I’ve given and graded three of my four finals — the last one is tomorrow, and then the rest is mopping up. So how about a little catching up?
I took Mr. Block to the train station Friday night so he could catch his ride back to NYC, but before we took the Interstate to Real City, we made a midnight stop at our local Waffle House. LB had the pecan pie, but I had skipped dinner, so I had a cheeseburger and hashbrowns with cheese. There wasn’t much business for midnight on a Friday, but a couple of former students of mine were there for a study break, so we said hi to them and settled in by the jukebox.
A few minutes later, a fellow in white-tie evening dress (well, nearly — his coat was in the car) came by to cue up the jukebox. I recognized him, so I said hello, and introduced him to LB as a local minister at the church I used to attend. Which was darned polite of me — except that wasn’t who the fellow was, or is. He’s my dentist, and although I suppose I can make the excuse that I usually only see him out of the corner of my eye while I’m blasted on laughing gas, really it was just one of those synaptic misfires. So Dr. and Mrs. McCartha had been at a dance at the local country club, and had stopped in for coffee and pie. But we chatted a bit, and I updated them on the Spawn’s move to Terpville, and we found out as we left that our bill had been covered. LB thought I had done it, and I thought he had — so it appears that despite my brain cramp, Dr. McCartha had picked up the tab. Thanks, Doc!
From there, we made it to the Amtrak station in plenty of time, and by yesterday evening, Mr. Block was back in his New York groove with his Frequent Companion, the delightful Lynne. We were lucky to have them this semester, and we’re delighted that they’re coming back both to visit in late February, and for the Fall semester in 2020. Don’t be strangers, y’all!
As I noted above, the semester wraps up later this week, with commencement next Saturday. A week after that, the Spawn flies into Charlotte to spend Christmas week with us. Her first semester of grad school is wrapping up as well, and even though we miss her, it’s good to see that she’s happily settled up there.
She and the Main Squeeze hosted a Friendsgiving dinner at her place yesterday, and reports are that everyone had a good time. Meanwhile, Mrs. M and I put the tree and various decorations up yesterday. For the first time in many years, I hung the ornaments by myself, but after I had done that, I took the remaining ornaments and put them aside so that there would be some for the Spawn to hang in a couple of weeks. It just wouldn’t have been right, otherwise.
I got a copy of the conversation between Mr. B, David Rachels, and Your Genial Host a day or two back — I’ll let you know when it’s available for public consumption. And of course, you now can buy your copy of From Sea to Stormy Sea, should the spirit move you. Sometime in the New Year, you’ll be able to place orders for The Darkling Halls of Ivy, which will include my story “Alt-Ac.” Beyond that? We’ll see.
I think that’s all I have at the moment, so I’ll wrap things up for now. When I was a kid in Nashville, I dreaded early evenings on Saturdays, because all the television stations were showing syndicated country music shows. In particular, I dreaded the Porter Wagoner Show, because to pre-teen me, Porter’s Nudie Suits and heartbreak songs were the antithesis of cool, and Speck Rhodes may have been the least funny comedian I had ever seen. I still haven’t developed a taste for Rhodes’s comedic stylings (think Lum and Abner without the sophistication), but as I’ve grown older, “The Man from West Plains” and his mix of songs about love gone wrong, drinking, and violence in Flannery O’Connor’s “Christ-haunted South” hit me in just the right spot from time to time. So here’s Porter, tall, pompadoured, and amphetamine slim, with the title cut (written by Bill Anderson) of one of the greatest, darkest albums of the 1960s.
And that just might be Speck Rhodes miming along on bass, so there you go. See you soon!