Choo-choo. I beg a thousand pardons you dimwits. I’m a little late boarding the whole Valentine’s Day googly gaga (omigosh, grody, like totally gag me with a spoon) rushin’, racin’, zoomin’, boomin’, bustlin’, hustlin’, speedin’ love train. ”Better late than never” goes the saying. Let’s hope so.
Below is a belated valentine. It’s from a series of cards I designed seven years ago, which included hand drawn illustrations on the inside cover of cutesy hearts exploding from the eye sockets of skulls engulfed in flames and hearts being pierced by Cupid’s arrow, spewing and spattering blood from the ripped gashes of pulmonary arteries.
Yes, yes. ’Tis true. I’m an old sap when it comes to love. I’m a true blue romantic that fancies the mushy stuff. Anyhow, here’s a valentine from me to you with hugs and kisses of the French variety. XO, dear friends. Much love to you.
I stopped in the small, picturesque town of Saluda, North Carolina the other week. Small, sure. But Saluda has experienced quite a boom over the past decade and now boasts a population of 703, this according to the 2012 census.
I do believe I met about half the town as I went wondering about the one block main street, strolling through the art gallery, gift shops, eateries, and the incredibly cool old-timey general store. I even got the pleasure of shaking hands and chatting it up with the town mayor, Fred. Helluva man, that Fred. It was a pleasant lazy, sunny afternoon spent in the small, southern town of Saluda by all accounts, I reckon.
While browsing through the general store, walking past the rows of homemade jellies and soaps and toys and candies and antique hand painted signs, I came across a section in the back containing about two dozen different books displayed on wooden shelves. I didn’t recognize any of the titles. These weren’t the classics, the Brave New Worlds and the Great Expectations. No, these were little known books by local authors, poets, and historians that you’d be hard-pressed to come across anywhere else.
I didn’t have anywhere else to be. I had all the time in the world. I began picking up and riffling through some of the books, amazed to find that several of them had greetings like “Enjoy!” and “Thank you for reading this book” scribbled on the opening pages by the authors, followed by their autographs in ballpoint pen.
I read a couple of the introductions but one of the books in particular captured my interest. It left me standing there holding the book in the back of the musty smelling general store, reading page after page. It was a book called “The Sun’s Gonna’ Shine In My Back Door…Some Day!” by Charles O. Hearon, Jr. The book is a collection of rough and raw, wild and silly poems and short stories, coupled by beautiful shabbily drawn pen and ink illustrations of smiling suns and grazing horses. I had to purchase the book right then and there. It’s a real gem.
Charles is no longer with us, but his words live on through those lucky enough to stumble upon them. It’s not my favorite poem in the collection, but I thought I’d share one of his poems pertaining to love and loss and the likes. It’s a poem called “Angels in the Moonlight.” There’s not a date given for this particular poem, but it’s most likely from the 1920s or 1930s based on the dates given for some of his other poems. I hope you enjoy.
Angels in the Moonlight
by: Charles O. Hearon, Jr.
I see angels in the moonlight
I see my dead dogs in the moonlight
I see dead horses and mules picking
Cropping silently in the pasture
In the moonlight.
I hear wagons and freight trains rattling in the moonlight
I hear teamsters crack and drive in the moonlight
Long ago I met you in the moonlight in a dell
A brook and flowers too.
You went away into the moonlight
And now I go and wait for you
To come back through the moonlight.
You don’t come back for reasons
But you are there as close as the smell of honeysuckle
As friendly as the sand.
Funny stuff moonlight.