With this column, “The View From Mudsock Heights” enters its sixteenth year. It began 15 years ago and and I’ve not missed a week since.
The time was shortly after World War I. The place, almost anywhere that there was an area long enough and flat enough. The sound was the coughing and sputtering of those early engines at the front of any of a variety of war-surplus airplanes. The few surviving military aviators and others who sought adventure had been able to purchase the planes, Curtiss Jenny trainers and the like, and they had set off to find their fortunes.
Today is the first day of autumn. The new season begins at 3:20 p.m. Eastern time, so it’s really the first part-day of autumn. It is not by design that I’ve gone on a bit recently about the passage of time and our perception thereof. It just seems to have inserted itself into a lot of recent (how do we even define “recent”?) events.
Marjorie Thompson died seven years ago today. If you did not know her, that is your loss. She was the most remarkable person I’ve ever known in a life fortunate to have included many remarkable people. She was also the best and closest friend I’ve had in this life.
Time is a funny thing. Well, no, time is time. Our perception of it is where things go haywire. We’re not very well equipped to comprehend the passage of time or its implications.
A noticeable thunderstorm toddled through here a little after noon on Sunday. Nothing surprising there, nor in it taking the power out for most of the rest of the day.
In a lot of places, your papers are everything. Which is why it was especially alarming to hear that Joe’s new best friends, the Taliban, have been seizing the passports of American citizens in Afghanistan. In the Mideast, as in some other parts of the world, your passport is your identity. Without it, you are at the mercy of those who might not have your best interests at heart. Seizure of your passport leaves you naked and vulnerable. Your comings and goings are now no longer your decision.
What is there to say? Our country is governed by an ice-cream enthusiast who has combined the policies of Jimmy Carter with the presentation of Gerald Ford (if Ford had suffered rabies) along with his own diminished capacity — and he didn’t have that much capacity to begin with. In his speech Monday he sounded like that angry doddering guy on the front porch of the rest home who causes visitors to enter through the back door instead.
Not long ago, one of the gas lines on a piece of yard equipment here broke right where it connected to the plastic gas tank, causing gasoline to leak all over the place and rendering the thing unusable. I’d hoped to buy just the parts I needed from a knowledgeable person locally, but that was no longer possible.
Here’s something that I bet you know, but that it seems our government and news media — in large measure that’s redundant — don’t know: A lot of people are afraid of shots. They head the other way when the needle comes out. You know such people. Maybe you are such a person.