Archive for October, 2007

Tribute to Bill Ducker, Gone but Never Forgotten

Friday, October 26th, 2007

     I first became acquainted with Mr. Bill Ducker back in the early 70’s when times were not exactly prosperous or even ironically amusing for me and his then girl friend (later to become his wife), Claire.  We were House mates at the time.  She had divorced her husband and had three very small daughters, complete with the complications of a tug of war custody problem, as her husband lived out of town and was known to be less than cordial upon occasion.  At that time I was in the process of getting a divorce from my first husband, who did live in town (Austin, Texas) having a rather cozy little rat hole for sleeping and more or less existing in the style to which he wanted to become accustomed, in the loft he was renting where he was building his sailboat to head out to sea.  Although my ex-husband was in the process of selling the property we used to share, as who needs a home when the open sea called? (I’ve heard of long distanced relation ships, but the one he was building had no room for two: it was about 20 ft. long.) But for a time the lovely little cottage my ex-husband and I used to share became a refuge from homelessness for Claire and I, and I was very glad, indeed, for her company.  I had been working at the Infernal Revenue Service after college (not that my BFA in visual arts did any good in this job, or any other I could find at that time.) But the IRS offered more money for time spent than anything I could find, so I stayed in that job for 3 & 1/2 years.  The artist in me was beginning to disappear, strangely enough I had just received a promotion.  But when they handed me a book of tax law -the size of the Webster’s Complete Unabridged Dictionary to peruse, I realized the seriousness of my predicament; I was starting to become one of “them.”  So in a sudden splendorous satori, I decided to quit.  And as there is only so much room in the brain for memories, I didn’t want my head full of facts from that book, when I was supposed to be an “Ortist,” searching for truth and beauty. So I walked very quickly and deliberately into the personnel office and said: “I’m leaving in five minutes, what do I need to sign?”  This was before my 1st husband began with the ‘yo, ho, ho’s and a bottle of rum’ scenario. So the ‘Ortist ‘ in me overcame the oppressive government job, but as the days went by, I began to realize that not only was I losing a husband, but gaining true independence, though continuing in my quest for truth and beauty aside, I was (whoops) unemployed.  So I started singing and playing my big old Martin D-21 on Guadalupe, or the “drag” as it’s called,the street that ran right in front of the University of Texas — well traveled with all sorts of people who might contribute to my empty guitar case with spare change.  Which wasn’t too bad a thing to do with my time, and it required no government ID to wear like an albatross around my neck.  The money wasn’t as constant, but I was frugal and funny and young, ( the kind of young, when you never think or see danger, even when it’s standing right there in front of you.)  Claire, being a mother and a lot wiser to the ways of the world, to say nothing of having a profession that paid money (she had a masters degree in Speech Therapy)was a superlative ‘reality-checker’ for sure when need be.  Someone with this talent was greatly needed, and so in her own way said something to the affect of: “So what now, brown cow?” Which was a concept pondered not often enough, if ever, to a very naive and now single (for the most part) female composer of “Outlandish Outlaw-Country” songs… well, it was becoming a hassle to pay the electric bill with rolls of quarters.  Fortunately, my ex-husband left me a legacy of hundreds of returnable Lone Star Beer long neck bottles, that I began taking back to the distributors for the cash refund. See, there is the silver lining in that cloud too.  But it was raining all the time, so I stayed indoors and practiced my routine and continued the Street Singing, and began to play clubs when I had the nerve.  

         Any way, it was around that time that she and Bill Ducker became close friends and then lovers, so he was a constant visitor to our abode.  We would sit around my antique round table and drink coffee, or whatever, and talk or sing or play the guitar (Bill was an excellent classical guitarist, but also was a master of obscene ditty which he sang with great dignity, as Claire and I rolled on the floor laughing), and I played my own songs or old country songs or blues. So many a hour was spent in intense, silly, and sometimes serious musical study with seemingly endless conversation by the group ( that expanded…) and became the official meetings of the “Ne’er do Wells.” I would give anything for even a few minutes around that table again with such close and highly interesting friends.  At that time I did not realize how this marvelous shared creativity and companionship would soon fade away into only memories long past, as we all went our separate paths.

        Bill was a wonderful teller of stories and jokes. He had the most elegant way of speaking English even in his youth back then, interspersed with his own special colorful cursing he obtained while in the Army.  Bill enlisted in the Army, when these were the times when all young men his age where destined to Vietnam, if drafted.  After the Army he attended law School at the University of Texas until threatened with graduation.   But he realized he liked every thing about the study of Law, but being a lawyer.  So on this particular professional path,  he was waylaid by ethics, always somewhat of a problem in finding one’s calling. So the legal biz, regardless of how interesting, would not be his way… I think he saw lawyers at that time to be a bunch of “silly bastards who were really professional liars,” most having no acquaintance with ethics, but masters of twisting logic into their own desired direction and shape.  So he dropped out, finding various odd (and I do mean odd) jobs, keeping us regularly informed at the Ne’er Do Well meetings, until he became the manager of a large apartment complex, with apartment included and a small salary, which was perfect for him with his military background and eloquent language skills.  Not to mention he was absolutely huge, not just wide, but very tall as well. In the early 70’s he also sported a military haircut, which was quite a  rare thing for a man of his age in those times, as you can imagine. If you did not know him, as he was a true gentleman and scholar in every way, he was able to appear to be a rather frightening person to confront in those days, no question about it.

     Now, as I have bored you all to the bone with how I grew up a military brat, etc. remember that my Dad was an Officer, not an Enlisted-man.  Where as Bill enlisted during the Vietnam War, as in doing so he could pick where he wanted to be stationed, also his talent for languages (in this case Russian) lead him to Germany, where he listened to the Ruskies (no offence meant to those of Russian extraction) over the radio waves for Army Intelligence. (Remember that this was in the days of the cold war) Although some people would question Army Intelligence as a conundrum, Bill Ducker was one, if not the most intelligent person I ever knew, and I have met in passing, (as my father’s daughter) some famous and quite well established, brilliant scientists, but none were as well rounded in their knowledge as Bill seemed to me, through out the 30 some years I knew him.  His stories of his army experiences as an Enlisted-man always fascinated me, as what I knew of the service was from a much different perspective and experience.  My father graduated from VMI in 1941 (before the US was officially part of WWII) and at that time, before he had much of a chance to sit around a table with friends and Ne’er Do Well as did I, he was sent into the infantry but managed to be assigned to what was at that time the RAF, and then the Army Air Force when the USA was officially at war. His college degree in Electrical Engineering, native intelligence (and I’m sure his charm and authoritative, aristocratic good looks) lead him into many unique opportunities as an Air Force Officer, he was the lead navigator in the biggest air strike in WWII (and this was done in very poor weather with no GPS) and was assigned to work on the development of Radar, at MIT (very interesting I’m sure and a lot safer than Germany or France) and after the war he continued his career in the Air Force, involved from  the very first of the Project Mercury, or getting that first man in Space.  Let’s just say, he never had to do K.P. or be belittled by an Officer, as in quite the same way an Enlisted-person was likely to be.  However, the Military never was known to be a democracy by it’s very nature, as all soldiers follow the orders of their superiors, as their very lives depend on that, but a solder took his moments of personal victory where and how, a soldier could.  Which brings me to one of Bill Ducker’s better stories of life as an enlisted person in the Army.

      Bill told how his much revered Master Sargent and a particular snooty Officer clashed many times over trivial matters, and as the Officer was never to be angered by disagreement, or shown any form of disrespect from  a non com (serious business, the rank and file system in the Service). His Master Sargent developed a plan that was sure to work with a passable one-up-man-ship, to say nothing of grossing the Officer out, which he clearly had coming karmic-ly.  When “inspection time” was carried out, this Officer was always greatly displeased with the quality of cleanliness in the toilet area.  And, for all practical purposes rightfully so … But for this one particular time his Master Sargent assigned a newbie to sanitize a particular toilet (one of many).  It was first to be scrubbed down with soap and disinfected with Clorox, then rinsed with fresh water on the exterior. It was then to be drained of it’s water and thoroughly wiped inside and out with rubbing alcohol,  then filled with fresh water and finally put back to look usable, but forbidden for any of his soldiers to touch.  As his troops were greatly curious as to his intentions, but suspected a set up … all were united in looking forward to the next inspection,  and they followed the order that the one toilet be left untouched and began to prepare for this event.  As per usual, when the Officer and the Master Sargent entered the ‘throne room’, the Officer complained of the unacceptable conditions.  So the Master Sargent approaches the aforementioned toilet, lifts the lid, and rubs his index finger around the top of the toilet bowl then proceeds to put said finger in his mouth, reporting, “Well it tastes OK to me, Sir.” Naturally, all Soldiers remained at attention with serious expressions.  The Officer turned red in the face but made no further comment, although there was a report of his active gag reflex.

     That particular story was one of so many, and probably less than ideal the way that I told it, but Bill had a way of making the most mundane happenings seem extraordinary, because of his eloquence, and wonderful sense of humor which he never lost.  He converted to the Anglican Church and became a true Christian in the 1980’s, which added to his accomplishments, as well as to his wisdom.  He would always have the best and most truly obscene jokes to tell in his wonderful style all through our association.  I must say, I feared that his conversion would chop that off, but he continued to set most of his many friends into fits of laughter with his jokes. As they spread, he became legendary.  If he thought of some really strange and funny idea, or expressed some thought of a questionable nature, he often simply followed his statement with “of course, our dear Lord Jesus would not do so, however…”

     Actually, if it had not been for Bill Ducker’s encouragement, I would have never gone to Westchester, New York to be with Charles Sauer, my husband of  30 years now.  Although Charles and I were clearly ‘in love’ at that time in my life, when a decision needed to be made, I was reluctant to trust anyone after my first marriage, and felt weighted down by family and possessions.  Bill pointed out how easy it would be to have all my furniture and other stuff put in storage, by calling a company that did this in my presence.  He then pointed out how I was truly clinically depressed, that all I really looked forward to were Charles nightly phone calls. He also made the comment that I was the one who had to take action to change my life.   (I think, frankly, my situation was becoming a pain in the ass for the whole Ne’er Do Well membership.)  But he was the person with the moxie to say this to me. And he even drove me to the airport for my flight.

    Bill Ducker gave me the solution to a terrible problem I was having when my daughter was in High School.   The little idiot was chronically skipping school, and refused to think finishing high school was a must.  He explained that High School in those days and times probably did suck, and that no one would want to be a part of that.  However, she would be greatly impaired if she didn’t get her diploma, so she just had to go through with it. Then he gave me the formula for her success in this venture, which I followed to the letter:  I told her that, if she skipped even one class, I was going WITH HER to every one of her classes to see that she went.  Actually, this sounded like a decent solution, and I really looked forward to her trying my patience on this issue.   But she found the whole idea of my accompanying her to class so deplorable, that she did attend her high school classes from that day on, and this I know to be the case, as I called the poor troubled person in charge of attendance every afternoon, to see if she had attended all classes. 

     When I went through the last two serious joint replacement surgeries, Claire, and/or Bill and Claire came to visit me in the hospital.  The last being my knee replacement surgery, which was quite serious and agonizing. Bill and Claire held hands with me and prayed in a  such a beautiful manner that lifted my spirits, in a way I had never experienced before. The caring and true friendship they offered me that day was a gift I will always remember.

     Bill Ducker affected so many people in a positive way that I am humbled and so grateful  that he continued to be my friend until his death on October 13, 2007.  Bill had some serious health conditions (diabetes, as well as two heart surgeries), and tended to be overweight (another problem we shared), and although he certainly was disciplined in getting physical exercise (he loved to go long distance biking), and had even organized a biking group (largely he and his daughter, Eleanor) of which he began to write weekly hilarious ‘training reports’ sent via email, which I keep looking to appear in my “inbox” again, but alas that will not happen. Eleanor, who I’ve known since she was about 3 years old, was riding behind him the day of his death, when he suffered a 2nd massive heart attack.  She said “it was as though the lights just went out in there and he fell over.”  She called the EMS and he was rushed to the hospital but never regained consciousness. The world is a much better place because you were here, Bill.   And you will be here in the hearts  and memories of so many friends.

"Happy Birthday, Mom"

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Nobody knows de lousely troubles I's seen

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

     Most educated people remember Robert Burns’ poems, who amongst many memorable verses and lyrics, wrote “Auld Lang Syne”, which is sung at midnight on New Years Eve in so many places around the world, having become a ritualized part of many a country’s culture, transcending it’s lyrics and verse into a classical verbal tradition.  Yeah, it was along time ago, and the dude was Scottish and talked (and wrote) in a weirder than all hell version of English, or even in what might have passed as Old English…but he was a prolific poet and indeed needs to be included as part of American and certainly, all English speaking countries’ education, as he was a significant writer, indeed. (check out: for the source whence cometh this particular one of my usual snide and idiotic comments and/or critiques, this time having the nerve to do so of his very famous poem: “To A Louse:On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet, At Church” (1786).  Heck, I was just a kid back then.  But I remember my Dad quoting the last verse of this poem, as his mother often did to children as an illustration that sometimes a person’s appearance, does not that person make; or maybe, no matter how refined a person seems, he or she has unfortunate problems like we all do; or given the span of this work, perhaps when we get too proud of ourselves, for what ever reason, we are not always viewed by others in this same fine and positive way.  Here’s the last verse:

     O wad some Power the giftie gie us

     To see oursels as ithers see us!

      It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

     An’ foolish notion:

     What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e  us,

     An’ ev’n devotion!


     When I raised my daughter, if and when I used that verse, it was simply a very entertaining way of reminding the little idiot not to trade hats with the other little buggers at elementary school, as there was the possibility of one, if not many of her friends traveling with  these lousey tiny parasites that tended to hop from one head to the other, if only for variety’s sake.  Besides, as all parents of little rug-rats know, there will come a day, when as you comb out your beautiful princess’ hair (in my case this was so long ago as to seem an abstraction, however lice are always a popular subject in our local newspaper to remind me of their reality) one day you will go completely bonkers at the sight of one or many of these tiny terrorist head lice; in order to rid one’s family of these interlopers, they must be ‘treated’ immediately or the whole family will travel with a tribe of tiny parasitic hitch-hikers upon all heads.  Also, and perhaps the most fun part of this situation, is that all bedding, clothes, and the beds themselves must be washed with hot water and strong detergent, and/or sprayed down with something particularly toxically specific to kill head lice. All this must be done (along with the rather nasty application of a foul but innocuous (for children) shampoo, and the ever popular nit picking (always a favorite) fine-combing the hair free of the lice in their larve  or egg stage) or the little jerks (your kids) just get reinfected;  so getting rid of these nefarious parasites it is a hassle indeed… 

      I am a great believer in the encouragement of early-onset microbe-phobia, to say nothing of  the promotion of fear of all nature’s disgusting or revolting realities, regardless of their particular ‘color, creed and codes’ and their consequences. These must all be openly and repeatedly brought to the attention  of all, when raising said rug-rats, er…kids.–Who says this instills fear and or neurosis?  Too bad. Those GD things are real, and so are other horrible germs, bacteria,  and some of those other little friends can be extremely dangerous too, in some way. Take it from me, I used to be one, many years ago and in a far away land.   And as for “creeds and codes“: this is a big “No No” or you could end up with a house full of computer geeks coding like crazy–this must be stopped as well. (just kidding about that, there is no safe haven for that problem.)Yowsa.        

      For example the first time I heard the TV Character”Monk”ask his assistant for a wipe, after shaking hands or having handled something or someone of a dubious and questionable nature, I didn’t get the humour implied.  It seemed a perfectly reasonable request,( and although I have no assistant, with the exception of my imaginary friend, Mrs. Tiesdale) and a perfectly acceptable act, indeed. Not that most wipes would save you from all gross stuff, bacteria, and/or lice for instance, but it’s a good start.

     I am in digression yet again, however, I recently read the currently discussed whole poem and pondered it’s real meaning to me, and how I could relate to this predicament in these days and times; I discovered that even though, the ‘fine Lady’ in the poem, who had seemingly gone to such trouble with her visual appearance was not aware that Burns viewed the louse on her bonnet; and his seeing these unlikely compatriots in tandem, his comparison between them, was unquestionably with out a likely trait. It is totally obvious that he was grossed out by their relationship; and quite  disturbed, as she, although oblivious to the lice, was obviously feeling about her self and her appearence in a positive way.  And then Burns set’s off on a strange and delightful dis”ing of the louse for homesteading on this fine lady, and not some gutter snipe, of whom he deems a more fitting and likely candidate.

     However, now I can say from inside my own experiences, that a lady could look reasonably presented, nicely groomed, or even richly turned out in designer threads and such, but have a mind full or horrible thoughts and experiences eating themselves out from the inside of her head.  Such thoughts  tend to come out at unfortunate times,  such as when writing a blog about what was supposed to be an amusing take on this poem.  I remember being questioned by the checker at the local grocery, asking me ‘what was wrong and could he be of service?’ ?  I must have had a horribly bothersome and revealing expression on my face at the time, one indicating worry or dissatisfaction, as I was actually at that time in an internal debate with the ideas of Nietzsche as opposed by Kant, both German philosophers and both developmental in existentialism.  I was trying to remember which one of these ner’do well German dudes came up with the idea of ‘ that which harms us makes us stronger.’ This being, and always was, to my mind, a quadruple thunk up load of shit from the first time I heard it till today, some 50 years later.

     But how was I to gather these ideas and opinions together in a way to answer the grocery checker’s question of ‘how I might be helped?’  I was speechless, until the idea came to me that someone waiting in line at a grocery store with this sort of  internalized mind-daemons in action, was obviously over-educated to far beyond the level of her native intelligence and in the first place has (1.) too much time on her hands, (2.) needs to review her philosophy notes and books before hitting the grocery store, (3.) needs to be made aware of the need for a serene untroubled facial continence, (4.) or learn to think quick and come up with a relevant question, such as:” Where is the salt?” or “Do you have any paper bags,” under these circumstances.

      Admittedly, I went over the top with that, but the point being: what can be worse than lice outside the head, is to be in the act of destructive and unanswerable thoughts of such a powerful negative nature as mine were, at such a time, when innocently facing the grocery clerk.  One is better to live in the present and the now, (by the way, where was the salt?) than to be thinking of such no-matter, snowballing, unanswerable, irrelevant and unseemly questionable philosophy’s in the first place.  As for example, though Carl Marx, another acclaimed ,though long deceased, philosopher managed the writing of” The Communist Manifesto”, and gained world wide fame, never having experienced a job in his entire life.  What the hell gave him the nerve to think on this scale, with so little life experience?  And why have I lost that kind of nerve, myself?  ‘Having been kicked to my knees so many times by life’s boot, that one of those knees had to be replaced by a prosthesis.  To my mind, the grocery clerk was probably the smarter person and certainly the more responsible, doing good honest needed work.  Carl Marx was a blow-hard that probably spent time in internal debate in line at the grocery (actually a far too mundane thing for him to have done…)

     I answered the grocery clerk’s question by reconfiguring my facial expression to a sheepish smile and shook my head, indicating no.  Hopefully, during that non-verbal answer, no head lice were detected or spread by my gesture, and these mind deamons are not contagious, unless expressed to others. He was a lucky guy. 

The Octoberfest in Austin from the Sauerosa

Monday, October 1st, 2007

      Though I can close my eyes and remember how Fall looked and seemed to me in New England, and other foreign spots north of the Rio Grande, here in Austin, Fall looks pretty much like Summer, but with the school-aged kids rounded up like they’re supposed to be, unseen nor heard, for the better part of the day.  It gets a lot cooler though, sometimes in the low nineties, so that’s a treat.  But we’ve really only two seasons around here: Summer; and what I call “Gray Slop”.  Gray Slop is really sort of like Winter, and for the most part, it’s usually cold ( a relative issue for sure(but rarely below freezing)) and gloomier than an art critic with his or her mouth duct-taped shut. Gray Slop doesn’t start up until mid November, and is usually over before you can get used to it, mostly by February.  Of course, this varies as some days are sunny in Gray Slop here, in spite of my pessimistic outlook today. But every once in a very long while Austin gets some ice and snow, for which no one is ever prepared.  The few times this has happened, it’s treated like a natural disaster here, where there is never enough sand and/or salt for the roads, and the bridges or overpasses become ‘slip and slides’ for the gleefully surprised commuters as they incounter one of these rare and celebrated snow storms.  Most native Austinites (that would be me, though ‘can’t cop this plea ) have no experience driving in icy conditions; ergo, every one hits the road ’cause it’s so white and purty and all fallin’ down like white rice at a wedding. So what we have here becomes more like a bumper car ride, than the”over the river and through the snow to grandmothers house we go”road trips that are experienced up north.  Must be because this is so rare and we’re all so curious here, that we just can’t help ourselves from the temptation to go for a ride to become one with the very unusual snow. That or we all want to think “Physics” is somewhere in east Texas, and has nothing to do with us .

      I guess the older you are, the years, the months, the days all blur, and merge or become stagnant as they pile up, as so many of any will tend to do. That could lean toward disenchantment, if not an extreme case of bad attitude. But this was not always the case, and I was not always this old, or this scarred by what horrific, but uniquely personal damage the exposure to all those accumulating yesterdays has done to me, the ever popular but lonely recluse that I am.   Time has a way of shuffling the cards and always handing me the joker, which though a constant occurrence can be a useful entity to expect, as life goes on for me: but it’s getting kind’a old and losing that humorous quality that this sort of  consistency might have for a much younger person.  Luck has ‘done left the building’ around here for quite some time; but this seems to be just the way it goes for me.   While others contend with how they deal with their ever changing and complex ‘hand’, here I sit with the usual smirk.  Time does, with no exception for any of us, have the tendency to slip right on by, as we struggle to live with our past as well as what possible future that is dealt to us, come Hell or high water, rain or snow.

     When I was in my mid-twenties (back in the McKinley administration), I had the finest 1969 Mustang any one ever dreamed about owning.  It was the fast back model, and painted a wonderfully flashy – but at the same time irregular dark green – that did not mock the trees -but was unto it’s own unique presence.   My parents gave me this as a surprise for the unbelievable occurrence of my having graduating from college (hard to believe, but it happened.) It  had a stick shift with a way too powerful of a motor for a car that size, and for a stupid idiot like I was back in those days. But my “Stang” had a sound that was a deep rumble, with a given authority and possible power that could not be ignored.  By it’s very nature, being a relatively small car with an enormous engine, ’twas trouble for one such as I, in any circumstances. I loved it for it’s “pick up” as I easily joined into my place among speeding cars; as it’s ability to enter the highway with an unbelievable take off speed was, as I expertly popped that clutch into gears with an experienced manner, very unlike your average young woman in those days of my memory’s finest.   Back when I had that car, the early 1970’s, the highway from Austin to Houston (where my folks lived) was flat and rarely traveled, unlike today where the population has exploded along with this idyllic dream of an empty road and a car that could easily do 100 miles an hour in fourth gear with an easy grace.  But as it had rear wheeled drive, with that disproportionate weight of the engine up front, it was a true hazard to drive in ice and snow in the high country for sure.

       My former husband and some friends and I were heading for Santa Fe from Austin, Texas one winter back then,  for some unknown reason (the early 1970’s did little for most of my generation’s long term memory, as is shown here)in my beloved “Stang”.  By the time we got to north Texas (say 800 miles away from Austin) it started snowing, which we Austinites took to be a bonus indeed.  I remember dancing in the falling white wonder of snow in front of some little road stop restaurant, sort of like I was the sugar plum fairy’s evil twin from the “Nutcracker Ballet”. Yes, that was unusual behavior, but not for me in those days.  Everything seemed all gloriously white and unnaturally glossy with it’s coat of ice and carpet of snow. The cold icy scenery was so very wonderfully different for us, as we marveled at the snow storm on the flat highway there in North Texas that day. Even the strange scrunching sounds we made as we walked and the feeling of the snow falling on our upturned faces was ever so exotic to us Central Texans and made the day seem completely magic. 

     Until we got into that serious High Mountain Country in New Mexico.  By this time, we were inside of a blizzard, with some of the roads so iced over or packed with a questionable amount of snow, that the big trucks where parked along side ‘the truck-stops for the duration-showing a professional experienced reaction to the weather’s reality.  Trying to haul an 18 wheeler up and down those enormous montañas in those conditions, wasn’t gonna happen with out major destruction.  But we kept seeing other regular cars bravely hauling as if there was no problem at hand.  At some sections of this horrendous highway, there were New Mexico’s Finest at several locations with blinking lights flashing, so we slowed down and were told we could probably make it through since we had big traction tires on that “Stang”… the trooper must have thought we looked like we were “experienced snow drivers”, or heres a bunch to prove Darwins theory. 

      Needless to say, we weren’t all THAT experienced with driving that dang “Stang” up and over those humongous icy mountains, in which our front end was so heavy and the back end (you know where the wheels were going on) was so light in the loafers, it was sort of like being on a long sled with a couple of other squirming kids in back of a big fat kid in the front — hauling sideways and out of control. If and when we made it upside of one of those big mountains, we then had to contend with sliding on down in that manner, free falling, sometimes sideways.  At one section of the highway, the troopers at a rest stop were giving instructions and advice that was so unbelievably frightening  and confusing to me, that I did not notice my now ex-husband had gone to get coffee and wasn’t with us, as my mind was fearfully concentrating on the “how to’s”as I was at that time doing the driving. The highway beyond continued to glisten with ice and snow in the night’s strange light (the highway at that point was down to one travel-able lane) with several heavily dressed cops stationed at intervals, attired with the frigid weather in mind, with walky-talkys and thick white gloves, signaling traffic in an authoritative style, so there would be no unfortunate head-on/slide-into collisions. At that point, I locked eyes with the trooper in charge who was motioning for me to head forward-which I did, staying in 2nd gear most of the time and holding my breath or nervously laughing, ’cause what else could you do when you were fixing to die?

      As I bravely continued my perilous journey, suddenly from behind me in the white thick mist of the blizzard I noticed the flashing lights of a cop car in the dim mist of  the heavy snow, as we both attempted to hit the bottom of one of those sleigh rides and haul over to the side at the bottom. Out of the dim white mist I noticed a couple of guys getting out of that  police car and heading my way. The snow was coming down so thickly, you could barely make out who or what they were.  But, as they came closer up to my drivers side window, I saw them to be: one very highly amused trooper, along with my terrified, semi-frozen husband who was dressed for Winter in Central Texas, not for a Blizzard.   Which just goes to show, who needs him?

      We got to Santa Fe, where I stayed with a good friend of mine, while husband #1 continued to drive to California and pick up his blankidy-blanking fiber-glassed hull of the sail boat he was building, intending to sail the ocean all by himself, which was always his plan. There was a real clue with that divisional life goal, but I missed it until later.  I stayed a few days in Santa Fe experiencing Winter for nearly a week, then caught a ride back to Austin with another fine friend of mine with a 4 wheel drive truck. I got back to Austin, more or less no worse for wear, which could not be said for the state of my Mustang. That was a Hell of a car any way you look at it and I wish I still had it in A-! condition, but wasn’t meant for hauling sailboats ‘cross country.  Never had such a fine car been so misused and abused as that one: if it’d been a horse, I’d a had to shoot him.  So here I sit typing this tale of reckless frolicking in a snow storm, on second thought, looking forward to this year’s Gray Slop. 

     So happy October, yawl’s; it’s probably only gonna hit 92 to the south of our house, overlooking the Rio Grande way down in the valley, beyond which a gaggle of golfers continue their evil game.

As ever,

Kay Buena