The Sticky Hickey
by Calendar Hacksaw
My old friend Grubb called me early this morn begging advice and
a supportive shoulder in dealing with his daughter, a smart 15-year
old who had fallen into something resembling "eternal love"
with a young man Grubb affectionately described as "trailer
Now, mind you, Twin Oaks folks as a whole don't much care for
the expression "trailer trash" for a bunch of good reasons,
and that goes for me, too. People who live in trailers part-time
or full-time - whether double-wide, single-wide, travelers, or
even old campers - don't tend to think of themselves or their
friends and neighbors as "trailer trash." Some people
who use that disparaging expression extend it to include modulars
and pre-fabs, even if they never had any wheels. So it's obvious
that the use of the derisive phrase is intended not only to imply
that the targeted individual is somehow economically and/or morally
inferior or damaged, but also that the accuser is in some way
superior and/or uniquely qualified to pass judgement. And we all
know from personal experience that this just isn't so.
But alas, ol' Calendar seems to have strayed from the subject,
and now must find his way back to the story of the teenage princess
and the devil. It's relevant for those of you who have young ones,
although I doubt you'll learn anything from it. I sure didn't,
and neither did Grubb. But if you haven't been there yet, you're
sure as hell headed in that direction, and it's bound to be sheer
hell once you arrive.
Grubb, his wife and daughter, live in a small town up north of
here. The young lady volunteers at the local animal shelter, and
until now had every intention of completing high school and moving
on to college. Her parents have the wherewithal to see that her
education will meet all their mutual dreams and expectations.
But then she fell in with this older cowboy who came from a broken
home (or, rather, a broken trailer), from down on the other side
of the hypothetical railroad tracks where his broken family presumably
has a long history of cross-breeding mongrel pit bulls with pythons.
At least that is the image my friend conjured up in my mind.
And by the way, I don't think "coming from the wrong side
of the tracks" is a good expression to use in this region
either; it ranks right up there with "trailer trash"
as a trite clichè that belongs somewhere else, if anywhere at
all. Whenever I pass through Caliente, I make a special effort
to figure out which side of the tracks is the "bad"
side, but I just can't figure it out; they both look good to me.
We return now to this past weekend when Grubb and his daughter
headed out on an overnight camping trip with an organized group
of belly dancers. I agree with you, I can not envision such a
gathering as bringing about any social good, but I will accept
his word that this was an "organized" event.
Of course, who should also show up, loitering just outside the
tree line in the flickering light of the bonfire, but the felon
who is attempting to corrupt Grubb's daughter, with her permission
and encouragement. Funny how these guys always show up like that,
isn't it? How did he know where they would be?
Months before, the standing order given to the daughter when this
"courtship" ensued was "NO SEX!"
This seemed reasonable, given not only the girl's age, but also
that of her prospective suitor, who had reached his 18th birthday,
had dumped only one previous pregnant fifteen-year old, and was
named in only one prior restraining order.
By the light of the next day, the evidence was clear: there, visible
on the young lady's neck, was a big ol' hickey, the work of the
vagabond from the trees. And after Grubb briefly consulted his
wife, the order was given: "END THIS RELATIONSHIP AT
Anyone who has ever poured hard cider into a milk bucket full
of baking soda could have predicted the girl's reaction to such
an edict: a caustic, chemical eruption and rising of blood pressure
that can only make a hickey look like a gaping chest wound or
a broken heart, depending on your point of view. The girl fled
to a friend's house for the night, the scumbag presumably retreated
into the trees, and the parents spent a sleepless night nursing
a quart bottle of aspirin.
Next morning, Grubb got restless and decided to see if he could
make things worse. He remembered that he had some "Frequent
Litigation Miles" left over from a previous real estate deal,
and thought a letter from a flaming lawyer would put great fear
in this "Romeo of the underage set." The document was
delivered under the presumption that Romeo could read.
Now, you and I have read some terrible news stories over the years
about these forced juvenile separations, haven't we? What a difficult
and important decision for a parent to make! What an extreme gamble,
taken in the hope - however far-feteched - that the separation
will enable the juvenile to somehow "take off the blinders"
and see the "error of her ways."
This column - and this story - doesn't have an ending that I know
of. At least not yet. The girl did sneak off again for a few hours
with her off-limits lover, but left a note for her parents before
doing so, and returned as promised, still vowing that nothing
would impair her resolve to live a happy life with the gypsy.
Well, after a great deal of negotiation and attempts to agree
to arbitration, it was ultimately determined that a "cooling
off" period was in order, and she was given her choice of
distant relatives willing to put her up for a few weeks or months
or years. She chose a brewmaster on the Atlantic coast, and flew
there the following day. Whether or not the vagabond will hitchhike
east to link up with her remains to be seen. My bet is that he
has already set out in search of fresh pastures and a new filly.
Meanwhile, Grubb and his wife live a life of misery and uncertainty,
a nation apart from their daughter, wondering if they did the
right thing, and asking themselves what they could have done differently.
Their trail is a lonely one as they use parental love to battle
what their daughter perceives to be the "real thing."
My granddaughter, Persephone, has witnessed this episode, and
sides firmly with Grubb's daughter. Persephone says it's impossible
for any parent to "see inside a young girl's heart, to see
the purity of intent, the wonder of unconditional love absent
material possessions." I don't know where she learned to
talk like that.
But just to play it safe, I'm buying her some turtleneck sweaters
for Christmas this year. And there'll be no belly dancing campouts
as long as long as ol' Calendar has anything to say about it.
Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org
and he'd love to hear from you.