— From the Fool —

Everybody was talking about the kid who shot a bunch of people because he didn’t like girls and they felt the same way about him. He didn’t kill as many people as most shooters do these days, but he wrote sort of a term paper about it. If you write lots of really ugly stuff, that makes up for being a bad shot.

But I couldn’t think what to say. If you’re a Fool, it should be funny, whereas for other people it can just be stupid.

I asked my sister what she thought, and she said, well, nothing surprised her, but at least he used better grammar than most of the guys she dates. My sister has kind of had it with men.

I asked my friend Joe, but I knew what he’d say: just proves we all need to carry guns, like in the Old West, and wear cowboy hats.

Marge, who runs the coffee stand, said they ought to test people for being crazy, but they’d probably find out that everybody was, or if they weren’t they ought to be.

I watched TV to get the real scoop, but the newshounds were all saying, The question is why? They don’t say why the question is why.

It’s getting harder to get on the news these days and stay there for any length of time. A dog pooped in a passenger jet and they had to land. It’s true. They ran out of paper towels. But nobody said, The question is why? The dog did it because he needed to. I guess the same with the kid.

Put stuff in, it comes out one way or another. Question is, who fed him what?

 — From CB —

“Don’t think I’ve ever seen so much happiness in one place,” my daughter wrote of her brother’s wedding last week.

The joy persists. Eli and Meg were off to Big Sur, while Jo and her mate Francesco (flown from Tuscany for the wedding) visit us in Sebastopol. It’s Fra’s first time in the US — which inevitably brings out a bit of latent patriotism in me (in relation to America the Beautiful if not to America the Imperial), and serves as a welcome disruption of schedule. Picnic trips to the ocean near Bodega, north to Salt Point and its convocation of sea lions, south to Muir Woods. Saturday night for our play Gifts at a friend’s house, Sunday to a housewarming, then Monday down to San Francisco.

Intermingled: sumptuous dinners, movie-watching, and long spans of sitting in each other’s silences, reading or surfing or closing the eyes in simple presence.

I’ve managed a bit of work — sculpting the third head of blind Gloucester, gluing Cordelia together, finishing a rewrite of Chapter 12, posting a few screeds on a local discussion board, and hauling a vanload of trash to the dump — but not enough to disturb the pleasant tempo of lassitude.

In the world, the VA scandal is belching forth; they’re blasting away in Ukraine; the Pope seems to be working hard to convert the Church to Christianity; geopolitical forces are bulging over the edges of their corsets; and the human race does its endless remakes of comedies and horror shows, with enhanced digital effects.

Here, for the moment, the birds sing, the neighbor’s dog barks, beloved faces glow, and the garlic is harvested.

— From EF —

I’d like to clean out my head the way I just cleaned out the van.

Normally we travel to our house-concert performances of Gifts in the Prius, but this time we have the absolute joy of having Johanna and Francesco coming along. With all the stuff in the Prius, the back seats are gone (folded down flat). The obvious solution is to load stuff into our maxivan, Sheba Bigbutt, the way we did for decades of long-haul touring. Plenty of room, plenty of seating.

Sheba is the fourth and last in our dynasty of Dodge vans, going back to 1974. I modified each interior to provide a wall-to-wall platform bed, and the theatre gear went underneath. Eli and Johanna did a lot of their growing up on the road with us, and even though Sheba didn’t come along until 1999, she inherited the memories of her ancestors. I’ll bet she remembers how the kids learned to read, and what it was like to fall asleep watching the full moon outside the window on the way to Georgia as Mama and Papa swapped driving shifts through the night. Lotta good stuff in there.

CB and I still did long-haul touring during our first years in Sebastopol, so Sheba herself would prowl into many an all-night truck stop, don her wine-colored satin window curtains (matching her burgundy exterior, of course), and smile contentedly at the shenanigans within. More good stuff.

Then gas climbed to impossible prices, gigs were in short supply, and we really liked being home in our hard-won heaven. The satin curtains were folded away, the mattress cover got sunbleached and shabby, and once we acquired our little fourth-hand Honda CRX, Sheba didn’t even go to the grocery store any more. She sometimes helped friends haul sound equipment to music gigs or move to a new house, but mostly she just sat in the driveway. I’d pat her nose as I passed.

Finally, about the only thing she did was haul stuff to the dump. Piles of palm crap, old worn-out hoses, the drywall we junked when we dismantled our sound studio. Debris. Dirt. And this most recent load was really dirty, crammed wall to wall and floor to roof. Loading and unloading it sent CB’s allergies into orbit. No way was I going to subject the family to all those toxins.

Hands and knees, brush and dustpan, digging into corners and under seats. Shop-vac getting even more of it out. Finally, parking on an incline and blasting the floor with the garden hose, letting it all run out the wide back doors. She’s clean, and now that the dirt’s gone I can hear some of the sweet music again, floating in faintly from all those years.

Likewise, the hideous events of last week’s news need to be cleaned out of my head — hoovered, hosed, flushed. It’s a gift to load Gifts and ourselves and our beloveds into Sheba and share the good stuff with friends.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2014









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