Friday, December 29, 2006


I have noticed a bit of a trend since blogging that I tend to come off as being a little touched in the head. I don't know what to do about that, so I will just have to continue being my unabashed, unapologetic self. I will say that there seems to be a certain Spirit of Surreal Events that follows me around, giving me ample opportunity to have a good bit of fun, and lending itself to support the notion that I am bonkers.
I had a lot of fun at the Craft Fair at the beginning of December being Santa Claus.. But it pales in comparison to the fun that was available on Christmas Eve- Eve, at my kids’ Church during the “Living Nativity”....
It was quite cold and they needed someone to fill in for one of the Wise men. Baltazhar, I suppose. And by “they needed” what I mean to say is ‘The Crazy Church lady needed”.... thats what my kids called her, anyway. Of course, I am glad to help anyone out. I donned my Robes and Turban and Shepherds crook and took my place at the side of the road.
Now if you can imagine, I play one hell of a wise man... especially if you put me beside a busy intersection in the "Freezin (expletive deleted)" cold. While I was instructed to just "stand there and try to look Wise”, this is just not my style. Its not how I roll.
So after a period of contemplation (six seconds) as to why a Wise Man was carrying a Shepherds Crook, I made my move.
I was everywhere, with my Crook, commanding attention to our little Nativity scene, leading traffic and urging Drivers and passengers alike out of their vehicles, at crook-point, if you will, and you would be surprised at how many aquiesqued to my threatening gestures. There were a few times that I actually stepped into the 4-lane road and stopped a car by virtue of the notion they simply did not want to run me over. The whole scene took on a “North by Northwest” meets "Halloween at Christmastime" "Miracle on 34th Street" look.
The end result, however was that we had a whole lot of people stop that otherwise would have kept on driving. I don’t know that any souls were saved because of my exuberance, but I can tell you the Crazy Church Lady was thrilled to no end.
In one of the backrooms of the church, she helped me disrobe.
“You were just wonderful’ as she took my crook and Turban.
‘Why have I never seen you here before?” as she removed my fake beard and looked into my eyes, smiling.
“Well, Ma’am, my kids go here but I generally don’t attend Church”
‘Oh, you must start” and she removed my robe.
I have to admit I was feeling a little uneasy as she began to unbutton my shirt. Then I realized that she thought this was part of my costume, and that what was about to happen was just another of those things that just seems to present themselves to me at times.
An Event of the Surreal Spirit served up on a Silver Platter.
I wanted to laugh, but it wasn't funny yet.
When she got to the last button on my shirt and found her hand on my belt buckle, she noticed my bare chest. A slight gasp barely escaped from her lips, and she raised her eyes to mine.
Our faces are only inches apart and her breath fogs my glasses a little and I say VERY SOFTLY ....
“You better stop right there, Lady, or you are going to know everything there is to know about me!”
And I give her my most disarming smile.
From her lips comes an “Oh” but it is so soft, so barely discernable, that it sounds more like “peep”. She ran from the room.
My daughter told me later that the “Crazy Church Lady" asked if I were single...
Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


(Continued from yesterday)
""my best friend and assistant, Jeff looked on in horror" as I carreened about the waiters station."

In the years before the incident I described in yesterdays post, my only experience with Gays had been through Drama Club in High School, where it had been whispered that certain members of the Department were "queer", and a few waiters I had worked around being a Chef. There was a big part of me that still didn’t believe someone could be truly gay and that the only reason they behaved in that manner was that they were lonely and just wanted to be touched and did not have the charisma to attract the opposite sex. I still didn’t quite believe they did what they did. There must be a mistake. They were Gay by some kind of default.
I figured that probably they just lacked the courage and confidence to get a woman. I figured it was just a cop out, a way to be unreal, that the people and the relationships they were in were invalid.
In 1982 there was only a whisper of a disease running through gay communities in larger cities. It was called AIDS, and over the next few years would affect the lives of a great many people, including myself. Not that I had AIDS, mind you, but 'Free Love" was about to be a pretty risky investment.

In 1982 I was Saute Chef for the Crystal Cactus, the gourmet restaurant at the Fort Worth Hyatt. The broiler man was Jeff, and he and I had a lot in common. In just a few months we had acheived a familiarity that allowed us to be a very good team as cooks, and also best friends, that with just a word or a glance we could be on the same page on just about anything. We were both pretty well read and could launch into scenes from ‘Moby Dick’, “Hamlet” "Lord of the Rings".
Our favorite was from "Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are Dead". Its a spinoff from "Hamlet" in which the two guards of Hamlets fathers tomb toss a coin that comes up heads 99 times in a row.

They contemplate the odds...
"If we postulate " says one.
"And we just have" replies the other.....
"Ninety-Nine Times!", both in unison.

While it started out to be purely extemporaneous, we both knew the material so well and had become such good friends that we could be quite entertaining at the drop of a hat. Well, we thought we were anyway. We would be in attendance at after work parties that went on 2-3 nights a week and lasted till well past dawn. The greatest thing about working in foodservice? Waitresses!
But Jeff never partook of waitresses and any time I suggested we go to here or there to chase women, Jeff always seemed to have something else to do. Still we managed to do something together at least 4 night a week. If it wasnt a party, then it was a game of “Risk” or all night Frisbee. Jeff was as good as I with a Frisbee and we would throw together for hours at a well lit park around the corner from my mothers house where I lived. Jeff was a deep and Philosophical person and as we threw we talked. He became one of the best friends I have ever had.
My mother had had a stroke which was part of the reason I lived with her. My father was in a V.A. Hospital with Alzheimers. He had been for years. Over the course of a year Mom met Jeff several times.
Ever since her stroke my mother’s speech had changed in the typical stroke victim fashion. She now talked like a little girl with a bit of a lisp and sing-song cadence.
Getting ready for work one afternoon, I mentioned that Jeff was on vacation to New York and I had a new guy to train.
My mother gets an odd look on her face and asks what he is doing in New York
“He says he is going to see as many plays as he can in 4 days” I tell her.
“ Did he go by himself?’ she asks.
‘No, he went with a couple of the waiters from the Restaurant”
Mom looks at me over the top of her glasses.
“Steve, is Jeff gay?
“NO, Mom, why do you ask?”
And in that sing-song voice she says “Well, he...just seems... like he might... be gay.”
Now in 1982 my Mom was 65 years old and had been a housewife all her adult life. I doubt she had ever met a gay person. I was surprised that she knew the word.
I thought about it all night and finally determined that she was probably right. My best friend in the whole world, with looks and energy and charisma to burn; the guy that I hung out with 4-5 nights a week and could leap at least 4’in the air covering 10-12 feet and catch a Frisbee behind his back or between his legs; that I found myself on the same page with, completely in sync, time after time after time; my best friend that I was so proud to know....was Gay!

It was a real awakening; these were real people in real relationships and there wasn’t anything wrong with them. Whatever I had been thinking about Gay people was incompetent, immaterial and irrevelant.
Jeff left the Hyatt in 1986.
I found myself behind him in a checkout line in 1988. He had not seen me.
"If we Postulate..." I said very loudly.
He flinched but didn't need to turn around.
"...And we just have..." came the reply.
In unison as he turns around;
"...NINETY NINE TIMES!" and we embrace.

I never saw Jeff again.
I got word that Jeff had died from AIDS in 1993.
I can scarcely think of him without weeping.

I would like to dedicate this one to Barbara,
who is lucky enough to have a lot of friends, many Gay; and a fellow that used to Blog named "Broken" who told me he had never really had a Gay friend and in doing so inspired me to write this many months ago.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Grizzbabe has insinuated that I have teased you badly concerning an incident where I almost ended up unemployed. She is right, it should follow the story about Chef Felenczak, as he certainly was one of the players.

I had been at the FW Hyatt for about 30 days when I got my first promotion. I was to be the Lead cook for the Gourmet restaurant for the evening shift. The Restaurant was named ‘The Crystal Cactus” but I affectionately called it “The Crystal Crotchless” and every waiter in the place was Gay. Now back then, in my world at least, gays were a bit of an exception. I had worked in restaurants where there were no Gays, but here at the Hotel, the Crystal Cactus and Room Service were filled with Gays. To me there was something a little unreal about them as though they might be Gays by Default...(to be continued)
After work, walking to my car in downtown Fort Worth, many was the night that several carloads of these gays would beckon to me to come and join them. The smell of Marijuana wafting from their car windows, my usual response was to moon them. Man, did that ever fire them up as I pulled my pants down and flashed my milky white ass cheeks- they would hoot-n-holler and get out of their car and I would hitch up my pants and run for my life.
I called them the “Boys”.
I let it be known as often as I could that I had no respect for them whatsoever.
AIDS was still relatively unknown.

So on New Years Eve 25 years ago as the night wound down, the “Boys” started to bring me Kamikazes... I don’t know exactly what that is but its either Vodka or Gin and after about the 3rd or 4th I began to feel the effects.
It was about this time that one of the boys, his name was Frank and he looked just like Peter Lorre, only weirder, approached me and asked me a question;
“Steve, why don’t you like us Boys”
As I searched my alcohol racked brain for a proper answer, I spied a Fire extinguisher hanging on the wall.
I had my answer.
I reached over, grabbed the extinguisher. I hung the handle from my apron, holding the 2 foot long nozzle in my right hand. The big red tank hung swinging from my apron, between my legs.
I started to laugh, but it wasn’t funny yet.
I pulled the pin.
I looked Frank dead in the eye and said;
“Why, Frank, I like you boys just fine” and let him have it. A thick stream of white reatardant came very forcefully from the nozzle, leaving Frank looking like something out of a 3 Stooges bit.
"In fact, I like you Boys a lot".
Then I began careening through the Waiters station, that big tank swingin down between my knees and long thick nozzle (in both hands now) hosing down every waiter I came across. Laughing all the way. My best friend and assistant Chef, Jeff, looked on in horror.
It was about the time that I ran out of foam that Security had me and escorted me to the nearest exit.

I don’t remember filling out an incident report. I don’t think they needed my contribution.
I was off for the next three days and worried that I would lose my job.
When i came back, they did not stop me at security. A good sign.
When I got to the main kitchen there was not a representative there from Personnel to escort me away. Another good sign.
But neither was Chef Felenczak there to inflict whatever discipline on me that I most certainly had coming. It would be two long hours before he got to the Kitchen. That's how long it took him to save my ass.
I was slicing meats when he appeared at the door of the Chefs office. He looked across the Kitchen and our eyes locked. He pointed at the floor next to him with his finger. I went.
I don’t know how badly he put himself in hock for me, but I came away with a 3 Day suspension when by all rights I should have been fired.
After that, Chef always called me his "little Troublemaker".

Thanks Chef.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I tell this story very well... lets see if it works on paper........

Steve Felenczak was the Chef that opened the Ft Worth Hyatt in 1981. He was Polish, proud and a very good Chef. He had graduated from CIA, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY. He was the first Certified Executive Chef I had ever worked for. After the second time that I called him “Bossman” he explained to me that “Bossman” was the guy that ran the Penitentiary and that I should call him “Chef”.
He also taught me that the first thing you say to Potwashers and Dishwashers was “Good Morning” or “Good Evening”. This has served me very well over the years. He also explained to me that we were not here “Just to learn about cooking”.
After 1 and 1/2 years at Ft. Worth Hyatt, a 900 room property, Chef got a big promotion. He was to become the Executive Chef at the Baltimore Hyatt, a 1700 room Hotel. It was to be a huge promotion with more money in a very prestigious part of the Country.
The day before his last day, the Health Department showed up for a routine inspection. Within a few minutes it was apparent that the Health guy was in a foul mood. He began taking off for the slightest of things. As he toured the kitchen, Chef and the health guy began to argue and get louder. At some point the Mr.Health has seen enough. They go to the Chefs office where he tells the Chef “I am SHUTTING YOU DOWN!!!”
Chef says “You can’t shut me down”
Mr. Health counters with “Like hell if I can’t”
Chef reconsiders and says “Well maybe you can, but not before we go to see the General Manager”
So up to the G.M.’s office they march. As Chef is leaving the kitchen he is livid.
He points to us all ( all the Kitchen Staff has been standing around watching this event) and says in an angry whisper “Get this place cleaned up!”
Once in the G.M.’s office, Mr.Health tells the G.M. that he is "shutting this nasty-ass kitchen down."
The G.M. proclaims “You can’t do that!”
“Like hell if I can’t” counters Mr. Health.

The General Manager knows he has been upstaged...
“Well maybe you can, but not before we go to the Mayors office."

Now the stage is set. The Health Department wants to shut down the most prestigious Hotel in the city on the day before the Chef is to go on his big promotion. It could put the promotion in jeopardy. Chef was sweatin’ bullets. To the Mayors office they march, Mr. Health, The G.M. and Chef. Once in the Mayors Office, Mr. Health tells the Mayor of all the Violations and how filthy the Kitchen is. The Chef pleads that this is all “Mickey Mouse” stuff and just not that bad.
The G.M. says “Mayor, this is the finest Hotel in the City, it’s the Chefs last day and they can’t just shut us down”.

“Like Hell if they can’t” says the Mayor, who cannot let his Health Department become without muscle; “But not until I see this Kitchen for myself.”

The Mayor wants to tour the kitchen personally and may have the final say as to whether Chef actually gets his promotion.
Can you imagine? The day before he is to leave?
So back to the Hyatt they Parade. Mr. Health, Chef, the G.M. and the Mayor walking the long six blocks to the Hotel. The whole while the Chef is trying to plead his case to the Mayor.
What was going through the Chefs mind I can only wonder. Can you imagine such a Black Eye on the Eve of a promotion so large? His entire Professional career may hang in the balance.
So through the lobby they go and pass the double- doors through the Waiters Station and into the Main Kitchen where….

There is the Banner that reads;


strung over the entrance to the Main Kitchen and the “going away” party is all set up. Chafing dishes with food, carving Station w/ tenderloin and a Wet Bar. Spared no expense, the Mayor and Heath guy were in on it from the get go. In fact the Mayor and Health guy are now shaking his hand and slappin' him on the back. Half of the Employees of the hotel are lined up and clapping.
Three cheers for the Chef.
The look on the Chefs face is unbelievable. Talk about relieved. He says to me “ I could’nt figure out why you’se guys were just standing around lookin’ STUPID”.
This is the coolest and possibly cruelest thing I have ever been a part of…now, I’ve written it down. I only wish I knew who dreamed it up and if it has ever been used again!
OLD LADY... Have you ever heard anything that approaches this?

Friday, December 22, 2006


I was tagged by "the 'roy"
concerning Christmas....I will contibute only that which may be noteworthy to the survey;
My favorite holiday movie is "Its a Wonderful life" which touched me quite deeply since I was just a little boy. What I feel is noteworthy, however, is how little this movie seems to mean to my children; they groan everytime I mention it and even go so far as to call it "The Longest Life" to my face... very respect for the importance of friendship.
My favorite songs of the season seem to be quite at odds with each other.... the first is 'Father Christmas" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. This song raises great doubt about the origin and validitiy of Christmas....

"They said there'd be snow at Christmas, they said there'd be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining, a veil of tears for the Virgin Birth
I remember one Christmas morning, a winter's light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell,
and their eyes full of tinsel and fire
They sold me a dream of Christmas, they sold me a Silent Night
And they told me a fairy story 'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas, and I looked to the sky with excited eyes
And I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn, and I saw him and through his disguise
I wish you a hopeful Christmas, I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'd be snow at Christmas, they said there'd be peace on earth
Hallelujah Noel, be it heaven or hell, the Christmas we get we deserve"

Maybe it is a more hopeful song at second glance than it would appear to be at first...
The other song that I have come to enjoy... no, absolutely love and adore is "The Night that Christ was Born".... it may be more for the melody, so grand and uplifting, than for the lyrics, but like most songs the lyrics take on a life of their own when placed into the context of the music. I have seen someone do this on PBS that has brought me to my feet and put me to my knees, laughing as tears ran down my cheeeks.

Listen to the angels
Rejoicing e'er so sweetly
Receiving heaven's glory
The night that Christ was born

Can't you see the people
Coming from every nation
Pleading for salvation
The night that Christ was born

Oh such a wonderful savior
To be born in a manager
So that I can share His favor
And my heart be made anew

Listen to the trumpets
Shouting through the darkness
Crying 'holy, holy'
The night that Christ was born

Listen to the trumpets
Shouting through the darkness
Crying 'holy, holy'
(Now Behold the Savior)
The night that Christ was born

There are a lot of repeated choruses in this song that build on each other beautifully is a truly glorious song.

As far as the rest of the list goes, I can sum it up for you with my favorite Christmas greeting.....

'Christmas is a Humbug!"

You know I don't mean it.
Peace on Earth.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I have worked on a post concerning the show ‘Hells Kitchen” but it never comes out right as I end up ranting even more maniacally than the jerk on the show. Instead I willl share with you a little story of how low key it can be when a real Chef cuts your nuts off.
I have to wonder if my freind 'ol lady knows Gaspar.
I was working for a Hungarian named Gaspar. I swear this man was part Vampire as you always felt a little bloodless after he got through with you. I was P.M. Sous Chef, which means you are accountable for everything while being responsible for nothing in particular.
I had decided I had had enough of Gaspar and a major Hotel chain that I had given Blood Sweat and Tears to for 10 years.
I marched myself into Gaspars office. He was there, it seemed, 20 hours a day, and this is what I said;
“I would like to give you, Sir, my two weeks notice. Of course, if you would like to shoot me on out of here right now, well, that would be jst fine with me.”
There were two things that I hoped for when I went in there... one was the notion that I could somehow rattle this cold blooded creature, and the other which was more important, that he send me on home today... I really had had enough.
Gaspar never even looked up. He set down his pen, slowly stirred his coffee, raised it to his lips and before he took a sip, I could see the smile begin to form on his lips. With the cup still inches from his lips he finally looks at me over the top of his glasses and says;
“No, no, Steve, I will accept your two weeks notice and you can work it on out.”
So much for going home today. Then he says
“On your last day we will all have Champagne, no?

See, you don’t need to raise your voice or throw food or even threaten physical injury to cut a guys heart out. I will never forget that one, I tell you what.

I have been slow posting lately and will continue to be until after Christmas, probably after New Years, when I hope that I will be moving my account to a home based operation and avoid the fate of the many unemployed whose work related hits were far outnumbered by non- work related hits.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I do not know how far from Texas this song may have traveled, but it is like a Seasonal National Anthem down here. You can hate Country Western music, hate it bad, and still be lovin' this.
Believe me, I know.
My Daughter and Son and I have started the daily ritual of putting it on and singin' in as loud and and raucous a fashion as possible.
If you have never heard it, I'm sorry. Takes the edge off of the insanity!

(Robert Earl Keen Jr.)
Robert Earl Keen - 1994

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk
At our Christmas party
We were drinkin' champagne punch
And homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him
Til he sang Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins
From his second wife MaryNell
Of course he brought his new wife Kaye
Who talks all about AA
Chain smokin' while the stereo plays
Noel, Noel, The first Noe

lCarve the turkey turn the ball game on
Mix Margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quik-Pak store
We need some ice and an extention cord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rite
A box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fran and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motorhome in
They blew our christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited on our front lawn
He threw the breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night
Oh Silent Night

Carve the turkey turn the ballgame on
Make Bloody Marys cause we all want one
Send somebody to the Stop 'n Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprite
A box of tampons and some Salem Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family
Feliz Navidad.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Watched a John Wayne movie over the weekend.
He and Patricia Neal are about to "hook up." He apologizes to her in advance that there is no real future in him, as he is shipping out the next day, and Submariners "Don't last long in this man's navy".
She slouches back into a big easy chair and gives him "the look"; eyes half closed, lips pursed and her head on a bias. In this sultry sexy voice she says


Wayne asks if she has a phone. He steps into the kitchen, calls his
Commanding Officer, indicates that he will not be back to the ship until morning.
Arrangements having now been made, he leans agaist the doorjamb and with confident
expectation, gives Patricia Neal "the look".
Her eyes lightly glazed, she sinks a little deeper into her chair and slowly removes her Nurses cap as she kicks off her shoes...
End of scene.
They just don’t write ‘em like that any more.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I was steady into recounting a few of my Psycho Dreams for you all when we were called away; I owed you another sweet Lily story, and the balding Annelisa asked that we bare our weirdness.
I give us all 'A''s.
So now that the cat is out of the bag, I would like to finish with a Dream that illustrates the Question Barbara asked....why do we Dream these things?
It also makes me wish that I were as smart awake as I am asleep...

In my dream I have my Cutting board set up, I have surrounded myself with food to process and I am all set …except people keep coming to me with all manner of requests. The General Manager needs me to measure his office for book shelves, the valet parking guy needs me to come and jump a car off, maintenance wants me to show them how to fix the tile in the mens dressing room (I did tile for 8 years) and its like one thing after the other keeps me away from doing my job. But in the Foodservice Industry, the answer is always "Yes" and Foodservice people ALWAYS help.
Finally, all the BullShit tasks completed, I step up to my cutting board, knife in hand, ready to rock the house. I’m doing Cantaloupes. I have cases of them stacked to the ceiling. I reach for another to shave the peel off and notice that there is someone standing next to me. I look up to see what could only be described as an English “chap”. He is wearing a Tweed Jacket, Scarf and little Riding Cap. He is in his 60’s, has one of those Curly-Q Mustaches, a pipe and is wearing a Monocle. He is the mental picture you get when you say “Chap”.
“Can I help you?” I ask. Foodservice people always help.
‘Thank you , young man, quite possibly you can. I am looking for a pair of ‘Knee Socks’”
“Knee Socks” says I…
“Knee Socks” says he.
I glance around the Kitchen and clear my throat.
“ Does any one here have a pair of Knee Socks” I announce.
All movement in the Kitchen and Waiters Station stops.
Foodservice people always help.
Out of the corner of my eye I detect some movement by the Ice machine. There is a Cocktail Waitress there, she is looking right at me and I can tell that she is going to answer my request.
“Knee Socks?” she asks.
“Knee Socks” says I.
Very daintily, she reaches down and with thumb and forefinger of one hand, and grasps the hem of her skirt. She slowly raises her skirt to just reveal a garter belt and Fishnet Stockings. She raises her heel and on pointed toe flexes her knee to the inside slightly to further advertise the Product. Very nice.
“Like these?” she asks, in almost a whisper...
I look to the Chap; he is rather shocked; his eyes widen, the pipe dangles from his lower lip, the monocle pops from his eye and he shakes his head “NO’ very quickly. I look back to the Waitress and give her a wink.

“I don’t think so, little honey” I say “But you are looking real good today”

What I have to wonder is…. did my mind have this dream worked out from the start or did I make it up as I went along? I find it difficult to believe that I could come to that conclusion without having planned it in some way that i am totally unaware of. I have to add that I have dreams like this, dreams that have foreshadowing and plot and beginning, middle, and end…. a lot.

What do ya'll think?

Friday, December 08, 2006


Yesterdays little exercise leads very well into case anyone had wondered where my name came from...

Too long in the Wasteland
hear the trucks on the highway
and the ticking of the clock
there's a ghost of a moon in the afternoon
bullet holes in the mailbox
bullet holes in the mailbox
key holes in my mind

too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland
I've fallen behind

she said why don't you come see me
when the sun goes down
it'll be just like the old days
when I used to let you hang around
well I don't know
I might not speak the language anymore

too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland
will close some doors

the people in the village
watch their children play
at the sight of a stranger
they call the kids away
just leave that man alone
I hear the mother say
he's been

too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland's
what made him that way

well, I hadn't intended to bend the rules
but whiskey don't make liars
it just makes fools
so I didn't mean to say it
but I meant what I said

too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland
must've gone to my head

jet trail in the sunset
a long way away
cutting 'cross the horizon
at the edge of the day
and it calls Steve
come fly away
but I've been

too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland
I believe I'll have to stay

yeah, I've been
too long in the wasteland
too long in the wasteland
I believe I'll have to stay

James McMurtry

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I don't know how I get on these lists, but thanks for the tag, Annelisa, I will do my best!!!
How and why am I so weird? They want six examples...thanks for asking and lets take it from the top, shall we?

Boys will be boys
>I will Eat, Drink, Smoke and F*ck just about anything. Since I am so weird we will count that as “1”
I eat Ice Cream out of the carton with a fork, I like Graham Crackers dipped in Sprite, raw Eggs and Honey in Grapefriut Juice and have tried to smoke ground up Crickets as a substitute for Roaches. As for the F*ck part, you don’t even want to know.

It could save your life.
>I have not owned a car for 28 months.
I ride a bicycle or walk to work and to just about everywhere else I go. The last time I bought gas for myself it was 1.35 a gallon and I thought that was OUTRAGEOUS. It is not entirely by choice, but it is a freedom like I have never known. A MAJOR side effect of this is the fact that I have quit smoking without trying to quit. Its because of the bike- my body and mind rejected Cigarettes- over the period of 1 year I went from a pack a day to a pack a week... then a pack a month. I haven’t smoked a single cigarette in 6 weeks.

Sometimes dead is better
> I did not care if I ever worked again.
It was not long ago that I lived in a burned out Mobile Home without Water or Electricity for almost a year and a half. I did not eat for a week. I was situated between a Metal Scrap Yard, a Railroad track, a Race track, a Dynamite plant and three very angry German Shepherds. It was noisy, but I was lucky to be there. The rest of my life is Gravy.

Life= Time, Time= Space, Space=The Planets, Human = Race
> I am very good at random thought.
In the second grade we had an exercise where we were to draw lines between objects that matched like a Dog and a Doghouse, a hat and a pair of gloves and a hammer and a nail and a bat and a ball. I had no idea what they wanted me to do. To the point of tears. I realize now that there really were no wrong answers. I can think outside anyone’s box.

Higher Math
> I am very good at basic Math skills...
...but am too sensitive for Algebra, Geometry and whatnot. When you say “Let x=y” all I can think is that it is not fair.... to either of them.

Weird is as Weird Does
> The Checkout line at the Grocery store...
...with the Ex- Mrs Bulletholes. There is a magazine that says “THE 12 BEDROOM FANTASIES THAT HE WILL NEVER TELL YOU ABOUT”. I point it out to ex- Mrs Bulletholes and ask...
” What is this, part one?’
She is in a good mood and giggles. Then I say to no one in particular...
”Me? I can do 12 on one hand”.
She clobbered me.

The strangeness of this life cannot be measured... our faults and weaknesses and mistakes define and make us all the more magnificent.
And Annelisa, this was a blast!!! Thanks!!!
Do I win?
Hold the presses whileI tag young Davy, me boyo, me bucko, me Nephew, who may give me-o a run for the money-0!!!
Who else? Well the Grizzbabe is much too busy
As is Ol' roy
I always love the Ol' Lady; people are STRANGE!!!
And there is Kissyface that I miss...Don't fall over/in/out there!!!
Of course I am leaving one out that is on some kind of weirdo break;

So now I have learned to do this and maybe now I can set up some links for these my electronic Freinds.
oh, my other good friend that has been tagged and bagged her weird post already... already!!!
Are you ready, Mother of Invention??

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I had planned to do another of my dreams; I am hesitant to write about Lily...I have to take the "spin" out of it as I do not wish to try to persuede or manipulate her...not from here!!!

So Lily knocked on my door; she lived in the same apartments as I and I had taken every oportunity make my presence known for the last 4 months. Everytime I saw her in the parking lot, I just about did backflips and double somersaults that would propel me across the Parking lot and land me at her feet.
Is that charming or what?
I could not let her in my Apartment that night because...well, because it was filthy.
I could not have let in Velvet Skinned Annie with a rose between her teeth it was so bad.
I spent the next two days cleaning.
What a man won't do for Love. We were about to become best friends. We were about to see some hard times.

From a previous post in October, ‘ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY”

""I know people that are always in love, and then love goes, or they find out their beloved is not who they thought they were and *POOF* they are in love again with someone else.I don't much believe it.I think love is pretty rare and I attach a very high value to it.
We seek in others that which is the deepest reflection of ourselves. To the extent with which we value that reflection, we will either experience, or fake, a sense of self esteem.
At that time in my life I had been divorced for about 3 years; I might have been walking around but inside I was deader than a Beaver Hat.Sure, I missed love... that is to say I missed the softening of the heart that occurs when you find some resonance in your life. The sense of life and joy when you see your reflection and your highest values in someone else as you melt into them.
Then I ran into Lily.
It was a few weeks after dancing with Julie and she stole my heart.So, Lily, we start at the beginning.... ""

In the fall of 2000 I moved into some really cool Apartments. All single story, it had been an assisted living complex once upon a time. I had wood floors, vaulted ceiling and a “Handicap” shower. Of the 48 units there were only about 12 that were occupied. It was like I had the whole place to myself.
One evening in December I walked to the Coke machine by the office. A Red Ford Ranger is pulling into the Parking lot as I make my selection. It skids to a stop and a girl gets out. She’s swingin’ a purse, she’s wearing checkered print pants and a smock of some sort and she has an exhausted but happy look on her face. She is approaching the coke machine and I just cant quite take my eyes off her. Her face, her expression and the way she carries herself was like a reflection...It would be several weeks before I realized how pretty she was. Right then I was forming an impression of who this person was and what they were about and for the first time in a long time I knew that I was mostly right.
She steps up to the machine and gasps”They better not be out of Dr. Pepper again”.
I see the little light and say “I am afraid that they are”.
She feigns frustration , throws up her hands and does some kind of half-assed kick on the machine.
“I have been leaving notes’ she says.
“Yeah, I might should leave one for you as well” says I.
As I walked back to my Apartment I felt like I had been hit by…just insert whatever cliché you like here. It had been so long…like an Ocean of time I had crossed disconnected from even myself. In the past, such a strong feeling of connection would be accompanied by a way in. Some way to make a move.
An hour later I was at the Grocery Store. As I approach the Cashier, what do I see but…no, not the girl, but 12-packs of Dr. Peppers. I grab one. Its all coming back to me now. If nothing else, this is going to be fun. Moreover, I am truly sorry that the Apartments cannot keep enough sodas for a very interesting Lady that has affected me so strongly.
Back at the Apartment, I place the 12 Pack into the back of her Truck. I remember wondering to myself if she would know who had left them. And the note. Yeah, I left a 4-word note, unsigned.

It read, quite simply
“May you never thirst”
I hadn’t felt that good since the end of the Vietnam War!
The next morning there was a little note on MY truck.
She signed hers…”Lily”

I knew we were going to be friends.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Sometime in early December of 2000 (OK, it was the 8th) I met Lily. I was completly smitten right away, and as things go with me there were a few obstacles that might prevent her from feeling the same way.
Namely, a husband (she was separated) and a Boyfriend.
But my love, it was strong and I was undaunted.
At some point in the 4 month period that I did everything short of stalk her, I had this dream.
I was walking with Lily through the Park. We came to a blanket laid out in a meadow. There were Strawberries and Champagne and it was getting to be close to sunset. And while Lilly had told me she had a Date later that night, we had time to sit on the blanket, eating Strawberries and drinking Champagne.
“Would you like a footrub?” I ventured.
“That would be the Bomb” says Lily. (I never did get used to that expression)
So off come the shoes and I begin to rub her feet. I’m Lovin it. And I am hoping she is too. It is absolute serendipity, a divine gift to stumble onto this blanket and Amenities that may have fallen from heaven.
“Feels good?” says I.
“Feels good” says she, “But what we need is some lotion”
As if by Magic a bottle of lotion appears in my hand.
“And some pillows” requests Lily. And the pillows materialize under her head.
So as I am rubbing the lotion onto her feet we gaze into each others eyes. Deeply. And though it has been a while since I have seen this look, I can tell that it is time for me to kiss Lily. Our faces draw closer, our lips part, never breaking the deepness of our gazing. Only an inch from the blissful union, my eyes unlock from hers just enough to notice that there is a very small piece of dirt on her upper lip. I look back to her eyes, then back to the dirt. I reach with my hand to brush the speck away.
OH NO!!! Now there is a HUGE GLOP of Lotion where the dirt had been.
I look back into her eyes. The look of anticipation that had been in her eyes a moment before has been replaced by confusion. The look of desire that had been in my eyes is replaced by...
I cannot kiss her with that big glop of lotion on her lip and so far all I have done is make things worse. It demands an explanation. So with the look of real heartfelt sorrow. I look deeply into Lily’s eyes and with a pained voice tell her
I woke up, Howling with laughter!
Other peoples dreams rarely come across well and so much of a dream gets lost in translation.
We really take things far too seriously most of the time. Sometime in early April... (OK, it was the 2nd) Lily did finally come to knock on my door

Monday, December 04, 2006



Dreamed of you last night. You were in the backyard of our old house. It was raining. You were transplanting flowers from one part of the yard to the other and every time you did, there would be like 3 times as many as when you started. You were so delighted. But it kept raining harder and I would go to the door and ask you when you were going to come in.

“In a little while Daddy” you would say.

And I would watch you move some more flowers and the flower2 would multiply and I would ask again for you to come in.

“Just a few more minutes Daddy”

And the rain was falling harder but the whole yard was covered with flowers now. And you were just delighted with what you had done. I went back to the door and stepped into the rain. I had a blanket wrapped around me.

“Aubree’, it all looks so beautiful! Won’t you please come in and get dry and rest with me a while.”

I opened up the Blanket and you and I, wrapped in the blanket, went inside to get dry and to rest.

There were a lot more flowers now than when you started.

There was just one of you.

This was my dream.


Friday, December 01, 2006


Thanks Mom....
... for waiting the six hours for me to apologize for spitting in your face. I was three.
... for playing “Tarzan” with me and keeping a straight face, staying in Character as I wrestled the Giant Snake to protect you, even though it was just a Vacuum cleaner hose.
...for yanking me out of the street while I played Chicken with the Hoodlum down the street and his 55 Chevy.
...for always calling me ‘Stephen” when I was in trouble, giving me a little time to brace myself.
...for taking such good care of me after I moved back home to take care of you after your stroke.
...for laughing harder than I while Shila tickled me to tears on the couch.
...for “hanging on” long enough for me to get back home. Did you hear the wild geese? Is that what that sound was?

My most indelible image of Mom is when she would ask me when Shila and I were going to have a Baby...
“Oh, Mom, I don’t know, sometime here, I guess...”
In her little girl singsong voice she would reply...
“Oh, Stevie, you just have to hurry”,
Then holding her arms as though she were cradling a baby
“It would be so terrible if I didn’t get to hold her”
She missed it by a year and this is my most regrettable regret.
All you youngsters out there, don’t let this happen.

Mom died on December 1st, 1986. Dad was in a VA hospital with Alzheimers.
If there is someone responsible for letting Mom die first, thank you.
Very kind.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


"Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful Jollity,...
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastick toe."

When I was four years old my Mother enrolled me in tap dancing lessons. I was the only little boy in the Class and I cried to and from it. I don’t remember if I cried during; I would like to think that I did not out of respect to all the little girls.
When I was in the Eighth Grade, I danced my first Rock and Roll dance to the music of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride”.
I didn’t ‘get” the music back then.
I was very awkward.
Two years later things were different. I had the Music in me. I found my Groove.
I don’t know how much it had to do with Marijuana and the little “Strawberry Fields” tabs that were going around, but I could bust a move on anything from “I am the Walrus” to “Court of the Crimson King”.
I don’t know if I looked very good doing it, but it sure felt good.(correction; I did not look good)I had a girlfriend, Jeri that looked REAL good dancing, so that freed me up to do whatever.
I could not "Shut the Funk Up".

The next year at the Halloween dance , I went as an Ape from the “Planet of the Apes”. Jeri was no longer in proximity to me for reasons detailed in "STAFF SGT. RENFRO" No one was dancing so I asked the Captain of the Drill team to dance. She watched in wonder as I whirled like a Dervish ,”Tripped the Light Fandango” and did “Cartwheels across the floor”. At some point I fell down and found myself staring up at the ceiling. Her face appeared within my field of vision and she mouthed the words ‘Are you OK?”
I just grinned and started squirming about.
“Break Dancing “ was born that night.
“The crowd called out for more”
Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Picked up my Santa Claus Suit last night for the L.D. Bell High School Band Craft Fair on Saturday. I have been working on several dances to do. I got your standard 'Santa Claus Stomp" which is always a big hit. This year I am adding to my repetoire the "Sleigh Bell Shuffle", "Rooftop Rumba" and the Triple X rated "North Pole Dance".

I have a few others in mind but I would'nt want to hog them all.
This may be my Swan Song.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Standing by the water, staring at the stream,
Tell me, honey, are there any catfish in your dreams?
Catfish ain't expensive, and neither is it free,
Some folks crazy 'bout it. Others have to let it be.

You walk down to the bank and then you flash your bait.
You're looking for a catfish, child.
You ain't got long to wait.
No, you ain't got long to wait.

Catfish got whiskers and a sweet little grin,
But you can't never tell where a catfish has been.
Just call out my name and drop in your line.
I'll be your catfish, honey, any old time.

Cause I'm standin' by the water staring at the stream,
Tell me, honey, are there any catfish in your dreams?

Danny O'Keefe

Monday, November 27, 2006


Continued from "Ghosts in the Fire"

There are probably a hundred or so posts that are imbedded in the last three, but as Admiral Farrugut said "Damn the Torpedos, full speed ahead!"

So I don't know where Dad came up with a Canoe. Nor do I know where he came up with the "Rubber Band Trotline" either. Both made for a rollicking good time on a fall day in 1969.
Twice a year my mothers family would get together at Toledo Bend Lake. We would camp on an old road that now led to the lake in either direction. There was a dirt path wide enough for a car that you now used to get to the road.
Moms family was made up of Southern Baptists; and they were hardwired to the bone Baptists that did not believe in doing anything on a Sunday but go to Church. All cooking and shopping was done on Saturday. it was even against State law to buy anything on Sunday...called the "Blue Law".
So it was during the fall get together that Dad Bruce and I loaded the Canoe and set out for a point and an Island, a good mile away where my Dad would show us how to set up a Rubber Band trotline. Actually, there were to be three.
Let me now describe the Rubber Band Trotline for you. First, you must find and aquire 1/2 inch rubber band stock that comes in 100 foot lengths {available at most Army-Navy Stores}. Then you need about 100 feet of of Trotline with as many hooks as you can get on there.

(Annelisa, a trotline is a 1000lb. test strength length of Nylon Cord that hooks are attached to in intervals of 2-3 feet. Usually they are strung between two stumps in the water, baited and allowed to sit for a time before being checked and re-baited...'run' as the Old Timers say. Davy and I had 7 @ 50 hooks each out one year and took Catfish off of them till our hands bled)

Now double the rubber over to make fifty feet and attach to the trotline You now have 150 feet and you will need to find a stump appproximately that far from the bank. Tie the rubber band to the stump and take the trotline to the shore. There should be a little tension on the line. And you should be able to pull the trotline all the way in onto the shore and bait the hooks; the increased tension, provided by the rubber band pulls it back out towards the stump.
As my son says, "Ingenious". Of course, in Dads case we had three of these bad boys ready to deploy.
With my Father in the stern and Bruce stationed amidships, and myself in the bow with a quick "heave to" we glide from the safety of the firmament onto the glassy surface of Toledo Bend. My Mom and Bruces wife have arrived to see us off. The look of consternation on their face makes me wonder if "Edmond Fitzgerald" may be scrawled on the side of the Canoe.
'Steve, are you sure you don't need a Jacket?" shouts Doris, my Mom.
"I don't think so, I'll be awright"
Its 76 degrees. I glance to Dad who has managed a thin grin. I watch as his cigar rolls from one side of his mouth to the other and the grin never changes. How does he do it?
"Bruce, you boys be careful out there!" Jean is the love of Bruces life. She is wearing white Clam-Diggers, a flowered top and a crazy straw hat. Looks like a cross between Betty Boop and Minnie Pearl.
"Aw, Jean, I've been doing this all my life" says Bruce.
"You be careful just the same"
"Yes, Mother" Bruce whispers, giving me a quick grin. They have been married for years, have three kids, and his pet name for her is "Mother".

We arrive at our destination... midway between a small island and a point of land. We successfully tie off two of the rubberband trotlines. I am starting to get pretty excited, as is Bruce. My Dad was always coming up with pretty cool stuff and this was looking like a real winner.
Bruce is about 6'5" and weighs a good 300 lbs and so far has been pretty good ballast for the Canoe. But when Dad asked for a knife (he had misplaced his) and Bruce stood up in the middle of the Canoe, there was real concern in Dads voice as he said;
"Bruce, I don't think you should stand up in this canoe."
"I have been standing up in Canoes all my life, Jack!" is Bruces reply.
I, for one, was pretty certain that Bruce had never been in a Canoe at all and that we would all soon be very wet.
Sure enough, we rocked once to the left then once to the right... I glanced at Dad who had that Cigar clenched in his teeth and....the canoe turned over and I was rising to the surface.
Now I can see the sky and the bottom of the Canoe.
I can see Bruce break the surface and gasp for some air.
Then , very slowly, I see my Dad 's hat then his nose and then there is that Cigar. It's still clenched in his mouth and I see him give a few puffs and a little smoke and then a few more puffs and PRESTO its like magic...he has been fully submerged but that ubiquitous cigar is still lit!

We made it to shore....we lit a fire from Dads cigar... we stripped down to our underwear and hung our clothes to dry...we heard the rumblings of motors and cars on a gravel road that led right up to us. It was my Mother and Jean and Mom's Southern Baptist Family... they had gotten word and come to check on us. I am sure they would have stayed away had they known what we were wearing. The caravan of cars slowly parades by with those Baptist Bitter Beer faces gawking out the window.
Finally the car carrying Mom and Jean pulls up and stops. Jean climbs out of the car and hollers at Bruce "Just what do you think you are doing there Brucie Boy"
Bruce looks down at me and grins "Just tryin to get dry, Mother"
except for a pair of wet tighty-whiteys, he and I are bare-beamed and buck naked.
Jeans got her hands on her hips now and yells at Bruce "Don't you know you can't just take your clothes off any ol' where, light a fire and think you are going to get your clothes dry?"

Bruce looks down at me again and winks "Been doin' it all my life, Jean!"

Man, we did catch some fish that night.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


See also THE "GULLYWAMPUS" STRIKES AGAIN! from October, where I tell about Bruce, my Fathers best friend.

Dear Bruce;
In 1983 I decided that I needed to make a major lifestyle change. I stopped spending my hard earned money on smoke and drink and in an effort to get back to the way I was raised, began purchasing Fishing and Camping gear. I bought a $100 boat and trailer, a $800 dollar motor and put about $1000 worth of high Tech amenities on board.
So I started to do a lot of fishing and a little camping and as soon as you stop chasing women you will find one. I found Yvette and she was sweet and a Redhead and wanted for me to take her Camping. So I began to plan a Campout that would be held at the location of Toledo Bend Lake. Toledo Bend was where Dad and I had had our very best times and I was eager to go there; part of getting back to the way I was raised. There is a point and an Island that I have a lot in common with.
So Yvette and I set out for Toledo Bend and Patroon Bay.
We renamed it "Pat Boone Bay"

We went to that point and Island where there is the greatest little Primitive Campground in the world and I told her about the night that Dad, Bruce and I had caught a lot of fish on Rubber Band Trotlines from this very spot.

There was a group of 4 men that were camped down the way and they had High Dollar boats and huge coolers that from the sound of things after dark probably contained beer. One night they were being particularly raucous with a huge fire blazing so Yvette and I went down to investigate.
Yes, they had beer and they were old timers we pulled up a stump and were offered beers and we drank and listened to the storys the Greybeards had to tell. They talked of gigging frogs and Yvette asked if it hurt the frogs.
They and I laughed and told her “not a bit”.
They talked about the fish they had caught on the lake and the places they had caught them.
There is an old trestle bridge, underwater with a ghost that lives down there.
There is a place you can catch a lot of fish, but there is natural gas bubbling to the surface and on a calm day you don't dare light a smoke.
There are Catfish as big as Volkswagons and men in Asylums that have seen them.

Yvette listened in wide eyed amazment but I recognized these stories as 90% pure bullshit. One of them turned and looked at the Island that stood 100 yards off the point. He said that there was a time when there was no better fishing than right off this particular point.
He said, in fact that there had been a young boy who along with his Dad and another man had caught 180 Crappie, Bass and Catfish in one night off this point with a Rubber Band Trotline.

My gaze moved out of the fire to the speaker.
“When was that?” I asked.
“About 15 years ago” he says.

I look at the Island, I look at the point, and I look at the speaker. I look back into the fire and feel the short hairs standing up on my neck and the chill creeping down my arms. I poke the fire with a stick and watch the sparks shatter skyward and melt into the stars.

“That boy was me” I say "and we had three Rubber Band Trotlines"
“ Well then, youngster” he says “ Why don’t cha get us another one of those beers. “
I can't tell if he is looking at me like I''m full of BS, or if he might believe me.
I got us another beer and said nothing else about it.

Bruce, this is a true story.
I really did run into these four ol'timers that had made us into a legend!
I didn’t try to convince them that I was really the boy in their story because, well, they wouldnt have believed it! But there are times when I replay this in my mind before I fall asleep at night when I get the feeling they knew I was that boy before the story ever got told.
In case you don't remember Bruce, the last thing you told Dad was "I have been standing up in Canoes all my life Jack" right before we went over.

Love, Steve

(to be continued, where I will explain the workings of the "Rubber Band Trotline")

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I stood in the Elevator slackjawed and it became apparent that Shila and Yvette were the same person. I will never forget the look on her face or the sparkle in her eye when she said that "Shila" was 'around" and that she would "love to go out" with me. God, she must have been proud of herself.
My affections having been so dubiously declared we began our friendship and Courtship, which consisted of a few games of pool, a night of dancing and then me leaving on a two week vacation to live in a tent and fish all by myself.
I really wanted her to go with me. She really wanted to come. I drew her a map and told her it was only a 6 hour drive. There would be no elecrtricity or the convenience of modern plumbing.
She did not show.
But when I got home two weeks later, my mother said there were two girls that had been calling every day for 4 days to find out if I was back yet. It was Shila and her roomate June.
I went over there to find that all of my Horndog Kitchen buddies had spent the last two weeks with Shila and June. They had been havin'quitye a time. There were pictures of them by the pool, on the couch, in the kitchen, smokin' and drinkin' like it was 1999. It was 1983.
There was still plenty of time.
My buddies had been hornin' in on my little gold mine.
But I was back now and it was going to be "Happy Days at Hormone Hall".
They called me "The Chef of Love" and "Stevette". Even had a nametag for me.
This is the song I courted Shila with; of course its a throwback from the generation before mine and I love it! Sung by Guy Mitchell, it is big Band:

There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
And I walk up and down 'neath the clock(neath the clock)
(By the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
But I ain't got a thing left to hock

She was peaches, she was honey, and she cost me all my money
'cause a whirl 'round the town was her dream (was her dream)
Took her dancin', took her dinin' till her blue eyes were shinin'
With the sights that they never had seen (never seen)
If you should run into a golden-haired angel
And ask her tonight for a date
She'll tell you somewhere there's a rich millionaire
Who is calling again about eight

(There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
And I've just gotta get five or ten (five or ten)
(From the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Gotta be with my angel again

She was peaches, she was honey, and she cost me all my money'
cause a whirl 'round the town was her dream (was her dream)
(Took her dancin', took her dinin' till her blue eyes were shinin')
(With the sights that they never had seen)
If you should run into a golden-haired angel
And ask her tonight for a date
She'll tell you somewhere there's a rich millionaire
Who is calling again about eight

(There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
And I've just gotta get five or ten (five or ten)
(From the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Gotta be with my angel again
Gotta be with my angel again

Over the years, my thinking Shila to be one of a set of twins was the source of some very good humor.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I was riding up the freight elevator with a load of Cheese Mirrors for a Party. There were four, each about 2 feet by 5 feet and they weighed probably 150 pounds each. You transport them on what we call 'Queen Mary's" in the Hotel business.
On the elevator with me was a Banquet Bartender. She had fiery Red hair, very curly; and blue eyes with flecks of yellow in them that just sparkled. Her name tag said "Yvette' and she was one of a set of twins that worked at the Hotel. They had to be twins.
I had a thing for them both.
I had only ridden on the elevators with them before, and then only one at a time.
Yvette was the most outgoing of the two. She was always very chatty. Her sister was more demure, and seemed to be more like me, that is to say, kind of shy. Yes, I was at one time rather shy. Actually I still am if one can be loud and shy at the same time. Yvette's hair was not as curly and she had seemed to have fewer freckles too. They both had the prettiest smiles you ever saw. It was near impossible to tell them apart....
Either of them tended to light up the Freight Elevator whenever they entered it, or so it seemed to me.

Her sisters name was Shila.

As we rode up the elevator I decided the time had come to make my move, which back then for most guys consisted of remaineing as ambiguous and noncommittal as possible.
I opened with a question about her sister.
"So where is Shila tonight?"
'Oh, she's around. Why do you ask?."
"Well, I was thinkin of askin' her out. Is she spoken for? Do you think she'd go out with me?"
Yvettes eyes are sparkling overtime now. She has on the standard issue Black Skirt, White Blouse, Burgundy Vest and little Black Bowtie. All complimented very nicely by a pair of JC Penny's patent Leather Pumps.
Her eyes blazing, she gives me a wicked smile and reaches into her vest pocket, pulls out a name tag, removes the one that says "Yvette" and replaces it with one that says "Shila".
Oh, my God!
The Elevator is beggining to slow down and stop. Hell, from where I am standing it feels like it is starting to spin.
"Shila" sucks in a little breath, begins to push her Bar out the elevator and looks me in the eye, touches my wrist, her head is rockin' a little, like on a bias, and she flashes that absolutely wicked smile again and says:
"Oh yes, I'm sure Shila would love to go out with you", and gives me a little wink.
Time seemed to have stopped as I stood there, the Earth spinning under my feet with my mouth hanging open, totally slackjawed.
It took me a full minute to figure it all out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I get the call about this time every year. Its the Ex Mrs Bulletholes calling to find out what I want for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Of course she already knows.
It was my Mothers recipe’; Asparagus Casserole.
I have never made it but it calls for canned Asparagus, Cream of Mushroom Soup. Grated Cheese and Hard boiled Eggs. The Eggs and Cheese are “where its at”.

The Ex Mrs Bulletholes, Shila, makes it for me every year.
In the early years of our marriage I used to tell her I was the "luckiest guy in the world".
But life gets complicated, and we took on a mortgage, and had a couple kids and got into debt, and lost jobs and thingsd got tough.
During this time, when things didn't seem to be going so well for us, I told her that I must be the "most unlucky person in the World".
She pointed out to me that I had her, and a couple good kids, and a car that ran, and lots of friends and lots of thing to feel 'lucky" about.
But I still had trouble finding my gratitude.

The next week was my Birthday. She handed me a small box, tied with a little ribbon, and in such a kind gvoice, and a loving look said 'This is for you".
I opened Shila’s present to me.
It was a Rabbits Foot.
Thats how Shila is.
She is the most magnificent person I have ever known.

I have never made that Asparagus Casserole;
Even through the years that she and I did not get along well, I never went without it.
And it pains me to know I lost Shila.
I am lucky to know her.

Thank you, Shila, I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without you.
Happy Thanksgiving ,Everyone!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Ninth Grade MYF

We all sat up in the very front at the morning service and filled the first three rows in front of the pulpit. We were very earnest in our prayers and for the most part very well behaved.
On the morning in question, before church in my room I gave my Wild Animal calls a little inspection, and as a young boy will do, dreamed of calling in a Fox with my Fox call or a flock of Mallards with my Duck call. Mom called me to go and I absentmindedly stuck the Duck Call into my front pocket.
Sure enough I found it about 1/3 of the way into the Sermon and passed it down to my best friend Steve at the end of the isle for his appreciation. Having been duly appreciated, it was passed back to me where I discovered that I would have to stand up in order to put the device back into my pocket.

The previous week my best friend Steve and I had gone golfing together. My Dad dropped us off at the Golf Course. It was his first time but Steve was always a Natural. We got him a set of rented left hand Clubs. On the 11th hole, a Par 3, Steve hit a hole in one. We thought it was hilarious and were rolling on the ground at the Tee box clutching our sides in laughter. No one believed us. I still wake up at night thinking about it. Last time I saw Steve I said something to him about it and he claimed to have forgotten about it.

I discovered that I would have to stand up to get the Call back into my pocket.
I held the call in my hand and had no intention of using it.
Really, I ddin't.
About ½ way through the Sermon I felt the tickle in my throat. I brought my hand up to cover my mouth and (cough)


The echo bounced off the choir loft, rounded the foyer, shook the rafters and brought the Sermon to a dead stop.
The row in front of me turned around and all heads to my left and right turned to the center.
I looked at the end of the aisle where Steve is giving me the “Thumbs Up" and cracking up.
My friend Nancy sitting right beside me, pinches me on the leg and whispers angrily "Give me that thing RIGHT NOW!"
I look up to the Pulpit where the preacher, Brother Jimmy, is looking me right in the eye. His face at first is very stern , but begins to soften as he whispers into the microphone:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not know what that was but I can assure you it was not the Holy Spirit!"

Some of my best days were spent in that Church.

Monday, November 20, 2006



I went back to that Church yesterday.
The one from . And I was loaded for Bear. I had let them slide a few months back but today I was going to have a little conversation with them concerning Rosa Parks. I had a few other subjects as well.

It had been since May and they were all very glad to see me. I took this opportunity to tell them that they might should wait to hear what I had to say before they decided whether or not they were glad to see me.

I told them I had been looking real hard for a long time for this spiritual thing they claimed to have. That if God were truly willing to meet someone halfway He better step on up. And that every time I turned on the TV and saw Benny Hinn and that other guy that sweats like a pig, I felt personally offended and it offended my search and what’s more it offended their very own position.

Confrontational? Me? What are you talkin’ about?

As they looked a t me somewhat dumbfounded, one of them managed to say that there were times that they were offended by Brother Benny Hinn, they would give me that.

I was just about to launch into my next subject... Miss Rosa Parks and how they had offended not only myself and their own position, but the entire Civil Rights movement with their STUPIDITY THAT COULD ONLY BE A PRODUCT OF THEIR BIGOTRY and what I wanted to know was how did they feel about that...when in walked the newest member of their class...a Black lady named Angela. Not wishing to poison their well, I said nothing. It was the right thing to do.

After the class, they talked me into going to the service. I told them I didn’t understand a word of it, but I went any way.

This is where it gets good.

At the end of the service, the preacher said there had been a man that came to him the previous week. The man was trying to start a Church and had 30 members but nowhere to meet as they had outgrown the house they had been meeting in. the preacher had gone to the board of Trustee’s and right now, as he spoke, there were 30 Rwandan and Congolese Refugees meeting in room 115.

It occurred to me then that if there is a God he must be bigger than the Sunday School class. He has to be.

And if he is bigger than the Sunday School class, then He might be bigger than the Church.

If He is bigger than that Church, then maybe He is bigger than Christianity, bigger than Judaism, bigger than Islam.

He just has to be.

If he is bigger than all of that, then maybe everything is going to be alright.

Friday, November 17, 2006


A few months back I posted this regarding the Red Dirt Poetry girl and she was delighted... lets have another look, shall we?

Many years back I had a job that required me to be Manager on duty for a large hotel once a month. I had to wear a business suit and the suit I had made me look like Elvis Presley during his later years..
I headed for the local “Men’s Wearhouse” because I truly admired the commercials that featured George Zimmerer announcing with all confidence that “You’re going to like the way you look. I Guarantee it!”. I would place my faith in him.
After finding a suit that fell within my price range ($10 more than the Rock Bottom prison Release issue) a Double Breasted Slate Grey affair, measurements were made and it was sent to be altered. Mind you, my fashion statement is all about dressing down to the point of Sloth, but I do know what looks good. As they were shuttling my selection to the Tailor in back, I was told to take a look around for a tie.
The salesman certainly knew that I was a bit of a Huc-Huc- Huckleberry and offered this:
"A tie is an extension of you and a reflection of your personality.”
I thought this was a very strange thing to say, right up until I saw a tie that just screamed at me. It was a kind of psychedelic paisley thing that would contrast the Slate Grey Suit in a most tasteful way. Suddenly I understood what the Salesman meant.
And even my wife “liked the way I looked.”

I was never the most creative Chef in the world and had to rely on certain tricks to gain some inspiration. One of them that worked best for me was to come up with a name for a dish and then try to work the dish around it.
Beef Brigadoon.
Scotch Salmon Cream.
Deep in the Heart.
He-man Soup.
Recently I have made a friend, RDG and we have developed a little collaboration. She is into shoes and somehow we have begun to pair up shoes with meals. Kind of a “Meals on Heels “ thing. It started out to be a bit of a gas for me but she is REALLY INTO THESE SHOES and is able to provide a lot more inspiration than I ever would have thought possible coming from a shoe. She posts a shoe and I see a menu there. I pitch a Menu and she comes up with the shoe.
This little game seems to be leading to more and smarter dialog than you might expect.
I should also mention she and her son write some very nice poetry. Its coming up to a major food and shopping season so if you are short on inspiration, take a look at the RDG....its certainly got more flavor than picking out a tie!
There is only one problem I am having with this.
Every time I see a Women’s shoe these days I start makin’ like Pavlov’s Dog and drooling all over myself.
I need a bib over here!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


This is Lily, whom I have been madly in love with for five years.
when she crosses her eyes and sticks out her tongue I go wild.
I kissed her once, a long time ago, and she cried.
I'm thinking about breaking up with her.
When I told her that she laughed and said that was probably a good idea.
We are friends.


I always wondered if I were to do a "Personal" what it would be.
Now I know!
And ya'll thought I was through with this!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



I gather from yesterdays comments that its not just me....and even though my disappointment and confusion were hard to express ya’ll seemed to know what was on my mind. Of course I would not be the first to rant about religion and maybe that’s why I should just stick to the story and let you guys do the brainwork.

When Barbara came home from France she talked about her dream of having a get together with her Blog friends and wondered if they would be all that she envisioned in her mind and if they made as good of company live as they do on-line.
I’ll bet they are and do and here is why.
Bloggers are good listeners. I enjoy looking at the stories and the way they are told and making a comment as much as actually writing one of my own. And I know that the several folks I visit regular are the same way. Ya’ll heard me better than anyone did down at the Lonesome Dove Church of Historical Error and your comments explained better the follow up than my post did. I went to that Church looking to better understand a Spiritual realm that seems to be far away from my life and found my self uplifted, not by that Church, but by the affinity evidenced in the comments while trying to rant about that Church. I kept going for a few more months before losing interest entirely. I may go check on them this weekend, just for the hell of it.
He works in mysterious ways...
I have friends that would probably blame the whole thing on me!

So here’s what Stephen King says that I like a lot:
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish them, words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when brought out. But its more than that, isn’t it?
The most important things lie too close to where you’re secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly, with a lump in your throat so big you can barely say it, only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you have said at all or even why you said it. That’s the worst I think, when the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for lack of an understanding ear.”

Barbara, I think we would have us a time. It would be a Wang-Dang-Doodle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006



It's the middle of the night
Near the Indiana line
I'm pulling in a Christian station
The signal's crystal clear
But I cannot really hear
What he says about the Revelation
I am wretched, I am tired
But the preacher is on fire
And I wish I could believe

Whoever watches over all these truckers
Show a little mercy for a weary sinner
And deliver me - Lord, deliver me
Deliver me to the next best western

Did he who made the lamb
Put the tremble in the hand
That reaches out to take my quarter
I look him in the eye
But there isn't any time
Just time enough to pass the tender
The highway takes its toll
The green light flashes go
And it's welcome to Ohio

Whoever watches over all these truckers
Show a little mercy for a weary sinner
And deliver me - Lord, deliver me
Deliver me to the next best western

At four a.m. on 80 East
It's in the nature of the beast
To wonder if there's something missing
I am wretched, I am tired
But the preacher is on fire
And I wish I could believe

Whoever watches over all these truckers
Show a little mercy for a weary sinner
And deliver me - Lord, deliver me
Deliver me to the next best western

Richard Shindell

'Ol lady comes closer to capturing the feel than I could.
I liked her from the very first post of hers I read.

Once again I have managed to light the fuse but now cannot find the words or direction I want to move. I wish I could tell you that I gave a little History lesson that day. I wish I could tell you that I went the next week with a whole syllabus prepared including a Certification Exam.
I was too surprised, no, shocked...I did'nt see that comin'. No way.
I decided to let it slide.

A few weeks later I had to let something else slide. It was the referendum on what constituted a family and what the rights of the same sexers, ought or ought not be. These people are completely inflexible and cannot imagine a point of view other that the one passed down to them for generations.
I think that they really thought I would vote NO to increasing Liberty for all Americans. The air was thick with the implication.
The only truly original ideas seem to be centered around the numerology of years as money multipliers, protecting their spiritual monopoly and getting Zapped onstage. Damn original.
"I could just about spit".

All of this seems to belittle my own search.
If I say the magic words, the search is over.
And that is what really offends me.

I know one thing... I am not very good at "RANTING".
And they weren't too good at listening.
Barb, you are next.

Monday, November 13, 2006


The Sunday School class was studying Ecclesiastes. I was the newcomer. Even so I had seniority. I had grown up in this Church, been 'Saved" in this Church, had the best times and best friends through the 8th, 9th, and 10th grades in this Church.
I was not in attendance in the 11th Grade... my interests had (ahem) taken a new direction.
But when it came time to get married, I got married in this Church.
Fast Forward 20 years;
""All is Vanity" saith the Preacher."
When a stranger had invited me to attend, I accepted. I wondered if any of my old friends from 35 years ago still went there.
There was one, 'ol Norman . He had Salt and Pepper hair even as a Teenager, though he is all grey now. I recognized him right away, but he could not quite place me.
He said there were not any left from those days as best as he could recollect. He said that 'some were called to go some where else and others had, well, just left".
There may have been a time when I spoke that language, but its been a long time.
I said "I suppose they are gone, just the same".
I like Norman.

Fast forward a few weeks to the weekend after Rosa Parks had died back in 2005. The Sunday School class has only 5 members and at the start they always have the prayer request thing that I never seem to have anything to pray about. I thought that it might be appropriate to give a little thanks for having someone like Miss Parks in the world, and said so.
I sensed that this was not well received. The leader asked why this was on my heart.
I thought this was a rather strange question given the setting, but offered that I thought she was a great lady, worthy of honor and respect for a courageous act in a dangerous time for a noble cause.
I was much surprised to be informed that the whole incident had been planned and staged, that she was NEVER in any danger. At all. Wow.
The class of five all seemed to agree Rosa wasnt so special, but being good Christians, they added her name to make me happy.

I "GOOGLED " it up the next day. It was buried about 100 hits deep that Rosa's was nothing more than a PR stunt, and had about as much credence as the staged Lunar landing, Elvis still being alive and no Jews being killed in Nazi Germany.

As my mother would say "I could just about spit".
After writing this, I seem to have lost my desire to rant.

(to be continued)


Just in from the much touted Band of America Grand National Competition;
L.D. Bell placed Second...
The record for the Years 5 Competitions:
First, Second, First, Second, Second.
Pretty solid. The kids are happy, but a little disapointed.

Slideshow with Aubree' appearing in frame 13 as they announce 2nd place winner.
The glee is all over her.

My girl has more medals than P.Diddy....
No Band has ever done what Bell did this year....placing second at both UIL State and BOA is a singular accomplishment! I broke into tears telling my Manager about it this morning.

From BOA Website:
L.D. Bell placed first in preliminary competition at both the Bands of America Grand National Championship and the UIL State Marching Contest.
The L.D. Bell Band placed second in finals competitions at both the Bands of America Grand National Championship and the UIL State Marching Contest.

BOA Grand National Championship
96.75 Broken Arrow Sr. H.S., OK
96.35 L.D. Bell H.S., TX
95.00 Kennesaw Mountain H.S., GA
94.15 The Woodlands H.S., TX
93.30 Tarpon Springs H.S., FL
93.20 Lawrence Central H.S., IN
92.60 Avon H.S., IN
91.90 Carmel H.S., IN
90.90 Plymouth-Canton Ed. Park, MI
90.80 Winston Churchill H.S., TX
90.60 Marian Catholic H.S., IL
89.35 James Bowie H.S., TX

2006 SMC Results
Marcus HS
L.D. Bell HS
Duncanville HS
Churchill HS
Reagan HS
Langham Creek HS
Coppell HS
Bowie HS
Berkner HS
Akins HS

After placing first in preliminary competition at the UIL 5A State Marching Contest, the L.D. Bell Band finished in finals competition as the 2006 State Silver Medalist. Since 2000, the L.D. Bell Band has medaled 4 of 4 times at the State Marching Contest placing Gold and Silver only (2000 State Champion, 2002 Silver Medalist, 2004 State Champion, and 2006 Silver Medalist). Congratulations and welcome to Marcus HS as only the 6th school to be honored as a UIL 5A SMC State Champion (Bell, Crockett, Duncanville, Spring, and Westfield).

The Blue Raider Band was named the 2006 Bands of America San Antonio Super Regional Champion, in addition to being the 2006 BOA Arlington Regional Champion.

BOA SA Super Regional
95.80 - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
94.95 - The Woodlands H.S., TX
94.70 - Marcus H.S., TX
93.70 - Ronald Reagan H.S., TX
90.80 - Haltom H.S., TX
90.50 - Richland H.S., TX
90.05 - Winston Churchill H.S., TX
89.55 - Cedar Park H.S., TX
89.30 - Hebron H.S., TX
88.75 - Westlake H.S., TX
88.25 - Clear Brook H.S., TX
87.70 - Westfield H.S., TX

BOA Arlington Regional
82.60 - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
81.00 - Stephen F. Austin H.S., TX
80.25 - Marcus H.S., TX
79.40 - James Bowie H.S., TX
77.50 - The Woodlands H.S., TX
73.70 - Haltom H.S., TX
72.95 - Hebron H.S., TX
70.50 - 8th - Richland H.S., TX
70.50 - 9th - Coppell H.S., TX
70.25 - Mansfield H.S., TX

The Blue Raider Band continues to defy convention by documenting singularly successful student achievement in both the competitive venues of the University Interscholastic League and Bands of America. Since 2000, the band has medaled at BOA events 14 times and 4 of 4 times at the UIL State Marching Contest. Since 1999 the band has placed in the top 5 at every contest attended. Congratulations to L.D. Bell Band members and supporters, past and present.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I have found two callings that I was unaware of. I am the best little "Pan-handler" you have ever seen and the Jol-Jol-Jolliest Santa Claus ever.
The band marched 8 miles through the Community last month and you just would not believe what a time I had. The parents carried buckets for donations as the people came out of their homes to see the band play and march by. I am not too proud to beg, in fact, it may be my strongest suit....before leaving the Parking Lot at the Starting line I had collected $65 from the parents themselves!
Then as the band moved along I noticed that a lot of peple were coming out a minute or two after the Band passed by. I knew that these people wanted the opportunity to give as well so I hung back to accomodate them.
To the tune of about $250 in the first mile!
This was money that would have otherwise been passed by!

There was one problem...the band was now so far ahead of me that I could no longer even hear them. I had been running like crazy from side to side of the street and trying to run to catch up but since quitting smoking last year I am up about 40 pounds up and am not as fleet of foot as I once was.

A lady dropped a five in my bucket and asked if I needed water.
I was soaked with sweat and breathing quite heavily.
Nodding my head,"Yes, please".
As I darnk her water, with much gusto, she looked at my poor, fat and battered body and asked "Do you need a ride back to the band"?
Nodding vigorously now 'YES, PLEASE!"
She returned me to the March-a-Thon and I was proclaimed a hero- no one else had collected such a sum.
I swore I could not hang back like that again and risk exhaustion, but no one else seemed willing so.... I hung back again, running like crazy from side to side. I couldn't help it, thats where the money was.

Then I ran into the Crazy Cat Lady
I could barely hear the band when I saw her.... and I knew what she was right away... she was a "Crazy Cat Lady" that you read and hear about. She had a cat sweater and cat socks and cat shooes and cat pants and I think she had a tail but it was hard to tell because she had about 15 cats swarming around her. She was cradling in her arms what had to be the Worlds Biggest Cat.
She was standing at the end of her driveway and I asked (without breaking stride)
"Would you like to give to the Band?"
She looked at me through her cat glasses and says
"I have no money"
'Ok, have a great day"
I was walking as briskly as possible hoping to get past and well beyond the crazy cat lady
when I hear her say"Sir?"
I am far enough past her now that I have to stop and turn around.
"Yes, ma'am?" Says I.
"You can have my cat" Says she, and extends this monstrous cat towards me.
I think it was dead....
I ran for my life!

Soon will be the Craft Fair where for five dollars you can get your picture done sitting in Santas lap...unless you are his daughter, in which case its free!
Now, can someone please tell me how to rotate this photo 90 degrees?

Thursday, November 09, 2006



At UIL State Championship we again met a Band that I have watched all year and predicted they would be the ones to beat at some point. That proved true Tuesday evening at the Alamodome, where Marcus High Scholl struck gold with one of the finest (and cutest) shows you will ever see. The above link will take you to my rather bizarre description of this show from 3 weeks ago.
It is apparent my admiration for all those connected with the shows and I want you all to know what a great bunch of parents they have over at Marcus. The props I have described before, (the Crab Claws, Seahorses and Starfish) are made by the parents and from what I understand each had its own personality given by its builder(s).
The part of the show I did not describe was the opening of huge clamshells that revealed members of the Color Guard inside, presenting for the Audience, huge pearls.
This may sound very much like a gimmick, but it is done with exquisite taste.
a part of the show I had not noticed before was the Band formations of Fish Waves and even a Huge Octopus formed in the center of the field. I know the kids are fired up about this show.
Shows like this, and lD Bell's, generally fare best in the BOA Competition, where there is a category for 'General Effect".
To the credit of Marcus, the UIL competition is judged on Musicianship and Technical marching criteria, so the cuteness of the show did not figure in. The second place band from BOA Saturday, The Woodlands, did not advance to finals on Tuesday.
Marcus placed 3rd Saturday in BOA. it is very difficult to do well in both Competitions.
I have since learned that this is Marcus second trip to state Competition which makes them very strong newcomers. This speaks very well for their Designer, Directors and District. They have obviously dedicated themselves to a very worthwhile endeavor.
But back to the Marcus Parents.... they all wore seashell/seahorse necklaces and many sported Crab Claw Antenna from thier heads!!!
And ya'll think I am nuts!
I love 'em!
It was great!

Before I forget... I must mention that while Marcus placed first,

....quite a week end...
and as I write this LD Bell arrives in Indianapolis for
120 other bands will be there from around the Country.
I will not be surprised to Place first there... not one little bit!

you must try to get to defintly have the stuff!!!

I do intend to write more about Bands even though the Season is almost over... there are a number of posts I just did not have time to do. I am also hoping for some comments from Marcus as I have given this blog address to one of the parents.
Gutsy move, I know!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


LD Bell won first Place at Super Regionals (5 state Area) and received commendation for outstanding Visual Effect.
I have seen 28 routines and get to go back to San Antonio for UIL State competition on Tuesday...I have Marching Band coming out of my ears... my dishmachine was playing the "Grand Boogie March" this morning.
(to be contiued) 11/5
Ten years ago my ex-wife and I went to Counseling and after a few sessions that poor Doctor told us that we should have been in a few years ago. We were DOA.
As the doctor handed me my hat she says;
"Steve, would you consider life to be a journey or a destination?"
Back then, for me, it was so much a destination that I did'nt even understand the question.
I understand it very well now.
Every kid that took part in a Band program this year won. It just may be that the lessons learned and values obtained will produce the greatest fruit in those who had to go home early.
The vine that feels the blade, bears the fruit.
Its not the medal, its the mettle.
The doing is the thing.
Of course there is nothing wrong with being SUPER REGIONAL CHAMPIONS !!!

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. - Lao Tzu
(to be continued)11/6

Friday, November 03, 2006

NOVEMBER (a slight reprise)

Continued from and inspired by November.
Thanks Greg Brown, you have done what poets do.

Grosse Point Park, Michigan; 3 miles north of Detroit; 3 miles north of the Maritime Sailors Cathedral
Louis Agnon was my best friend and lived 5 houses up on the corner of Essex and Trombley. In November of 1963 we were both 6 and in Mrs. Sherman’s (the German, we liked to say) First Grade class.
Every house in the neighborhood had a basement except for mine. Louis’ house was special as well in that he had a detached garage and even the garage had a basement. We were not allowed down there and there were locks on the doors to keep people out and the windows were soaped to keep anyone from peering in.
There was an Acorn tree, tall and slender, in my backyard and this is where Louis and I spent most of our time. We could get so far up, up in the tippy-top and we could make that tree sway back and forth creating a swath that could easily measure 15 feet. It was like riding a 50 foot high teeter-totter with him on one side of the “trunk’ now tapered to only 3 inches and I on the other.
From our perch we could see out over the rooftops and a block away to Lake St. Clair where the big ore boats took their loads to the Steel mills. They had come from Lake Superior and were relatively safe now having put some distance between themselves and “the big lake they call Gitchee-Goomie”.
From our perch we would discuss what could possibly be in the mysterious basement of his Garage. It could’nt be good, that much we knew.
Maybe it was flooded and filled with old tires, reptiles and detritus of all kinds.
Maybe the was a cache of stolen money, bags of gold coins and bundled bills.
Maybe his father knew some tough guys that used it to “squeeze” people like James Cagney did in the movies.
Probably there was some mutant monster, a terrible creature that had gone long unfed, waiting, waiting, waiting...

The ‘Summer of Love” was still 5 years away, Rob and Laura Petrie were still safe in separate beds, and Louis and I knew nothing of the mechanics of Sex ... but we did know that there was definitely SOMETHING there. We would talk about all the girls in our class and which ones were kissable and how we would go about getting them alone to do just that.
It was Lori Sundburg that emerged as the 1st Grade equivalent of Marilyn Monroe.

September turned to October and October to November. We were forced to abandon our trees for the shelter of my room to watch T.V.
“Maverick” and “The Man from UNCLE” and "Wild Wild West"... we used to view the best while we played Mousetrap.

Then one day in the most somber of months the news broke like a lightning flash.
“The Winds of November came Slashin'...
...the Witch of November came Stealin'"
And the Steel guitar in Gordon Lightfoot's Song about the Edmund Fitzgerald along with his haunting lyrics describes the month, the day and the gloom that fell over the country.
The President was dead.
He and that ship had a lot in common.
The T.V. man said "Assassinated".

Of course Louis and I had much discussion over this event and when they caught the guy we were delighted to imagine what to do with him.
Hangin’ from a Sour Apple Tree was too good for this guy.
Stabbing with a thousand little knives was too quickly done.
Chained to a bag of concrete and dumped into Lake St. Clair offered no real appreciable trauma.
First Runner up in our choices was to lock him up into the aforementioned basement to be chewed up by whatever the hell was down there.

But the worst thing we could imagine, Louis and I, was to have the slimeball’s wiener cut off.
We had no idea why but we knew he would miss that the most.