Sprinkle it with dew (sprinkle it with dew)
Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two...
Oh wait. That's the Candy Man! I'm not talking about the Candy Man! I'm talking about the Weirdo Man. Yes. I know that comes as a shock to you.
Perhaps you have gathered that Val does not live in some sugar-filled utopia like the Candy Man delivers from. Her homestead is not near the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Nor is it on top of Spaghetti, All Covered With Cheese. And it's most certainly not like New Jersey, where people ride their bike in a wife-beater smoking a cigarette carrying a rocking cow. No siree, Bob! We're talking about Backroads, by cracky! Things are a little different here in the land where people sit on the back porch with a raccoon frolicking against their ankles.
Monday, I was headed to town mid-morning. I'd gone about three miles, and was just rounding the bend to go from our blacktop county road onto the blacktop lettered highway. There was a blue truck in the middle of the road. That in itself is not unusual. People stop their pickups in the road all the time. They're usually chatting with another pickup facing the other way. Or counting cows in the field. Or waiting for a deer to jump into the woods. Or nowhere to be seen, because they've abandoned the vehicle to go float a kayak down a creek on six inches of water.
This pickup was parked in the middle of the road. At first, I thought maybe he was making a left turn, and was rudely hogging the center line, making it difficult for a car that might be turning in to this road. He was, but not because he was making a left. He was parked. The truck turned off.
Not only was the truck parked, but it also had the passenger door hanging wide open. With nobody in the driver's seat or the passenger seat. That's because Weirdo Man was in the back of the pickup truck. He was wearing overalls over a white t-shirt, and a beard that was not short enough to be hipster, and not long and pointy enough to be a ZZ Top wannabe.
Sometimes people need to get up in the back of their pickup truck. Maybe they're hauling something that slips around. Maybe they need to tighten the come-a-long straps that hold them in. This guy had a load in his pickup bed all right. But it wasn't strapped in.
Two 55-gallon rusty barrels were sitting up against the cab of the pickup truck. People haul them all the time. Nothing unusual about that. It's how rural folks get rid of trash. Not all of them, of course. We have a dumpster. But our side neighbors, the dog Copper's human parents, burn their trash in a barrel. Years ago, their teenage daughter caught the woods on fire doing it. But that's another story. It's not like they're making any worse mark on the environment than those of us who fill up the land with our buried trash, or send it to the middle of the ocean on a barge. Paper and cardboard come from wood, and wood burns, and the atmosphere deals with it. It's all a trade-off on which resources you destroy. Anyhoo...
The unusual thing about this Weirdo Man standing in the bed of his pickup truck loaded with 55-gallon barrels parked in the middle of the road...was that
FLAMES WERE SHOOTING OUT THE TOPS OF THE BARRELS!
Yep. This guy was a multi-tasker, I guess, burning his trash as he drove his barrels to their destination.
Who can take a pickup (who can take a pickup)
Fill the bed with trash (fill the bed with trash)
Park it in the road and inflame it in a flash
The Weirdo Man can (the Weirdo Man can)
There's really not a point to this story. It's just Val, serving you up a slice of her life.