Archive for April, 2007

whats next…?

April 30, 2007

ice on pond

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

It has been a bit off kelter the last two weeks and I believe its getting to me-I’m tired.
This whole position I found myself in as the doing my old friend Grier a final favor(if you consider I gave him a ride to his death bed a favor) turned out to be among those rewarding gifts we recieve in some mystical way-however I’ve managed more trips into the city this past two weeks than I have in a long time-I am always there once a week but with Grier in the hospital and then things afterward-well,theres been journeys!
I have also found myself a bit off the track regarding my hopes to draw attention to the need for change in Veterans Rights in Sexual Assault crimes. I expect things will be calming down and I can get back into it.
Yesterday I took four pieces of my art to the Survivors Art exhibit at the University of Florida and this morning I am off to the campus to put up some posters beckoning visitors to come see the exhibit-for some reason I cannot call it an art show…and exhibit sounds so firm,but I think its in respect to the nature of the source of the art work-our injured interiors are expressed in paints and colors.
I want to get back in bed-make the chiuaua’s give me some room and lay down and crash but the gallery opens today and I cant wait to see how everything looks.
Last year it was my first experience having my art work hung in a gallery and the night of the reception I mustered up the nerve to go-and alone,however I had been visiting the gallery everyday since the exhibit opened and became more and more comfortable with my surroundngs-I even located a sofa in the lobby that I could sit in and observe the patrons as they passed our various works and was able to see the responses of peoples faces as they saw my art. I dont think I have ever felt so high.
I remember as I went in the gallery the first morning of the exhibit last year…it was so quiet and there was no body there and it felt serene and yet it almost seemed as if I was visiting a friend who had passed and was in repose in this great room,and not in a sad way…but in a reverent way- exactly as if the paintings were our way of taking the poison of what happened to us and was purged onto these canvesses…and the results are wonderfully good,and somewhat like putting this thing that took our souls and bent them around back under our control again.
So all of this is being said in saying excuse me for being temporary out of order-although I have NOT been lazy at all…after all,I live with two chiuaua’s and if you dont think thats a job…these little masters keep me the slave ultra busy-they have so much they need me to do and I do it,it is nuts!

about face…

April 27, 2007

about face…

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

This is going to be difficult to try to explain-mental illness is hard enough to understand more less try to explain it….so give me a break as I try!
The recording artists ‘The Moody Blues’ sang “…is’nt life strange” and as they sung the word strange the echo effect came into place. Thety probrebly did’nt really realize that effect and how it comes out to some-I think they just did it as show….theres no way I reproduce it here,so just do it yourself and say ‘isnt life strange’ and as you say ‘strange’ just echo the word.
How else I’m going to explain whats in my head today is not going to be as easy as that.
But I ask a question…is it the life thats strange or the people we run across in and out of life that makes it strange? My hermit values are beginning to look more appealing all the time.
I had no idea a few weeks ago now that I would be undressing my friend Grier….but yet,there I am in the VA hospital pulling this guys clothes off and helping him into one of those gowns.
The whole-incredible to me….never dreamed in my wildest moments that event would take place. It has some kind of significance that way…a curious way that I’m not sure I fully grasp it what it means (I’m sure many call it karma) but I know one thing-I’m looking for a lesson in everything that happens.
Like Rose…or Theresa,or Bertha or Mary Beth…or what ever her name really is. Why was a guy like me doing my own thing a thousand miles away from home ( almost always) and then ‘boom’…the whole life on the road is over and the weeks and months to follow become a surealistic nightmare of events….this woman befriends me-treats me nice,and then turns out to be a criminal-a murderer…and its come to my place in her life to point the finger and say there she is.
And I still feel guilty about it…and she killed a guy-point blank,cold blood. And I feel guilt.
But yet….the lessons and they did to me and for me and how my life adjusted in some ways because of this incident that clearly had to be orchastrated by something more powerful than any man has ever been.
Grier…he was my friend,but there was so much about him that you just wanted to stop answering the phone because of not wanting to get involved in one of his projects because he lost his patience and his temper too quickly and really mad an ass sometimes when being one was’nt so needed . But yet-I swear…as hard as I’d fight it I’d end up up being involved and he always so generous. I never thought this mans death was going to be such a draw on me….but yet I didnt see any of his other friends coming in to check on him or shove me out of the way to pull off his pants and help him into a gown-but by God they’ve casting lots about whats left behind…some beginning before anything was left behind.
I saw this once before. A family near here it is surmised they were washed out into the Gulf-a father and a mother and a toddeler,lost at sea. It took about a week to figure out they were missing but soon enough the auto abandoned in a parking lot drew attention and then it became clear these three were gone. One of the neighbors-since this is so rural many of us have called one another friends….one of the friends moved right into this families home and cleared out thier possesions and moved his in and so he lived there for sevreral years rent free-indeed,they are gone….but my gosh-wait more than a week.I saw that same fellow in the VA,he works there as a mortuary tech (he cleans the death rooms) and he made a joke right there in the hall about our friend Grier-a sick joke,one that made me want to punch him. But-to punch a VA employee would get me into thousands of tons of trouble…but him I wanted to lunge into him and ask why he cannot remember how many times HE had mooched from Grier.
I know this is most likely boring you to tears and it should because its more less me trying to say this out of my body to try to purge the way I feel. I’m going to Griers funeral today and it will be interesting to see of the gathering who of his ‘friends’ might be there.
I believe Grier had some real friends-but there are many who let him down…he told me of them often while he was alive.
But the point I suppose I am trying to make is that this man had impact on me-one I really didnt know existed,and now I find myself wanting to defend his voice….but its really silent because he is dead.
Its like some wierd redemption. My own father is ill-cancer,and it is him that I’d want nurture and be there for and know thats not going to happen….so far,and who knows…but yet heres this man that I end up having to pick up and carry from the parking lot whose lifes end gives such a lesson as it gave me such a unique sight into how his life branched into a son-a son he had not seen since the boy was two,and that was 35 some years ago. And now through Griers death this young man finds an extentsion to his self-a family only known about and now they become real to him. And Rose-thirty seven or more years ago she murders a man,a complete stranger-and leaves a two year old child with out a father. And escapes from prison four times-the last for twenty years and we meet and our lives entwine for a season until all of these things come out. And through that -a murder of a man completely unknown to me and yet I become involved in a part of this….the ending result my own son meets his wife and now there are children-the oldest two. How strange. If it had not been for that meeting-my meeting of this convict…there would have not been a branch like the one that exists today.
I make an About Face everytime-once I’m sure the path is going in one direction it somehow takes a twist….gladly its twists take turns and go down passages and into other paths and I’m able to see what some of this might mean.

Goodbye my Friend…

April 21, 2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Grier passed away yesterday peacefully in his sleep-April 20,2007.
He was truely a very fine man to have known who taught me many things about myself and many of those I am only just becoming aware of.
I am thankful to have had Grier Carver as my friend-I told him many times that God had once again used him as a vessel in my life…he always smiled about that-it was so true-Grier,I’m going to miss you my old friend.
….one day I took Grier to see my own grave in the Micanopy cemetery. On my tombstone is a verse from Isaiah that says ‘they shall mount up with wings as eagles and renew thier strength’.
Grier thought things like that were cool and he had such an intelligence that he could comment so perfectly about anything at all.
We left my cemetery and on the way there is an old cemetery back down a dirt road and we decided to go back in there and as we turned the corner there was dead deer and on it were three huge eagles-just above it was the branches of an live oak tree and the three eagles flee up to the branch which was right above the view of the windshield and we sat there in awe looking at these majestic birds so close we could see them breath. I looked over at Grier and said “they shall mount up with wings as eagles and renew thier strength and youth shall walk and men shall utterly run”…and Grier looked at me and said “Herron…for once I’m with out words”!
Good bye my buddy-next weeks pay day….and breakfast at the Drfitwood,it wont be the same with out my old friend.

Grier and the gift!

April 19, 2007


Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

The events of yesterday were arranged by a power higher than I-none other could have put such an event together as the one I was blessed to witness.
I wrote several days ago about this man-how I had met him on a beer run way back in the 1970’s during the highlite of the hippie days and now these years later we resume a friendship and after the events that led to his driving license being taken away I became his driver from time to time. I can tell you it was not always the greatest of tasks to drive him places…I never knew it would be me that would drive him to his final destination.
Grier has cancer and it had never been attended to and Grier is loosing his life. As a matter of fact-he may have already passed because the doctor was saying it would be soon. He handed out a booklet as to what to watch for,one to me-and to his son.
I left Grier and his son and Griers brother at the nursing care center at the VA yesterday thinking about what I had just seen. I no idea how this was effecting me-I really had no idea how Grier had made a place in my heart and how much of a friend he had really become.
I got to admit-I stopped by the store yesterday and bought myself a six pack of dark beer and got home and sat in the Cadillac and listened to old time country hillbilly on the stereo and sipped beer and thought about this guy and his son and his brother and what I had witnessed earlier…and I started to weep,and weep-and when I thought it was over,I wept some more.
Grier gave me a gift yesterday-one that will last forever…the phenomenon that I saw.
I saw a son sitting next to a father that he had not seen since he was a two year old lad. I saw a father on his his death bed and I reasonably believed he knew his son was there. And the uncle…Griers brother-meeting his nephew for the first time….a 37 year old man now. And it just seemed so beautiful to me in such an incredible way….
Grier has helped me quite a lot these past 9 years…given me odd jobs to help make ends meet-he was good hearted like that with some instinct to know when ones personal funds were tight he’d call and there’d be an offer of some wierd little task he had had to take care of and he’d offer a few dollars to help him achieve his need…it was his goodness and until yesterday I did not really see the strength and value in the friend this was until I saw the phenomenal scene of his son and his brother coming together to meet for the first time. I took an opportunity to excuse myself and I went out for a long drive to vent my thoughts and came home and parked the car and sat here sweetly getting myself softer by the effects of a few beers and stronger by the recolection of things that became clear to me as to how powerful God is to put a person into your life that gives an incredible meaning to you-such as Grier as he was’nt the easiest guy to know…he had moments that could clearly put me off on the guy and I’d drive away silently swearing that he’d seen me the last time ever and yet there was this old southern charm the had to pull you right back into being his friend.
I find all this interesting in a contrast to my own family and the relationship that I have-or have not with them,in particular my own brother Franks who on his death bed said I was a disappointment to the entire family-words from a man who never took the timwe to know me,yet he judged me in that manner and I’ve never forgotten it…and I see this man Grier and the scene before me of a son seeing his father the first time in most of his life and has no last words….except I was able to tell him his dad had just tried to send a birthday card and it was sent back no forwarding address….but it meant so much to Grier to mail that card. His son was delighted to learn that,most likely better than last words.
My own father is ill. His condition I’m not sure…Ive stepped away from that because my other brother needs to take those reigns,my dad felt more for him than he does me. And yesterday I see this scene and see things that were teaching me about my own life and family and about love because I saw yesterday that after all the complaint I love this old friend and he is going to be so missed.
It is moments like this that make me certain there is a God because of how precise the moments are woven together to give us a lesson.
I am thankful to be given the lesson this has been to me.

about an old friend

April 16, 2007

campfire shirt

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Just the other day I wrote about this old pal of mine and told you how he managed to travel to Europe with a pair of shoes sealed shut with duct tape and bath chaulking-flying there amidst all the terror concerns and check points,and this wild looking chap goes all around the world looking penniless and yet he manages the whole tour rather well….he is not penniless but rather well off.
Being honest-somehow I managed to get the position to drive my friend-his name is Grier….the state patrol came and took his drivers licenses and tags from his vehicles as he is never to drive again,too much alcohol and too many near misses. The decision to take the license was agreeable to him-he even gave praise that he never killed anybody,that alone is a miracle.
I never much liked being his driver because Grier is a full fledged curmudgion and works his position in honor in unexpected times and locations and with whom will always be a mystery until the occasion arises but believe me I think he is always looking for that open window to berate some poor soul about thier food stamps being a drain on his economy and a proof of laziness or to cuss out some other driver for thier inability to drive when the poor fool himself is the worlds lousy driver which is why the state took his driving privledges away. But I have to be honest-Grier would pay me a hundred bucks to take him to the big Wal Mart in a town about thirty miles from here so he could shop and stock up,as he called it-we all live deep into rural areas….nothing is near. There was never a time where the man was not generous-he always liked flashing his cash and it always contrasted his appearence for as I said the other day-whew….this guy dwells in the days of wagon trains where baths were in order but unable to find due to nno water-yet,he has plenty. Its just him.
It would take me 463 days to try to write a full intro on my pal Grier-the dude is very different that many I’ve known-perhaps one of the most intelligent men but yet his looks would decieve it…he’s a true example of ‘judgeing the book by his cover’,people see him and just assume with out learning. He grew up in an ultra wealthy family and had good private schooling-his high school in a military acadamy in Alabama….his grandfather a judge,his dad an attorney for a major grocery chain-his great grandfather has a state prison named after him. And theres much and much where one could go in writing down the tales and escapades of this guy-but the other day I had to take him to the VA hospital and this is what I want to say about him-
He’s an alcoholic-he’d proudly swear to it saying theres no hiding it…and there was a Grier that was easy to get along with and then the drunk that was loud and obnoxious and outspoken-and mainly a royal ass hole. But there was a sweetness to him too-just funny how that is.
So after several yearsof a straight brewed beer diet his body has finally come to reject it….so I drove him in to the VA. He could hardly walk-and was mumbleing and incoherant amd filthy on top of that….and there in the lobby other men made comments-pathetic comments and sad because the judged him with out knowing he probrebly had more cash in his bank account then they-and as I said,old Grier snaps to in any intelligent conversation-drunk or not.
I don’t think Griers going to come home.
Now-I’m not telling you this is a great man…not at all. He was a rowdy drunkard who made it known so. But he has this charm that once you see it-see through the curmudgion….that he is a good man. Theres not one of his friends thats has come to him with a tale of woe and a palm of need extended that Grier ever said no to. Some of us into him for thousands of dollars-one of the men commited suicide for other stupid reasons…oweing Grier up to 50k. But there are those of us alive that owe him money…I owe him once in a while too,he’s always been generous with help when it comes to cash. I know of several of our clan of friends that still owe him….and there he is-laying in the VA hospital for three days now. I went there yesterday and one of the nurses asked if I was part of his family? I told her just a pal…..she gave me this look saying she just thought I was family-I had been the only one to visit.
The old boy looks pathetic and sad laying there. Being honest-I dont even know if he knows what happening-or if he’s just really out of it…but in this contrast oof seeing the guy I once felt concerned about going places in public with and now seeing his little frame all tucked in a bed-alone,well….its sad because all of us came from a group of hippies formed together in a ‘family’ type scenerio way back in the 70’s….peace and love one another-make love not war and freedom and hugging everybody and all of that which just seemed got set off by the wayside because old Grier is a small evidence of that…..he held out cash to those whole asked for it-shared what he had with out comment and those he did that for havent even the time to look in and say ‘okay’?

survivors art exhibit

April 14, 2007

survivors art hand-bill

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Last year my therapist introduced me to a hand-bill such as the one in the cover photo used today.
I have done several things in my life that I consider successful-leading my community to get our two mile stretch of road paved perhaps the most known,but in my mind the most special moment of any of my achievments was to be a part of this art exhibit.
There was one other time-but yet it was’nt even as thrilling as it to see several hundred people file by art that was created from my mind and imagination….I had scaffolded a suspension bridge in a state forest near here and the scaffold design (due to the difficulty hanging scaffold off of a bridge) was adapted by the Department of Interior to scaffold several bridges in National Forests across the country…the bridges(some 200 across the US) were all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s by teenagers enlisted by the CCC and the timbers supporting the footwalk were all in need of repair.
I did not know this until I went a scaffolding engineering seminar at Purdue-Calumet University where an engineer teaching one of the courses,a designer from New Zealand,who happened across one of the bridge projects and adapted my design for a bridge in New Zealand. These are all suspension bridges providing walking access across rivers and gorges and very unique to add scaffolding to.

The Survivors Art Exhibit last year became the runner up to that acknowledgement and passed it by a long nose because of why it is an annual event and the prestige of the gallery it takes place in…the J.Wayne Rietz Union at the center of the University of Florida campus,and I can actually see the reactions of the vistors faces as the come across one work after the other.
One cannot really understand the thrill it is to have a piece of created by ones self to be seen and commented on-even complimented,because of all the hours you spent seeing come together in your own mind and the thoughts that arise as you work-the thoughts that make the work come to life…and the same thoughts your mind ponders what others might see and think,if they feel the same emotions as yourself when you paint.
This is especially true for my paintings and drawings because they are’nt pretty pictures of meadows and sunsets but pictures of survivors heart.
I was touched-very touched by the works of the other artists and I was given an honor shared with several other artists to have our paintings shown in the same exhibit as a nazi concentration camp survivor-a woman sent there alone- as a little girl…imagine the fear in that childs mind.
This exhibit became important to me in several ways. Because of my past-because of my life and how things went in my air space and as Ive told in these writings all along,I did not get to finish school and never went through that experience of being a part of a home room project or those kinds of extra things students did to make the extra points…I am only guessing,but the events I can remember wanting to be a part of and could not-so to be given a chance to have something I created and there is none other like anywhere else in the world shown in public like that in such a building on a university campus,and me never even graduating from a school. The honor of that was powerful to me because of the subject of the exhibit and why it is place-what is recognizes and how it serves other survivors like myself,its gives us something so huge I dont even know how to explain the emotion I have about it-but I am thankful for it and excited…its almost two weeks away.
If you are a survivor of a violent crime there is perhaps an opportunity to be involved in your area to show your art in a like exhibit… would be where I would go on the internet to find more about this.

Our exhibit is sponsered by The Sexual Battery Committee of The Gainesville Commision on the Status of Woman,Inc. and is co-sponsered by the University of Florida Counseling Center,all in Gainesville Florida.
I hope you will be interested in supporting survivors by coming and appreciating the talent and how it is used.

inner space….

April 11, 2007

dirigable hanger

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

The building in this photgraph is a dirigable hanger. The look of it is deceptive even with the semi-tractor parked in the foreground to try to give it comparison but the size of the place makes it impossible to share that within the walls of this structure the vast size of it allows it to produce its own atmosphere being foggy inside in the mornings and cloudy sometimes in the afternoon,I was told it could even sprinkle inside -it also houses hundreds and hundreds of feral cats.

I was sent to New Jersey to pick up and relocate a support trailer for one of the famous ‘blimps’….the one from Sea World-the trailer enclosed the gondola that the pilots maintain an office in when up above a football game some where. This blimp had just completed a flight over the Olympics in Atlanta-but the reality of how much work and time involved in setting one of these things up and later takeing apart boggles the mind.
The trailer that carried the gondola had been sitting for so long the brakes had sealed up and a mechanic had to come to the Navy Base where we were to do a complete brake over haul on the trailer-so I had to wait around for that to get done….its never the easy load your dispatcher tells you it is….oh,its a simple hook up and you’ll be on the road in minutes.
No-stuck on a Navy Base way out in the middle of no where in New Jersey-did you knoe New Jersey had a middle of no where? No place to eat breakfast…or lunch and dinner,thats the way works in trucking!

So while the guy did the brakes I spent the first part of the morning exploring the hanger. The place was so huge you could throw a party in one section and nobody would even know if they working on the other end. I actually experimented with the truck when the load was ready-I got it up to 45mph by the time I reached the center of the building.
So I begin climbing all of these miles of stairways walking all over the place-pidgeons were all in the roof support beams and all around on the ground were carcasses of dead birds and feathers and frames of rotted pidgeons….and everytime I turned a corner to look into where hallway would go the scampering of cats-hundreds of them became a steady thing.
Me being a knucklehead went back down to the ground floor and located a sailor and said something about the cats-and he looked at me with a look saying….what are ya gonna do? Here I was worrying about the critters but this sailor said they had no rats!
This hanger is in Elizabeth City North Carolina and I was in Lakehurst where the Hindlinburg exploded. This place had several hangers-and there was one that was even three times the size of this one…it was off limits and very well protected.
I hauled a NASA load one time to the southern tip of Texas bringing it down from Kent Washington-a Boeing load I recall. So the route that made the best sense went around from El Paso and head south into the Big Bend section of Texas. Now thats open country there-the ride is wonderful because of the views into the canyons and across the terrain.
As Im driving along I begin to see this shining dot in the distance. You would see it-then it was gone,but the more I drove the larger the dot became…and shinier. It was’nt lack of sleep and a hallucination…but it was strange and became eire to me as it was in the distance and would be hiding from site behind a mountain sized ledge and then when the view changed and things became more visable there it was again. I’d say this went on for about an hour.
All of a sudden there it was.
At first I thought it was a space shuttle-the thing was that big.
It was a tethered dirigable that was used as a weather eye in the sky and was sent up and brought back down on a cable-and along the highway were several spots where tourist could pull off and snap photos of this thing….but there no getting a closer look ( as if you needed one-by that time you were sick of seeing it and trying to figure out what it was) .
I have to be honest-the first time I ever saw it I was actually getting scared thinking I was seeing a space ship and going further into the nut zone than I had ever been.

I know this guy…

April 6, 2007

zim radner

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Before I begin this-the man in this photo is not the man I am going to tell you about. I mean no disrespect to this great man-but if he walked into an airport looking like that today,well….?
I know this guy. This is kind of an odd story so hang in there.
Back in the hippie days there was a hippie farm right near here. The lady that owned it had bucks and back then in the 1970’s it was easy for one to find her with a pick up truck load of guys heading for a beer store to get rolling papers and several cases of beer and ice-all from the pocket of the gal that owned the farm.
I think one time I rode on a beer run and sitting there in the back of the pick up truck was this guy….I say I think because thats as good a guess as any.
Thirty years later this dude shows up at the farm right on the tail of 1999 and still thinking the hippie movement was going on as usual at the farm-and looked just like this man in the picture…even still-in 2007.
Now this old fella doesnt even seem to notice that the hippies have all grown up and found wives and became job oriented and saw the light that an old man with long hair looks out right stupid with the gut hanging out and asses as wide as Kansas and still trying to look like a rock star.
So this fella shows up and he brings with him an inheritance.
Somehow he remembers me from way back when doing one of those beer runs-and thats where I guess I might have met him…but yet we know every one of the same people that I have known since the first days I came to live in Florida.
And he treats me very well-in an interesting way…and it appears it must have been a beer run to match all beer runs because my friend certainly thinks it was primary day in our lives and recalls it fondly where I cant remember it at all.
So he’s loaded…and still dresses like Cochise-and bathes as often as they might have back then but to be honest I think they might have been cleaner back then.
You think I’m kidding. You call the only bar in Archer and ask any body-they’ll tell you….and more than I am I suppose.
The state highway patrol found our old pal driving down the interstate with his drivers door being strapped closed with a set of bungee straps. It has gap about ten incehes wide allowing a good view of the pavement racing by below you as you drove. The cop stopped him and he was as drunk as one can manage to get and open beers spilling onto floor. And if that was’nt stupid enough-six days later another cop stops him and drunk as he could be…well,when the judge saw all that he chucked our friend off into jail for a year and took his driving license away for ever and ever with the promise of five years in prison if he ever drives again.
That became my job somehow.
Now this is not easy-we all live a good distance from one another…this is not the suburbs. And our pal cant speak a sentence quietly and with out verbal spice like shit and fuck for every other word allowing twenty uses in each sentence for each word and theres no possible way to get a word in edge wise. And he smells-his hair is always matted and the jeans he wears he wears from brand new to the day they rot.
This guys is well off,no money woes. He came from a silver spoon childhood and this is what it did for him.
He travels the world-it amazes me. He has paid me well for driving him to Miami to catch a plane and off he goes for a month or two to places I could dream about going.
His last trip was to the Netherlands. I drove him to the train in Jacksonville where he went to NYC to catch a flight. This was six months ago. My friend looks just like you see in the photo-even his hair is up in the air like this mans head gear gives appearence. But this day-and this journey hea had on a pair of shoes that were sealed shut with a duct tape patch and he had used some bath chalk to serve as glue.
No you tell me how it was they let him pass through security?
They did-he got to Europe. His shoe blasted in Amsterdam and he had to buy a new pair…but thats about all he got. No one would rent him a room-no matter how much money he flashed,so he spent twelve days sleeping in train stations while traveling across Europe trying to rent a bed and a toilet ( notice I didnt say ‘bath’).
So home he comes curseing all the idiots he appearantly ran across on his journey not even realizing it was his own appearence that shuts doors and that people can actually say several sentences if not speak all day long with out spice in their language.
And the guys got money.

peace in the valley…

April 4, 2007

farm-john campbell school,brasstown NC

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

This picture wouldnt be as nice if I told you that once the fog lifts there in the background stands a mall-or more likely,a WalMart. It wouldnt be so-trust me…the scene is pristene when the sun finally cuts over the mountains in the background ,hidden in the fog. But as crazy as it all is-the likely chance of having the background destroyed by commercial tilt wall box stores-or like the casino out between Shiprock and Cortez. If your going towards Green River you had to pass through Shiprock and through the scene of peoples homes that are not in the standard many people would live in-and right out of town a few miles is the casino. Its very interesting-going through the desert and then getting slammed with the reality of how many others live in poverty and a few miles away no body gives a damned about anything except for winning a bucket full of nickles. Another part of it is the facination of how they built this thing in the middle of the desert-and scenery that just draws you into it like a spirit calling you…and then,thunk-here it is folks,raw indian gambleing.
My closest friend and I ‘collect’ cemeteries. It started with me in some ways-I once operated a tombstone business and put blocks of granite in grave yards all across this section of Florida. And trust me-in Florida some of the graveyards are back in the rough as much as they might be right off the highway and over the years I managed to learn the location of graveyards not too many know about.
Theres actually a name for us…taphophile-which means we are nuts and enjoy grave yards.
My pal has taken a lot further-he is kin to film folk and has access to materials for recording and cameras and the works…and once he filmed an interview in New York at a cemetery-Mt.Mora…which is the first African American graveyard in the country and it is protected by Congress as a historical site.
As the interview was going on-with an old blind black man aged 93 you could see the back drop of a building behind him. He was sitting on a bench in the graveyard and because he knew his position he could point out one grave after another and tell you history that made your eyes water. He had a companion-his guide fellow,a man of 78 and it appeared these were the last two who were ever going to be buried there.
So this old man is telling this story about how the graveyard came to be and told about 200 years of history and it came to the structure which was part of the wall in the back ground-which was a mall…a major super mall.
I am not going to try to explain everything-but some corperation bought all of the land including Mt.Mora and that was in the plan to be shoved underground so the mall could have one more section of parking for the 24 theatre complex when this old man and his 78 year old guide fellow went to the head of the corperation with papers from Congress saying the land belonged to the cemetery and could not be touched.
Like that casino in New Mexico-things took up the view.
To get to the cemetery one has to enter the mall and pass completely through top the center where access is available to go into Mt.Mora. The mall completly surrounds the small graveyard. A valley of peace to some-an eyesore to others.
A town near here has a fast food place which I aint going to get sued over this so-lets call it -Munch a Buncha a Burger-you see all its commercials with people jamming their product into smiling faces…and the town near here has one of those joints and to make a parking lot they bulldozed an old graveyard of old black folks bones and head stones and paved it so we can park and get a burger. How strange. Same town where Billy Graham was baptised in the river.
Sure ruined the view in this photo didnt I?
Trust me. It is a peaceful place with beautiful view. There are only mountains in the background,no Wal Mart.

The girl in the big house…

April 1, 2007

The Herlong House in Micanopy

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Its hard to believe it is almost summer again.
Theres something about the fresh Florida mornings when they come up with the sun how they have this scent and a breeze to push it across your face.
You know how you have those Deja Vu expereinces where you seem to flash back into a moment that seems that you did it already once sometime before….theres something about that scent and breeze that brings me back to my first day in Florida-my first morning in the town of Micanopy.
Theres not much to the place-it is a fast one minute drive from 441 to 441-the old highway makes a quick loop,or so used to be-now a day the place is a small tourist mecca and the sleepy pace of the town I knew in the 1970’s sure has long gone.
The first days I came to be here it was so quiet at night you could hear the millions of green frogs yelling at each other,I guess singing for love….and you could literally walk down the center line of the main street-and sit down even,if you so felt the need-because the place was that quiet. It was a contrast to a young guy from Washington DC.
I didnt know what to expect-I didnt know anybody here…I got here by a fluke-and as luck had it I did learn there was someone that I knew who had a brother who lived in this town….and here I will ever be,well-in spirit at the moment,I live over in Levy County now…but I have a grave in the grave yard in Micanopy.
I had to be voted in to be buried there-like an acceptance committee,and several of them met me there at the cemetery to show me some graves and I asked to lay down on a few to see how I would like the view. That got the old girls laughing and broke the ice and they selected a spot that made me happy-so,one day my old body will always be in Micanopy.
Funny how the south is-they wanted to make sure I would be worthy to be intered with them…the true Florida native,and me-from Washington DC. Hell-been here so long it doesnt matter any more.
In the towns center is this house. The old Herlong House.
My first week in town I was sitting out on a bench set up on the sidewalk-sitting there drinking a beer and sucking in all that green frog music and I see these two guys walking up the street. They looked pissed off and when they approached me I knew they were pissed-the bald headed one grabbed me up and started yelling at me. I started to cry-the other guy sort of believed me-they were looking for someone-but I didnt know anyone,so the bald headed guy punches me in the face and warns me worse will happen if I ever cross his path again.
This was the south…this was 1970.
They lived in this house-the bald guy and his daughter. By some fluke of nature she and I got pregnant-her getting the fullest of the chore-me being the dad. It all happened on the upper left hand porch-there are french doors that opened and the bed was right there.
I didnt the bald guy was her dad-nor did I know he lived in that house. Her mother was dead-or gone somehow,so it was him and her-except I hadnt gotten the connection right yet until it came to the night I was supposed to tell her father I had gotten his daughter in the way of child. This wasnt easy either-I was 19,she was still in high school. And her dad was the bald headed guy that punched me out my first week in town and gave me the warning of doom if I ever crossed his path again….and there I was.
That was summer 37 years ago.
The shotgun wedding took place in the foyer of this house.