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The Village Idiot

Life after the factory

Jack Deatherage, Jr.

(8/2017) I was recently in Wally World looking at backpacks that might hold all the gear I've been carrying to hopefully fishable waters. It's one thing to put a small cooler of drinkables, two soft tackle bags, up to three hard case tackle boxes, two rods & reels, a box of bait and a bag for picked up trash in the back of Tattoo Don, Pillar of the Community's truck so he can haul all that, plus his gear and us to the water's edge. It's an all together different adventure if I decide to fish some distant hole when Don is working and I can't drive my car as close to water as he can his truck. Having to hump that much gear through a half mile of shoulder high weeds, scrub, trees and brambles infested with ticks and biting buzzers isn't a pleasant prospect when I realize I staggered back to the car after the last such exploration without having carried any gear at all! If I keep this up I'll eventually not come home under my own power.

Which reminds me of the lecture I got from DW and Don. I'd decided I could get down to a water's edge after studying a steep, flood debris packed creek bank last month. Sure it was in my head that if I fell and broke a bone I'd likely die there as I hadn't told anyone I was going creek exploring. Yes, I was thinking wading an algae slick dam wasn't the smartest thing I'd done of late. Nor was wading upstream over equally slick rocks looking for a fishing hole and a less steep bank to climb back to the road a particularly brilliant idea! Even though I may have found a fishable hole, it was in my head that I was exhausted and not able climb up the way I'd come down.

Looking at the cluttered bank -that had only an hour gone looked merely daunting, I realized I might need rescuing. Oh hell no. I'd rather fall in the creek and drownd! (According to Google, "drownd" is an archaic form of drown. Being archaic myself, I get to use drownd instead of drown.)

Up the bank, over and through the tangles of tree limbs, brambles and trash I climbed -fishing rod in hand! Through the poison ivy, or oak (I don't know one from the other) and broken beer bottles onto the hardtop. I'd have shouted, Ooh RAH, had I the breath to do so.

I should hand out pictures of myself to the local cops so they can more easily identify the corpse when they eventually find me rotting along the water's edge, or on some mostly forgotten path to the water. Should I be found "maggoty" under such circumstances, I've no objection to being rolled into the water to feed the fishes. (Hey, I've nibbled enough fish flesh over 63 years to understand my debt to the watery denizens.)

"Can't you find something to do at home when Don can't take you fishing?"

Did I just ask myself that, or was it DW? Seems too practical to have been me, so I'll answer DW.

Other than running for mayor (which I ain't doing) I've set up a straw bale garden that can be tended by a four year old now that it's working, more or less as planned. (Possibly the first garden I've ever attempted that is as planned!) I suppose I should be soliciting area kids to work a bigger garden of bales, but that pipe dream drifted away sometime ago.

The latest flush of bread building madness has faded and the cake building insanity that followed the bread has slowly returned to its embryonic state as both wait for the next flare up of baking mania.

Nine packets of wine yeast reside in the fridge as I contemplate what wines I might build with them. Currently a bucket of ginger root, lemons and 5-gallons sugar water is bubbling wildly in the bedroom -that room being cool enough for wine fermentation. I'm thinking 15 pounds of bananas and 10 pounds of sugar will be the basis of the next batch of wine I build.

But beans, bread and boozey hobbies still leave me with hours of time to occupy with something other than napping. Napping tends to promote dreaming and dreams tend to lead me into adventures that irritate the DW.

I suppose I could do what so many others seem to be doing these days and start worrying about my health. I'm well aware my ever more frequent napping has atrophied my muscles, not that they were ever developed beyond minimum need anyhow. Also the recent, frequent sampling of various flavors, ferments and distillations of alcohol has given me cause to learn a new medical term -gynecomastia. My first thought was, I got a cancer tumor, and not bothering to see a doctor about the situation led to a second thought -I still might have cancer. (yawn)

Edema has recently entered my daily vocabulary, only because I can pronounce edema. I wasn't surprised that fluid collecting in my feet and lower legs is related to my lack of exercise, alcohol intake and diet. (I'll get started on a reduced salt diet right after I build and eat the next batch of my interpretation of the New Orleans classic- Muffaletta. A glorious sandwich packed with salty Italian cured meats, cheeses and olive salad rich in olive oil!)

The gynecomastia is reason enough to cutback on alcohol because the effects of the condition may help keep my head above water when I eventually fall in while fishing. Edema though is seriously interfering with my fishing and creek exploring. If I can't get that under control I may break down and actually ask Doc Thomas to write a prescription. (I don't want to go down that road because I've seen where it leads!) Hopefully, exercise in the form of fishing and creek exploring, and diet will be enough to deal with what all ails me medical-wise.

So what do I do while all these slowly evolving hobbies wind themselves to whatever end? Mostly I hangout at the Emmitsburg Tattoo Company -Don has a better air-conditioner than we have at home. And I don't spend money there, though Don should charge me for the education I'm getting.

Were I not hanging about (gasp) a tattoo parlor -marveling at Don's people skills, I'd never have flipped through tattoo flash books to discover Japanese koi tattoos! I've passed the fish flash on to First Sister who immediately fell in love with the style and began painting flashy fish on T-shirts! I'll eventually be strutting- ummm toddering about town in her work.

And who but Don would listen to me complain about having never discovered my life's vocation, then tell me (after the short time he's known me) that learning about whatever catches my attention is my vocation? Maybe the Mad One did, but senility advances and she isn't here to nag- I mean remind me!

Sheesh. Where was Don fifty years ago when that observation might have changed my life? Oh yeah. He hadn't been born yet.

Read other articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.