… BUT I’M AN EX-NEWSMAN, well-trained at banging out endless copy about nothing!
We had a white winter going in Little Rhody, if briefly. Tonight it’s raining with a Polar Vortex freeze coming right behind it. Not a good night to be going anywhere.
Went for a walk in the woods behind the house the other day. You can see that the humble manse is a three-story abode on the back end, built into a hill. I envision two porches out back, along the lines of the front porch I built years ago. One at ground level, off the walk-out basement, the other above it, off the kitchen and TV/reading room. I’d like to dig the foundation piers when the weather warms up. Get at least that much of it done in this brand new year.
I’ve been a bachelor since early this morning, so now I’m amusing myself writing about nothing. I’ve got a nice Six Point Craft Ale, thanks to Daughter #1’s Ryan. He left a few here in the basement fridge when he and Miss Em went home to Brooklyn after the holidays. And, I’m enjoying an improbable mix of music: the Funk Brothers on the soundtrack from Standing in the Shadows of Motown (See the documentary for Joan Osborne if nothing else!); the 2011 Bring Me Home tour by Sade Adu, sultry Nigerian/English smooth jazz bombshell; and Melanesian island chants from one of my favorite movies, The Thin Red Line. The behavior of Jim Caviezel’s character, Witt, always brings to mind something my old man said to me circa 1971, when he was discouraging my adolescent thinking-out-loud about quitting school and joining the Army, if he’d sign me in. You’ll be in constant trouble in the Army. That was his position. Wha? Why would I be in constant trouble? Aside from the fact that I’m not real good at… doing what I’m told?
The bride took her broken shoulder up to Maine this morning. Actually, Daughters #2 and #3 drove it up there for her, because the bride can’t drive for distance yet. She’s on a fact-finding mission: to find out exactly what it is her 81-year-old mother broke last week. Margene took a tumble, sustained three hairline fractures, we’re told. We’ve heard hip, pelvis, back. Or maybe none of the above. Or all three, and more. You never get the story until you saddle up and go see for yourself. That’s something else I learned in the newspaper biz. Besides writing about nothing
Over the weekend I helped my friend Mike Connelly, the Saab wiz, fix a wall in the front office at his shop in Warwick. The wall between the office and the parts room was grievously inhabited by mold, on account of a roof leak that has since been fixed. Now the wall needed to be opened up, de-insulated, inspected, re-insulated, sheetrocked, taped and primed.
Whoops! Got a nasty razor cut on my left hand in the process. Didn’t want to drip all over the rug as I made for the shop sink, so I flung the blood into the open partition we were working on. Came back later with a marker and wrote something, just to mess with somebody in 50 years, or whenever this wall gets opened up again.
“Want to go get that stitched?” Mike said. Nope, let’s finish this wall. Superglue, the miracle Emergency Room in a tube! No harm done, good as new
Last time I got cut working on a Mike Connelly project was a crisp October morning about 10 years ago. This was at “the cabin,” the log home he built in Scituate. I stuck my coconut on a 16-penny nail sticking out of a staging plank. RIIIP! First thing in the morning, too, shortly after 7. Throws your whole day off. That one had bone showing, took 18 stitches to close. Mike offered to drive me to a walk-in clinic. I knew what he really needed to do was get headed to Warwick to open the shop on time, so I drove myself to a clinic in the ’49 truck and sat around reading the morning paper for half an hour, until a doc was available. Got stitched, was back at the cabin by 9, blew off the night shift at the newspaper and worked at the cabin until after 9 that night. There was an ice cold quarter-keg of Killian’s on the front porch, c’mon, how’s the newsroom ever gonna compete?
Moving on, blah blah… Here’s some more nothing: Since I’m living the bachelor life for the next few days, I’ve been eating out of the saddlebags. My late dinner tonight is red beans and rice out of the little 1-quart pressure cooker I carry with me on the road. Add salt, crushed red pepper, molasses, a couple of dried tomatoes, all good for ya. Tastes all right, too, if you start with enough cooking water to finish with a little bit left. Otherwise you could use it to, well, glue wounds shut!
What I like most about cooking camp fare in the kitchen is how the cats freak out when the cooker lets off pressure. Sets ’em both to running full speed to somewhere else in the house.
Big Bully Boy Felix makes quite a racket at the gallop. But you guessed that just by looking at him.
Tony DePaul, Cranston, Rhode Island, January 6, 2014