Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mr. Henley’s Porch

Gerald Henley’s Porch almost overhangs the Main Street sidewalk in Jonesborough. If one of his flowering plants were to be upset, it would roll four feet to the gutter. Nearly everyone who passes is eye level to Mr. Henley2011_1010JONESBOROUGH_more0015 as he sits.  Patty was dragging behind, so I stopped to speak. A few compliments on his “catbird seat”, a little of his history,  a little of ours…
“Trailer, huh?  You out at the campground?  … I got one of them camping in the back yard….Had cancellations this year.”
 “Couple rooms in the house,” he pointed toward the door behind him and swung it open to the breeze, “cancelled too.”
“I’ll show ya.”
 The Parkinson's has slowed him and smiling at jokes has become extra effort best conserved. He was all business just keeping a steady pace down the long narrow passage between the row houses and along the wooden fence. I had photographed the entry to the passage yesterday, but hadn’t intruded further.
mr heney's fence

Beyond the fence, a couple of closed barn wood sheds and a huge tree sat a lovely old Airstream with Alabama plates.
“We have dinner out here during the storytelling,” waving toward the huge College Street Tent which stood on the green verge of his backyard.
 “You can just walk.”

We walked to the back edge of the property, surveying the entrance to our future camping spot. The approach was down steeply on a single lane road at a pitch of 1 to 2, requiring a tight uphill backing ninety between the permanent utility pole and the temporary power pole serving the tent.

“He tried it from the uphill side last year and ended down there…”
The ground guide blanched; the pilot continued to analyze, but slipped into future thought, imagining a shiny Airstream parked in the sun, visible to adoring masses in the tent.
“Twenty a night, but call me as soon as you know.”

“We will!   ….err…we might.”

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