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The View from Paeonian Springs

Perspectives on life and absurdity.

by Michael H. Thomson
March 2, 2005

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Greetings! My name is Mike Thomson and this is my very first column! Therefore, you see, I’m all excited – that is until I start receiving critical reviews. When I just wrote the occasional article for the PO, if someone was overly critical of an article, I could always hide for a few weeks (months) - until my wounds were healed - then emerge with a new piece. With a bi-weekly column, I'm not given that choice...

So, what do I write about in this weekly column with the funky title? That’s too difficult to deal with – me asking myself a question. I’ll do it another way. I’ll create an imaginary character to ask me the questions. Hmm… who will it be? Got it – I’ll ask Lucy Crenshaw – a journalist from my fictional city of Crawfordville, Alabama, which I write about from time to time. Here goes:

LUCY: [visual: voluptuous blonde, big hair, magnolia blossom low-cut print dress] “Mike, we’ve known each other a long time so don’t overload me with a long answer, but why are you doing this?”

MHT: [visual: gray hair, unkempt beard, laser beam eyes, out of shape body – a disguise] “I assure you Lucy, it’s not for the money.” MHT pauses – pulls a hair out of his beard – then continues, “Let’s just say I want to get another voice represented on this website.”

LUCY: [yawning, pulling a wrinkle out of her pantyhose] “What kind of voice would that be, Sugar?”

MHT: “The voice of the redneck pseudo-intellectual who knows a little about everything, but not much about anything in particular”

LUCY: “That sounds like our boy W.”

MHT: “This column is not going to be political, Lucy. The PO breathes and reeks of politics. I’m sort of the comic relief, you know like Falstaff in Henry the Fifth.

LUCY: “I didn’t know they made Falstaff anymore. I was always partial to PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) that is until I went to that Benny Hinn Crusade in Mobile.”

MHT: “Changed your perspective, did it?” What did it feel like when the little guy in the Nehru jacket slapped you on the head?” Wait! Don’t answer that. I’m the subject of this interview, get on with it!”

LUCY: “Okay, Okay. Why do you call this column ‘The View from Paeonian Springs’? What’s a Paeonian Springs?”

MHT: “Actually Paeonian Springs is a place. It could be a ‘what’, but I haven’t lived here long enough do determine what kind of ‘what’ it is. My first impressions are positively over the top.

LUCY: “Wow – it must have some nice malls, is it like Pensacola?”

MHT: “No malls, no traffic signals, the post office is in a wooden frame house with possibly 4 employees if that many. You can buy milk at the Shell station. They do have an international thoroughfare however...

LUCY: “An international thoroughfare... that sounds interesting, tell me about it.

MHT: [pulling another hair from his thin beard] “It’s a hike/bike/horse trail that is over 45 miles long. One end is near Washington, D.C. and the other end is in a quaint place called Purcellville. Purcellville, by the way has a grocery store and a “to die for” hardware store. Because of the Washington D.C. proximity, the trail has bikers and hikers from all over the world. The guy who previously owned my house said that one morning he found a French cyclist camped in the back yard. I would definitely call that international. Of course, I wouldn’t want the guy to do that French two-cheek kissy thing. That might strain relations.

LUCY: “I always did like watching guys riding bicycles wearing that shiny spandex.” Lucy pauses a moment and says, “I need to get back to a Benny Hinn crusade ASAP!” Gathering herself, Lucy asks, “So back to Paeonian Springs, are you going to write about the personalities of Paeonian Springs and their adventures?”

MHT: Yes, and... no, the people I’ve met so far in Paeonian Springs are certainly fascinating. It’s a village type of atmosphere where it’s easy to strike up a conversation at the post office, but The View from Paeonian Springs is actually about how Paeonian Springs affects MY perspective, which I’m sure it will. The column will be humorous, serious, and whimsical and sometimes all of that rolled together.”

LUCY: “Gosh Mike, that sounds like fun. Does that mean you’re going to forget about your friends in Crawfordville? This kind of makes me sad…”

MHT: [Mike pats Lucy on the shoulder – being careful of the hair] “ No Lucy, I’ll never be far away from Crawfordville, in fact I may even bring some Crawfordville personalities into the column occasionally.”

LUCY: “Well, I glad to hear that. Give me a clue on some of your future articles.”

MHT: “Well let’s see… I have a passion for political correctness so I’m going to write a column on the subject and how much energy we waste in going through life trying not to offend other people. Other subjects will be about English as a second language and the dangers inherent in drinking cheap beer, stuff like that.

LUCY: “It all sounds wonderful, Mike. I guess this concludes our interview, I’ll try to get a copy of the Crawfordville Courant to you when I find someone who can set the type. Our typesetter died last week. Poor guy, we gave him his first computer, a Mac, and shortly after that they were airlifting him to the cardiac unit in Mobile. Some folks have a hard time adjusting to new technology.

MHT: “I’m sorry to hear that, Lucy. Say hello to Benny for me. Find out who tailors his jackets, hear?”

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