Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Tuscany, Trussville, whatever

As I mentioned last Friday, I had to pick up the gift for Reba that she had been hinting for, and she had to get some mushy cards for her ruggedly handsome husband (that’s me, you know) and we needed Things, and some Stuff, and Articles, as well as some Objects.

Thankfully, we managed to get all of that without too much effort, aside from having to pick our way around all the slack-jawed dudes with baggy jeans and backwards hats who were slowly picking their way through the aisles picking out just the right mylar mini-balloon for their chick du jour. (Now, lest any of you think I’m being hypocritical since I was right in there with them, please know that Miss Reba was given a lovely vase of a dozen roses earlier in the day, hand-delivered by her chubby hubby, commemorating the 13th year of our engagement--a gift that never ceases to produce much envy among her coworkers--which is almost like getting a second gift.)

Out, into the van, home, to bed.

Up early on Saturday.

It seems that Miss Reba has been saddled with yet another task at her workplace, entailing having to drive to Columbiana twice a week, in addition to her once-every-other-week trip to Oneonta. SO, we had to go do a pre-run to see where she was supposed to go, which would be combined with a trip to see my mom, a shopping trip for me to buy some pants, and a shopping trip to pick out a couple of birthday presents for a certain Tiny Girl who will be turning seven on Wednesday.

Managed to get everyone up and into the van and ready for the journey. But first we had to stop for breakfast. You know, kids sure eat a lot.

NOW THEN, on the road, off to the wilds of central Shelby County. Uneventful, gray, drizzling. Took the Calera/Montevallo exit from the interstate, a left on U.S. 31, then a right onto Highway 70. Hard-edged, rough-looking country-- too flat to be scenic, too hilly to plow easy. And not a lot in the seven miles between the traffic light and the office--one little gas station and that was it. It’s a road straight out of a Flannery O’Connor short story and it gave me the creeps. I tried not to let on, but it’s worrisome.

Total distance, 48.8 miles from our house. Quite a haul, although she does get mileage. But when added to the other trip to Blount County, it looks like some vehicular rearrangement is going to be in order. Her Honda van, although nice and comfortable, is a very thirsty conveyance and putting an extra 200 miles a week on it is not A Good Thing. Since she’ll be leaving so early that she won’t be dropping the kids at school, we probably need something smaller for those single-purpose type trips as well as our other running around, which means…

Goodbye, Franklin.

Yep, he’s been a good one, and even though I debated setting him out to pasture at the end of last year and talked myself out of it, it is probably the time now. I will miss him and his exploding exhaust, his reeking stench of raw gasoline and mildew, the scratchy sounds of his cheap $15 radio, and his anvil-like reliability whether he's hauling firewood or crusher run gravel or just me to the hardware store. It is time, though. I will make sure he goes to a good home.

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. It’s just a dumb old truck.

Anyway, the replacement will have to be small and reliable and economical and affordable which is rarely the recipe for something with endearing oddball character, but I suppose I will just have to make do. Maybe I’ll dress it up with some chrome dub-deuces (you know, the big 22 inch Conestoga wagon wheels) and an underbody neon kit and a coffee can muffler…

Well, that’s still down the road a few weeks, still gotta sell Franklin right now, so if any of you are in the market for a nice, straight ’82 F100 with 256,000 original miles on it, let me know.

As for the rest of Saturday, after our trip to the backwoods we turned around and headed over to the ritzy side of the county to see my mom for a bit. Don’t get to do that enough, but it was fun and the kids behaved themselves with admirable restraint. We talked, Oldest read, Reba snored, the younger two played with Lego blocks, and Middle Girl listened intently as my mom related the news.

One of my cousins had some copies of some old photos made and had given them to my mom, which was pretty neat. One was of my great-great grandmother--a hand-tinted photo showing her in what was supposed to be an Indian dress (she was Cherokee), although it was hard to tell from the photo exactly what was going on with it. Another is a photo of my great grandfather and his prodigiously-sized family--grim, sitting or standing around stiffly in the broomyard in front of their homestead, with an image of my grandmother Effie over to the far right. I never have seen a good picture of her, and this one was no better. Everyone else could be distinguished, but her face was a blur. The last picture was of my granddad. He was standing in front of a 1950s car with another man, each of them holding a little thin cane and sporting a set of scruffy whiskers. The story is that they were doing this in commemoration of the Town of Cordova 1957 Centennial. I guess beards and canes were what people in 1957 thought of when they imagined people in 1857. It was interesting to look at my Papa Gilbert, as we called him. In his younger days around 1920 or so, he had a photo made with his brothers, and he and I are dead ringers for each other. In the 1957 photo, he was gray, but still full of life, with a glint in his eye that seemed awfully familiar. Be interesting to see how I turn out.

It got to be time to go, so we said our goodbyes and headed off for the next stop…


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