a mechanic. I have done mechanicy things when necessary, but I'm not a guy that carries 450 piece tool boxes and hose clamps and hoses etc in the back of their pickup truck. In fact, I don't even have a pickup truck. So anyway, after discovering with certainty that I couldn't do this job, I started first looking for mechanics/garages which were open in the Chilhowie vacinity on a wednesday night at 10pm. Zilch, of course. Next youtube search - how to fix quick-connect hose clamp breaks on ford 2002 expedition... yeah, it was desparate situationn. So I said my standard, "I Don't know what I'm going to do God" prayer... and literally, I kid you not - in under 15 seconds, another guy pulls up in a car. Pulled right up next to me with the standard southern greeting, asking if I needed help. For some reason I immediately described the details of my problem - I think it was a man-shame thing.. I didn't want to appear helpless or as if I didn't already know what the mechanical problem was, or that I played guitar for a living and didn't like greasy finger-nails etc. So I told him about the hose that broke - the small hose, that circles into the firewall for the heater core( that's what the guy in the youtube video had said anyway). So I thought it sounded impressive. He looked at me and said "I can't believe youre saying that - I had that exact problem three days ago right where you're parked"... Woah... Maybe this chilhowie exit was the bermuda triangle of heater core hoses or something. Anyway, he jumped out, looked under the hood and verified that it was indeed the same problem. And confidently said, I live about 5 minutes away, I'll be right back. Well that was exaggeration.. It was more like 7 minutes- but I didn't get on him about it. He brought the hose clamp that I needed, the tool I needed, and jugs of water I needed, then proceded to fix the problem. In 20 minutes I was back on the road. Haven't had that problem since, even though he said I should get it fixed more permanently. He refused to take any money - these southern guys are like that - stubborn. The best in the country. His name was Wyatt I remember. His wife was with him in the car waiting patiently. Thank you God for Wyatt. Bless him wherever he is.
I was short on my phone bill.. neeeded $137 to get it turned back on... It was a desparate thing really.. I was trying to reach out to potential places to play at and they shut my dang phone down … funny how they like to be paid.. I just had a thought that it would be good to play at the farmers market in town.. I think me and jerry had done that one other time – didn't make any great amount of tippage but it was going to be a nice morning on saturday so we did.. ...Long story short, some guy dropped $20 in the bucket and I think I got another pretty good tip – which was good for this small, rural famers market.. really nice people there.
trojan sized tip
Hoping to get 5 or 10 to get me gas and a few things I needed like a gallon of spring water and bread...
dumb and blind
I felt scummy.. just drove all night, except for a few hours snoozing with a mouse at a truck stop between columbia, sc and rt 95... I had played at a place in Mocksville, NC the night before and it all worked out fine.. the timing couldn't have been better.. but I did feel the need for a shower.. btw, the mouse was this long-time resident of my ford expedition that I kept hearing and seeing shredded evidence of his existence, but whom I rarely saw.. he started life in TN, which is the only place I had actually seen him – one time I opened my hood and he was clinging on to the hood backet before he scurried out of site.. and had come out with me on this NC journey.. I had numerous times tried to get rid of him and thought I had succeeded.. but then I'd hear him rustling around in the multitude of crap I keep in the back of my ford... anyway, at this truck stop, he was back there rustling around and I was trying to sleep upright in my car seat with a sleeping back draped over me.. So... because I drove more than I slept I got into amelia island earlier than I expected.. hung out at a marina and talked with a guy named John who had been walking his dog there.. He told me all about the area and the intesting history of it... the guy, not the dog I mean.. It was finally time to meet up with my friend – my old hs buddy who I hadn't seen in 30 years literally... So I did.. we shook hands and chatted for a minute but my feelins of scumminess were haunting me.. So I decided I'd seek out the beach and jump in the ocean – my favorite activiey when I feel scummy – before I met Scott back at his house..
So Scott directed me to closest public beach and it wasnt 15 minutes before I was stripped to my gym shorts ready to plunge into the North Florida surf. I kind of did a half head first dive into a shallow wave.. came up and then instinctively felt for the top of my head. My head was still there but my glasses, which I had just then remembered perching up there, were not. Immediate panic and despair set in. I have -7.5 vision in my good eye. my other eye, I lost a lot of vision in 2014 with a thing called hystoplasmosis. Needless to say, without my powerful corrective lenses, I was not much good for anything, like driving back to north carolina for instance, or driving anywhere.
I futilly waddled around in the surf as the waves pounded in, hoping and praying I would suddenly spy the black framed cheap plastic glasses I had been relying on for a few months which were in reality, probably on their way to miami beach. I normally had a number of spares as well as contact lenses but now, I was down to this one pair that didn't even fit right.