Saturday, August 16, 2008

Old Man Ray

I dug holes when I was a little gipper. That's just what we did. We dug holes, sat in them, and carved out neat little corridors to hide a tin of baseball cards, a few bucks we made washing the neighbors' cars, snacks, and the bad kids hid tattered dirty magazines and cigarette butts. No, don't worry, of course I didn't.

I remember one particular hole above all others, though. This hole should have been featured on Modern Marvels or one of those numerous Discovery Channel programs that praise human ingenuity and skill. A full work day of laborious shoveling and scooping was our pride and gain. It must have been ten feet deep and it had beautiful structure and form, fit for Caesar, if Caesar had desired a hole.

All the while, Old man Ray across the street had been prying his fingers between the blinds, doing what bored old people do best: watch kids play and then go outside and cause unnecessary tension. There is a constant battle between the upset old man and the group of kids. Ray couldn't handle the hole, or better put, the wonder. Our hole was better than his life. It was better than the humdrum TV show he was watching while we were digging it. It was better than his wife's banter about getting the new prescriptions. It was better than his lazy boy, his prim lawn, and garage full of power tools he couldn't pick up. Better than his khakis, cigarettes, and varicose veins. Better than his cat tearing up the couch, his new kitchen, and caged screaming birds.
We were livin' and he was dyin'. We were diggin' and he was sittin'.

He came trotting out of his dungeon and we knew what was coming.

To this day, Old man Ray will not wave back to me when I pass him on the street or ride my bike by his house. Did we dig one hole too many? Can we get past this hole issue?


SteveBag said...

You better watch what you say about old man Ray...he is still alive and may be blogging himself. If he reads this he may come over and kick your @#%

JeffreyLocke said...

Haha! For my own safety, should I change his name to "old man Sam" or. . . you know what? there is no possible way Ray believes in computers, let alone blogging, and if he does, I expect a rebuttal and his side of the story.

T.S.B. said...

I remember that hole. I remember digging it. I recall the damp, musty smell of dirt (the kind you can only find a few feet down in the middle of a Nuevo summer). I can invision the little bits of tree roots and quartz stone. I can still see the swirl of mica.

I also remember my rage at that killjoy Ray.

The hole was perhaps our finest fort achievement, aside from that palm frond lean-too that the tractor ran over.

Jamie Simko said...

Digging holes is a required activity for kids.

You learn so much about politics digging those holes, especially when the kids from the other part of town are envious of your great achievement that is about to be reached. They all can see the enthusiasm in your eyes and can't stand to see you so excited, they must destroy it.

I was that asshole once. I rode my dirtbike through Kayla Ritchies hole ohce just to be a cool bad-ass in front of the Pawloski brothers, Jordan Lee, and Cody Dorman.

Kayla Cried afterward, I felt like a real idiot.

I think I should go apologize even though it was about 8 years ago.

What do you think?

JeffreyLocke said...

Timmy, Nuevo dirt is the finest dirt to be had and dug. I have fond memories of you and I scoopin' and shovelin' Nuevo's gold. And that palm frond lean-to was probably God's way of showing us Heaven.

Jamie, why you gotta be a jerk?! And I don't believe digging is required for children anymore. Look at Johnny's new children. Under his wing, there is no escape. No dirt. Only video games that possibly deal with dirt, but are not remotely comparable to the real thing.

Levi Bagdanov said...

I heard that there is a video game that is much like guitar hero except the controller is a shovel and you simply dig holes.

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I am recent graduate just looking at the dirt, writing about it.