We used to spend foggy winter weekends at a friend's house on Screamer Mountain near the Chattooga river in north Ga. Up until I met Robert, I thought good sound systems were loud. Now I have high standards and loud is a only a small part of the equation, mainly because my aging tympanum can't take it anymore.
Yesterday, it was my turn to herd cats (soccer team) on their MLK Freedom run (conditioning) around Watts Barr Lake in Kingston, and, as the air piecred all the stuff I was wearing and stuck a branding iron onto my left ear (the one next to the water from whence the wind was attacking), I thought back to sitting on the floor at Robert's house, between the floor to ceiling speaker cabinets listening to music.
"Take your mind off the pain," I was thinking. I am not a runner and I don't like much about it but I do it anyway, though not all that much. High School soccer conditioning is a good motivational excuse, and besides, it was just too danged cold to stand still on the hill at Southwest Point above the Tennessee river. Might as well try to work up a sweat or something.
So anyway, as I was plodding along, the mind wandered about in its hypothermic delusional state (where the hell is this "zone" thing I hear about all the time, when you really need it?). For some reason I started thinking about spending winters all warm and fuzzy by the fire, and a recollection of listening to "John Brown's Body" on Robert's monster sound system came back and my favorite lines from the opening narration boomed inside my head. The fake Southern accents of the voices took nothing away from the power of the recording. Imagine a deep voice, slowly and powerfully speaking:
“And the white wolf-winter, hungry and frore,
Can prowl the North by a frozen door
But here we have fed him on bacon-fat
And he sleeps by the stove like a lazy cat.”
John Brown’s Body
by Stephen Vincent Benet
"So the white wolf-winter lives up North?" I am thinking. I am jogging along and all I can feel where my ear used to be is something like the inside of a marshmallow on its way to being a smore...and this is supposed to be one of those nice winter day's we feed on bacon fat? Jeez, folks, it was 18 stupid American Farenheit degrees in East Tennessee. The Lazy cat 65 degree winter days we were having last week have evaporated...
...and I love it.
Now where is my snow?!
Thanks to Susan for reminding me about Calvin and Hobbs:
Robert Singleton, who now lives in Virginia, is an artist of serious reputation. Here is his web gallery. Take your time, when you have time. The images are large and slow to load but worth it. I am very proud of the Singleton's I own, though few and small. Of special note to me is the retrospective of the Screamer Mountain years. The East Tennessee connection is the artist's show Robert had at the Huunter, in Chattanooga. The place has probably never recovered from Robert's road crew taking over the place to hang ten foot paintings all over the hallways. A particularly vivid memory was several of the crew, we were actually escaped Chattooga River raft guides, carrying a case of beer across the Baylor school campus into the headmaster's apartment where we were staying. Young and stupid has its moments!
These images are best imagined wall sized, as they were, and viewed through the beneficial lens of a decent cognac...or cheep beer, either one. Enjoy:
You can have your own Singleton, if you wish, without having to pay gallery markup. I agree these images are small, but you can out one on the wall and still have enough left over to buy a nice car, compared to the full sized oil paintings.
My own Singleton
Here is a list of conscientious Republicans who oppose P.Bush's Social Security atack. It is a short one but it contains worthy names. Let them know you appreciate their honesty:
Here is a list of fainthearted Democrats who don't have the fortitude (yet) to call P.Bush a "Liar!": (It's getting shorter every day...Harold Ford...You are a wimp!)