"ANDY, DO HIPPIES LIVE HERE?"
By Andy Weddington
Thursday, 24 September 2020
A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah. Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
Tuesday past, late morning of a beautiful mild day, mom and I walked familiar neighborhood back streets.
We quietly approached the subdivision pond's edge to see if we could see fish.
Easing along a few dozen paces and nary a fish we found a wood bench for a not yet needed rest.
We sat and took in the sights.
Sticking up to our right front mom spotted a four feet tall section of white PVC with a printed sticker on it. She walked over to investigate.
It was a recycling tube for fishing line. She'd not seen one before. Nor have I.
The sticker, "Please Recycle Monofilament Line" in English and Spanish.
Walking back she picked up a new bare hook and broken off pieces of green and brown plastic worms.
So with these treasures a child would have discovered had we not found first, I worked one of the larger pieces of brown worm onto the hook making for a hasty lure and left it on the edge of the bench in hopes a young fisherman finds it.
Fish do not care if food just came out of packaging.
A big desert cactus, full of big buds, looked out of place. We wondered aloud whom the planter and why. Our speculations fun sidebar.
In a front yard beyond the cactus was a tall white flag pole.
The American flag not flying and mom asked why and what exactly was the flag atop.
I took a close look.
The red, white, and blue gently flapping flag: "North Carolinian for TRUMP!"
The smaller print either "Keep America Great!" or "Make America Great Again!," I could not make it out. Not important enough to approach.
Knowing the flag mom content and we talked about something else that escapes me.
We noticed six geese far across the pond swimming toward us.
Mom, shifting her reading glasses down, noted one bigger. She concluded it the mother of spring chicks (juveniles no longer goslings).
A sensible conclusion.
Soon enough they'll be on their own.
The geese, accepting us as friendly, swam five or six yards in front of us not giving so much as head turn much less obnoxious warning honk.
Mother goose stayed near.
We watched them piddle about and dine in shallower water under shade trees.
Then we turned our attention to talking about nothing in particular.
Memories from long, long ago - long before me - mom recalled; things I did not know nor had ever heard.
True or not, matters not at all.
We talked about change and sometimes how ever so slight you must pay close attention or it's gone.
To that a peculiar arrangement of tree roots just breaking the dirt caught mom's eye and she asked about them.
We went for a good look. What appeared as the start of something manmade from the bench was nature's handiwork.
Satisfied we continued our walk.
The yard with the Trump flag atop white pole also displayed an array of small signs endorsing conservative state pols.
Around the corner a young boy rode his training wheels outfitted bicycle on the sidewalk of our intent. He wore helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads; somewhere therein was a boy.
The sight of him caused flashback to my youth and riding a basic spider bike - less all the safety gear and far more risky riding.
He seemed to be having fun; not by the standard 55 years ago.
There was not sign of parent nor adult.
But there was another sign, a political yard sign, in two consecutive lawns; with lots of text that mom stopped to read.
The sign listed bullets of what the residents believed.
These signs I have seen here and there.
Mom finished reading and rejoined me.
She stopped and asked, "Andy, do hippies live here?"
Laughing aloud, I said, "Mom, I don't know. But I clearly remember when a hippie came to visit us 40 some odd years ago. Remember?"
"Your father's baby brother!"
"Yes, Uncle Mike. Remember, the kids at school thought he was Jesus?!"
More laughing; hearty kind.
"Andy, why do you think the veterans of World War II and Korea raised hippies?"
Not interested in discussing anything akin to politics, "I don't know, mom. Maybe because they couldn't raise geese."
She laughed and laughed and toward home we continued to stroll.
Mom is different these days but still great fun; closer attention required, and that's okay.
We'll never know President Reagan's thought as whom a hippie talked like. Boy, maybe?
And who cares about politics when you still have mom!