180 Proof and Pyrolyzed

I’ve been home for almost a week and still haven’t bothered unpacking- I head out again tomorrow morning for another couple weeks of hipster soul/funk shenanigans and sitting in my backyard, sipping moonshine and writing songs about escaping cults seems like a far better use of my time.

Fire’s a mesmerizing thing, its light reflecting off my Breedlove’s glossy finish, swimming in the mason jar of moonshine at my feet, creating a penumbra of tentative hope.  180 proof and pyrolyzed creative muse.  

I’m preparing myself for Full Emo Mode, the all-too-familiar sardonic spiral downward, when my rumination’s interrupted by my neighbor, Big Country.  Clad in overalls and a mesh Budlight cap, he’s encouraging me to play “some real hillbilly music,” which, hilariously, means Glen Campbell.  A verse and chorus of Rhinestone Cowboy’s usually enough to reinforce the Shared Fence Treaty, and he retreats to his living room, reminding me not to slip any of that “vegan shit” under the fence for his dog.  I like Big Country.  Every morning, I brew some coffee and head outside, invariably met by BC drying his clothes on the fence.  We talk about life.  I don’t bring up Trump and he doesn’t hold against me that I’m yet another privileged, converse wearing hipster with thick rimmed glasses moving into his neighborhood.   

This past Wednesday morning, Big Country asks me if I believe in God.  I decide to be honest.  Well, I say, I believe in kindness, listening to people and that nobody has the monopoly on good ideas.  If that’s God, ok, fair enough, but I don’t think that’s the whole story.  Big Country smiles closed-lipped, takes a sip from his worn, oversized Tennessee Titans cup and squints at me, his crows feet revealing a life spent working long hours outdoors.  Trevor, he says, my dad’s sick.  You’re a good kid.  Pray for my dad.  I’m pretty sure God’ll hear ya.

So, that night, I pray for Big Country’s dad.  I sit in my living room and allow my mind to wander towards who I imagine BC’s dad to be- surrounded by grandkids chasing fireflies in the Tennessee twilight, their laughter somehow easing his labored breathing, willing his withered legs to dance miraculously along with the music of his youth.  I imagine Alzheimer’s grip loosening, freeing a gifted raconteur to slalom through memories in triumphant lucidity.  

Kindness, I imagine he tells me, has a way of leaving something behind, something you don’t notice until the main event’s passed on, like the sweet kiss of cedar smoke on your clothes.