Wednesday, October 01, 2008

An Ode To Franklinton

It's Wednesday again and as far as I know, Tiki is on. The past couple I have only dropped by, as Flannery has been out of town. I've seen everybody and gotten to chat briefly, but I've not been able to hang out. Tonight is different. I have the night off from work and I have busted my hump around the house today. I have cleaned, picked-up, washed, scrubbed, swept, and folded everything that would hold still long enough. I have done my part today and I'm looking forward to sneaking off to Tiki tonight.

I am guessing that Flan will be ready for a night of Laverne & Shirley in her freshly made bed with the clean sheets that smell spring-time fresh. Before dinner, the kids and I are going to build a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, after which we will practice with the catapult they built last night. It promises to be a night of frivolity.

While I mention Tiki Night on a regular basis, as it is the only night a week that I get out and about, I have yet to delve deeply into our founder and Grand Pooh-Bah, Franklinton.

Franklinton built the bar at the suggestion of his ten year old son. He put in a beach of the whitest sand, and much like "The Field of Dreams", he built it and they came. Every Wednesday, all the neighbors come over and have a cold drink and enjoy each others company, and to preside over the festivities, is our Grand Pooh-Bah, Franklinton.

Franklinton can't be summed up in a few words. He is a man like few others. He isn't a man who thinks outside of the box, as Franklinton has never been one to recognise a box when he saw one and has never been inhibited by it's limitations.

For example, let me give you a small collection of his favorite phrases. This is by no means a complete list, but a small sampling.

First, "Nice". It is sometimes pronounced as if it had three syllables, but mostly as if it had eight "I's". As in "Niiiiiiiice". This is what he says when some one has been insulted or slighted in a funny way, or when the situation has gotten way out of hand.

Second, "Well there you have it sports fans!" This is often used as a more emphatic exclamation than "Nice" but under the same conditions. It is used to sum up conversations that should reach their immediate end as far as Franklinton is concerned.

Third, and my most favorite is, "Now my thought and theory is..." This is always the opener for one of Franklinton's monologues, and it never ever begins with "These are my thoughts," or "My theory is...". It is ALWAYS "My thought and theory is..." There can be no variations. None.

When this phrase is spoken, it is said to introduce the listener to the fact that the idea that they are about to hear is beyond the concept of anything they have ever heard an adult say before. Franklinton has never once stumbled across "inside the box" thinking and would clash with it if he ever did. Franklinton has a credo of "turning things inside out and upside down. If you don't, you can't truly understand them." and he repeats this mantra regularly, but in my book the really amazing thing is Franklinton lives by this credo.

Franklinton embraces change like a wino does ripple. I have never before met such a forward thinking person. He would have all public schools cease teaching history and have them teach classes on tomorrow. Once a month, Franklinton rearranges his house because he can. And as Franklinton is a master chef (he used to run a small chain of restaurants) no combination of food is unthinkable and we at Tiki are his willing Guinea pigs as it's always good eating.

For example: according to Franklinton, the reason that good health care and social services aren't effective is because doctors don't make house calls anymore and see the environment that the patient is in and are only too ready to dispense pills and collect their fee. Franklinton has no faith in medicine any farther than an aspirin is good for a headache. Franklinton will only eat fresh food that he has prepared, and won't eat food served from a window regardless how hungry he is. He never plants a garden, as his food is planted among the four hundred flower beds that he cultivates, and as he makes his morning rounds to yank weeds, he plucks his food for the day. Franklinton only enjoys movies that didn't do well at the box office and watches commercials so that he can learn from them.

He is something of a tormented artist who is forced to change his medium. His love of cooking and decorating overpowers him, yet he makes his living as a landscaper. Don't get me wrong, he is a wonder at transforming yard into art, but if I won the lottery, I'd hire him to fix my meals instead of spreading mulch. Franklinton is truly a man among men, who never tires of trying to be a good friend.

Franklinton is a fiery individual with a mind all his own, who is motivated by a lust for life. As much as he brags about what he would do with extreme wealth and his "thought and theory" as to how to obtain it, Franklinton will always be a rebel. He knows no boundaries and actively seeks out the horizon every day. He is the kind of guy you would hire to start a new colony on a distant planet if you were in the position to come up with a crack team, as he is a passionate, hard-nosed leader who can make egg rolls and sense out of thin air.

But while Franklinton works on a mercurial basis, he does have an anchor, Patrice. They were high school sweethearts, but went on to marry other people. Neither one was happy and both of their marriages proved to be short lived, but children were involved. Much later in life, they reconnected and have been inseparable since. Patrice calls him twice a day and we at Tiki know when 10:08 arrives as the phone works better than any alarm clock. There is an unmistakable Yin and Yang relationship between them. While Franklinton is always pushing for the edge, Patrice is always the center he returns to, and while she encourages him, he keeps trying to bust her out of her shell. It is honestly a match made in heaven. It's a lot like Romeo and Juliet without the death and poison, and they met at forty years of age and have enjoyed ten years of bliss, even though the Montegues and the Capulets have interfeared but haven't knifed each other in the street yet.

It is wonderful to live next door to a mad genius and be invited to his parties. I thank my lucky stars that we moved here. I have learned, grown, and drank some good beer with a lot of nice folks and I wouldn't trade it for love nor money.

It really is good to be home, and wander next door to a world I could never find anywhere else and a people who continue to make me wonder.

I hope you find a Tiki of your own.



  1. I'll drink to that!!

    Nice bio, Doc!! I don't know Frank all that well, but he seems a gent and a card, and anyone who can create a Tiki in their own back garden IS a force to be reckoned with. The $5 question is, is tonight's Tiki indoors or still out? Is there a ceremony for the moving from one part to another based on weather and if so, what does it entail?

    Toss one back for me, boss!!


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