Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gusty Is the Wind

Speed west of Weatherford, Oklahoma on I-40, and you'll notice the superslab hemmed by a couple of nondescript two-lanes.

On the north side runs famed Route 66, occasionally marked by historic signs. A thumb-thick split, patched with stubborn grass, scores the yellow lines.

On the south side--in the direction of the tiny town of Corn--a frontage road anchors gated pull-offs to grain fields swaying in the ubiquitous breezes. This region cannot elude the wind. The Public Service Company of Oklahoma harnesses power via 71 rotating turbines, like Star Wars Lambda-class shuttles rotating against the wide-open sky.

In the late afternoon light, their arms' shadows race after each other--an endless tail-chase--across the ground.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Overheard: NYC

From my buddy, David Fleenor, who overheard this on the Big City subway:

Woman 1 (in scrubs and Crocs): "Men can only really do two things: barbeque and cook eggs. That's it!"

Woman 2 (also in scrubs and Crocs): "I can't even barbecue. Geez, I'm less than a man."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Seen on the Road: Kerrville, TX

--Captured by photographer Gary Clark

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Overheard, er, Texted: Natchez, MS

12:09 a.m.

"At under the hill. There's a woman singing 'these boots are made 4 walking.' She's barefooted."

Well, considering I've written about a floor-dwelling drummer, a head leprechan, and a suspected vampire in previous posts involving Natchez, this communique should come as no surprise.

I got this text from a good buddy of mine, Doug Hosford, who owns High Cotton down on Main Street.

He's the one who first took me to the Under the Hill Saloon. It's a sacred place.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gusty. Like the Wind.

Gusty Crunkleton's son, Adam, says his mom's name ain't short for nothing except the wind. He stretches out (giant arms) then claps (giant hands) as he yells a loud 'Ha!'

I choose to forego alerting Adam that his joke doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

My argument addressing how adjectives and abbreviations are different animals seems unneccesary as I watch him fiddle behind the bar at Bon Appetit in Clayton, GA. Wiping down surfaces. Tightening already-tightened tops. Shifting weight foot to foot. Okay, maybe he isn't fiddling. With his crew cut, broad shoulders, and middle linebacker frame, it's more like he's blitzing.

"I carry Stella for one customer. And you're him!" Gusty is faux-berating the regular named Mark who has an affinity for the Belgian beer.

I like the tough love in this place.

If she had been slumped in one of the booths, I would have easily placed her just shy of 70. But her flexibility throws me. She stands stork-style behind the bar with one leg hiked up, knee cap to left ear. She planted the ball of her foot on the bar-length, Bacardi-embossed strip of rubber. The one that keeps the shakers from sliding.

She managed restaurants off and on for years, but Bon Appetit is the first one she has owned. Needed to keep making cash even after she and her husband, John, sold the broom factory.

"You can tell housewives don't design brooms," she says. "They just want plain wooden handles. No colors." When a red broom slides against a white wall, it leaves a red mark.

Adam sweeps in and pops another Fresca for John, who has his own stool at the bar.

I like the family feel of this place.

That's what he mixes with his Canadian Club. I'm betting they carry those blue cans only for him.

So Gusty's not short for anything?

"Nope. Just Gusty." She emigrated from Leipzig, Germany when she was 15. Her aunt was a famous actress over there. Augustina.

"Her nickname was Gusty," she says. "I'm named for her nickname."