Monday, April 23, 2007

Rednecks on Parade...

Clang! Clang! Bang! Bang! Crunch, bang-bang-bang-crunch!

People lined the streets, wondering where the racket could be coming from.

"Is it a bird," asked one little boy. His father could only shake his head in wonder.

Clang! Crunch, bang-bang-bang-crunch! Clang! Bang! Bang!

"Could it be a plane?" a woman shouted, struggling to be heard above the growing racket.

A few people glanced, but quickly refocused their gaze at the road, waiting to see what monstrous creation would round the bend of their normally quiet Pocono retreat.


The deafening noise forced the little boy to place his hands over his ears. His worried expression tried to catch his father's gaze, but the adult was too curious...

We rounded the corner...

People stared, Children screamed. Dogs ran alongside as if the hunchback of Notre Dame were throwing dog treats from the back! Torches were lit and pitchforks lifted! Someone screamed, and a mass panic of people rushed forward madly! Dad tried to speed up, but...
Actually, it was Sunday morning, and I had just arrived at the 'rent's home to help dad with the screened-in porch (that, yes, we are still working on...). I chain up Hawthorne around a tree and walk up to the front porch (nearly finished, unpainted) and greet Mom and Dad.

Then the phone rings. It's Mike. His car has broke down halfway up the mountain--the windy portion of the road.

Dad and myself pile into his pick-up and make our way to where his Mustang idles, flashers brightly winking in the morning sun. Then some car-speak takes place: drive-shaft, transmission seal, universal joints (sky god's knees go into a Mustang? Who knew?) I go down the bend to play traffic cop, telling people in the most rudimentary of sign-language skills (Hint: I was waving my arms and pointing to the other side of the road) to move over so that they don't run over Mike's and Dad's legs as they sprawl on gravel and asphalt to peer at the underbelly of the beast. It almost looks as if someone, in Dorothy-esque style, has dropped a Mustang from the sky to kill the wicked father-son team of the Pocono's... (but to clarify, they aren't evil! :D; which leads one to wonder how misunderstood the wicked witch of the west must have been? I hear there's a book out called "Wicked" that covers this angle...)

I watch people as they round the bend and see me waving my arms. Some move over and slow down, craning their necks out to see if perhaps, with an X-ray vision they don't possess, they could discern the happenings under the broken-down car. Some give me a dirty look for interrupting what I suppose they thought was thus far an uneventful Sunday morning drive. At one point, one car was in the process of passing another and they both had to slam on the brakes. I made eye-contact with both drivers, conveying disappointment and contempt to the now-snail-paced drivers for such reckless abandon on such a windy section of road.

But between the interruptions, the mountain "highway" was actually quite serene. A small creek babbled about 30 feet below and a slight breeze waved the birches and oaks about in a silent orchestra. It was a good day for man to be silent and soak in the bird songs, the squirrel chatter, the new buds...

"Jay! Let's go!" I walk back up to the pick-up, which Dad has run a chain from to the underneath of Mike's car.

We start off going 2 mph. Things seem fine (as fine as things can be towing a Mustang by chain as various pieces clang against the asphalt underneath). Mike is in the car, trying to keep the 12 inches of delicate space between the two vehicles from disappearing as he keep his eyes firmly glued to Dad's tail lights. Traveling more than two miles at 2 to 5 mph is a very, very slow way to start a Sunday, so my eyes wandered over the discards of the many hundreds of thousands of drivers who have passed this way. A blue kickball. A beer can if there were two hundred of them. Some shiny purple panties. A boot (just one) and some tires that I'm sure had seen better days serving man on his endless treks to and fro across the earth. The babbling stream no longer sounds as happily bubbly when one surveys what man has left for the stream to content with. I think of the muffler and beer cans sitting under my Japanese cherry tree at home, wondering when I'll find the time to rid man's dirtier influences from my own domain.

My domain. Native Americans didn't believe in man owning the land, which is why they thought they were making a good deal in trading acres of land for beads and rugs. After all, how could white man "own the land"? Talk about miscommunication! But I own almost an acre, and while it doesn't look like much to most (mostly as I don't make the kind of money I wish I could to transform it into the paradise I know it could be...), it is mine. I pay the taxes, mow the lawn, weed the flower beds... It is my home.

But seeing how we discard our waste onto what we consider "someone else's," I wonder what possesses a person to, say, throw a pair of purple panties carelessly out of a car window. Why did one boot land on the edge of Rt 115? Did someone just leave Wal-Mart, realize they were physically disabled only after leaving the store, and throw out the one they didn't need? (It's only a silly thought if you think of how silly it is to throw something out of a moving window to begin with...) Why do we litter, and leave things lying around?

You can ask anyone who knows me--my car is a roving garbage can. I don't carelessly toss various objects into the wind--what's the purpose? How many trash cans do you people drive by in a day? How about when you get home? Are you telling me you don't own a garbage can to leave your litter in?

Regardless, I realize I'm not going to change the world. People will just keep spewing garbage from their vehicles so that it can turn into someone else's problem... I just wish I understood the mindset... And I wish I didn't have to keep picking it up out of my yard, let alone an unnoticed mountain stream more than 30 feet from anyone's line of sight...

But enough of my digression, I suppose. It still managed to be an overall productive day. Mike worked on his car (with limited success) while Dad and I (Okay, mostly Dad...) hoisted and nailed rafters so that Mom could enjoy her soon-to-be screened-in porch. It's finally starting to look like we're getting somewhere on this project that seems never-ending, and that makes me glad. (No offense, Mom and Dad... :D)
One interesting tidbit of discussion was had when, and I'm not sure how it exactly came up, but I asked Dad in effect, "So what were you taught in school? Creationism?"

Dad replied, "Well, we were taught mostly Creationism, as back then evolution was still a theory. Somewhere along the way someone decided it was a 'fact.' "

I replied, "Scientific theories are based on facts."

He shook his head in bewilderment at his heathen son. We dropped the subject. Sigh. Fundamentalists. You gotta love 'em. :D

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