Hell of a Guy
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Living in BS…

07/24/2007

Living here in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (aka Town of Bath), population 711, has its challenges, especially when entertainment comes to mind.  Our town, as much as we love it, does not offer the variety of fun things to do as larger metropolitan areas do.  In addition to the touristy shops, that draw weekend visitors to swell our population temporarily, we have only one movie theater, a couple of restaurants, a park or two, and the Troubadour for local entertainment, that is unless you have a penchant for hanging out at the gas stations or McDonalds. 

I talk about living in Berkeley Springs, but actually, we live almost exactly 7.5 miles southeast of the village.  The Nancy and I are not true residents of BDTBS, WV (aka T of B) pop. 711.  We are country people.  You know, Hee Haw and all that.

The Nancy and I visited the movie theater once since we moved here just about two years ago to see “The March of the Penguins”.  This is a very small, old theater, and probably can accommodate no more than eighty to one hundred people at a showing, if that many.  The seats have to be the original ones and provide little comfort along with very little knee room.  Oddly, there are a couple of sofas in the theater.  The Nancy and I were warned by a Berkeley Springs’s friend that sitting on the sofas is not a good idea.  We haven’t bothered to seek the reason for this warning, but nonetheless took heed.  The sofas are heavily stained, and I do not wish to ever know the substance or the origin of the stains.  Long story short: no more movies at the Star Theater in Berkeley Springs, even if they do have the best popcorn in four states, as is claimed.

We have ventured in and out of the shops downtown (all three blocks of it), especially when we have visitors to the Farm.  The shops provide the guests something to do and give me a chance to not be obligated to visit with the guests and make nice for a few moments.  That could be a joke, if you want it to be?  Some of the locals believe the shops are mere fronts for more nefarious enterprises.  The Nancy and I do not, for that would be a judgment, and we only make judgments about friends and family.

I have my faves when it comes to the local eateries.  I have spoken of Lot 12 numerous times.  You have to eat there to truly appreciate the artistry of Damian Heath’s food.  Others in town rate on a range of pretty good down the scale to bulk, filler food or just plain “bad.”

I like the Warm Springs Diner for my pancakes.  I think they may be the best I have ever had.  The Nancy likes the Jesus restaurant (Maria’s Garden) because they will make her poached eggs the way she likes them - all runny and laying on a bed of dry toast.  I give in and go the Jesus restaurant because I love The Nancy (and she controls the love making, but I can’t use that as a reason) and want HER to be happy.

Tari’s is another nice place for good food, but I don’t like to there much anymore.  The menu is about a hundred years old, and after dining there once a day for seven weeks when we first moved here, I got a little tired of it.  The Mexican restaurant in town, where we eat a couple times a month, has great food, but the tired interior leaves a lot to be desired – it gives the appearance of being dirty, even if it isn’t. 

We have two pizza joints: one is horrible, the other not worth the bother.  “Pizza that Sucks” could be the motto of both places.  True Italians (of Japanese decent) would commit Hara-kiri before they would eat at either one of them.  The word according to me is that Berkeley Springs has no pizza, at least none worth my money.  We have a Subway.  Need I say more?  And, a couple of other places to get sandwiches and light fare, and even a couple of new little places we have not tried.  Berkeley Springs is so small we don’t have a Walmart, but we do have a Food Lion because we don’t have a large enough population to warrant a really good grocery store.

The Troubadour, home of the Patsy Cline Museum and the Morgan County Country Wall of Fame, is our local honky-tonk.  I have written of it a couple of times. It’s a neat place with a neat, down-to-earth clientele.  We go a couple times a year to enjoy hobnobbing with regular folks, drinking - God help me - regular beer, doing regular stuff.

All in all, many people would not take to living in a small town atmosphere the way The Nancy and I have.  We fell in love with this town and these people in a matter of days.  We talk about moving away from here when we retire, from time to time.  We have talked about moving into the village just to be closer to this active little town, as well.  Deep down, though, I do not know if we ever will.  It will boil down to whether or not this Hell-of-a-guy and The Nancy can afford to stay on the Farm with a fixed income.

I do know this is my little slice of Heaven and I love it.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

 
Monday, July 16, 2007

50,000 Hits and Counting

07/16/2007

Just about the time this little ditty hits my website, Hell-of-a-Guy will have surpassed 50,000 hits.  Seems to me the first piece I posted on the site was about February 28, 2006, so this milestone hits just about eighteen months after the inaugural posting.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever contemplate anything near this kind of activity, having truly believed it would be something to play with and use as an on-line journal, and while I do that, I also hope some of the posts have been beneficial in some way to each of you who steal time on your job to check this out once in a while.  Your boss may not appreciate your use of your company’s equipment and work hours to see what Bozo and Company has used his bosses time and equipment to place here, but I do.  Thanks for being here, and ya’all come back now, ya’ hear?

With all of that said, I cannot help but wonder who all of you may be.  Since April 2006, I handed out a couple of thousand cards with the name of this website printed on them.  A lot of them given to folks I know, but a huge number handed out to strangers and gorgeous women I’d like to know – if The Nancy had a sense of humor, that is.  I have given cards out to bartenders, servers, kids, people on airplanes, at trade shows, just about anywhere I go and to a lot of the people I meet.  It has been a blast.

I have written of my first wife, my current wife, my girls, my stepdaughter, my grandchildren, cutting the grass buck naked (What?  Sorry, Mom.), about my sex life, my emotional whimpiness, my vegetarianism, getting lost in good music, watching sunrises and sunsets, about toilet seats, my search for a Higher Being, my mom and dad and God knows what else.  I have written these things at night and on weekends, at work (shhh!), but never in the bathroom.  And, it has been fun.

Thanks for coming here.  Thanks for the comments and also for the lack of critical comments.  Thanks, especially, for being part of my life.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Monday, July 09, 2007

Homosexuality, Babes, a Dirty Joke and a Lunch with Jared…

07/09/2007

Saturday I got to have the extreme pleasure of dining at a Burger King with grandson Jared, the eight-year old.  Jared is a beautiful kid: of all the grandchildren, Jared is the one that will definitely break hearts as he gets older.  He has sparkling blue eyes and blond hair and an impish smile that lights up any room as soon as he flashes it.  His features would have you think him to be Scandinavian, but his heritage is Scotch, Irish, English; trust me, he’s a very cute kid.

The Nancy and I were visiting her folks along with her sister and brother-in-law.  It was about lunchtime and a meal of yucky chicken and corn-on-the-cob was about to be served.  Inasmuch as this boy don’t do chicken and a meal of corn-on-the-cob didn’t sound very satisfying, I took my man Jared to Burger King while they others ate barnyard scavenger and a vegetable of the grass family. 

After he ate his cheeseburger and as I munched on his fries and on my Burger King Gardenburger, which is pretty yucky on its own, we had a little sixty-three year old/eight-year old conversation – you know, guy-to-guy.  Conversations with kids one-on-one are to be treasured and savored, and this one may go down as the best I have ever had.  The highlights, just so I don’t take you away from what you should be doing for too long, goes like this.

When I say something to Jared that he perceives as unmanly or feminine, he says to me “you’re gay.”  I am not sure if he says this kind of stuff for shock value (since he has little idea of being gay means), or just because it’s cool to say it, but I just thank him for the compliment and go with the flow.  I want my grandchildren to realize there is diversity in the world that takes many directions, and not to condemn things they do not understand.  The world certainly does not need eight-year old homophobes.  There is enough vitriolic on this subject being spewed out by all kinds of so called “authorities” who have never taken the test to determine their heterosexual level of enjoyment over their homosexual level of enjoyment.

Anyway, I asked him what being gay means, and he tells me, quite sincerely and with little expression on his face, “gay” means “you are happy having sex.”  As I shook my head affirmatively, as if I agreed with his definition, I asked him if that means I don’t have to be gay to be happy?  He scrunched his face with a puzzled look, as if he thought I was really stupid, and proceeded to tell me, “Look, if a boy loves a boy, he’s gay, and if a girl loves a girl, she’s a lesbian.”  I was somewhat impressed that had any idea of what a gay relationship is, and proceeded to ask how he knows all of this.  He confessed he gets all of this profound information from his friend Sammy (the Sage).  I told Jared I love him and asked if that makes me any gayer.  Being puzzled again, he simply changed the subject to something else of no import, and eventually went off to play in the Burger King indoor playground. 

Not too long later it was time for us to head back to pick up Nancy, and as we were departing the BK, Jared tells me somebody wrote something dirty on the wall of indoor maze at the BK.  Reluctantly, but in light of our previous subject, I was overcome with interest and asked what?  He said, “You know.”  I said I did not know and he said, “Dave, somebody wrote “F-you” on the wall.”  I just said “so?”  He says you know, “F-U!” and continued to spell it out for this stupid older dude.  Again shaking my head – and you do this a lot when conversing with children, I thought it might be time to change the topic, so I did not react.  I think we explored that one just about enough, and I dare not ask where that one came from.  The saga doesn’t end here.

As we were heading back to the great-grandparent’s house, we stopped at a traffic light near a Rite-Aid where a young girl, about Jared’s age, was holding up a sign with “Car Wash” written on it.  I pointed toward her and told Jared to look at the cute girl.  She was wearing a bathing suit bottom and a t-shirt and was waving at us as we drove by.  Once again, Jared shot me a smile and asked if we were getting a car wash, and I told him no because I was out of money.  He told me he had some money and he would pay, so I asked why he would want to buy me a car wash, and he said, looking back over his shoulder as she continued to sink into the distance, he wanted to go back because that girl was “hot!” 

Jared is my kind of man.  Even at age eight, guys notice hot chicks and can act like pigs, but they can entertain you to the point you want to grab them and hug them to pieces.

Later, after doing a little shopping, The Nancy and I took Jared and his sister to the Outback for a snack and a drink; beer for us, Shirley Temples for them.  We sat at the nearly empty bar (you can do that with kids in the early afternoon).  My man Jared decided to entertain the bar tender, Sara, with a joke; a dirty joke. 

I didn’t catch all of what the joke was about, but I know it involved a shower, a little boy along with his parents, but not at the same time.  It included names for features of the male anatomy (snake) and the female body (headlights and bush) and something about a snake in a bush.  When questioned about the origin of the joke, Jared simply said, “Sammy told it to me.”  It just left The Nancy and me shaking our heads, Jessica rolling her eyes, and Jared in utter stitches.  What a great day.

Want to have a lot of fun?  Take a kid out to lunch and just listen and nod.  It’s blast!

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cloud Watching

07/04/2007

This past Sunday The Nancy and I took a ride from Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, WV (aka Town of Bath), population 711, to one of our favorite places in Sterling, Virginia, The Sweetwater Grill, and also to do a little shopping and to see the movie “Ratatouille” – psst!, go see it, it’s wonderful. 

The trip to Sterling from the farm takes about an hour and half.  It was a gorgeous day and perfectly suited for our intention, which was simply to do something relaxing away from home and work.  The temperature was about seventy-five degrees with very low humidity, and absolutely no summer haze to subdue the landscape.  The sky was a magnificent blue and dotted with white, puffy clouds accented by a brilliant sun.  Just a beautiful day to be alive with nothing to have to do.  And to make the trip even nicer for me…The Nancy was at the helm and the controls, and I got to ride shotgun.

The Nancy doesn’t often drive when we are together, but when she does, I get to take in the scenery I miss when I am driving, maybe shut my eyes and dose off for a few blissful moments, but most of all I get to recline my seat a little and enjoy the ride.  I love to watch the clouds through the sunroof as they drift around the heavens.  It reminds me of summer days when I was very young, laying on the grass and looking at clouds and picking out ones that looked like an animal or something else.  Did you do it?

Well, on this day, this sixty-three year old fart got to do this again.  As The Nancy piloted the car down Rt. 522 and on to Rt. 7, I gazed at the sky looking for stuff.  I quite easily picked out a large-eared rabbit, a fat baby, lopsided Mickey Mouse’s head, a snake, a dog with a super long tail, a lady’s face surrounded by flowing hair and one cloud that looked oddly like West Virginia.  I was feeling oh so good flitting back and forth from childhood to adulthood and began to wonder if this too is part of God’s plan - these wonderfully beautiful clouds in identifiable shapes - to make us happy?  It was about that moment when a rather large cloud entered my field of vision. 

What, to my wondering eyes should appear in a sky of Viagra Blue but an incredibly large cloud of perfectly shaped male genitalia.  At first glance, I thought, perhaps, I had forced the conclusion, but a good second look proved it.  As I stared at this prodigious freak of nature and pondered it, it once again proved to me that God does have an immense sense of humor. 
 
And that is all I have to say about that…

 
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