• very james deany •
The most beautiful thing about my day came while I was walking around the block, cooling down after shoveling snow from the back deck. (One doesn’t like to go into a heated abode, all sweaty, it really wouldn’t do.) Besides, even a grey day is improved by the absolute abandoned quality of an empty street – devoid of human habitation, evidently, anyway. And would have been, completely, with two exceptions, myself all sweaty and “James Deany” (in my mind, at least), and the man trundling carefully up the sidewalk towards my end of the street, carrying a package of some sort, the makings of a good “eau de vie”, or at least a a loaf of French bread, and a good Cabernet, if my imagination had it’s way, in it’s present disposition – very “Paris is a moveable feast”, very very early twenties, maybe — Hemingway.
Anyway, a package, a man, avoiding falling on the icy sidewalk, and coming my way. I didn’t feel up to a big “howdy”, or even a small exchange, so I crossed to the other side of the street, at the corner, and watched him as he crossed in front of my house as I hoped to God if he was planning to bust his ass someplace, to please do it anyplace but on my little thirty-five foot frontage…anyway, a man, and he passéd – thankfully, successfully – my house, and moved to the corner of the street, just where I had made my turning: and that was when it happened, the happening, that occurred, worth mentioning. I had noticed a block of snow there, now a block of ice, the sort shoved into the path by a snowplow lacking any sense of decency, or feng shui, and about the size of a small Great Dane, sans legs or feet or wagglety tail, or, okay, a head, and most of the rest of him, but still, a pretty big block of ice – just big enough to rip out your entire exhaust system, if in a passing car, or, if just trundling along diffidently, upon which to break a hip, or a leg, (or something actionable, for the litigious) – just big enough to be majorly in the way, of any carefully trundling passerby, not paying particular attention, bearing gifts, perhaps, for his ailing mother, say a loaf of bread from a Hemingway fantasy – but he was. Paying attention, I mean – and that’s what captured mine, my attention, I mean: this man stopped, noticed the smallish Great Dane-ish-leg-less-ice -sculpture, and, using a foot, and a leg, and no small pressure, negotiates the beast, out of the way, which I hadn’t bothered to do, hasn’t even occurred to me – anyway, he sort of boots the thing out of the path, and crosses the street, and I lose sight of him, with his pea-soup jacket, and his orange woven hat, and his package for his ailing mother, or maybe to meet up with an assignation, perhaps, with a lonely lump of government cheese – behind a car which has stopped at the cornering, at the stop sign. And, not yelling, exactly, but in fine loud declarative exultations, shouts, “Hello!” and “Hello!” again, into, or rather, at, the closed car, and it’s occupant, who I imagined is very nearly as embarrassed, or would be, if me. “How have you been!!?” he inquires, to the balcony. “I saw BOB, AT THE LIBRARY!!” and that was it, pretty much. He went into the corner house, and the nondescript car, and it’s, I presume, blushing occupant, pulled away. And, me – all James Deany, and now, not so so sweaty, had an sort of epiphany: that the one thing we all do, in a civilized society, what we must, even, maybe consider, be dedicated to, and must serve, if we are to be civilized, even me, a middle aged James Dean wanna be, is our community. Not very funny, but it served, to get me back to the house, and the puppies, very James Deany.
~ Tim Burchfield
• very james deany •