Like desperadoes waiting for a train

Tomorrow we will celebrate the life of A Real Character, William Lloyd Maness, 1923-2014. "Wild Bill" is grinning and winking and wearing shined shoes in whatever version of an after-existence fits your beliefs. He may even be carrying a concealed weapon tucked into his pajamas, just in case, out there. I am proud to have known him.

Last of the true condo cowboys. Wild Bill would lean against his old Caddy, that cloth-top all covered in bumper stickers, and tell me stories of being shot down in the Pacific, or of dropping documents down a well when he got sick and tired of shredding. Always the gentleman, he would offer to carry my things when he was so frail he could barely make it from his car to his front door carrying his mail.

I know how to make a YouTube slideshow with my photos. There's no way but words to share a slideshow of memories. The soundtrack for that slideshow would be Guy Clark's "Desperadoes Waiting For a Train". It's been making me teary-eyed for about four decades.

Bill was three months younger than my father, and their experiences of the Depression and World War II were similar. Their aging was much the same, too, but while my dad was lost to dementia Bill was still sharp. Skinny as he was becoming, Bill needed suspenders to hold up his trousers.

Wild Bill worried that his loud t.v. disturbed my sleep. I never did hear that t.v., but I heard Bill's dog, Buster, whining on the back patio in the middle of one night. Afraid that Buster was whining like Lassie because Wild Bill was down the well, I climbed up on my air conditioning unit to look over the privacy fence. Poor Buster nearly had a heart attack when my scary apparition loomed over him. I went back inside and phoned Bill. Finally waking him up, he let Buster back into his condo. That wee hours call cemented our friendship, and led to many phone calls at more normal hours.

Bill liked to be the defender of my condo whenever I left town. He appreciated being apprised of any unusual vehicles that might be parking in our shared carport.

Sometimes you just need a good cry. The beautician handed me the mirror and twirled me around. There was my mother staring back. One blink and then it was my dad staring. All the DNA was just squiggling back at me like the time Carole's grandparents' wedding photo was being eaten by termites under the glass frame. January is an emotional time.

© 2014 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Love to you as you juggle the emotions of January.