Friday, January 29, 2010

"Lady McQuay" Repost (click to Jump to Serendipitous Surpluses)

A commentator asked me about a reference I made in my Happy List post about crafts (boat building) making me happy..  Maybe some missed the first time around,  I hope others aren't bored,,
Jump to Serendipitous Surpluses by Clicking on the Title Bar

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The earth has not only split and cracked in Haiti.....


Monday, January 25, 2010

Repost: One Minute Writer prompt. "Girl Playing Cello in Subway"

Horse Hair and Bow rosin,

With calluses deep and emotions shallow, sleek and fragile appendages press taunt catgut strings tightly against the ebony fret board of the pawn shop cello. One case unpacked, with unanswered hopes of unpacking the second before the sun traded its warmth for moonlit loneliness. She feigned a gentle smile at the irony that her case was actually a total of two cases. One for the over grown fiddle and the other with her life’s accomplishments. Still pressing forward, harmonizing melodies reverberating through the empty subway forest, creating sounds even though no one was there to hear the trees fall.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Be Happy"

Thank you Ms. Liza for bestowing this award upon me.

What makes me happy? Isn’t it kind of nuts to sit and say, “I don’t now. I never much thought about it.”

I think a lot of us, and I mean me as well, really don’t think about it much. I think we probably spend more time thinking about what makes us unhappy. Do we take happy for granted? (The marble statue of Venus was unhappy with the statue of Hercules. Yep, she felt he took her for granite. Gitit?)

I suppose I could take a movie camera and walking around in circles all day filming. At the end of the day, you would have a movie of all the things that make me happy. The problem with making a list is that one has to “cull” things to equal only ten. And, with all that, I get to number 10 and I have trouble with that one. Now that makes me unhappy. (not really, just to make a point)

Well I have to have a list so here is my list.

My list of “Happy Makers”

1. Thaaa Boss”

2. Myyy Babiesss

3. Myyy Family

4. Myyy Friends and our “gittogethers” see post with “Dumb Bull”

5. Myyy Blogs and Bloggers

6. Myyy Gittarr and fiddles and such

7. BBQ Pork Ribs

8. Work

9. Being “Crafty”. (all kinds) Boat building post….

10. Everything Else

I now bestow this award to the following people. If you have this award already, I have no control over that. (with a smile) I really take this award with more seriousness than my words convey, but I guess I am just in a happy mood today, thanks to Ms Liza over at MIDDLE PASSAGES. Thank you..

Ms. Quiet Commotion  

Ms Wander to the Wayside

Ms In Through the Back Door

Ms. Musing of a Mercurial Woman

Ms. Tales of Ordinary Ordinariness

Ms Monica Manning

Ms. Loud Silence

Ms Aimless

Ms September Mon 

Ok, I am not good at making this list because it will go on forever and I am afraid that someone might get their feeling hurt for being left out. (I still have a few more Paw Paw bags left from Christmas, lol), so there you go. If I left someone out, you are on the list too.

  A Side Note:  Todlems and I had supper together last night.  We went to "visitation" last night for one of our coaches who had passed away. (Not the one in the different stories).We spent a few hours chewing the fat so I decided to repost "Dry Docked" at Serendiptous Surpluses. giver'er a click if you would like to read

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old Five and Dimers Like Me"

There Used to be a Place

Barriers are like hedgerows. They are not impenetrable, but can be “sticky” to break down. As time passes the foliage gets thicker and taller and time can accentuate the isolation. From an earlier post, I mentioned barriers being within the music industry.

Dallas Texas actually has a higher annual average velocity of wind speed than Chicago. Add 95 percent humidity and thirty three ( 33 ) degrees, and you have the Webster’s definition of “discomfort”.  The owner of the club owed the band back wages for two night’s performances. The fact the band was supposed to play that night was of little consequence when we found that the building was locked up. Phone calls were unanswered. Another club across the street, “We Three” did not cater to clientele of our musical genre, with no disrespect to their patrons. A couple of solid kicks with my Tony Lama’s (cowboy boots) and the entry to “our” club was achieved. We were freezing our butts off.

The closing was unannounced so people were showing up to hear the music we opened the front door and just let them in. The booze had all been hauled out. The owner had left to escape the people that he owed. The power and furnishings, which were mainly homemade pick nick tables, were there. The patrons left and went to the beer store and just brought their drinks in. We were going to play anyway. We did. Took up a collection and had a good time.

During one of the breaks, I went out to the street to get some fresh air. I notice this dude shyly peeking through the front door.

“Come on in. Gene has skipped town, but we’re playing anyway.”

“Naw, I can’t. I am late leaving for Nashville, Gene ain’t henauh?”

“Nope. Looks like he flew the coop. We were booked to play tonight. Hell, he already owes us money, but we’re gonna play for the folks anyway. They came out in this crap, so we figure to take up collection. Come on in”

“Sumbich owes me money too. I was trying to catch ‘im. I guess I’ll try agin some other time. I ‘preciate you invit’n me in though. “

The denim clad stranger turned and started to leave.

“Man, I sure like your new album.” He stopped and turned around. He stuck out his right hand, minus two fingers, with a lope sided grin.

“You don’t know how much I ‘preciate that. Thanks. If I had one of‘em with me I’d give it to ya”

“Hell, I already got one.”

He grinned and just nodded an affirmative gesture. He pulled his brown felt cowboy hat down tight and strolled on down the side walk.

Little did I know that thirty some odd years later, that would still be one of my favorite albums. “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” was Billy Joe Shaver’s initial album. It still sells today and a CD of it is outside in my pickup as I type this. Billy Joe Shaver has fought and overcome a lot of these barriers but many are left unconquered. Not unlike a lot of song writers, his music has been recorded, and been hits, by many and varied artist without being a giant “hit maker” himself.

I will not try to be a music critic or a biographer here, but to just try to bring to light a writer of songs that has taken, not the road less traveled, but probably one of the hardest roads. His writing is like soft cotton, but the presentation can be like washing you face with LAVA soap. A little bit abrasive but leaves one with a refreshing feeling.

If you have a few minutes Google “Billy Joe Shaver” and see what ya think. There are lots of articles and videos. It’s kinda like cheap wine, all of it you might not like, but maybe there is something that will be new and refreshing. Kinda like washing your face with LAVA soap.

                                                                         Click on Lind to Go To "Billy Joe Shaver"    

Monday, January 18, 2010

"And When....."

A true story I wrote down many years before I even thought about blogging.  My Dad had spent several weeks in the hospital.  One of my sisters and I did a lot of "babysitting", but never did we realize how much we would enjoy it.  It needs revising, but what the heck..

“And When…..”

Dust was being swept upward and round and round by what some people call a Dust Devil. I grew up knowing them as whirlwinds. The distant end of the red iron ore country road was totally obscured and seemed to point in no particular direction. This fit perfectly within the scheme of my plans. I wasn’t going in any direction either. I might as well go on a little adventure. I really didn’t need to see where the road went, I had been up and down it a million times riding in Daddy’s old 1946 GMC pulpwood truck. The original color, as best as I could tell, was either black or some real close shade of black. At least it was before Daddy took an old can of red wagon paint and customized the color scheme just a bit. He used a brush to apply what paint he had. That you should use the term brush loosely was an understatement. It had seen its better days. There was enough paint for maybe four or five square feet coverage. He covered the front grill and both, pretty much still intact, front fenders, then he ran out of paint. Without taking out my slide rule, I can figure that this surface area was about fifteen or twenty square feet. Thinly applied? Well that would be another understatement. I remember that later on someone asked Daddy if he had tried to stretch his paint a little too far. With his dry humor and frequent sly grin, he answered.

“Naw’uh, I just wanted to see what effect I could get by putting the paint on with a pine sapling.”

I laughed out load to myself and spit at a moon shaped rock that was about two paces in front of me. I kicked the rock into the ditch and kept walking. What a day for daydreaming. Somebody ought to write a song with that.

For a worldly seventeen-year-old boy, the paintbrush episode seemed like a long time ago. Just going into the senior year of high school, something that happened ten years earlier would seem like a long time ago. Differentiating time frames and the surroundings was proving to be kind of tricky. Specific past events that were cataloged in the back of my mind would jump forward at unannounced times. They would leap to the present and they would be a vivid as if they had happened a day or so earlier.

The early June sun was not the old East Texas white-hot days of mid to late summer. The sky was cloudless and the sun was directly overhead. I knew as I was leaving the gravel road and cutting down along the old highline right of way, that it was just a short hike through the sweetgum bushes and the young pines over to the first neighbor’s house. This was Aunt Pearl’s house. She really wasn’t my aunt but I called her that anyway. She could make some of the best skillet cornbread that I could ever remember. Maybe she and Uncle Ben would be home today. The thought of that crisp bottom part and flakey center might have been the determining factor in choosing the direction of my journey.

The trail led across a shallow spring fed creek that wound down into the woods. They crossed at a pretty good-sized washout about the size of a big bathtub. It looked pretty much as it had always looked. Ten years had left the red clay sides eroded a little, but not much. As I gauged its size, I realized that I would still be able to take a bath in the very same spot and I had the day, as a five year old. I remembered making, what I suppose, a profound comical statement. Appreciation will enter from many doorways and usually you never know when it will appear. I think that if a term is more universally used, I can’t think of what it would be…”Neckked as a jaybird”. Why would a jaybird be more neckked than any other bird? It is as much a mystery to me now as it was then as a five

year old.


The water was cool, but not too cold. I had already had my soaping and scrubbing so I figured on play up under some pine tree where there were old truck tires stacked.

“Boy, you better get over here and let me dry you off. You’re neckked as a jaybird.”

Whatever the heck that meant, but the dry towel did feel good as it soaked up what clear spring water that had not already dried off on its own.

“I don’t want you to catch cold. I got to take good care of you.”

Not feeling that this was anything new to what had been going on as far as I could remember, my first thought came out.

“Yea’uh, and when I get big and you get little, I’ll take care of you.”

To me, at the time, it seemed like plain and simple logic and appreciation. Life was a circle. I only realized the humor when Daddy slapped both his knees and broke out into laughter.

“Boy, you are one more sight. Geton up to the house.”


I can’t seem to get my brain in gear but I can definitely make out my youngest (not younger) sister’s grouchy voice.

“Wake your ass up and help with Daddy. I think it is about time for the nurse to give him his medication.”

I knew this routine would go on throughout the night. He had been in the hospital for four weeks and would still be there awhile. This was not his first surgery. The routine was always the same. He was a handfull in the hospital. We laughed our butts off, him included, when we weren’t worried over some issue. He would NOT wear one of those split tail gowns. All the nurses knew how he was. He WOULD lie on the bed, BUT he WOULD have on his kakis and long sleeve western, pearl button button down pockets shirt and his baseball cap. The nurses would always “fish” his IV’s and EKG leads and such through his sleeves. It could, at times, be a circus.

Trying to get my eyes to focus on my grouchy sister, I mumbled.

“I guess he is part lizard. As many surgeries that he has had, the doctors said they think if they cut his tail off if would grow back.”

We all three chuckled but I didn’t feel the optimism as she and I moved the pillows around to his liking. He would slip in and out of being aware of what was going on.

“No Daddy you are not at the washeteria, you are in the hospital.” That was not the first time I had had that conversation with him.

“Daddy you need to settle down. I’m gonna throw your ass out this window.” That wasn’t me who said that. Guess who.

With that sly grin from the painting episode. “Aww nowwww… How ya’ll feeling.” Another grin.

My allotted rest time had not expired. I picked up my pillow from the floor and settled back down on the park bench type cot. Through a whirlwind dust cloud of ghostly thoughts, a resounding voice in my head.

"And when I get  big….”

Well, you know how the rest goes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Repost from last summer "Rhytum Of the Blues"

Click on Title to Jump to Serendipitous Surpluses

Photo credit: Pic of  John Hayes   visit
(not the picker in the story)

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I am tired. Tired of this, tired of that…. I often find myself wrestling with things that other people are able to just leave alone.

Nope, I am not going to gripe on a particular subject. I am going to talk about a solution. (I hope)

You folks are going to get the impression that the only people that influenced me growing up were my athletic coaches. This is not the case and in the future I will talk about these other people also, but this came to mind this morning.

I would like to see a few, or even maybe a lot, of things be different. These things are hindering me in where I might want to go or do. Barriers or at least obstacles are in the way. It can be anything. Imagine yourself and the things that are getting in your way. Business, school, reading writing, ‘rithmetic. Maybe ailments. I know I have a bushel load of those too. It has to be something though, doesn’t it? Something is always causing the soup to be a little too salty.

Then I remembered.  It has been a looonnngggg time since I was in high school. Things change. Those that have seen a glimpse of my stature, you can see that it might be described as robust. I am not overweight. Even though at 6’2”, I am just too short for the comparison scale to match my weight. You might find this hard to believe but in high school, I ran track. Hurdles. I know, not your normal idea of a hurdler, but that is not the point. I enjoyed a level of success in this effort. That is not the point either. Wait, maybe it is. I don’t know.

Our school was hosting a track meet with a large number of other schools. The tradition of the school was the track team always had excelled in track therefore schools wanted to come to our meets. In most of the running events, because of the large number of participants, preliminary races or trials are run to determine the fastest times. The finals were then run at the end of the meet to determine the ranking of the runners in that event. The preliminary times were not as important as long as they were fast enough to make the “cut” for the final races. I was fortunate enough to make the finals in one of the events. I truthfully cannot remember exactly which particular event.

Time came for the final event in that category to be run. The coach and I were talking about “go, go, go” type of stuff. He mentioned that I did not have the fastest time in the pre-lims and it had been nowhere close to my best times. It was a very cordial type of conversation. My response was immediate, and was true, “but Coach, it is raining!” I am sure you can agree that I had a good point.

I never saw Coach Baily without his Beechnut chew, and I never saw him spit,,ever. He also was a robust man. The race was ready to start and the starting blocks were in place. He walked gingerly about twenty feet out in front of all the runners. Stretching both arms out parallel, he turned two 360 degree turns very slowly. The other participants looked at me as if I had any clue what he was doing. I just shook my head. The man with the starter pistol even looked at me. Coach walked swaggardly back to where I was standing, grinned and shook his head in an affirmative nod.

“Well, Bert, you are in luck”

“Coach, what in the heck are you doing and talking about?”

“No, excuses, I have determined that it is raining in all lanes.”

The starter pistol went off echoing against the brick walls of the gym and high school buildings. The race went well.

Again,,,”Thanks Coach, I needed that.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Did She Really Kill All Those People?

I have spent two life times in smoke filled bar rooms picking one sort of music or another. After a certain number of years you realize how the music business works. It is very tightly controlled and is almost impossible to “make it big”. If you had to make it “big” with every project or endeavor, you would never see or hear some of the best music. There would be no house bands or local bar bands or independently produced records. ( or CDs or more recently Downloads ).

I am guessing that the writing industry is mirrored in this respect. Book deals with a major publisher seem to be the dream or goal of a lot of writers. I am not a writer and I don’t have this goal at the moment. Neither am I a literary critic other than I know what I enjoy reading.

Since starting this blog, I don’t think I have enjoyed anything as much as reading and writing while interacting within this unique medium. Truthfully, I follow some blogs more regularly than others. As most of you know, I throw myself into two opposing pools of thought with more than one blog site. With this site I work very hard at refraining from espousing my views, but I feel comfortable giving thoughts on a subject.

S. Kay Murphy lives in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California, but her mother’s side of the family, at one time, lived in Missouri. She spent several years writing and another five years to find a publisher for her book “Tainted Legacy”.

Through chance and reading about followers, I came onto her website.

On Being Simply True

In her posts, she mentioned her book “Tainted Legacy” a couple times, along with how the book came about. My interest was enough that I sent Ms. Murphy an email and in a couple of days, I had the book. I read half of the book in the first sitting. I took the book back to the office and lost it. I finally found it under the passenger seat of my pickup a day later and finished it in the second setting. It, to me, the story was that riveting.

As an adult, Ms Murphy discovered a family secret that she had grown up of not being aware. She learned, in a conversation with her sister, there was a mysterious family secret that she had never heard from her mother. It was about her mother’s grandmother. In the early part of the twentieth century, her great-grandmother, Bertha Gifford, had been accused of murder and was believed to be a serial killer.

Ms. Murphy set out on a journey to find the truth. In this she found, I believe, more than one truth while, perhaps, leaving the real mystery still unsolved. The story is a combination of biography and autobiography intertwined within one tale. As the reader, I often felt that I was a bystander in the scene at the very moment the fabric of mystery was being unfolded. The real characters seem to become “neighbors” of sorts. Seldom do I read a book that I so easily plait myself within the personalities of the characters.

An intriguing part of the characters and events is that Ms. Murphy unravels and sorts out the genealogy of the families then weaves them back together in a family quilt of cousins, sister-in-laws and other various combinations. A unique facet of the story is that you know what happened before you start. She takes you with her on her quest to find the truths in courthouses, cemeteries and homes of the present day. There was never a mention of this, but I think Ms. Murphy’s alter ego is Det. Joe Friday (Dragnet). “Just the Truth Ma’um”. The entertaining part is seeing what happened along the way and the aftershock of the events.

My intent is NOT to give the impression that I am a writing critic of any magnitude but to express my enjoyment of reading Ms. Murphy’s “Tainted Legacy”. I do feel comfortable with the point that I believe it is a good idea to support your fellow artists whether it is with CDs, local musical events or writing, both by supporting their products of just a friendly “pat on the back”.

To Visit Ms. Murphy’s Blog and webpage

On Simply Being True

Click  to enlarge

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boredom revisited with Repost at Serendiptous Surplus'

Such scandalous behavior, I have never seen.. reposts,, lol
"Dairy Queen"  Click hinuh

Friday, January 8, 2010


One of my first posts,,Response to One Minute Writer prompt: "Breakfast"
Future reposts of old stories will probably be at Serendipitous Surplus' 

The worn pine boards were cold on his warm feet. Years of foot traffic had polished the rough cut sawmill boards to a glassy smooth surface. The early morning sun reflected like jeweled crystals through the single window of the log cabin that had been built many years before the Great War. A late frost had settled over the pine tress pushing the radiance of the rays onward into the small lean to kitchen that had been erected a quarter of century after the main room had been laid up from hand hewn virgin pine timber.

Stepping down into the kitchen area, the sound of sizzling bacon and the aroma of freshly baked “flitter”, a cornbread like bread, except flour instead of cornmeal is used, permeated throughout the room. A plate of scramble eggs and a glass of milk were already placed on the hand crafted eating table. A brightly color “oil cloth” was used as a covering. Pouring the Blackburn syrup over the hot bread brought forth a smile of anticipation. Taking the first bite, the young boy closed his eyes to savor the combination of flavor and texture. It was always a wonderful way to start his day.

As I opened my eyes, the glare of the harsh overhead light caused my eyes to flutter. Any place along the interstate would have been the same.. I put down my fork, paid the check, and continued my journey.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

RE-Posting Old Stories

A few folks have asked about the old stories that I deleted from the blog a few months ago.  I have been asked to consider reposting some of these stories.  Instead of putting them here and taking a chance on boring the universe, I have posted one, and will add others, on my "spill over" site, SERENDIPITOUS SURPLUS'.  If anyone would care to read them again, please feel free to "Jump To" that site.  Maybe some folks even missed reading them on the first time around.  I know this sounds like some kind of late night TV infomercial, but what the heck.  Those of you that have been here before have a pretty good idea of my thought processes.  Thanks, Glenn  Serendipitous Surplus'

Wednesday, January 6, 2010



“Where am I? What’s going on?” Billy Ray struggled to sit up. The drum cadence was deafening. Hank couldn’t bring his conciseness to the surface. He was looking at the pouncing figure that hovered over Billy Ray but it made no sense to him.

“Billy Ray, relax. Quit fighting against Angelique.” Hazel jumped up from the bed and hurried into position so that Billy Ray could see her. Her arms extended, she was making a downward motion toward the floor as if to help lower the tension in the room. Hank propped himself up on his left elbow his mouth agape in awe.

“Get her away from me!” Billy Ray was in full panic. The only part of his body that he seemed to be able to move was his head. It was thrashing from side to side, trying to evict the scenario from his confused mind. His voice was more of pleading than asking. The blue neon lights reflected in the glistening beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead and face. Angelique appeared to have lost all rhythm and had gone into an uncontrolled convulsion.

As if falling from a cliff, Angelique crashed to the floor. The echo resounded though out the sparsely furnished efficiency room. Just as suddenly, the drums stopped. The buzzing of the transformers powering the gas filled neon light tubes hanging on the side of the building hummed a lament to the evening. The horn of a disgruntled driver chimed in as a lone hound yelped from some nearby adjoining alley.

Cautiously, Hank and Hazel moved toward Billy Ray. Angelique was lying across Billy Ray’s lower legs. The imaginary magnetic force was gone from where he was sprawled on the floor and instinctively he pulled his feet from under her body and pushed her away from him as he catapulted himself to a standing position.

“Look man, I think she just put a hex on me. Back home my cousin says that sometimes the only way you can get away from it is to kill the person that hexed you. I don’t think I want to kill no lady, but I ain’t gonna go around all hexed up, ‘sepcially not knowing what I’m hexed with.” Billy Ray couldn’t seem to stop running his hands down both arms. The wiping motion, as if he was knocking off some unseen being, seemed to sooth the panic the pouncing tigress had planted in his body.

“I don’t think so Billy Ray. Just Relax. Angelique does not mess with black magic or evil spells. Just settle down. She seems to be waking up.” Angelique opened her eyes. The cat like pupils were gone. The blue hue in the room mixed well with here green eyes. They appeared to be opals reflecting in the dim glow. Angelique looked as confused as the others. She scooted back toward the front door and sat up straight as she crossed her legs. She folded her arms across her chest and if she was trying to wrap a shell around herself. Hank thought he saw a slight quiver in her chin.

Hazel spoke first. “Angelique, are you ok?” Her voice could barely be heard but Angelique jerked her head in her direction as if she had been unaware that they were in the room together. “What was that all about? These two guys got me out of a scrape earlier today and we were just having a couple of beers. We had just dozed off and we woke up to this, this ceremony of sorts, and we are all a little confused.”

Angelique slowly turned her gaze from Hazel to Hank. The puzzled looked remained on her face. It was obvious she was trying to piece together the incident herself. She then looked at Billy Ray as the other two could see a look of deep concern come over Angelique. She took in a quick shallow breath and exhaled, then another.

“You ain’t fixing to start in on me again are you?” Billy Ray got up and started toward the door.

“Wait. I am sorry if I startled you and caused you to worry.” Angelique held out her hands, palms out and fingers pointed up. The mixture of French and Jamaican accent was something new to the two strangers. Billy Ray stopped but kept looking at her hands, waiting to see what else she might do with them. “I came in from working my shift at the club and saw that you all had already settled in for the evening. As I walked past where you had reclined on the floor, a dark and heavy weight shifted into my mind. There was a feeling of an unexplained dread. I just stood near you and waited to see if other elements would establish the reasoning for these mysterious feelings.”

“You are on a journey that you may not have complete control of. There will be many dark and winding roads that you will travel. Once you go these paths, the only return will be on these same roads, but they will have changed and you will not recognize them from you earlier travel. I do not know when this journey will start nor end, nor do I know where it will take you. You sir, know this not either. Papa Legba is the keeper of the gate and the crossroads. My efforts were to call upon his help in allowing the forces to guide and protect you on your quest. This success I am not sure of. I hope truly that your being to be safe, but caution and care must be your companion from this point forward. My intent was not to cause you alarm or worry, but to bind you with strength and good judgment. This I hope you take to heart and enjoy it as truth.”

Angelique dropped her hands to her knees and calm veiled itself across her being. The green eyes dimed to a warm flicker where once fire had danced. Billy Ray walked toward the sofa and as he passed Angelique, a gentle touch and squeeze to her shoulder brought only a sliver of comfort to his anxiety for his future. The others began to ease from their tension. Billy Ray sat gently on the sofa ready to ponder the words of the newly acquainted tigress.

Hank reached and picked up the damp paper bag that still contained a few bottles of luke-cool beer. “Anyone…..” He never got to finish his question.

Splinters and broken glass sprayed forth in a geyser of debris. The nine glass panes and the paneled door that had been used to safeguard from outside intruders ripped from its hinges and crashed on top of Angelique. A heavy combat type boot stomped a final blow that sent the last remnants of the wooden gate showering onto floor. Red blood flowed into her green eyes. Angelique slumped forward as a black silhouette filled the open doorway.