8 July 99

If my house has one disadvantage it is this: a limited view of the sky. Tonight the old cresent moon is hidden by the evergreen trees and the big house to the east. But I caught a glimpse of it when I was getting a drink at the kitchen sink, and I was lured into taking a drive. It's a gorgeous night. The weather has turned cool and dry after four absolutely miserable, sticky, hot days and nights. The stars are twinkling brightly in a clear, deep sky. The moon is bright in it's last quarter.

I decided to drive to the all night Super Stop & Shop at Park Square in Woonsocket. It's about 12 miles from here. I didn't need anything; I just wanted to go for a drive, see the night, listen to some music...

I had a Dean Martin tape in the tapedeck. Return to Me, That's Amore, Non Di Menticar-- (I have no idea whether that spelling is even close!), Volare, like that. Good stuff. I miss Dean. I miss his TV show, with the Gold Diggers and all, and the bit at the end when he'd slide down the fire pole, and then go hop up on the piano and sing something like Red Sails in the Sunset. (Remember the night the piano was made of balsa and it squashed flat when he hopped on it? God that was funny-- so funny that Johnny Carson's folks stole the bit and made his desk of balsa one night.) Dean's show was always full of fun and good music, and all the guests had fun, too. Seemed like Dean was generous enough to make his guests feel good and comfortable, and so they always turned in the very best performances... I do miss that show.

There was hardly any traffic, and the night seemed bright. I was almost lured into pulling over up by Sweet's Meadow just to look at the stars. The view there is north and east, a quadrant I don't get to see enough of; and even though the moon was bright, there were a lot of stars visible, twinkling brightly. But it's not a good place to stop, especially in the dark-- though, as I say, there was hardly any traffic. Seems I'm just throughly conditioned not to stop along that stretch of road unless it's an emergency. So I didn't. But I was driving eastward, towards that bright cresent moon.

I had the tape on, and I wasn't in any hurry. Driving was very pleasant, the vent was open and the cool air was delightful-- until I got down to Branch Village: then I noticed a smell. I opened the window and it didn't go away. Smelling that smell, heavy and unpleasant, put a damper on my enjoyment of the excursion.

At the store I was in for another disappointment. The usually quiet Stop & Shop has hired high school kids to work third shift doing inventory, shelf stocking, etc. And they allow them to bring their own boom boxes to listen to while they work. I was assaulted by some very loud, nasty noise, and I didn't stay to do any shopping (I'd've probably poked around in the books, and over in cosmetics, and in housewares, and sundries). But I bought two ready to bake pizza crusts, a bag of Mozzarella, a bag of pretzel rods (a source of salt in very hot weather), and a bag of Oreos (classic, not double stuff; I hate double stuff), and got the hell out of there.

The sky was showing light when I came out, turing pale, kind of green-gold, along the horizon. Coming back through Union Village, which is next door to Branch Village, I noticed the smell again, and by the time I was in Branch Village I had figured out that what I was smelling was wet wool. The mill in Branch Village-- Brickle's, I think-- fulls wool. I'd hate to have to live down wind of that!

In Slatersville they were sweeping the streets and my tires made noise like I was crossing a "buzz" strip until I got up to the light at Gator's Pub. Coming up the hill after crossing Route 7 at the light in Mohegan, I smelled the first skunk. Caught a whiff of another near Bella's restaurant in Glendale, and another on the uphill after that, but, by the time I was in sight of the home turn the stink had abated, and the cruise by Sweet's Meadow was pleasant and the night was beautiful again, my mind at rest as I sang along with Dean.

When I got home, I put the pizza crusts and the Mozzarella in the fridge, and went out on the back porch with the Oreos. I ate nine. What sky I could see was beautiful.

I don't have a regular job any more. My life is very un-- un-- structured. Undisciplined, some ways. I don't conform myself to schedules not of my own making-- though, obligations and responsibilities I have chosen do intrude. But even when I have to keep a schedule, I always take time to do the things that are important to me, like driving to Stop & Shop for no reason on a gorgeous night, listening to Dean sing. I don't worry about not getting enough sleep, or fret when something I want to do, or have to do, takes too long to finish. The freedom to enjoy my freedom has a price, but it's a price I am content to pay. Tonight was definitely worth it.





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