At the dead-end is where the fish start. The drive, in and of itself, is a mental detox.
It starts on a smooth, asphalt State road that make the tires sing a steady hum. A few miles later it becomes a seal coated Farm to Market road where the tires rumble a deep bass song at 55 miles per hour.
Four more miles and it changes to an oil top County Road. The potholes sound a boom each time a tire drops in at 35 mph. Three miles farther is a ninety degree turn and the oil top turns to gravel. At 20 to 25 mph, the tires grind gravel and sound like wheat being pulverized into flour.
At each road change, travel slows a little while the steering wheel more aggressively shakes in unison as the tires ripple over a washboard section. Continue reading Chartreuse Peace
It was refreshing! Every year the local Christmas parade across the old brick streets of the oldest town in Texas starts the same…a police car with lights on twirling red, white and blue flashes followed by men and women who have served in the military carrying the colors.
Maybe it’s the way people are addressing the flag right now in the U.S., or maybe it’s just as simple as a sign of respect, but something simple happened the other night that made me smile.
Everyone stood. Continue reading Stand in Respect
Sometimes it’s best to hold firm and decline a gift of disproportionate value and, in fact, it’s down right selfish to accept it. At first, I thought this was one of those times, so I thanked the man I knew from work and politely declined.
“I can’t accept this. This needs to go to your kids and passed on in your family!”
He squared his shoulders and looked me straight in the eye, “Yes, you normally do, but in this case, I want YOU to have it.”
He was holding a small maroon pin which he was awarded for serving in the Army. He explained the pin’s significance which represented where he fought and served. The pin’s actual value is minimal, but the sentimental, sacrifice and emotional value is priceless!
Again, I told him I just couldn’t accept it.
“You don’t understand”, he said, “You have to take it!” Continue reading Thank You Isn’t Enough
It’ll be dark in an hour. I jump in the pickup and start driving aimlessly in the country. After a sweltering hot day, it’s cool. With both windows rolled down, it feels like heaven on earth air conditioning.
Smells of a freshly cut grass, honey suckle patches on fence rows and the scent of distant rain clouds permeate the air. Red dust flies up behind the truck. It envelops the branches of the trees looking like a Picasso painting in the rearview mirror.
A little further down a pickup pulling a trailer is in a field being loaded with hay bales from last week’s cutting. Just past that is a house where a boy rides his bike in a big circle over and over. He finally gathers his courage to take another shot to go airborne off the ramp he made from two 5-gallon buckets and a stiff piece of plywood.
It’s the South. It’s the country. It’s rural living. It’s a culture where most folks like a slower pace of life, and not being crowded in at the gills by neighbors. Continue reading Dirt Road Drive
Carl, the cat, did again.
A mama sparrow built a nest in the most unlikely place, in a flower arrangement hanging on our front door. We didn’t even know a nest was there until I was going in the front door and the mama sparrow flew right at my face. That’ll make your ticker skip a beat!
I watched it several days and when the eggs hatched, she had a half a dozen naked chicks. A few nights later, two of the grandkids spent the night with us and saw the now lightly feathered baby birds in the nest by porch light.
Carl, our big, orange, worthless cat must have been watching Mama fly back and forth. Or maybe he heard the chicks chirping, or figured out from the grandkid’s interest that there was something in that flower arrangement on the front door.
Regardless, the next morning my wife, Janet, heard the Mama sparrow feverishly chirping over and over. She opened the front door with one of the grandsons in tow and the flowers were all on the porch by Carl. All that was left of the baby birds was a little pile of bird feet and feathers while Carl scarfed down the last baby bird innards! The grandson was horrified!! Continue reading Carl, The Killer
Some of the best characters are real live people….and so it was at lunch time. While eating lunch in a grocery store “deli”, an old gentleman was sitting at a table staring down the aisles. He looked tired, but content.
We exchanged head nods when I sat at the table near him, which in body language means, “I see you. I acknowledge you. I’m going sit here, but we won’t talk and ruin this quiet.”
Two minutes later, a heavy set man in his late 50’s walked by and spoke to the elderly gentleman who he obviously knew.
“Hey! You gettin’ yourself a lunch here?”
The old man responded, “No. My wife’s shopping so I’m waiting.”
“Well”, the big man said, “I’s gonna get me a lunch, but the line’s long right now. I’m not real hungry anyway. I microwaved a chicken pot pie for breakfast. You’re lookin’ like you’re feelin’ better”. Continue reading Fish Story
The man sat on the bench in front of the Wal-Mart checkout lanes. I thought he was waiting on someone, but he wasn’t. He was just sitting and watching for a minute.
He was obviously a working man, about 65ish, and had a day-old shave. He was a bit chubby, but not flat out fat. He had draped a couple of plastic bags of items he just bought over his blue jeans. He wore work cowboy boots and a free blood donation T-shirt.
His face was confident, like he knew he could pretty much handle anything that happened on the outside. His eyes, however, looked like his heart had been, or maybe still was, wounded. His eyes looked like muddy, shallow puddles instead of a deep, free flowing fresh water wells.
He got up and started for the exit limping with a distinct, weathered limp. Who knows why, but I suspect his limp was from a rugged injury such as a car accident, oilfield work injury, or getting his leg pinned against a chute while dealing with cows. Continue reading Help Wanted
I posted Little Bitty Gator several days ago and, as crazy as it sounds, it’s an absolutely true post! A blogging friend, Judy at (theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com) suggested a fictional follow-up story from the alligator’s point of view! Thanks Judy! This post is fictional…just in case you wonder… Here goes:
Weird things happened to Buck. He’s an 8 foot long, adult alligator that lives on the Texas Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.
When he first popped out of the egg, Papa Gator immediately noticed his teeth were all messed up. All the other hatchlings had nice, straight teeth. In a fit of anger he told Mama Gator, “That buck toothed, crooked smile, cross-eyed thing can’t be my son!” Papa called him Buck from then on.
Papa and Mama Gator had it out more than once over Buck! Papa Gator accused her of going several miles over and visiting one of the Louisiana riff raff gators when Papa and some of his buddies were on vacation one week trolling for house cats in golf course ponds. Continue reading Little Bitty Human
He’s says it was on his bucket list, but most people don’t have jumping on the back a wild alligator in water over their head on their bucket list. Yet, he did.
Two of my sons, Blake, who was 24 at the time, and Todd, who was 21, were night fishing in a Gulf Coast bayou. They noticed the red glare of eyes near their 15 foot flat bottom boat. The fish weren’t biting, so they started trolling up to and around the glaring eyes that belonged to different sizes of alligators.
Todd, we call him Einstein for short, decided he needed to bare handed catch and release an alligator, but not a ten foot or bigger one, because that would be foolish, right? And not a four foot or smaller one, because that would be too easy. Uh huh, yeah. Continue reading Little Bitty Gator
The natives were restless. It was the fifth day of no power after a hurricane knocked out power lines throughout East Texas. It would be several days longer before electricity was restored. The only power came from a generator that ran a freezer, fridge and a couple of fans, nothing else.
The boys were getting a war-torn look in their eyes. They were bored.
One of life’s formulas is: Bored teenage boys = dangerous ideas divided by stupid actions. It’s just a fact of life.
They boys played all the games they knew, even invented new ones, but it was Jared, who was 16 at the time, was the first to cross the “throw down and fight line”. He ambushed his three brothers from behind with an air soft gun. Continue reading Brotherly Love Through Air Soft