Have you ever played the game True, True, Not True? (If that is indeed what is called. You sit around and take turns telling two things about yourself that are true, and one that isn’t, and the others in the circle – best played around a campfire – guess which is the untrue thing.)
This is a variation, in which I list some of the things I saw yesterday, down here on the forgotten coast. Everything on the list is true except for one. And which one is it?
A brown pelican, gulping down a large fish and then flying in a prehistoric, cawing way low across the water in search of another.
An old celadon-green sink, rusting at the base, propped outside a junk store.
A very old woman in a black pantsuit and a black hat, escorted into the raw bar by her crimson-faced, pickle-brained middle-aged alcoholic son, who, every time he rose to pull himself another beer from the tap on the wall, found something new to salute: a wooden Indian, a photo of a football team, his own reflection in the window.
A bald eagle circling high over pines on an island, maybe looking for prey or – more likely, from the way he drifted back and forth – enjoying the steady breeze off the ocean.
Two alligators, one sunning his eight-foot body next to a pond, the other barely submerging and floating along lazily.
A hunched woman of indeterminate age, wearing a pink Piggly Wiggly t-shirt and a pair of men’s sansabelt pants, her eyeglasses mended with what looked like a popsicle stick and duct tape, trying to sell several used copies of “The Shack” and one copy of “Slim for Him” on the street corner of a tiny Gulf town.
A large man enthroned on a golf cart, putting down the dirt street of a trailer town, his two dogs – one a black pit bull, the other a shepherd mix – cantering a block behind him.
Two enormous jellyfish, beached and no doubt dead.
A handsome, wide-shouldered man, crouched before an abandoned yellow one-story home overgrown with vines, two enormous pink wooden crab legs extending from either side of the front door, taking a Polaroid photo.
An unsteady wooden sign pointing the way to the Love Fellowship Church, three blocks that way.
Two large black-bristled wild boars charging through a palmetto grove.
A bubble of saliva dropping from the trembling mouth of a hungry dog crouching on the floor waiting for his bowl of food to be lowered before him.
A wizened potato, many times microwaved, being used as a bedwarmer, just as they did it back in the Laura Ingalls Wilder days (only without the microwave).
A man wearing a New York City subway #7 cap – Manhattan to Queens – hunched before a glowing computer screen in a many-windowed round house on tall stilts.
A partially-knit scarf trailing a ball of rust-colored wool, which upon closer examination reveals its knitter to be incapable of remembering when to knit, when to purl, and how to keep a stitch count constant.
A folded piece of scrappish-looking paper which, when opened, is covered with the names and nicknames of various people, below which is written, in capital letters, THANK YOU.