Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shaky Dave


BENNINGTON -- Just read a story about a man whom police found dead in the woods behind a cemetery up in Hartford. David Woodward, 51. First thought was that it was "Shaky Dave" but 51 would have been too young, but you never know.

Called the Hartford PD a few minutes ago to see if the man they found dead in the woods behind the cemetery was Shaky Dave.

Shaky Dave, legend has it, was one of White River Junction's best athletes and a terrific kid who fought in Vietnam then came home. One day, they say, he rode in the back of pick-up with friends and for whatever reason he fell out and banged his head on the road pretty good and it fucked him up for life. Never really spoke but communicated in terse grunts though a few words managed to string themselves together every now and then.

In the early to mid aughts I lived at the Coolidge Hotel during the run as sports editor at the Spectator and often bought a bagel and coffee next door. Shaky Dave stood in front of the shop now and again and so we'd interact here and there. He amused me. I amused him. One day I pointed my Nikon D-100 at him. He grunted no. I said, C'mon! He smiled and flipped me the bird, touching his middle finger to his nose. Above the knuckles on his fingers were tattooed letters L O V E.

Click.

Don't remember if the fingers on his right hand read H A T E.

The dispatcher returned from the sergeant's office a few moments later to inform me that the man police found was not Shaky Dave.

"But they told me to tell you that the guy you're talking about died last year."

Bummer.

On the other hand, Shaky Dave's having a great ol' time in the Great Beyond, no doubt grunting a few words together and flipping dead photographers the L O V E bird.