Oh! By the way, I found out my dad has a friend named Buckshot.
And he lives in a very big house, which my mom pointed out to me.
Buckshot, and then she said, “Now who is that they call Easy Money?” So… so apparently… well, my dad doesn’t remember anybody named Easy Money, so he thought Mom was confused, or, ehhhh, she was thinkin’ of someone else who had a friend called Easy Money. Anyway, these are the people my parents hang out with: Buckshot and Easy Money. And then Mom and Dad are at the kitchen table, we’re all sitting around, Mom suddenly just dropped into conversation the name “Crazy Dave.”
So those are my Mom and Dad’s friends. Uh… Buckshot, Easy Money, and Crazy Dave.
Yeah, Buckshot has a really nice house.
I noticed that on Highway 90 there’s still a few… old motels… There used to be quite a few interesting neon motel signs.
Anyway, I saw a place called the Olsson, two s’s. That’s for me. And it had its old sign that I remembered from being a kid, not that we ever would stay—why would you stay at a motel on Highway 90? By the way, Highway 90 was not lookin’… shiny.
But anyway the Olsson motel had a sort of a swirly… a swirly sign. A… a… series of circles, one inside the other. Red and orange… very… sleek! Kinda—it’d catch the weary salesman’s eye.
Mom said that her Uncle Rayford used to stay at the Olsson. “Was that his hotel, Freddie?” she asked my dad.
Dad said, “I don’t know.”
And, uhhhhh… that reminded me of Aunt Pete, and I said, “Didn’t she s—stay at someplace called Shady Lane?”
And Mom reminded me that the name of the place was Shady Banks.
What a name! What a—what a great name. Shady Banks.
There was a little creek, Mom said, a little shallow creek behind Shady Banks. And, uh, she used to walk back there to the creek. And Aunt Pete ran the Shady Banks motel on Highway 90.
[Road roar grows strangely quieter.]
By the time I was in high school, Shady Banks Motel was… looking kinda rundown and… shingles off the roof or whatever. And people… uhh… gossiped about it in the schoolyard. “Oh…! That’s a…” I don’t know what words we used then. We weren’t big cussers. I don’t think anybody was so Victorian as to call it a house of ill repute, but that was the implication, that, oh, that’s where… prostitutes live there! [Short laugh.] And… take men—men and ladies do… dirty deeds [laughter] at the Shady Banks.
So then later when I heard—annnnnd, it wa—it was only after that, after that first impression I had of Shady Banks from schoolyard tittle-tattle that, uh, I found out that my great-aunt Pete… ran the Shady Banks!
But I was tellin’ Mom how… when I knew that Aunt Pete had somethin’ to do with Shady Banks, and then, rrrrr, first I heard that it was a bad place, and then Mom told me that when her sister, my aunt, got married to her first husband, he said, “Oh, Shady Banks, that’s where the ser—it’s off limits to servicemen! Servicemen are warned away from the Shady Banks.”
I said, yeah, but didn’t Aunt Pete have somethin’ to do with that place? Did she stay there?
And Mom said, “She might’ve made some money that way.”
And for one, you know, half a second, I thought Mom was implying that Aunt Pete was a prostitute. [Short laugh.] So I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Aunt Pete!
But what she meant was that Aunt Pete owned the Shady Banks Motel, or ran it, and… she might have… you know… it was during the Depression, Mom said, when my Aunt Pete ran it. Could that be accurate? Yeah! Sure it can. And that maybe she had turned a blind eye if somebody wanted to bring his special lady he was havin’ an affair with to the Shady Banks for an assignation… sure! She might rent some suspicious-looking couple a room.
But as far as my mother was concerned, the Shady Banks was not a bad place when she was a kid. She would go and walk down by the creek behind the Shady Banks and her father was very strict and would never, never have let her go anywhere with the slightest taint of… uh… sin! Not that he was without his vices.
Eighty-one degrees now, Fahrenheit.
Even though we’re going north!
Getting hotter as we go north.
Oh, I was gonna say on the drive down I noticed there was another kind of song in addition to the kind in which a gruff but sensitive man sings about his hot lady who loves to pray and drink… wears her baseball cap backwards and pounds back the Crown Royals. And… still goes home and prays for her sweet mama’s soul or whatever she does.
I’m behind a truck loaded with cinder blocks.
You dirty, dirty truck.
You’re just doin’ your job! You got cinder blocks to haul, mister! And scant sweet time to do it.
I’m gettin’ out from behind Mr. Cinder Block Man.
Oh yes. We got the rough-and-tumble… the lady who can… you know… the “cool girl” in the parlance of the, uh, famous potboiler Gone Girl. The country gal who can fish for a bass and put denim on her ass. Pardon my crude language. And of course it would never say “ass” on country radio. They prefer some… uh… euphemism. But… In addition to this sort of woman we have another, uh, woman, uhh, narrator, who… and th—this song was pretty good! It was one of those songs where the woman’s gonna go out and she’s gonna… slash the tires of some jackass’s truck and she’s gonna, you know, he’s cheatin’ on her again and… and she’s gonna… she’s gonna… break all his favorite, uh, I don’t know [laughter], china. [Laughter.] He—she’s not gonna break his china. These guys in these songs don’t care about china.
Why not read just one more.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.