ephemeral nature of life in america
15 years ago, I was living (barely) in Austin.
We had just purchased a Trailer House, to try and lower the cost of living...and were having great difficulty keeping things together...even with 3 jobs between the 2 of us.
My Step Dad called up, when he heard we were looking to move to the country.(I was looking at the bastrop area)
He begged and cajoled us to move out here with him and my Mom...he'd pay for moving the house, he said.
I took the bait...
The "understanding" was that we would all be in this together.
A unit...trying to make a go of it on the Farm
He's a Disabled VietNam Era Vet...and, thus, gets a whole lot of Jack from the Gooberment.
This would be the "Funding" for all our various endeavors to become like unto our own (20 acre) country...out here in the Wilderness.
This was the "Deal".
I had known this guy my whole life...he lived down the road back home...and when my Mom married him, it was alright.(I had a few misgivings, but kept them to myself)
I have known him to be a kind, if simple, man....generous and caring...wise in his simplicity.
I learned that first year that he had a Dark Side.
Every six weeks, or so, he'd go "On the Rag" (as the rest of us came to call it) and turn into his Daddy.
Vindictive, abusive and violent.He was easy to get away from...being in a wheelchair...so after these storms passed (in a week, or so) he was forgiven....and we all moved on.
Me and Mom figgered it had to do with VietNam and his own Asshole Father(who is a real piece of work...may he burn in Hell!)
During these Phases, I became the Scapegoat...the (literal) Red Headded Stepchild...the percieved source of everything wrong with the World.
I accepted this with tolerance and understanding...he had been through a lot...and was my Mom's choice of mate...and was so kind and generous the rest of the time.
So I moved the whole kit and kaboodle to Mason, Texas..and set about working to improve the Farm. My Exwife got a job right off the bat.
Soon, during his Moontime, he was chewing me out because I didn't have a "real job"...and was thus lazy..a leech.
So I got a job at Pizza Hut.
Next Moontime, I was lazy and a leech because I didn't do "enough' work on the Farm and slept till 10am (I worked at night)...
I decided there was no pleasing Moontime Don...I learned to avoid him when I detected the Rag coming on.
Now, 15 years later....my Mom's back home, 300+ miles away, helping my brother bring his 2nd daughter into the world...and Moontime Don comes to stay.
I am to leave.
Mom is "cut off" from any access to $$$...
and he is the Boss, Goddammit!( he hasn't considered that I will, actually, leave...and take "his" grandkids with me...or that Mom may have finally had enough, and will soon start divorce proceedings)
So me and my Wife and 2 little boys are left with the land cut from under us.
All the work I've done here was for naught...all the On Call handyman services I've provided, forgotten.
My getting out of bed at 2am to pick his drunk ass off the floor....forgotten.
For 15 years, I've been on call, 24/7; handyman, electrician,carpenter,plumber,vet, medic, shrink,confidant, security-agent,farmer, rancher,etc,etc..
For the 3 weeks my Mom has been gone, I've been sneaking over to Mom's to feed and care for the animals...
He lay in wait to holler at me the first few days, the belligerant eunich...so I learned to vary my times and routes.
I snuck in when he was gone one day, and hid all the guns...unlocked a few windows he can't get to...etc...just seemed prudent.
So we're stuck...6 months till my wife finally gets her degree...a year (from now) till she gets a "real job"...(Teaching...they hire in late summer)
So in September, we're moving to town...to her late Grandmother's little house in the Barrio.
My Real Dad has offered to "help" with a down payment to get us a coupla acres, wherever wife's job turns out to be...and there's always the possibility that Social Security will miraculously grow Sense and grant me Disability...fix my bones so I can get a job...hopefully.
And I'm left to dismantle all the porches, barn and addition to the house...the fences, my shop, etc etc and pack it all into my single wide...
21st Century Tom Joad...
and so many aspects of our lives have become intertwined with his...
How many strands must simply be cut?
And is my body capable of all the work to be done?
I'm 40 years old, Broken and Broke, wife and 2 little kids...
And I have to start all over....at the very time that it seems the economy is crashing and the world is trying to come undone...
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