Saturday, February 03, 2007

Visiting Old Neighborhoods


Before I spin my yarn, I need to back up a few days.

Last Tuesday morning I had a doctor’s appointment at 7:45am. It is my nature to get places early. As we have said more than once, we do not know how to be late. I got to the doctors’ office at 7:30. They were not open yet.

Another early-aholic was there waiting for the doors to be opened. He was in his 70s and we soon got into a conversation. He told me grew up in Ellijay, Georgia, fought in Korea, and returned to Georgia and went to work for Lockheed and moved to Marietta.

He left Lockheed and went to work for a Mr. Nun. I said, “Barney Nun?”

He said yes. I remember Barney Nun and told him so. He owned Nun-Better Cabinet Company. He was rich. He gave my father financial backing when he ran for Sheriff in Cobb County.

The man I was talking to told me he really thought Mr. Nun was a good man. I told him I heard he was a good man also. I didn’t have a chance to tell him he was my father’s financial backer – the doctors’ doors opened and we scattered to our various places in the office.

Someplace in our conversation he mentioned he lived on Windy Hill Road, and he added, “the poor part”. One part of Windy Hill Road has some exclusive apartments and the part I think he was talking about is lined with old run-down houses now. That part of Windy Hill Road is about a half mile long, but many little cheap businesses that use old houses as their offices. I would guess that actually residences on that street is less than ten – maybe less.
END OF FLASHBACK

Yesterday Anna and I had several chores to do. One of them was her physical therapy on her hand. It would be her last session. She had a carpal tunnel operation not long before Christmas. At the therapy clinic she went back with the therapist and I thought I would sit in the waiting room and read the book I bought. As soon as I got almost two pages read out from the clinic came a Mexican walking with a walker. He was a young man, probably a construction worker who evidently broke his leg at work. It looked with both hands holding to the walker he would want assistance opening the door so I hopped up and opened it for him. He was very thankful. I sat back down and started reading again, and in the on the other side of the door in the corridor I heard the clack clack clack of someone struggling with a walker. Then, it stopped right at the door. The person was having a problem opening the door with his walker. I hopped up and opened the door and another young Mexican man stood there. He was very “gracias” too. I got to read about 3 or 4 pages and the inside door from the clinic opened and another young Mexican man was struggling with metal crutches. I suppose they are all metal now. A little short lady was with him, which I think was probably his wife. I hopped up and opened the door for him. They both said “gracias”. Back reading when I heard the clack clack clack outside on the other side of the door in the hallway. Then it stopped in front of the door and I waited to hear another movement. And I waited. No more noise. I jumped up and opened the door. Nobody was there. I looked down the corridor – no one was in sight.

Oh well, who knows?

One of those old houses on Windy Hill Road that the man at the doctors’ office spoke of was converted to a business is the beauty shop Anna goes to. Earlier that day I carried her to the beauty shop. I was thinking then, I could probably knock on a few doors of the residence houses on Windy Hill and be face to face with the man I was talking to before the doctors’ office opened. If I did such a thing, when he came to the door, I think I would say, “I meant to tell you Barney Nun backed my daddy when he ran for sheriff.” Then smile and go back to my car and drive away. I bet he would be speechless.

But, I didn’t. Instead I cruised around looking at some old neighborhoods in the area I knew as a teenager. Just off of Windy Hill Road on one of the side streets was a little cement porch in front of the house, and in the yard, just a few feet from the steps to the porch was a little flower-cross shrine. Somebody got killed on that spot. That is the first shrine I have seen that is right up in the yard near the entrance. I wonder what happened.

It made me wonder what would happen if a drug deal went bad in somebody’s front yard and everybody started shooting? Would there be four or five flowered Cross shrines in the yard? What if one of the ones killed was an undercover cop – would they have a flower shrine for him as well?

I know on the a thorough fare near by there is a cross flowered shrine with the victim’s ball-cap resting on the top of the cross. If the victim was know for wearing his ball cap backwards, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have the ball cap on the cross backwards?

Around another corner, about a ¾ of mile down the sloped street was the property of grandparents of a friend I grew up with. They had a pond down a slope from the barn and cattle. We use to pile in the back of his father’s truck and visit them. I remember playing all over their property. Now, the pond is still there but there is no old country house and a barn. The pond is surrounded by apartments.

Habitats change but life goes on.

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