Gut Rumbles

March 28, 2012

autumn leaves

Originally published October 15, 2003

The trees really haven't started to change colors yet where I live. The weather was chilly today, with a north breeze this morning. A few more days like this one and the leaves will change fast.

I'm hoping to see a lot of color at Blood Mountain.

I once hiked the Cuhutta Wilderness on the Jack's River Trail at the height of autumn. I've never seen anything more beautiful in my life. The woods were more spectacular than if someone with a case of day-glow paint had run crazy through there and sprayed every one of the trees. The colors! The beauty!

It was breathtaking to see.

I stopped several times on ridges just to look around and ABSORB the colors. I never felt more alive in my life.

I hope I don't miss the pretty leaves this year. Georgia says that she is coming up on Wednesday night, and she will hike with me. (Recondo 32 is too goddam decrepit and lazy to get off the couch and walk farther than the bathroom.) We're going to go see waterfalls. Maybe she'll climb Blood Mountain with me. Maybe we'll see the mountains in all their color.

Or maybe we'll sit around the cabin and do nothing. Who cares? I'm on vacation.

March 21, 2012

a trip to remember

Originally published October 15, 2003

You know what happens when you grow old? You start to remember good times you had with people who are dead now. I have pictures of my friend, Steve, all over my house. Prostate cancer killed him and we once laughed about all the crap we went through together. We laughed right up until Steve died.

I saw my friend destroyed by a wasting disease while I walked away from the same thing with a few months in diapers, 18 months of impotence, then a bionic dick implant. I am alive and Steve is dead. That just ain't fair. I miss Steve.

We once climbed all the way to the top of Hangover Mountain, right after Steve fell in love with Cindy. I wanted to puke on the rocks when he started telling me how much he loved that woman. Bejus! She was such a goddess! He was going to marry her. I told him "FOR GODSAKES DON'T DO IT!!"

Aw, crap. I was best man at his wedding. I still have the pocketwatch he gave me that day, and I keep it wound right here on the computer desk. I appreciate that watch.

I've learned one thing about friendships. I don't care how tight you think you are with someone, pussy is more powerful than you are. Accept that fact, because you'll never change it.

I guess I always wanted to be a little boy and camp out with my friends forever. I wanted to drink wine from that goat-skin bag that Steve always carried in his pack and I wanted to hand him an occasional cigarette, even though he didn't smoke unless he was drinking wine from a goat-skin bag. Those were good days.

I'm too old and stiff to climb that mountain anymore. But I know that I left some damn fine memories up there.

March 14, 2012

bearding the lion

Originally published October 15, 2003

I am not a big man. I am 5' 7" tall and I weigh about 150 pounds now. I was an inch taller and 30 pounds heavier two years ago, when I lifted weights and farmed a lot. I thought that I was a pretty rugged dude. I don't feel as rugged as I once did.

I believe that I am SMARTER now than I ever was, up to a point. My daddy once told me that I was "sharp," but I would never be "smart" until I had lived long enough to understand the difference between the two. He also told me that I had a real problem with authority figures, because I liked to "beard the lion in his den," and that shit would catch up with me some day.

I thought that he was wrong. I believed that my willingness to "beard the lion" was a feature, not a bug. I suppose that some of my attitude comes from a "little man" complex, but a lot of it comes from never wanting to be second-best. When you're small and you aren't blessed with the physical assets other people possess, you just have to TRY HARDER than they do. I've done that all my life. I was raised on hard work.

My son is not going to be a big boy in size. Who cares?

Do you know what makes you small? THINK SMALL and you always will be. Think BIG and you CAN be. And if you think big, you must be willing to beard the lion in his den. Otherwise, you're a politician, not a doer.

Some people can't tell the difference.

March 07, 2012

great heavies

Originally published October 13, 2003

I don't know why, but I started thinking at work today about some of my favorite actors who always played sleazeballs in some of my favorite movies.

Bruce Dern is probably my all-time favorite western bad-guy. I've seen him shot, hanged and killed dozens of times and he always came back for more. My favorite line in his entire career was in Hang 'em High when Bruce was part of the lynch mob fixing to hang Clint Eastwood. "Heh, heh, heh.. I want his WALLET!" Bruce Dern just had the teeth and the face and the feral grin to make me want to shoot him every time I saw him on the screen.

I liked L.Q. Jones, Strother Martin, Dub Tailor and Warren Oates. I liked Jeremy Slate and Albert Salmi. Who was that one-eyed sucker who went from westerns to Burt Reynolds movies? Oh... Jack Elam. I remember now. I liked him, too.

Claude Aikens wasn't bad a few times and Luke Askew is another one of my Unknown Favorites. Luke was in Easy Rider. Hell, Dennis Hopper did a fine job of playing a character named "Moon" in True Grit.

If you want to go 'way back, we can talk about Dan Dureya.

Slim Pickins and Ben Johnson were rodeo rodeo cowboys who learned to act. Neither one was very handsome, but Ben looked a lot better than chinless Slim. I liked both of them.

I like Western movies. I am a American and that's my heritage. I worship John Wayne. I also worship the bit-part actors you never heard of who played in his movies.

If I wanted to act today, being 51 years old, I damn sure should pick a character part to play. My leading man days are over.

Yeah. I'll settle for a bit part now.