For the last decade or perhaps more, my friend Ernest comes to the house mid-November with a sign-up sheet for his church's annual citrus fruit sale. The Love, Faith and Victory Tabernacle is a small Christian community in a small Southern town (my small Southern town).
Ernest and I met back in 1991 when he introduced himself as the neighborhood helping man. His words. He also drove the City's garbage truck. Working in a capacity such as driver for any City vehicle, a man or woman achieves a level of respect matched by any professional occupation in this town. Does that make sense? It's my wonky way of saying that Ernest, even though his job was something many would consider lowly on the face of its description of his duties, became a pillar of the community.
The many years Ernest spent driving the huge truck created some medical problems. His right hip needed replacement and he waited until he retired to have the surgery. He walks with a much more dignified air about him now that his gait is straighter and he is in control of his movements (as opposed to pain being his navigator). Ernest came by mid-November and I ordered, as I always do, navel oranges and tangelos. For $36 I have my two boxes of glorious Florida goodness. The tangelos are incredible this year. So juicy, I had to change shirts after eating three of them because my sleeves were wet.
I've been friends with Ernest ever since the first moment I met him. Not something I say about many people, one must usually prove one's self to be called "friend". Right?
And now Tangelo Thumb. It's the raw space under my fingernail from digging into the skin of too many tangelos. Citrus Thumb. After eating almost a dozen tangelos in the last 24 hours, my poor thumb! I try eating the citrus fruit by cutting it with a knife, sectioning it and imitating Marlon Brando's garden scene in The Godfather but the process of removing the skin, peeling the tangelo remains a sweet holiday joy for me.
I wouldn't give up having this sore thumb for anything. And the same is true for my friendship with Ernest, who arrived on my front porch around 9:30 p.m. last night, shining a flashlight into the living room window and hollering "VALERIE! IT'S ERNEST!" -- giving Caroline and me the fright of our life. And also a belly laugh as he remembered my daughter on the day he met her, "a little bit of thing and now look at you, so hard working and I know you are, running a company ... been to college ... is there anything you need? If there is, you call Ernest, your mom has my number"
Not three days ago I stood on the porch with weepy eyes and a bleak outlook, telling my husband, "We don't have any traditions any more. Not one holiday event recreates what I remember, the way it used to be for ME."
Not three days ago -- I forgot Ernest was my holiday tradition. And tangelo thumb.
Taking a few months off from blogging to feed the beast. Thought I'd use the mini-iPad to do the dirty deed but it's a pain in the ass to type on the little bitty blue tooth keyboard and it seems I just get started and the battery goes kerplunk. Had to wait to get here into the studio with the trusty iMac, the real deal, to type out some words of wiz.
Thank you to all my Dead Mule supporters. I have the $$ in trust, and it will be showing up in 2014 in the guise of either writing contests or t-shirt giveaways. Or it will be used to pay server fees and domain name registration fees because I know that's what you, my dearest online friends, want me to do with it.
The studio portion is complete. Four rooms complete with kitchen and even a laundry room/shower facility. Upstairs living quarters are next. We'll start advertising for campers for Summer 2014 by mid-spring. I know, it's a little late in the season by then but the summer season is late Aug - early Sept so there's plenty of time!
To celebrate the four rooms we now have four dogs.
Clown dogs and the old man dog, Thompson.
Look forward to: product reviews. Product comparisons. Art previews. Monetary tributes to an all-star cast.
Soon it will be 2014. Newness. Check it out then. Not now. Now is not good. I'll just be over here in my little chair. Cursing Paper53 because it lost hours and hours of my work. Applauding "Sketches" because it saved my hours and hours of work. Yeah, Paper53, you so disappointed me. Hooray LateNiteSoft! You rule my sketching world.
Remember: when in doubt, grab and pad of paper and a pencil. Maybe a sketchpad and some pens. Some paints, a paintbrush and a canvas. Old school beats new school. New school needs a battery. New school needs a stylus. New school loses your work.
It is a world wherein abstinence from political thought and discussion is almost a sin. Republicans in US Congress develop a fear of the known, those who control thoughts in minority districts... minorities of thought, not race. Those who believe in less government demand more government to control the ill-defined limited government they embrace.
Available on October 4th, this Friday, the new Mule will feature over 30 personal essays -- MEMOIRS of a Certain Type.
Stay tuned for more information.
over and out.
We learned advertising on Facebook will bring your page more "likes". Significantly more, if you're a small literary journal with an emphasis on quality short fiction. Advertising on Facebook was a positive experience. Interesting and valuable. Tens of thousands of people took a look at the Mule Facebook Page over the last few weeks. Nice. Howdy to yall.