Thomas Wictor has a cool memorial to the father he never knew.
“Although I knew of my father for fifty years, I didn’t know him at all. He will always remain a mystery to me, which is what he wanted.”
Mine too, apparently. Pop (which I never called him but seems appropriate now) was an enigma to me for at least 44 years . For a dozen or so of those years he told me he had joined the Army Air Corps to learn to fly.
I found out reading his Air Force flight records that he knew how to fly BEFORE he joined the military. Flew a light, single engine plane made by Aeronca from a little airport near the town where he was born in Mississippi.
Seems strange Pop would lie about something so simple. But Pop lied a lot. His last lie was to assure me that I had to come to his second wedding (after mother had died) because I would be his best man. When I got there and asked him what a best man was supposed to do, Pop said flatly “There will be no best man.”
Turned out he just wanted me to put in an appearance so it wouldn’t look to his colleagues and friends like his children had bailed on him. In the end only one of the three did.
Wictor’s father-he-never-knew left him a ton of money “that allows me complete freedom for the rest of my life.” Pop didn’t. He left me an old serving platter allegedly belonging to my ggggrandfather. Who’s to say if it’s true.
Not me. I knew Pop that well, anyhow.
Unlike hybrid tea roses, which stand erect in a line like soldiers at inspection, antique roses are bushy. Even the climbers are pretty bushy. And when you prune them, as I did our three Chinas this afternoon, you don’t have to be finicky.
Lopping off a third of the bush is the rule. Now we’ll sit back and expect our antique rose bushes to start blooming like crazy in March. Earlier if we’re lucky. And continue, at intervals, the rest of the year. I’m tempted, however, to dig up Louis Phillipe whose red blooms have always been too sparse to satisfy me and replace it with the Bourbon antique Souvenir de la Malmaison.
Had a Souvenir back in ’07, I see in my archives, whose pictures unfortunately did not make the forced transition from Yahoo to WordPress in 2013. But in ’09 the neighbor on the other side of the fence laid down a bunch of herbicide to kill something and it leeched through the soil and wiped out Souvenir. Then a replacement got run over by the landscaper’s mower and finally the neighborhood deer (courtesy of the city council which refuses to do anything about them) got in the backyard and ate it down to nothing. They think roses are candy. The deer, not the politicians.
Karma, you say? It was, after all, to commemorate my Mississippi great, great grandmother who mentions her’s in her pocket diary of the 1850s. She was a slave owner. Well, we all have our faults. So I’m going to try again. Maybe.
At the very least, I could follow the lead of Austin gardener Pam Penick and erect a bottle tree. Since bottle trees supposedly were invented by Southern slaves, maybe there’d be some redemption there. Maybe even enough to spare a new rancho edition of Souvenir de la Malmaison from assorted catastrophes. Eh?
What I personally know of roughnecking wouldn’t fill a thimble. J.D., however, says as a kid he slept in the Doghouse while his father and other male relatives roughnecked the oil rigs. He pointed me to this good article in, of all places, National Review. Worth a look.
Reminded me of my dear grandfather who managed the oil trucks for the old Magnolia back in the ’30s, around Laredo, Alice and Freer. He cowboyed for a while near San Angelo but he was never a roughneck. I always understood that he admired some of them, though.
Via Mouth of the Brazos.
Sort of a belated Father’s Day tribute. Edward P. & Mary Lenora Stanley in a copy of a tintype photo taken about 1870. He was a circuit-riding Methodist minister and farmer who’d lost a leg in the May, 1864, Battle of the Wilderness as a private in the Minutemen of Attala, a company in the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment—the founding regiment of the famous Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade.
Try this English vocabulary and pronunciation survey and see if it doesn’t place you accurately in a specific region of the country: It put me in the Deep South, specifically Alabama, with a bit of Georgia thrown in.
I would have thought my military upbringing would have Midwesternized me more, but I guess not. With parents from Mississippi and Texas, I suppose it was inevitable I wouldn’t talk like people in the Midwest.
Of course if English is your second or even third language, like Mr. Goon, the placement won’t be accurate except to show you which region’s patois you have ingested.
Via Mouth of the Brazos.
Many years ago, grasshopper, I drove winding U.S. Route 129, near Deals Gap, North Carolina, entirely by chance. I just happened to have included it on my route for visiting a cousin I hadn’t seen in a decade or so.
Fortunately I didn’t have an accident in the rental car, which I recall was a “floaty” land-yacht of a Buick sedan. I didn’t know I was in for 318 blind curves in 11 miles. I’d driven a series of hairpin turns on mountain roads before, in West Virginia, for instance, but this was really excessive.
Maybe motorcyclers didn’t ride it then, because I don’t recall meeting any.
But they do it now, in droves, and some of them wind up on the Tree of Shame.