xmas humor + living the legend

MY MOM: “How are you?”
ME: “Totally depressed… everyone I know is out of town. I am in my barren apartment reading the Times.
MY MOM, dryly: “Go to the top of the Empire State Building, maybe you will meet someone.
She then recounts a story about Darryl, her friend who comes over and shovels her driveway. Darryl is driving a truck with no windows; someone smashed them out a couple months ago, and he hasn’t been able to find replacements, on account of his truck being thirty-some years old. He can’t really afford it anyway. So he just drives around in the cab, naked to the wind, Witch’s tit, in’t it, frostbite weather out there. He rambles through the snow up to my mom’s house today, anyway, one mile from where he lives, and he must have been cold, because when he got there, he jumped right out of his truck and ran inside without saying anything, breathing on his hands, like he was trying to melt ice cubes. Darryl’s had a rough year, she says. His truck, in addition to having no windows, is about to go. He was working at this ranch a couple miles out of town, and the foreman said he’d sell him his old car, a Lincoln Continental. Much, much more reliable than the junkyard Ford he’s been driving around, the one that barely makes it to the ranch. “I’ll just take 100 bucks out of your pay every week,” the foreman tells Darryl, “and when we get to $1200, you can have the car.” So after Darryl puts in three months of hard labor, they get to the $1200… but when he asks for the car, the foreman reneges on the deal. He doesn’t want to sell the Lincoln Continental anymore. So Darryl says, “All right, give me the rest of my pay back, then.” But the foreman, he doesn’t think that’s fair. Because you see, Darryl’s been living at the ranch.
“His truck couldn’t make it all the way out to the ranch, because it’s about to go,” my mom tells me, “so the foreman said he could sleep there five nights a week until he paid off the Lincoln.”
The foreman doesn’t think it’s fair to give Darryl the $1200 back, because Darryl’s been living there at the ranch five days a week for three months, and he figured he oughta pay some rent. For staying there. Even though the ranch is huge. And rich. Wyoming rich, where wealth means land you can see for miles—you own acres, sage and rolling hills; you probably own the frost on the blue-orange horizon, or you probably feel that way—and cattle, and horses to ride around, and evergreen trees dusted with snow, and a lake frozen like glass, and a creek (maybe you call it Indian Creek, or Dead Indian Creek, even). And sunken fireplaces, high ceilings and and extended-cab pick-ups with satellite radio. CMT shit. Picturesque. What the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce wants you to see when your brochure comes in the mail. Some ranchers own peacocks, their eyes and feathers like jewels in the window at Bergdorf’s.
There’s really nothing Darryl can do about it. His pay was under the table, in cash. But even if it was tax-legal, it’s not like he could’ve sued—he didn’t have enough money to fix the windows in his truck, I mean, where would he get the money for a lawyer? All he can really do is walk out on the job with a shred of dignity left.
That was eight months ago. He’s been doing odd jobs since. For fun, he comes down to the track where my mom works, but he doesn’t ever place any bets, and he doesn’t drink, either. He just likes the company.
So my mom says how are you doing for money, and Darryl says I’m down to my last three dollars, so she gives him half a ham and some tamales, then he shovels the walk and she gives him twenty bucks. My mom tells me, “I don’t really do anything to help the homeless because that’s just not my thing, but I help out my friends when I can.”
Happy Holidays from Reba McIntyre’s Daughter!
p.s. someday I will tell you about the time I was six years old and met a drunken Charlie Daniels.

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One Response to xmas humor + living the legend

  1. tomas says:

    JS: thanks for the mention and the link! Love what I read in your frames. Check out http://www.syntaxrecordings.com. Listen to the sound clips of the singles pictured on the site, especially Landshark. Dirty house at its best. xxxooo-Tomas

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