Thread: Unpaid Bill
View Single Post
Old 02-24-2019, 10:32 PM
vapros vapros is offline
Verified Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: baton rouge, la
Posts: 3,257
Default Holidays

It’s carnival time in the states along the Gulf coast and south Louisiana is all painted up in the carnival colors, purple, green and yellow. No pastels for Mardi Gras, folks. One day this week I went to the bakery where I buy my shoe soles. I like pastry - might be the reason for my longevity – or not. Anyway the big window is all painted up for the occasion, Colombina mask and string of beads, all in the bright colors. Down in the corner was the signature; art by Chuckles the Clown, looked like a feminine touch.

Being an old sign painter I am reminded of the traveling window dogs who turned up at holiday time to decorate store windows. For the week or ten days before the event he would come around and for a reasonable fee he would paint your window in the water-based tempera color and with the appropriate items for the season. He seldom spent more than forty minutes on a job and could do as many as ten in a good day. He had his specialties memorized and knocked them out like magic. Everything he needed was close at hand in his truck and right after getting out his stuff he was finished and gone. There are still a few window dogs in action today, moving and selling the displays.

I knew an older guy who liked to tell about the life. He had had a small shop somewhere in Arkansas, Texarkana maybe, and he locked it up when he hit the road for holiday work. He said he had a route that included small towns in nearby areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma, and a number of customers who looked for him as time approached for window painting. Some even had the windows cleaned when he arrived. For the others he carried a sponge and bucket and squeegee. His fee, he told me, was forty dollars by the time he quit, and that worked out to more than three hundred bucks a day. Several decades ago, when he was traveling, he expected to gross between two and three G per trip. That kind of money, a that time, would pay the rent and buy the groceries and leave some for one’s beer and smokes. No doubt – like the pool players - they told the IRS all about it.

I think his name was Lomax or something similar. In February Lomax painted hearts and diamonds. In March it was leprechauns and shamrocks and in April it would be painted eggs and bunnies. Then came stars and stripes and then fireworks. In the fall he did skeletons and witches and black cats, then baked turkeys and falling leaves. When Christmas approached Lomax might be gone from home for most of a month. It was hard work and living out of some kind of camper on a pickup truck, but he loved it.

Then there was Clark Byers, working in the southeastern states for quite a few years. Byers would paint the roof of your barn if you would agree to display the promo for Rock City. See Rock City, or Visit Beautiful Rock City, or See Seven States from Rock City. He would reward the owner with a packet of Rock City souvenirs and the sum of three dollars if necessary. Four gallons of black paint and two gallons of white. He claimed to have done over nine hundred barns in nineteen states. Currently, we are told only about eighty remain to view, and a few of those are being repainted. But not by Byers.

Equally iconic, but not so personal, were the Burma Shave signs posted along the highways for the entertainment of passing travelers. A brilliant promotion, they were in use from 1926 to 1963. A few remain – along old Route 66 for example. **School zone here – take it slow – let the little shavers grow – Burma Shave. **Within this life – of toil and sin – your head grows bald – but not your chin – Burma Shave. ** Free, free – a trip to Mars – for just 900 - empty jars - Burma Shave.

I watched a fine one-pocket match on YouTube last night, courtesy of Railbird Productions. They offer quite a few matches from this years DCC, and the one I saw was between John Schmidt and Niels Feijen. In the first thirteen minutes they each ran eight-and-out, but the third and fourth games featured some great one-pocket action, with first one player and then the other seeming in fatal traps and shooting their way out. Feijen had John shooting uphill most of the way and punished him for each error at the table and won the match by 3-1. Good viewing for an hour and four minutes. The commentator was not too familiar with the game, but the stream was outstanding. Luckily, one-pocket can be enjoyed with the sound off and I often watch it that way.

Today, about fifty years late, I am reading The Valachi Papers. It’s like Goodfellas and the Sopranos all at once. All the famous mobsters of yesterday are in there and all have funny nicknames. I’m loving it.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
Reply With Quote