Thursday, December 31, 2009

To Each, have a "Happy New Year"

Happy New Year to each and all from down here in Texas   Looking forward to new stories and episodes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"The Sack"

Sticky sugar laced spit, mingled with Kelly green and red food coloring, tinged with the fragrance of peppermint, rolled down and dripped off the young boy’s chin. There was just no way a person can eat the folded brightly colored ribbon candy and get it all in their stomach.
Christmas time was about the only time you would be aware of the “Christmas ribbon candy”. The unique flavor each year would snap the lucky person immediately back to years prior. The sweet peppermint flavor seemed to enrich itself each year, hardly any aftertaste similar to that of cheap cough syrup this year. The folded and looped ribbon was a constant row of caverns to catch oral juices that flowed with the mere thought of the first lick.

Other treats danced around but not sugar plum fairies. The ribbon candy was dispensed from what was referred to as “The Sack”. Other goodies were also placed in the sack. The contents were usually made up of an apple, an orange, various nuts, candy peanuts, (the kind that looked like a beige peanut), candy orange slices, (covered with gritty sugar crystals), and the famous ribbon candy. The exact date of origin is a mystery, but the Daddy’s Daddy had done the same routine. The piney woods of pre –world war two celebrated Christmas on a different scale than what we are accustomed to today, but times had not changed much at the time of this episode.

These sacks were originally left by Santa Clause as he passed though the communities. The name and distribution evolved over the years. The boy always referred to them as THE SACK, but as time brought him gray hairs and children, they called them PAWPAW’S SACKS. The boy has the opportunity to do the PAWPAW sacks now. He likes doing them. They added a lot of smiles when he first became acquainted to THE SACK and its sticky consequences. Over the years they have been enjoyed by many folks. They have no official direction of etiquette. The Daddy always had extra for unexpected opportunities. I often wonder who all remembers those SACKS.

Today’s version has changed a little. Due to allergy and choking hazard awareness, the contents are prepackaged and individually wrapped. The apples and oranges still use their natural wrappings. One thing that I am sure has not changed and that is the message and thought that weaves the smiles from the past to the smiles of the present. I feel, The Christmas seasons of the past held a different message than today , but when you think about it, Christmas seasons today hold a different message than those of yesteryear.

A Merry Christmas to “ALL YA”LL”!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I got a Dee-Limmer

Ok, the sweet potatoes fried in a cast iron skittlet with butter and Vermont maple syrup, then baked in the oven turned out ok. (Sorry no Pic).  The dressing with roasted pine nuts, chopped dried prunes mixed with bread croutons soaked in a mixture of saute'ed onions and garlic, white wine and chicken broth, baked til done was good too.  Nothing to english peas, drained and heated with 3/4 stick of real butter.  But,, was disappointed with the De-crowned Pork Roast.  I think I let it get a little over done.  160 degrees instead of 140 .  It was good but not a tender as I had hoped and imagined.  This was a trial run, so I am going to do this again, but,,, what I need is a suggestion about the "tender" situation.  More ?  ,,,Less?,, or reckon it was the cut itself.  Anyhow, I only used a cup of the white wine for the dressing so I kind'a "dressed" off the wine,  beings that I didn't want it go to waste.  Soooooo,, any suggestions??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

He Felt Sick

Hazel struck another match. A bright yellow glow highlighted the smeared stains on each cheek. The flare ebbed and the smell of burning sulfur floated throughout the room. She twisted her body toward Hank, leaving her feet and knees pulled up off the floor.

“She’s with my mother.” Hazel took another deep pull on the cigarette and a long stuttering exhale. “It’s best.” I am trying to save up some money so that I can rent our own house. With a yard. Maybe a swing set. She is twenty four months old.”

“Oh, you have a kid?” In Hank’s mind that could have been a statement as well as a question. Hank really didn’t know what to say. He knew there were too many scenarios that could be a part of this story. He was not sure he even wanted to know. Clingy. That was what really went through his mind. He felt he was going to learn more. “And, the dad?” Raul came to mind.

“Lives in Miami, I think. Who knows? I don’t care and I really hope he never comes back into the picture. He wrote the book on flakey. I don’t know why I couldn’t see through him. I don’t know. That is the main story. I moved down here to be with him. He was supposed to have contacts here. We met in Memphis. I grew up most of my years near in Jackson. A couple of months after I found out that I was expecting, he told me he had to go to Miami for a few days. He needed to meet up with some guys on business. That was over two and a half years ago. He called a couple of times, but then stopped. I don’t even know if he is alive. Who the hell cares?” Hank  handed her another beer and she turned it up. Hank like the way she drank straight from the bottle.

“What’s his name?”

“Robert. Actually Roberto, but he thought that sounded too foreign. His family was able to get out of Havana a few weeks before Fidel Castro and the rebels took over the government. They had owned a sugar cane plantation but now it is lost to the Castro government. A few relatives such as cousins, aunts and uncles still live there. They would like to come to The States but I don’t know any news since Robert left.” Her empty bottle clattered as it bounced in the bottom of the trash can. Hank opened two more. Both took heavy long drinks from the damp bottles.

“What the hell was he supposed to do while he was in Miami?”

“I don’t know. He talked quite a bit about this guy that he was dealing with. His name was like Billy Ray, over there. He had two names together. I can’t remember. Maybe Jimmy, John, James or something like that. Robert never said what he did, actually. He always had money. In the beginning he was nice enough to be around even though I never really understood his business. It is really strange how you can think you know someone yet, know so little about him.”

Enough, I guess. Billy thought but didn’t speak. I don’t guess I would tell the whole story to a stranger either.

“It must be close to nine o’clock. The band is warming up.”

The wooden floor did very little to dampen the sounds and vibrations that were coming from the bar underneath Hazel’s one room apartment. The drums were doing most of the damage. The electric guitar was accompanied by an acoustic stand up bass. A menagerie of other instruments rounded out the mostly un-electrified combo. Dixieland was still King in New Orleans. The Beatles had recently changed the mask of the American music scene but the southern gulf coast was still heavily influenced by its own ethnic music.

“At least they take long breaks, sometimes over an hour. That is when I get my best sleep.” Hazel snickered. She slapped her hand over her mouth to attempt to catch the forgotten previous swallow of beer. Hank chucked as he finished the last of his. He was tired of the serious talk. The beer was beginning to relax some of his tension. Billy Ray didn’t move a muscle.

Hazel sat up straight and dropped her feet to the floor. “Take the couch. I haven’t heard from Angelique in a day or so, but I don’t want to intrude into here space. I am not interested in any foolishness so I am giving you the benefit of a doubt. Ya’ll can clear out in the morning.” Hazel used her best act of strength. She was fairly sure of her assessment of Hand and Billy Ray but cautiousness was strength within itself.

The day’s events rolled around inside Hank’s head chasing the buzz. It seemed like an old black and white movie to him. He felt he was watching himself instead of being himself. He was ready to get back to Sattersville. The couch was actually comfortable. The beer, the scent of cinnamon candles and the consistent rhythm of the band pushed him into a deep cavern of sleep.

Billy Ray squeeled out bursts, gasping to get his breath. He was lying on his back but didn’t have the strength to get up. The drums from downstairs were deafening. He tried to roll to his side but it was as if he were glued to the floor. The lack of air made him feel faint. The room was awash in a red harsh glow from the neon signs outside. A blue hue would alternate the red accompanied by a soft buzzing sound. Gasping, he reached for his throat. He was sure that something had twined itself around his neck and was cutting off his wind. A steady, consistent cadence was pounding in his head. A figure was crouched over him like a panther. It was swaying from side to side while remaining on its all fours, keeping time to the drums. Its mane was laced into long skinny strings that reminded Billy Ray of the rope quirts that his granddaddy made to train the plow horses. Every now and then he could feel a sting as a beaded end whipped across his face. Its eyes were burning and had pupils of a cat. Elongated instead of round . Billy Ray could recognize the strong aroma of garlic but was unable to understand the gibberish being spewed from its mouth. He could feel the warmth of candles that had been placed on the floor around him. Nothing of this sort was in his memory. He felt sick.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This Old Codger Almost Messed UP!

As an old codger, I have often heard and just as often said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

Today I stopped in to take a peek at what Liza at Middle Passages was writing about. She had posted about a fifteen year old blogger named Jeanna White. I will admit that the first time, today, I was at Middle Passages, I thought “Naaaaa, just a young girl writing about silly things and giggly topics.” I passed up. Later today, I thought, “That ain’t fair. Liza has always been right on. Not much nonsense. Good writing. So I jumped a couple of sites and ended up at .

This old codger was amazed. I am not a writer, but I could use her blogsite as a textbook for some topics.

My point? Young people today need all the encouragement they can get so I invite each of you to give her a visit and see for yourself. Don’t let me influence you, but I think you would be missing something for yourself if you missed this opportunity to see what she is doing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ok, are you both ready to throw back a couple?” Hazel kicked the door closed with the heel of her right foot. It was all she could do to carry the paper bag.

“Let me help you with that.” Hank started toward Hazel.

“I have it, but stay away from that. That’s Angelique’s stuff. She wouldn’t want anyone to be messing with it. Besides it don’t need to be messed with by anyone who doesn’t know anything about it.”

Billy Ray stepped back and turned toward the kitchen area. “What is all that? I think I seen something like that in a movie once. It all reminded me of on of my cousins. Everyone in the family was afraid of her. My kin folks said she was different. That she had the gifts.” Billy Ray took the sack from Hazel and placed it on the kitchen table. The second drawer he opened, he found a bottle opener inside. The first bottle he handed to Hazel then he opened two more for himself and Hank.

“Who is Angelique?” Hank asked as fermented gases escaped in a whisper. Billy Ray shook his head and didn’t say anything.

“My roommate. She works down at Jackson Square. She goes on late in the afternoon and works late.”

“Is she an artist or something?”

“Like me. She waits tables and on the week end she freelances at other clubs.” She offered nothing further and no one asked. “She will probably be in later. Or maybe not. She keeps pretty much to herself.”

The first round was quick and Billy Ray did the honors again with the bottle opener. Soon that round was history. Even as everyone’s eyes adjusted to the disappearing sun, it was getting dark. Hazel took a box of strike anywhere kitchen matches and lit several candles throughout the room. The yellow glow softened the mood and finally everyone began to relax.

“Let’s move to the sitting area. These kitchen chairs are wearing my butt out.” Billy Ray got up and fell into one of the armchairs. The arms were covered with crocheted lace. It reminded him of his grandmother’s house. He wished he was there now instead of this strange city with nothing that he was used to.

“Come on.” Hank pulled Hazel’s chair back and picked up the damp paper sack. He didn’t figure the beer was going to have time to get hot. He stuck the bottle opener in his shirt pocket and ambled over beside Billy Ray and just fell into the other arm chair. Hazel shot him a disapproving look. She pushed an ottoman next to one of the windows facing the street and gently sat down. Pulling her knees to her chin her silhouette resembled a kitten staring out the window. The reflections of the neon light from the bar downstairs illuminated her soft outline as she perched on the foot stool.

“Look, we are going to have to be getting along. We have probably caused you enough grief as it is. We were only trying to help, but it seems that we may have done more damage than good.” Hank looked at Billy Ray. Billy Ray had dozed off. He never could drink much. Beer would put him to sleep in a heart beat. “Billy Ray, you are going to have to wake up.”

“Don’t bother him. He is alright. I certainly don’t have any plans. Throw him that pillow and blanket from that bed over there. I am not sure Angelique is going to be back tonight. Where are you going to go anyway. I am kind of spooked. Hell, you’re a stranger but I don’t know what else to do. One of you can sleep on the couch the other can make a pallet in the floor.” Hank walked over handed the pillow and quilt to Billy Ray.

“Here man, cover up with this. It ain’t going to get cold but you will have it. You can have the couch” Billy Ray stood up. He took the quilt and pillow.

“I can’t stretch out on the couch. I think I will put down here on this rug. I am worn out. It will feel good.” He kicked his boot offs and stretched out on his back. Almost instantly his deep regular breathing indicated that he was out like a light.

Hank turned one of the chairs to face Hazel. He handed her another beer. The warm evening made them extra refreshing. She was smoking a cigarette and still staring our the window. Turning toward Hank she took the bottle and then turned back toward the window without saying a word. He leaned back in his chair and just waited for several minutes before he said anything again. All he could see was her outline, totally void of features.

“You’re right. I am a stranger but I think you may be stranger.” He felt his attempt at light humor had fallen short of its target. Her only response was another turn of her head in his direction. She picked up a fresh cigarette and put in between her lips. After a few minutes, she struck a match. The tip of the cigarette glowed like a tiny beacon as she sat motionless. Hank waited and stared. He felt certain the time would come when she would talk if she wanted to.

At first it was hardly noticeable. A tiny up and down movement of the coal of fire. A few minutes went by. The ash had grown to over and inch and the cigarette had not moved again until now. Quickly it began to shake up and down. Hank was not certain his eyes were focusing properly. The ash broke loose and fell to the floor. The movement continued but not a word was spoken. In a swift motion, Hazel brought one of here hands to her face and just as quickly put it back down. The glowing beacon traveled another inch or so. Another swipe of the hand and she dropped the cigarette into her empty beer bottle. Both hands smeared both cheeks. She turned toward Hank. Her eyes were moist and her chin was taunt and quivering.

“I feel like I want to tell somebody.” Hazel dipped her head and inhaled three short stuttering breaths.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hazel's House

“Well, if that wasn’t your husband or some kind of boy friend, he sure was stirred up.” Hank was staring at Hazel looking to see an answer as much as to hear one. A Hell no answer was way short of a compete explanation. Billy Ray was turning from side to side and looking out the back window hoping that they were not being followed. The downtown faded and they were soon in the Carrollton neighborhood. It had seen its hayday years earlier.

“Turn right here and the second street to the left. There is a bar on the right. Turn right into the drive way and go to the back. I live upstairs over the bar.” Hazel was sandwiched in the middle between Hand and Billy Ray. The three or them were packed into the pickup. It made the sharp turns easier to hold onto her seat. It was a good thing. She seemed to have gone into a trance, showing no emotion. “Right here, right here.”

Hank turned into the driveway and jerked the gear shift into low gear and gave the pickup too much gas.

“Where you going?” Hazel snapped out of her daze. “Pull under the stair case. Leave the driveway open. Others have to get in and out.” She seemed irritated all of a sudden. “Come on let’s get up and inside.”

The steps could not have been original. The bar and apartment was a wooden structure with many repairs added over many years. The stairs looked like they belonged in the French Quarter. Rust covered them completely but you could see the intricate wrought iron work was from the Spanish style. The Spanish had almost as much influence on the style of architecture in the French Quarter as the French. The rails seemed out of place here. Hank felt the same way. How did he and Billy Ray get here much let Why were they here?

“What are we going to do now?” Billy Ray was looking first at Hank and then to Hazel. Both boys ended up looking at Hazel waiting for some kind of response.

“How the hell do I know? Hell, I don’t even know who you two are. You come waltzing in the place and don’t even know what you want to order. You sit down and boom, the next thing I know you’re sticking your nose in where it don’t belong and this black man probably kills Ramone.

“I thought his name was Raol “

“Hell no, Ramone was Raol’s brother. Either way it ain/t going to be good. If he,,he killed him the law is going to be after us. Probably will be anyway. If they ain;t Raol is meaner than the law. He is mixed up with them somehow anyway. Some kind of contract enforcer or something or another. Ain;t no way this is gonna come out good. Damn. I don‘t even know your names except what ya‘ll were hollering at each other on the way over here” Hazel dark eyes were in full blaze.

“I’m Hank and this is Billy Ray. We kind of grew up together. At least in the same town. Not much other than that. We just came down here to pick up some soy bean seeds for the man we both work for. We didn’t mean to intrude but it was just a natural reflex when we though someone was hurting you. It could have been anyone, and we would have acted the same. I am sorry if we made thing bad for you. Really.”

“I don’t know what happened, exactly, either. I went out with Raol a couple of times. Nothing serious. I am not even sure he is interested in me or any woman. He was always fairly polite and, well just kind of plain. Not much conversation but always serious. Ramone, the one you say is Billy Ray hit with the barstool ,asked me several times to go out and I always turned him down. I guess that he decided today to take a new approach. If you could spring for a couple of bucks, I can run down stairs and get a few beers. They have sandwiches too, it either of you is still hungry.”

Hank gave her a ten and she shut the door and clanged down the Spanish wrought iron steps. He wondered if that would be the last they saw of her.

As far as efficiency apartments go, this one was exceptionally large. Some of the older buildings were built with the second floor for lodge halls or banquet rooms for the primary businesses on the ground floor. They were just large open space rooms. It looked like this might have been one of those situations with changes made to lay out an apartment. A kitchen was on one end and a bathroom had been added in the corner of the same end of the apartment. A series of dark oval braided rugs were laid out to get maximum coverage over clear yellow pine boards which were used predominately throughout the south. A sofa and three mismatched stuffed arm chairs were arrange to separated a sitting area from the dining table and four straight ladder back wooden chairs that comprised the eating area. Hand and Billy Ray had never seen such an assortment of beads and flowered cloth used in decorating a house. They had lived fairly simple lives. The opposite end of the apartment was laid out for the sleeping area. There were no bed frames but two set of mattresses were neatly arranged with a folding screen making a division between the two bedroom areas.

“I don’t know about all this Billy Ray. I think me and you have gotten ourselves off the reservation a bit.” Both of them were fairly active trying to satisfy their curiosity of the surrounding. “The lights must go off a lot down here because of storms. I never seen so many candle as she has sitting around. Looks to me like, she might burn the place down on top of herself.” Billy Ray did answer. He was standing in front of a dresser or table object that appeared to have a black table cloth draped over it. He was just standing there with his hands by his side. “What are you doing there Billy Ray?” There still was no reply. Hank walked over to look around Billy Ray and see what his amusement was.

A small wooden box was open sitting in the middle. A small leather bag lay in front. It was open and had spilled some coins and a small blue crystal along with several bleached bones onto the table. There were several cards not similar to the one they were used to playing with in the back of T.J.’s Texaco. An unusual map with drawing not familiar to either one of them was sitting underneath a candle and one corner of the box. A small black doll and stack of feathers were obscured from view behind the open lid.

“Hank, what the hell is all that?” Billy Ray’s face could not hide the distrust and uneasiness he was feeling

Friday, December 4, 2009

It Snowed today in Texas, but THAT has nothing to do with the Picture.....

"Hank, what the hell is all that?"  Billy Ray's face could not hide the distrust and uneasiness that he was feeling.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Challenge YOU !

I like to talk. I wish I were a story teller, but don‘t consider myself to be such. I do talk a lot while being a quiet, reserved person. Does any of that make any sense? I guess that why the “shrink” business is so good. I have never been to a “shrink”. I think The Boss thinks that might be a mistake.

Here in lies the meat of this post. I have a CALLENGE for you nice folks out there. Everyone of you. It is easy and within the grasp of each individual. I will explain the challenge at the END of this post.

I have stressed on many occasions, “I am the most fortunate person I know.” One of those fortunes is that I am lucky to still be acquainted with quite a few of lifelong friends. I am talking about from second grade, in school, forward. Kids have been born. A number have been added along the way and these “new comers” are most often subjected to the reenacted episodes that we “old timers” have experienced along the way.

Every March, for the past ten years or so, a small group of us go to a cabin on a river in the piney woods of Texas for a weekend. Several years ago, out of the blue, one of the cast of characters presented a “Letter” that was given to him by a patient of his. It had to do with the location of our campsite. There is an old railroad trestle that crosses the river about a hundred yards downriver from our camp site. All of us had know him since childhood. One of my running buddies has two boy and they have been coming along every year. They were spooked as youngster and still are wary today. We were all amazed at the “letter’. I will post at a later date.

This past year, it was my turn. I remember a tale that my Daddy had told at this very spot many years earlier concerning a Dumb Bull. The early Dumb Bulls were made with an old wooden nail keg or a hollow log. A rawhide was stretched over one end and a string or piece of leather was threaded through it. Pinching the string in your finger and pulling it through the fist will make an awful amplified sound. It has been said that Ben Jameson’s cows broke out the lot when his brother in law set one off down the in the river bottom. I built a modern day dumb bull with a metal bucket. The banjo picker buddy furnished me with the banjo hide for the head of the dumb bull.

The scene needed to be properly set. I went to Barnes and Noble, my favorite store, and bought a leather bound writing journal. I conjured up a story based loosely on a legend of “The Black Panther” that roams the woods throughout the river bottom. I hand wrote into the journal or I would repost, but I have the one that I wrote in my Grandson’s book. I will try to post it later also. After a supper feast of fried catfish, fried taters, red beans and rice, sausage and light bread, followed with a few swallers of partaking liquid., we all settled around the campfire.

I started in telling about the traveling peddler that made his yearly rounds through Bug Skuffle, a crossroads community, then on through “Dog Neck”, an agrarian community before coming into the railroad town of Sacul, which was named after Mr. Lucas. (That’s Lucas spelled backwards ). The peddler sold a chamber pot to Old Man Jamerson. Well when he got it home his wife discovered that it was defective. She made the old man take off to get his money back from the peddler. I hate Reader’s Digest versions, but there ain’t no way around it. Old man Jameson found the peddler’s wagon in the river but all he found of the peddler was his skull with staring eyeballs lodged in the forks of a sweetgum tree where “The Black Panther” had been interrupted from his supper. He could not see the panther but he could hear the squalling screeches. The End - of the fireside chat.

It took me a pretty good while to read the whole thing. I embellished it much more than the version that you just got. The banjo picker played a background dirge all the while. I haven’t mentioned it but that banjo picker is the most liberal person I have ever run across. More than ,,,well anyhow,, but, I have written a law that we can’t talk politics or religion down on the river. We will never agree on politics, and we all probably gonna get that camp out together in that hot spot anyway ,,,, sooo the point is, it was then and there I decided that I would start a blog and here we are. If I have any readers left, that is.

One of the side effects of riverside partaking of the firewater is that you have to “check on the dogs” sometimes during the night.

Everyone finally settled in for the night. The banjo pickers two boys, 20 and 22, along with his son-in-law took the tent. The picker and I took the cabin. The night was absolutely picture book perfect. The air was cool and the fog was lifting up from the warm water of the river. The moon was about three quarters full and after your eyes adjusted, you could see throughout the river bottom with ease. A full chorus of life was singing, echoing off the water and trees. I thought that I could actually hear a water snake swimming its zig zag path toward the far river bank.

The moon had winched its way toward far side of the river and was peeking through the tiny first buds of spring from the elm trees. It was three AM and the dogs needed to be checked on. The crisp night air cut sharply through my cotton jogging pants. Socked feet made little sound stepping onto the wooden porch, but the creaking of pulling gravity emitted tiny squeeking grunts from the aging boards as I was careful to step lightly, not to make excessive noise. I had used my fiddle rosin to double coat the leather string that was the vocal cord of my new Dumb Bull. Never, do I believe, that I had witness such peacefulness.

“Ahhhhhh, ain’t this great?” I then took holt of the leather string and pinched.

EEEEEEEAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOAAGGGGGGGGGG!!!!! The high frequencies mellowed and finished into a deep roaring bass as my grip reached the tip of the leather cord.

EEEEEEAAAOOOAAAGGGGG!!! A faster zip changed the vocal tone to a more frenzied yelp.

Frogs, crickets and all river creatures went nuts. The echoes bouncing off the trees finally reached the old trestle and disappeared around the river bend just as the second volley escaped from the throat of the monster.

“Son of a Bitch!” The tent came to life. “What the…?” “What’s that racket?”

Search lights erupted sending illuminated circles dancing a jig across the fabric of the bright orange tent.

“Bert, what the hell is that?” The picker grinning in the moonlight

“Danged if I know!” pinching the cord and giving a pull.


“Shoot that thang”, me looking at the picker with a grin and a nod

“Where ‘bouts?”

“It don’t matter, just shoot out there everywhere.”

Blam, Bang, Blam-Blam

The tent had turned into a vegamatic on steriods. Good thing I had already checked on the dogs. Tent flap zippers were a zinging, flash lights a’flashing. It looked like searchlights at a Kung Fu world premier opening. Easing back inside the cabin, I slid my new friend under my cot and covered it with a spare blanket.

“What the hell was that?” was asked more times than I could count.
The picker and I did our durnest to keep our sober and concerned face so as to mask our hysteria.

“The Panther”, one of the boys finally said softly. A nervous chucked as he spoke didn’t totally convince himself or the others that he was just kidding.

Me nor the picker ever divulged the true secret and they may have figured it out. I am sure they have decided on some logical answer, but I would bet the farm that if any of you, as strangers, asked them, they would definitely remember it vividly and each differently.

MY CHALLEMGE to you: Take time to make a special effort to “talk” to someone. Tell a story. Write it down. I challenged everyone at the camp to add a story to the journal. Everyone was giddy with excitement at the thought and opportunity. The picker has it now. I am going to call his liberal ass and push him to get it done. I read a lot and I read a lot before I knew about blogging and I can tell you this,,I have read better stuff from you folks than what I have paid money for. Any questions?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Is It Lost, or just Misplaced?

For awhile, at least the seventh grade, science was my favorite subject. Well, at least the gadgets were my favorite. Our school district was right in the middle of the oil field and property taxes on all the equipment and oil holdings gave our schools a good budget without everyone’s property taxes being through the roof. We didn’t have gold toilet fixtures or anything like that but we had “gadgets” for seventh grade science.

The steam engine was pretty close to the top of the list. It was kind of a rip off because you plugged it in like a clothes iron. It needed water in its boiler but “Ready Kilowatt”, the little cartoon man that advertised for the electrical co-op, churned up the heat to make the boiler steam. From here on out, the contraption worked like an old fashion steam engine. You could hook up a series of belts and pulley to run other do-dads for experiments.

The skeleton was a close runner up. It wasn’t read bone and it was only about quarter size, but we had to wire all the pieces together in their proper places. It wasn’t spooky or anything like that, but once it was together, that was that. You couldn’t dance with it or anything, although it was attempted once or twice.

I could go on down the list of all the science toys we had but you would get bored. I am about to see it in your faces now. The thing ,that as a whole, which caught the attention of everyone in the class was a box of short triangular pieces of crystal or Plexiglas or some substance. They didn’t do anything. There were lectures about light refraction, light bending, wave distortion. I am making most of this up as I go. What we did was look through them. Everyone would laugh and make fun while looking at each other and stumble around trying to walk while holding one across your eyes.

I particularly thought that I could see brighter while holding it just right. The light was more crisp. Colors were bright and vivid. Everything was in sharp focus. The most amazing thing was that even on a cloudy day you could make it project a rainbow. It was just refreshing.

I mentioned there was a box of them. There were enough that each student could take one home and keep it. This was to promote interest in doing experiments on our own. I kept mine on my dresser right beside my combination coin bank that I got when I was too young to remember. Any time I wanted, I could just snatch that thing up and see more brightly and make rainbows.

Pretty soon the experiment worked. I didn’t even have to have the magic piece of glass to see rainbows. They were pretty much everywhere I went. I remembered the teacher explaining that for it to work its best, it needed to be unobstructed so that it had its own clear vision of input so that its output would be crisp. She was right. Good clear input and with adjust and alignment, good clear project was a snap.

Now days I worry about the input the magic glass is having to filter. What I see being projected is not what I have been used to. Someone seems to have borrowed my looking glass and has painted a counterfeit rainbow on it. Trying to mislead. It has only succeeded in obscuring the real rainbow. I think I must have misplace my prism. The elementary laws of science are not in evidence. It is not you. Maybe it is just me. Maybe not.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving To All You Nice Folks

Words can hardly carry the load sometimes, but I want to wish all of you nice folks a Happy Thanksgiving.  Glenn

Monday, November 23, 2009

What did I do this past weekend?

"Big Paw, can I watch Nemo again?" (5342 nd time)
anyone wanna guess what the my answer was?  :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Tomorrow, I am going to take a day of vacation.  Yep, sleep late, kick back,   YANNNNNNZKZZKZKKKKKK,,, Not!!!!!!
I am going to baby-sit my little red headed Grand Daughter and my "Little Sputnic" Grand Son.  Yep, have already made the trip to more than one toy store, grocery store Target and other's, so it is like getting ready for a vacation.  It will be a vacation.  Roller coaster rides, horse rides, magic shows, bath room breaks, fit throwing, ( Little Red Head is MAJOR Drama Queen). On her last visit, I open the refrigerator to get her milk for her and she stepped in front of me and was looking around.  I finally said,

 " XXXXXXX, step back, Big Paw needs to shut the door."  You would have thought that I shut the door on her HEAD.  She threw her head back, opened her mouth until she could have swallowed a grapefruit and commenced to yell loud enough to set off the smoke alarms.  Big old crockadile tears streaming.  Her momma, my middle Baby, came running.

"What's the matter, Daddy?"

"I told XXXXXXXX that I needed to shut the fridge door." With a quirky smile.

"You should of heard her in Target the other day when I said that it was time to leave."  She just shook her head and left the kitchen.

Any "pointers"?  I would be glad to hear you comments..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Thanks Coach, I needed that."

Yes, I am still up and around, for the one or two people that still check this site. It seems something is in the air. No really. Dust everywhere I just finished with the vacuum cleaner, trying to straighten this nasty office a little, and it (the vacuum cleaner) spits more dust in the air than it traps. I know, I know, who cares? Ok, me neither. Just trying to explain why I am not working and taking a short break.

What I really am getting at is,, it seems that more and more people are getting tired and discouraged. Maybe it is just me, but it seems that I am reading that the people that I “follow” are putting up the “I am going to stop and take a break” sign”. I did this a short while back. My posted reason may have been a little vague and that is just the way I am, but, I recharge my energy from reading all ya’ll’s posts.

I wonder, if it is not something else. I wonder if, we as a whole, are losing our optimism. Not within ourselves but as a team.( ie, nation) There is a lot of disagreement out in the world. It seems that more effort is being put into the DIS than the AGREE. I have played on a vast number of sport teams and other team organizations. When the “glue” starts to turn loose, optimism goes with it. I somehow have that “feeling”. This morning, I was thinking about one of my favorite teachers and coaches.

Without giving you the long version, we were struggling with team performance. I was in the tenth grade and was on the varsity football team. After one of our many pep talks, he took a piece of poster board and a magic maker and made a sign. He taped it to the wall in the locker room. As far as I know, it may still be there. It was simple. It was to the point. It was true. It was not “deeply mental”. It simply said….

                 “A vicious block on the wrong man is better than a timid block on the right man.”

Translated, to me at least,-- it does not have to be perfect, just do it full steam ahead.--regardless of what it is. I must pay better attention.. Thanks coach.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Blue Crystal"

I love garage sales, yard sales estate sales, rummage sales, resale sales. I probably don’t need to go on and on. Sometimes I do that by accident or on purposed depending on my mood. I found this little jewel in one of those places. Why this particular item, reckon? I couldn’t tell what it was when I first saw it.. You see? Well, you can’t see now. It is broken - kind of. I noticed the base first. It was just sitting there. I thought it was a glass snow flake. But I could not figure out what the blue cone shape next to the snow flake was. Things aren’t always recognizable unless all their parts are stuck in the right places. The two parts should actually be one. The snow flake was a base for the cone when put together made an inch and a half tall, crystal sculpture.

The lady said, “It’s broken so I will cut you a deal on it.”

“Ok, I think a little glue or epoxy will fix it.” I had another use in mind even if I didn’t fix it. “What kind of a deal?”

“I don’t know. Three dollars too much?”

I just kept looking at other things scattered about.

“Ok, I will take two dollars if you are going to buy that book too. I would get lots more for it, if it weren’t busted.” Her eyes peering over her glasses daring me to respond.

“Ok, I’ll take boofum, the book and the do-dad”

She straighten her shoulder, pushed her glasses back upon the bridge of her nose and beamed. “You owe me three dollars.” (with a stern look)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mix the two parts of epoxy together and stir completely and wait a couple of minutes and you will be ready to apply the mend. BUT..

I first had to find  the exact position that would latch the two pieces together for the tightest bond. It took very little effort and I could “feel” where the original bond was set. The blue cone stood erect and in place without me holding it. I then noticed that the blue cone had a face on it. I think it was smiling. It was really a cone, I think. A glass crystal Ice Cream Cone character.

It turns out that it is like most of us. A little help to get our balance, and we can stand on our own. The glue is in our determination and sparkle is in the accomplishment.

THE MORAL of this story,, nothing,, I was going to, and still am’a gonna , put this item in Billy Ray’s Gris Gris bag, ‘cause he is might gonna need it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Conservative "Gripe" Post

I apologize for my mental outburst today but I have reopened my "No Hope Without TRUTH in Government" blog.  This is not a pitch to trick anyone into visiting my rant over there, but if you are interested, CLICK on the title and you will get a belly full of my aggravation.  Fair warning. lol You don't have to agree with me and I am not looking to convert anyone but if we don't wake up and come to our senses.... well, see there?  I 'bout got started...glenn

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Is That Your Husband?"

“Get the hell out of here!”. The barkeep was already closing the front door to keep anyone from coming into the bar. “Hazel, get them the hell out of here. I will get someone to clean this mess up. Raoul is going to be pissed.” He grabbed up the receiver on the black cradle type telephone that was resting on the back bar. His stubby fingers slipping out of the dial holes in his haste. Hazel grabbed Hank by the sleeve and yanked it with a motion toward the frosted glass door at the back of the bar, marked Out House.

“Come on, Billy Ray. This can’t be good on any level.”

What the hell was this all about?”

“Later. Now we have to run. I got a place you can go, but we need to go now!” Hazel gave Hank’s sleeve another tug.

Hank followed Hazel through the back door into a tight hall. A single light bulb hanging from an extension cord barely lit the area. Billy Ray was right against Hank, wanting out of there now. An unmarked door with several types of locks and latches slowed Hazel’s progress but it was obvious that she was familiar with the back exit. Sliding and turning the various knobs and levers, she cracked the door slightly and looked outside.

“Do you have a car?” Hazel was peeking around the corner of the building looking first one way and then the other. “Either one of you?”

“My truck is parked a couple of streets over.” Hank was trying to run through his memory to visualize exactly where he had left his pick up. He cautiously step out onto the sidewalk and started a brisk pace north where he could go right at the next street and get his truck. Hazel and Billy Ray followed on his heels. Hazel kept looking over her shoulder while Hank and Billy Ray were looking directly toward where they were going.


“Get in. Those were empty words Billy Ray had already opened the passenger door and shoved Hazel into the middle of the one seated pickup. Hank dropped the key ring two times before grabbing the right one. The old blue truck had a history of starting on the first round with the starter. No disappointment this time. Hank had already driven two blocks when he realized that he didn’t have a clue where he was going. Hazel read his mind.

“Turn right”. The one way sign could have told him that if he had not been in such a frenzy. Another right on Canal Street and they were heading on the way out from downtown and the French Quarter. Hank had the sense to drive in a normal manner. He definitely did not want to attract any additional attention.

“Who was that guy? Was that your husband or boyfriend?” There was still a slight nervous quiver in his voice.

“Hell no.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interruption Of Hank and Billy Ray for Entry in Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness Contest

Click on Title for Jump to Contest Entry.

Uncle Georges Rides Again,,,

Uncle George was crazy as a shit house rat. He had been most all his life, at least in a fun sort of way. He had accelerated once Aunt Flo had died some twenty or so years ago. Daddy hated the day that we took Uncle George to the “Sy-lum”, but Uncle George needed a lot more full time attention than we could give him. I knew that my visiting time with Uncle George was becoming short. I had some important things on my list to complete with him. Today was a good day. Sunny skies and the temperature was just right.

“Uncle George, hey there , I am Jim Bob. How are you doing?” Knowing he couldn’t hear a cannon go off if his butt was leaning against it, I was darn near yelling at the top of my lungs. I never could tell if he actually heard anything I was telling him. He leaned forward, each time, hunching his shoulder and squinting his sky blue eyes as if that would make him hear better.

“Huh? Whad ya say Glen Roy? I caunt hear ya, I ain’t got my teef in” He always laughed out in a series of outbursts with a wispy windy laugh. It always made me think he sounded like a blacksmith’s bellows blowing air onto the hot coals. His mouth, open in a big circle grin, as if to reinforce his claim of not having his “teef” in. His blue eyes still twinkling. “Shussssh, we gotta be quiet. They listening in on us all the time. These people that run this joint are nuts. Crazier than betsy bugs,, all ‘uv ‘em. You can’t trust none of ‘em. They even give you them there little pills that make ya,, ya know? Not chase women. I fool ‘em though. I drink a Mountain Dew right behind ‘em. Knocks ‘em in the head, right off. Just ‘cause they think they gonna hide my shells, it’s gonna keep me from going hunting’” Blacksmith bellows.

As a little boy I loved going over to Uncle George’s place. He enjoyed playing as much as us kids did. He had a nineteen forty nice GMC pickup that was in good mechanical order but had not been registered for many years. There was a dirt road that traveled the back side of his farm. He would take us on a whirlwind ride up and down the curvy hills at breakneck speeds. When we got into our early teens he let us sneak off by ourselves, but he enjoyed the rides as much as we did. I took the old truck to my place when Daddy took Uncle George to the sanitarium. I didn’t want vandals and the elements to just wipe it away.

“Uncle George, I think we should go on an adventure.”

His eyes fixed on my face. He was not smiling. He waited for a good long spell.

“They ain’t gonna let me just walk out of here‘ Are we gonna have to carry on here in this hell hole?” One eye, the left one, squinted closer to shut than the other one. He studied me right close.

“When was the last time you went for a ride? I mean a reaa-ull ride? The left eye almost shut now while the other one danced back and forth. Tongue licking recessed lips, darting from side to side like a grass snake stalking a bug. “I am fixing to break your ass outta here!” Big blacksmith bellows.

“I ain’t goin’ without Mona” Shut eye, no smile, tongue darting. “Me and her been a courting, when I can get my hands on a Mountain Dew.” Darting, waiting.

What the hell. Jail is jail. “Ok. Where is she?”

“Right down the hall. Two doors.” Shut eye. Darting.

“When I say so, go tell her to get ready and ya‘ll come back down here.. Don’t get into any long discussions. Now I was darting. Now what? “Have you got any matches?”

“Nope but I keep a Bic lighter, hidden for my pipe. Why?”

“Just give it here!”

“ Dang boy, you going to burn this sumbich down?” Big bellows.

“Not quite, but you just hang close when the commotion starts. Are you ready?” It took about sixty seconds for the Bic lighter on its highest setting to melt through the heat activator that kept the valve closed on the sprinkle system. Sirens and flashing strobe lights filled the corridors with voluminous alarm. White suits filled the halls and people where hollering from all directions.

“Get Mona.” Uncle George must have had a Mountain Dew with his lunch. He hit the floor in full stride, or more distinctively full shuffle. He was swinging his arms back and forth to give extra balance and speed. I grabbed his suitcase that he always kept packed. He expected every visitor to take him back home. As soon as I reached the hall they appeared. Mona kept looking at Uncle George then back at me as if to wonder what was going on. Uncle George must have noticed that too.

“We’re outta here Mona. Do you have what you need? Uncle George was in a heighten state of excitement to say the least.

“Old man, don’t wait on me. Let’s hook ‘em.” she had what looked like a pillow slip full of various belongings. She chewed ninety to nothing on a wad of Beechnut chewing tobacco. Her excitement was also apparent.

Nobody was paying attention to anyone that was walking on their own power. People who were being helped to walk and wheel chair patients had overloaded the staff. Hardly anyone noticed the three of us casually walking down the hall toward the door. Just before the main lobby Uncle George reached over to the red switch on the wall and pulled the lever, breaking the small glass seal. The alarm was already ringing. “That is for good measure.” He never even smiled. The exit doors unlocked when the fire alarm goes off so I pushed and the door opened. Mona stopped just before walking onto the porch. Uncle George and I both stopped to see what she was up to. The registrar was sitting in her office behind a plate glass shield. Mona turned her back to the frowning lady and gave her a big ‘ole moon.

“Dang Mona, you beat all I ever seen.” Uncle George slapped both knees. Big blacksmith bellows.

Stopping beside the restored nineteen forty nine GMC pickup truck, all three of us turned and looked at the old red brick “Sy-lum”. Time was precious, we had to get out of there.

We packed up and went to Far Rockaway beach for one last ride on the coaster

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The original plan had been for Hank to come alone. He was picking up seeds for James Winters’ farm. Soy beans had never been grown in the county back home, and Hank was carrying back forty pound sacks of seeds for James to experiment with growing. Both boys worked, off and on, for James Winters. Off and on, was about all any of the young folks worked after they had just graduated from high school. Billy Ray went directly to work for James and Hank had enrolled in a Junior College in the adjoining country. Junior college is the same thing as a community college in some other states. It was one of his “off” weeks so Billy Ray wrangled an invitation from Hank to make the trip. It didn’t take too much talking, Hank knew he would enjoy his company along the way.

“If this isn’t enough, just let me know. I will be right back with ya’ll’s beer”

She gently placed the two oval platters, piled high with whole fried catfish, on the table and turned to walk away. The mood had soften dramatically. The JAX longnecks were sweating ice cold condensation. droplets. They dripped tiny rain drops landing on the hem of her knee length outfit.

“Can I get you anything else right now?”

“I think we are OK, We’ll shout if we need something.” Hank noticed that suddenly she seemed tired. “My name is Hank. This here is Billy Ray. We are just visiting.”

With a shrug and a hint of a smile she actually seemed friendly. “Oh,? Well I’m Hazel” “There is a lot to do in Nuowluns, but only in certain parts. Her southern drawl was interlaced with something of an Italian twange. “I hope ya’ll have a good time.” A curly strand of chestnut hair feel across her eyes with a quick nod as she turned to go back into the restaurant to tend to other duties.

“Hank, when are we heading back? I think I could enjoy a couple of days down here.”

“We told James we would be back Thursday. He is only going to pay us for two days plus gas money, but hell, if we stayed a day or two on our own it shouldn’t matter. He is not going to plant those beans for a while anyway.”

“Get your goddamn hands off me!” The unmistakable sound of glass breaking and chairs falling over.

Instinctively Hank and Billy Ray jumped up and ran inside to see what was going on. Hazel was standing rubbing her fore arm keeping a table between her and a medium sized man who had grabbed a beer bottle and was waving it first at her and then the bar keep. Neither was making a move toward the man.

“Hey man drop it.” The attacker wheeled around to square off at Hank. The man broke the end off the beer bottle on the bar. Hank picked up a wooden ladder back chair and held it out like a lion tamer. He wasn’t sure that was going to be adequate but he had no other ideas at the moment.

“This ain’t your deal, dude.” The man was definitely in a fit of rage. Spit spewed with each word as if they were sentences of their own. “It don’t matter to me, if I have to go through you to get to her.” He took two steps slowly and then lunged toward Hank with the beer bottle pulled back ready to thrust at Hank. The assailant had been too focused to have noticed Billy Ray. Just as he lunged, Billy Ray swung a four legged bar stool, head level, and caught the man square in the face. The barstool collapsed and splintered pieces of wood flew across the bar and shattered liquor bottles in front of a plate glass mirror. As he collapsed to his knees, the force of the barstool sent his upper body falling backward and as he was losing balance he fell toward his left side. His head stuck the two by two square tubing boot rest that ran the length of the bar, and a gash opened up from his left cheek around to the back of his skull. Blood erupted in a fountain and he lay motionless except for a slight twitch in his right hand while releasing the jaggedbeer bottle as it clammered across the wooden floor..

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Test One

There should be any number of places that we could stop in and eat supper.”

“Shore, if’n you like weird fish.”

“Weird Fish? I don’t guess I have ever caught any Weird fish” The expression was pronounced with heavy emphasis on the “earrreed” sound.

“If it ain’t fried catfish, it is Weird fish”.

Hank could see that he was not going to be able to talk Billy Ray into feasting on a big bowl of shrimp gumbo or any other kind of weird fish, as he called it. The best place in the world for ethnic seafood and he was going to have to find some peanut chunking dive that sold river cats rolled in cornmeal and black pepper, fried up in lard using a cast iron skillet. Hank kind of had a strut in his walk. He didn’t fool anyone especially Billy Ray. Neither on of them had ever been outside Sattersville for any length of time and this trip was something neither one of them had ever imagined they would take. Apprehension was fairly well rooted in both boys. Billy Ray actually felt the most at ease. There was definitely a higher proportion of coloreds in New Orleans, even walking throughout the French Quarter. He continued to relax more and more as they walked from block to block. The humid night air was beginning to cool things off as the sun settled down and the evening sky took on a deep purple mixed with a pink hue..

They had arrived earlier that day. Leaving Sattersvile that morning, they drove Hank’s fifty nine Chevrolet pickup in one sitting, except for taking a wood’s break. They had spent the bigger part of the afternoon rambling through the junk shops. Several times they teased back and forth that even coming from where they had grown up, they threw away better stuff than what these ya-hoos were trying to put off on the tourists. Neither one had made any major purchases. Hank told Billy Ray that before they loaded up to head home he was coming back to that second shop they had stopped in and buy that little black cast iron horse jockey for Billy Ray to put in his front yard. Billy Ray snorted a big laugh, but Hank kind of wished he had not have said anything.

“I can smell catfish a’ cookin’.” Billy Ray mumbled as he pushed Hank’s shoulder toward a noisy, music blaring, hole in the wall, eatery. Several tables with chairs were sitting out on the sidewalk for the more adventurous patrons to sit and enjoy the night air with there meals. They were the bent wrought iron type, made for withstanding all types of wet weather without damage.

“They must have got these  out of Doc Burtons old drug store, I didn’t know other people had these kind”.

Hank laughed, “ Man, you either got to get out more often or talk less. People are going to think both of us are a couple of hillbillies.”

“You mean bo’us? Sho’nuff?”. Billy Ray cut his eyes from side to side mimicking fear of being found out. Both guffawed. Both felt a little discomfort.

“You guys tourists?” A small framed, dark hair young lady, probably five years their senior was standing there holding a beer tray and wearing a slightly soiled apron. She spoke with more than a sprinkle of sarchasium.

“Are you the waitress?” Hank feeling kind spry, leaning back in his chair, but didn’t want to sound too coy

“Nope, I am the mayor, but I am filling in for that shithook, that didn’t show up for work tonight.” There seemed to be a slight tone of a dare in her response..

“Well, my friend and I would like to order fried catfish, if it is on the menu.” Hank eased his chair back down with all four legs touching the concrete sidewalk. He decided that it was not the time for sparing with this one.

Her dark brown eyes, pupils almost indistinguishable glared without expression. “Cocktails or mixed drink?” she waited expressionless.

Hank and Billy Ray exchanged glances, not really sure they knew how to order either one. “Do you have plain old JAX beer?” Billy Ray felt fairly confident they would have JAX, he had seen a giant sign on the top of one of the building right on the river.

She turned and walked back inside the building without uttering another sound to either on of them.

“Dang, she must be out of sorts, or something.”

“Or sumpin’ for shore”. Billy Ray didn’t want to speak too loud. He had seen women erupt for less that that before. He had a cousin that everyone in the family thought was a little nuts.

Hank was a little more comfortable. “I know what she needs.”

Billy Ray cut his eyes over at Hank but neither one picked up the carry on line. With that, they thought they would better serve the situation to just sit and watch all the Yankee tourists walk by wearing plaid, long legged shorts with sock and sandals.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pork Chops and Collard Greens

Hank Brewster stared down the barrel of his granddad’s J.C. Higgins 12 gauge pump shotgun. His white knuckled grip slightly slippery from nervous perspiration. It didn’t matter that it was holding a full magazine. A single round from the double-ought buckshot at twenty feet would do its job. Staring back was Billy Ray’s curled hammer double barrel, more than likely, loaded with the same load of shot from J. Frank’s hardware store. The fact that Hank was white and Billy Ray was black had never been an issue. Hank and Billy Ray had known each other since they were kids playing together down at the pulpwood yard over in Sattersville.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Case Anyone Stops By, Please Read

All My Blogging Friends,

I would like to apologize for the abrupt and rude manner in which I closed my blog site. I have read your comments and I see that I should have handled this much differently. I have stopped blogging for reasons concerning my day to day activity. The office is hectic and we are going to have to spend a lot of time trying maintain our position in the market. I do not see a bright future ahead for the business climate in the short run.

I will continue to follow and read each one of you (that do not restrict me from your site. ) I have greatly enjoyed the interaction with each post and “poster” and cannot measure the gain for myself. I did not realize how much enjoyment that I would get from writing . Thank you all for that.

Again, an apology is feathers in the wind if I have offended anyone at any time, but I do apologize. Please feel free to leave a comment and I will be checking back.

Thanks,, Glenn

Tuesday, October 20, 2009