On the Road Again

A Place in the Sun

My stay at the corner of Chelsea and Hyde Park in Memphis was bracketed by gang violence.  The day before I arrived a guy had been gunned down just up the block from the auto shop where me and Bandit were staying.  His T-shirt was one of two planted in a makeshift memorial, in an untended lot just across the street from where Bandit and I were holed up (see header pic).  A daily reminder of the senseless randomness of street thuggery in the US today, a good deal of which is fueled by the ongoing refusal of some states to come to terms with legalizing marijuana.  As was the case with alcohol prohibition, this inevitably leads to black market activity and violence is the only ‘legal’ recourse for solving “market” disputes.  There’s a “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” happening almost every day somewhere in the poorer parts of the American landscape, but since the dead are mostly poor Blacks and not upscale Italian mobsters, it doesn’t make the ‘news’.  I knew moving in here that the area was a sketchy, but this was underscored in a seriously dramatic fashion Sunday evening. 

Why We Left

IMG_1165

“Nelly Belle” loaded up with Bandit taking one last look at the ‘hood.

There was an honest to goodness running gun battle that took place right at this spot early Sunday evening.  

Bandit and I hunkered in for the night and when daylight appeared Monday morning, I decided not to continue to remain in an area that appears, for all intents and purposes, to be one of the primary gang “drug dealerships” in Memphis.  

To be fair, I had never before felt personally threatened by the gang activity.  I was living in their neighborhood and they treated me with kindness, dignity and respect. There was no hint of racial animosity whatsoever.  This in no way abated the fact that the internecine gang skirmishes were a fact of life or that the general deprivations of the area played heavily on my ability to retain my exuberant upbeat attitude.  None of the businesses seen in the pics below are open and even the church shown in this slideshow was ‘out of business”.  You know things are bad when both the pool hall and the church give up on the area!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though the deprivations in our living arrangements were harsh. I was thankful to have a place for me and Bandit to bivouac while attending to the issues of the van that my friend Drew Pittman had so graciously gifted me.  I consider Drew one of my secular guardian angels.  The van he gave us is truly a life saver and game changer for me and Bandit as we continue the daily struggle to rebuild our lives back here in the US.

What’s Next?

Bandit and I have moved to a safe location outside Memphis and are in a holding pattern awaiting paperwork on the van which has been promised to be forthcoming.  I will be meeting with Drew over the fourth of July weekend to finalize all that before heading on to Pike’s Peak as has been my intention since arriving back in the US last November.  In the meantime we are both doing fine and expect to have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend just like the rest of America.  Memphis wasn’t all bad by any means and I do not wish to leave that impression.  We loved the parks and the general vibrancy of the city.  Memphis is definitely moving in the right direction and there is a lot of opportunity awaiting those with the gumption to grab it.

The circumstances of my poverty greatly exacerbated the situation and though I actually started working within a week of my arrival, getting both the van in shape and trying to acquire the basic items necessary for life made it difficult to accumulate any real wealth.  It’ll be touch and go for sure until we’re actually in Colorado and settled in but that challenge is more appealing to me at this point than gambling with my safety in Memphis.

Enjoy.

Advertisements

The Latest Challenge

Continuing Adventures of Two Old Dogs

Distant Horizons

Bandit and I now must manage to traverse a distance of 370 miles to get to Memphis where I’ve received an offer of a vehicle, shelter and employment.  It’s the first honest offer of employment I’ve managed to secure since regaining my ID and driver’s license two months ago.  I’ve only been back in the county for five months now which seems like ages, but given the amount of forward progress I’ve actually made, I don’t feel bad considering how far in the hole I found myself in upon returning under such harsh circumstances.

The exact details about how the stars aligned on that job offer (etc.) is a serendipitous example of reciprocal karma in action and will make for an interesting blogpost sometime in the near future.

International Bandits

Travel Bandit

Traveling with Bandit, like traveling with a child, adds a great degree of responsibility and challenge to the travel equation, not to mention the extra cost. Keeping him by my side precludes any form of the more affordable mass transit options (trains/buses) available back here in the good ole’ USA.  We got used to traveling everywhere together overseas where dogs are welcome most everywhere.

There are a few of my (misguided) friends and followers who have suggested I offload my beloved dog into the hands of a trusted caregiver.  Given Bandit’s ebullient and gentle demeanor there are no shortage of folks who are willing to provide excellent care for him.

Kissing Bandit

Let me be perfectly clear.  Bandit and I are a family and a team.  He will NOT be handed off or left in the care of anyone other than myself for a time period that exceeds an overnight outing.  Loved ones aren’t a disposable commodity to me.  There is no amount of suffering I will not endure in order to keep Bandit near and dear.  Some of you will relate.  Some of you will think me crazy.  The ones who can relate are those who I feel the deepest kinship.

Donations Clearly Helpful – Press to Help

I’m now left trying to figure the best and most affordable way of getting the two of us to Memphis from here in Oklahoma.  My timetable is flexible but the sooner we can get from Tulsa or Muskogee (pick one) to Memphis the better.  If I don’t find a more suitable way to travel than walking, we’ll walk back towards Memphis just as we were planning to do in the other direction towards Colorado.  It’s half as far as we were planning to trek in the other direction and we had no offer of employment, shelter or transportation once we got there.  @thetimchannel   Email: thetimtimes at gmail.  You know the drill

Enjoy.

Exodus Update

Changes in Attitude

slobdog

Today is the day after me and Bandit were planning to head west to Colorado on a seventy day forced march from our outpost here in Oklahoma.  Among those closest to me (and who chose to make their opinions known) there was an overwhelming amount of fear and trepidation about the course of action I had planned.

I thoroughly understand their many reservations and fears because I share (and shoulder) all of them.

The only difference between them and me is that their choices in life haven’t been narrowed thru circumstance and the fickle hand of fate so close to the event horizon of disaster as mine have.

Changes in Latitude

For Fundamentalist Christians wishing this Godless heathen continued pain and suffering, I have some rather bad news:

I have been showered with blessings yet once again in what can ONLY be described as a certified miracle of secularism.

I shall refrain from boring you all with the happy details at the present time. Suffice to say that it involves an offer of employment and an abode for me and Bandit to reside. It’s not the Hollywood Hilton but it’s straight up out of a Hollywood blockbuster movie the way it is all working out for us.

The Struggle is Real

btn_donate_LG

We could still use a couple dollars in the collection plate to help smooth the transition if you’re so inclined. I can ALMOST guarantee that you’ll get back multiple times the amount of any donation you make towards helping me and Bandit get a head start in the form of positive karma. After all, dog is God spelled backwards.

Best of Mississippi

Best of Mississippi and a Farewell Kiss GoodbyeWinter Golfing in Dixie

I did a best and worst of Iowa series while visiting my sister up north, so I figured I’d attempt to recapture that again in my final blog post from deep down in Dixie. I’ll be heading out of town next week to continue on my “Pike’s Peak or Bust” Mystery Tour.  I’ll refrain from a “worst of” entry for Mississippi since there’s entirely too much of that on display in mainstream media already.

Special Thanks to Mike ParkerPower Couple

Bandit and I have been staying with a long-time and dear friend in the suburbs.  We’ve been extremely well cared for by my good buddy Mike Parker.  Mike is a successful restauranteur here in Jackson.  Mike and his late partner Larry were highlighted in a local magazine article in 2012 as a Jackson area “Power Couple” and as the article above notes, their pizza business has received multiple awards since it’s opening in 2006. Sadly, Larry passed away of cancer a couple years before my wife Rita followed him to the great beyond.  Mike has since found a new and loving partner to help him pick up the pieces of his life.  I’m not ready for that kind of commitment again at this point in my life since I’m still mourning the more recent passing of my beloved mate (and best friend).  Even though Mike has remarried, I know there’s still a void in his soul from the passing of Larry that will never be filled.  It’s good to be staying in a house with such love and understanding of what I’ve been through in the last six months.  I cannot say enough good things about the quality of support my friends here in the South have provided for both myself and my furry travel companion.  Such blessings are hard to come by.

Fond Memories of Mississippi

Below is a slideshow of some of the highlights my hairy beast and I enjoyed here in Dixie during the last several months.  Even as we make our way forward and on to new and exciting adventures, I will always cling to the pleasant memories of my stay here in Mississippi.  There are others in my sphere who have also been essential in keeping our spirits high and our bellies full.  I shall respect the anonymity I know they desire but I shall not fail to make note of them here in passing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy.

One Beautiful Day

“Our worth is not what we put on.  It’s not what we possess.  You’ll take none of them with you when you go, except the love you’ve received and given.”

Foreshadowing

A Timtwisted tale of what happens when two “creatives” cross paths for a night on the town.

181818 odometer

My Saint Patrick’s Day adventure began in the driveway before I’d even left the house when I noticed the odometer reading on my trusty Mazda Protege as seen above.

Continue reading