Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, ladies and gentlemen.
I learned a few things this morning. I learned that the bookstore at 123 East Main St. is not open at that time on Sunday morning. I learned also that there is a bearded man in an orange shirt on East Main Street in Rochester New York who would very much like to know if you have an extra cigarette he might have.
Extra? I don’t even have one.
I wanted to show Mom the previous living situation. We could only gaze into the lobby, but I think she understood the gist of my living standard for the past four years. Especially after man in the orange shirt asked us a second time on the pass the other way up the street if we had an extra cigarette and then in front of the music store where one man on a bicycle had already successfully cajoled a dollar from one of these four or five young Dave Matthews Band fans, and when a second, not on a bicycle, approached to ask them where’s HIS dollar, the first man on the bicycle commenced to school the second gentleman on his bad form.
This was on a Sunday morning.
Thank you all for helping me clarify to my Mother that her help and my dear Grandma’s help in getting me moved elsewhere was a good idea. I severely appreciate it.
I did get to show off the gem of the neighborhood, Hart’s grocery. Grabbed one of my favorite morning staples, the Natalie’s Grapefruit Juice. You should go there and buy one because they are the most best things around.
They even taste good without vodka. I’m not kidding. And, for some reason, I can’t find a single drop of the product in my new neighborhood. I’m going to take this to you, Lori’s Natural Foods. I want my Natalie’s gapebook juice. It’s dreamy.
Anyway. So after that we took East Ave. to Clover to all the way to Honeyoye Falls, so that was quite the scenic route. Tried to show Mom the house she rescued me from buying but couldn’t find it. She said hey. We’re here. Let’s go to Canandaigua. (She is still working on pronouncing that town’s name without getting that little cramp in her neck and then somehow saying “Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin.” We’re working on it. I cannot wait until we graduate to “Ganondagan.” I can’t even say that one yet without the eye twitch and the sweating and all.)
(I don’t even ask my Mother to say “Rehoboth” anymore. Her doctors insist. It’s “that beach in Delaware” or weeks of steroids.)
So we went to Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin and there were boats and a beach you had to pay five dollars to get in. And we went to Wally’s for lunch and they apparently like to blare the local country station at you while you consume there excellent food in their weird little dive. I of course had the full-on Wally Burger, my Mother had the chicken cordon bleu.
We crossed the road to walk up and down and some broad yelled at us about taking the crosswalk, although we did not hold up traffic a bit. I showed her my bare ass. It was magical.
Then I said, but we’re 14 miles from Geneva. And we went.
Geneva, I think, is an improvement over Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin. I find it not a bit ironic that, just miles from Ingersoll’s first home are some really beautiful churches, really, they are stunning, and in this tiny lakeside place. Geneva downtown is open and lovely, and pleasantly hilly. This to me, with my limited knowledge of the geography, is the start of wine country, and I only know that from several attempts previous to visit Ingersoll’s house in Dresden (New York).
I mentioned Dresden to the cheerful, helpful woman at the Geneva visitors’ center (open Sunday), and how the place is basically a post office, Ingersoll’s house, and some kind of military installation. Yes, she says. Long since decommissioned, and boy was that a hit to the area. Wow. I had no idea.
No sightseeing heading back. Full-on thru-way, baby Then a beer on my deck. Then a fine meal at the finest bar in ROC, the J.B. Quimby’s.
I think if the goal was to give my Mom a good snapshot of the area as she daydreams about where to spend her life in future years now, I think we did okay.
Yep. I think we did okay.
In Other News
As I punched up the elevator, a neighbor of mine was talking in the lobby on his mobile device. He said, “so, what do you think of Big Brother? I think they’re going to get rid of that girl…”
I said “SHHHHH! I haven’t seen it yet!”
And I wasn’t kidding. Off to watch it now. What a stupid thing to do, and yet,
and I need a good read. I have thumbed through the Netflix menu enough lately. I have suffered the idiocy of Big Brother enough. I am still a month away from a new season of Grey’s Anatomy. The only thing worth watching on TV worth a darn is season three of Halt and Catch Fire, which I eat up like they’re Snacky Smores and feel so fortunate to be able to stream on SlingTV, a streaming service which is really coming into its own these days.
This having spent the last two months binge-watching Mad Men on the Netflix. So you know how you feel when you finish one of those. Spent. Rudderless. Existentially fraught. Like someone just burned the full fuse. It is a beat-up feeling.
The problem being that even mediocre literature in television is few and far between. An art piece like Mad Men or Breaking Bad or even Louie doesn’t often show its brassy face. The demand that television encounters, the vacuous black hole it orbits, so immense that they will throw anything in there to fill it.
I have a constant need to feed my brain, and I keep looking to television to do that, and that’s foolish because it can’t. The more sustainable brain diet is books, ya see, is what I getting at.
Besides, I done set up a new reading nook.
So I need a good read, and as fortune has it, tomorrow I will be near 123 East Ave. See, my Mom is in town for the weekend. I want to show her my previous life, so we’ll trek downtown first probably. And me, I need a new book. My brain itches.
Mom seemed to dig the new place. We sat on the deck and drank beer, she a Rolling Rock, me a Founder’s Session IPA. Then we drove to the farm and DOD put a trout on the grill and I did fried green tomatoes with remoulade. It was a fine repast and a good preparation for adventures tomorrow.
In a few weeks, I’m going to get in my car and drive for three hours to the best place I’ve ever known, and one of the big reasons I’m going there is to sit on a new bench.
In our own Star’s Hollow, known as Edinboro, there are benches available as memorial tributes. Ours will read: “Barney and Arla Gwynn. Home at the lake forever.”
The bench will reside beside a childrens’ playground that is just across the street from her house, where she spent countless hours watching the little rascals swing and slide and scream. The tribute will now provide parents a place to take a load off while they’re watching their little rascals swing and slide and scream. It’s perfect.
What I’m learning following her death is that when somebody as vital to you as she was to me dies, you start learning more about them. I had never truly considered, for example, that when I, her only grandson, was born, she was 44 years old. And that when her husband died, she was 62. Which means she lived in the widows’ weeds for 30 years. Nearly a third of her life.
I think of this not to be maudlin, but because it leads me to understand her better. During her life, I could never understand why she insisted on traveling to Florida every year, or why she stayed in Edinboro, or why she never got rid of anything. It was because she was still leading the life that she and her husband led. I think my Grandma was forever motivated by the life she led with her Barney. I think she did many things because that’s what they used to do.
My Grandma G was born April 25, 1924, and she stopped refusing to die on May 26, 2016, at 92.
I have been spending ever since trying to write about her here. She was probably my most loyal reader, after all, and she would be upset not to find her passing noted in this space.
I first started writing about it by scouring the obit. It was all I could do. I hadn’t lived it long enough yet. And so for months, I’ve been working on one long piece here about Arla May Gwynn.
But I’ll never get that finished. Because, honestly, and I am somewhat surprised by this, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever finish mourning her. So. Stories will come. I will need to write them down.
Arla G isn’t just one entry. She’s a category.
One that will probably be heavily used next week. Thank you for listening.