Thirty Days Of Dougie! (Day 30) – James Dean & Spaghetti…

I was going to start this off with the lyrics for Sinatra’s “My Way”, but for some reason, my mind has gone totally blank and I can’t remember them. That’s odd, especially since that’s one of my favorite tunes by the “Chairman of the Board” and I sing that song quite regularly while in the shower, as well as when I’m out driving around. I guess I’ve having a senior moment. It happens sometimes and far more often than I’d like to admit. So, what should I do? Instead of starting off this blog, the final edition of “Thirty Days of Dougie!”, off with charm and class, I’ll just go for the other extreme. And that means (are you ready?), the Barney song.

I love you – You love me
We’re a happy family
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.
Won’t you say you love me too

I love you – You love me
We’re best friends like friends should be
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.
Won’t you say you love me too

And now, that song will be playing in your head for the rest of the day.

You’re welcome.

And yes, today is the end of this infamous blog series, “Thirty Days Of Dougie!”. It has been quite the ride over the past thirty days and although this experience hasn’t been quite for me what I was hoping for, and in some ways even a total flop, it’s still been fun. When I started this, I was hoping to get the fire burning once more and the passion and enthusiasm I once had for writing back into my soul and system. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. I still love to write and every so often, I’ll get those creative fires burning and manage to have that moment, but for the most part, these past thirty days just haven’t been able to do it for me. The topics have been lacking and lame and that has something to do with it. Using the format I did, reaching into a box and pulling out random topics to write about, it happens. But I have to take the blame and responsibility myself too. There was a time, as anyone can see by some of my past “Thirty Days” projects, that the topic didn’t matter. I’d take what I was given and run with it like Tim Conway and Harvey Korman doing a skit on the old Carol Burnett show. No matter how bad the material might be, they would run with it and make it work and it would be funny and entertain. And back in the day, I could take almost any subject or topic and make it funny and entertaining. I just can’t do that anymore.

So what should I do? Maybe give up this whole writing bit and call it a day? Some days, that seems like it would be the best option. But then I think about it. I’m in a rut right now. It happens. But my Mama didn’t raise no quitters and I love this whole writing thing way too much to quit. I’d go insane and total bat-poop crazy if I tried to give it up. Some might tell you that it’s already happened, (the crazy part), but they’re just a bunch of haters anyhow. And they can bite me! I’m in a rut. It happens. I’ll just keep writing until it all works itself out and the fire is back. And if it never comes back, oh well… We’re going to have a helluva ride anyhow and give it the best shot I can anyhow. Anything less would be unacceptable. And wasn’t that the tag for a soap commercial a few years ago? Or maybe it was a deoderant commerical? I remember it from somewhere. Regardless of where it came from, that’s my line now. Anything else would be unacceptable. Heh heh!

Has that giraffe had the baby yet?

So I suppose that I should get on with it now and do the blog thing. I should have done this yesterday, but I was having a day yesterday and didn’t feel like writing. I rode to Southern Pines and back to take care of some business and then did my volunteer work, picking up for the Food Bank, and by the time I came home, I was totally in an “I hate the world” type of mood. I didn’t want to see anyone, speak to anyone, think about anyone or write about anyone. I just wanted to sit quietly in my room in the darkness, feel the fan blowing to keep me nice and cool, and just be embraced by the peace and quiet. It didn’t quite go as I expected or hoped for, but it was still a decent afternoon to have some “Dougie time!”. I really need to go ghost for about a week or so and just vanish. It would be so nice. It won’t ever happen, but it’s a great thought.

But long story short (too late), I didn’t blog yesterday. I’m blogging today and playing catch up. This is the “Thirty Days Of Dougie!” and this is Day 30. Let’s reach into the box for the last time (for now) and find a few topics. We have “James Dean” and “Spaghetti”. Are you readu? Let’s just do it…

Before I go any farther, I want to send my condolences out to WWE Hall of Famer and long time wrestling announcer / personality Jim Ross and his family for the loss of his wife, Jan, who passed away a couple of days ago at age 55 following an accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.

And now…

Thirty Days of Dougie! (Day 30) – James Dean & Spaghetti…
March 23, 2017

The first topic for today is… “James Dean”. So what can I say about this legendary actor who only made three movies, but left a legend and legacy that will never be matched? He was, from all accounts, moody and manipulative, highly intelligent, but always searching for that missing piece of the puzzle. And based on the three movies he did make before dying in a car accident, he was one helluva great actor who could capture a character and role and become that person. He was real.

Let’s just take a quick look at the three movies that James Dean did star in. I have all three in my video library and would recommend them to anyone who wants to kill an hour or two and just be thoroughly taken in and exposed to the magic.

Movie 1 – East of Eden: Based on the classic novel by John Steinbeck, this movie was about Cal (played by Dean) and his efforts to connect with the cold and distant father. Dean really made an impact, playing the “bad son” who just can’t seem to get it right but finds redemption in the end as he becomes his father’s keeper and confident. There’s far more to the movie than that, but I’m not going into all of that here. Just watch the movie and you’ll understand why America instantly was awed by and fell in love with James Dean from the very beginning.

Movie 2 – Rebel Without A Cause: This is the movie that everyone thinks about when they think of James Dean. The picture of Dean, playing the character of Jim Stark, wearing that red jacket, smoking a cigarette, is legendary and engrained in the minds of all of us. It’s just a great movie that’s a bit simplistic in it’s handling of several issues (abandonment, anti-social behavior, estrangment from parents, etc), but in the end, it works and Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo (who is in my opinion, the strongest and best character in this movie) end up creating their own little dysfuntional family. And then Plato is killed. I hate cops! But it’s a great movie and one that I would strongly recommend for everyone.

Movie 3 – Giant: This is a long-ass movie. I think it runs like almost three hours, maybe longer. It’s got an interesting story and watching James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor age throughout the movie, going from twenty-somethings to old people is pretty cool. The movie is good at the beginning and James Dean really steals the show towards the end as “Jett”, the ranch-hand turned oil billionaire, in the end. He’s a great actor and plays the role to the max. The middle part of the movie is kind of bleh though and when I do watch it (rarely because it is so damn long), I just fast forward through that part. If you’ve got some spare time and are a fan of Dean’s, Taylor’s, or Hudson’s (and look for a brief spot by Sal Mineo – if you blink, you’ll miss it)… watch this movie. It’s a great example of bigger is not always better. They made it too long, but the antics of Dean’s character more than make up for the slow parts.

That’s not really all that much about James Dean, but more just some talk about the movies, but it’s all I really have time for right now. So let’s close this up with this. James Dean is one of the most iconic and recognizable actors in American history. He only made three movies, but they were all stand-outs and fun to watch. James Dean lived the motto “Live fast and die young” and that’s exactly what he did. He died far too soon before the potential and magic could really tapped to the max. But his legacy lives on and he will forever be the symbol of that rebellious spirit in all of us. He’s truly then, now and forever the ultimate rebel without a cause.

And now, topic two which is, “Spaghetti”…

Every small town has their “Urban Legends” and Laurinburg, NC, the town where I reside and have laid my head since 1981, is no exception. We have such notable sites and personas as Gravity Hill, where you can park your car in nuetral and unknown forces will move your car back up a hill. We have Stewartsville Cementary, which has graves dating back to the early 1700’s and is said to be full of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. We have the cementary up behind what used to be Smyrna Church where it’s said that if you listen closely, you can hear the cries of a baby. And of course, we have the legends of Roy Gee’s house in Hasty where, for a period of years, was the place on weekends to party, get drunk, get laid and get confused about your sexuality. Who needed Vegas when Roy threw a party?

But first and foremost among all of the stories and legends of Scotland County is the story of “Spaghetti”. And no, I’m not speaking of the thin Italian noodles covered with a delicious meat sauce that young dogs in love enjoy eating in Disney cartoons. I’m speaking of a man named Cancetto Farmica. Here’s the story.

Way back in 1911, twenty-three year old Carnival worker Canceto Farmica was involved in a fight in nearby McColl, SC and ended up being killed when his head was smashed in by a wooden stake the size of a baseball bat. The carnival people brought Farmica’s body to McDougald Funeral Home here in Laurinburg, NC and made a ten dollar deposit for the body to be held until Farmica’s family could come and claim the body. Farmica’s father soon showed up in Laurinburg and made arrangements for the funeral home to hold the body until arrangements could be made with the rest of the family.

So McDougald’s embalmed the body and waited. Finally, a letter came asking that the body be shipped to Italy and Farmica’s home. McDougald calculated the expense of doing so and sent a reply to Farmica’s family. And waited for a reply that never came. So McDougald placed the body of the deceased Carny on the third floor of the family home / funeral home for storage. And the body turning brown as it dried out. The locals took interest in this oddity and started coming by to see the corpse, affectionally referred to as “Spaghetti”. In 1938, the McDougald Family moved their business (and home) to their current location on Biggs St. and they took the mummified body with them, moving him from his third floor home to a glass display case that was featured and hung out in the garage.

And the people just kept coming in droves to see and gawk at the dried out and preserved corpse, clad only in a loin cloth, with a large tent stake next to him.

Finally, in 1972, word of “Spaghetti” reached the desk of New York Congressman Mario Biaggi, who got the permission of a judge to petition McDougald’s to finally put Farmica to rest and give him a proper burial. And with money donated by local businesses and citizens, on September 30, 1972, the body of Cancetto Farmica, aka “Spaghetti”, was finally laid to rest at Hillside Cementary. Concrete was poured over the grave to prevent any grave robbers and a memorial was put in place.

And one of Laurinburg’s greatest attractions and best urban legends was laid to rest.

I’m not sure where I first heard about “Spaghetti”, but it was sometime after I moved to Laurinburg in 1981. I was fifteen years old and had a strong fascination with anything weird or odd. Actually, that explains quite a bit about my high school dating. Anyhow, I remember going down to McDougald’s Funeral Home with a friend of mine. I can’t remember for sure who, but this was probably a year or so after I moved here. We wanted to see “Spaghetti”. The person we spoke to was really cool and told us where the grave was so we could go visit it (and of course, we did almost immediately). And that was pretty much the last time I thought about the man.

Until I had a dream last night. And there he was. And I knew that I was supposed to do something. And so, here I am, sharing his story. It’s kind of creepy. I just hope that now, finally after all those years of being on display and being an attraction, he’s finally resting in peace.

Cancetto Farmica
Died: April 28, 1911
Buried: September 30, 1972

Rest In Peace

And that ends not only this blog, but also “Thirty Days of Dougie!”. Thank you for reading. This ends the series, but it’s not the end of my writing, not by a long shot. Keep an eye open for this page and you will see, there is much more to come. As for now, ‘dat is all de people need to know. Catch you on the flip side.


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