Thursday, January 8, 2009


Billy Ray Barnwell here, it has been several weeks since I wrote anything, life just got more hectic than usual all of a sudden for reasons I won’t go into and there was no time to do anything except buy groceries, mow the lawn, pull weeds from the flower beds, walk the dog, install curtain rods, get prescriptions filled, try to find a service station that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for gasoline, pick up the dry cleaning, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, I have found out how soccer moms feel and all I can say is this abundant life is killing me. A semi-famous writer named Anne Lamott says if you just keep writing five hundred words a day, before you know it you will have written an entire book, you build your flock bird by bird so to speak, well I forgot that for a while but now I’m back so all’s well that ends well to coin a phrase, only it hasn’t ended yet, and as we all know thanks to Yogi Berra the famous baseball player, not the cartoon character that lives in Jellystone Park, it ain’t over till it’s over, so I will keep on with this thing until it feels like it’s finished and then and only then will I stop and not before. This is so much more fun than all those chores but it is also hard work and when I say hard work I don’t mean as in pouring concrete, I mean as in mentally because you just never know what’s going to float up from your subconscious into your conscious mind in that old brain of yours and insist on being put down on paper, you know what, Udella Mabry is right, I do write pretty long sentences.

As if the world is not strange enough already, tonight there was a program on public television of all places about a group of hillbilly singers from seventy or eighty years ago named A.P. and Sarah and Maybelle Carter, the Carter family, I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, it was on a program called American Experience but I would bet money that most Americans do not identify with that particular experience, it almost required a suspension of disbelief to sit there and realize that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is spending its money, or rather our money, yours and mine, in this unlikely fashion, not that it wasn’t entertaining or informative in a bizarre sort of way, but what I was expecting was the three tenors, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti and that other one, the Spanish dude, I can’t remember his name, now that’s what I call music, not this hillbilly stuff, which reminds me, when President Clinton was in office our First Couple was actually named Hill and Billy. Anyways, so much of our life nowadays, in America at least, seems to revolve around the entertainment industry, and talking about suspension of disbelief, which one of the following five movies do you think required more of it, Field of Dreams, The Matrix, Purple Rose of Cairo, City of Angels, or Big Fish? All five are pretty far out if you ask me, which you didn’t, but I’m just saying. I had an idea once for a movie, it was going to star Tatum O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, and it was all about the adventures they had and the dangers they faced while trying to protect a loved one from the sharp knife of the evil Lorena Bobbitt, the name of my movie was Saving Ryan’s Privates and I put my idea in an envelope and mailed it off to Mr. Steven Spielberg in Hollywood but he never answered back, and that’s too bad because I also thought my movie would have made a great vehicle for Horace Earl Triplett to break into the acting business. Okay, so if you’re not the type who goes out to movies, you can always sit at home and watch even more bizarre things on television like the life and death of one Anna Nicole Smith or reruns on cable of those lame excuses for newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey which is pronounced Lah-SHAY, why they didn’t even have the same last name for Pete’s sake plus his mouth needed to be washed out regularly with soap. Lately I’ve taken to turning off the TV and reading my Bible just to get some sanity back in my life, some of the stuff in the Bible can beat any soap opera on television hands down.

If you have been reading carefully up to this point you are prolly wondering how it can be that a person who thinks everyone should know who the Happy Goodmans, the Speer Family, and the Lefevres are wouldn’t be familiar with the Carter Family, well I did know that Mother Maybelle was the mother of June Carter Cash who was the wife of Johnny Cash, he was the Man In Black who sang “I Walk The Line” and “Ring Of Fire” and “Folsom Prison” and “I’ve Been Everywhere, Man” and “The Rock Island Line Is A Mighty Good Road” and numerous other country music hits, but I had never heard of A.P. and Sarah, don’t ask me why, maybe a part of my education was simply deficient just like some of you prolly don’t know who Annette Funicello is, or Florian Zabach, boy could he play the violin. I guess we like to think we are all alike because we watch the same television programs when really each of us is a unique, one-of-a-kind being and the great miracle is that we can understand each other at all when you consider how different we all are under the skin, I mean physically we can recognize that we are members of the same species, but internally I cannot be you and you cannot be me because our experiences are as different as night and day, and as the French say, vive la difference! which is pronounced VEEV-lah dee-fair-AWNTZ! and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.

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