The sun is beating on my head through my hat. I’m just the help. It’s a role that I enjoy.


“Boss me around, baby,” I do NOT say. I stay mute, gloves on hands, left arm in its removable brace, hoe nearby, spade in hand.

My wife is the master, planting her garlic for winter. She’s serious about her garden. Fresh bulbs had been procured, along with the right soil and fertilizer. Potatoes occupy the usual garlic winter home. A new one is required. “Somewhere in the sun,” she proclaims with steely vigor, looking around.

A song spurts into my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to —

“We need to move the compost bins,” my wife declares.

We’re in the side yard, where most of the gardening is done. Boo, the backyard panther with a white star on his chest (like he’s sheriff) (guess, that would be a floofriff) moseys along toward us, talking as he comes. One compost bin (previously emptied) is moved to a new location. With this happening, Boo retreats to the backyard He wants nothing to do with work.

I shovel the compost from the full one to the empty one’s new location. The song resumes it secret playing in my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world. And if you did, was she crying?

Yes, Charlie Rich is serenading my brain with “The Most Beautiful Girl” as I do as I’m told. (We’re now on breaking up the soil where the garlic is to reside.) I blame my mother for this song. While Charlie Rich’s voice and the accompanying music is coming off vinyl courtesy of Mom’s mohogany Magnavox console stereo, it’s Mom singing along along with Rich who is actually singing in my head. She used to frustrate me by singing this song when I was trying to talk to her about it. It was apparently funny to her. The song came out in 1973. I would turn seventeen that year. I’d left home a year or two before to live with Dad, but would return to Mom for major holidays. Dad, single guy that he was, didn’t do holidays.

Why did Mom sing that song to me? Why was I singing today? These the mind’s mysteries. At least, they’re my mind’s mysteries. I don’t know what goes on in others’ minds. I barely comprehend what’s happening in my own.

“Now I just need to water them.” My wife was finished. I was dismissed.

It was a good day. Time to go wash my wife’s car. Wonder what song will be playing?

Oh, wait, Rose Royce begins their 1976 hot song, “Car Wash”. I was stationed in the Republic of the Philippines when it was out. My good buddy Bopie introduced it to me.

At least this one is task appropriate.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Perhaps I am mired in the past. I ended up thinking of my time at Clark AB in the Philippines as I walked yesterday in 1976, and recalled my buddy, Bopie. He and I worked at the same place. I arrived about two weeks after him. We lived in the same barracks (dorm, in Air Force terminology), on the same floor. He was about seven doors down from me.

The first time I really met him, though, was when we were off-duty at a unit function. He was wearing a red tee-shirt. On the back, in yellow letters, was Bopie. Walking up behind him, I said it. Starting, he turned and looked at me with a short laugh. “You are the first person that ever said my name right the first time.” His name was Ray, but Bopie was the name he liked to use (that was never explained to me).

We were shift workers, and often shared time off, so we would run around together sometimes. He introduced me to a lot of music and comedy that I didn’t know, including the movie, Car Wash, featuring the song, “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.

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