Fathers Day

my Father

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I usually dont write at night. I am an early morning kind of person-before daylight,both by habit and fear that somebody will try to call me and the phone will boot me off the web…and I loose everything I write. That hurts.
I had to finally get up on my roof yesterday and try to patch it and keep it from raining in here anymore this season-and I found when I got up there I had to cut a bunch of branches from one tree. They did’nt look so bad up above-but on the ground they turned out to be almost the size of small trees…I know because I had to drag them away from the house to go back up and trim more. I trimmed and then rested and then went back up to patch it-having stacked pieces of tin and roof gunk and trowel and and everything I could think of except something to kneel on,so I patched the place and hope to the head of the storms that this holds this time…all this having to bend over-too hot for my bare knees to kneel.
This morning-when it was supposed to be about 0500 when I usually get up it was around 1030 when my two chiuauas were like going nuts on the bed and the little one was giving my face a bath trying to wake…my body somehow got out of bed and made it to the living room and onto a pad I laid and slept until this afternoon til four!!
I’m not sure which direction the truck that must have hit me went-but my reality was brought back by telephone call from son (the Navy Chief P/O) who is driving down from South Carolina and wanted to meet me in Jacksonville tomorrow to go to a museum…him and his wife and my grandson,a lad a tad over two.

For 37 years I have held a tradition..almost a journey to mecca for me. I go to the Jewish cemetery in Gainesville and sit around for a while and remember my first day in Florida…Fathers Day 1970.
My first reply to my son was that I wouldnt be able to make it-not drive up to Jacksonville….I wanted to go to the graveyard. But the more I sat and thought about it…how it all began and how I got there in the first place was when I went to a going away party for someone up in Washington DC. I think I knew the person-however it was just a ride away from that area that I wanted…I had to escape. I know Ive written in this journal about how I had gotten caught as a ‘participant’ in theft….I had been strong armed by another employee and got nothing of what I had to steal for him. The thought of going to jail for that did not appeal to me….my mind was so fresh of barracks D thats all I could think of when the police officer told me I better have a name for him the next day or he was going to me in jail. The next day I was in that cemetery.
So ,thirty seven years ago – I got into the front seat of 60’s model Ford station wagon and headed for the south….and away!
That was mostly back roads folks-the blue highways,there was hardly an interstate 95 once you got south of Richmond.
So we ended up in Jacksonville the following morning and met this fellows cousins at a bowling alley in the Arlington section of Jacksonville…and the cousins took a look at me and said “he aint going where we are”. They were heading onward to a beach camp their family had near Daytona (I wish Florida was the way it was then-whew we’ve lost that)
So it was decided they’d drop me in Gainesville. My memory has it that they thought I had better chance up here than in Jacksonville because of the University of Florida-I guess during the hippie days of 1970 one could eat real well at a Hari Krisna camp,I never found them until just a few years ago.
So-I was dropped off at the corner of University Avenue and Waldo Road and the only private spot was that cemetery. And there was my homeless home for all of that day.

It is like angels took me to that party 37 years ago-and opened the door to that car….I’m even glad they seprated me from my driver and his clan and led me that graveyard and away from what the future had for me back in DC.
When it got dark a reality got started when the mosquitoes started finding me. They sounded like small Cessna airplanes zooming in and so across the street I went to the pay phone and made a collect call to a man I knew from a church up in DC and if you dont believe the angels had anything to do with this you can go do something else…the man in DC had a brother who lived in a town right near here-Micanopy Florida (mick-can-no-pee) and at ten oclock that night my stint with homelessness ended and I found myself in the company of some the greatest influences ever in my life-the town was taken over by artists and leather craftsmen and glass blowers and the family I lived with was the home of a photographer.
When the sun came up that first Monday morning and I awoke to the smell of frying bacon from a log cabin cafe across the road and the sound of logging trucks idleing in front and the talking of Buster Mountain (the town mechanic) and the sounds of kids playing in the distant part of the building I was in-once an old hotel…and boarding house-a tourist home is the reference I seek.
It was definantly a contrast from where I was 48 hours earlier-Washington District of Columbia to this tiny little town which was then quite a ways from anywhere. The heart of Gainesville was 11 miles north-Ocala around 30. It was still a town living to provide provisions and lives to it townfolk…places to buy breads and meats and house goods and rakes and shovels and damned cold beer-all in one store…and there were three of them! And a garage right in the center of town with a mechanic that was funnier than any Red Skelton I ever saw…one of these days my body will be buried right behind his in the Micanopy cemetery.
The log cabin cafe was built under a huge packing shed-that shed became a movie star…as did the whole town,but the shed had a part-in the movie ‘Doc Hollywood’ (with Micheal J.Fox) and since that time has appeared in two other films-‘Cross Creek’ with Mary Stenbergen (sic-apology) and one of the old grocery stores played a part as a pool hall…did you know buildings could act?
I cant recall the name of the third film-however ,somehow the town went through a change and all the bread and meat and shovels and rakes are now bought in Gainesville-and theres no cold beer anywhere…except out on the highway 441 or out at the interstate. I remember we used to go in Mrs.Weavers store and there was a cooler-a big soda cooler and was filled with beer-ice cold beer. And around that cooler were stools-about a dozen,and on top of the coolers were ash trays and on the floor a can for spittin in. All you had to do was find a stool and sit there and drink your beers and when you got done you carried the emptys to Mr.Weaver and he’d charge you accordingly…no waitress to get drunk over,so every one got along!

Now all you can find there are gourmet sandwiches and antique stores-some one told me the whole town is just about owned by one person…and thees only a few from around there that remember what remember.
So it kind of interests me about meeting my son and his family up in Jacksonville for fathers day…I can still go by the cemetery-its right on the same road out of town towards the big city of J-ville,and I think I will leave early enough to be able to stop and yet make Jacksonville in time enough to cruise about and see if I can’t find that old bolwing alley…most likely its been torn down by now.
I don’t know why it means so much…

One Response to “Fathers Day”

  1. B.J. Says:

    Hey, what did you get M&J for Father’s Day? After all, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be a father! Hahaha. You gotta update your blog, here. Then again, I’m one to talk. I have 4 websites that need updated.
    Anyway, when’s the next weblog input coming? I do read it nearly every day. At ya later.

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