Off to Casey Hornung’s house on the first rainy day in some time. And an eventful day at that. It all started with going down to the clay studio to help Norman and Father Paul. I offered to take the dirty towels and some aprons to the basement of the house to launder them. We got them washed then threw them in the large, green, gas powered, industrial dryer. We got the pilot light lit with my new kiln knowledge then flipped the only switch the machine had. It got the flames roaring and they were sucked inward toward the large rotating basin. Father Paul left, leaving the dryer in my hands. Norm stopped by, and we checked them. They were steaming but still very damp. So we left to go to lunch. Our excursion took longer than I expected and I said, “do you think those towels could catch fire?” Norm said it was a possibility so we hit the road. As we pulled int the Mount’s driveway I joked, “wouldn’t it be funny if there was a firetruck out front?” And just over the hill, seconds later, we saw a firetruck in front of the house. I looked at Norman and said, shocked, “it’s ot funny… Holy Shit!” We pulled behind the house and there was a team of fireman and a bundle of burnt towels on the ground. They lit on fire and filled the basement with smoke. Luckily George, the maintenance guy, saw it and called 911. Disaster was averted but I still feel awful. So after that fiasco I freaked out then had to leave.
Once at Casey’s, I was surprised to see his car with windows open on a rainy day. He’s in California at Lake Tahoe so I gave him a ring to see if he’d answer so I could close his windows, but no answer. Then I went in the back yard.
As I began to grab the first two knots on the trunk the neighbor’s white dog began to bark. Nervously I climbed hoping the barking wouldn’t bring out the neighbors to see a suspicious person climbing Casey’s tree. I started to formulate excuses: the truth; just picking persimmons; uh… that was all I could think of. But once I got about three or four branches up the dog stopped, thank god! It was a pretty good climb with some slightly challenging spots on the damp bark. I got up to the small, bendy limbs with my ribbon.
At that top height I noticed little persimmons.
I climbed slightly higher to pick a few. When I got a ripe one I tasted it. It was like candy. So I climbed all over the top limbs stretching all over and pulling limbs in. I shoved them in my right pocket then climbed down.
On the ground I wanted a picture of the persimmons so I arranged them into the letters “H” and “I” as a little message for Casey.
Then I left. It was a good climb that felt like it had a purpose. Or at least showed a useful potential to my tree climbing skill: fruit picking. I kind of wish Casey was there though.
9-28-08: That was definitely the worst day at the Mount during my residency there. I felt so bad and Father Paul had even warned me not to leave the dryer longer than 20 minutes. I think our lunch trip took around 40. If I had burned the house down and ended the Mary Anderson Center… I don’t even know what I would have done.
I did finally talk to Casey when he returned from his vacation. He didn’t seem to much care about his car. He told me I could have closed the window if I so desired since the doors were unlocked and the keys in the car. I guess if you have a car you really don’t want and think you can’t sell, inviting a theft is one way to get rid of it.
Also, not all the persimmons were good. If you get one that is a little beyond ripe it starts to taste awful… like metal. One bad one made me not want to risk eating anymore. I’ve never tasted a fruit that was either really good or really bad, no inbetween. He also never saw the HI message I left for him in persimmons. I guess animals got to them first.
So now I am to Thursday’s climb. I went to the McChesney house hold to get a crash course into driving and operating the new Suburban for the shuttling I did this weekend for a wedding. Then I headed to my parent’s for the night. On the way I stopped at Norton Elementary School off 22. It was late and dark and I parked in the lot and walked over to the playground. I kept seeing trees that I thought might be good but they ended up having no low limbs or poison ivy. I then went towards the front entrance and found a fungus covered maple by a street light. It had one big branch low enough to reach so I jumped and grabbed it. As I was rotating up on to the top of it, I almost slipped and fell back to the ground. But I held on with my finger tips and made it ok. I got to my feet and then moved the rest of the way up the mostly dying branches. I could have pushed it higher but I was just not in the mood to really risk a very difficult move. So I began to take pictures.
At one point I layed down on the branch I was on and in the process felt a lot of things starting to crawl on. After I was done shooting I was eager to get down and brush all the growth and bugs off me. Though my legs were red and bumpy from the climb, I was still happy with the experience. It was more challenging than I expected.