random notes


    Farrier was the word on the way to Birmingham; pedorthics was the word on the way home: “the art concerned with the design, manufacture, fit, and modification of foot appliances as prescribed for relief of painful or disabling conditions of the foot.”

    On the flight from Atlanta to Manchester, I sat next to a woman who is a cobbler and had been at a pedorthics symposium to learn more about how to help people with their feet. Much like the guy who shoed horses so they could feel healthy, this woman did the same thing for humans. They also shared a love for their work. I came away amused that my trip had been bookended by feet.


    Ginger doesn’t come home until tomorrow night, so I stopped at Blockbuster to pick up a movie to pass the time and ended up taking an unexpected journey. Kevin Wilmott wrote and directed The Confederate States of America, a mock documentary history of our nation as if the South had won the Civil War. It has the look and feel of Ken Burns’ work, using some original footage, along with old newsreels and educational films, and peppering it all with some bitingly satiric commercials.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when it started. I was half prepared for a very anti-Southern diatribe, which it was not. It was much more about “us” as a nation rather than “them” as the South. Wilmott does a wonderful job capturing our personality as a nation and resituating it in the changed outcome of the war; he also has a keen eye for what the consequences might have been. The most disturbing thing is some of them are not that much different than what life looks like in America today. It’s worth watching – and watching with some folks who can talk about it afterwards.


    My father-in-law had a good weekend for the most part. There was obvious evidence that his short-term memory is fading and the family reunion offered him the chance to relish in the times he remembers with astounding detail. He’s a good storyteller and he’s got some great stories to tell. My favorite moment of the weekend came I was getting ready to fix dinner Friday night. Soon after Ginger and I met, I told her one day the difference in our families’ attitude towards food was when my family ate it was an event; her family ate so they didn’t die. Neither of my in-laws feel compelled to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

    “What are you fixing for dinner?” my father-in-law asked.
    “Pot roast,” I answered.
    With a mischievous look in his eye and a gentle smile aimed at his wife he said, “Pot roast – what’s that?” And then he laughed. We all did.


    One more movie note that’s just too good to pass up. When I clicked back to the TV after the CSA movie was over, Cool Hand Luke was on. Paul Newman is the coolest guy ever. For no other reason than the scene just grabbed me, here is Luke’s prayer in the closing scenes of the film:

    “Anybody here? Hey, Ol’ Man, You home tonight? Can you spare a minute? It’s about time we had a little talk. I know I’m a pretty evil fella. Killed people in the war and got drunk and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much but even so, you gotta admit, you ain’t dealt me no cards in a long time. It’s beginnin’ to look like you got things fixed so I can’t never win out. Inside, outside, all ’em rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Just where am I supposed to fit in? Ol’ Man, I gotta tell ya. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it’s beginnin’ to get to me. When does it end? What do ya got in mind for me? What do I do now? All right. All right. (He kneels on his knees and cups his hands in prayer.) On my knees, askin’. (pause) Yeah, that’s what I thought. I guess I’m pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case. I guess I gotta find my own way.”

    A few police cars drive up in front of the church. Dragline calls out to his friend from the church door: “Luke?”

    Luke looks up and addresses an aside to God: “That’s your answer ol’ Man? I guess you’re a hard case too.”



    1. Pot roast: Dad did a similar funny once —

      Me: “What’re we having with the chicken, Mom?

      Mom: “Oh, cheese biscuits, peas, corn on the cob…”

      Dad, pathetic voice of starvation: “I had some corn once…”

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