Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Father/Son Moments In North Minneapolis, Before I Left For Afghanistan...

Photos by Megan Goodmundson, xoxo

In the last few months, not a lot has been posted on this blog, though Jordan Neighborhood Super Citizen Megan Goodmundson has been kind enough to keep Johnny Northside Dot Com on life support. This is something Megan has done virtually every time I've been away trucking or absent because of duties associated with my military service, such as a long stretch of time I spent in Columbia, South Carolina.

As those in my social circle know quite well, I am currently in Afghanistan... in a fortress of sun-baked mud and straw known as a "qalat" and sleeping within arm's reach of my loaded rifle.

That's not the joke font. That's not the sarcasm font.

I am in Afghanistan.

Seven times an hour my mind wanders to the possibility of mortar fire coming down on me without warning, but then it's like, oh--! Check out that pretty bird! I do believe it's an oriental magpie robin.

Getting a dependable internet connection in a fortress of sun baked mud (and straw, let's not forget the straw) is nothing less than a modern miracle, but somehow this miracle has been accomplished, FINALLY.

Therefore, to the degree it is possible, I intend to keep blogging about North Minneapolis, all the way from Afghanistan. And when I come back from Afghanistan (inshallah) this blog will once again gain velocity and crank out gobs of content. But I'm glad--very very glad--that I'm not the only revitalizer blogger in North Minneapolis. When I am not around, when I am busy, when I am preoccupied and not my usual prolific self, there are plenty of others to take up the slack.

Yes, it would be interesting to write about my experiences in Afghanistan here on Johnny Northside (and maybe sometimes I will, just like Jeff Skrenes wrote about his trip to Tanzania) but this kind of travelogue thing is only relevant in small doses.

This is, after all, a blog about North Minneapolis.

Having said that...

I thought I would celebrate my recent re-arrival on the North Minneapolis blog scene with a post about my son, Alex, who turned 14 while I was away in Dixieland gearing up for deployment. One of the last activities we enjoyed together in late April was a perennial father/son favorite: removing utility pole sign spam.

In the photo above (note my military haircut, and combat boots getting broken in nicely) Alex stands on my back so he can reach a sign to pull, yank, tug and brutally batter it down. What's odd about this sign's blank. I mean, somebody went to all the trouble of nailing the sign to a pole (rather high up, too!) and THE SIGN IS BLANK.

Well, whatever.

Now the blank sign says even LESS because we took it down.

For the record, that is NOT my butt crack in the photo. I would never publish a photo of my butt crack, unless there were a substantial amount of money involved. No, rather, that is one of my belt loops contrasting against my light beige army-issue belt. That belt is now on the other side of the planet.

I wish, I wish, I wish...

I wish as I slept, with my armored vest beneath my pillow, I wish in my dreams I could teleport myself to the streets of North Minneapolis, where it would be the middle of the day, and I could roam around taking down sign spam. I fear the sign spam is growing in my absence, that nobody is as compulsive about it as me.


It is possible to generalize about the things soldiers miss while they are deployed overseas: friends and family, home cooking, the family dog. But each soldier is an individual, and the things they miss are very SPECIFIC.

I miss taking down sign spam with my son, Alex.


The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Well I may not be AS compulsive about sign spam removal, but I do get around to it.

My theory in regards to the sign in question is that the perp used cheap marker - like Crayola or other water-based non-permanent stuff - and the lettering washed away in the rain.

And in case you missed it, here's my favorite recent sign spam removal spree.

Johnny Northside! said...

Rain...washed away the lettering.

Sounds both simple and highly likely. Beats me theory of "they didn't notice they were nailing up a blank because they were drunk and high and paid very little by whoever hired them to put up the signs."

Readers: Stay tuned to the comments section of Johnny Northside Dot Com for more episodes of "CSI Sign Spam."

Johnny Northside! said...

My theory.

Meant to type "my," not "me."

JNS Reader said...

Be safe, Johnny. Thanks for your service - both here, and there...

Anonymous said...

Wow you battle at home yes thankfully not as severe as Afganistan but also afar in Afganistan. I am impressed John.
MCullen NE

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service over there and here at home. Take care and stay low.

Richard, NE

NoMi Passenger said...

If I remember correctly, it was kinda hard to take those two photos because we were all laughing so hard.

Folwell Fox said...

Goddamn right Johnny! Let's hook up at Bagram if you're coming through, gotta nice winter place there, we'll have a little Nomi get together! How do I contact you privately? Could I use my CAC on global?

NoMi Passenger said...

Fox, you can email him at hoffjohnw at