Friday, March 5, 2010


One of the first great soloists in jazz - born in New Orleans and gone by age 62
The French Existentialists called Bechet "le dieu"
Over here you pronounce him as "buh-shay"



The town snow plow is pushing itself by. Way out here in the woods. The driver is an old friend of mine, Ajax Bond. I can’t remember how he got the name Ajax and I’ve never asked him. He has for the last few years lifted his plow blade when he gets close to our driveway and this saves us hours each week from hand shoveling wicked snow, mostso the stuff that turns to cement after a rainstorm...which happened yesterday after a foot of snow. What was fluffy now got serious. Luckily we old timers from the land of the Never-Never (quit) got onto the jump-pile right early and shoveled everything while it was still fluffy-duffy. After a full day of snow-shoveling and sweating through work clothes one begins to write in rhyme and silly double word tones. I will quit that now.

Ajax lifts the blade, I believe, because thirty years ago on a job we both happened to be at (a house I was building down river from here) I pretty much saved him when he spilled his bulldozer over a cliff edge and was lodged next to a giant red oak stump. Luckily it was a new stump since the land had been logged only a few years earlier. But Ajax couldn't move off his seat, frozen with dread.

No one was there while it was happening. I had hiked back up the road to have lunch with Sweetheart at the appropriate hour of 1 o’clock, so we could catch All My Children, the soap opera. It’s too nutty to explain. We were hooked on it for a few years, after we finally got a 11” tv, black and white, from Sears. Then our son was born and we just all kept on watching it as a little family. Marshmallow in the brains for serious book readers. Our son recalls some of the characters to this day. This is quite a revelation.

So while I am home with Sweetheart and Erica Kane, poor Ajax has eaten early lunch at noon and was back at work and proceeded to take the spill. He still takes chances...I watched as he left our chat at the snow road side yesterday and how his huge plow dump truck not yet filled with sand went shimmying away on the ice forming under the snow with the rain falling. Sweetheart and I both hat and hair drenched.

Thirty years ago I arrive back at the job and there's young Ajax paralyzed and waiting for god knows what. Must of been me? I ran up to his predicament and asked him for his hand which he gave to me and I pulled him off his seat and the throbbing dozer, confused itself by what all the stick-in-the-mud fuss was all about. I never gave it a thought until all these years later when I see him lift the plow blade. Ah, that must be the ticket.

Bob Arnold says : tv, bulldozers, books, snow-plows, snow-shovels = all tools and it all depends on how you use them

photo "newfoundland" © bob arnold