Bryan\College Station, TX | Thursday AM | In a land betwixt here and somewhere Beaumont, Texas, is a crossroads called Hempstead. Cool name and at the same time a sort of sad.
From Houston runs the Old Hempstead Highway, which still has beside it the tracks. Beaumont is the Eastern whistle stop of this ruminant transportation line.
With that geography lesson you can see the train tracks on your Google Earth. It is a flat almost straight shot line of tracks with very little obstruction, and plenty of nothing to look at along the way.
Trains might still run cattle and other livestock, I really don't know and it is only descant to this tale.
A generation of Billie Joes' has come and gone. Following the Vietnam War it became laughingstock to call someone -- male or female -- "B. J." It is slang for fellatio, and deflates the impact of calling someone by their initials. You get the picture, no?
Various forms of media have precluded and supplanted our twenty-first century "nicknaming." Political correctness disallows much of it; GG, TA, JR, all refer to television and movie over-done-ness. But how to describe a person who is not droll? That is our reason for nicknaming our friends. You aren't just William; you are "Dubya."
We used to give them pet names: CL senior, and CL junior, is an example of father and son from Hempstead. Their specialty was Bronc busting in the Rodeo until they decided to get into the accounting business.
Now referring to: Urban Dictionary -- this site tries to document nomenclature of vernaculars rising in our language: advertised as "Yahtzee to Nazi."
JR for instance is defined -- " ... Verb; When one of your friends gets absolutely shit-hauled. Noun; Often includes sweaty dancing, chewing tobacco, constant hat turning and commonly partakes in "multi-friending" ... " Used as a verb; "Man i'm gonna get right JR'd tonight!" used as a noun; "Look at that guy, what a JR."And that definition of JR does not describe who I am talking about. That passage describes some drug store cowboy, metro Sparky.
Unfortunately, CL is the name of a guy who is no longer with us. He resided in Hempstead. After growing up riding bulls in the rodeo, he spent the rest of his life dealing with all the arthritis from throes of his teenage years. He had a buddy named RD. RD continues the Swap Meet Circuit of Central Texas.
And this is the point of today's report. RD has survived his friend, who was also his partner in the business. RD drives a big white Chevy pickup with a two wheel covered trailer in tow. It is not a travel trailer, but a cargo type with a side door.
Sometimes when I was setting up at night before the next day's opening, RD would be settled in his trailer and minding his business all comfy cozy like.
His trailer was set up with rack [bed roll], potty, and little cook stove and the likes.
After a few of these nights I dropped over and introduced myself to RD. He was not a drinker, just puffed cigarettes pretty constant. Regular fella; wearing a straw cowboy hat, cotton shirt tucked into jeans -- no big fancy buckle or showy stuff. No jewelry -- just his wedding band. He had white hair, and glasses and seemed to be in his late fifties.
I sauntered over to his tables where he had set out his merchandise and had a browse. It was covered with surgical tools -- especially surgical clamps. There were hard to find things like back scratchers, scissors and blades, tiny screwdriver sets and electrical fix-it doodads. He had some tack and hard to find horse care things. Yeah he is that guy!
"RD, I see you here over-night sometimes," I said after I felt he wouldn't mind the asking.
"Yep," RD replied.
After a bit more I said: "Do you come far to these meets?"
"Nope. Just from Hempstead," he answered. "Let's just say, there's some people at my house tonight, and those other nights, that I don't much get along with. So I just sleep here in my trailer."
"Oh," I replied. ... [thought I to myself -- 'So, that is how one maintains a long marriage']
That's our Report from the Middle tonight; where men are good-looking, women are strong and the children are all above average. Good night.