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AirJORDAN TheeORIGINAL and Extraordinary, times3

November 17, 2012
AirJordan gettin ready ta mount his second attempt ta
climb the mountain to the Derailed Vagabond Hotel

Hay Ya’awl,

Have an update on one uv the storees about a young feller I bafriended back in Seattle.  Air Jordan called me last week and wasn’t doin as well as whare we had left him off.  He had set himself hikin up the path ta what we like ta call the Derailed Vagabond Resort Hotel and Deference Center, when he turned ta look back down his old path jist fer an instant, slipped plum off it and got his foot stuck right back in the storm drain. Now if you’ve ever stepped inta a storm drain and got yer foot stuck, then ewe prolly already knows that when it happens once, it seems ta jist keep happenin.  That’s dangerous fer Vagabonds since we’re usually left ouwt in all the storms, soes it happens allot more often than it doesn’t, so allot more than it rightly should.

Wa’ell, I went back ta see if I could’nt help pull that foot ouwt again and with some help I did, soes I brought him backta my secret Vagabond hiatus spot ta let him dry off abit.   We got ta visitin and reminiscin liek Vagabonds kin dew and got around ta discussin his cubby hole and how we first met.

Most ordinary folks have been societally trained ta hasten on by an occupied Vagabond cubby hole, and ta dew it in stealth mode if at’tall possible if’n it happens ta be broad daylight, which it was, but to a highly trained Vagabond, seein another Vagabond in their cubby hole in broad daylight on a warm sunny day, is a shore sign that thare Vagabond is prolly in more trouble than he kin handle soes somebody better stop, soes I did.  Jordan aisked me why again was it I stopped and how I got ta be so highly trained, since it wasn’t too long ago I was jist considered ordinary.  He aisked if thare were secrit trainin camps and coarses somewhare ordinary folk got sent to for Vagabond training and how come he did’unt git ta go.   Wa’ell he kinda caught me thare for a minute cause I really wasn’t that highly a trained a Vagabond, and was actually newer to it than Jordan was, soes I hadta thunk about it fer a spell bafore I could honestly answer.  Why is it I stopped when it wasn’t very long ago I was jist considered ordinary?  Then it hit me like a pitchfork full uv hog manure when yer brother isn’t lookin whare he’s pitchin.  Maybe I wasn’t so ordinary ta begin with!   Hare’s yer answer, AirJordan…..

In the beginning of the AIDS crisis some 20 very odd years ago,  thirty something gay men who weren’t sick, were not ordinary.  They also were definitely not out, especially those with “professional careers”, so were desperately doing everything they could, as well as praying to please, just let me be considered ordinary.  My consideration, was thankfully granted.  Elated that I was considered, I decided to live my childhood dream and buy a cabin on a lake.  In all the elation, someone forgot to tell me that it really isn’t very ordinary for an urban professional gay male who isn’t out, to buy a fishing cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin, especially one who just started dating a 20 something, urban African American club and street dancer who doesn’t like the woods and has a natural “allersion” to Northern Wisconsin fishermen.   The first summer at what turned out to be a fishing shack, was full of surprises that weren’t exactly pleasant or could ever be considered ordinary, or that even a farm kid who was handy at home repair and remodeling wasn’t exactly prepared for.  Fishing shacks on lakes in northern Wisconsin bring critters and water in through cracks that only critters and water would ever be able to find, until winter comes along and exposes some extraordinary cracks.

A helluva electriciun, plumburr,and lifelong extrordinary friend.
Ewe’d love this kid, Jerry!

I kept to myself in those days for all the very apparent reasons, as well as the customary caution that comes from growing up in gossip country in the first place.  Needless to say Jerry*, the older town electrician and on again/off again 12 stepper, Hazelden volunteer speaker, volunteer volunteer, and serial alcoholic and his northwoods native redneck sidekick Norm*, the perennially recovering heroin/crack/pot addict, were two of the neighbors I paid special attention to be sure to attempt to give a wide berth to, while still maintaining the “country neighborly” friendship requirements.

Lonnell found a new passion besides dancing,
Texting!

That all changed that first winter, that hit hard the week after Christmas.  Lonnell* wanted to show off his urban dance in Chicago for New Year’s Eve and Lonnell really had a nice dance to show off, so I was readily willing to oblige.  The only thing I needed was to swing north to check on the “cabin” on our way out.  I got a late start leaving work, so it was dark by the time we got on the road, and very cold by the time we hit the Wisconsin border.  When I pulled off the gravel road and headed up the rutted path through the woods, I could tell something didn’t quite look right.  No lights were on, and the normal sounds of a house in the middle of the woods attempting to breath in below zero degree weather were not to be heard.  When the garage light and/or porch light failed to go on, I knew I was in abit of trouble.  When I got the flashlight out and saw the wall of ice standing tall from the ground to the top of the electrical pole where the wires came into the house, I new it was more than just a bit.  When I finally was able to break the ice that had hermetically sealed the door to the floor and walls, and got inside, I was ready to turn around, slam that door, get back in the truck and just leave it forever behind.

When the thermoindicator is pradictin frozen Moose turds, ya douw’nt
wanna be findin critter holes in yer Cabin!

At the very moment I was preparing to slam, Jerry and Norm drove up the driveway because they could see I was there and no lights were on.  Up to that point, neither Jerry or Norm had ever met or knew I had a “friend” Lonnell, or been inside my cabin while I was the owner.  They had on many occasion however, with the previous owners, who were also very good friends of Jerry’s longtime live-in Mistress but never married Phyllis*, who also happened to be CIO for Clothesline Communications Central, so were quickly astute enough to point out that I only had one bed and where would my friend had slept anyway?  I know now it was just their inside housewarming joke, but back in those days in that “neck uv the wuuds” with that cast of characters, neither a professional gay male or an urban African American street dancer were exactly the type invited over to Jerry and Phyllis’ extraordinary garage for a beer with their sidekick Norm.

Hell yes Phyllis’ laugh matches that smile!

Those two northwoods gentlemen looked at all that water, I mean ice, slid down the salvaged from a farm silo, metal spiral stairway turned luge run onto the ice rink in the basement, then shouted up, “did you not turn off the power to the pump before you left?  Lucky the outside spigot broke and sprayed over the electrical line into the house or you would’ve had a real mess.”  Norm went back to get Jerry’s shop vac, Jerry had the power restored and the furnace fixed by the time Norm got back, and the propane torch heaters were blasting and melting ice dams everywhere.  Before they left just before midnight, all the broken plumbing lines had been cut away and measured so Norm could go buy all the copper tubing and couplings needed first thing when the hardware store opened in the morning.  They knew Lonnell needed to dance his ass off in Chicago that next night.  By noon the following, all the water was gone, my cabin was completely re-plumbed, the holes only critters and water knew had existed, existed no more, and Lonnell and I were on our way to Chicago.

I bought Jerry and Norm a couple of twelve packs, insisted and tried to pay for the copper at least, but they insisted that’s what neighbors were for, even the ones who didn’t think they wanted to be neighbors.  Up until Jerry passed away a few years ago and I moved away, those two Northwoods Rednecks who were anything BUT ordinary, were my best friends on that lake, and life of the party entertainers for all my “boy gatherings”, and helped turned that shack into a home and a cabin.  Had it also not been for those two extraordinary rednecks that night, 15 years of the most memorable friend and family gatherings, 15 years of solace from all my personal, ordinary, and professional storms, and 15 years of celebrating my grandmother’s birthday to the 95th with the surprise birthday party of a lifetime at 90, wouldn’t have occurred because that sub-extraordinary, frozen door would never have been opened by me again.

Universal Extraordinary Things

The Universe presents extraordinary things in front of us at the most ordinary times in our lives where we don’t know we need them, and can’t recognize, or even begin to comprehend the reason why.  I don’t know why Air Jordan was dropped from the sky that day right in front of my eyes.  Something just told me he really had an extraordinarily important dance of a life to attend to, and 

Jerry had asked me to stop by, take a look and do everything I could to make sure his house was safe, warm and dry.

Vagabond Ted

* footed note:  the names have knot ben changed ta pratect the innocent cuz in that crowd, thare’s no innocence ta pratect!

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