Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot and Hazy: Ramar Quicksand, Nightmares, Words Writers Write and Bloggers Blab, Great Blue Herons, Man Boobs and other Rambles, The Series Continues

My friend Ronald over on his Blog "Retired in Delaware" posted about having a nightmare during his afternoon nap. He woke in a sweat from images of sinking in quicksand in his neighbor's yard. Not that his neighbor has pools of quicksand laying in wait for the occasional trespasser, just that was his dilemma in this dream. There he sank like some hapless character in "Ramar of the Jungle," a show starring Jon Hall as the square-jawed jungle sawbones in both Africa and Indian. It was a show those of my generation from my portion of the land would not have missed watching each week on TV, hurrying in from our own childhood hide and seek games when he came on.

 "Be careful, guys, I think Quicksand is lurking around the corner!"

It seemed an unusual amount of times someone would fall into quicksand in Ramar's adventures. If it were a bad guy, they would sink readily until a final shot of their hand, fingers wiggling, disappearing beneath this terrible grave. If they were a good guy or the damsel in distress they would writhe about screaming for much of the half hour until Ramar would arrive. Generally he rescued them by holding a stick across the pit for them to grab. During the times of their imprisonment they would sink up to their neck, then a cut-away to Ramar racing down some trail. When we came back to the victim they would have somehow rose out to their waist only to sink to the neck again before our hero arrived.
Neither the well-educated research doctors or their intrepid, experienced guide ever seemed aware it is almost impossible to sink fully into quicksand due to its density. Nor were they aware that the easiest escape is to kick your feet and swim out.

When my friend had visited a week or so ago we had hiked back along a trail and had to jump over some mud holes (one such jump and mud hole pictured at the top of this post). He had made a comment about quicksand in Ramar and we had then discussed those scenes. This may be why the image popped up in his nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, I awoke from one the other night. I remember almost nothing about it even though it seemed very clear while dreaming. I only know there was some kind of ghost and I felt very paranoid when I awoke, jumping at any sound and spooking at every shadow. 

By the aside, have you ever noticed ghosts always appear in films dressed in the garb of their time of death. Clothes are inanimate objects with no soul or spirit. Why would clothes remain in the spirit world? I don't believe in ghosts, but if I were ever to see one I would expect it to be naked.

Anyway, my little nightmare was startling, but harmless. The real nightmare for me came that morning after my morning walk. Now any regular reader of this Blog knows I am a fanatic walker. Any day I do not work, I set off early to hike four or five miles in our wonderful state parks. But I like variety, so am always looking for a new path to explore. Thus I decided on Monday to give Ashland Nature Center a try.
I had been there before with The Little Woman several years ago and also with the kids when they were still kids. I hadn't been there lately and I heard recently about their nice trails. I knew it could be tricky to find, so I consulted the world leading expert on finding places; that is, I looked on a Google map. Ah, looks easy, go up Rt. 52, turn left on Rt. 82, then on Barley Mill Road to their entrance. 

Yeah, sure, and okay, finding the turn off 52 on to 82 was easy. There was even a big sign with an arrow saying, "Ashland Nature Center is this way, fool!" So, I in my naivete felt assured there would be other such signs at each road juncture. I think you know the answer to that one.

Route 82 did a bit of twisting and turning and it came into what seemed an intersection, but no sign no how. I guessed left and entered more twists and turns and somehow ended up at Ashland by pure luck.  So far so good, I was there. I walked up the entrance path and went into the office. I didn't know if there was a fee or not. A lady, most likely a retiree who volunteered as receptionist, greeted me and said there was a $4.00 donation asked. I in return offered to take a senior membership for the year. This made her very happy, she took my credit card info and bid me have a good time for I was now free to walk their trails.

She did not give me a token or barge or anything, so I don't know how anyone would know if I had paid or not. I suspect I could have just bypassed the office and trod my merry way for free, but I'm not the type of guy to do such a thing. 

I went off and walked the Succession Trail. It was nice and I enjoyed my jaunt, but being warm I left after that one path, it had taken about an hour. I got in my car and drove out to the road I had come in on and disappeared into outer darkness.

I do not know where or how I turned the wrong way, but soon I realized the buildings I saw were different from any I had passed coming.  But never no mind, Delaware is a small state, I would come to something I knew, some crossroad whose name was familiar. But I didn't. I drove and drove and nothing was anything I knew. I soon realized I had turned enough I wouldn't find my way back. I had to keep going in hope I would pop out on I-95 or something. I mean, honestly, this was one of the few times I actually wished I would be popping out on I-95.

The landscape became more and more strange. I saw barn-like structures with no windows that I assumed were mushroom farms. But nowhere was there a route sign or a direction sign. Even the road I was on kept changing names. I had no idea which way was north, south, east or west.

Now I don't get nervous when I get lost in the woods. Been there and done that and stayed calm.  I knew where east was and I knew where the creeks flowed and if I kept one or the other to my side I would wander out somewhere. You know, Tuesday afternoon I watched The Blair Witch Project on TV. That I watched that whole movie tells you just how dreary the other selections were. But I was tired and didn't really want to do anything but lay on the couch and watch the tube. So I watched those stupid kids meander and whine through a Maryland woods.

Golly, what was with these guys. They were supposed to be highly intelligent college kids on a well-planned project. Yet they got lost in this woods next to a stream they had found by following a map. Okay, they lost the map, the one jerk threw it away, but they had used it to find the stream and they were at the stream and yet they kept going in circles. Follow the stream, you morons. The current flows one way. If it was flowing that way when you started off, then go the way it wasn't flowing for pete's sake. And if you follow the way it flows you'll eventually come to a river and people live by rivers. And for corn's sake, you had a compass. But so what? Even if you didn't, you could figure out which way was north. Just stick a stick in the ground and mark the shadow with a twig. Wait a few minutes and mark where the shadow is now. Put your left foot by the first mark and your right by the second and, by gosh, you're facing north!

You know something, most of the dialogue, such as it was, in The Blair Witch Project was ad-libbed by the actors. The producers made two mistakes. They hired actors who's vocabulary didn't extend much past four-letter words and who didn't know how to aim a camera. I mean, really, you let the actors do the filming? And they were supposed to be good students of the craft of making documentaries and they didn't have a clue on how to aim a camera? My shaky films of my trail walks, as stomach-churching as my cinematography can be, is academy award caliber next to the shots in Blair Witch. Come on, didn't you really root for the witch to get these annoying creatures sooner than later?

Anyway, I couldn't stick any sticks up on the car dash to get my bearings, so I drove on and speaking of being in weird territory, I had news on the radio.

The next thing my radio gave was a weather report. It talked about rain. When had rain been in any forecast? And then the weatherman said, "It might even rain of the Fourth of July." The Fourth of July? Wasn't this Monday, July 18? Why is the radio giving weather forecasts for the Fourth of July weekend? Had I went through a time warp? Was the next voice to be heard that of Rod Serling?

"Observe this man. He thought he was just going home from a walk. What Larry didn't know was he had just made a wrong turn into The Twilight Zone!"

This wasn't good. Where was I? I plowed ahead and came into the center of Kennett Square. I turned left onto State Street, the avenue where we had ambled during the Mushroom Festival last year. This didn't help. I kept going and was out of Kennett into more unknown territory. I had been driving quite awhile now, still not certain which direction I was going and still seeing no route or directional signs.

Maybe I was heading into Maryland. Man, all I had on were thin white running shorts and a tee shirt. One saving grace, I had a bit of money and a credit card. Usually I only carried my ID when hiking, but since I didn't know if Ashland charged a fee I had tucked the card and some bills into my little belt pouch.

Suddenly I saw a route sign and number I knew, Junction 41. I came out on Route 41 in Avondale, Pennsylvania. There was even a directional sign, Wilmington to the left. I still had a long ride through unfamiliar scenery, but I knew 41 got me somewhere around home. Soon I knew I was back in Delaware and my own stomping grounds, I ran into road construction delays.

Eventually I stumbled into my own living room. What should have been my twenty minute drive home had turned into an hour and twenty minute nightmare, which brings me to that fuel preservation I mentioned in my last post.

You see, originally I was scheduled to work three days this week, but last Sunday I got an email telling me my entire schedule had been cancelled, I was to take off the whole week. Okay, at least I'll save some gasoline. Then on Monday I get lost driving for over and hour and on Wednesday we have a power outage and we drive for an hour to keep cool. So much for saving any fuel. I just filled up again this morning.

TO BE CONTINUED - NEXT: What or what not should we writers write.


Ron said...

Funny story Larry! I got lost once in Delaware too. I ended up in Rising Sun Maryland! I couldn't believe it. I missed the left turn on 896 in Newark. I had the same experience. All of a sudden unfamiliar scenery. Twilight Zone time.

moondustwriter said...

I need to write more - I love your words and where they take your reader. Quicksand - ha doesn't it eat elephants and horses?