Sunday, September 26, 2010
Williamson has a few two or three story buildings. But it is not much of a city anymore. Not like it used to be. Three-thousand people live along a collection of streets that snake along the flattest ground. Between the roads and the river is one of America's largest rail yards. More than a dozen railroad tracks sit side-by-side, ready to take all of the coal that comes down out of the hills north to Huntington and the barges. Everything in town is a bit monotonous and inconspicuous, except for the thing you see when you turn left on to East 2nd Street. There, among the vacant storefronts, is the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sits inside The Coal House, a black cube created from 65 tons of coal mined from a single mammoth seam in Mingo County.
I know all of this now. I didn't know any of it when we drove through a gap in the flood wall and left.
Friday, September 17, 2010
It's Friday afternoon. Girlfriend and I unfold our chairs on Carolina Beach, go for a walk, then plop down and start in on our books. I've got a big collection of Ernest Hemingway short stories that I've been meaning to get to. The first one, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, is about a guy who goes on a safari. He encounters a lion. He runs away. He's a coward. Then, he redeems himself, and regains his chutzpah by killing a bison. Only it's not dead. Francis meets a rather horrible end.
As I read that, I notice the waves are getting bigger. Big four or five footers are crashing just a few yards offshore. At least a dozen surfers are bobbing up and down in the water. It looks intense.
Time to prove to Girlfriend that I'm no coward.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Let me get you up to speed.
FuglyFest is actually an ancient Greek word, meaning "drunken prosperity." Aristotle threw it around a lot at parties in Athens, and although history remembers him as one of civilization's great thinkers, Aristotle always thought of himself as a guy who could cook up some mean lamb-kebobs while pounding enough Ouzo to bring down a rhinocerous.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
ME: Jake! Hey, we're from Charlotte!
JAKE (looks confused): What?
ME: We're from Charlotte!
JAKE: No, you mean Cleveland.
ME: No. Charlotte.
ME: Can I take a picture of you and my girlfriend?