Thursday, May 21, 2015


   I'm thinking the title was uttered by Yogi Berra--maybe not. For sure, he did say, "I feel more like I do today than I ever have before."  I'll get to the deja vu business in a minute, but now, let's get back to Shaking Down in Uwharrie National Park. What we have here is a 55,000 acre park---all thick forest, plus a   jumbo lake. Where did they park us? I In the only open space in the park---a double site for tent camping out in a blazing meadow! The upshot was that it was a hot as a $2 pistol & the humidity was on a par with the temperature---around 90. A lot of sweat, good food, and lots of laughs. Did some hiking and rubbernecking the obsessed bass fishermen frantically hauling ass up and down the lake.   We experienced our first enclave of Latino ATV enthusiasts, camped just down the trail. Amazed that they'd picked up this Americana hobby, complete with triple-axel trailer to haul their  tricked- out rigs; etc. They were very nice neighbor campers who were cooking up some good-smelling grub and laughing a bunch.
   And now for the deja vu business:  En route home we buzzed over to Troy, NC the county seat of Montgomery Co., where Uwharrie is located. Our goal was to find  (a) the farm house I lived in from 1969-1970, and (b) find Montgomery Community College where I worked. Strange feelings were afoot. I interviewed and got the job as Student Personnel  Director at MCC on 20 July 1969, the day America planted its flag on the moon. My  former wife was nine + mons. pregnant--the baby wiggling around, wanting to be born, while I was wiggling around wanting to be the hell done with the interview and drink a cold beer. I liked living way out in the country, but my wife was more of a "city girl" and she wasn't very happy. I had a batch of beagle hounds. At night I'd sit on the back steps and listen to them howl and hunt---chasing deer, coons--whatever they'd roust out of the brambles. It was pretty much heaven---but then again it wasn't, so we moved to Charlotte, I left my beagles with country boys---even Sid, my favorite. The old fellow I left Sid with had a bunch of coon hounds meandering around his yard. Sid leaped out of the truck, ran over to an old hound, did the usual fanny sniffing dogs do, and seemed to fit right in. But It was sad driving away---watching him fade from view in the rearview mirror.  I just didn't have the heart to take a free beagle into the city.
   The community college was new, aesthetically pleasing,  and we were received like dignitaries. It was semester break with no students & the Student Activities Dir. took us on an hour-long tour. It was gratifying to see how passionate he was about the College and its mission. Ann, being a potter, tripped out over their noted, pottery studio--especially the wood-fired kiln not allowed in Charlotte.
   So it was deja vu all over again and my 46-year-old memories and feeling were all over the chart. Weird, weird, weird.
   Home again, home again. The EGG's in the driveway recuperating-- as are we, and the AC is like manna from de pearly gates.
   In a week or so I'll be publishing my took titled OH, NELLY! Once the books done, we've had a big-ass book launch celebration & I've got 50 or so copies to give out to friends, family, the NC Arts Council that awarded me the writers' fellowship & some others due a copy, we're gonna get the hell out of Dodge and head for Maine and environs.
   I feel more like I do right now than I ever have before. Sorry if I've been overly self-absorbed. I'll do better next blog.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


      First, you gotta spell Uwharrie. It's tricky business----spelling the word and launching the EGG's First Seasonal Trailering  escapade.
      We had to re-learn the fact that it takes as much time to prepare for a five-day jaunt as it does for a five month trip.
     Here's how it unfolded: grease the EGG wheels, pump up the  tires, adjust the brakes, get a new battery (for the EGG's elec. system), fill the water tanks, test sink, toilet, & shower's pressurized water systems, wash the unit, wax the unit, jockey the unit around the neighborhood while doing this stuff because I've got a shared driveway and there's little room. Bought  $120+ worth of provisions. Went through EGG's big, gray crates to see that we've got everything needed, serviced and test-fire the Honda generator because this is a National Park and there is no electricity, sewer hook-ups or water at the camp sites--only rustic showers, toilets and water faucets  every three or four sites. So you gotta fill up the EGG's water tank at home (120 extra lbs.) to lug along with you.
     So we did all this stuff and we're out in the woods!!!! Praise Yogi de Bear!!!!
What's more, they gave us a double site that's isolated & not far from the lake!!! So we're  happy campers, as it were. One aside:  en route, we discovered that we had no onions. Given that we're having hotdogs this pm you gotta have onions, right? So. we did a panic exit off highway 49 in hopes of getting to a country Food Lion that had whizzed past, & it sent us into a parallel universe of skinny country roads, only to come upon a Jehovah's Witness Parking lot where we did a gravel spewing U-turn and doubled back to 49. "Screw a bunch of onions!" we both said. In case you don't know, turning around when pulling a trailer is a pain in the arse. Many a time we've driven miles and miles---often down skinny, twisting  roads---often gravel---not having a clue, but bent on finding a bloody spot to turn around. Amazing what you come upon during these asides.
     Enough of this probably boring jabber.
      Oh yeah, we bought some onions, so all's truly well.
      Dick Randall