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Mine Creek Revelations: Running on Rocks

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YES, I AM STILL HERE peeking out of the newspaper’s window on Main Street and I am asking myself if I really did run barefoot on gravel roads during my youth.

I think I did. At least, I brag to anyone who will listen that I recall dashing at full throttle along rocky roads during the summer.

As I recall, about the only time I wore long pants and shoes in the summer was on Sunday morning.

And — I know some of you will express astonishment — not all of Nashville’s city streets were paved at the time. Most of the county roads were also gravel — usually graded and well-maintained, but gravel nonetheless.

My memory is also that I would rather run down a gravel road than tiptoe along a street paved with tar heated to liquid by summer sun.

I got to thinking about walking and running on gravel when I recently tried to walk barefooted the short distance from my back door to the cooker just a few feet away on my patio.

When my wife and I built the house, we decided to be clever and get ‘washed’ concrete for the driveway, carport and patio. This was mostly because the rent place before we built our house had a smooth concrete carport which was slippery from condensation much of the time. We each even slipped and fell a few times.

When I complained about this to our builder he said he’d get the concrete provider to do ‘wash’ concrete which exposed some of the rock and thus gave texture instead of smoothness to the concrete surfaces.

It worked perfectly until the first time I tried to walk barefooted across the surface. It was just like walking on a gravel road.

It made me ask myself if I really did run barefoot on gravel roads during my wasted youth.

I am not smart enough to remember to put on shoes before I go out every time, and several times I have had to creep carefully back to the safety of the doorway.

It’s no small task — walking gingerly on those sharp rocks while balancing a tray of chicken wings  or without spilling an adult libation.

This is a skill no one could get good at. Practice, practice, practice does no good whatsoever. Only tougher feet would help. And maybe a few pounds less.

There are doubtless plenty of younger dads who go out barefoot on the patio to throw chicken wings on the charcoal.

But how many of them EVER had feet tough enough (or a mind dull enough) for running on gravel?

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AND ANOTHER thing I’ve apparently not been paying enough attention to is this: When did having tattoos become a requirement for work at a cash register?

I stopped worrying about the drought for a few moments because I noticed all of the tattoos on the neck, arms and feet of the young lady who was trying to give me change from a purchase.

She had a bunch of tattoos. I mean a bunch.

“Are those real or do they wash off?” I asked her pleasantly.

“Oh, they’re real, Old Man, how’d you like a punch in the nose?”

(She probably skipped ‘Nice Class’ so that she could spend more time at the tattoo parlor.)

I did not want stories about getting beat up by a female store clerk to become the favored gossip of our community, so I shut up and left the store with my correct change.

I don’t have a problem with tattoos. I tried to get one once.

It was when I was in the Navy, but that’s another story and I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.

The problem is that when the fad for tattoos goes away, the tattoos won’t. It’s the art that keeps on giving, and keeps on, keeps on ….

I remember a fine gent from Murfreesboro, the late Mack McCarty. He had tattoos up and down his arms. I asked about them once. He said he got them when he was in the Merchant Marine before World War II.

His tattoos had strands of faded Chinese lettering.

I asked, why Chinese?

He said it was because he got his tattoos in Shanghai, China.

What does it mean in English, I asked.

He looked me directly in the eye.

“I’ll tell you when you’re 21,” he said.

=—-= — =

THE GOOD EARTH. In the summer of 2020 I pronounced my Gingko tree dead. All of the leaves had fallen off. The few remaining limbs snapped off easily. It had lived for a measly year and a half.

Yep, dead. But I left its carcass undisturbed.

Last week I noticed something green and leafy at the base of the tree.

It MIGHT be a Gingko revival.

Might not. Just in case I’ll water it frequently.

=—-= — =

JUST WONDERING. Are women excluded from the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Francisco?

=—-= — =

WORD GAMES. The twins: Head and Shoulders. Easy to see that they’re the best. Or, a brand of dandruff-fighting shampoo.

=—-= — =

HE SAID: “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”St. Basil, theologian

=—-= — =

SHE SAID: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton, novelist

=—-= — =

SWEET DREAMS, Baby

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