Frankie Bruzzi and the Toilet Paper

951031C2-C373-E7EF-114FED997DC2241DI love to tell stories about growing up in Roulette. I have to tell them sparingly, because my kids would ask me to tell them over and over again – to the point that we wouldn’t get anything done.

My favorite stories usually have Frankie Bruzzi in them. Now that he’s an adult, I’m sure he prefers to go by Frank – but he’ll ALWAYS be “Frankie” to me.

Frankie was a good looking Italian kid who lived along Route 6. We rode the school bus together from the time we were in first and second grade. In junior high, we were both in band, chorus, and drama, and we both played the saxophone, so our social circles merged.

Whenever Frankie’s story intersects with mine, there’s bound to be an adventure.

When Frank started driving, he would pick me up for school, and for marching band practice. On this particular adventure, Frank had picked me up in his step-dad’s soft-top Jeep Wrangler. We went to an all-day end of summer marching band practice, and we were headed home on the back road (Card Creek / Kim Hill Road).

My naturally curious self decided to open the glove box, and I discovered a roll of toilet paper.

“What’s this for?” I asked curiously. Although now that I have much more life experience than I did as a 16 year old, it was a dumb question.

Frank explained that he often found himself in need of bath tissue when he was driving in the woods.

I got the bright idea of holding the roll, and letting out the paper a little at a time, so that it trailed and flapped in the wind. Since the doors were off the Jeep, this was quite easy, and quite entertaining. I had stretched enough toilet paper that we had a flapping white tail about twenty feet behind us.

While we laughed and enjoyed ourselves, we didn’t think about the consequences. What could go wrong? It’s just toilet paper, right?!

Another car turned onto the dirt road behind us. I got a little nervous about the long trail of toilet paper, and started trying to roll it up – but unfortunately, bath tissue, even double ply is perforated, which means there are weak points in its tensile strength.

All thirty feet of toilet paper let the roll with extreme velocity, which may or may not have been influenced by the excessive speed in which we were driving. The long snaking streamer of white  flew straight backward, and piled up on the windshield of the car behind us, completely obscuring the windshield.

As the brakes behind us squealed and skidded on the gravel, I looked at Frankie, who looked at me… both our faces frozen in an “OH CRAP” face… and Frankie dug his heels into the accelerator. We were home before we could even think of getting caught.

So, almost 20 years later, I find myself making an open  and sincere apology to the poor soul who got TP’d on Kim Hill Road at 50 miles an hour.

His Hands – Poetry Thursday by Josh Hatcher

His Hands

I have
Bloodless, mottled hands,
with slender fingers,
and pink
chewed away nails,
tough fingertips,
callused by phosphored bronze
and silvered steel
And gentle palms
that a sliver
would wreck.
A solitary childhood scar,
definitely from a
jackknife rests on
the first knobby knuckle of
my index finger,
and short,
dark hair
trails
down to my
curved
little pinky.

His Hands
He has
strong, meaty
palms, rough
and scarred,
and sinew-wrapped
fingers, muscle to the bone;
Dirt pushed back beneath
His unmanicured nails, broken
by hammers and ironwood.
Scars deep through His wrist,
Through back and front,
Blessed are
His scars.

Poetry Wednesday: Prayer in thanks for the muse

This is a poem written in the fall of 1996, after finding inspiration to write after a trip to Nashville with a poet and a baseball player.

fold my hands, close my eyes,
try not to get distracted.
Why is it that you give me this?
Why do you speak
from my simple mouth?
(Something has to come
out of this poem…)
chewed pen-cap frustration
faded in Nashville.

The muse, perched on my
shoulder
screamed
above her usual whisper.
(if my muse had a color it would be green…)

More-than-Mentor, I thank you for
muse and rhyme, and for just knowing what it takes
to awaken me.
In stillness
I see what you’ve taught me,
shown me,
made me.
(I see how black I’ve made myself…)
Why do you speak through my simple mouth,
pink and coated from morning?