Busted & Broken Part Two
Soundtrack two: No Angel
Busted and Broken
The Skylark was acting funky wouldn’t start with any reliability. Dave said “Hodgie, it’s your starter man, just take it to Richie and get a new one.” Then he went to his car and pulled out a hammer proceeded to take a dive under my car while yelling “get down here I want to show you something” he pointed to the starter and wacked it a few times with the hammer.
“Go ahead and crank it.”
After that I got myself a hammer and left it in the back seat.
Was driving with Chuckie giving him a ride home then “hey Hodgie there is Judy and her friend man pull over.” and some curious pleasantries and inane comments later.” Chuck let’s go” and I started backing up before he got the door entirely closed and my door caught on something while we were moving and snapped right off.
The girls started laughing first and we chimed in then picked up the door and threw it in the trunk.
Thing is well, the Skylark was only a few years old but it had a ton of miles some salesman had put on it before I got it for $300. In the six months I had this car I had not been kind or attended to its needs with any sense of urgency.
My brother helped me snap the door back on but it wouldn’t open so my passengers had to crawl in through the window of this two door car, a minor inconvenience.
Bored to distraction with my job assembling cables and unmotivated to run more than a few times a week struggling with a knee injury and wondering what good was it anyway I called out from work threw my rucksack and camping tent in the car along with my guitar just in case I can’t talk Emo into coming with me I can play it by the fire and pretend I’m that singing cowboy in the B movies.
I stopped for gas and put some air in the tires, darned if they weren’t freakin mostly bald.
I got to Emo’s and went up and rang the bell and he opened the door as if he had been expecting me. “Hiking trip?” he said. A quick cup of coffee later we hit the road.
“Hodgie, is this shitbox gonna make it?” Emo rummaged through the 8 tracks and we cranked up the volume Allman Brothers “Eat A Peach.”
We headed for Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of NH about 150 miles from Lowell. I stopped a couple of times to cool the engine which wasn’t too promising given it was October.
We hiked the back side of Cannon Mountain and over to the Old Man rock formation being held together by gigantic sets of chains. Looked like it could break apart at any time. Sitting on the Old Man head looking in the direction of a fairly vast semi wilderness it seemed to be at least one place in the world that I could feel whole.
The Cannon Mountain Tram was still operating late in the day so we decided to ride that down.
It was already getting dark when we got back to the Skylark and we headed to the Twin Mountain area to a campground at Little River owned by a hermit who did not seem to be around when we got there. “Should we wait for Lester?” Emo said. Nah there ain’t no one else camping out tonight, let’s just get a spot right up against the river.
We set up our camp and heated up some cans of soup on the fire while slugging down some ice cold spring water and ice cold beer. I was somewhere between hypnotic trance and a rhapsody sitting there in the cold dark night by the light and warmth of the fire when I heard some strange guttural utterances and turned to see Lester standing there over us saying something unintelligible.
I stood up reached into my pocket and pulled out a ten spot “Lester we didn’t find you when we pulled in”
I handed him the money and I think he smiled, waved and sauntered off.
Holy geez us Emo he scared me shitless!
At some point in the evenings festivities I pulled out my guitar and banged out some combination Guthrie, Dylan, Lennon and Autry and Emo temporarily mesmerized said “Hodgie, that ain’t how that goes.”
It was cold and we crawled into our sleeping bags early. I slept soundly and dreamt incredible dreams of glaciers prehistoric times natives and Passaconaway and this little river flowing into the Pemi and on to the mighty Merrimack past Lowell in a hurry to find the sea.
We were at the foot of mighty trees feeling the earth and having read something profound just moments before falling asleep felt better for it.
Emo woke me early, “Hodgie snow” October in the Whites, not so surprising but just a few inches and the sun rose soon we would feel the warmth.
We headed out on the trail to North Twin Mountain a trail that followed Little River and crossed it several times and usually adept I wasn’t and my wandering mind and soul were rudely awakened when I slipped and fell into the frigid water completely immersed testicle aching teeth chattering lord have mercy friggin water.
We hurried back to the campsite built a fire and I stripped down and hung my clothes around it.
I sat in the Skylark blasting the heat.
It took an hour just to even partially dry my clothes and then when I put them on I smelled like I had just escaped a burning building. Good enough.
We decided to just go for a ride and do a few short hikes around the more touristy attractions.
It was past peak for the foliage so there were not so many tourists. We headed off to Crawford Notch and stopped at the Willey House to read about the family all killed in a rock slide while fleeing their house in 1826.
We stopped in Conway and scraped together a few dollars in change for gas and a few snacks.
We drove along the Kanc stopping at all the roadside pullouts to read the markers and walk around a few little trails.
The long climb to Kancamagus Pass at nearly 3000 ft. Put a hurtin on the Skylark but after that we coasted all the way into Lincoln.
We stopped at Lincoln
Woods for a short hike and by now it was getting late in the day. We decided to head straight back to Lowell where I was supposed to go on a blind date.
I grabbed the gear shift lever on the column threw it in reverse swung the car around threw it in drive but I musta used a little too much force cause the lever came off the column and we were driving down the road.
Emo didn’t notice right away so “hey Emo we don’t need this thing do we?”
I got it shoved back in and it appeared to
Be working. Long strange trip.
“Hodgie, you ever been on a date before?” “I suppose I would have to say no.” “Did your father have the talk with you?”
“I am going with Richie and Paul and Mikey and their girlfriends they set this up.”
“Hope you plan on sprucing up a bit you look like a hobo.” Emo was right, I had a beard wild out of control hair and the smoke smell was hanging in there.
“I ain’t got time for that but I got the leather jacket in the trunk.” This jacket I bought from Bill Rodgers when he was a bit down and out cash strapped was double breasted thick heavy cow leather purchased in Provincetown designed for some hipster to wear around Mod London Town in the 60’s totally passé now.
Emo shook his head and laughed. When I dropped him off he lent me some money for my date.
“I’ll be by tomorrow to pay you back.” “Ya, ya, ya.”
I arrived at Mike’s house and he introduced me to my date, she was pretty and she smiled at me so I guess I didn’t look half bad or they told her ahead of time not to expect much.
As we entered the theatre Richie said “Bob you smell like a camp fire, all need to do is fart during the movie to complete the aura.”
“I just might, I ate a whole box of raisins for lunch.”
The date went fine she even held my hand, I probably said about five words to her all night.
When I got home my Dad was waiting for me. “How come you missed work today.”
“Emo talked me into going hiking.” I didn’t mention the date, didn’t want to get his hopes up.
“Well you gonna owe them some cables on Monday.” “Yah, I know dad I’ll get them done.”
I had been making the same cable so long I could really bang them out only thing slowed me down was getting them inspected but now my auntie was one of the inspectors and always found a way to move me up in the queue.
A proud member of the IBEW but it wouldn’t last that wanderlust got me, goodnight.