Thursday, April 22, 2010

Local Color

Welcome to Buford's World. That's what the stick-on lettering says on the door of the building pictured. Buford is a local artist of sorts (when he's not working on the garbage truck) whose canvases are a few blank walls on some buildings in town. My camera was acting wonky on the day I snapped this shot, but I'm making it a mission to capture Buford's works before someone decides that they need to be painted over.

I'd also like to get Buford to paint the shed in my backyard, but the landlady (my mother) might not go for it. Oh, well . . .

One neat thing about small towns is that the smaller populations make it easier for the local characters to stand out. In addition to Buford, there is a fellow I call Forrest (after that Gump person). Our Forrest walks, though, doesn't run. Nevertheless, every day he must cover 15 miles or more in the county, walking stick or umbrella in hand. His age is hard to determine, and there is something definitely not quite right about him, in a Boo Radley kind of way. He always walks alone.

I usually see "Forrest" walking down the highway as I'm commuting to and from work. One recent evening when I saw him just standing alongside the road, at the spot where earlier in the day someone's big black dog had lost a race with someone else's motor vehicle, I wondered why he was staying in place, not moving. Well, the next morning when I drove to work, I happened to notice that the dog's body had been moved off the road. In fact, the realization struck me that the many cats and dogs who meet their fates on Highway 421 and aren't rendered one with the blacktop are frequently "relocated" from the traffic lanes to the shoulder of the road. I suspect that Forrest's mission is to spare these beasts any final indignation, give them a more restful resting place until, maybe, an owner comes to claim the body.

Some people (my mother) think that people like Forrest should be made to do "real" work, to earn their keep in society and not be a drain on resources. If my suspicion about Forrest's life work is true, however, I think his actions do constitute real work. Caring about something, simply for the sake of caring, is a job that not enough people do, regardless of the pay.


  1. That statement is very close to what the Buddah might have said 'bout Forrest.

  2. Interesting observation, Punch. Thanks.

  3. intell, this is a beautiful and sensitive post. I just can't be my usual asshole self. You are keenly tuned into your surroundings, in a way that I truly admire. Would that I had your penchant for words...these are the kinds of things that I think about, but never commit to paper...or ether, in this case, and the thoughts are lost for eternity. Beautiful...and...I am sorry...your mother is wrong.

  4. Thanks, jaded. Some day folks will be writing posts about that eccentric redhead (me) and hopefully they will be as charitably received as you've received this post :-)

    Of course my mother is wrong. But try telling her that...

  5. Tell your mother you've learned he's a wounded war veteran. It'll ease her mind and maybe, in some strange vibe way, Forrest's too.

    Hope you get your camera working and publish more of Buford's art.

  6. Mr.C, I bought myself a new camera for my birthday :-) Look out...

  7. I agree with Jaded. I, too, just can't get what I feel sometimes into words. You always knock my socks off with your observations.

  8. Oh, Doug...your socks are usually already off when you read my blog, aren't they? ;-)

    I'm glad that I can voice my own thoughts in a way that rings a chord with others.

  9. Shh, the sock thing's supposed to be a secret ;-)


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