from 27 February 2006
Please Note: Differences in font and font size are problems with translation from Microsoft Word to this excerpt. I did not intend to create a separate style in the first paragraph. In trying to edit the HTML it was so complex, I gave up.
I toss a paper bag from the hardware store down the steps to the basement. There’s a smell of wood smoke. Should I check it out? Too lazy. I close the back door Dawn left open and turn off the outside light. I left Frank McCourt in the bathroom. He sits on top of a J.C. Penny’s catalog, the Farmer's Almanac and Newsweek. I turn another two pages of Teacher Man.
Dead slow is written on a sign at the entrance to the exclusive Duckworth Club. They install speed bumps. Dr. Duwalla- I have changed his name because I can neither remember the word nor spell the same-sits at a table sipping a Kingfisher beer. I sip my coffee thinking about the speed bumps on
I took the weekend off. Instead of a 4:45 wake up, I’m out of bed at first light. If I didn’t have to pee, I’d sleep longer. Taking the weekend off means, I will not work on any project that fits into a definition of work. I will not fill gaps at the roof of the shed with foam insulation. I will not cut fiberglass to seal the drafts around the doors. I will not stack and load firewood. I refuse to begin another table or bench. I put off repair to the redwood table sitting in the barn, which is actually a shed. There’s a fine line of distinction when I begin painting the Japanese letters which I am going to glue onto my wood dividing screen. The screen is work. The letters are fun. I cut grooves into pieces of pine molding and insert a square piece of Luan in each of the three squares. After a few mindless steps, I dribble plaster on a traced outline of the Japanese words, TRUTH, Prosperity and Retreat. The words are in maroon, the frames black. I can’t sell these individually because they take so much time. If I fine-tune the process, I’ll get bored after the first eight hundred. Hobby Lobby sells versions of double happiness for $6.95. I choose words that are so complex I cannot make a simple wood cutout.
Next, I begin constructing a shallow nicho for a painted cross which hangs in our upstairs hallway. I see it when I make the beds. At night, I bump into it on my way to the bathroom. There’s an arc on the wall below the cross from the black paint on the backside. After consulting my design expert, I cut eight-inch wide, weathered Ponderosa Pine boards I carried with us from
The elder Dr. Duwalla is an atheist. He opines against Gandhi. Images of Christ on the cross should be outlawed as barbaric symbols. He thinks all religions are monsters. He hates the French, priests and Catholics. I take an outsiders view of the piece I’m working on. “Happy” the man who lives down the road and works as partner for the organic farmers, looks at me with suspicion. “What’s with all the crosses?” he asks when he and his partner James come to pick up an old antique bathtub I gifted the farmers. The word weird” “bizarre” and “strange” light up his face like a neon signboard. I think of the image of him drinking flaming shots of Absinthe in the kitchen of the farmhouse. He and his partner smuggle the illegal liquor from
Years ago, I asked Dawn to paint a version of the crucifixion on a cross. The wood cross is painted a rust red. The surface is a pastel shade of rust. The image of Christ is fuzzy, ethereal and mystical. The image in my mind is translated onto the cross with perfection. It’s one of three favorites. The second is a carton image of sheep jumping on the horizontal part of an antique white cross. On the reverse side of the cross, I wrote the entire words of a black spiritual, called, “Sheep, Sheep don’t know the road.” The song comes from a CD called the Spiritual Tourist. A man chronicles a journey in song. Each song tells of a mystical experience. The liner notes tell of a wonderful luminous light in the windows of this
Next: Danger lurks in the aisles of Menards.