IN THE 4TH CENTURY I’m sure my Roman ancestors thought the ancient winter solstice festival just hadn’t been the same ever since the Christians won the war on Saturnalia. It was quite the hoo-hah, no doubt, covered closely in all the daily scrolls. What do you want me to tell you, Brutus? Nobody gets a pass from the march of time, not even those of us who look smashing in an iron skirt.
The old truck is in the holiday spirit, makes for a colorful lawn ornament here at the humble manse. I could drive it if I wanted to drive around with low oil pressure. On the next sunny day I need to somehow plug an empty hole in the aft cam journal. I’m using an electric fuel pump now, just retired the 1949-style mechanical pump and its push rod. With no rod running off the cam anymore, the empty port is gushing oil in the top of the motor, even at idle. Not good.
When I realized the truck wouldn’t be roadworthy in time to haul our Christmas tree home (family tradition), the bride and I took her car instead. This was last weekend. BTW, that flatbed is fully planked now, complete with DIY mud flaps that’ll hopefully delude Johnny Law into thinking my truck is legal without fenders. Made the flaps out of a black rubber doormat. Welded up the metal parts from scraps I had lying around.
So, here we are again! The shortest day of the year just came and went and now the sun’s on its way back. Six months from now, with any luck, the iron piggy and I will greet the summer solstice on the Arctic Circle. This is assuming I have enough work to bring with me so I’m not entirely goofing off, just mostly goofing off. Look for the road report here. And with video this time. Assuming I learn how to use the on-board GoPro camera the girls bought for my birthday last month.
Until then, be happy and safe out there in the dark. Broadcast the love, the humanity we have in common, whether the season finds you keeping Christ in Christmas or the Ha Ha Ha in Hanukkah. You may be hoisting a tankard in the mead halls of old Yule. Maybe you’re stoned at Stonehenge. Or you’re single-handedly boosting consumer demand. Or, as Michael Herr once said, in another context, you’re just trying to maintain the equilibrium of the dingdong against the aggression of the ever-encroaching doodah.
Whatever it is, make the most of it! May we meet again in 2013.
Tony DePaul, Cranston, Rhode Island, December 23, 2012