ET CETERA - That Which Doesn't Fit
The Bicycle Shows
In the early 1980s, when I lived with B. D., I would ride my
bicycle in the yard while he sat outside on the concrete porch on his
wheelchair. He taught me many things I had never heard of, such as
standing up on the pedals as I rode, and a running mount of the
bicycle. Combining this with electronics, we came up with the idea of
"bicycle shows" where Scott would do tricks, and B. D. acted as the
commentator talking into a tape recorder. Because of this, a tape of
B. D.'s voice exists, the only known recording of his voice. I am
uncertain of the exact date of this recording. Most likely, it was in
the summer of 1982 or 1983.
The physical cassette tape is extant of these shows, which is an
inexpensive audio cassette, the type which is not recommended for
recording anything important. The survival of this fragile artifact
over the years is amazing. Yet somehow the tape survived from 1982 or
1983 until October, 2000 when I digitized the tape. The segments here
are a condensation of the whole tape. I have elided an "interview"
with myself, which is embarrassing, from the first segment.
The few minutes of audio by B. D. is almost all of his voice on
the tape. I did not include another highly repetitive segment with
some of his voice, and several embarrassing "acts" done by the show's
star, and the equally embarrassing "interviews". Yet B. D. did not have
much airtime. Most of the tape is simply me filling time waiting for
B. D. to get ready, and the second side of the tape is me walking the
bicycle course describing it, and taking the tape recorder with me and
trying to record another bicycle show. Most of this is unmistakable. I
was long in enthusiasm for recording my own voice, and short on
anything to say.
See the map B. D. made of the yard for a
picture of the course. I would start at the side porch, going down
the ramp, and go counter-clockwise to the barn, labeled "car shed" on
the map, and either in front of or behind the apple tree. The mud
puddle (or "lake") was right in front of the apple tree at the
extremity of the curve in the driveway. The "big bump" a tree root
that stuck out in the driveway in front of the barn, encountered when
going counter-clockwise towards the barn. Going over it caused the
front wheel of the bicycle to go up into the air. A "side slide" was
done usually on the gravel in the driveway, by applying the brakes
hard and letting the back wheel of the bike slide sideways and kick up
dust. (This trick was halted when it began destroying the driveway!)
| ||Bicycle Show Flier
Audio from the Bicycle Show cassette tape:
The first two segments were from the same day. The third is from a
different day, but I do not remember how far apart these were.
| ||B. D.'s Tools
B. D. had many tools, but the ones that were special to me were the
ones we used when working on electronics projects. These were the
smaller pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, etc. (Others, like the
socket set, are not pictured here but are inside the green toolbox.)
When B. D. died, I inherited all of the tools. Over the years, I've
grown to think of these tools as hallowed, and have almost entirely
replaced them with my own so I would not have to use them. (Note that
some tools here were ones I got in Hendersonville after B. D. died,
and have been kept with these tools even though they were not,
strictly, his. In this photo, the multimeter and yellow-handled wire
strippers to the left under the red toolbox were not B. D.'s. The red
toolbox was not B. D.'s, either, but the green one was. The lower box
of jeweler's screwdrivers was not B. D.'s, either.)
This is a plastic container for a
mirror given out as a promotion by Blythe Television in
Hendersonville, where B. D. worked as a repairman.
B. D. had these key frobs when he worked at the
car dealership in Hendersonville. I got one of these, I suppose
in the early 1980s, and put some toy keys on it and played with
it a little. It was buried in a box of toys for years, and is a
remarkably well-preserved artifact.
| || No. 1
A pin B. D. made for me. He would frequently
make things of this sort out of the lids of Styrofoam hot-meal
containers we'd bring him from the Community Cash deli.
| || Certified Electrician pin|
Something B. D. made
for me; just a piece of cardboard with a safety pin attached to the
| || Commander V pin
This tiny pin is a piece of
cardboard glued to a regular pin. I can't remember what the "V" means.
| || A
Another bookmark that B. D. made. The ink
has faded considerably.
| || A
Perfect example of B. D.'s
self-deprecating humor. He created this "award" in the hopes that,
having his work recognized, he would stop producing more.
BD would often make bookmarks out of scraps of paper like this
one. I wish more of them had survived. This was the only one I could
Undated, but must have been ca. 1978.
B. D. put "when you're too cheap to buy a card" on all his cards,
but was well aware that everyone valued hand-made creativity over store-bought sentiment.
Valentines Card, 1980
This was made shortly after we moved to Hendersonville in 1980,
which explains the verse.
1983 Birthday Card
card got a little wet. Also, where BD colored the flowers, the
black ink faded into the marker a little.
"Commander Scott": See
Starship Orion; "Sergeant Scott": From when we were playing army;
and "Scott, the artist": mostly inchoate talent which had not been
developed yet. Concerning the latter, I was completely untrained
in art and doing very primitive things at the time. He knew that I
was just exploring every possibility for what I could do in life,
and I was totally across the board.
(He imprinted most of his
cards with some variety of "home made; when you're too cheap to
send a card"; I'm surprised more cards are not extant.)
B.D. gave me two books with handwritten dedications while I lived
with him in Hendersonville, NC.
|Just So Stories
Additional note: The edition of the Just So Stories
must have been a new and popular one, since someone else got
me the identical book for Christmas of that year.
In Flanders Fields
BD memorized the World War I poem, In Flanders Fields, while in
school. He recalled it all of his life, and made several manuscripts
and typescripts from memory.
The correcting ink over which the second line was
written erases where B. D. began to write the third line, and had
to blot it out.
Of all the things I inherited from B. D., memory of this nature
was not one of them. He made the handwritten version from memory in
the early 1980s while I was living with him in Hendersonville. The
typescript is likely much earlier. I would expect at least five to ten
years between the two, or perhaps more.
B. D.'s memory is remarkably accurate. The differences between the
published version and his typescript are his "places" for "place" on
line 3; and his "bear" for "hold" on line 12 (B. D. breaks line 8 into
two lines, so it's line 13 of the typescript). Other than that, he has
minor differences in punctuation and spelling (e.g. 'tho). B. D. variously alternates between "Flander" and "Flanders" and
"field" and "fields": the original poem uses the plural for both in
all cases. In the late manuscript, he also repeats "places" and
"bear". He also switches "blow" (end of first line) and "grow" (end of
Concerning "places" and "bear": All published versions of the poem
I can find, as well as the author's own manuscript, have the same
wording without variations. Whatever B. D. originally memorized,
either his source contained these variants, or his mind changed his
memory of the poem over the years, and by the time he completed these
reproductions, his memory had fixed this wording since he used it
These items defy classification or categorization.
- Letter Fragment
As far as I can tell, this is the only surviving letter
fragment from B. D. that is extant. It survives only because of the
Irish Blessing on the back. Most curiously, this is both dated,
September 30, 1979, and concerns the events in the cartoon "'I
Wouldn't Send A Dog' Etc." which concerns the same event, the trip to
Kingsport and the rain on the way back. The 30th was on a Sunday in
September, 1979, so B. D. must have visited us over that
weekend. Since B. D. sent me a lot of cartoons in 1978 and 1979, via
the mail, there must have been many more of these letters (to my
mother) which do not survive. (Incidentally, in Kingsport, we had
"visiting" cats which were not ours, but would wander into the yard
and let us pet them. This must be what B. D. did not believe, and two
must have shown up that day.
- Letter Fragment (Back)
Irish Blessing (Or Toast), the reason why the letter fragment was
saved, even though now the front side is more interesting.
- A Boy's Song
This simply says "favorite", and could very well be
B. D.'s favorite poem. The author, James Hogg (the "Ettrick
Shepherd"), was a lesser-known poet from Scotland in the Romantic era,
who flourished during the time of Wordsworth and Coleridge, Keats, and
others. This era was known for sentimental reflections on
boyhood. (Wordsworth's Prelude is one of the longer and better
known examples.) The Oxford Book Of Children's Verse says "the
words have a freshness of direct experience that characterizes Hogg at
his best", which is one reason it must have appealed to B. D., and
says the poem was originally published in 1831.
- Scrapbook Cover
This says the
"fourth", but only two are extant (the other did not have a hand-drawn
cover). These two books contained many of the papers that have been
preserved, and also contained many newspaper clippings, photos, and
other memorabilia that B. D. saved. (Most of that is not reproduced
- (Newspaper clipping) Passing
the written exam
For a commercial pilot's license, in November,
1958. This was mentioned in the Asheville Citizen-Times column
"Wings Over WNC", which is apparently a predecessor to WNC Flight
- (Newspaper clipping)
Commercial Pilot's License
On November 25, 1958, B. D. McKay
received his commercial pilot's license. On November 30, the
Asheville Citizen-Times noted it in their "Personal Mention"
- A Thought For The Day
card B. D. made for me. Likely on purpose, especially the first point,
something I was still working on when I lived with him in
Hendersonville. No occasion in which to use the latter advice has ever
- Permanent Pass (for
The name "Col. James Allen" is not made up. I need to
Which certifies my
mother, Brenda, is certifiably nuts. I do not remember the episode of
the do-it-yourself turkey sandwich.
- Latin Proverb
- Police 10 Code (Page 1)
do not know if B. D. wrote this out from memory (although he may have)
or had a source, but it is accurate with the copies I've checked it
against. I do not know (or can't remember) why he made this for me.
- Police 10 Code (Page 2)
- Yulesville Typescript
This untitled typescript
is a version of the song "Yulesville" (words and music by Warren E.
Barker, Terry Galanoy, and William A. Olofson) recorded by the
appropriately-named Edward "Kookie" Byrnes, in 1959. "Yulesville" is a
parody of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" standing in the long
tradition of parodies (whose number approaches the number of stars in
the universe) of the anonymous classic which was first published on
December 23, 1823 and has been a staple of the season ever since.
Why B. D. made this typescript is unknown. I do not know if he
made it from memory or had a source. This does not seem to be
something B. D. would memorize, since his opinion of popular culture
(after the Big Band era) was low; unless he enjoyed this doggerel as a
lampoon of popular culture.
B. D.'s wording differs somewhat from the lyrics. Every version I
have seen has minor differences in punctuation, and line breaks. The
lines shown here from the original differ from B. D.'s version:
5 The kids had fell by and just made the street
6 I was ready for snoresville, man was I beat
9 I saw a slick rod that was makin' fat tracks
10 Souped up by eight ponies all wearin' hat racks
13 They were outta the chute makin' time like a bat
14 Turnin' the quarter in eight seconds flat
15 [original has "smokestack" for chimney]
The original version has a stanza which B. D. omits:
17 His threads were from Cubesville and I had to chuckle
18 In front, not in back, was this Ivy League buckle
19 The mop on his chin hid a button-down collar
20 And with that red nose, dad, he looked like a bawler
The reason for the differences is impossible to determine, since I
do not know the circumstances behind this typescript.