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.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A more somber month there could not be... we are on the downhill slide. Gordon Lightfoot captures the feel of this month very well with a quite popular song from years ago that is very well known...
A lesser known song from a much lesser known artist is one of my favorites... it takes me back to a day when I was 6.
A cello and slide guitar create a hollow whining windy sound... This is by Greg Brown and the song is


Money comes out of Dad's billfold.
Hankies come out of Mom's purse.
The engine hardly makes a sound
even when you put it in reverse.
It's got a push-button transmission,
hardtop convertible, 4-door.
It's November of 1963
and the brand new Dodge is a '64.
Brand new Dodge.

And we're rolling slow down Main Street -
the asphalt and gravel crunch.
Church is finally over
and we're going to have our Sunday lunch.
And then I will play football
with my buddies down in park.
Later I'll dream about my girlfriend
as I lie alone in the dark.
As I lie alone.

She's got short red hair and blue eyes
and her swimsuit's also blue
and her little brother is retarded,
but Jesus loves him, too.
And Jesus loves our president,
even though he is a Catholic.
There's a lot for a boy to think about
as he walks along the railroad tracks.
As he walks along.

And my sister won't get carsick
'cause we're going only half a mile
and the car still has that new car smell
and dad looks like he might smile
and the world is big and full of Autumn
and I'm hungry as can be
and we're in our brand new '64 Dodge
November of '63

Greg Brown has a voice like an asphalt truck on a gravel road.
The deep softness of it sounds like a Bear is speaking to you from inside a cave.
When he whispers the last line of this song the temperature of the room drops 10 degrees and the goosepimples fire right up.
He is an Iowa boy and the son of a Preacher.
This is from "The Poet Game" and I believe it won an Grammy.
He is an Artist's Artist.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Blogger #1- “ So whats the deal with ‘Bulletholes in the Mailbox”
Blogger # 2- “Oh, just some dude goin’ on and on and on and on about his daughter.”
Long pause....
Blogger # 3 “Well, I’ve heard worse shit”

So, where were we. Oh, yes ....3 Competitions and 3000 miles in 8 is the schedule :
Academic Finals Tests for the Trimester Thursday and Friday.
Saturday, 11/4 6:00 a.m. Depart for San Antonio, prelim performance @ 3:15; should we advance to the final 10, the show starts @ 7:00, order determined by draw. Depart from San Antonio @ 12:00 Midnite, home @ 6:00 a.m. Sunday

A huge break... no school Monday, but the Students load up the busses @ 4:00 p.m. and return to San antonio for

We qualified for this by placing second in Area Competition on October 28
Monday 11/6 4;00 p.m. Return to San Antonio, check into hotel
Prelims Tuesday a.m. and Finals, should we advance, begin at 7:00p.m.
Depart from San Antonio, home @ 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday

If that was not enough, the students must attend classes after riding the bus all night and then...get this...
The field is pared down from 120 to 24, then from 24 to 12.
When we make it to the Finals on Saturday its a crapshoot... every Band in Finals is capable and worthy of taking one of the top 5 spots. Last year we placed Third.

If there is a purpose for this other than as a record of this year for my Daughter and the pleasre of having written it, it would be directed to anyone out there reading this that is responsible for hiring of new employees.... my daughters band is not the only one that is participating in a workload I have described and any member of any band is going to have to demonstrate the Qualities and Attributes I have so poorly attempted to describe to you during these several posts. When a former band Participant comes to you hat in hand I would give them the highest recommendation one can, sight unseen.
Also, for any parent whose child may be so inclined, as wholesome as it is for the child