A left turn on Main. Main Street. Who lives here? On Main Street? It could be anyone, I think to myself. There are Main Streets all over the world. Small humble hamlets nestled within the hearts of the largest cities and along dirt roads etched into the center of villages in the deepest forests in the furthermost corners of the world. Main Street. The center of town. The center of each of our own little worlds. An intersection. Where lives crisscross on the way to the everyday business of coming and going.
Main Street. From Google Earth. An "X" marks the spot. Radiating out from those two straight lines, are the rays, the infinite lines of people, flora, and fauna unique to the surroundings. Main Street lined with flashing neon, pedestrian traffic, movie theaters, hustling bustling crowds, subway station entrances descend below ground and elevated trains roar overhead. Main Street, a dusty noisy overcrowded scene of honking horns alongside oxen pulling carts, and women dressed in vibrant multicolored dress, guiding young children through the constant din and the fever pitch of commerce and traverse.
Main Street, on frozen tundra with dog sleds making tracks in the snow. Main Street, as the backdrop for the Eiffel Tower. Main Street, where farmers set up stalls on Market Day and visitors linger over just picked peaches in the warmth of the morning sun. Main Street , a cleared path through hanging vines and barely visible under the canopy of trees filled with chattering monkeys and elaborately plumed macaws. Main Street, lined with historic buildings, centuries old, the facades pockmarked from the passage of time. Main Street, lined with new shiny skyscrapers, their mirrored windows reflecting the people passing by.
A left turn on Main. Where we all live. A street full of strangers and friends. Casual acquaintances and fast friends. Odd fellows and characters of questionable reputations. Nearly normal folk, neighbors, but not necessarily neighborly. Haves and have nots. Lost and found. Hungry and fed. People we admire and those despised. All mixed up in the daily to and fro from early morning rising, to work, to school, to sow, to plant, to reap. And no matter how small Main Street may appear, we will never truly know all the residents by heart. We pick and choose. Huddle in packs. Find safety in similarities of nature. Comfort in cliques. We may claim to be city slicks or country hicks, but slick and hick are derogatorily dangerous terms that separate us from the pleasure of a side by side Sunday afternoon stroll down the sidewalks of Main Street.
Pepper and I make the left on Main. There are no ocean views or mountain ranges in sight. We are smack dab in the middle of SOMEWHERE. The right here of right now. A place where a little less hysteria, a touch less drama is needed. SOMEWHERE is leveled flat, with a few rolling hills, but a long reassuring sweep to the horizon, terra firma, solid ground, a place to plant our feet, to put down roots, seriously serene and sensible. A place to establish equilibrium. The simplicity and the complexity of small town living in the Heart of the Heart Land. The Heart of the Garden Belt where growing great gardens is an art form.
I am wearing yellow wellies. I have a traveling companion on my shoulder wearing night goggles and spitting the shells of sunflower seeds down my back, the seeds I carried in my pockets as we wandered through the night. Seeds in my pocket, garden gnome on my shoulder and garden boots on my feet. Standing on Main.
Everything we need is here on Main. The Coast-To-Coast Store. The clock on the corner above the bank. The blinking neon in the window of the Flickering Flame restaurant on the other side of the street. And here, in plain view, tucked into the window of Ace Plumbing, a hand written sign, with a red arrow pointing up to the second floor...the Welcome Wagon words...For Rent.
Lease in hand, Pepper and I ascend the warped wooden stairs to the second floor. The door hangs on its last hinge, the rippled glass inset still bears a few hand painted letters, the hallmark of its former tenant. ...G...V...W... a memory stirs in the back of my mind. I have been here before. No matter. What is important is that I am here NOW. The door creaks as I push it aside, and I smile, as I know that creak. I have one in my knee. I pat the door with a loving hand as I whisper "Age does that to a person. Nothing a little linament can't cure." Pepper snorts until his trick knee buckles and knocks the smirk right off his beak. I unpin the towel from my shoulders, shake off the dust motes and spider webs, pick up Pepper, and start the show. My show.
The Yard Yeti Radio Show...
I want to be an "on the air" radio personality.
I want my own radio program.
I will call it the "Yard Yeti Show", starring me, your favorite Yard Yeti.
I will broadcast from a second floor minimalist suite located over the Ace Plumbing Company on the first floor, a loyal Main Street mainstay and cozy neighbor to the Coast-To-Coast Store, the Ben Franklin Five and Dime, Ed's Pharmacy and the Flickering Flame Restaurant with the neon flickering flame in the window. The light that never goes out. Ever.
I will sit at an oil cloth covered formica kitchen table, with my microphone, a few handy props, a sound effects machine, a CD player and a stack of CDs propped up in a wooden CD crate. Perched on my shoulder, my pet parakeet Pepper, a profanity prone yakker with a slightly hacking cough soothed only with a teaspoon of whiskey. I will use a three second delay, or a bleeping device, just in case Pepper "peppers" the airwaves with expletives.
I, however, will speak in dulcet soothing tones, with a flat Midwestern accent and nooooo distracting ssssibilant sssssses.
The "Yard Yeti Radio Show" will actually be the Noon Report. Noon, because the Noon Whistle will sound outside my window in the second floor suite, and all the town residents, all my listeners, from far and near, will register the subliminal signal to turn on and tune in...to Me!
I will open the program with my trademarked Intro.
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still. But we can...let's catch up. It's Yard Yeti Time!"
I will start the show with a Weather Update.
Looking out the window I will announce...Sun, Rain, Sleet or Snow.
Followed by the Traffic Report.
A look out the window.
Three cars on Main Street. Ample parking available.
Then comes the fun part. I will read from a 3X5 index card, the police blotter. Recent arrests. Speeding tickets. Open container violations. Small acts of vandalism. Domestic disturbances. So and so pulled over for a missing tail light. Mayor Yoo-Know-Hoo driving with expired tags. Mr. and Mrs. Councilpersons cited for disturbing the peace with their yelling, turned in by their helpful and caring neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. We-Have-Nothing-Else-To-Do-Except-Watch-Our-Neighbors-Through-Our-Window-Because-We-Are-Too-Cheap-To-Pay-For-Cable.
I will be an equal opportunity tattler.
Next up, the hospital report. Incoming and outgoing. From simple procedures like a few stitches to larger issues such as an overdose of Viagra. I will provide just the vital signs. No judgment or opining.
I will report and my listeners will eavesdrop.
As I am the Yard Yeti, I will pause for a commercial break sponsored by the local seed company. I am in the garden business and feel it is my civic duty to encourage good crop cultivation and environmental awareness. Every year I will promote the "Who Grew The Biggest" Contest. Participants will be encouraged to tie their zucchinis, cucumbers or ears of corn to their mailboxes. A select group of judges, that would be Pepper and me, will drive by to google the vegetables and announce the winner on-the-air. The winner will receive a coupon for a free Maid-Right sandwich.
That's a Sloppy Joe to you foodies Here and There.
Next, I will play a selection of tunes by local musicians. An autoharp solo by Mary Alice, a show tune from Edna Ruth, and a track from an aspiring garage band called "Whatchudoin?" I feel it is important to bridge the gap between my younger and older listeners. Expand the demographic, so to speak. Broaden the base. Appeal to a larger audience. Good marketing strategy. Besides, Pepper has a "thing" for heavy metal.
But what is a radio show without a special "guest"?
Each program will feature a visiting member of the Yard Yetis. For example, the buzz is still buzzing from last weeks grand opening guest, Gladys Gerbera, Yard Yeti extraordinaire. A quick and talkative wit, a show stealing showoff. Gladys took to the airwaves. That giddy, glib, gaudy and gregarious gadabout Gladys, a fan favorite, until the unfortunate little incident with Pepper, and then...
Gladys Gerbera lost her cool to a hot flash!
As the show comes to a close, taking my hand off the bleep button, I lean into the microphone whispering conspiratorially...my trademark...my Yard Yeti Sign Off...
"Your secrets are safe with me, except for the ones I posted on the Internet."
The show is over and I stand here looking out over Main Street. Pepper is snoring in his cage. The neon flame flickers on in the restaurant down the street. I am Not Yet A Yeti, yet. This, whatever this is, is flickering too. A little flicker of light lands on three little pots lined up on the windowsill. A gift from Gladys Gerbera, Yard Yeti Woman of Lore.
Between eyes closed and the coming of sleep, with a tiny clay pot cupped in my hand, I wonder...what's her story? How did she go from here...to ...there....???
Chapter 3 | Chapter 5