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The Curious Life of Jonathan Pool

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Jonathon Pool lived in the back of an old cave known as a Chevy Suburban that rested atop a rusted out Dodge Duster at Hector’s Salvage Yard on a hill on the outskirts of town. He lived rent free, as he helped Hector with transmissions and engine removal when needed. Hector did not need help with the small stuff.

Hector was a lonely, grizzly man that did not want much company. When he found the boy living in the Suburban, he grunted, and let him stay.

Jonathon cut table legs of uneven lengths, so that it rested level in the corner of his home. On the table rested a candle. He used, old, outgrown shirts as curtains, running string through the sleeves. This was his home.

He was still young, but weathered. During the mornings he did things for Hector. The afternoons were quiet and he was left to himself. Across town there was an old junkyard and he often went exploring for things to use in his business activities that kept him fed. Years before, he had located one of those once popular craft kits for working with glass. The tool he used most often allowed him to cut off the bottom of a bottle. The box was worn and faded, but Jonathon figured out the method.

At the entrance of the Salvage Yard was a display of glass windows made from wine bottle bottoms and a variety of glass wind chimes. He mostly sold wind chimes to the wives that accompanied their husbands, if he sold anything. He was dirty and ragged but managed to feed himself.

After many trial and error attempts, Jonathon knew which wine bottles made which sounds when used with which lug nut or oil cap. He knew the length to cut a particular bottle to make the bowl give its best tone. He experimented with, which wire from which chassis resonated well through the glass.

Hector went along when he was asked if wire could be strung across the yard from lamp posts to fence posts or lamp post to office building. He went along because he liked the music.

It was not long after Jonathon’s project got started when a person from the town came out to his Salvage Yard and looked around. The customer did not need an auto part, the curiosity of music had gotten the better of him. A day or two later a mother with her child in tow came to Hector’s Yard and talked to him while he was pulling a starter from an Oldsmobile. Hector shimmied out from under the Delta 88 and pointed at the Suburban sitting atop the Duster.

Soon the woman was talking to Jonathon, completely forgetting where she was at. She and Jonathan leaned against some old dirty tractor tire while the woman showed him a book she had brought and explained the musical notes to him. He brought out the different pieces that he had made and she showed him which musical notes they represented.

She came every day for a week. Hector liked that, as she brought a basket of food with her each day for lunch. She and Jonathan went over the notes and she brought a tuning fork to teach Jonathan the notes that he missed in his experimentation.

The people in the sleepy town just down the hill from Hector’s Salvage Yard began getting a nightly concert. Depending on the season, and which way the wind blew. Their town, once stale and routine became filled with the curiosity of life.

So many people began arriving at Hector’s, that he opened a concession stand where he sold cold drinks in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. Hector held a Christmas tree sale in December. The children of the town came and sang their choir recitals in the early evenings, accompanied by the chimes.

The men of the town began buying the wine glass windows and installing them on the back wall of their garages and the women began delivering apple cider to both Jonathan and Hector.

Jonathan had the back seat of the Chevy Suburban upholstered, for a more comfortable bed, and had the carpet replaced. He continued to scavenge for wine bottles on the far side of town and continued to make his chimes.

He broadened his experimentation to include horn rings, and hub caps. He knew the sounds of piston rings and window knobs. He knew that a bottle from a Chardonnay, sounded best with a window knob, used as a clapper from a Ford Capri Landau. And that the bottle from a California Pinot Noir was best used with a radiator cap from a Ford Pacer. Soon he could imitate many sounds heard in a philharmonic orchestra.

One summer evening, two of the kids in the high school band brought their horns and sat on the ground outside of Hector’s Salvage Yard and accompanied the chimes. Most of the town brought chairs outside to listen.

Word spread and summer evenings people from the neighboring town drove over to listen to the music that seemed to float freely from the sky. They stopped at the General Store to buy a soda or the Café for a slice of pie and coffee. They shopped at the Five and Dime and waited for the wind that carried the music that made them forget the troubles that consumed them. They walked arm in arm along the sidewalks and tipped their hats to the towns people. And said, ‘Good evening.”

One summer morning Jonothan came to Hector’s office and made Hector lose his mouth full of apple cider by asking for the hood ornament from a Skyliner. Hector, exclaimed, “You want me to buy auto parts?” And both laughed.

Later that day four women from the town arrived at Hector’s Office. They wanted to clean up his approach and office porch. Hector tilted his head back at the women and smiled, but he agreed. At the end of the day the approach was raked and clear of weeds. A row of rock outlined the entrance and were painted white. The hub caps and weathered fan belts were removed from the front porch and chimes in multicolor glass bells lined the entrance and wine bottle bottom windows hung on the front wall.

Hector had the cleanest auto salvage yard in two counties. That evening Jonathan lit candles and placed them on every few rocks on the new driveway and the two of them shared cider and laughed together for the second time that day.

Their world was illuminated. The light from the candles reflected here and there. The cars seemed to shine, as if scrubbed and polished. They were clean but still rough, like the men. The two sat and spoke quietly, with a sense of anticipation.

A brand new symphony opened as the wind began to blow. Music sprinkled down upon the town, washing pain and suffering away. Jonathan had spent the day rearranging the chimes, just so.

the-curious-life-of-jonathan-pool

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