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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Monday, April 18, 2005

It Ain't That Pretty At All

So Monday finds the RRR listening to the late Warren Zevon singing "It Ain't That Pretty At All." ("I'm going to take a running start and throw myself against the wall, cause I'd rather feel bad than feel nothing at all.") Ah Warren, the poet laurette of the mercenaries (Jungle Work, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, The Envoy). I went on strike and refused to listen to him after he cut up the midwest on the Tonight show, but he won me back by working a good program and dying sober. OK some of his lyrics are innappropriate, even blasphemous, but what a poet... "In the cool of the evening when the sun goes down, my wife is playing canasta with everyone in town. When it gets to be more than I can take, fire up the Winnebago, drive it in the lake. Down in the basement I got a Craftsman lathe, show it to the children when they misbehave. It's the white man's burden and it weighs a ton, it's the white man's burden... model citizen." Dylan can't touch him.

Friday Mrs. RRR and I went to the VA and I waited patiently till the pheblotomists stopped talking on their cell phones and they stuck me and drew tube after tube after tube of blood. Hep C, diabetes, high blood preassure, cardiac irregularity, prostate trouble, all have their own multiple tests.

(Warren ran out, Stevie Ray Vaughan goes in) More great music from dead caucasians.

Then we went to our favorite chinese restaurant in the Big City. OK, it's a buffet, but they have a pro-ranger attitude. I found one waitress who could speak fairly good English and she went in the back and had the chef cook us up each a special plate full, multiple veggies, 4 kinds of animal flesh, flash fried in a wok in Kung Pao sauce. Take the RRR back to SE Asia, street food, cooked in a charchol fired wok on a push cart. "You want ti-ti Nuc Momn G.I.?" Let me smell it... eyes water, "Ti-ti more Mamasan". Fried rice, pickle sauce, homemade soy sauce, sea salt that was water in the ocean two days before, no wonder the RRR weighs over an eighth of a ton. We shoulda won that war just to save the push carts. But hey, we were winning when I left.

Saturday up early and the long drive to the best 12 step meeting in 4 states. Laugh if you will, but watched the sunrise from false dawn till in your eyes bright. Spent a year as a rural milk delivery man centuries ago. Stopped every morning and drank a cup of coffee watching the sunrise. Can only get over there once a month, but worth the drive and more. Shopping at Sam's Club for Mahi Mahi, you can't have too much Saipanese fish in the freezer. And a plastic mat for in front of the computer desk. Bay Toe Ven got to ride in the back, but last trip for him till fall, it's too hot in the Metro while he's waiting.

But Sunday... oh the RRR's Sunday. Elder James started preaching through the book of John. John the Beloved. John the Mystic. People go to huge mega-churches with entairnment "praise" that would put Ed Sullivan to shame and listen to famous preachers read from computer print outs for 18 minutes. They don't know what they are missing. In tiny chapels, rented rooms and living rooms around the world plymouth brethren assemble and wait on the Lord and accept his invitation to supper, fellowship, then listen to amateurs preach long sermons that often put the pros to shame. Give your money at the megachurch and it helps pay the 5 figure electric bill, give it through Christian Missions in Many Lands, the brethren mission society and two months later a letter comes from Chad or Berundi. "We took your $150 and bought a pickup load of rice and took it to village X where no one had eaten in almost 2 weeks. The brothers in the assembly passed out each cup in Jesus' name. Praise God he made the truck invisible to the terrorists and they didn't destroy or rob it." For me the choice isn't difficult.

Sunday afternoon Mrs. RRR and I ate the chicken that had simmered all morning in the crock pot, then painted a frame for my tin sign that shows my beloved H Farmall and prepared it to go up on the wall. But then out to the Big Lake to walk the trails. The heel pain is gone. Thanks Glen. Two hours on the trail with Mrs. RRR and Bay. Day was, I walked all my trails alone. Now it's a pleasure to share. Thank you God.

But more pleasure was to come. Sunday was Youngest Daughter's birthday and birthdays have always been very important to YD. We called and Mrs. RRR and I and Bay Toe Ven sang "Happy Birthday" with Bay throwing back his head and howling on "you". Then we got to talk to the youngest Rangerette, about 7 months old now I believe. We heard all about life on the Country Singer's estate. She's into Barred Rock chickens now. I fear the mountain lion that prowls the compound may be also, or perhaps the other way around.

And all readers please keep praying for "Jim" and his wife as he sorts out his faith and his recovery.


Blogger Hushai said...

Warren Zevon did not write the lyrics to “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.” It was written by an Irish merc who ran a bar in France that Zevon lived over. Zevon was never a conservative. Though you might consider him a libertarian, it is best to consider him a libertine. He himself was never interested in the military, but he was quite happy to entertain those who were. Sadly, he was obsessed with death and insanity, which explains some of the crossover between his interest and that of his military audience. The thing I enjoyed the most about his lyrics was that he so often wrote ballads. As amusing as it, repeating inane phrase like “I am bad” never did anything for me, but give me a story about pot roasts and madness, and I’ll buy your next album.

His music seemed to decline in the early 90s with the album Renegade, which is when I decided he was no longer interested in me listening to his music. At some point, I became concerned that God was not interested in me listening to his ballads, and I got rid of my albums. However, I did follow his career and was saddened by his death.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Shamgar said...

Warren made "Roland" his own although he didn't write it, much as Kipling did with the song he picked up in British Army barracks, "Gunga Din". He recognized in the last interview I read that "Renegade" was a terrible mistake. But in his last album, The Wind, He wasn't just "Knocking on Heaven's Door", but begging God to let him in. I hope the daily surrender he practiced in AA wasn't just to a god of his own understanding, but that he recognized his need for a Lord and Savior (Jesus Christ) and surrendered to God as God sees himself to be.

7:05 PM  

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