It’s funny, the tricks the mind can play. When I woke up this morning, a song was playing in my head that I hadn’t heard in going on 50 years. I’m thinking it was that Blazing Saddles clip I included in my Shutdown Reflections… post that finally dredged it up, but I suspect that the seed was actually planted when I included those images of Florida’s Seven Mile Bridge in my Amazing Bridges Around The World!
You see, in late 1965, right before my 10th birthday, I rode a Greyhound bus, all by myself, from my Charleston W. Va. hometown to Miami, Florida, to spend Christmas (and my birthday) with my dad, my stepmother and my half-sister. I really don’t feel like going into a lot of detail (not to mention the fact that those details are just a tad fuzzy), but suffice it to say that the trip was filled with very memorable sights and experiences, including my first visit to a beach, watching a game from high up in the Orange Bowl, and hours spent driving along the parts of the bridges between The Keys that were there before that Seven Mile Bridge was built.
Unfortunately, that trip had some really dark moments as well. First of all, I came down with a case of Tonsillitis that damn near killed me because of my dad’s distaste for doctors and hospitals. Now, to be fair, I first started feeling sick during that long drive between The Keys, and I felt even worse later, when we were driving around Miami checking out the holiday lights – which both my dad and I had simply attributed to particularly bad experience with the motion sickness problem I had had my whole life. All I know for sure is that I curled up on the backseat during that “light seeing” trip and, except for vague memories of shivering under a mountain of blankets and being force fed soup and large spoonfuls of god-awful tasting green medicine, was pretty much out of it until Christmas morning.
At any rate, that covers the Seven Mile Bridge connection. But what about that Blazing Saddles clip and the song playing in my head when I woke up this morning? Well, let’s start with this bit from my Tolerance… Not! Race post:
In 1965, during a car trip back from spending Christmas in Florida with my father, I got locked inside a White owned restaurant in Georgia. Being a naive little boy, I had run ahead to be the first one inside. I was so busy spinning on one of the bar stools that I didn’t even notice that the doors had been locked after I came in, to keep my dad and his girlfriend out. Because of my appearance, no one inside realized that I was with them until I ran to the door my dad was pounding on. I’m not sure if I was more afraid of being locked inside or of what my father would do if they didn’t open the door. Those poor fools had no idea of the kind of man they were keeping from his son. Fortunately, an apologetic waitress let me out and my dad’s girlfriend was able to talk my dad into just leaving.
What you must understand is that, while my dad may have been one of most miserly, penny-pinching, and grumpy old bastards you’d ever want to meet, he wasn’t exactly poor. The fact is that he owned many properties, all the way from Florida to W. Va., and checking on some of them was a big reason for that trip. You should also know that, while a lot of what he had was “earned” through “less than legal” means, he was very proud of the fact that he got what he had through his own fiercely independent entrepreneurial efforts and never spent a day of his life begging for anything, from anyone. The man didn’t even believe in credit and, having personally lived through the great depression, didn’t even trust banks.
Which is what made the song playing on the jukebox (deliberately?) in that little Georgia restaurant (which I didn’t even remember until this morning) such a monstrous bit of irony – even to the mind of a terrified 10 year old boy:
So I hope you’ll excuse me for my impression of the so-called TEA party, and for my suspicions over what’s really motivating all the non-stop anti-Obama craziness. I really, really, hope that I’m wrong. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything to convince me that I am…
I’ll end this on a “lighter” note, with the “funny” images I was going to post today:
I want ice water.
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