Friday’s Weekend Column
Out of Gas

by James Glaser
August 11, 2006

It wasn't that I was out of gas for my truck, it was my mind that was out of gas. I wanted to write this column last night, but nothing was going on upstairs, and I had no clear thoughts at all.

I guess I am still in that Northern work ethic, where you work till you drop. The problem down here is that you drop a lot sooner. The heat really can get to you, and no matter how hard you try to ignore it, your body will over-rule you. I really wanted to get that last window installed yesterday and I did, but that extra 45 minutes of effort did me in.

Every day I see people at the busy corners on the way to the studio with signs that say "Homeless," and under that is printed "God Bless." These people are out there in the morning, and they are out there in the late afternoon when I come home. I don't know if they take brakes, or if they are 'working' a split shift. I do see lots of people giving them money. Maybe they think it is a trade off. You slip this person a buck, and you get a blessing from the Lord. I wonder, if you were out on the town the night before, do you give them a twenty to make up for it?

The people who work for the City of Tallahassee amaze me. Guys shoveling sand into a sidewalk form in the heat. Guys building those forms. Some look like French Foreign Legionnaires, with a white square of cloth hanging down from their hats, covering their necks to keep the sun off. I figure these workers have to be native Floridians, with a life time of having lived in this heat and humidity.

I ask people my age what it was like going to school with no air conditioning, and they say they never noticed it. Mostly I hear, "We were kids." Kids don't notice things like heat and cold. I remember how much hotter it got in Arizona when I was going to school, after we installed an air conditioner. Most Indians who live on the Rez down there live without electricity, so they don't even have a fan.

People learn to adapt to their climate, and that is something I am going to have to learn. My body is telling me that, and now my mind is too.

I took a ride over to Blountstown, where Red Wood Bay Lumber is located. The town is about 50 miles straight west, and it was a nice ride. They told me I hit it on the right day, because I was telling them how clean the place was. They have a big planer, a band saw/resaw, and a jointer. The place was swept clean and everything was neat and clean. . . . but real hot.

I picked out some oak, cherry, and walnut. As I was walking to the office to pay, I noticed the "exotic" wood room and picked out a couple of vermilion boards. They call them paduc. We had a nice discussion about how woods have different names in different parts of the country. I wanted some magnolia, but they don't carry it. They said they would try to hook me up with a local saw mill. I found out it is almost white and looks a bit like lace wood. Oak was $3.50 a board foot, cherry was $6.50, the walnut $7.00, and the vermilion came in at $9.50. Every thing would have graded out as select and the cherry and walnut boards were all over 10 inches wide. Nice wood!

Now for sure the shop will be all ready for work next Friday, and I am chomping at the bit to get started. Wood working has to be easier in this heat than the carpenter work I have been doing for the last couple of months,

I am hoping to have a day at the beach soon. Other than one cold morning on the Atlantic I haven't seen the ocean. I am forty miles from the Gulf and people keep telling me how pretty it is down there. I am hoping to find some pirate treasure or maybe a big sea shell. If I do, I'll tell you about it.

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