Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carpetbaggers and scallywags

Do you have any memories of school that strike you as just plain weird? I remember very specifically (down to the color of the section title - blue - and font and the photo on the page of an ink etching... because I've very Sheldon Cooper that way) a section of my fourth grade history book about the Reconstruction, focusing on carpetbaggers and scallywags. I don't remember anything about voting procedures or martial law or rebuilding after the Civil War (I was probably bored and drawing flowers in my textbook), but I recall in vivid detail this clown-like hobo with an overstuffed duffelbag made of carpet. I remember the teacher talking about how homeless Yankees came down South with a bag full of clothes, a story about how the War ruined them, too, and a claim that they wanted to make a fresh start; then there were shysters with similar stories who showed up to prey on the people trying to rebuild, conning them out of what little they had left.

What's my point, you ask? Hell if I know. It was a random memory. But I'd like to bring back the word "scallywag." Castle could do it. Can you see him & Beckett chasing down a suspect in a New York alley, and Castle shouts, "Stop, you scallywag!" I might pee my pants laughing so hard.

But that memory was brought on by another random thought: it would be totally rad to be homeless. ...Homeless and rich. Because homeless and broke would really suck. But if I were homeless and rich, I could just say, hey, let's go be Canadians for a while. We'd put the plastic lawn chairs in storage under the top-of-the-line motor home and drive to Canada. On the way, we'd spend a few weeks in Charleston, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. We'd home school by visiting the Old North Church, seeing the Liberty Bell, walking Mt. Vernon and Arlington, seeing Jonestown, touching Plymouth Rock, practically living in the Smithsonian Museums, and standing in the spray of Niagara Falls.

We'd get to Canada and hike over a glacier and build an igloo and speak French in Quebec and go to the awesomesauce mall in Edmonton. (Really, that's my reason for wanting to go there.) There's a rollercoaster and waterpark in the mall, probably because if they were outside, they could only operate for one month of the year. Maybe they could open a luge park instead of a water park. That would rock.

Then when we got tired of  freezing our butts off, we'd drive down the West Coast, get coffee in Seattle, join a protest in Portland, geek out at Comic Con, bribe my way onto a particular set in LA (ahem), maybe enjoy a Sundae on the beach, and then make my way back to the Deep South. See the Grand Canyon and catch a show at Austin City Limits on the way.

No mortgage, no utility bills, no renters trashing the house I left behind while I took my road trip... yeah, it would be totally rad to be homeless.

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