Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tea And Roses; A Root Man And A Stabbing

First important world news — 35 minutes ago, Reuters News Service broadcast that in London flames are engulfing the Cutty Sark

The ship looks to be a total loss.

The 137-year-old clipper ship, built by Scott & Linton in Dumbarton, was launched in 1869 on Scotland's River Clyde to make the run to China for the lucrative tea trade. It consistently set speed records as the fastest ship of its day. After the Suez Canal opened and steamers took over the oriental trade, in the 1920s the Cutty Sark became a training ship; and in 1938, it became a nautical exhibit for London tourists.

Recently the Cutty Sark was undergoing restoration and preservation.

The fire apparently is gutting the wooden ship.

I find this news saddening and important because one of the first model ships I build as an adult was a Cutty Sark model given me by my middle son, Johnny, who presented it to me one Christmas along with a half-pint bottle of Scotch liquor named after the ship.

For three years I worked on the model (I even invented some special tools for knotting the intricate rigging) and when it was finally finished, in my eyes at least, I’d created a museum-quality model of the famous tea clipper.

I felt so proud of this model ship that when my daughter Jennifer got married, I presented that model to her and her groom as a wedding present as a special heirloom to be treasured.

They had this cat.

They said the vile beast attacked the model ship’s rigging and destroyed it. The monster dragged the ship from a high shelf and ripped sail and rigging and hull to pieces. The kids trashed the wreck.

I’ve always wondered if the ship didn’t suffer damage in one of the couple’s squabbles … but they said the cat did it.

I wonder if it was a cat or some other terrorist that set this morning’s fire.

Oh well, this world was not made to last forever.

Nevertheless, I feel loss.


Why is it that it’s easier to write about aggravating things than happy events?

Ginny and I spent Sunday pittering about in our garden. We planted several rose bushes the kids had given her for Mothers’ Day.

Those two preceding lines of print represent one of the happiest days I can recall recently.

Contentment and quiet joy don’t lend themselves to journal postings even though days like that are the most important in a lifetime of days.

I’m just naturally given to bitching, I suppose.

Sunday afternoon, my elderly friend Bubba stopped by. He parked his bicycle and came back into the garden to sip tea with us. “Mr. John, I’ve got a lot on my mind,” he said.

I tend to think of our neighborhood as a quiet, typical blue-collar area. One neighbor is a building contractor. Another an engineer. Several office workers live nearby. Two Navy guys, one active, the other retired. One openly homosexual couple and two others I imagine are. Racially mixed homes among the 53 houses in our circle. A smattering of little kids. A gaggle of teenagers who rock the block with their car stereos. A security guard. A couple of elderly shut-ins … just typical, normal folks.

Saturday night one of Bubba’s sons drove his girlfriend’s car over to Bubba’s house. The young man had been stabbed five times by said girlfriend and was bleeding heavily.

So, home to Daddy.

Bubba urged him to go to the emergency room but the young man refused because he has some outstanding police warrants and was afraid the hospital would call the cops about his wounds.

Bubba said the wounds were deep in his son’s chest and arms. They needed stitches, too deep for the old man to bandage.

The boy got mad at him for not being able to tend the wounds and lay rubber speeding away to God only knows where.

Later, Bubba said the cops came to a house near his.

A neighbor lady had called for them to come arrest a root man.

“A root man?,” I asked, “What’s a root man”.

“You know, a voodoo man. He give out roots and spells. He been putting on a black hat, black overcoat, and black boots and walking up and down in front of her house putting a hex spell on her”.

Apparently, the reason provoking the spell involved cats, of course.

Her cats came into his yard

So he put on his black overcoat (in 85 degree weather) and black rig and walks back and forth in front of the cat owner’s house muttering curses and scattering crushed egg shells as he walks.

The responding police officers refused to arrest the root man.

His only legal offense would be littering the street with crushed egg shells and that does not rank high among Jacksonville crime statistics on a Saturday night.

The lady grew abusive at the police officers for not taking away the root man, so abusive that they threatened to arrest her.

But if they’d arrested her, who would take care of her 60 cats?

Is that right?

Yes, I think Bubba said she owns 60 cats… or maybe it was 16.

I’m not sure.

The lady who takes care of the 60 cats is a different lady from the lady on the same street who cares for the 16 — I don’t hear all that well and Bubba’s conversation is sometimes hard for me to follow.

Like I said, Ginny and I live in a quiet, calm, typical Jacksonville neighborhood where we laugh and pray and love and worship and tend our own garden, mind our own business, and enjoy happy, warm Sunday afternoons sipping tea.


Here’s the most recent AP Photo of what’s left of the Cutty Sark this morning; officials say that with enough time and money, salvage may be possible:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:06 AM


At 10:37 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Apparently the Cutty Sark was under renovation, so 50% of it had already been removed from the dry dock where it has been sitting. This is why, apparently, that there is hope for its restoration. Like many other British children, I have fond memories of my own exciting adventures "aboard the Cutty Sark", so I hope they are able to salvage all they need to eventually rebuild her.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger LeiselB said...

Oh how sad!! I hate watching old things get destroyed...or new things for that matter...this is a weird comment, I realize. I need to eat dinner.

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Amrita said...

In India too putting hexes is quite common. you can do it any time or during a special curse planting season.


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