Claudius Maximus, manager of
the Winters' Wildcats, born in Brady,
the Heart of Texas, 1932, Depression USA
he who had Polio as a child, born of
poor Texans descended from the Mayflower,
John Jefferson the electric handyman
who looked liked John Wayne,
who kept Brady going in the days when dust flew over the world.
Oh Claudius, you sojourner, you nearsighted, devourer
of books, Sci Fi fantasy warlord, inhaler of Hemingway,
You who created Muzzy, you who listened
to the Louisiana Hayride in college, and sat behind
Willie Nelson at the Grand Old Opry, while they jammed.
You who laughed in the face of the Dean at UT
as you wouldn't sign the form declaring
that you were not a member of the Four Starred
Mothers of America etc. etc.
You who cooked tortillas on a burner
with Raul Cardenas, you who were drafted and sent
to Germany to drink beer and take pictures of castles
while doppelgangers died in Korea.
You who tricked the general into admitting that soldiers were dying in Vietnam.
You who worked on newspapers, and magazines and shook
hands, took pictures, traveled the world.
You who wrote novels and plucked
apricots off a dying tree.
You who drove the Orange Turtle, the Astrovan,
the Camper Van, the passport.
You who watched with broken heart: the Longhorns,
the Celtics, the Bills, who walked Nicholas
Buffington the third, and Popsie, spun Vox
jox, and poems that rhymed, who trounced through
New York, Troy, Brockport, New Orleans, San Diego,
Enid, Austin, LA, Las Vegas...
Claudius Ray Maximus, maker of lay ups,
fixer of chairs, watcher of big screen TV sets,
player of Tetris, enemy of telephones every
where, recovering alcoholic, oldtimer, diabetic,
redhead, redneck, red faced writer of novels,
teacher, He who threatened his mother in-
law that he would name his first born son
Radio City Music, He who got threatened
with Korea after intimidating his drill sergeant.
Lover of radio, survivor of the 60s, pusher
of Bill Monroe's bus from the mud at Newport.
Guy who knew Pappilardi, guy who knew Montague,
guy who made love to the radio, guy who wrote for Billboard,
started Radio Report, Radio Forum, West Coast Writer's Conspiracy,
and gave tours of the YMCA. Claude Ray Hall, father of 3 sons,
one a lawyer, one a poet, one an addict turned drug counselor.
The father who wouldn't give up and told us all to come home
if we got in trouble. Daddy who sang bass, Daddy who said that
there were so many hippies on the field that you couldn't see the grass,
who used to lift me up with one hand, who drank beer, and tasted of beer,
then ate ice cream and corn chips and sat in his underwear watching Bird
get his ass kicked by Magic. You always rooted for the wrong team!
I once stood between you and the beer at Trader Joes, begging you not to drink.
I once sat scared as we swerved the hills above L.A., a tiny spin away from oblivion.
I once told you not to worry, that you will make it to the other side.
And as you go there, I wish you well.
I wish you to go gently,
like a snowflake.
May the higher power absorb you.
May the force of the earth not throw you off,
May the Republicans not shoot you.
I once dreamt you were thrown up against the wall,
and we are always being thrown up against the wall,
such is the nature of revolutions.
Oh dad! May the next dimension be large enough for you,
May there be beings of understanding and love, or something resembling it.
May the lightning storms not scare you but invigorate you.
May your next father be loving, and not wield a belt in anger.
May alcohol just be a pleasant buzz and not a poison.
May your enemies become your friends.
May the orange turtle stop breaking down every ten minutes.
May your mg run wild on the PCH.
May there be plenty of clams under the rocks of San Felipe.
May the Turtle not breakdown near La Ventana.
May the Good Lord throw you a can of diet orange.
May it not explode.
May there be something new and interesting on TV at all times.
May the passing be pain free, or at least, let it be mind blowing like watching a great movie that changes your life, or at least changes two hours of it.
May all the nurses that take care of you till then be sweet, happy, liberal, or at least willing to listen to you.
May the weather always be interesting.
May the Weather Channel always be soothing.
May you always go camping, and have the stars to look up at and talk to.
May they listen, and echo your song.