Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The view out my door this morning,  The blue thing is a water can. Experienced boondockers like myself have several so we can "water up" when we go to town without taking our whole rig.  The temperature is 80 as I write (3:15 pm Tuesday).

 Meet Cruiser---Brad's dashing little dog---at a very proud moment---he just caught mouse---on our morning walk.  (most of us walk an hour together at 8 AM.
 At 10 AM we have "tea and topic" ----Those who wish---gather with our coffee (or tea) to focus on a topic.  Today we discussed FEAR.  Laurie led our discussion.

Then favored us with a song from her album: "Let go ego."

 A few steps away is this view of Mt. Humphrey---Arizona's highest point. (12,600 ft)
I show this to remind you where we are. 


#7 GERMAN SOLDIERS----Prisoners of war---thousands of them interned just 10 miles south of us in Tallulah.  I remember them as a friendly bunch.  Local farmers and businessmen could go and get truckloads of them to work on whatever.  I suppose these were the trustees.  I got the impression they were happy to wait out the war over here.  My father once got two truckloads of them to retrieve a tractor that fell off a barge into the Mississippi River.  I recall seeing them scattered across cotton fields.  Their pay was minimal---but they seemed happy to be out doing something.

#8 THE VILLAGE IDIOT---RAYMONDELL BLACK---As unkind as this appellation is---it is accurate.  He was obviously mentally ill--- wandered all over town---half naked---yelling strange sounds when he felt like it---he knew my name and would scream it at me.  Sometimes late at night we could hear his unearthly screech.  His family cared for him as best they could and he had a life of sorts.  It pains me to tell how his story ended.  We kids were once teasing him and in anger he threw a small metal rod that just skinned my sister's head. The authorities came and took him to the insane asylum in Pineville, La.  AND HE NEVER CAME BACK------dying there many years later.  To this day I feel a bit guilty about it.  I personally feel that everybody who can manage to live outside an institution should be allowed to. 

#9 SHORTY----His name was Robert Wooley---he was a good natured alcoholic who
for mysterious reasons attached himself to our town.  It had a bar--a liquor source and no one objected to his sleeping in the abandoned cars,  People would hire him for assorted jobs  and he was a good worker if you let him drink on the job.  He told everyone that he lived in the Packard hotel---his favorite abandoned car.  He must have had a small pension because he did not earn enough to stay drunk.  He lived for many years in this haphazard fashion.  Once when the bar was closed for a day---I saw with horror the terrible need he had for alcohol.  Shorty bought a big bottle of listerene from our store----AND DRANK IT.  I went away to college and was told the end of his story:  Sympathetic friends dragged an old school bus shell to a vacant lot and he made it livable.  One night folks heard him screaming and dismissed it as another drunk episode.  They found his body next morning---he had died of the DT's----a hard way to go---was buried in the paupers cemetery.

#10 THE DOG MAN----We never knew his name.  He appeared in the late 40's and cobbled together scrap pieces of roofing tin into a makeshift shanty in a patch of weeds
in an area of dubious ownership.  He was an established character in town when I came to consciousness.  He had about 5 dogs for company---was bearded and grizzled----hardly spoke to anyone.  Every day he pushed a two wheeled handcart into the woods and came back with some firewood.  My father engaged him once---said he was intelligent but spoke with a foreign accent---said he played a decent game of checkers.
Then one winter morning word spread that the dog man was dead---had somehow burned himself up.  I remember  vividly being the tour guide that morning to  all the curious.  I guided them down the trail through the tall grass to his shack and showed them the crack where they could see the body---still smoldering and black as coal.  I've forgotten what happened to his dogs.  Rumors said he was an escaped Nazi.  

#11 EELS----We never knew they were living among us in the ditches that drained our town-----until my father won the contract to clean them out.  His dragline worked for days digging and dumping mud.  Strange long slithery creatures were being dredged up.  They scrambled back toward the water---any convenient water---even a puddle had one squirming in it.  My sister, fishing for crawfish  battled one from a ditch  behind our house----it would not let go and neither would she.  Hundreds of these creatures were "outed" for a day---then vanished. Only now has the mystery been solved to my satisfaction.  They were freshwater eels and little did we suspect their incredible secret:   From our tiny town these alien creatures travel downstream through many tributaries----out the mouth of the Mississippi----across the Gulf of Mexico----around Florida----through the heart of the Bermuda triangle----to a whirlpool of dead water and  detritus in the middle of the Atlantic ocean known as the SARGASSO SEA.  Here, in a never witnessed mating ritual, they spawn and die.  Their offspring make their way back, back, back---like salmon to the ditches of Sondheimer. 

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I hope you are beginning to see the larger points I'm trying to make with these stories.  I will continue till I tire of telling them---more to come.


Page said...

I am enjoying your tales. They resonate.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating stories. Kepp'em coming.
I always enjoy your blog posts.

Elaine said...

My husband and I were having difficulty with a menu one evening in a pub in northern Germany when a gentleman, noticing our bewidered faces approached and asked if he could help. We asked where and how he had learned English. He replied that he had been a guest of Uncle Sam as a prisoner of war in Louisianna.
We certainly enjoyed his help and company in that little German village where we knew no one.

Elaine in BC Canada

Linda Sand said...

There's a POW camp in Algona, Iowa, with a website where many Germans have written to say how safe they felt there during the war.

I'm enjoying your stories. Keep them coming, please.

Michael said...

Those eels are up here in PA too! : )