Caught by the River

Jeb's Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 9th February 2014

until then eddie middleton

Until Then
Eddie Middleton

SSS International

A new year and it’s the same floods, the same relentless rain, the same foggy grey, the same heavy skies.

On the way to town there’s an eight mile detour around water filled pastures. Sheep gather in bedraggled clumps. The wipers push water across the windscreen; the world dissolves and is once again made clear. Around every corner there’s a yellow Diversion sign.

I pass copper topped hills, the last dead wisps of bracken on them. At their feet are new, stagnant lakes. Mud and bare trees everywhere. Flocks of starlings faster than light.

The whole life of a farm flies past; the empty fields, the tractor, the unlocked house, the uncurtained windows, the ungrassed yard, the unvisited door, the unbloomed shrubs. Smoke too from the chimney, grey on grey, snailing up.

When I get to town I buy a few groceries, visit the library, drop off the recycling, buy bird seeds and go to the post office. I send a package to my sister in Missouri.

On my return I stand at the window watching clouds boil across the hills. This, I suppose, is what we’ll have until summer. A wet winter and no spring.

Until summer.

The phrase pushes me across the room to a stack of records. From them I pick out Until Then by Eddie Middleton, a record I bought years ago because anything on the SSS International label is worth a go. A chugging slice of Southern optimism at a time when a little optimism was sorely needed: “…we’ll wait for time and people both to change – until then, we’ll love each other.”

Jeb Loy Nichols.
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