LUNACY – “PIE SAFE” July 16, 20017

Look. This a Lunacy. So I need to at least attempt some humor here. I will likely fail. This is really just about a pie safe, though. Bear with me okay?

My mom was a Baptist from Burlington, North Carolina. My dad was a Methodist from nearby Graham, a town whose city limit sign is a mere two inches from the same Burlington sign.

When I was a child, Burlington folks were the elite of Alamance County. The Grahamites were outcasts even though Graham was and is the county seat.

My mom is a Mangum. My dad is a Moon. Mangums are die hard Democrats. Moons are die hard Republicans.

I think you get where I am going with this, right? My siblings and I were a confused bunch! At least, I was.

A few blocks from Maple Avenue in Burlington

The first couple of years of my life, I lived in one of Granddaddy Mangum’s Burlington rental homes. The house next door to my mom’s parents. So, I guess it was natural for my mother, siblings and me to stay with my mom and Burlington grandparents those times we later visited from Roanoke, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida.

Graham County Courthouse not far from Melville Street

But my dad was from Graham. Maybe he hated the idea of spending another night on Burlington’s Maple Avenue. So, instead, he always chose Graham’s Melville Street. And I don’t blame him. His mom lived there! And his four siblings and longtime friends lived nearby. After hearing all the stories of my dad and his outcast crew from Graham, I don’t blame him at all for ditching his family in Burlington!

But there’s more to this. My Moon cousins from Graham were mostly all much older than my sister and me. On the other hand, our Mangum cousins were mostly around our age, so there was play time on Maple Avenue!

Look, this is my demented and long-winded way of explaining my youthful neglection of my dad’s family in favor of my mom’s. Over time, that notion of neglect changed. In so many ways.

Aunt Edith

I loved many of the qualities of the woman I married and the mother of our son. But I have to be honest here. One of her greatest qualities paralleled that of a Moon aunt. My bride reminded me of Aunt Edith, my dad’s only sister – the middle Moon in that clan. Both of those women just had and have a knack of making everyone feel special. And in genuine and fun-loving ways.

After our son was born, Aunt Edith held a family “get-together” at her home on a small lake outside of Graham. Everyone called that home and lake “The Hill.” Don’t ask me why. I am guessing it was a typical Graham label of such a place. And because of that, I love that name, too.

At some point toward the end of that gathering, Aunt Edith called us all into the kitchen area. She was standing next to a cupboard, or something, draped in a cloth – a bed sheet or something. That woman loved attention, and she got plenty of it that evening.

Papa Moon and Mama Moon

She told us all about having searched, endlessly, for a piece of furniture her and my dad’s dad, Papa Moon, once built and somehow gave away or lost during the Great Depression.  At that moment, Aunt Edith revealed that she had found it. After years of work. The woman found it.

As she removed the cloth from that piece of furniture, she honored my wife, new born son and me by telling everyone that she felt Papa Moon would want this to go to the youngest and possibly last Moon kid – my young male child.

That entire event honored my dad as well. He was probably cracking jokes during that presentation – to avoid the emotion of the moment. But he got what his sister was saying.

My son

Well, the edict my Moon aunt issued that night was this: that I possess, for the rest of my life, the pie safe Papa Moon built . Then, I was told to pass it along to my only son. Now I kind of feel sorry for my son.

My son’s sons

He has three guys of his own. Who the hell does he leave it to? Aunt Edith never instructed us about future generational males!

In every place I have lived since, Papa Moon’s pie safe has been in my living room. It’s sitting in my living room now. I looked at that heirloom the other day. For the first time, I noticed and understood some things that I had placed on the pie safe. There is no reason that I placed them there except that I like what they are. But take a look.

It’s full of clutter.   That would impress any Moon.

 

      

And the clutter seems to me, to be indicative of just why my siblings and I were as confused as we once were.   But I believe my dad would be most impressed by the important things that now, somehow, bring order to the confusion.

The “New Moon” gang!

Happy birthday, again, Daddy!

LUNACY – “HURRICANE FRAN” July 1, 2017

In September of 1996, most of us many inland North Carolina residents prepared to endure the brutal strength of Hurricane Fran. Chapel Hill is not a normal place for a hurricane to visit. But I prepared. Somewhat.

I did not fill my bathtub with water. I didn’t buy bottled water. I did not use masking tape on my windows. I bought no canned goods. No candles. I mean, I was not living in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida where those are normal hurricane things to do. I was in Chapel freakin’ Hill!

But as the threat of that dangerous storm approached Orange County, I did prepare some. I moved the living room sofa to the middle of that small room, and made my son and his Dalmatian sleep there and not upstairs where they normally spent nights.

               I removed my son’s pet rabbit from his front yard cage and his pet parakeet from the stairway landing and placed them both in the downstairs laundry room.

I moved my La-Z-boy chair as far away from the front window as I could – maybe two inches. That’s where I tried to sleep.

But before I even considered the valued lives in that house that night, I first took care of my feet and my fear of walking barefoot through all the rubble and debris that a major storm might cause to our home. Yeah, that’s right!

First thing I did? I put my shoes on!

LUNACY – “STEPHEN CURRY CHALLENGE” June 15, 2016

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game One

I will be honest with you. This is an outright challenge to Stephen Curry. He’s a Charlotte guy. And he will understand.

Almost 30 years ago, I was carried by paramedics from an Atlanta, Georgia hotel room to a hallway in the emergency room of an Atlanta hospital. The best those at that place could do for me was to prescribe some pain killers for the blistering back and sciatic pain that made me totally disabled for quite some time. Thanks to the support of my brother who lived in Atlanta at the time, I was able to rest in pain for a few days at his place after the others in my group drove back home to Chapel Hill, NC.

My brother made sure I flew back. That’s how my brother is.  And that’s how badly I was hurting.

Last February, I spent four days in a Huntersville, NC hospital, recovering from pneumonia caused mostly, I suppose, by the COPD the docs diagnosed. At the time, I was a weak and terribly under-weighted guy.

My son took care of me on this one. That’s the way my son is.

Well, I recovered from both of those devastating times.

chymca2That first back thing happened when I was less than 40 years old. I was told by doctors that I may never be able to even mow my own lawn with a back like the one I had. For several years, I believed them. But at the age of 40, I joined the local YMCA in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I lifted weights there. I shot basketball. Eventually I played ball again. With a group I fondly call “Geezer Ballers.” Because of that wonderful YMCA in the Hill, and because of the “geezers,” my back is now fine. So is my life. Both have been for some time.

After leaving Chapel Hill a few years ago to move to Charlotte for work and grandchildren, I stopped even trying to play ball. Then February hit me like a ton of bricks! Weakness, dizziness, lack of weight, long-term breathing problems. Man!

Shortly after leaving the hospital, know what I did? I joined the local YMCA about a mile east of my Charlotte home. It’s the McCrorey branch. There’s a great deal of history there.

mccrory ymca

 

 

So, anyway, I have been working out on weights there for a few months. I have also been shooting hoops. I am not certain when or if I will ever “play” geezer ball again. But, damn it, the Charlotte McCrorey YMCA is giving to me exactly what the Chapel Hill Y gave to me so many years ago.

Strength. Health. Hope. Promise. And the sheer joy of basketball again!

 

 

 

And I have to say, my shot is back! I am shooting better than I did as a starter on my high school basketball team! And now I am a 62 year old with COPD!

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a basketball shooting contest against some youngsters from Atlanta on the Georgia side of Lake Hartwell! (Okay. I was at a friend’s house for Memorial Day weekend. There were only two old friends in the contest with me at that lake house. But they are younger than me. Okay. By just a couple of years. But those guys still play competitively. In Atlanta!) The thing is, I beat those big-city Georgia youngsters hands down! There was little question about that!

chapel hill ymca 1Look, the whole point of what I am saying is that the YMCA means the world to me. The Chapel Hill Y and the geezer ball guys there saw me through the back stuff, deaths, a failed marriage, a failed business and so much more distressful stuff. Every day through all of that, the Chapel Hill YMCA was there for me.

labyrith_1_955x350

 

The McCrory branch in Charlotte is no different. Just seeing and receiving the smiles from the folks who work and work out there have made breathing and living so much easier for me.

Many of the regulars there, my “new geezers,” when they see me with a basketball, they ask, “So how’s that shot coming along?” I have to be honest with them. So I said to a couple of them, “If I don’t have to run and jump, I will be a great basketball player!” Then I almost always say to each of them, “Bring on Stephen!” They love it when I say that.

So, come on Stephen! In a few days, you won’t have anything better to do for a while! You and me in a shooting contest! At McCrory!    I will even invite the Chapel Hill geezers to come watch us!

I just really need to see the smiles on the faces of all those old guys who ask me about my shot these days. Sorry, but they need to see me beat you, Stephen!

Seriously, one day I hope that I can provide the same smiles and encouragement that each of my YMCA geezer friends in Chapel Hill and Charlotte continue to give to me.

Actually, this is an outright thank you. One from my heart.

To the YMCA.

Just for the heck of it, here is a video I shot and edited years ago for the Y in the Hill!   CHAPEL HILL FUND RAISING VIDEO

And here is the link to an old Classic Lunar, “Geezer Ball!”  GEEZER BALL

LUNACY – “BATHROOM RIGHTS” May 19, 2016

Please don’t take this as some political position paper here, okay? Look, I just haven’t been able to understand the legal language in North Carolina’s “House Bill 2” well enough  to take a firm position on the entire bill. But I did hear some guy on television the other day mention “taking away bathroom rights” from transsexuals

Now that hit home with me. Where did that right come from, and if it is really a right, then why the hell was my right to go to the bathroom denied me so damned many times?

circle kIn my life, and as recently as just a few years ago, I have been denied access to toilets in Circle K’s, Seven-Elevens, and many family owned convenience stores. “No public restrooms here!” I was always told by the honest ones. “Toilet out of order,” was the other excuse for denying me my right. And my favorite – “We have no toilet.” I always wondered what those workers did when they had bowel issues while at work.

toiletPlease bear with me while I tell you a few key bathroom rights stories from my life. It all began when I was very young and barely old enough to even use a toilet. Look, I had a dad, and I have an older brother. My dad traveled with his work. The brother was quite a bit older. So when I was a small child, I really never saw much of either of them. I hung out with my mom and slightly older sister. One night after my Dad returned home from work, he saw me sitting on the toilet to urinate. Sitting was something I learned from my sister.

His words to his wife when he saw what he did? “Marie, you’ve got to separate those two!”

Now, two things here. Where the hell was my right to privacy at that time? And why the hell was I denied the right to use the bathroom the way I wanted to? Now look, I’m a guy. So I’m kind of glad he did what he did. But still!

Then there were a few more instances that occurred during my college days in the mid-seventies and even later. Another happened when my son was old enough to follow televised “rastlin.”

I think it was the Spring of 1974 when some friends and I left Chapel Hill, North Carolina to spend Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale. The beach and the beers and the parties were fantastic. But one evening, toward the end of our break, a few of us decided to travel to Miami. We just wanted to see the place. Hell, we were from a place about a thousand miles away from Miami. We had to see it while we were there. We had no desire to go “clubbing” that night. We could no longer afford such a thing. We were simply sight-seeing.

miamiThen it happened. One, then two, then all of us had to use a bathroom. We walked from establishment to establishment, begging the proprietors at each of them to allow our normal and natural bodily functions to do their normal and natural things. We were denied that process at every stop. We had to be their customers to pee on their porcelain. Our only recourse was to public-urinate in a downtown Miami alley. Thank God the local police were doing a Crockett and Tubbs thing on the waterfront or something somewhere else.

We were not arrested.

beerProbably it was a couple of years later when a dozen of us piled into two cars in Chapel Hill to drive to a lake near Chattanooga to visit a friend who had a house there. Now, we clearly broke the law on that trip. Beer cans were popping open even before the engines on the two vehicles properly fired. The last can was popped as we pulled into the lake house. So, you can see why, at some point on the trip, all twelve of us needed to exercise our bathroom rights.

Now, I am not certain of the sexuality of all of the folks on that trip, but I do know that there were men and women along. And all of us needed to urinate at the same time. The problem was, we were on some middle-of-nowhere Tennessee road. There wasn’t even a Circle-K or Seven-Eleven! And, because we weren’t twelve guys who had to go, we had to find some place. Twelve guys could have gone in a dozen empty beer cans while driving and riding if we had to!

motelThe best we could find was an old family owned motel. It was kind of late at night, but the office lights were on and the “vacancy” sign was still flashing. So a few of us, I think all guys, went into the motel office and very politely explained our situation to the old woman behind the desk. And asked to use the motel restroom. The dear old lady pulled a Circle K on us. “No public restrooms here,” she declared. We begged her. We explained that the girls on the trip needed a place to go. Still – “No public restrooms here.”

pee-and-vomitDamn. The other guys and I returned to the cars, told everyone else what the old lady said, then did what we needed to do. We pulled the cars ahead about a hundred yards and everyone jumped out and ran to the safest and most private places they could to urinate. The girls all ran to huddle next to brick at the base of the motel cottages. The guys mostly just took a few steps away from the car to get somewhat closer to a tree, then let it fly.

Well that’s when something else let fly. Bullets from the rifle of that old Tennessee woman’s husband. He was firing shot after shot in our direction. To this day, I don’t know if he was aiming at us, or just trying to scare the hell out of us. But the latter is what certainly happened. Until that night, I had never seen a female run with her underwear around her knees. I did that night. And I ran, too. Finished or not!

Ric-Flair-WWE-videoThings like this never happened in Chapel Hill, one of the most progressive towns ever. That’s where I lived even after college and after my son was born and got old enough to watch “rastlin’” on TV. One of the most popular rastlers at the time was Ric Flair. They called him, “Nature Boy,” so you would likely figure that what he did was in complete alignment with his nickname. But one late weeknight, Nature Boy was arrested in our town. For urinating behind a bush.

womens roomAnd one time I actually chose to use a ladies restroom. I am sure that was against the law. It was in an office building in Lynchburg, Virginia. I saw where I needed to go, and I went for it. At first, I was a bit puzzled by the lack of urinals there, but I calmly entered a stall, curiously noticed the feminine hygiene machine on the inside wall of the stall, lifted the seat and did what I needed to do. About halfway through my biological function, I heard a woman’s voice. Man I was confused. I wanted the hell out of there! Once I left that bathroom, I realized the sign on the door had been changed. It was one of those sliding things that read “MEN.” instead of “WOMEN.” Some clown had switched the damned things.

no menLook, no government entity and almost no business ones these days deny anyone the right to use a restroom. But it happened often to me, to my guy friends, my girl friends, and to Ric Flair. Our problems were never sexual. They were never political. They weren’t even about big city law.

Our only concerns those times were about our bladders. And we dealt with it. And we survived.

Well, Nature Boy probably paid a Chapel Hill fine. But his bladder is doing well these days, I suppose.

LUNACY – “MOM’S DAY” May 8, 2016

golf-course-vacations-and-resorts

It’s Mother’s Day, and I am playing golf with an old and dear friend, his son, and my son.

Now, I will be okay.  I am healthier and stronger than I have been in some time.  And the weather today is going to be fantastic.

But I am living as a single man, and my mom passed away a few years ago.  The other three in the group?  Well, I think we are looking at four, maybe five or more mothers who belong to the guys in the group.  Those mothers will not be joining us – or we them.  For a while anyway.

I think one Mother’s Day years ago, I played golf with some guys instead of spending time with my wife or mom.  Well – the outcome wasn’t very pleasant.

But cheer up my golf partners of this Sunday.  On that Mother’s Day years ago when I did the same thing, it was kind of nice to be called “Mother” before the other much more vile word was yelled at me!

On that day, it may or may not have been appropriate.  I’m not talking about playing golf.  Heck no.  I mean being called what I was called.

But really.  It felt kind of good to be called “Mother” on that day.

LUNACY – “PROM NIGHT” April 23, 2016

weatheralertLook, some of my favorite people are local television weather anchors. So, don’t take this personally, y’all. I’m just establishing some facts here.

Lately, so many weather reporters, folks I do not know, have been irritating me. Instead of just telling me what the weather will be, they tell me what to do.  They say things like, “Wear a jacket tonight,” or “You will need to wear ‘layers’ today,” or “Wear your gloves at the football game.”

I don’t tune into weathercasts to hear my mother yell at me again!

Well, yesterday morning, the day before my son and his wife’s wedding anniversary, I was kind of excited about them. You know, about how happy they are and about their loving future together. My morning was joyful for a while.

uptownThen it happened. A local weather person said to me on the morning news, “It’s prom night in Charlotte, but you should take an umbrella.”

Okay, so the bumble shoot thing upset me some, but suddenly the mention of “prom night” really did a number on my joy. It brought back some terribly disturbing stuff.

 

Lynyrd-Skynyrd_890-First of all, when I was a junior in a Jacksonville, Florida high school, we got to vote on the band we wanted to play for the prom. What the hell? I didn’t care. I was a dweeb in high school. So I voted for Mouse And The Boys In Brass. My vote helped keep my classmates from hearing The Lynyrd Skynyrd Band. I think the entire Skynyrd band went to my school! That vote has always bothered me.

Look, as a senior, I wanted nothing to do with any prom. So, I refused to go. I said to my high school sweetheart, “Look, you’re only a junior. I don’t want to go to the prom without you!” She replied, “It’s a ‘junior-senior’ prom, Dave.”

Damn! I was nailed on that one! So I faulted back to the dweeb I was and simply told her that I had no interest in the prom. Even though she really wanted to go.

carol-burnett-shut up

 

So, on our prom night, we both ended up sitting on her sofa with her large Irish setter, watching “Carol Burnett” or something. Yet another prom bummer that I regret to this day!

 

But here’s my message to that weather person who created such an emotional stir-up for me: “Even if I were still young enough to go to a Charlotte prom, I don’t OWN a damned umbrella!”

LUNACY – “COPD” April 12, 2016

COPD smoke

Look. The Lunacy is where I try to be funny. And let’s face it, COPD is not funny. COPD stands for “Cardio – something – something – Disorder.” It’s a heart-lung thing. And COPD is what I’ve got!

That picture’s not me, by the way. But it pretty much paints the right picture.

 

Now the docs are giving me prescriptions for inhalers. I’m not filling them, though. Why should I? The purpose of each of the inhalers is to relieve symptoms I have yet to encounter! And I am over the pneumonia!

atkins

Instead, I am treating this disease by gorging on protein and calorie filled foods to gain weight, lifting weights at the Y and learning how to shoot a basketball and to run again! So far, I have been successful in all but the running thing.

ymcaYou know, when I shoot a basketball these days, I miss sometimes. It’s actually very seldom that I do. I am getting pretty good again! But I do miss from time to time. And when I do, I instinctively change the direction of my body and try to run to gather in the rebound. About 60% of the time, I trip and fall. But that’s okay. It used to be 75%!

And I will say that this pneumonia thing was tough to go through. You know, the hospital, the fevers, the angels, the sunsets, the fears…. the mystery! But all of that crap was a breeze when compared to the real problems this has created for me.

ACC-Notre-Dame-North-Carolina-BasketballLook, when I was in the hospital, my favorite college basketball team, UNC played some team on TV. Actually, I think it was Dook! I watched it, but man, my head was so pneumoniaed at the time, I don’t recall who the hell they played. But I do recall, after leaving the hospital, watching the final Carolina- Dook game of the year and the entire ACC Tournament WITHOUT a cocktail OR a smoke! That was brutal enough!

But here is the main problem. I have never written anything without the aid of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking while writing. Evan Williams Green Label Whiskey 1.75LSo writing this and “Magical Tour” on The Lunar Report is damned difficult for me right now!

 

I have looked for alternatives – you know, stuff to get the creative juices flowing again. I tried coffee. I love coffee. But doing that without a smoke while writing? Nah, man! Can’t be done.

Then I thought to myself, “Oooh… glue or paint sniffing… hmmmm….” I consulted my doc. Well, you know he nixed them both!

So look, gang. My writing ability is going to suck even more than my lung function for a while. But only for a while. I am 62 years old. I promise you that, if I am still alive at age 75, I WILL begin drinking and smoking again!

smoking and drinking

I mean – at that age – why the hell not?!?!?!

LUNACY – “PANTHER NOTES” January 27, 2016

A few notes about the Carolina Panthers.

uptown

 

A good friend of mine from Chapel Hill has a daughter who is dating a guy who lives in uptown Charlotte. When the Panthers play at home, you can hear the stadium crowd noise from his apartment balcony. The daughter also lives in Chapel Hill.

 

My friend told me weeks ago that if the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl, she and her daughter would be coming to Charlotte to watch the game at his place. Knowing that, I pulled hard for the Cats! But after they won, I learned that the boyfriend is going to Chapel Hill to watch the game instead.

That led me to say the following: “Well, hell! If I had known you weren’t coming to visit Charlotte, I would have pulled for the damned Cards!”

walmartI do a lot of work these days in Charlotte area Walmarts. One of my stores has, for a while now, been playing loudly over their PA system, the Panthers’ fight song. The song never ended on the Monday after the playoff victory.

I told them that if they didn’t turn that damned music down, I would pull for the Broncos!

At a few of the other Walmarts I visited the day after the Panthers won, they were breaking out boxes of Panther T-shirts and madly selling them from tables set up near the front doors of the stores. When I arrived at each of the stores I visited that day, I asked the same thing.

“So – where do you keep your Arizona shirts?”

Yeah, I am a wise ass. That comes from my fondness of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that competed with Charlotte during an NFL franchise expansion years ago.

But I am loving this Panther team right now.

I have never seen a team more engaging and real.

Cam…

cam and kid

Click the picture for a great story!

The coach…Panthers-Coach

 Sam Mills, Jr.

sammills1

Click the picture to know pounding.

And all the others.

So maybe I will pound my own stuff next year.

For now, I will shut the hell up.

And be only a Panther pounder for a while.

LUNACY – “THE BEST WORD” January 23, 2016

lunacynotagI gotta be honest with you here.   “Lunacy” is the best word to describe exactly what is happening with me these days.

All I really want to do is to re-post all of the lost Lunars and Lunacys.   And to write new stuff.   And, at the same time, to bring in a few dollars of income to pay rent by doing the couple of part-time merchandising jobs I am doing these days.

But how in the hell can any other word but “lunacy” explain what is happening.   I had hours and hours of work to do late last week, and what happened?   Snow and ice!

uncI still have that work to do.   And when am I now doing it?   On the day when my favorite college basketball team, UNC, plays on TV!   On that same day, and at the very same time, my new favorite professional football team is playing in an NFL playoff game!   In the town where I now live!   Traffic will be hell on that day!

panthers cards

 

And, even if I do finish all of my work in time tomorrow, what the hell do I watch?   The regular season college basketball game in which my lifelong and all time favorite team is playing or the NFL playoff game in which my new but irreverent home team is favored to make it to the Super Bowl?

Oh, to hell with it all!   After writing this, I am calling Time Warner to cancel my over priced cable.   Then I am emailing my bosses and telling them that the 60 inches of Charlotte snow still on the ground will prevent me from doing my work.   Then I will call my landlord, claim senility and swear to the man that I had already paid the rent!   Then, I will do what I really love.

Y’all know what that is.

I may suck at using words.   Even the best ones.

But this lunatic loves them all!

LUNACY – “WE KNOW FOOTBALL” September 14, 2015

Any “Care-lina” fan who loves football, loves what I posted for the first time last year. That was just four days after the 60th anniversary of the original presentation and only two days after our team lost it’s second straight early season game.   This is only the second of what will become a continuing annual posting of this classic recording.

Enjoy, y’all!   And have a drank on me!   Do.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “WE KNOW FOOTBALL”  From September 29, 2014

Look here, y’all. Things ain’t quite right here in Care-lina.   For you God forsaken sandlappers south of God’s country, I’m talkin’ ’bout the REAL Care-lina – NORTH Care-lina!   But I ’em here to put all y’all’s minds at perfik ease.   I am.

See, them bumkins from ECTC in Greenvull and them lappers from Climpsun might just blieve that we all up eere on the Hill ain’t got no football sense attall.   But dang it, y’all.   We got some deep roots in nat game.   We know whut football is.   We do.   We really do.

September twenty-fiff, nineteen hunderd and fifty four, a good Care-lina guy – a good un, a real good un – set us all straight.   He did.

andy griffith football

So you woeful feller Care-lina folk, take yer shoes off and kick back a spell.   Take a drank a big ornge an’ hit dem yeller wurds down nere that’s a sayin’ “What It Was Was Football.”   Then jest do your dangdest to ferget ’bout dem losses.

And laff and laff and laff!  Do.

What It Was, Was Football