I was driving through a small town in Georgia listening to a Kingston Trio tape and wondering why folk singers never had a fiddle in the band when a house number caught my eye. The town had one traffic light. It was strategically placed on the single main crossroads with a small diner on one corner and a convenience store opposite it. There was a McDonalds on out the highway; and a Burger King. I didn’t see a Krispy Kreme or Walmart.
The number up on the porch was 207885.
Folks, we weren’t in Metropolis!
I slowed to get a good look at the house next door but the mailbox was too small for a six digit address! I grew up in a town this size. We had addresses like 110 Main. And 244 Walnut Avenue. If you lived on a ten mile long dirt road, Rural Route 4 was still as high as you could go!
As the Kingston trio swung into “Tom Dooly” I turned down a side street and circled back around to get a better look. It was not unlike a thousand other diminutive southern places I had visited. It had the obligatory “small engine repair” sign in one yard; a 1957 Chevrolet for sale in another; and an old movie theater just off the intersection that looked like it hadn’t been used in years. I guessed the population to be in the two to three thousand range.
This stuff keeps me up at night! How could any town without a Western Auto or a Dairy Queen need a 207885 address? Can you have more house numbers than you do people? Had I crossed over into the Twilight Zone? And I’m telling you, there weren’t that many stores, shops, buildings, out houses or homes in the whole county to warrant such a number! They didn’t have a singe condominium. There wasn’t a street you couldn’t see all the way to the end of.
And that is not the only bizarre phenomenon that keeps me pondering late into the night…..
No one has ever satisfactorily explained why the wheels on the stagecoach in those old western movies always rolled backwards. You’ve seen this I’m sure. The salty stage driver would thunder into town, rein up in front of the Wells Fargo office and breathlessly proclaim he’d been “held up” by Black Bart and his dastardly gang.
Listen, I’ve seen that stagecoach make a hard turn up by the Long Branch Saloon a thousand times and scamper through the very center of town—with the wheels rolling in the opposite direction all the way.
Everyone has seen “Stagecoach,” the 1939 classic where John Wayne is trying to get to Lordsburg on that dusty trail down through the middle of Monument Valley. The wheels never turn forward one time in that whole picture show! Remember the part where the Indians are chasing them. The stage is rolling ninety miles an hour from left to right across your screen. The wheels are spinning like run-away tops in the direction that coach just came from!
I’ve heard the “optical illusion” explanation for six and a half decades. Thankfully, I’m not cultured enough to understand “perceptual rivalry.” And I don’t think wheels-rolling-backwards has anything to do with trick photography, too much popcorn and NECCO Wafers in a dark room or “three dimensional visualizations.” I do believe what I see with my own eyes......even if it can not be explained!
The latest claim to make me overwrought with ponder is the age defying facial cream. I recently saw this advertised on TV. I didn’t catch the company’s name but they guaranteed a few applications would make any person who took the treatment look five years younger. I can’t remember if you had to apply the cream for seven days or seven weeks before the youngster in you leaped forward…..
I figured it was worth a try. I’m tired of looking at my old self in the mirror. And boy howdy, I wanted to get Cathy started on this stuff as quickly as possible.
I’m assuming it works. I haven’t pondered on that for a second. And I’m already thinking if I can back Cathy up five years……and then give her another dose…..you talk about the possibilities…..
But here’s the thought that has kept me up “howling at the moon” for the past week. If a five year old follows the directions……will they look like Winston Churchill when the cream baths take effect?