Monday, June 27, 2005


Act II: Summer
Enter the weeds. Milkweed, treacherous foxtail, edible thistle tall as a man, with vivid purple pom-pom flowers. Kochia, invasive Italian ryegrass, redroot pigweed, sweet-smelling gobs of yellow mustard weed attracting swarms of bees. And among them stalks wiry, incredibly strong little Jeff, decked out like a superhero with a backpack tank full of poison and a spray wand. Hail the conquering hero.

What do you know? Angelina Jolie and I both have green eyes, and at some point in our lives we both found Billy Bob inexplicably attractive. Sadly, that’s where the similarities end.

Duracell and WalMart tried to screw me today by making me buy a two-pack of 9-Volt batteries for $5.00. Who needs two 9-Volt batteries? I need only one for my smoke detector. Nothing else I own requires one. I don’t think Duracell makes single packs, and if they do, the Wal staff hid them. I got wise and bought a single EverActive for $1.47.

I went to Autozone to get brake parts for Mom’s ’93 Buick Park Avenue Saturday afternoon. The guy asked for my phone number (for the warranty, he always says, but he’s asked before when I ran into him at the biker rally downtown), and since it’s Mom’s car, I gave him hers. Dad’s name popped up on the screen in big green block letters, and my eyes welled up. I get caught off guard that way. I never noticed before, but his initials were B.S., too. And he bought an awful lot of stuff at Autozone.

I got online and checked the Silver Collection website, and the auto auction at Teton Village in Jackson Hole (overpriced novelty beer at the Mangy Moose Saloon, anyone?) is this weekend. I guess I could go by myself, in memory of our pilgimage every year. In recent years Dad preferred an auction to a cruise-in (like Hot August Nights in Reno) because you could just sit and they’d drive the cars right in front of you instead of you walking rows and rows of them in the summer heat. Last year Dad had a hard time. He tried to walk from the parking lot to the auction tent on the lawn behind the Mangy Moose, but I wound up pushing his 300-plus pounds in the wheelchair most of the way there and back, which only bothered me because I knew he hated it. (He was a huge guy, but you wouldn’t have known looking at him that he weighed so much. His bones alone must have weighed 150 pounds, all six feet, two inches of them.) We stayed for just eight cars before he needed insulin and cold water and air conditioning. I guess I should have known then it would be our last trip.

We were driving Morgan’s Pontiac Grand Prix for some reason instead of his Caddy, the Pontiac black with black leather seats and sunroof and cd player and air so cold it makes my joints ache and my nose run. We stopped in Big Piney for the Fourth, to watch the fireworks they shoot over Guio’s field, where Mom and Dad used to cross country ski, off the hill in Marbleton. It made me think of the fireworks on the golf course in Coronado, where we sat on perfectly clipped greens and watched them reflected in the San Diego bay. Or the fireworks at the El Cajon Speedway, before high-profile races. Fireworks in Vegas with Dad. Sparklers and Roman Candles on Sorensen Drive, watching the City’s display from Kelly’s family’s trampoline. One year it snowed. Fireworks at Morgan’s four years ago, with my ankle in the air cast (I fell down two stairs), Dad and I side by side in folding chairs like royalty and little Cordale lighting everything he could grab on fire.

I love fireworks. Maybe it’s a good thing I live here. Google fireworks and Evanston, Wyoming, and you’ll get at least four major wholesale fireworks outlets: Phantom, Jolly Jack, Black Cat, and the extraordinary locally owned Porter’s, which is also a liquor store. Manna for the poor deprived Utahns! The City logo declares that we have Fresh Air, Freedom, and Fun, but once at City Hall I used photoshop to fix it so it said Fireworks, Firewater, and Fornication, and the uneducated director of Economic Development was not happy. (Utahns are way down on sexually-oriented businesses, too, so that’s another lucrative business venture on this side of the state, and Vision Video has got to be my favorite. I’ve never seen XXX taller in purple neon.)

I’ve completely lost any ability I ever cultivated to not overdo the length of my posts. Thus, the abrupt end.


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