Archive for April, 2008


April 30, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


As many of you that use these blog venues know-you can look in a certain file and check as to how someone came to see your personal blog. In one area it shows the ‘search’ ((I guess it is really ‘tags’?) and another area it shows the viewers own (blog) site. I often get a kick out of looking at the ‘search’ items to see how my writings fit in with the oddity of the search…or the usual,which ever is the case.
I always look at the sites.
This past weekend I saw ‘servant4him’ in my blogger views.
I am reluctant to say more-as to how to see the site yourself…I think it would be easy enough to sort out via the Internet.
It isn’t because of the site itself-it is not.
The story that I linked back to was titled ‘Amazing’. Like my writings-it was headlined by a photograph. This one was of a teen male sitting with a guitar,on his lap was a toddler…in the back ground you could see it was a family gathering-a summer gathering.
The photograph definitely was of a better time-judging by the follow up I did after reading this particular blog,it couldn’t have been just a few months later the young man in the photo made a mistake he can never reverse.

I guess my living with out television has some advantage. It appears the young man in the photo was involved in a murder-he was what you might call the second man,but deeply enough involved. A seventeen year old kid who got caught up in pure stupid-there is no way to really put it. It seems the there is something about this murder that brought it national television coverage. Trust me,it was pretty bad.

Looking at this kids photograph it was easy to see this was a good kid-there was good in the scene,you could just sense it. A good home and he probrebly did well in school-these are are speculation on my looking at the picture…he just looked like a happy go lucky good kid.
He tesitified against the other guy-an 18 year old…they murdered a 26 year old man. The young man in the photograph recieved 20-30 years for his part in the crime,a lessor sentence because he told the story. The other kid got life.
I don’t know at what point my mind would have said-“lets get out of here”…there had to have been that point in time-who really can know. I know what I just read about this crime…for sure,it deserved the convictions… but it just about breaks my heart.
You have to look at the photograph to really understand.

Like I said-you can go into a file and find the ways people came to locate your personal blog. On my page-it is at the lower left corner. Due to the nature of my blog-I see a lot of searches such as ‘male on male rape’ or ‘prison rapes’ .
Like I said…you have to see the photgraph to fully understand.

I have’nt been able to get Alex off of my mind since seeing ‘servant4him’. I have’nt been able to shake the references in my search files. I have’nt been able to shake the story-it has a nature that is not ordinary.
I cannot blame the young man the way he justly deserves blame-the crime is easily the one in which a person has definantly made a choice they have to live with for ever. There is no explaining it-it boggles the mind how a person can get caught up in something that would alter every ones lives forever….with out thinking of those consequences.
I do not believe that all of his life Alex was this kind of person-I think he got caught up in something bigger than he ever suspected…something that was supposed to go one way and went very badly wrong. Something very stupid.
I believe he has a good family and they were big about gatherings and goodness and loving.
A miserable sick mistake-it can’t be turned around.

I don’t even know these people-my heart has wrenched about this ever since seeing the blog.
I’m thinking about how in just a few months and for the cost of vital moment in time and at the expense of a life (how many lives is it-really?) this innocent kid has removed himself from the place in the photgraph with his toddler cousin sitting on his knee in put himself in a world so adverse to what he has ever known.
You’ll be in my heart for a long time,kid!

(I kind of think it is better to not offer a link-I do know it can be easily found if you ‘Google’ ‘servant4him blog’)

…it’s here!

April 28, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I have such a strong desire for the cab of a big truck-sitting parked at the truck stop looking out over I-40 into the desert near Kingman , Arizona. It is among many of the most beautiful views from a truck stop.
The one favorite of mine was east of Kingman and had a vast parking area-so it was easy to get off over to one corner and set up camp. Over size loads (like ours) had to clear the highways on weekends-so sometimes when there was sections of a piece of equipment that required more than one rig to haul,we’d park together and set up a covered camp using tarps spread between trucks. There would be cook out grills and cold beer…though in the desert it did not stay cold long.
The parking lot was larger than the truck stop really required so it was more like parking out in an open field (except there are no fields in that part of Az.) and privacy was pretty well assured.

I liked parking out on the edge. Not much wanting to get involved with any body,most times it worked.
It was quiet and soothing after a long hard days drive,not just a drive-but work.
Coming from the west saw some of the nothingest nowhere of desert you ever saw-the best of it,but still work-climbing the hills in low gear,and hot.
It was rough with heavy haul,because you had to move in the daylight-and park at night,where as many trucks sought a cool place (we used to get a motel room when light loaded and sit around in the A/C during the day-and move at night,just to stay cool) to sit until the sun went down…we had to keep on getting the desert behind us.
Never the less,I liked that solitude.

At this point it would’nt matter where the cab of the truck is-and what truck stop. The actual fact is-the cabin interior is the home. It is private-and despite the rumble of the idleing trucks that park around you,it is a noise you no longer pay too much attention to.
And to me right now-I would be happy to be in one.

It is kind of curious to me. I have sat in truck stops in places where the trucks are lined up row after row and front to back-sometimes facing each other,sometimes not. A strange community-no one other than a trucker knows that it is a separete community then most others.
Curious? Because of how it is so familier to a prison-in some ways more restricting because no matter where you go you have this truck to drag around. Everything your day consists of is in and around the truck-in the truck,you are stuck!

Despite the camps we would set up on a heavy haul-it was right there next to rare that companionships with other truckers would begin. Yes,we had moments of conversation standing around waiting to load but the time allowed to form bonds and lasting friendships was just not there.
And curious because we would park in a truck stop and sit in the drivers seat and stare at each other.
A transient lifestyle that is made of good people who never get a chance to sit still.
Being honest-the cab of a truck is one of the most perfect places to meditate and think everything out.
I believe that is why I need one-to be parked out in that desert off I-40 watching the setting sun turn everything an umber and oranges beyond belief.
I just need to get off somewhere and think!

April-National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 22, 2008

farm-john campbell school,brasstown NC

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

My own mental clock had almost ran through the month of April. Until yesterday I had not been paying too much attention to the calender and then realized it was almost the end of the month.

Being a survivor of rape and sexual assault is an isolated place to live.
No one but another survivor can understand the meaning of what I am saying.

As people we are all different. We have different backgrounds and up bringing and some of us come from families who are rich and others from families that struggle to live month by month. Sexual abuse has no regions nor age groups-nor does it separate from where you come from. It does not have a gender….it has to do with control. The control of someone over you.

Every one of us has an extraordinary life. There are none of us alike-we only have similar experiences,yet those vary.
I lived a life that I know has been different.

Actually-it is a bit ironic that I can’t exactly tell you what it has been like being a survivor. I never felt like a survivor.
I lived a life closeted away from what others knew. In private I carried the guilt and shame that came along with the assaults. Due to the nature what was taking place….I was a young sailor in the USN and by twists of fate I got stuck in a snow storm and became AWOL. I ended up in a detention barracks-barracks D.
The long of the story is written in all these inserts-but the long of the story is also that every day of my life I awake to the memory of what happened.
The guilt and shame are contrasted of that the rapes were not a part of what my father or mother ever knew-they only knew that I had gotten in trouble and was being kicked out of the Navy.

I kept my secret-and battled it. The damage of having to preform every day the way I was forced too back in barracks D had some kind of effect on me. After the discharge and after being free of the barracks-I found myself seeking to be treated the way I was back then. I found myself putting myself into situations that were certain to cause me harm. I called those times ‘damage control’,except-I damaged myself and had no control over it.

I was asked once about how it might be for another-how I feel and how they feel about being sexually assaulted.
I could’nt answer the question-each one of us had different experiences but for most of my life I never figured it happened to others in the way it happened to me.
I learned to understand how harmful it is no matter who-no matter what the scene was.
It is just difficult too explain-not knowing others might be having to go through the same fears I was. Fears of public places…public restrooms-or in crowds of people,such as at a game or a concert. Like standing in a room full of snakes.

I went through most of my adult life not knowing that April was an awareness month-it does cover sexual assault-and domestic abuse. It is rather odd these titles.
Yes,I guess-we have to call it something,but sexual has nothing to do with assault,being domestic has nothing to do with abuse.
The word sexual actually softens the reality….there is nothing sexual about having someone force themselves on you-as in my case,being socked in the face and laid out in a urine trough.
A very interesting thing. The physical part of it was over-but forever the mental part has distorted something inside of me.
The ‘sexual’ contact in my life since became a task-a job…like hard work. Something I had to do,I guess that is because it was something I was forced to do.
How can I explain that?

I can’t explain what it is for others. I only can imagine it must be the same thing.
Many things are disturbed inside of you when this happens.
I lost trust. I lost responsibilty. Soboriety. I could not keep a job. I became divided from my family.
I could not be close to someone.

The things I’ve been writing in this ‘Word Press’ about myself and my life are my way of bringing awareness. I don’t need a certain month to be set aside to do this….I need what seems a lifetime.
I did find things to keep me alive-to survive.
I learned to drive big trucks long distances-that to keep from having to work with others. Yet-I also learned to build high scaffolds,another place where no one is.
I raised two sons-good young men,as a single dad
Through my life things have been an evidence as to what had happened,but no one understood what it was or why I was the way I was. How do explain what through the years had become a calous on my own heart and chaos in my life….my own past to carry  alone in secret.

It was through Charlotte B.,at the VA who helped awaken a part of me and show me some things about what this was….the actions of PTSD.
Through the meetings with her I found the Survivors Art Exhibit…and that opened me up even more.
Also through the meetings with her I was forwarded to a Veterans Advocate to ‘validate’ my experience and hold the military accountable….this ‘advocate’ was so knee deep in bigotry that he re-opened the wound in a way that made me want to scream.
So-I bought this computer and began to learn how to use it and in this I found a way to speak.

My awareness message to anyone….men are victims too.
The title of ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ needs to really truly tell the whole story.


April 20, 2008

Corey Micah-my grandson
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Yesterday was ‘passover’. In my understanding it is a religious day in the same season as ‘easter’.
I do know enough that ‘passover’ has to do with the slaughter of a lamb to use the blood of the lamb to paint over the header of the doors of those who God was to pass over and pass by as the first born of the people who followed Pharaoh were killed.
Those who used the lambs blood were protected from harm.
By this it means the ‘first born’ ,and that included infants and children..Exodus 12:29,30
There in 2 Samuel 5:13 it says David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem.
I find this interesting-David wrote most of the Psalms such as the 23rd Psalm which is like the ‘national anthem’ of Psalms.
The verses I am talking about are from the Holy Bible. The one Holy Book the most ‘righteous’ use,say for example-the pope.
I find this interesting. It is also the book that men take the oath of office on-swearing by God that they are going to defend the Constitution of this God fearing country….Land of the Free.
I’d like to point out-this reference of Davids wives and concubines is not from any other then the Christian Holy Bible…not the Book of Mormon.
Same with the slaughter of lambs.

I have a great belief and faith in a God-a Living and Real God. I am perplexed as how it is God is and how God operates. I can hardly cut a board straight and bend a nail right more less try to figure out how a universe is made. I don’t have any answers because I am just some guy.
I correct that-I have one answer and that is that you can trust God.

I can work my way through the Bible- I am not a scholar…however I do see things that make me understand why Jefferson wrote the separation of government from church.
Personally-I do not believe in church,but yet there are many…and many kinds.
I tried church once-seeking to understand what and why the person Rose (Americas Most Wanted) came in my path;and became very deeply involved in it with a mission to the national forest to speak to the homeless there-men,woman and children…living on blankets or in cars.
Actually-I thought I found forever at this church. That ended when I was asked to put a ‘presidential election’ sticker on my bumper. I was offended by the thought that on church property I was asked to do that.
The year following was a charade for me-I had to keep face to attend two weddings…my sons was one of them.
Many of the men in the ‘fellowship’ began to act differently towards me….it seemed that George Bush was going to take over for God and I wasn’t going to support that.
I have been ‘shunned’ from this church-now over three years.

I recall the most serious arguement one of the men at that fellowship had with me was ‘abortion’…how GW Bush was going to write out of law the scourge of abortion.
You explain that to the mothers and fathers of the dead from the war Iraq….but after that,explain to me again.
I truly was agast as this ‘brother’ nearly took me by his hands to express his distaste for my not voting for ‘his man’.
Another family was brushed out of the church for their support of the other guy.

On the other side of my county is a Hari Krisna Temple. It is no slight operation-the temple is large and the school adjacent to it is not a pieced together scrap wood building. This is a fine local institution-I’ve even had meals there,just about everyone knows where it is.
That temple is there because they are free to worship. I remember in the 1970’s how people reacted to the Krisna’s-not kindly,but yet they stayed faithful to what they were teaching. They have a well established ‘compound’. The school and temple did not just get built over night by darkness. The facility was built under the guidence of local building codes and inspections-under the full eye of everyone.
People still think the Krisna’s are odd and different-most likely heathen.
But like any body in the United States they have a right to religion.

Looking at this ‘sect and cult’ (which I believe the Krisna’s have been called) in San Angelo Texas…the Morman detach and its ‘compound’.
We’ve all seen the photographs of the buildings-and the temple. Those did not get built over night. The people of San Angelo Texas did not wake up one morning and it was all there. I imagine they had to adhere to local building codes-but that is only a guess.
What I do find interesting is how Bible thumping folk and politicians can look upon these people as bad….after all,David-writer of the Psalms,contained in the big book the new president will take oath of office on…had many wives and concubines. He also saw to it Uriah would be killed-that in order to marry Uriah’s wife. Hmmm.

I don’t believe it is in my knack of want to’s…but having any wife more less five or ten or more,well-it is not what I think.
Back in the days of Salem and the great witch hunts-all of that was started by the malicious tongues of a few young girls. That is all in history-documented as truth,just lies caused the death of several good people.
I definantly don’t condone grown adults being married to young teenagers…and I certainly have not seen any evidence of the young woman who began this rage on the Morman families-and children. I do not support the thoughts of abuse-but wonder what has really caused this to happen?
Not that it is right-but just about 800 miles to the east sits Arkansas. It borders Texas…and there a 16 year old girl can legally marry a youth of 17 on up.

It does not matter what my thoughts are-I’m just some guy. But it scares me to think that this could happen-like I said,that temple in San Angelo was not built quickly-it took time,and under the view of that city.

All of the terrible things we have learned about these people-they did not just appear out of the woodwork. They built this community,they lived in harmony with the people in the area and with in themselves.
I cannot judge what I do not know.
But I can judge that the Constitution must have it wrong because the government is saying these people can’t worship as they believe.
Because,overnight this group of people have had thier lives turned around.

You cannot tell me no body knew. That is just too crazy.

I find it interesting-almost as if it is some wild joke…the Pope of the Catholic church has met with the abuse victims to apologize. Exactly what IS going to happen to these Latter Day Saint children who the government has taken away from thier families? Is someday somebody going to apologize? The mockery that the Pope is and in regards to the priest pedophiles-and it parallels the fact that in front of America on our televisions we see the state of Texas taking away 400 some odd children from thier own home. Foster homes…now theres an answer.

Texas has a funny way of treating its religions. Back once upon a time a preacher named Lester Roloff made the Texas justice system look bad by taking convicts and renewing them-and pregnant girls,he took them in and offered them care. He built the LightHouse community for men,and the Rebecca Homes for the young ladies. Instead of letting young juvenile deliquents learn about crime in jail-Roloff pleaded with the courts to let him take them and educate them. It is thought that his programs worked-and Texas became embarrased. Roloff died in a plane crash-several of his adopted girls died with him. Up to then Lester Roloff had been in and out of jail because the State of Texas persecuted him for his success.

Religion…seperation of state and…

what it’s like being rich!

April 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I know that I’ve spoken about the time an old monk told me that I owned everything in the sky-that no matter what and no matter where,as long as I could see the sky it belonged to me.
It was sort of a weird argument that began earlier that day. I had said in a conversation that I owned five acres of land-this old monk said I owned nothing. Then,later on that night,I am looking out at the sky,and this old monk comes up and says that my land was something people could take away from me-but no matter where I was,the sky was always mine.

This is a very rural place where my home is. I’ve lived out here long enough to see the road go from a two track lane that wove between black jack oaks to a county maintained grade-and now the road is paved.
Up at the very dead end of the road is a 10 acre tract of land that once was home to an old curmudgeon that kept an eye on a large group of pigs-living in a cabin alone and completely isolated because then the two mile trip was extensive.
All around my old friend then was a herd of hogs being raised for a sausage plant in Alachua (long since closed-Copelands)-he had class and ate off of the cheapest dish sets you could buy at Woolco,the then Wal-Mart,and then he’d toss them like paper plates. But other then that my pal lived in a 10 x 10 shack of sorts.
He had a power pole out there (out here,now-for me…but then…) but it only came up to a certain spot-where my pal kept a lawn chair and a milk crate,and every night he’d drag his black and white TV and a coffee percolator and his Pall-Mall cigarettes and he’d sit and watch the set until the last show-all this being plugged in to a sole power pole in the middle of no where.. You could drive out there at night (this guy loved company) and from a distance in the dark you could see the glow of that TV set with an erie blue light penetrating the darkness in the woods.
I was about 19 the few times I came out here to visit this old boy. I still find it amazing that I ended up living out here-long after my hermit friend made his money off of the proceeds of hog hide and moved on.
My place is about the spot where the lawn chair and TV set once sat. The ten acres that was once his is another tenth of a mile west.

So living out here these thirty plus years and seeing it go from not much more than a trail to a now paved road-I’ve seen a lot.
It is easy to understand that because of its secluded natural side-being surrounded by state forest property (all wooded) the neighborhood tends to draw an element of dubious nature. Not always-and not every one-but there does seem to be a sense of security for those who have a desire to stay out of the way.

A few years ago this fellow from Wisconsin bought the ten acres where the pig caretakers cabin sat and the eighty acre tract next to that.
Now in between the time the pig caretaker moved on this property changed hands several times. One of those owners began a house ,this man from Wisconsin finished it and also set a big double wide up on the hill on his eighty acres.
There were a few occasions that I got to talk to Bill. He seemed like a man who had something going for him where cash was concerned. He told me he owned a tree farm out on 335.

Bill never just stopped and talked. I only would see him when ever I walked out on the road-these last few years that hasn’t been much.
When ever you saw Bill he was always nice and polite-but never got out of the big cab F-350 diesel he drove.
You could tell Bill had a touch of a snobs flair about him-he seemed above you, perhaps that was because of the truck sitting sort of high. But-you could sense he wasn’t wanting you in his world yet he wasn’t going to be unfriendly about it.

What ever it was he had going on it seemed he had enough to do it with. Often you’d see him pulling a back hoe or other equipment-all which seemed to fit his tree farm project. Everything seemed new-his trucks and trailers and tractors.

Yesterday I started to read the local newspaper online and the headline read…”Largest indoor pot growing bust estimates1.9 million dollars”.
That was not what got my attention…the by-line read “bust on county line lands four in jail”.
County line? I live on a county line!
I begin to read and as I read it becomes obvious that this is my road they are writing about . The story tells about this big metal building being used with an extensive growing system with diesel generators and grow lights.
As I scrolled the page there was a mug shot of a fellow from Central America…a real tough looking sort. Then I scrolled down more…and another tough looking man. He too from Central America.
And then the next mug shot was Bill’s.

I lay in my bed last night-my two chiuauas-Max and Sweetie-all snug up in the blankets with me. I was looking out the french doors at the foot of my bed and I could see the stars. I was thinking about Bill and his wife (I never met her…she got a mug shot too) and was in amazement about the thought of it….them in jail, and me laying here listening to the tree frogs sing and staring at the stars.

Bill never in a million light years seemed to me the kind that had it in him. He seemed meek and nerdy and like the country club type….a level above.
And now-here I am….richer then him.

It seems sometimes we take things into a perspective. Like the old monk said-I own nothing, but yet the sky is mine. And me? I took in perspective that Bill was upper class and I was just the guy living in the mobile home down on the corner lot….hmmm.
I’m still stupid.

(news link for story at top of page)


nightmares of prison

April 8, 2008

blue head-jay herron 2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Often I experience nightmares-I dream that am locked in a prison. The prisons in my nightmares are unlike what our image of a prison is…the gates and fences-yes,those are typical-the towers? Yes,those too-I know in these dreams that this is a prison. It is the community of it.
I have no idea how to explain this.
They are very intense and almost medevial,in some ways. It is as if there are no one leadership in charge-except in the group of the convicts.
I’ve never been hurt in these dreams. Just very afraid and wanting out.
I have never been in prison-the detention barracks D was the closest to being kept I have ever known.
When my sons were boys and I sensed they were needing some educational convinceing in regards to what happens when you screw up and it can’t be undone,I used to take them out to Raiford. We’d drive through and look at the dozen prisons there. It’s about a six mile drive through Raiford. It is a very interesting drive. It also interests me on the influence it had on my sons. Onenow works in corrections. My other son went in the military the day after high school graduation-he’s been there since 1990.

It is certain sounds sometimes which kick off a memory of sorts. I can’t say as much as it being sights-but sounds and scents somehow trigger my PTSD.
Yesterday I was eating in a small restaurant here. The place is divided into two sections-both of them very small. The place is busy-I eat there many times.
Yesterday I had to sit in the small section (two booths,two two tables for two and two tables for four). I’ve sat there often too.
The small side is the busiest side-there is more traffic because of the cashier and entrance.
It was really quite loud yesterday and very busy. This small side always reminds me of the galley on a ship because it is so compact.
I don’t know what was going on-but one of the waitress staff was over board talking to this group in one of the booths. Like I said-it was loud,so she was loud-and you could’nt being drawn in to her voice.
I looked over and there was a man sitting with the group.
It was something about the way he was sitting. My mind went into this muddle…I remember ordering and while doing it thinking this was not what I wanted-I had something else I wanted. But I ordered it anyway. I was feeling myself enter a zone.
It was just some guy. But there was a spark about his posture and body.

Last night I dreamt about a prison. It was like a dream I’ve had before-I’m entering this place with my hands full of my things and taking in what is brand new to me. I have never been in prison.
Yet…these dreams are so vivid.
In the morning time-I wake up and whatever the dream-the nightmares of prisons,or just some confusing mystery,it does’nt matter. I wake up thinking about barracks D. It’s almost as if I’m doing an inventory each morning. It begins with barracks D.
When ever I have these nightmares of the prisons it is worse waking up. Almost exhausting from the battle of going back and forth from side to side trying to shake the dream…and each time you slumber it comes right back.

I think it was mostly from the noise in the cafe yesterday-but the sound and looking over at the group started the process.
The man the conversation circled around had this giant of a pit bull in the back of his pick up truck. The pick up truck sat high off the ground-I just happen to notice the dog and was able to avoid the truck somewhat-although it was pulled against the entrance of the place.

It was the look on his face and the way he sat that reminded me of somebody from back in barracks D. He was proud as could be about that dog-the dog was huge,and the waitress was pouring it on about how great looking the dog was.
The man said something about it could reach his gate in less than six seconds…he seemed the kind that would be proud if it yanked a persons leg off.

I could’nt even figure out why I got the breakfast I did.
I ate it and got into a daze and came home home and tried to sleep-and I kept having this stupid dream.
Thats probrebly why I’m not making any sense-I worked too hard trying to survive in my nightmare….and I’m tired.

mile long mill

April 7, 2008

mile long mill

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

There was one thing about trucking that kept it all interesting-you never knew where you were going to end up. Every thing was new.
Granted,this was not as much the case in general frieght-a box trailer that loads at a loading dock…just the same stuff in different boxes.
I did haul general freight when I started out-actually,I pulled containers which end up on a ocean going journey on a ship.

It was with the water tank company that I learned about flat bed trucking-chains and binders and tractor hauling….plus objects of various sizes.
I soon learned that being able to haul oversize loads meant you were specialized and worth a little more pay…and less stress then general loads. Most everything we haul can’t rot-and won’t die (like cattle and other livestock) and usually the heavy haul driver does’nt have to wait in a crowded parking lot somewhere until a load comes up…we got to go to places where they had one huge piece to crane onto your rig and all you had to do was chain it down and be gone.

So many times my loads were a serial number of a machine of some such construction use-and a mile marker on the interstate,and a state to find it in. You could count on it there would be a big yellow machine of some kind-just where they said it would be. Many times the hardest part was trying to figure out how to run the thing to get ot aboard the trailer.
Most heavy haul drivers collect keys-various keys from various machines will fit other like machines and even most semi trucks will operate off of anothers key…go figure that out.
So it was a job of pure isolation because no one was waiting for you to show up and the same on the other end…drop the machine to such a such mile marker in such a such state out on the highway.
I could never do a job in a mill like in this photograph. You can’t see it in this shot-but there is a crane that runs on a track which is on each side of this building. Theres some guy up in a small cab which is at one side of the building-up against theose tracks. His job all day is to drive that crane along back and forth from one end of the building to another.
It’s hard to see-but in the foreground is what we hauled out of there. One heavy ingot of turned steel-used as a roll form to flatten out sheets of steel. Only one could be safely hauled on a semi-they were that heavy.
The building these ingots are made and machined stretches out just about a mile. There are men that work in this place during the same shift and never even meet each other. It is almost like working in a high rise which is laid flat on its side.
There was always a thrill in the commotion of activity going on in a place like this. You drive your semi right inside the building-and no matter what the weather was out doors,you always had a dry place to chain your load…and there were showers where you could scrub up afterward. There was always a ‘ham and egg’ wagon out side…and if you did’nt like that one-there was always another just up the way a piece. I think this mill kept over a dozen busy…fried egg sandwiches melting with mustard and mayo and grease from the sausage. It’s how truckers build that gut…pure fat.

Then there was the other end-where these ingots were shipped to. These we hauled to Savannah from Pittsburg-there they went on a ship. Again-all I had to do to unload was undo my chains and put them away. Some places the union made me sit it out…and thier guys would have to do it.

I finger printed what must have been a million boxes of produce before I figured out the life of a heavy haul driver was not so bad.
Most stuffs so huge they make you stop over night-and most citys wont let you through during rush hour. Week-ends are out,you can’t pull a oversize load on a weekend-or holiday.
So while most drivers are hustleing to keep the the starwberrys from waking up…a true truckers nightmare-berrys with whiskers are frowned upon,if not down right refused. The heavy haul driver is set for the evening in a parking space!

the grade now paved…

April 6, 2008

my place from high

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

My son brought this photograph by-it is my first view of the neighbors place across the way…living here for over 30 years and in all that time I’ve only glimpsed the roof when the trees thin out in the winter.
My place is on the left side of this picture-the road divides it well enough. I’ve only seen my neighbor twice in person-I’ve only spoken to him once.
It is actually a very odd community-once upon a time there was only a handfull of people living out here,now there are cars and faces that one has no clue of who you just drove past.
Once upon a time if you came upon another vehicle one would assume it was somebody that was lost-for once upon a time the road coming out here was so bad even the sherrifs office was relunctant to come out this way.
I still believe it is a miracle that I found this place.
I was working for a judges son who ended up being a liar and a crook and was wisked off to federal prison. I was among the few that believed his story and trusted him enough to work for a few months with out pay. His offer was a cut in the business-which turned out the business was just a huge ruse. I was dumb enough to fall for it.
This was right at 1976.
The ‘sand hills’-as this is called by locals has been my home since then. We lost everything because I believed in the way this man sold the idea-and by whom his father was,former Senator ‘Red’ Cross.
I understand he got ripped off too.

I had to steal our things. After a few months of trusting and no rent being paid-the landlords locked up the mobile home we were living in. I had to climb in a window and steal our possessions-that which we could salvage through a window.

The property we originally came to was a quarter of a mile further up the road. These were available in final years of the good old Florida cheap land days…I bought the property for $100 down and $60 a month payment-grand total…$ 8,000.
It’s a long story-surely found in the archives of all these things I’ve written.
The original property had no water-that was a real slump in the living arrangements-which were then in a tent with my wife and two toddelers. It had no electric…it had no house. Our lifes possessions in the back seat of the car….a British Ford. It was in pathetic shape.

They call the road coming in here a ‘grade’. That is in reference to the machine that came every so often to smooth it out…the smooth condition lasting about a half a day-the road was in miserable condition.
I remember and hope to never forget the way this place came together.
It is 7 miles to the nearest town-in those days it was a one convienience store town….not much else unless you needed horse feed or fence posts.
I had found a job with a water tank construction company. I ended up working there off and on for the years past-often I’d quit…often they’d fire me-and just as often they’d hire me back.
I once upon a time would have to walk out of here-the two miles down the grade and the 5 miles into the nearest town. My hike began at 0330 each morning…I’d hitchhike from the little town into the citys edge and work all day and hitch right back,often times carrying a few boards of lumber salvaged from the construction pit. We built our first house with those…a 12 foot by 16 foot cabin. At one point-I would do a round trip of 70 miles every morning to get to my job…hitchhiking.
One morning at that job the owner of the business found out thats how I got to work-he handed me 500 bucks and said not to come back until I was driving. You could buy an old car back then for that…and I did.
I remember all of those mornings walking out of here-it was so quiet you could hear the electric current going through the wires over head.
And the foggy mornings when it was not only pitch black-but the fog was so thick you’d be wet from it.
I once helped a neighbor-who also worked at the water tank outfit…he had cut a twenty acre field of hay and no one showed up to help him get it off the ground. He came and got me. Made me ride in the back of his pick up truck…not in the cab with him. After the days work was done…if you’ve ever done a hay field-you’ll know it is work,after the days work-they fed me. I had to sit out on the steps to eat. The guys wife had tears in her eyes when she handed me the plate of food…she kept saying how sorry she was. I seemed they passed me 100’s of times as I was walking to try to get to work.
I knew he was not offering me a ride home at the days end-but it was so hard to accept that he would’nt even help me get to work.

That first time on the hay field-after the meal and it was the final moments…the guy handed me some cash. I took a look at it and told him I was glad to be hiis neighbor and help-I rejected the cash.

I think somehow it earned me some respect from the fellow…we obviously came from seperate sides of life-him a life long cow man,me a hippie…thus the reason why he never offered me a ride.
I became known to him as ‘hay boy’…almost the only name he ever called me.
It did not matter-every time he called me I went over and helped do that hay. I never accepted a dollar for doing it either…but eventually got invited to eat at the table in the kitchen,and in due time got to ride in the cab of the truck.
I never got called anything else but ‘hay boy’….sometimes ‘hippie’,but most of the time it was ‘hay boy’.
Funny dang life-sometimes.

40 years ago…

April 4, 2008

campfire shirt
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I remember 40 years ago today I was standing in our back yard looking towards the city-Washington DC. Although we lived in the suburbs-a place called Aspen Hill,our house just blocks from Georgia Avenue…I could see the haze of the smoke from the fires coming off of the burning buildings. The city was in a state of riot-Martin Luther King Jr.,had been assassinated in Memphis. Washington DC was on fire.

I had not been taught directly about there being a policy of separation of men. Indirectly it was taught-my grandmother used the N word without hesitation,they actually had other names that appeared to be common from their era. But it wasn’t hard not to learn when we saw on television each nights news the way the black American was being treated by the white American. We’d see the black Americans trying to cross into Montgomery and see the way the people were treated. It wasn’t hard to miss the fact that Viet Nam was going on too-and that on the evening news it couldn’t be missed to see the black faces with the white faces in photographs of the days dead from the war.
And then-here’s our own land-our own country…the same flag,and the families and kin of the same black Americans that were fighting in the same war as white Americans-were being treated like less than a human.
No one had to sit one down and teach bigotry-although many were taught that way…but for those who weren’t-it was not hard to figure it out. It was obvious by what you saw on the news,or at the colored and white water fountains-separate,of course.

American homes of all kinds were rocked at the death of President Kennedy-mine too. As yet a boy of 12 and seeing your country’s leader shot and killed-and yet,he was more than that-everyone in America saw him as a new hope…but then, seeing him assassinated like that. And…over and over on television,it almost seems as if instant replay was invented just for that.Seeing Jackie crawling out of the car-across the trunk-her husband dead in the back seat of the convertible. Over and over. I don’t think there’s a person who was alive then who can’t mimic Lee Harvey Oswald’s face as Jack Ruby shot him.
And then-here we were 5 years later. A date always in the hearts of men as much as his speech about seeing the Promised Land. The shooting of Martin Luther King Jr.,again-on television…along with it the truth that a nation is beginning to change.

The following month-May 1968,a small group of us got in a van at a church I sometimes hung out at. We drove towards the capital. I don’t know why I have to say we must have found it easy to park-at least I don’t remember having to walk very far. Yet we joined a mass of people black and white in a march around the nations capital.
Leading the march was Ralph Abernathy-following him was the mass of people calling themselves the Poor Peoples Campaign. I was in that march.

It is not hard to see the truth in things. I’ve driven all over the United States during my years as a trucker-and I’ve seen views of prejudice in various ways. I’ve seen the way the Original Americans have been treated-and how they live. And how they are disrespected.
I live about a twenty minute drive from a road sign. It identifies the town of ‘Rosewood’….which is no longer a town.
Back in the late 1920’s a lie began which ignited hatred which led to the murder of good innocent people which led to the destruction of homes-all of the homes and church and school and a store. The entire town of Rosewood.
Rosewood was a community of black Americans.
I did not live in those days-but I know families who had family in that massacre.

I am not proud of bigotry and the hatred of men against men-but I am proud that I saw many of its changes on the way people think and act towards one another,and I am in awe that I witnessed history as much I am sad that it happened.

( the story of Rosewood has been done on film. ‘Rosewood’ features – Jon Voight ,Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle-filmed 1997 )

the cycle…

April 3, 2008

pencil and collage-jay herron 2006
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It definitely says you are getting old when you have lived long enough to see a hill of acreage go from what was once duplex houses built for the veterans after World War Two-to being scooped down by bulldozers and turned into a shopping center,which is now being scooped down by bulldozers to build a new shopping center.
I can imagine what the real old timers of this area thought when the construction of the ‘FlaVettes’ went up on what once was used for grazing cattle. Now I get turned around on a road I know I’ve been on and have to scope out something left from the past to remind me where I am. Sometimes that takes a few blocks.
To kind of give you an example what I mean…find a copy of the old movie-The Yearling (it was filmed in the 1946 about five miles from where I am talking about) and as you are watching the movie (if you can find a copy-it is based on real people  starred Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman) cross your eyes in your mind and envision all that open territory as houses.

I remember during the hippie days of the 1970’s-the old FlaVettes were long over run-mostly because they were built quickly and cheaply to house all of the GI’s returning and taking the opportunity of an education on the GI Bill. For many years one could travel around the county and find a surviving FlaVette-though most have now just crumbled into history.
The entire neighborhood of FlaVettes which overlooked Archer Road also overlooked the airport across the way-where Wal Mart now stands,and Lowes…which came later.
In the 1970’s every one of those FlaVettes became a hippie settlement of sorts-of course it was mixed with students,then the only industry in the area…and most of them took on the hippie dress and lifestyle.
Every Sunday the lawns would fill up with people on lawn chairs and blankets-the sky was a show of those crazy enough to dive out of an airplane and we dug every minute of it.

I had a friend once that had some money he got from an accident he was in. For 1970-it was a good chunk of change. I tried to impress him to buy a few acres of land up by the interstate-he laughed at me and said I was a fool.
Uh-oh…well,it was slightly easy to follow his logic. At that time there was no exit at the interstate and Archer Road. Now there is…and with it the big stuff. As a matter of fact-it seems to keep on going. One lot I saw a sign on said 1.5 million bucks for the property. Poor pal of mine.

I feel really odd about this. I worked in construction during the building of the shopping center they are now tearing down. It will be for certain that entire intersection has completely gone full cycle.
I recall once a small airplane took off from that airport and it no sooner got up and it went down. Crazy to think-it was a few days before anybody knew it. Now there’s a Shell station just about where the plane had crashed. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

I truly remember the only place you could rent a car then was at the gas station Willie worked at. Yup…really-Willie!! We’d go in and rent a coupe and take it out on the grade (which is now SW 22nd Ave) and drive back and forth and there was always a few party’s going on around the lake there (yes…there’s a lake behind the Oaks Mall) and me and my friend would act like a pair of fat cat hippie’s in our rental car. One such time we had a rental car and spun it out on the dirt and peeled the tires off the rims. Willie said “You ain’t rentin’ no cars no more !”

I bet there’ hardly anyone around that remembers the gas station attendants and the white cap they wore? I had that job for a few days until somebody recognized me-and that ended that. I didn’t even last long enough to get the white uniform,or better yet-the grey one with your name badge. Most everyone has forgotten the glass jars filled with motor oil….more less forgetting the taboo about using Quaker State in your ’55 Chevy (or some such clunker).

I remember it was nothing to get out on the road and stick your thumb out-and most times,in minutes…you was on your way. Once a long time back there was an old store in a big wood frame building where the owners lived in the back. It stood on the corner across from the Tower Road Publix is. The folks who owned it had a few pool tables in the front and sold ice cold beer and there was always someone in and out of that place. It was the ‘greyhound stop’ of the hitchhikers dreams. You would only have to stand there for a few minutes and someone would come along and carry you on.
I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like to hitch a ride today…those days are long gone-it wasn’t that much fun then either,but it got you around

There were dozens of those old Mom and Pop stores around the area-most of them gone now,if not all of them. There was one in my town-The Save-A-Stop,although Roy did not live in the back of the store-he was there every morning at 5 a/m and stayed until he closed at 7 p/m.
Roy-like most Ma and Pa’s…kept a card on those trusted customers. It took a few years of doing business with Roy before I got to be on a card.
Local credit! The weeks purchases written down on an index card-payed on pay day. Friday was Roy’s busiest day
I even earned my way onto a card at the corner store across from Publix…limited to beer and cigarettes only (go figger).
Although there was no interest-Roy did have a scheme of pay back where he would sell a drunk a quart of beer and write him down for two…but it was only certain drunks he did that with-the stupid ones!
Ahhh….these were the times now gone from us.