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Monday, Aug. 14, 2006
Batten beat me to it but I’ll have to echo her words today. It was indeed an interesting weekend. Oh Lord, words fail me how interesting it was.

***

I spent most of the day Friday setting up the weekend activities at the current jobsite.

Meaning, lining up the kiddies to come in and work. So that I wouldn’t have to. Rank and age having a certain percentage of privilege, I tend to lean rather strongly toward delegation of tasks. ‘Specially when I’m the kahoona, the Chief Water Buffalo of this particular lodge meeting. And y’all know, weekends are sacred to me.

So I was specific. Direct. “You two need to get this here item done, dead nuts by Saturday afternoon” (dead nuts having a very dead nuts finality about it). “There is no Sunday, and I don’t even want to think about having to do this on Monday because it will be too late by then. Best thing to do would be to do it today, on Friday. Then you’ll have a weekend off to do whatever, yes?”

Well, no.

Turns out the deadbeat kids didn’t show up on the job until 4 pm on Sunday, by which time I headily involved in other activities, the jobsite was locked up tighter than Dick's hatband, they broke into the jobsite and set off the burglar alarm which summoned police and . . . things went steadily downhill.

***

Ally and I snuck in eggs and about one muslim’s worth of bacon at the Breakfast Spot come Saturday morning and drove south to monitor progress on the Swamp House(which was a bust, cause pushing dirt around is slow progress in my book, but there’s time and we’re just eager is all). She drove so that I could coach her on the art and science of Proper Driving on Country Roads.

She flunked. I had only an Allman Brothers Best Of to console me. And an arm out the window, tapping a tattoo on the passenger door.

***

Saturday around 3ish, and blissfully into a third longneck at the Hole, I spun the stool to shake hands with one-half of a really good carpenter team, a pair much like Stu and I once were. “Harry, just get in? How the hell are ye? Where’s that fat partner of yours, out getting hammered I bet, bwahahaha . . . “

“I wish to hell he was, bro’.”

I blinked, because Harry was holding the handshake far too long for ordinary Saturday howdy’s. “What . . .”

“He died Thursday night, massive heart attack, 48 years old, Jesus forgive me Outfoxed but fuck, man“, and Harry was coming to tears, and I took in the clothes unchanged for two days and the stare of one who has looked right at the end of days.

“Oh Harry . . . Oh God no, man.” And things went steadily downhill. Again.

There are precious few carpenters left, and the reaper just took one my age. I just let him buy me beers Wedsnesday night, and he was talking business with me, loaded with work. “We need ye come the fall Outfoxed, got too much, put you back in the hunt, brother.”

Or not, Big Mike. Soothing isn’t a way you lived, or died.

I can’t even come up with anything to say for you, and it hurts, but you lived a bit too close to what I do, and how I go. But goddam, I miss what you are already.

And I went face first into a vat of beer after that. I held my grandson sometime that night, I stood out in the open little garage at my rental house and stared out into the driveway, I did just about anything but think about what Mike said to me on Wednesday. Or how Harry bought a Budweiser and just set it on the bar, untouched. For him.

***

I was oblivious on Sunday at 2 pm or so, but the cell phone wasn’t. It isn’t everyday that a Maryland number blips up on the old phone.

“We’re just about to get off the highway and we’ll be at the Watering Hole in a few minutes. Coming up?”

“But . . . I thought you were coming last weekend, darlin’?”

Nope. Pretty obvious they were coming right now. Those sailors on wheels, those dashing about East Coasters and Down the Bay-ers.

Meeting people who you’ve had many, many shared moments across many long wordy, and sometimes heartfelt exchanges is ever strangeness for me. It’s even stranger when they go out of their way to come down here to Swampville.

I’d never met either of ‘em. But Batt and Eastportgirl were, are, and likely will always be the cruisers of the world. They cruise the tide of friends and water and taste both and find it good. There is calm, and there is conflict and they can maneuver. Steer and tack.

I kinda like people like that.

Isn’t often that I’m summoned to come to the Watering Hole by two cute young chickitas, either. I could go on . . .

And of course we gossiped long and hard about all you other sporty joe’s We called, on my insistance, the Bawl’mor queen. Batt hesitated, she did, but I made her do it. So I suppose finding that coffee, COFFEE for the love of all that is holy is the drink of choice when one finds oneself on the waterfront in Bawl’mor on any given Sunday.

Shame. Shame with a Sully chaser, I say.

I had to get off the phone, I was babbling and calling the barmaid for a round.

Thanks, Jenn and H. Y’all rock. And drink adult beverages, for that matter.

***

Bye and bye girl, we’ll get over
Things we’ve done and the things we’ve said
Not just now girl, but I can’t remember
Exactly what it was we thought we had

This has nothing to do with nothing, except that Walter sings it beautifully, and tomorrow is Steely Dan at the Ampitheater.

And I’ll be dropped into an inferno if I miss it. Me and the Middlest One.

I’m about ready for this interesting weekend to become a Tuesday night.

And Carolyn Leonhart. The Babe Choir.

You knew this was an eclectic diary when you signed up for it, right?

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