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A Few Random Thoughts from the Last Two Weeks

4 July, 2008

On Tuesday, 17 June, I went down to the local library for their annual used book sale.  I got some classic science fiction (Dickson, Herbert, Clarke, Dick) and one history book (Flyboys (which turned out to be a well written treatise on the selectivity of war-crime trials)).  When we got home, I walked up the street to move my car back in front of our house (Tuesday is street sweeping day) while (((Wife))) went in to see if (((Boy))) was up yet.  As I came around the block, (((Wife))) was waiting on the sidewalk telling me to call work.

I called work, called the agency travel agent and rented a vehicle (the orders specified four-wheel-drive vehicle), had a quick lunch, grabbed my red bag (and my ‘new’ books), went to the airport to pick up my vehicle (Ford Explorer (quite comfortable and I averaged just over 22 mpg for the two weeks)), went to work and got a copy of my resource order (SECM to South One Fire, GDR, VA), stopped at home and picked up a few things I forgot, and was on the road to Virginia by 4:00pm. 

As I passed Gettysburg, I was sliding through radio stations and caught something which sounded interesting.  I like most kinds of music and the snippet I heard sounded like a Broadway Musical number.  As I kicked back to it, I heard children singing (and this is approximate):  Jesus loves me; Jesus watches me; He follows me to school; He follows me home; Jesus loves me, Jesus watches me; He watches me day and night; He loves me and watches over me.  Again, these words are approximate, but capture the gist of the song.  So Jesus is a pedophilic stalker?  Yikes.

I spent the night in a hotel in Virginia and watched the Celtics play a team that didn’t show up (Yeay, Celtics).  The next morning I drove down to Suffolk and the Great Dismal Swamp.  The area was flat (really flat) with a checkerboard of farm and woods.  I checked in and then went for a drive with one fo the local refuge officers (which is when I saw the bears (see photo in previous post)).  I checked into my hotel (home for the next two weeks), took a nap, and showed up for night shift – 1800 to 0930 – and settled into the routine of a fire.

For a southern rural/small town area, I saw very few bumper stickers, and I saw no strange or offensive messages or quotes.  I did see some positive things.  While waiting for an NS train to finish some switching (about 15 minutes), I was idling next to a cheeleader school in an old storefront in a run-down part of town.  Some six to eight year old girls were being dropped off by their parents.  The girls were white, African-, Asian- and Hispanic-American.  As each girl was dropped off, there were giggles and hugs (all the things little kids do before they learn to be embarrassed).  I smiled, thinking that, even twenty years ago, the racial and ethnic mixing at such a personal, friendly, level, would have been extremely unusual in the South (or in many other parts of America).  Looked like progress to me.  Of course, the fact that the girls were attending a cheeleader school rather than playing baseball may be a step back, but . . .

The days (sorry) nights dragged by.  It was hot (days in the 90s, nights in the 60s or 70s (though two nights it never dropped below 80) and wet (a dew point of 60 is considered dry down there).  The food was plentiful, if unimaginative (plus, I had to keep asking if anything had wheat in it (the au gratin potatoes did)) and heavy on the carbs.  The insects were impressive.  A female wolf spider hung out in one of the buildings (she was a uniform dark gray/brown and was a good two inches across).  Luna moths, as well as tiger moths, were plentiful;  one moth was bright white with patterned black spots across the wings and body.  Yellow flies, mosquitos, biting gnats, and chiggers were also plentiful.  I have a great deal of sympathy for the slaves forced to dig canals through the Great Dismal Swamp in the years before the Civil War.

The drive home was 11 hours of heavy traffic (especially past DC and through Harrisburg) in 90 degree plus weather.  Yuck.

I had plenty of time to think, and will be posting some of these over the next few days.  But mostly the assignment was quiet (and when you’re in security, quiet is good) and I got to see some new parts of the country.  Tomorrow, (((Wife))), (((Boy))) and I are heading over to the township for the 102nd Giants Despair Hillclimb.

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10 comments

  1. Spooky Jesus song. Reminds me of a song we used to sing as kids:

    Jesus loves me, this I know,
    For the Bible tells me so,
    He listens when I’m on the phone,
    Watches me when I think I’m alone.

    Jesus uses CCTV,
    Always watching over me,
    And when I am in the shower,
    He looks on using magic powers.

    Into my bedroom he’ll creep,
    Photograph me all asleep,
    Takes the pictures to his shed,
    Whacks off thinking of me in bed.

    Jesus keeps an eye on me,
    Waiting for a sin to see,
    And when I don’t behave so well,
    He damns me to eternal hell.

    I may have misremembered some of it.


  2. Yunshui: That is delightfully sick. I wish I had been able to either record the offensive piece of dreck or write down the lyrics as I was being weirded out by them.


  3. Yay, welcome back! I didn’t realize that one of my favorite bloggers was only about 45 min. away from me. I’m in Va. Beach which is not too far from Suffolk. Thanks for helping with the fire. I have to say, I’m starting to get real tired of all the smoke..yuck. Even here, it gets so heavy sometimes, its more like a thick fog than anything else. A really stinky thick fog 😦


  4. Sabrina: Get used to the smoke: the last time there was a major fire in the Great Dismal Swamp was in 1920. It went out in 1923. I don’t think this one will last that long, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the South One fire was still burning (fully contained, just interior areas and duff burning) until the fall.


  5. Yunshui – your version of Jesus Loves Me differs just a bit from the one I learned. Maybe it’s a Brit-Yank thing. The Yank version obviously lost something in the translation.


  6. I am a civil war reenactor and as a musician I deal with a lot of the music.

    If one looks through The Harmonia Sacra, Southern Harmony, and Sacred Harp from the 19th century there are many hymns that are…odd…

    There is one called “The Romish Maid” which is almost hilarious.

    Religious instruction was very important to the adults around me when I was a child, and as a military brat we lived in some very odd places which showed me the lies involved.

    We used to be required to sing about how “Jesus Loves The Little Children”. Did he, now…? I tended to really doubt it when I could look out a window and see children like me in very miserable straits. Some laying dead.

    “Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight…” My kids took better care of and showed more concern for their goldfish and guinea pigs than this alleged diety.


  7. I used to camp and hunt down in Dismal Swamp. There’s supposed to be a set of ghost lovers down there.


  8. Sarge: Good to hear from you. Yeah, for a paternal deity, god sure seems like an absentee parent way behind on child support.

    You camped down in that swamp? And weren’t eaten alive by yellow flies, horse flies and mosquitos? Damn. You’re either braver or crazier than I thought.


  9. Mostly it’s the crazy. Didn’t say I was COMFY but if you wanted a bit of solitude that was one place you could go to find it.


  10. Tahnks for posting



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