Diary - Electronics - Essays - Other Writing - Cartoons - Paintings - Photo Album - World War II - Etc

ET CETERA - That Which Doesn't Fit Elsewhere

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.

Artifacts

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.)
Mirror
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.
Key Frob
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 Bicycle Rider
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 back.
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 Bookmark (Front)
Another bookmark that B. D. made. The ink has faded considerably.
A Bookmark (Back)
Award
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.

Bookmark

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 find.

Front

Back

Un-Birthday Card

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

  • Front
    Unfortunately, this card got a little wet. Also, where BD colored the flowers, the black ink faded into the marker a little.
  • Verse
    "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.
  • Back
    (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.)

Book Dedications

B.D. gave me two books with handwritten dedications while I lived with him in Hendersonville, NC.

Just So Stories Natural Wonders

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.

  • Typescript
  • Handwritten Version
    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 last line).

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 consistently.

Sundry

These items defy classification or categorization.

  • Letter Fragment (Front)
    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)
    An 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 Typescript
    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 here.)
  • (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 Plan.
  • (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" column.
  • A Thought For The Day
    A random 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 arisen.
  • Permanent Pass (for Sgt. Scott)
    The name "Col. James Allen" is not made up. I need to research it.
  • Certificate
    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)
    I 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.

Home - About B. D. McKay

All content on this web site is copyright 2003 Scott McMahan; this information may be copied, distributed and/or modified under certain conditions, but it comes WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; see the Design Science License for more details.