October 14, 2004
Losing your job can often have a profound effect on your life. It can cause you to examine the actual value of it. It can force you to reconsider the very direction of your soul. It can be the moment in your human journey that everything changes.
For me, it was an excuse to get into my car and start driving south. Sure, making money is a good thing but the pursuit of strange characters and sunburns is far more stimulating.
My 1997 Saab 900 and I chose the path of least resistance. It was a path that took us out Interstate 84 from Massachusetts through the mighty, yawn-inspiring plains of Connecticut, over the Hudson River in New York, into Scranton, Pennsylvania. Here I shifted to Interstate 81 South and traveled through Maryland, West Virginia and finally into Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains kept a close watch on my actions as if I were some 19-year old senior that was trying to date her 14-year old sophomore daughter. “How dare you think such things of me you crusty old mountain,” I shouted. “So what if your daughter is five years younger, we’re only two grades apart!”
Although I had traveled this route before, it was the cousin of my friend Matt that convinced me to pursue this inland track again. As many of you know, Matt is 6’6”. Due to the fantastic splendor of genetics, his cousin Eric is 6’10”. Being around them makes you feel like a hobbit. The time of man is now…soon there will be no place in Middle Earth for the 5’10” Halfling.
In Virginia, I ended my day in a town called Natural Bridge which effectively speaks to the amount of good times one would find here. I pulled into the Relax Inn where a fine chap from India directed me to a room in the back that boasted of malfunctioning cable television, white walls with no pictures and an odor that whispered dirty thoughts and secrets of its former role as the family chain smoking room.
The reason I mention the general manager’s ethnicity is that, damn it, these people talk funny! Good night!
The real reason I bring it to light is that through my travels and my five years of dealing with hotels when I worked with the cable company, I realized that every hotel that is between 20 and 56 units is owned by someone from India. I’m not usually one for stereotypes but this one kicks ass. No matter where I go, my theory holds true. If I were to travel back in time to the second day of creation, I know for a fact that I could find a Motel 6 where Mr. Patel was waiting to show me to my room.
For dinner, I headed to the Pink Cadillac restaurant and wouldn’t you know it, they actually had a pink Cadillac in the front lawn. Some might call this marketing genius or a brilliant branding technique. I call it downright clever! After eating a decent chicken sandwich and mashed potatoes that had the taste and feel of wet dust, I went back to the motel and went to bed.
October 15, 2004
After checking out and eating one more meal at the Pink Cadillac, I somehow resisted the charm of Natural Bridge and continued south on I-81. I then made my way down I-77 into Charlotte and then picked up I-85 which took me to Atlanta. It was here I chose to make my stand for a while with my brother Sean and his wife Peggy. After a nap, brief run and shower, Peggy and I drove to a tapas restaurant in Midtown. Unfortunately, seeing Sean would have to wait until after dinner as he was still at work. Once inside, we met up with Peggy’s friend Kathleen and her friend Mike.
To our dismay, we discovered that Kathleen was allergic to wheat which, as far as crappy allergies go, ranks second only to being allergic to the wind. I think her dinner consisted of water and a marble. And due to her pregnancy, Peggy was forced to avoid alcohol and the uranium croquettes. Mike and I, on the other hand, ate and drank everything our dirty paws came in contact with.
After dinner, the four of us met up with Sean and Peggy’s friends Katherine and Shannon at an improv comedy theater. The performance was delight-filled and talented. The name of this group is the Whole World and I highly recommend it to all.
October 16, 2004
After cereal and tea, Sean and I played tennis and then drove over to Sean and Peggy’s new rental property. We performed some light exterior cleanup and headed back to the house.
Later on, we made our way to an engagement/birthday party that was held in a beautiful home. Completely catered, the buffet area was almost more than I could handle. Fortunately, I found the strength to absolutely crush this edible spread. One of the caterers was from Trinidad and proved to be a pleasant conversationalist. From a far, the feature that struck me the most about her was her light brown, curly hair that seemed to be ethnically out of place. Upon closer inspection, I could see she was wearing a wig since the wig didn’t start until a couple of inches beyond her real hair line. I thought this was strange and wondered if she was trying to make some kind of statement like, “I’m wearing a wig!” I guess I’ll never know.
The other odd thing about the party was the homeowner’s clear and present dog fetish. Beyond owning a few dogs, they had several dog paintings and dog-related items placed around the house and dog coat hangers. The most disturbing of all was a large painting that portrayed a human body dressed in a formal, military outfit with the head of a dog. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to pick a fight with that painting. I know it’s inanimate and all but it was just so putrid.
Also at the party were Peggy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wein. Mr. Wein is always easy like Sunday morning while Mrs. Wein has what I will call an extremely enthusiastic disposition. With a slight southern drawl, she pushes out words and concepts with the beautiful and ferocious precision of a fully automatic weapon. And all that she says and does is driven by and presented with an intense sense of purpose. This woman could be talking about toenails and she will pour her heart and soul into the subject along with all other victimized mental matter that unknowingly finds itself in the wake of her fiery stream of conscious.
“And how about toenails? I mean, we all have them. Sometimes they break. Sometimes you have to cut them. Chris, did you meet Mrs. Sylvan yet? She’s Sandra’s mother. And I hear that some people even paint their toenails! Well, I have never seen such a painting. It has a dog’s head!”
As Peggy, Sean and I left the party, I said my farewell to the host who was now no longer an unfortunate inmate of the prison of sobriety. With eyes that looked like half open garage doors, he said, “I’ll see you at the wedding in two weeks!”
Instead of telling him that I barely knew anyone at the party and would not be attending the wedding, I thought it better to have some fun.
“Oh yah,” I replied, “I’m looking forward to it.”
“That’s great. What dance moves of yours can we expect to see?”
“Oh, I’ll probably do some Michael Jackson-inspired movements. You’ll see some steps from ‘Thriller’.”
“No, I don’t care about those moves. What of your moves can we expect?”
“Ahh, I see. In that case, you’ll see a move I call ‘The Bow and Arrow’.”
“I like it. I’m going to hold you to it. See you in two weeks.”
And with that, we went home and slept.
October 17, 2004
Just as I have compared Mr. Wein’s nature to one of the Commodore’s great songs, irony gifted me this morning with a combination of a Sunday morning and Mr. Wein. The culmination of this moment centered itself around my favorite Atlanta breakfast destination known as the Flying Biscuit. As Sean showed one of his recently purchased apartments to a prospective tenant and while the Weins were on their way to the restaurant, Peggy and I walked over to the restaurant and put our name in for a table.
As we waited for everyone to arrive, we were approached by a sweet and deranged woman. She held a bundle of papers that were stapled together. She told us that she was selling her books and then put many words together in a sequence that I was unable to follow.
When Mr. Wein and Peggy’s brother Bobby showed up, she noticed the addition of people a minute or so later and said, “There’s people just coming from nowhere. These two were here first, looking so romantic and then you two just came out of nowhere.”
I then glanced at my pregnant sister in law and reflected on the serious ramifications of the statement that Lady Book Drive just laid on us. I decided it was a bit too Old Testament for our taste. Lady BD then looked at me and for some reason said, “And you’re looking pretty good today.”
My response to her included no spoken words but rather a look that said, “Lady BD, I am this blisteringly hot every waking moment of every passing day that the human calendar accounts for.”
Nonetheless, my brother Sean, the original baby-maker, arrived and we ate like winners inside the Flying Biscuit.
When we finished, Sean, Peggy, Bobby and I made a quick stop at the Wein’s house to pick up food and drink for our hike up Atlanta’s famed Stone Mountain. Bobby’s attempt for stealth, quick retrieval of these items was thwarted when Mrs. Wein came out, saw us, directed us inside and told us of her intentions to join our hike.
“Well, I love Stone Mountain and I’m going to join you. You just wait here in the kitchen and I’ll get ready.”
Moments passed and she returned.
“I’ve changed my mind. I have to prepare for our 6:00 dinner party and I won’t have time if I go to Stone Mountain. You’re just going to have to go without me!”
With a laugh that I kept mostly to myself, I studied the reactions and expressions of Bobby, Peggy and even Sean that divulged the high frequency of comparable events.
Upon climbing the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, I listened to Bobby’s stories of how all the Wein families and friends used to hike up Stone Mountain every Easter. This amazed me. The only thing our family did consistently every Easter was to show up to church 25 minutes late.
Later that day, we all met back at the Wein’s for some Southern-styled dining. Mr. Wein was armed with his genuine, ever-present, easy-listening, forever sunshine smile and Mrs. Wein showed her infinite appetite for all things family.
October 18, 2004
Monday morning found me with yet two more bowls of multigrain Cheerios with banana slices wading in their midst. After an appropriate digestive period, I experienced a subtle workout with weights in the basement.
Two things happened while I did this. The first was pure enjoyment of Atlanta’s classic soul station, 102.5 FM. Like the Flying Biscuit, this radio station is always a treat for me when I travel to this southern city. Why Boston can’t sacrifice one of their many cracker rock stations and let its citizens relish in perfect soul is beyond me.
The other thing that happened was my restoration of Sean’s internet connection via the maneuver of bypassing one of the cable splitters, thereby reducing signal loss and allowing for a strong enough broadband signal to support this decadent two-way communication. Yo Joe!
Feeling huge, soulful and productive, I went upstairs and ate lunch with Mighty Margaret Coxen who had just returned from work. We enjoyed salads and light, yet meaningful conversation. Margaret is formal for Peggy. Being the chucklehead that I am sometimes, I didn’t realize this until I read it on their wedding invitation. At first I was like, “Who’s Margaret? Peggy’s sister? I thought he was marrying Peggy! What the hell?!”
Shortly after, Sean returned and the two of us again involved ourselves in some tennis. While we played, dozens of young high school kids ran by the tennis courts over the period of several minutes. Some young punk then parked his car, got out and started to hit some of the runners with a big yellow waffle ball bat. I will not lie to you. I was moderately entertained by this. Yet it would have been far more entertaining if an eight-foot, albino, black man that was dressed like the Ham burglar and was named Circus rushed out of the woods and scared this punk so bad that his gender changed.
Once we returned, Sean Peggy and I collected some Thai food and rented a movie. The movie we watched was Lady Killers. Indeed.
October 19, 2004
Today’s daylight hours were not filled with anything too exciting due to rain. The weather was so dismal that I actually had to use my mind. Distressing. It was today I decided to initiate this here journal. I figured that if I’m so flagrantly unemployed, I better have something to show for my time.
During a brief break between negative weather patterns, I managed to squeeze in a brief run. One nice ingredient of the day I can discuss with you was a trip to Murphy’s restaurant in the Virginia Highlands. As our waitress told us of the specials, she brought attention to the wine of the evening. She made special note that this syrah was dry but had the ever important ability to get along with everyone since it was a social wine. She said this with such a ditzy passion that I wanted to ask her for her phone number and then eat it in front of her and say, “This is where I keep my numba’s, you see? Depending on my movements, you may not hear from me for at least 36 hours. Later!”
Why do people try to breathe life into unliving objects? And more importantly, why didn’t I say, “It’s so funny you say that because I was just hanging out with beer the other night and let me tell you, beer makes a great wingman. Beer and I are always meeting new people. But it’s sad because beer worries that he looks gay since he more often hangs out with dudes.”
Moments later, Peggy’s friend Heather showed up to the table. When the waitress updated Heather on the specials, she disappointingly left out the part of the wine’s social prowess. Having to make it so, I completed the wine’s resume, “And it’s important to realize, Heather, that this wine is a social wine and will get along with everyone at the table. It’s not going to start any fights. It’s not going to ask for money. It’s not going to get anyone pregnant. It’s perfect.”
Sold on the description, Heather ordered the wine and giggles were the order of the moment. But this was the way of the evening. If the evening was a Christmas tree and giggles were the ornaments, we were dealing with a decadently decorated tree.
When dessert was upon us, I could find nothing on the menu to subdue me so I looked to the waitress and said, “I would love to have a brownie with vanilla ice cream if you have the technology. Can you make that happen?” And with this comment, another decoration was added to our tree.
We then said our goodbyes and went home.
October 20, 2004
Today I packed my things, boarded my Swedish cruiser and drove six hours to Amelia Island Plantation, Florida where I encountered my parents. I unpacked, caught up with Pat and Gerry Coxen and rode my bike over to the gym. On the way, I stopped at the reception office so I could pick up my new member card. The woman at the front desk asked me for an ID and a credit card. When I asked her why she needed the credit card, she said it was for “incidentals”. Incidentals, I thought? Like if I inadvertently host a national, multi-chapter fraternity, spring break party with a theme of “Drink Every Time You Break a Law”, you have my credit card to cover the damages?
On the way back, I went to the beach and presented myself to the ocean so that this mighty salty stew and all that swim in it knew that it’s hairy, biped, land-dwelling, man-friend had returned. Satisfied with the reunion, I went back to the house and readied myself for dinner.
As the three of us ate, my father spoke of power and fury. His conversational themes travel deep to the prehistorical foundations of the Earth and back again so the minds of mortals may breathe again. Faith is essential during these times spent with my father. Since the soul of man is ill prepared for such deep truths, faith carries us along until God integrates such wisdom and love into our souls so that we may understand these things. Until that time, humans must listen to Gerry and accept the fact that they most likely will not understand his words and ways until they die.
You never quite know what to expect from my father. I’m always ready for the unbelievable.
“Chris, look out into the ocean. You see that large chunk of land out there? That’s Russia. I put it there on Monday after I painted the living room ceiling. I wanted it close to me so I could keep an eye in it. Good night Chris.”
October 21, 2004
I awoke and cooked myself some eggs and bacon along with an English muffin. I then secured some cheap, skanky chicken that would be used later for crab bait. After a brief car ride, I arrived at arrived at Walkers Landing on the marsh side of Amelia Island. I readied the crab traps, tied them to the dock and threw them overboard. As I waited, I looked around the serene and peaceful landscape. To my left and to my right and behind me stood old, lush oaks with Spanish moss hanging from their limbs like drying laundry.
Right as my father pulled up to the dock, I pulled in the first trap with a crab in it. By the end of our time there, we caught 12 crabs. One of the crabs we caught was missing one of its entire arms and claw. You will see this if you fish for crabs frequently enough. The neat thing is that they actually grow the arm back. I once believed God favored the human but it appears He may have a special place in His heart for the crab. This feature of limb regeneration really gives the opposable thumb a run for its money.
Upon my return, I ran along the beach, showered and took part in another dual-generational dinner.
October 22, 2004
Organic raisin bran, yogurt, orange juice and outside eating were the welcome factors of this morning. Unfortunately, my digestion was compromised when word reached me that our fishing trip planned for this afternoon was cancelled due to choppy seas. Down but not out, I went to the gym instead and sweat.
On my way back, I rode my bike throughout the marsh side of the island to make sure the island was as I had left it. I even made a stop at Drummond Park and walked along some marsh trails. I even went as far as to disobey some pink tape set up to keep people off a rotting boardwalk. My Hollywood actions made it clear to the world that little could stand between me and pristine marsh views.
When I returned, I ate lunch and delicately progressed through a cup of green tea. My parents and I then drove to the bottom of Amelia Island and walked along the bridge that is home to many casual fishermen. Interested in joining them, I walked in to the bait and tackle shop and inquired about renting a pole. The woman who worked there told me that, “It’s $20 for a day or $10 for a half day. But if you do a half, I take a credit card from you so if you take the rod, I have your credit card number so I can charge you for it.”
Her tone was so accusatory that I had to laugh.
“Yes my lady, it is I…the fifth generation angler thief that has haunted your industry for decades! I have driven all the way from Boston to rob your guard booth-sized store of all its treasure. But alas! You have foiled my greatest of moves: the high risk, high reward Fishing Pole Flim Flam. You innocently rent me this luxurious item for a paltry $10 and I drive to Mexico with your pole…never to be seen again! But by keeping my credit card, you have castrated my strategy…”
We then got back in the car and headed to the historical part of Amelia Island that boasted of the house where Pippi Longstocking lived or maybe it was the house where a movie was filmed. I don’t know. My parents didn’t know either. We just felt compelled to check it out. With a feeling of confused fulfillment, we drove back to the house and never spoke of Pippi Longstocking again.
We then ate dinner at the Ocean Club. Before retiring, my father shared his discontent with me when the waitress kept saying “we” as in, “Do we know what we are ordering?” or “Do we want anything else to drink?” My father’s feeling with this approach is, “This is the same junk you get in hospitals. ‘How are we feeling?’ I always answer the same, ‘I don’t know how you are, but I’m fine’. You can write about that in your journal, Chris.”
What can I say? I do as I’m told. Peace.
October 23, 2004
After breakfast I drove down to Orlando to visit my old college chum, Gabriel Barreneche. As I wanted to give the Saab a break, I decided to drive my parent’s 1999 Ford Taurus down. On the way down, I drove near an idiot who was doing wheelies on his motorcycle at speeds of 85 mph. I consider myself to be a nonjudgmental person but I can safely say that guy helps promote the concept of maternal regret.
Once I arrived, hugs and smiles were the order of the moment. It had been two and a half years since I saw my friend Gabe and his wife Ileana. Gabe and I then sat down to lunch and enjoyed rice and black beans that were made by Ileana’s mother from El Salvador, Amalia, who was staying with the Barreneche’s for a spell.
After our lunch, Gabe and I got in the Taurus and decided to drive around. To our dismay, we found that the battery was dying. I then called AAA at 2:30 and was told someone would be by within an hour. Well, after poor communication and a generic, supermarket brand-styled stupidity, no one showed up until 7:30. I spoke with AAA seven or eight times; each time letting an increasing amount of my anger out to play.
The funny thing is that I wasn’t that upset since Gabe and I sat out on his front yard and drank beer. Therefore, I would enjoy myself as I caught up with Gabe and soaked up some sun (I even took off my shirt in the unlikely event that some sunlight would penetrate the dense atmosphere of hair that hovers on my chest) but before another hour had passed and it was time for me to call AAA again, I would have to get myself worked up so I could attempt to raise some hell. I was beginning to feel like the only way to get someone to assist me was if I told them something like, “Hey, get someone here quick! I’m a chubby minority broken down in front of a racist narcissist bar!”
Of course it was the middle of dinner when they finally arrived. Once the car started, I followed Gabe down to the Sears three miles away so we could leave the car in the parking lot and get it fixed the next day. Right as we waited at the light in front of Sears, the Taurus died again. I called the tow truck driver’s cell phone and told him I would give his shop the business if he could pick up the car right away.
He did so and Gabe and I drove home. As we did, I began to think how lame that second breakdown was. I was so close to Sears. It was like longing for a certain hot chick for years and finally getting a date with her. Just as you go to kiss, you discover she has narcolepsy, she falls asleep right before your lips touch, and she wakes up two years later and realizes that she’s gay. I’m not saying the Ford Taurus is gay. I just think it could have shown a little more effort and gotten me to Sears.
An hour later, Gabe drove me to the shop where a fully functional Taurus waited for me. The exchange was routine except for my encounter with a mechanic that looked exactly like whatever your southern stereotype of a southern redneck may be. The great thing was that he was Polish. This guy’s look was so convincing that when I heard his accent, I thought it was the result of brain damage. I finally had to ask him where he was from and he answered Poland. Pristine.
Our spirits unwavered by the day’s foolishness, Ileana, Gabe and I went to see the movie “The Grudge”. Good night.
October 24, 2004
This morning I promptly dressed myself in athletic gear and went for a run. Once I returned, I showered and ate breakfast. A cup of green tea also worked its way into the mix. While I drank my tea, Ileana and Amalia joined Gabe and I and soon I found myself digging deep into the dusty caverns of my brain to search for the stuff needed to speak Spanish with this Hispanic trio. Impressed with my abilities, Amalia voiced her approval and nearly fainted when I pulled out the more complex past tense of the irregular verb “estar” and said “estuve”. Because of the lingual elation she expressed over this word, I told Amalia I would name my first born child Estuve.
Gabe and I then got in the car and drove to his place of work, Rollins College, in Winter Park. Gabe’s department, the Spanish department, had its own little area and like the entire campus, was a shining example of fine Spanish architecture; so much so that the campus has won awards on this architectural merit alone. The department was surrounded by walls and had a charming courtyard in the middle where professors and students could reflect on all things Spanish.
Gabe’s office was actually a tiny building that stood alone and had a small church bell at one end. Being the fine man that he is, Gabe let me ring this bell with little regard to the rich, hung over youth that still slumbered nearby. He also pointed out how wasps were burrowing into the sand-filled crevices of the patio and nesting. These wasps were not the kind that wore little white hoods but their sting was just as bitter.
After eating at a great barbecue restaurant, we returned home. I then packed my things, expressed my gratitude and offered up the finest goodbyes I could muster. Two hours and forty-five minutes later, I walked into my parent’s home in Amelia Island. As my father relaxed on the couch, I gave him the final report on the Taurus’ behavior. I then asked him what I should do with the car keys that I had put on my key chain. The discussion got a bit more involved than we both intended and finally he said, “Chris, just put the keys on the counter and I’ll figure it out tomorrow. Right now it’s wine time.”
October 25, 2004
I conducted my normal morning business, went to the gym and then relaxed by the beach.
My father and I then went fishing on the bridge like poor people with the new fishing poles he purchased on Saturday. The bridge we fished on had at one time been used by the regular traffic going in and out of southern Amelia Island. After a newer, parallel bridge was constructed, they left this bridge for the many people that fished there. One of the regulars that I struck up a conversation with was an 87-year old man named Richard. He was gnarly and neat and still contained an impressive nimbleness that was apparent when he picked a crab off the bridge like it was dropped donut.
After not catching a damn thing, the three of us headed to a restaurant called Spanky’s where I was able to enjoy draft beer from America’s oldest brewery, Pennsylvania’s own, Yeungling.
October 26, 2004
Today I woke up at 7:45 AM like some kind of employed freak. Not knowing quite what to do during this foreign hour, I went to the gym.
After I returned, my father and I drove to Fernandina beach and chartered a fishing boat. Our captain was Benny and our mate was Mark, aged 22 and 24, respectively. On the way out to sea, we faced some tasty, six-foot seas that battered our bathtub toy boat like a cat playing with a dead mouse.
When we finally found some smoother waters, we set the anchor down and cast out our lines. Shortly thereafter, we were catching 40+ inch red drum fish that were weighing in over 30 pounds. Also in the mix were some small whiting fish, a skate fish, sharks, sting rays, bluefish and a man name Linda.
As the day wore on, the seas began to grow more restless and we were soon facing six-foot seas once again. Although this was the case, the sea seemed not to lose respect for Gerry and wisely chose to still provide for him as he fished.
During this period, I grabbed one of the poles as a fish began to bite the line. Sixty seconds after I began to battle this large fish, Mark and my father yelled, “Look out!” I looked to my left and saw a perfectly placed, seven-foot wave coming right at us. I had no time to prepare as this watery formation slammed into the side of the boat causing us to taste its salty ways. And when this unwelcome member came on board, the boat dipped, I fell into the bait cutting board and landed on the deck. The smashing thing was that I held on to the pole the entire time and managed to reel in a large shark that stinkily bit the line once he surfaced and swam away. Earning the admiration of my fellow crew members, we soon after decided to head back to the harbor.
My father and I said our thanks and goodbyes to Benny and Mark and met my mother for a drink in O’Kane’s Irish pub. We then collected some Chinese food and headed back to the house where food was eaten and a combination of political talk shows and World Series baseball was watched. The World Series game was of course St. Louis and Boston and the political content was provided by none other than Bill O’Reilly.
October 27, 2004
As far as the reader’s level of excitement is concerned, today’s contents were humble. I wish I could tell you that Gerry got in a B.B Gun fight with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Or I wish I could tell you that I saw two huge guys driving in a 1990 Chevy Celebrity with words “Barbazon Boys Bench for Hunger Tour” written on the car doors, dragging cans and a sign that read “Just Got Huge” and were throwing out free samples of Speed stick-flavored protein bars.
These things did not happen. I simply played tennis with my parents, went for a run, ate lunch, did some surf casting, showered and went to Spanky’s again enjoyed the blackened grouper sandwich, Brunswick stew and Yeungling beer on tap.
I mean, I did catch a small fish but I can’t even tell you what kind it was, clearly a day of viral interest.
October 28, 2004
I awoke and went for a morning run along the beach as if I was filming a commercial for some bowel-related drug. Afterwards, I said my goodbyes to my parents and drove to Charleston, South Carolina. It was here I would remain for the next 20 hours. My first stop was the office of Bobby Wein (Peggy’s brother). We promptly ate lunch at a nice restaurant that overlooked the harbor. Well pleased by the food and vistas, I left Bobby and walked around Charleston.
As I walked, I became amply delighted with the city’s beautiful architecture. The city felt friendly yet sophisticated, small yet vibrant, something else yet something else…
Later on I picked Bobby and his wife up and drove them to the airport. Even though this lovely couple was leaving the city, they offered me their house anyways. I said thank you to them and returned to Charleston where I dined at a restaurant by the name of the Library. It was a rooftop establishment and granted me dynamic views of the harbor and city. Unfortunately, it also granted me a seat near an obnoxious and loud idiot who persisted on using ill-prepared statements that combined words like Jews, fuckin’, Puerto Ricans, sweet Jesus and the like. Overcome by his rotten essence, I left the building. On the elevator ride down, I met the former manager of Elvis Presley. Not knowing quite what to do with that, I said that was really cool and said goodbye.
My next stop was the Charleston Grill where I ran into a most interesting character named Buddy Lazaro from Braintree, Massachusetts. It turns out that this chap was cousins with the man that runs a well known local paving company named Lazaro Paving. An entrepreneur himself, Buddy told me he was one of the founding members of Waltham Beef. He later developed a business in Ireland that sold microwaveable sandwiches to the European market for four years.
His face had a resemblance to Jon Voight and his body ironically looked like a mean piece of beef. But the two things I liked most about Buddy was his ability to share a very expensive bottle of wine with me and his stories. Like the time he bought exotic frog eggs from Africa for $50. He grew and nurtured these large, striped frogs in his manmade pond only to have his little, brat, terd-like neighbor stick a firecracker in its mouth.
The other story of his I enjoyed was the how his mother used to drive all the children back to their house in Waltham along route 117 from White Pond in Concord. On the way, they would always stop at the same corn field where his mother would say, “Okay everybody, we’re at Aunt Sadie’s house again! Go out into the field and take as much corn as you can and get back to the car. Aunt Sadie isn’t home so we won’t be seeing her today. We’ll just take some corn from her field and thank her later”.
This routine continued for many years until Buddy asked her mother one day, “How come we never see Aunt Sadie?” It was on that day that Buddy cracked the case. There was no Aunt Sadie, folks.
While we talked, some broker type who wanted some of Buddy’s money gave him some port wine from 1977. It was delicious.
We said our goodbyes and I went home. Good night y’all.
October 29 and 30, 2004
These days were all about that sweet two-day car ride home. I made it back in a total of 17 hours so that definitely means I have something to offer women.
As always, I thank you for reading and continue to keep it real. Good times!