The Word Around Here

I sketched this back in the old days when the USA made it. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 8:56 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

When I was growing up, many local businesses closed on Wednesdays. That gradually diminished over time – for a long time, some still closed on Wednesdays at noon – but most locally owned businesses are closed for at least a day each week.

Some restaurants that used to close on Sunday are now closed on Monday. Undoubtedly, the ones that draw a Sunday crowd are more inclined to take Monday off.

You ask why I ponder such matters on this bright morning?

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Well, I’m cultivating within me the inspiration to write something more weighty. This involves sipping coffee, checking the email and social media, and playing a little guitar as a further means of getting the cobwebs out by trying to remember the words to songs I haven’t played in a while.

Normally, I fix a nice breakfast at home, skip lunch, and either nibble at night or go out to eat at a favorite haunt. When an evening assignment takes me to Laurens, I eat at a place there that we don’t have here.

This guy looks nothing like me, but he does like coffee. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Mondays are often relegated to a chain restaurant because so many local joints are closed. Last night I tried the new Arby’s, using a coupon I got in the mail. I was impressed by the speed of the drive-though. At local places, I usually eat in. That way I can read a book on my phone while awaiting the chow.

I managed to squeeze six paragraphs out of the most droll of topics.

My good knee’s been acting up. Perhaps it’s making a transition to being my bad knee. I should put ice on it. Maybe during tonight’s Red Sox game. It’s hard to write with ice on the knee. It falls off too easily.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Now that I’ve started editing obituaries, I’ve become a valuable source of information for my mother, who has occasionally lamented that half the time, she doesn’t know someone has died until he or she is already buried. It’s bound to be a vibrant part of our daily phone conversations.

Sweden is about to play Switzerland. I can’t help saying Sveden versus Svitzerland in my head.

Velly eenteresting.

I’m also thinking about considering Sweden as UCLA and Switzerland as Stanford. It appears the refs are wearing light blue. Advantage: UCLA! The teams are emerging. Sweden is wearing darker blue. California, then. The World Cup version of The Big Game! Switzerland’s red is too bright for Stanford, which, of course, is cardinal. I just can’t get into Cal versus Wisconsin, though.

Soccer, or futbol, or World Football, or whatever, is a solid accompaniment to writing. There’s that nice drone, that hum, constantly in the background, and the mad eruption when a goal is scored, or even when some chap untidily crashes to the turf. I pay attention for a few minutes and then go back to typing.

I watched the Russia win over Spain pretty closely. A mistake. The last time I rooted for Spain that much, I was reading Hemingway, and even then, it was a civil war.

It’s time to have breakfast and then be somebody.


If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

(Steven Novak cover)

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which are available for sale here.

The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


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