Hello everyone, everywhere,
We performed Saturday night after working our buts off for a week to get ready for our big show. It was a packed house, and we were received unbelievably well, and we were just humbled and so very happy about the whole thing. I’d like to give a big thanks to Ryan, the house sound man from Bo’s, who helped us out that night, and the staff there who were just incredible. Great, great place. It was a wonderful experience.
Michelle came, and she dragged Dean and two of her beautiful sisters, Jill and Barbie. I was flattered to have three such good-looking groupies. And Dean had a lot to eat so that worked out really well.
Well now here it is Sunday and of course Michelle and I are working again. I spent today cleaning. There you go. Rock star on a Saturday night, back to a cleaning woman on Sunday morning.
And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Until we meet again at Sheldon and Dora Pudspuski’s World Home of Synchronized Swimming for the Insane and Senior’s Paddleboat Races. Luckily we are doing both events in Phlem Sputtoon’s back yard pool. Don’t forget our motto: Seniors, if your boat starts tipping, hold your nose and scream. A big thanks to Phlem who is in the hospital, so we just figured, you know…. We are on the corner of Heyyouareyoulyinginmywifesflowergarden Boulevard and Whyyesiamitshotandithinkthedirtiscool Street. If you’re driving down Main Street and you see Dick Bazaar…well, that’s it.
CHARLES CAMPBELL ALEXANDER’S LAST DAY
Hi folks, I’m Charles Campbell Alexander and I have been the milkman in Linderbrook for forty-two years. Myself, I’m 74 this spring. I live in a nice little house on the lake that Judith and I lived in together for forty years. I miss her a lot. You know what I mean. It’s like the wind stopped calling her name. I’ve been sitting at that back porch looking for her, until my heart can hardly hold on. I mean, is it possible to love someone, anyone, that much?
Anyway, here I am on my last days, and well, you know who I am. The doc tells me I only got a few days left. So this is my last milk run.
It’s five thirty in the morning when I roll into town.
Linderbrook—well I’ll say they got maybe 250 people tops. It’s a sad old place until the sun rises. I guess you’d all say your old town is the best but when the sun and the mood of the wind hit it just right, old Linderbrook would take on a shine as though the boards had just been coated with fresh paint. I smell it, don’t you? Of course you do.
Here come the kids—they know I have chocolate milk and juice. The kids. Well, where to start? Names names names—you see I need a kick-start in the morning. I think it’s like when the kid throws my paper in the morning on my porch, but it always lands on my lawn. Oh well more mishaps for them to figure out I guess.
Anyway, the kids. It seems like they were endless. At least to an old man. You kids I know I forget your names but I have not forgotten you. I pray for you all because you all matter, that’s right, all of you. They always have questions so I stop every day and listen, I think that’s important. You never know what they might say.
On to my beat. Ha ha, sometimes I kill myself. A guy once told me, why do you laugh at your jokes more than anybody else and I looked at him and said, “I guess I like them better than anybody else.”
Mrs. Jenkins has her wash out again. Nothing smells better than fresh laundry–except a ham sandwich, now that’s eating. A pint a milk as per every day. She is a remarkable woman–old yes, frail maybe but her skin still like porcelain. It made me think men a long time ago would have gazed at her once, and forever carried a memory that burned in their souls for a lifetime. We lost Mr. Jenkins (Stan) a couple of years ago. Stan was a fine man. That’s it.
Now Jenny and George down the street. I’ve known them a very long time. When I go by their place, old George is playing one of my favorites, Moonlight Serenade, by the great Glenn Miller. He loves big band jazz. He liked to have one or two, back in the day and conduct the stereo. He’s still very good at it, even without the nip or two.
Jenny was doing what she always did. She was cleaning the bedroom again. I swear she thinks the queen is coming for tea. She’s feisty though, I’ll give her that. One of her kids was hurt real bad, never really came back the way she knew him. Now she did not know him at all. Sorry about that Jenny, I thought to myself. She’s a good woman and George is George. They’re real nice people. That’s that.
I’m walking down Breeta Street and I look to my right and there is Gerry and Tiny. Gerry smiled and said, “Jimmy, you’re too skinny.” Why she called me Jimmy I can’t figure out, but hey. I looked over at Tiny, her husband of 60 years (that’s a long time).
He said, “I was just going to have a nip. Would you care for one?”
“Well, a small one,” I say. I’ve known these two characters over forty years, and forty years Gerry has never forgot to remind me that it’s not easy to lose weight and if you want to go on vacation you have to save your money. Tiny was making his famous burgers and smiling as if to say, “You tell her she’s wrong.”
Little Joey and his friend Nick were waiting for me. They knew, of course, that I was bringing juice to little Joey’s house. They were so funny, both with freckles and smiles so big, sometimes I lost their faces. I tell you, getting old is one long process.
I’ve lost some great friends, but the little ones always rip me. That little boy fought the hardest fight I ever knew. We lost him to cancer. He was so little—yet so brave. I think his name was Anderson, but for all I know it could have been Nimchuk.
So anyways, these two little imps are always asking me stuff (alas). Little Nick says to me, “Charlie how come you’re always smiling, but you’re always alone?” I turned slowly—the sun hit me like the first hug on a first date.
I looked at those two little kids–well I guess they were eight or twelve or something. I just I say, “Why I have Judith, and as long as I’m loving her—even though she’s gone—I am never alone”
Joey looks puzzled and says to me, “What’s love Charlie?”
Rolling my eyes and rubbing my nose I say, “Well love is–well, believing somehow some way I’ll be all right, they’ll be all right, and then we’ll be all right. Now I’ve got to go kids. Good to see you.” That’s it.
Day is wearing on and I’m at my last stop. A quart of chocolate milk and a pint of white, and this stop happens to be the pet shop.
Bruce and Marushka (I think she’s French!) well anyways, Bruce and Marushka raise toy poodles and don’t ever think you’ll get a drink of something strong there I tell you. Bruce is a devout something or other and he says liquor and him will never meet. Probably a good thing, he’s a bit hot-headed. Just ask Marushka. I mean, he doesn’t hurt anyone, he just likes his stories listened to. (So sad too bad as the teenagers say). They’re real good folk those two. Funny dogs though.
“Time to go,” I say to Bruce and Marushka.
“If you’ve gotta go you’ve gotta go.” states Bruce. “You’ll be back tomorrow won’t you?
“This is my last day,” I say. “I’m retiring, I guess you could say.”
“So this is it,” Bruce says. “This is it. It’s time. You know. Time.” Bruce looks at me and says with a tear on the corner of one eye, “We’ve done a long journey together you and I. Be well.”
With that we shake hands and I start on my way. I’m going to miss those two. Bruce was like a brother to me. That’s it.
Heading for the lake and my little piece of heaven. As I turn onto the lake road, I slow down and see my old friends Lucy and Dan Lesser. Lucy is very cute but she has tattoos and a nose ring. What would Duke Ellington say to this? I wonder.
Danny is clean cut but he curses a lot. Sometimes I want to say, “Don’t you know the real words”? Anyway, I wouldn’t because they’re the salt of the earth people. That’s my take on it.
Sometimes my memories are sort of like the night pounding my soul. I just love the show. They’re just locked away waiting happily for the wind carrying my vision of peace to a new wanting, needing, sad soul like me. And kids, I say bullies or people like that are scared too. All of you—you are the future—don’t cast your passion to hurt—if you’re tough, protect, if you’re small, be smart, be funny, and be quick, and peace will warm your soul. Well that’s all I got.
That’s all. Charles Campbell Alexander out. Tick tock tick tock tick————————
(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)