Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hern Pettigrew and Dark Cloud Coffee


My granddaddy was Hern Pettigrew and he taught me a lot about life and death and love.  He was born in Dumas Texas and was raised on a farm in Justiceberg Texas outside of Post, Texas outside of Slaton, Texas outside of Lubbock, Texas.  Tonight I was reminded of him at Bricks, “Best Pizza on Earth,” restaurant here in Chicago.

They sell this best pizza on Earth underground in what they call the Catacomb.  Coming in off the street at the obscene hour of 5:30 to eat dinner means that we are blinded by the darkness and can barely find the door, and that we have the place to ourselves, almost.

They were from Tennessee and sold hunting gear.  We know this of course from their friendly Southern demeanor and our, or rather my, craving for adult conversation.  The guy skirts the issue and then tells me they travel around renting 20 foot tables at Hunting and Fishing Expos to sell their gear.  Specifically, a camera you can buy to mount on a tree and watch and photograph the eldest deer as he methodically walks his routine for a week or more. You can, “get to know him” before you kill him.  This all sounds completely insane to me.  What is he talking about? I don’t give him a chance to answer before I start to tell him of Granddaddy and his friend Trueett, who at age 75 built a turkey watch tree house thing in an old mesquite to shoot at them.

I go on and tell this complete stranger how we’d catch turtles who ate the catfish food with a line of hooks.  We’d pull them out and cut off their heads.  I was completely fascinated by this and hug their heads to dry on the fence.  Each summer I’d return to the farm and admire the dried skulls.   We’d kill catfish for supper and jackrabbits for the cats that lived in the woodpile.  I’d go get the bunny by the feet and bring him back to inspect.  Who is more insane now?

But my childhood is solid and memorable and rooted in the land.  I was raised connected to the ebb and flow of life.  Even as I shot the 52 at empty coke cans, I knew I was a part of a place.  And that is what I want for our children: a connection to mother Earth and an understanding of her ruthless ways.   Life is not always fair.

Like a freakishly cold gigantic city lacking any quality coffee joints.  There are a few exceptions. Dark Cloud stands out as a coffee geeks paradise- they even serve vacuum or siphon coffee.  If you can’t make it there, you can always go to any corner and find a Starbucks.  We even know of a corner that has not 1 but 2! Starbucks.  They basically own this town. But lets all remember the saying, “friends don’t let friends go to Starbucks,” because they destroy the little guys and gals and the coffee just sucks.
life at Oz Park after Dark Cloud coffee

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