Published on January 8th, 2020 | by Randy Weeks0
The View from The Balcony: A New Year’s Revolution
It was around 5 pm on Sunday, January 5, 2020, the twelfth day of Christmas. The sun had nearly set and the air was crisp and cool as a fresh waffle cone. I’d been sitting in the southwest corner of The Balcony since Sir Sonny, one of the Knights of the Long Table, had facilitated the 4 pm opening of The Bar above City Grocery. I was trying to get my thoughts together when Major That Guy and MoPi Man sauntered onto the deck.
Major That Guy lit a cigarette and began self-deprecating all over the place, creating, as he is wont to do―after all, he is Major That Guy, the Rodney Dangerfield of North Mississippi―a mess that’s often hard as hell not to jump into. MoPi Man (not to be confused with Shut Your Piehole Man) took a deep breath, looked around, squared his shoulders, exhaled, and said, “Man, it shore is purdy ‘round here!”
“Yep,” I replied. “Sho’ ‘nuff is. Shoulda seen it ‘bout thirty minutes ago. In fact, it was so purdy I took a pitcher. Wanna see? Pardon me while I whup this out.”
Reaching into the left breast pocket of my duster I whipped out my phone and started scrolling through photos, looking for the one of the Laffite County Courthouse I’d just snapped. It was hard to find because it was at the end of the camera roll and I’ve always started at the beginning since Julie Andrews told me it was a very good place to start.
“Naw,” drawled MoPi Man. “I prob’ly seen it…well, hold on. Yeah. I’ll take a look. I might notta seen it ‘xactly that way before.”
“Naw,” I drawled scornfully. “You ain’t never seen it ‘xactly that way before ‘cause it ain’t never looked ‘xactly that way before, MoPi Man.”
I think MoPi Man picked up on my less-than-subtle castigation. I could tell by the way he Elvis-scowled and growled.
“Gonna let that one slide, mister model cowboy,” he said. “You know what a model is, don’t you? It’s a cheap imitation of the real thing.”
“Huh,” I grunted. “I always thought Coke was the real thing.”
MoPi Man responded: “Yore datin’ yoreself with that reference cow chip, but I’m a’ gissin’ yore used to datin’ yoreself since it don’t look like nun ‘a the wimmin’ ‘round here’ll have you.”
I grabbed my chest and raised my right arm, feigning a Fred Sanford heart-attack.
MoPi Man leaned over and took a close look at my shot of the courthouse. He erected himself and got serious. When one erects oneself one should act serious, even if they’re not. “I’m really lucky,” he said. “In fact, we’re all pretty lucky. Look at this place we live in. A lot of towns don’t have a Square like this. They don’t have downtown businesses. They don’t have good people like the ones I know. Yep. I’d say I’m a lucky man.”
Major That Guy and I had no choice but to nod in agreement.
This morning, like most other old farts, I watched CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley―not actually WITH Jane Pauley, though I wouldn’t mind. Did you know that Jane Pauley is married to my favorite cartoonist, Gary Larson (The Far Side)? Of course you did. Everyone who reads this column is asstoot enough to know that.
The show profiled Tanya Tucker, a 60+ country music icon who has released her first album in decades, and is up for four – count ‘em – four Grammy® awards. (Please notice that I inserted the trademark sign for Grammy®―Whoop! There it is again!―because that’s just the kind of guy I am. And I want you to note that.)
The lyrics of the chorus of the title song of Tucker’s album, co-written with Brandi Carlile, Phillip Hanseroth, and Timothy Hanseroth, are:
Bring my flowers now, while I’m livin’;
I won’t need your love when I’m gone.
Don’t spend time, tears, or money on my old breathless body.
Well, if your heart is in them flowers, bring ’em on.
I’m not much on New Year’s resolutions. But one I can embrace is telling folks you care about them while you can, in whatever form that takes, as long as it communicates the “I love you” that’s intended. That’s a New Year’s revolution I want to be a part of.
MoPi Man and Major That Guy had to leave for a dinner date with their wives. I flipped off MoPi Man. MoPi Man flipped me off. Major That Guy flipped himself off. We all laughed, paused, and looked each other in the eye just long enough. Just long enough to know.
…and that’s the view from The Balcony.