Friday, March 30, 2007


Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,

Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please.


Damn, he was good...

There is a Blog that makes me think...
The first blog I ever looked at came while googling "Stranger in a Strange Land". It was called "Everyday stranger" and very well written with MANY comments every day. But over time the good writing wore me out I guess and though I had resisted the urge to roam from there, in the little roaming I did I stumbled on to Grizzbabe. Something about her written word speaks to me. She reminds me of Erma Bmbeck, some of her posts do, but I just got the feeling that she was a bit of a friend. maybe it was her easy manner, or ladylike fear of her attic and all things mechanical and her 1000 Baking Recipes...I don't know and it doesn't exactly matter.
We like who we like.
Anyway, all of ya'll that I have become aquainted with over the last 7 months are directly related to Miss Grizz...and like the Grizz, you seem as a friend to me. It is because of this feeling, either real imagined, that I have come to know ya'll as friends.
With the exception of my nephew Dave and our neighborhhood Quack, Rod.

All of ya'll make me think.
I think a lot about cha'.
I started this blog to try to improve writing and typing skills of which i had none. i have advanced from the Two Finger Seek Attack Desroy (T/F SAD) to a very jazzy freestyle "Head Hands and Feet" Keyboard Massacre.
I would like to thank all of you (ya'll) for bearing with me and giving me good reasons to continue this exercise, even to the point it is no longer an excercise but a staple, and beg your communal pardon for some of the things I have written. There is nothing that makes me think any harder than trying to decide what to type about today, and how to say it to you.

Your effect on me has been very positive


A great bit of energy has been spent this year prodding the Water Baby into taking care of her Application, Testing, Essays and various and sundry paperwork that she must have turned in for acceptance into College this fall. She definitely has the procrastination Gene. Everything was done with much Angst and Drama at the very last Nanosecond.

I had actually decided that she was deliberately sabotaging herself because deep inside, she did not want to go to College. That's my way of freakin' out, I guess. My mind, chasm that it is, plays tricks on me.
Her Momma, for whom the Heavens and Earth must move at all times, has been her usual intense self... she is an Atomic Alarm Clock. For the last week, I have been reminded to check the Mailbox over & over & over again. Its worse than the Milk. For Babe's entire life, the letter we were waiting for loomed large, especially for her Mom.
Thank God for Mom's!!!
The babe and I stopped at the Mailbox in the pouring rain yesterday. She waited in the car and I opened the Box and there was the big white folder with Texas A&M @ Galveston in Maroon on it. I waved it at the car.
Glee and giggles comes bubbling out of the car and into the deluge...I do a little dance with it held high over my head. She clutches the packet close to her breast, closes her eyes, makes a wish and opens it.

I guess I was supposed to bring the letter of acceptance with me to do this post...I didn't. It says something like "Water Baby, You are the Bomb, Come on Down!" only they used a lot more words and sounded very impressive. I almost took a knee.

She is very excitable, this girl and she whirls around and shouts to the Heavens

and she turns and hugs me like she hasn't since she was just a little girl.

After a time, I whisper in her ear "I am so glad for you, sweetie" and she looks me into the eye.... and I just busted out cryin'.

"Whats wrong Daddy?"

"I don't want you to go. Don't go."

Well, that didn't go over real well, but I guess I looked sweet, bawlin' in the rain.

She has been so worried about a lot of things, and I have tried to tell her that if today was not her best day, then tomorrow brings another chance. Don't sweat the losses, let 'em go. We are all bound to miss a time or two.

The future rides on tomorrow, and today is so soon past.

The Future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created-created first in the Mind and will- created next in activity.
The Future is not someplace we are going to, but one we are creating.

The paths are not to be found but made, and the activity of of making them changes both the maker and the future.

I'll miss all that glee that pours off of her.
Like water from a vine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I have left several links towards a man named Townes Van Zandt, a Singer/Songwriter from Texas. He is the type of Artist that I admire most. Sadly, he died on January 1st, 1997, the anniversary of Hank Williams death.
His story is interesting enough...the son of a prominent family with ancestors in the Texas Revolution; its said he has MENSA Intelligence. Enrolled in College and seeemingly destined for Politics and the Governorship, he dropped out, influenced heavily by the troubadour songwriters of the 60's.
His life was also influenced by Manic Depression , which he had been diagnosed with and treated for with Insulin Shock Therapy. The treatment erased and affected his long term memory. He was quiet and shy, an almost apologetic performer, and an Alchoholic.
Roots music and Americana are becoming more in vogue recently, and he stands as a major influence on the Singers/Songwriters of the day.
I have the honor of having served him Supper a few times when I was a Chef, though I had no idea who he was other than the son of a member of the Country Club.
He is mostly known for very sad and melancholy songs, but his simple views and unique perspectives I find quite beautiful.

(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria

Well, the diamonds fades quickly when matched to the face of Maria
All the harps they sound empty when she lifts her lips to the sky
the brown of her skin makes her hair seem a soft golden rainfall
that spills from the mountains to the bottomless depths of her eyes

Well, she stands all around me her hands slowly sifting the sunshine
all the laughter that lingers down deep 'neath her smilin' is free
Well, it spins and it twirls like a hummingbird lost in the morning
and caresses the south wind and silently sails to the sea

Ah, the sculpter stands stricken and the artist he throws away his brushes
when her image comes dancin' the sun she turns sullen with shame
And the birds they go silent the wind stops his sad mournful singing
when the trees of the forest start gently to whisper'in her name

So as softly she wanders I'll desperately follow her footsteps
and I'll chase after shadows that offer a trace of her sight
Ah, they promise eternally that she lays hidden within them
but I find they've decieved me and sadly I bid them goodbye

So the serpent slides softly away with these moments of laughter
and the the old washy woman has finish her cleanin' and gone
but the bamboo hangs heavy in the bondage of quicksilver daydreams
and a lonely child longingly looks for a place to belong

Yes, I know it was a long one, but why not have two for the same price?

Brother Flower
Brother Flower, are you listenin'?
Let me sing a song for you
Brother Flower, petals glistenin',
in the bashful mornings
Brother Flower, when the sun shines
and the dew has flown away
if you don't mind weak and wrong rhymes
Brother Flower, may I stay?

BrotherFlower, you ain't lonely
for you've always been alone
but I haven't been so lucky
I had love and now it's gone
I have arms to hold another
never to hold her again
I have life to give a lover
You have life to give the wind

Brother Flower, when the snow flies
and you lay your beauty down
Brother Flower, are you sleepin'
there upon the cold, cold ground
Brother Flower, please awaken
show the sky your face of blue
let me know I ain't forsaken
seems like all I have is you


"the pleasantist thing in angling
is to see the fish on golden oar
shoot through the silver stream
and greedily devour the treacherous bait"

william shakespeare

I've got those Spring Fishin blues....

I think the Bard had done a little fishing himself ...he pretty well summed it up for us.

I tried to teach my good friend Kem how to fish with plastic worms. He really had no feel for fishing but loved to get out there. I had caught a couple of fish and kept giving him instructions on technique and what to watch for. There is an Art to Fishing, and especially with Artificial Lures. You have to make an inanimate object look alive.
I caught another fish...
He asked me to show him one more time and handed me his pole which was already casted out.

I start bumpin' ol' worm back in.
"One...two... three... little taps with the rodtip Kem,
then slowly lower the tip...reeling in tha slack slowly, keep the line a little taut...

"As the treacherous bait floats down , Kem,
Floats down, down, deeper into the lower stratas
Into the dark, dark as thy doubts , Kem
And Dark as thy Heart, Ol' Friend
Where the Moss and Mermaid hide
One... Two... Three..., Kem, lower away the bait
Seething into the yawning jaws abide and
Whirling Heart that steathily waits
Where Gods creatures chase and claw and fang each other,
Since the begining of Time
On all sides of the Universe and on both sides of land
All the while, Kem, you must BE the rodtip,
Be the tip of your rod, the rigging, the spar
Feeling, reeling for a slight change in tension
Feeling for the Murderous twitch, a jam or jar
The Death Stitch, mark well thy thread,
The poisonous pathways
That lay now woven in the watery woeful depths
For any unseemly movement,
Or abrupt commotion... "

It was about then that the Fish had heard about enough of me and came breeching into the Glorious light, the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth.

"GOT HIM" and I set the hook on a 5 pound bass.
I handed Kem the rod and he was looking at me like I was from outer space.

An hour later Kem wants to try something else. I suggest the weedless spoon, thinking that all that flash and action will at least keep Kem occupied.
Well I was wrong.
Kem worked that spoon like there was an old boot tied to the end of his line. When he casted , the lure would sail so high, almost out of sight, and when it smacked the water it was like a Six-Pound Shell had been launched, discharged from a Spanish Cannon on a Pirate Ship. After watching for a while I grabbed the rod out of his hand. I casted out and had that spoon dancing.

"Like this, Kem, you have to make it look alive and scared"
and then the water exploded and I caught an 8 pound bass, biggest Bass I ever caught

"Holy Shit, Steve, you are enough to piss off the Pope"
An hour later we went and got Kem some live worms and I put him on the end of the dock where he caught Bluegills all afternoon.

He was in heaven.

Heres a couple of guys that love to wet a hook...

They ought to be Keel-Hauled!

Monday, March 26, 2007


Barbara is having Party! She is wondering what music they should play, so I am going to make some suggestions between now and 5/5/007...

Its her retirement and its going to be a Wang-Dang- Doodle and Iv'e got the Mad Scientist working on a Halogram of Bulletholes just so I can be there with my Hallucinogenic self. If we are successful, then me an Ol' Lady will both be there (its funny that Barbara and Ol' lady were the first folks to comment on the ol' abandoned blog) and we are going to be bringin' our rowdy Holographic/Hallucinogenic Selves (no Halo's please) and we will also bring this and all my hippie friends were singin' this stuff before anyone ever heard of Willie (Nelson).

I guess I should ask her first... I don't want to risk misquoting her so I'll just give you my side

'Ol' lady will your hollowgraphic Self go with me to Barbara's Party?"
"Why not?"
"I am not"
"Am not"
"A chicken?"
"Well you heard wrong"
"No I didn't do that either"
'Well this is goin' nowhere so I guess I'll just have to go Stag-o-graphic."

She's married anyway...I sure can pick em...but she would agree with me on this album...

And what tune will we pull to, me boys?
Why "Sangria Wine" of course!
Its from the 1973 Jerry Jeff Walker release 'Viva Terilingua" well before 'Luckenbach became a cause celebre'.
From wikipedia
Luckenbach's association with country music began in the summer of 1973, when Jerry Jeff Walker, backed by the Lost Gonzo Band, recorded a live album there called Viva Terlingua at Luckenbach Dancehall. That album became an outlaw country classic.
Four years later (and a year after Crouch's death), Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson memorialized Luckenbach with the song "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)," cowritten by rock and soul producer Chips Moman. Without citing a source, Peter Doggett wrote in Are You Ready for the Country (Penguin 2000) that Waylon later told audiences "he hated the song and admitted 'The guys that wrote the thing have never been to Luckenbach and neither have I.

Its a 'Cinco de Mayo" Party and this tune from this album is very appropriate, and can only be sung at the top of your lungs with... with your ass sloshin, I mean, when you are high, I mean , with something good to drink.
Now, Barbara, when you sing the whoaaa part you have to really put your back into it and hold your tasty beverage up high. Also note that in the third verse 'Everclear is added to the wine some times"... well, its added more often than not. Its best served from a (new) 30 gallon trash can .

My friends come over Saturday night
Man its nice to make up some sangria wine
Its organic and it comes from the vine
Its also legal and it gets you so high

And I love that sangria wine
Love to drink it with old friends of mine
Yeah I love to get drunk with friends of mine
When we’re drinkin’ that ole’ sangria wine

Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine

Start with some wine
Add some apples and brandy and some sugar some spice
Ole friends always show up on time
That’s why you add sparkling burgundy wine

I love ole sangria wine
When I drink it with ole friends of mine
Yeah I love to drink with ole friends of mine
When we get drunk on that sangria wine

Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine

In Texas on a Saturday night
Everclear is added to the wine sometimes
Nachos, burritos, and tacos who knows
How it usually goes, it goes

Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine

Yeah I love that sangria wine
Just like I love ole friends of mine
They tell the truth when they’re mixed with the wine
That’s why I love the lemons and lime

I love that sangria wine
to drink it with ole friends of mine
Yeah I love to drink with friends of mine
When we get drunk on that sangria wine

Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine
Whoooah I love sangria wine

Sunday, March 25, 2007


"if they were right, i'd agree"
the son, from"father and son"

I love the George Carlin routine where he talks about driving, saying the ones going too slow are "idiots"while the ones going too fast are "maniacs"
"Look at that maniac"
"Watch out for that idiot"
He goes on to say:
"Road Rage?" I don't have time for Road Rage... I'm too busy screaming"

You might imagine, and quite rightly, that I do not make the ideal parent. I easily qualify as an idiot or a maniac, on several levels too, but with regard to parenting; I probably am too lenient when I should be strict and become a Jailer when I should just let things be.

My daughter, the Water Baby, astutely points out in a recent post that parents tend to yell when they get worried and she wonders why that is...its no mystery to me ...

We yell because we cannot kill them!

When I was her age this song by Cat Stevens from "Tea for the Tillerman" was huge... its sung as a dialogue, and still today its the son's part I relate to the most...

Its not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
Youre still young, thats your fault,
Theres so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but Im happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that its not easy,
To be calm when youve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything youve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
Its always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now theres a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Its not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
Youre still young, thats your fault,
Theres so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but Im happy.

(son-- away away away, I know I have to
Make this decision alone - no)

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
Its hard, but its harder to ignore it.
If they were right, Id agree, but its them you know not me.
Now theres a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.
(father-- stay stay stay, why must you go and
Make this decision alone? )

Thursday, March 22, 2007


She has requested advice and I shall give smart of her to come to me!

"lets go chase tornados
just me an' you
you don't always catch em'
but, man! when you do..."
James mcMurtry

-> Always sit as close as possible to him, as though you were stapled at the hip, especially in the car. Its just what we do.

>Anytime you go out is a special occasion.

->Get your "Concealed Weapon" License and carry a pistol in your purse. I hope you'll never have to use it. A Baby Desert Eagle would be sweet depending on the size of your purse. check with Citizen H. over at "Beer, Bait and Ammo".

->Wear tight jeans with too much starch and a crease so sharp it might cut you.

->Put your hands in your back pockets and rock back and forth Ellie Mae style...its irresistable!
Get braces for your overbite... just a little one will do.

->Shirts with embriodery, beads, and feathers are highly don't have to wear them all the time, just on special occasions.

->Learn the language. I'll make it easy for you.... any 3 syllables can be condensed to two...say "got-dyamit"...and any 2 syllables can become 3.... say "bool-shee-it". Very nice!

->Chicken Fried Steak with Bisquits and Gravy for Breakfast. I hope you like Buttermilk. Need I say more?

->Be able to arch your back and take a deep breath... everything is pretty darn big down there. I mean out here. In Texas. You get the picture.

->Talk loud and sit close to the house.

->Learn all the words to "Choctaw Bingo". Learn all the words to "If I Needed You"

-> Get the reddest lipstick you can find and as always wear your hair BIG!

Kissyface, remember he is just a Man, only moreso.


"On Being from Texas...
When you're from Texas, people that you meet ask you questions like,
"Do you have any cows?" "Do you have horses?"
"Bet you got a bunch of guns, eh?"

"Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as known to you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas. Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a
picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is.What happens if I show you a picture of any other state?
You'll get it maybe after a second, but who else would?
Even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

There is some bit of Texas in everyone willing to fight in a desperate struggle and die for that which they believe in.

Texas is the Alamo. Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom.We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and David Crockett and do you know why?
Because those men saw a line in the sand and they
decided to cross it and be heroes

John Wayne paid to do the movie himself.
Damn right!That is the Spirit of Texas.
Texas is Sam Houston capturing Santa Ana at San Jacinto; Sam Houston, the first man to wear beads on the Senate floor. Sam Houston is where Texans like Billy Bob Thornton and Tommy Lee Jones got their balls.

Texas is larger-than-life legends like Willie Nelson and Buddy Holly, Earl Campbell and Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, and LBJ.
Texas is Tom Landry and Ann Richards."

Texas is being able to look the world in the eye and spit.
That, my friends, is whats wrong with our President!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007



William Butler Yeats in jeans
Got up to play guitar and sing
In some join in Mission Beach last night
At the door sat Tom Waits
In a pork pie hat and silver skates
Jugglin' three collection plates ...Jesus Christ

Townes Van Zandt standin' at the bar
Skinnin' a Hollywood movie star
Can't remember where he parked his car
Or to whom he lost the keys
Full of angst and hillbilly haiku
What's a poor Ft. Worth boy to do
Go on rhyme somethin' for em' man
Show him how you really feel

Ain't no money in poetry
That's what sets the poet free
I've had all the freedom I can stand
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie
Is all it takes to get me by
Fool my belly till the day I die
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie

Ginsberg and Kerouac
Shootin' dice and playin' Ramblin' Jack's guitar
With the cowboy paintin' pickguard on it
And they sat in the back and drank for free
And rhymed orange with Rosalie
Now there's a pride of lions to draw to

Townes Van Zandt left a mark Deep in the Heart of Texas. Click on anything he wrote. I dare you; and if you can look at one and not look at another, there is something wrong with you.
No, there's nothin' wrong with anyone that 100 dollars won't fix.
We Texans have come a long way since "London Homesick Blues", the Original National Song of Texas, covered by everyone from William Shattner to The Muppets. I really like the Muppets version taped 'live' on Austin city limits in 1995.

Well, when you're down on your luck,
and you ain't got a buck,
in London you're a goner.
Even London Bridge has fallen down,
and moved to Arizona,
now I know why.
And I'll substantiate the rumor
that the English sense of humor
is drier than the Texas sand.
You can put up your dukes,
and you can bet your boots,
that I'm leavin' just as fast as I can.

I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.

Well it's cold over here, and I swear,
I wish they'd turn the heat on.
And where in the world
is that English girl,
I promised I would meet on the third floor.
And of the whole damn lot,
the only friend I got,
is a smoke and a cheap guitar.
My mind keeps roamin',
my heart keeps longin'
to be home in a Texas bar.

I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.

Well, I decided that,
I'd get my cowboy hat
and go down to Marble Arch Station.
'Cause when a Texan fancies
he'll take his chances,
chances will be taken,
now that's for sure.
And them Limey eyes,
they were eyein' a prize,
that some people call manly footwear.
And they said you're from down South,
and when you open your mouth,
you always seem to put your foot there

I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen

Gary Nunn

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The West
"To the French that came from the North, it was known as the South.
To the Spanish that came from the South, it was known as the North.
The Russians, crossing over the Bering Strait in the Pacific knew it as the East.
The Americans, that came from the East knew it as the West....

But for the people who were already there it was home.
The Center of the Universe."

A Dream Landscape
The Oral Tradition among the Kiowa has it that there were seven young sisters playing a game with their brother. He was pretending to be a Bear and they were running, pretending to be frightened. During the course of the game, the brother magically turns into a Bear, and now the sisters are truly frightened and climb on top of a stump to try to get away. The stump magically begins to rise into the air as the Bear rakes the sides of the stump, scarring the wood with his claws. Just as he is about to eat the sisters, they are magically transported into the night sky as stars.
The Americans call these stars the "Big Dipper".
The Kiowa call them "The Bear".
The Greeks, Ursa Major, which means "Big Bear".

The stump is called the "Devils Tower" and part of the Black Hills.
To the Kiowa, it was the center of the Universe.
Yeah, I can see that...

Monday, March 19, 2007


Part 4
The Benediction

Its obvious to me that if there had been any real passion between Laura and myself that there would not have been a steady stream of people that seemed to come between us over the years.
We were just "not that into each other".

Laura is one of the most unique people I have ever known.
We were at a Bar, eating complimentary Ice Cream cones. A rakish sort of fellow sidled up next to her, looked her in the eye, looked her up and down, and licked his lips in a very exaggerated manner.Laura plunged her Ice Cream cone right into the fellows left eye, and all three of us were ejected.

Laura was fired from her job; she had been there as Bartender for 12 years. Her offence was pouring a glass of Beer on some bastard customers head...she had been on "Final Warning" for God only knows what.

Water Baby asked us if we had ever dated... Laura looked to me a little confused and said "I don't know..did we?""Not really" I said 'we couldn't. The whole time we were foolin' around, you were livin' with The Duke"!Water Baby laughed...if she can watch "Greys Anatomy" she can handle that.

In 1978 Laura married a man and had his son, postponing what had seemed to be a budding Romance between she and I.
Two years ago, Laura turned her 27 year old son away from the house...too many times she had taken him and his Heroin addiction in... and later that afternoon she found him in her backyard, having hanged himself on her fence.
She says "Its almost a relief", and shows no more emotion than last years Bird's Nest.
She is one tough gal... and a pistol...I know that Ol' lady and she would have a time...but "almost a relief" must be pure torture.

I hope someday she and I will be friends again. Having written this, I need to go make sure she knows who left that Candy on her Porch. Last I heard from her was "I have your number Steve and if I want to talk to you I will call you".
Does she really think there is something she can do or say that I will not be her friend?

I have never been a "Bad Boy"; I "got no game". I am not slick, or tough, or cool. Well, maybe I'm cool. Mostly, I'm just a nice guy. The "Bad boys " would be surprised at what nice guys sometimes get to do.

The Poet Game

Down by the river, junior year,
walking with my girl
and we came upon a place
there in the tall grass where a couple
had been making love
and left the mark of their embrace.
I said to her, "Looks like they had some fun."
"She said to me, "Let's do the same."
And still I taste her kisses
and her freckles in the sun
when I play the poet game.

A young man down in hill country
in the year of '22
went to see his future bride.
She lived in a rough old shack
that poverty blew through.
She invited him inside.
She'd been cooking, ashamed and feeling sad,
she could only offer him bread and her name
Grandpa said that it was the best gift
a fella ever had
and he taught me the poet game.

I had a friend who drank too much
and played too much guitar -
and we sure got along.
Reel-to-reels rolled across
the country near and far
with letters poems and songs.
But these days he don't talk to me
and he won't tell me why.
I miss him every timeI say his name.
I don't know what he's doing
or why our friendship died
while we played the poet game.

The fall rain was pounding down
on an old New Hampshire mill
and the river wild and high.
I was talking to her while leaves blew down
like a sudden chill -
there was wildness in her eyes.
We made love like we'd been waiting
all of our lives for this -
Strangers know no shame -
But she had to leave at dawn
and with a sticky farewell kiss
left me to play the poet game.

I watched my country turn into
a coast-to-coast strip mall
and I cried out in a song:
If we could do all that in thirty years,
then please tell me you all -
why does good change take so long?
Why does the color of your skin
or who you choose to love
still lead to such anger and pain?
And why do I think it's any help
for me to still dream of
playing the poet game?

Sirens wail above the fields -
another soul gone down -
another Sun about to rise.
I've lost track of my mistakes
like birds they fly around
and darken half of my skies.
To all of those I've hurt -
I pray you will forgive me.
I to you will freely do the same.
So many things I didn't see
with my eyes turned inside
playing the poet game.

I walk out at night to take a leak
underneath the stars -
oh yeah, that's the life for me.
There's Orion and the Pleiades
and I guess that must be Mars -
all as clear as we long to be.
I've sung what I was given -
some was bad and some was good.
I never did know from where it came.
And if I had it all to do again
I am not sure I would
play the poet game.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


"Very occasionally, you meet people who send your mental energy level through the roof. The result is a non-stop firing range of banter. I love that feeling about as much as any other - it's an incredible outlet. You feel more fully yourself and like someone else entirely, all at the same time."

'We seek in others that which is the deepest reflection of ourselves, and to the extent with which we value that reflection we will either experience...or fake...a sense of self-esteem..."
Francisco d'Anconia

Have you ever seen a young man and woman out on a date, and as he helps her from the car, even while having opened the door for her, begins to look at her not in a Romantic way, but in a way a Vandal might look at a fresly painted fence, or a punk might look at the side of a building with a can of spray paint in his hand?
Is feelin' good... good enough?

Part 3...
well.. lets just say this one is pretty poor even if you have read the previous two...

RDG has asked a very good question, but I am hardly one to answer it. If I knew all that, do you imagine that I would have been single, and I do mean SINGLE, for ten years?
I remember being at a Sunday School Class last year, the "Singles Group" I have written about before and the leader brought in a book called 'Safe People" about dating relationships. She said it was a great book and she had read it Hundreds of times....of course I could not resist and asked for how long now she had been single and had she found a Boyfriend yet...I think it was the only joke I made that got a laugh from that Class...the irony was not lost...she slapped the table and laughed like a Demon...
A few lessons later the question was raised as to how we knew if someone was "Safe" or not...
of course I had to pipe in again...
"Because they are not as much fun as the unsafe people!"

Laura was not a safe person... but if you needed a runnin' buddy and were willing to break a few laws and leave a $20 bill on the counter of the 7-11 after hours as you passed by with a Six-pack and a bottle of wine saying
"keep the change"
...she was your girl.
Laura and I probably looked at each other like a couple of Vandals... but man, she was a blast!

I stole a Heart -Shaped Brandin' Iron off the wall of the Restaurant we worked was wasted up there and she was just the girl to have something like that as a conversation piece.
After 30 years she still has it.
Making out with Marshmallows and Pop Rocks was pretty good too, passing them from tongue to cheek and back know you can use Marshmallows as spitwads too, but its best with your clothes off...such a pretty mess.

Self-Esteem? Who needs it.

So first it was Mark that kept us apart, and then it was Kristi: poor Duke... we just had to go around him... and then suddenly.... I was married. After a couple of kids I did not do any more fishing with Laura, and no, it was not Laura that ended my 13 yearMarriage. In fact, I had lost track of her until 3 years after my divorce, when a buddy found her working at the Airport Hotel as a Bartender. Seems she was telling a story about me that he recognised and after a few questions, he indicated he knew me. She gave him her number, which he gave to me and I gave her a call.

The first question she asked me was "Are you like all these other Divorced guys that have all this "baggage" and give all their money to their ex-wives and don't remember how to be single?"
"Well, I don't think I have any baggage."
We didn't exactly pick up where we left off...Laura had not changed a whit, hadn't seemed to, but maybe I had...
"to the extent with which we value that reflection we will either experience...or fake...a sense of self-esteem..."
And as is typical with Laura and I, before we could really figure anything out... I ran into a girl at a coke machine...once again something had come between us.

I tell my daughter that all the boys she is trying to negotiate a relationship with are small Potatos... and when the right one comes along, all the negotiating will just fly out of the window and you will just melt into each other...
"You feel more fully yourself and like someone else entirely, all at the same time."
I've spent 30 years negotiating with Laura...I've spent 6 years in some form of negotiation with Lily...I'll leave the brainwork to you.

This is so clumsily done I have considered removing it except for the two Quotes...I will leave it up for now, in hopes that someone comes by that gets it...but I doubt the likelihood of that... someday I will re-do this one, when I find the clarity to do so. 3/18/07


part 2, continued from yesterday, and you really should go back and read yesterdays first...I'm posting awful quick these days, I know...

I think its important to note here how smart the Red Dirt Girl is with her comment from yesterday...I said that Kristi moved out that very day after I threw the deadly Palmetto Bug at her.... the fact of the matter is that we were in the process of moving her out when it happened!
And I'll tell you something else- Kristi, when we went Golfing, used to like to take the little Frogs that lived on the Golf course and put them under her Halter top! She could pack quite a few of them in there and they would wriggle and move about, giving her Halter a singular crawling effect.
Go Figure!
As rude as it might seem, I don't think I would trade that scene of her pinned against the wall with that bug buzzing away right between her eyes for all the sinfull bliss in the world!
We actually kept dating for another 6 months or so before the fire went all the way out.
Then my mother had a stroke and I moved home and for the next 6 months that is where my time was spent... at the Hospital and then in Physical Therapy with her.

But she improved and I began to get out again and every Monday night I would go to the Bar at the Restaurant I had worked at with Kristi and Laura. Kristi was no longer there, but the real reason I went was that Laura was the Bartender. I knew everybody there as well and it was one of those "Cheers" type settings, with a lot bigger cast.
Laura was still living with the Duke, but Laura is a fiercely independant lady, a real free Spirit; I am much the same, but you cannot out-Laura Laura.
Everyone at the bar knew there was an attraction between Laura and I, but they did not know how far back we actually went. No one was aware that we had nearly been a thing at least twice now over the years.
I think the only thing Laura ever said about Kristi was that I had picked the wrong one that
night, but I reminded her that it was they that held all the cards that night. We both just laughed.
One night at the Bar I finally got fed up with all the Pussyfootin' that was going on between Laura and I.
I walked behind the bar and tapped Laura on the shoulder. She turned around and looked at me like I was nuts and said "You aren't supposed to be back here Mister"...
To which I replied "I know" and I took her in my arms and began to kiss her. She didn't seem to mind it too much and the next thing I know she is off the ground with her legs wrapped around me and we have been lip-locked for at least 20 seconds. It was all very passionate.
If I had not been giving her my undivided, I would have noticed that the normal noisy din of the Bar had decreased... you could almost hear our lips a-smackin'!
All eyes were on Laura and I and I have no idea how long this kiss went on but at some point, someone began to clap and someone else to cheer and soon the Bar erupted in a cacaphony like as never been heard.
The crowd went wild!
The Judges gave us ... all Tens!

Later that night we left our footprints on the rear window of my car...
And for the next few months we got together a few times but it wasn't no big thing...
And if the Duke had known he would have killed me...
I saw Kristi one day and she gave me a High -Five sayin' "I heard abut you and Laura!"
And I still wonder sometimes where the whole deal was heading...
Because one day at work I took an elevator ride that changed everything...

The future Ex Mrs. Bulletholes made me forget all about Laura...and the Bar... except for the night we went to the Bar and I introduced her to Laura... Laura winked and said "I wondered where you have been".
Several months later, Laura called one morning and invited me to some kind of Picnic. I told her I was engaged.
"Takin' the vow's Steve?...Thats sweet!" she said.

After I was married, I ran into her at a Fishing Tackle Store. She had taken up Fishing and gotten shed of the Duke. We started to go fishing together. it was like we had never been what we had been and were just satisfied being friends.
One day out in the boat I looked at her and said...

"You know Laura, I always felt funny that we seemed to have somethin' goin' and then I met the mrs. and the next thing you know I'm married and never really said anything to you at all."
Laura looks at me and rolls her eyes and says"Oh, please Steve, give me a Break... Get over yourself" and laughed at me like I was a real idiot.
A few weeks later, I told the Mrs about this exchange.
She just laughed and said "I asked Laura if I should worry about you guys out in that boat. She just rolled her eyes and said the same thing to me".

I guess there's still another part left here...its not what you are probably thinkin' right now!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh, well...

"she had a dark and roving eye-eye-eye
and her hair hung down in ring-a-lets
she was a nice girl, a proper girl,
but one of the roving kind"
guy mitchell

About a year ago...
I went and got drunk with my old friend Laura….
At 2:00 a.m. she said I could sleep on the couch or come to bed
I told her that I did not snore that I was aware of but in my
present state of inebriation there was the ever-present danger that I may try to
"INFLICT" myself upon her. She advised me that she kept a TASER on her
nightstand. I requested that she bring me a sheet. She brought the
sheet and told me to wake her the next morning.

I woke up at 7:00 and went and crawled in bed with her, looking down
into her face, giving her my very best grin.
She slowly opens her eyes, and I say, as seductivly as I can muster ,
"I wish it would rain, Laura, that would be SOOO romantic"
Laura grins back at me and says
"I could turn on the sprinklers for you"

She then tells me to be very careful, pulls back the covers and
reveals her full grown Iguana named "Nick" sleeping with her. He is
about 5 feet long and weighs 11 pounds.
Ruined my plans.
Oh, well.

I've known Laura since High School where she was the fastest runner, boy or girl, in the whole building. I worked at a Restaurant and she was a Waitress there; we were 19 then, and we became friends, and almost lovers. She came to me one day out of the blue, and said she was getting married. I asked why and it was because she was pregnant and she was going to marry Mark, the Father.
Laura is a pistol, one tough gal.
Oh well.

A few years later, we again worked together, but she was divorced now. We went for drinks one night, and she and Kristi got me very drunk. They carried me, and I do mean carried, out of the bar and after a conference, put me in Kristi's car and Kristi drove me to my home.
Kristi helped me to the door, came in and sat on the couch in the Den.
I said "You are going to have to excuse me one time"
and went to the Bathroom, splashed some cold water in my face and brushed my teeth.
Better now.
I went back into the Den where Kristi waited on the couch. I looked at her and said
"You are going to have to excuse me just one more time"
and I was on her...
she didn't seem to mind it too much either.
The next morning at 7:00 Laura called.
"Is Kristi there" she giggled.
I looked over to the passenger side of the Bed.
""Yep, she sure is...would you like to speak to her?"
"Just wondering" Laura says, and adds "Oh well"

Just for the record, I don't think I've been involved with someone that took off as quickly as Kristi and I did...and you don't need to worry abour poor Laura; she was livin' with The Duke at the time...Kristi moved in with me and the 4 of us all had a splendid time.

Of course I had to spoil it all 6 months later by throwing a Waterbug at Kristi. Kristi was 6'1" tall and a very lithe Redhead but she was deadly afraid of those things and this one opened its wings and began to fly right into her face, right between her eyes, whereupon she began to backpedal but the beast continued its flapping , making that BRRRR-ing sound like a helicopter, backing her up a full three feet into a wall where it pinned her for a full 8 seconds with her arms flailing and that BRRR-ing sound. She packed and left that day.
Poor Kristi...
Poor me...
Pretty thoughtless...

(to be continued)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


A sad little Lizard told me on his Mothers side he had been a Brontosaurus.

Pluto was discovered on this date, March 13, 1930. Pluto used to be a Planet.
Now Pluto is a Dwarf Planet.
All Hail, Pluto!

Monday, March 12, 2007


There is a sign at the front of the room that says"Try not to miss any notes".

Its been a while since I have had occasion to write about The Water Baby and her efforts in band. Last week I was able to attend the UIL Competition Warm-ups and I want to tell you what they do that I consider to be one of the most difficult things in the world to do well. Hell, to do at all.
I think I would rather take a beating.
Its called "Sight-Reading"; the Band is given a piece of sheet music that they have never seen before and they play it through for the Judges- one time and one time only- and they are Judged according to how well they do.
You may ask "how do we know they have never seen the music before' and the answer is that the Music is specially written by Composers just for these events.
The only aid that is given comes from their Director. While the Students have their sheet turned upside -down on the stand, the Director has 7 minutes in which he is able to offer his comments on the piece, which by the way, he has never before seen either.
It is very impressive as he rattles off the time signature, changes in tempo, Key changes and other details:
"Trombones, note that you go from Adagio to Carpacio (isn't that an Italian Hors d'ourve?) then rise to Flagrante' in the third measure; Flutes , at the Coda you will come in on the second bar, not the first; Drums the rhythm changes from "one two THREE" to "one TWO three" after the 23rd measure. Trumpets, pay particular attention to the 1/4 and 1/8 rests in bars 8 through 12."

And so he goes for 7 minutes and the Students as I have described last fall, are in total concentration for their instructions.
Then, they are allowed 4 "Warm-up" notes before turning the sheet over. The Director taps out "1-2-3" and off they go, sight-reading Musical script they have never heard or seen before.

This is the equivalent of a Culinary Competition where a Chef is given a Basket with 20 items in it and expected to plan and prepare a 4-course Meal in the next hour.
Actually, I think it has to be tougher. To play the proper notes at the right pitch and timbre and time, of a melody heretofore unbeknown to you, and in sync with the other 100 or more members of the Band...well, you have to know your stuff.
The sign at the front of the room? You must try to play the notes, even though you be unsure of them. These young men and women play right through their mistakes.
Time waits for no one.
I love 'em.

Yet another of life's lessons.

We were treated to a concert by a Junior High Band. The piece they played was "Shenandoah" which is an outstanding piece of Music as well as Americana. It has endured hundreds of arrangements over the years, attesting to its spot as a classic and is even covered by Richard Thompson on his "1000 Years of Popular Music" album.
They played with so much emotion and the song itself is so beautiful that I, for one, sobbed quietly to myself.

I was graciously alluded to as a "History Buff" by Mother of Invention on her brilliant post (that I fairly nearly mangled by talking of 18,000 souls slaughtered, wounded and and dying on a Civil War battlefield) concerning the Northern lights and her memories of an unusually spectacular display when she was a youngster. Over the next month I may impart some historical facts that I find fascinating beyond belief, but for now I will leave you with another of my favorite prayers, delivered by James Stewart in the movie "Shenandoah" which was set during the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia;

"Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it,sowed it, harvested it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same for the food we are about to eat, amen."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Underacheiver

My first experience with a large Hotel Chain was to be the Lunch Cook for the Gourmet Restaurant. On my second day the General Manager came down the line to
meet me. I was just finishing a batch of Hollandaise Sauce. He says
"Hello, I’m Pat Cowbell, General Manager. Welcome aboard.
Do you mind?"
and produces a handful of spoons. I do think he means to try everything I have prepared.
He dips a spoon into the Sauce, as he tastes he
closes his eyes for a moment, and then opens them slowly.

"It needs a little Lemon" he says.

I happen to have ½ a lemon in my hand that I was going to finish it
with. I hope that he is impressed that I am so on top of things. He
watches me squeeze and stir the juice into the sauce. It needed only a
touch of lemon and I was quite impressed that he would even have
noticed the subtle difference. I also give it a half shake of Cayenne Pepper.

So I ask, as I stir, trying to be non-chalant
"Do you like to cook, Sir"?

He dips his spoon back into the Sauce, closes his eyes and tastes the
amended product.

He reopens his eyes, and gives me a knowing smile.
"No" he says "I like to eat."

He gives me a grin and exits my line with all the spoons still in hand.

This was my first experience with a big time G.M. They are all class
acts that are as comfortable at the Ballet or Opera as they are in an
impromptu Poker Game or a smoke filled Strip Joint. And while the Chef
may love the Doing of a Thing, the G.M. loves the Thing itself.
"Do you like to Cook" I asked.
"I like to eat" he said.

Reminds me of my Nephew Dave, the CEO of "Dave Mows Grass". See, Dave could care less about ownng a Landscape Company. What Dave likes is to mow grass. There were times in the Kitchen that I would have done it for free.
I hope Dave, as thrilled as he may be to discover old mufflers and Baby Diapers where he is trying to Mow, and as much as he loves the challenges of removing baling wire and old rugs from the blade of his very high Tech Mower (yes, its an industrial Toro, on a custom Trailer with all the accoutremonts that enable him to do a First rate Job) never does this for free (or the paltry sum I made as a Chef) and charges the pretty penny his work is worth!
Dave has a Personal Mission Statement that I think is pretty cool.
It should be noted that Dave, in addition to his position as CEO, also works a job as a Machinist upwards of 40 hours a week. Dave considers himself an "Underacheiver" but I think he is a real stepper, and am proud to know him.

Friday, March 09, 2007

GET AN AFTERLIFE ( from david)

Allow me to direct you once again to David.
I love Davids topics and the way he presents them.
You may rember David from his posted poem "A Man Doesn't HaveTime" that I was delighted to reference last month.
I also love to read the comments from his regulars.
The remainder of my post today, complete with anecdote is my comment there.
I do love this prayer...I used it at the beginning of the 6 part story of my father...

"Oh Father! - chiefly known to me by thy rod- mortal or immortal be; here I die.I have striven to be thine, more than this worlds or my own.
Yet this is nothing;
I leave eternity to thee;
for what is Man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"

Father Marple from Moby Dick

Now go...go..go see Davids post!

Thursday, March 08, 2007



Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This has been added to yesterdays post concerning ways I have stayed the same/changed and deserves its own spot because it is the single most significant cahnge to occur since I got married and had kids.

Since leaving the Kitchen and no longer being employed as a Chef, with all the pressures and demands and adrenaline shooting through your nervous system all day long-
I am just a nicer guy!

I used to wake up at 1 a.m and wonder if I had ordered the Mayors Lobsters...
then again at 5a.m. and wonder if my Crackhead Potwasher was coming in...
you can do a day without the General Manager but you can't do a day without a Potwasher...
your job and livelihood sometimes seem to rest on his shoulders.
The luncheon for 500 today at Noon is AT NOON!
It can't be put off till tomorrow;its not at 12:10 or 12:20- its at NOON baby- and if you are not ahead of the game you have lost.
When they start shaking the tree, its the guy at the top that falls out.
I'm a nicer guy now.

I no longer hold my friends, family and whoever I may have just met to the grueling and exacting standards that must be set in the Kitchen.
I'm a nicer guy now.

I used to walk through my front door, never saying a word and walk straight out the back door into the backyard so I could kick the Dog and pull some weeds to work out of my system the fact that after 20 years I was still trying to get guys to make a proper dish of mashed potatos.
If i was sitting in the Den, my 3 year old son would walk through the living Room to get to the kitchen so he would not have to pass by me. Things have improved somewhat!
I'm a nicer guy now.

I had no idea just how stressed out I had been and what going Mach 3 with my hair on fire all day long 8 days a week was doing to me until I got out. You run on heat. You take the crazy guy in your head and you don't kill make him your friend and put him to work for you.
God, I do miss it so...
But I'm a nicer guy now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


"We blew it..."
easy rider

David had a very interesting post concerning the ways we have changed and the ways that we have stayed the same over the last 20 years.
I suppose I will start with the ways I have stayed the same;
I still have a Dynamite sense of humor. I would tie a Bowline in the Devils Tail for a Joke, man.
Foolish, Carefree, Laughing, and Wise I have striven to be, with some success. I do believe that laughter is the best answer to all thats sorrowful in the World.

I am still fiercely loyal to Friend and Family, and quick to forget a grudge or a sense of slight.I have always thought that theres no time for fussing and fighting my friends.

I still have a Memory that can't be beat. I seem to be able to recall almost any detail of any moment or event of my life, if given enough time for reflection.

I have always been steady, stable and stubborn with an easy-going streak.... right up to the part where I lose my temper and then...I do like Donald Duck (or is it daffy) where his body becomes like a thermometer and the red starts rising till it gets to his ears then the Steam Whistle goes off and he starts bouncing aound the room...Typhoons form up when I get angry.. but it is hard to get me there.
There is one quite skilled at it but we will just think of the party and whistle...

My reasoning mind was defined and confirmed to me when I was in my thirties by a book called "Atlas Shrugged". I still maintain some precepts in that book, but the lessons I've learned since then...well, thats a whole 'nother post!

Ways I have Changed
I have learned to control and direct my sense of Humor a little better than when I was younger; the end result seems to be that I am funnier than ever, and more important, less hurtful to others. I have said it before- its OK to Joke yourself but you should not Joke other people.
If an Angel be the Devil learned to Govern himself, then I am not wholly the Devil.

I do not have near the stuff, gear, cargo, I used to have. I spent a few years heaving away cargo the way a pioneer did before crossing the Great Salt Lake in order to save his Oxen. I wish I could say it was due to my good sense it were done... but it was more because of my lack of it. At any rate, I am still here, and lucky to be so.

I am sad to say, besides my Kids, I have found nothing that has ignited any great passion in me. This is a new situation for me as I have always had a Hobby of some sort that kept me brimming to the top and filled with a sense of the Magic and Learning that the World has to offer.
Simply being passionate about your kids is not enough and empty as it is a prerequisite for being passionate about anything else, and your duty to impart passion for SOMETHING to them.
It seems to me that this should be easy enough to fix, but so far, i'm getting nothin'.

I am probably less responsible and more Cynical than I used to be. In my cheerfullness, I still feel like the Lame Duck with a part-timers mentality.

I have shed myself of some old habits, and have no new ones to report.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Old Lady had a post concerning thongs; I think the idea was that everyone contribute their thong story or how mid-life has affected thier choice on underwear or something; I guess I have a story along those lines, from several months back and from the abandoned blog.
Its a sad little story.

My daughter has just moved in with me. We are both so very excited as it has been 8 years since we lived together. She is 17 and a Senior in High School. She stays so incredibly busy with the Marching Band there is barely time for her to study or be a kid. With this in mind I told her that I would be doing all her laundry. I did the first loads last night.
Its been a long time since I had occasion to get an up close look at women’s’ underwear.
I knew it had been a long time
I found out last night just how long its been.
I had heard of a “Thong” before but never actually seen one. I don’t know how y'all wear those things.

But there was another type that made no sense to me. They looked like a thong, but the stretchy fabric was cut much wider. The leg holes were different too, and made no sense. The entire ass and the pubic region would be uncovered if one was to wear them the way they seemed to be designed. I turned them around... no appreciable difference. I turned them upside down... made no sense.
 Inside out? Only a “Flatlander” would know.
Nothing about these panties added up.
The only purpose they seemed to serve was to leave crotch and ass exposed and enhance the panty lines. And she sure did have a lot of them, very popular.

It was with much anticipation that I waited for her to come home to see what a nice job I had done with her laundry and to ask her about the mysterious lingerie.
“Hi Daddy”
“Hey, Girlie, got your laundry done....see what a good job I did!”
“Thanks Daddy”
I get a hug and a kiss.
“Water Baby’, I got to know something.I’ve never seen a thong before so I gotta ask... Do you have no ass crack, girl?”
She giggles and smiles and laughs.... “Oh, Daddy, you are soooo funny!”.
“And , honey what the hell kind of panties are these” as I hold up the crotch-less, ass-less panties that make no sense as panties.
Her eyes get wide. “Oh my God Daddy, you are so silly.

”Oh Yeah,, Sports Bras, I forgot about Sports bras” I say as I snap my fingers.
I had never seen one of those either.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, i've looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and Ferris Wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real; I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show. You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know, don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall.
I really don't know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "I love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they sayI've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.
joni mitchell

Water Baby
Since she was just a little girl, she made me think of this song, especially the first verse and clouds. Now she has turned 18 and for my 100th post I want her to know of all the pains, and all the joys and all foolish wisdom associated with the last two verses.
Don't give yourself away.

Crazy Steve

I lived in some cool little apartments for a had been an assisted living complex at one time. It was all 1 Story, and there were only 48 units, broken into Pods of 6. There were seldom more than half of the units occupied which made for a very friendly atmosphere.
My Pod was the best.
In Unit # 1 there was “Big Steve”; he was about 6’5’ Tall and weighed maybe 359 pounds.
In Unit # 3 there was “Hot Steve”; he was 25 years old and extremely good lookin’ but being newly separated didn’t quite know what to do with it. That’s not exactly true, he was just still in love with his ex-wife.
Then in unit #6 was yours truly, widely known as “Crazy Steve”simply because it fit; you never know what I might say and how I might say it. Add to that the fact that i was happier than I had been for some time and it felt good to laugh, I mean really laugh, again.
All three of us enjoyed sitting on the Porch, which wrapped around and created a Porch Common, BBQ’ing, throwing Frisbee, and such. Hot Steve had a Guitar and Big Steve would provide percussion and rap sounds. Of course, I would be dancin', dancin', dancin'. I also happen to play a pretty mean recorder, the little toy Clarinet they give you in the 2nd Grade that sounds like a Sweet Potato.
Between the three of us we had quite a few friends-they were much younger than I and it was like a Frat House at times. I played my part as the Eccentric Senior and Resident nut job very well. Generally we had a splendid time that Summer.
There were always new people that fell into our little melting pot.
One day, Big Steve and I were sittng on the bench in our pod, just shooting the breeze. A car pulls up and stops. There are two girls in the car. Good lookin’ girls. With the engine running the driver rolls down her window.
“Do ya’ll know a guy named Steve?” she asks.
Simultaneously, Big Steve and I stand up and say “I’m Steve!”,thumbs aimed at our chest.
The driver turns to the passenger and they confer for a moment,whispering. Finally,after a fairly lengthy conference the driver turns back to Big Steve and I.
"So, ummm, which one of you guys is s'posed to be hot?" she asks.
Man, Big Steve and I just fell out laughin’. They looked at us like we were nuts and the passenger finally speaks “Lets get outa here, these guys aren’t hot” and now Steve and I are on the ground clutching our sides and the girls are peelin’ outtta the parking lot, tires squealing in a cloud of smoke.
Man ,we just couldn't stop laughing!
Steve and I start to get it back together and catch our breath.
The door to Unit#3 opens and its “Hot Steve”.
He is rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and asks “What the Hell is going on out here?”
Big Steve and I fall out laughin’ again! Man, we just couldn’t stop laughin!


Steve has finally succumbed to whatever it is that has gotten the rest of the Country. Steve is not very tough at all and is quite the Baby when he is sick. Steve will be back, providing that he lives through it.

And, oh yeah, I have a project from David, Drawing his Conclusions on the Wall, where I get to look at the ways I've changed and the ways I've stayed the same over the last twenty years. This should be most unpleasant and i am really looking forward to it.
"There is no success like failure and failure is no success at all"

Thursday, March 01, 2007


This is a very lengthy post that consists of the "Six Part" posts that chronicled my Dads battle with Alzheimers. to see the beautiful comments I received during the writing of this series, click on any of the Chapter titles in blue for the original and comments. also, on the Chapter called "We were all Problems" click on that title for a great picture of my Brother Don. It was in making the caption for that picture that I finally broke down over this story.
My Dads best friend, Bruce, was Hospitalized back in December. It was this event that prompted me to write these pieces. More stories of Bruce can be viewed by clicking the label at the end of this post.

"O Father! - chiefly known to me by Thy rod - mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing; I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"
Father Marple - Moby Dick

Part 1

I pulled into the VA Hospital parking lot in Waco , Texas . It was a 100 mile drive from my home in Fort Worth . I was there to see my father, an Alzheimers patient. Four years ago I had never heard of Alzheimers. He had been here for two years now and this was my third visit. That’s not very many.
I should mention that for the years dad spent at the VA hospital he received outstanding care. Normally I would see him in the visitors area on the first floor. I don't recall ever seeing his room exactly.
Today Bill, the male nurse, ushered me to the second floor and the exercise area where Dad is on a treadmill.

"Jack" says Bill" "your son is here".
"Hmmm?" Dad grunts over the top of his glasses.
"Hey Pop, its me, Steve" I offer.
He is still treading away and...
'What's that?" Dad asks.
Its your son , Jack" Bill talking… "You have a visitor"
'Hi, Dad"
"Its your son, Jack"
"Whose what?"
"I'm right here Dad, in front of you" and touch his hand that clutches the treadmill handlebars.

Dad laughs his fake belly laugh (it’s a coping mechanism, I have it too) and says
"Bill, theres someone here to see you from Chicago ".

I know that he can see me but you wouldn't know it by his expression. Of course Dad can hear us fine, but we are getting louder.
The problem is not his ears ; that would be too easy. Its further in.
Still, you can't help but get louder.
Finally after about ten minutes of this verbal escalation, and the foggy, blank stare that the Alzheimers patient has where they are not quite looking at you, not quite looking through you and not quite looking past you, but a sort of Brainsquinting thing where they are doing all three, Dad bursts out with amazing focus and clarity:

Damn right!
He is looking me right in the eye.
"Man to Man, its a Roy-Tan*, Dad" as I hand him his cigar.

There won't be any matches, there haven't been any matches for a while.
His belly laugh has changed to the genuine one. He could see the nit on the nut of a gnat now.

There was nothing here that could explain the swiftness of the degenerative process that I had seen for the last 4 years. And there was nothing here that could prepare me for the sharp moments of greater clarity that my father would summon from somewhere within in the next few years, even after the further erosion of his faculties.

to be continued…

*As an addendum and for those of you born later than 1970;
Dad smoked big Cigars- Stogies they called them and they were not namby-pamby cigars- they were big and thick and puffed great clouds of smoke. In the 60's Tobacco was advertised freely on the Television; hell, you could light a smoke while doing your Grocery shopping- and there was a hugely successful commercial for Roy-tan Cigars.
The commercials all followed the same story line, but the one I remember best was a little be-spectacled fellow, Pee-Wee, hitting a large truck with his car. He gets out of his vehicle to survey the damage as the Truck-Driver, Bruno , a huge hairy man gruffly removes himself from his truck to do the same. Just as it looks as though Bruno is going to snap Pee-Wee in half, Pee-Wee produces a Mammoth Roy-Tan from his pocket and Bruno, delighted, lets him off the hook. The announcer says "Man to man it’s a Roy-Tan" and all is well as Pee-Wee and Bruno light up, huge clouds of smoke, and slapping each other on the back.

"Now take my hand and hold it tight.
I will not fail you here tonight.
For failing you, I fail myself
And place my soul upon a shelf"
The Book of Counted Sorrows

Part 2
1977 (continued from previous post)
I don't remember the real reason I moved back home.
My best friend and I had an Apartment for the last two years. The sign over our front door read in rustic script on a weatherbeaten board "Little Hoss Ranch".

"Ranch" was right and we entertained nightly.
Every week my mother would call and I was generally so stoned that I could not speak.

I held a good job at the time as 1st Cook for a gourmet Restaurant making the whopping sum of 3.15 an hour. I didn't know it then, but I had yet to grasp any real Culinary Fundamentals.
I did not know that within the year my father would be in a VA Hospital and that these would be the last days that our relationship would be domestic... that this would be the last time to fix his breakfast and have him tell stories about coffee so hot that it had to be "Saucered and Blowed" several times before it was drinkable.
A stack of pancakes and a frosty glass of milk goes a long ways towards relaxed conversations and the turning of dusty pages. So does the Psuedo Welsh Rarebit I used to fix that he enjopyed immensly.
More so, so much more so, than the words
"You have a Visitor, Jack" .I

It would be the last chance to have him wax about the Steaks he had eaten in Chicago at Northwestern in the years before his time in North Africa, as he wolfed the ones I had prepared in the backyard. I still think those were the best steaks I have ever cooked. And I did not realize at the time just how much my mother was relieved to have both her boys at home, or how much help I was in taking care of an early onset Alzheimers patient*.
To think that I cried a sorrowful cry the day that I finished moving back home, with the 3 Lisa's that had helped me move saying 'Living at home won't be so bad".

Dad and I , it seems to me now, were equally handicapped.
Dad used to tell me the Doctors were wrong.
Dad used to tell me he could "beat this thing".
We would be heading out the back door to look at the beat up Alaskan Freight Canoe that we had bought. We were going to cover it with an Epoxy resin Dad knew about. She was was in bad shape, this vessel, and a real concern for my Mom.
Mom would whisper to me in hushed tones
"You and he both try to fix things with gum wrappers and soda straws, you will never get that thing afloat!"
Looking back I know that she was right, but at the time I thought she was kind of poisoning our well. All we ever really did was look at it and discuss the potential possibilities.

Dad would say 'These Doctors dont know what they are talking about. I can beat this thing. I can see... the nit... on the nut... of a gnat."
His is voice would crack with something torn between a rage and a will and a fear.
"Sure you can, Pop... if anyone can , it will be you."
And we both would enjoy a somewhat disingenuous Belly laugh.
His ice blue eyes would dance and look straight into mine for moment.
He would turn and ask
"Now wheres that doorknob?"
He knew the door was there but the knob always eluded him.
"I got it Dad"
Now the laughs came real. With his quick wit, the irony never eluded him. Laughter always trumps sorrow.

And it reminds me of just how quick and observant you have to be to catch a Night Crawler, much more dceptive a creature than one would imagine, and the importance of gathering bait.
To be continued.....

Another addendum
*You can google Early Onset Alzheimers for the Medicos on it so I will refuse leaving the link. I can put it into a bit of a personal perpective for you... you hears about folks in their 60's and 70's that are Alzheimers victims... my Dad became completely disabled at the ripe old age of 58 and unable to work...I was barely out of High School...and the story you just read was but 2 years later, Dad being 60.I won't try to tell you that these were the best days of my life, but I will say that there has been much fruit and treasure;
still today there remains both of these, unimagined, yet to be fully realized...
so many potential possibilities...

"The pleasantist' thing in Angling
is to see the fish on Golden Oar
shoot through the silver stream
and greedily devour
the treacherous bait"

"Out of the blue and into the black..."
Neil Young

Dad absolutely loved to fish.
My first memory that I can put a date to was after my sister Lisa was born; I would have been 27 months or 2 and 1/4 years old. Mom had been home from the hospital for a week or two and was laying in bed nursing Lisa. Dad had asked if she were OK and if he and I could go out to Grapevine Lake for the afternoon. I assume permission had been granted and as he and I walked out the garage Door.
I remember asking very soberly if "Mother" was going to be okay with us gone.
We climbed into a big ol' Oldsmobile, a 1958 punked out with Jet Fighter Wings and a motherlode of Chrome, and within 10 minutes we were hopelessly stuck in a muddy field. It was a short cut Dad had been using to get onto the Blacktop from the house.
To think that moments before I had been concerned about "Mothers" welfare.
"Ahab, beware of Ahab."
This is my first memory.
We spent the whole afternoon trying to get unstuck. We did not make it to the lake that day.I think it explains a lot about why Mom was always a little concerned for us, outside of just being a Mom. I'm sure that she was relieved that day, with us close by in the field.

One evening in Detroit, Dad shakes me out from in front of the TV.
"Come along here boy, I need some help."
He is grinnin' like a Butchers dog, has an empty Coffee can, and also his Headlight-Flashlight on. Its the business end of a flashlight attached to a headband that you wear on your head, a separate battery pack that clipped to the hip; it was manufactured in the 1940's and would be worth a lot of money now.
No, probably it wouldn't be worth much to anyone but me.
Dad kept it with all his Camping and Fishing gear in his Sea Chest.

Down the street we go in the dark, Dad looking like some kind of spelunker that has lost his cave. I have no idea what this one is about, but Dad always had some kind of project/adventure going. We get to Mr. Bowles house. Dads illuminating gaze is directed down, down into Mr. Bowles flower bed and laying on top of the ground are the Biggest worms that I have ever seen. They are almost a foot long, as big around as a pencil, and you can see the big blue vein though the Opaque reddish and tan wormskin. There must be hundreds of em'!
"Wow, thats cool Dad... what are they?"
"Night Crawlers"
"Night Crawlers?"
"Yes, and we are going to use them to fish with"
'Now that one there, where the light is shining, get him."
I take a step towards the bed and drop to my knees. As soon as I hit the ground, all the Night Crawlers, quick as lightning, zip into their holes. I had no idea that a worm could move that fast

"Out of the Blue..."
"You have to creep up on em' nice and easy" Dad explained. "They feel the vibratiions."
"...and into the Black"

We move down the bed to where there are more laying undisturbed.
Stealthily, I go to my knees and crawl up to where I can reach one.
"You're going to have be fast..."
"Yeah, Dad I get it!" and I try to grab the first one.

Not only do you have to be fast, you have to choose the right end of the worm to grab; you have to grab the end that goes back into the hole. Otherwise, all you get is mud. The worm is no dummy, and never comes all the way out of the hole, and stands ready to go below to safety.
You have to be smarter than the worm.
I got pretty good at it.
The Coffee can would be full of worms. A fishing trip would follow the next day, and what fish we caught with our worms!!!
We did not sit on a dock, catching Dad rigged the live worms to where we could troll them from the boat, and we caught Walleye, Pike and I even took a 4 foot Musky one day my, hey hey...
But the time spent simply gathering bait, being outwitted and outrun by a worm that was faster and smarter than us...
I would laugh, and Dad would chuckle...
during the 5 years we spent there...
Mr Bowles never seemed to miss his worms!

I didn't know then that one day I would be in charge of gathering the bait, planning the trip, packing the tackle and gear and even setting up and baiting Dads rod on what would be his last Fishing trip.

"Theres more to the picture
Than meets the eye
Hey hey, my my"

We Were All A Problem
There's an old magic Eight Ball
Right next to my plate
When I ask it a question
Regarding my fate
It says "reply hazy, please try again"
It wont say where I'm going
It don't know where I've been ….
but I'm right here now…
james mcmurtry

PART 4, 1975
I have heard it said that the bond between a Father and Son is a fragile bond, full of mistrust and fears and failures on both sides. By the time I graduated High School, the bond between Dad and I had been severely tested.

On Friday nights as I prepared to go "carousing" around, Dad would give me $10, and say
"Don't spend it all in one place!"
Every week the same conversation would ensue.
"Right Dad"
"What are you getting into tonight?" '
"Nuthin' I can't handle Dad"
"Well, just remember… that Wisdom… is the greater part… of Valor."
"Fer shure' Dad"
and within the hour I would have a $10 bag of trouble, which would greatly enhance my other vain pursuits, chiefly Sex and Rock and Roll. I didn't realize back then that Dad was really being kinda cool about the whole thing.

Those mornings years later, when we would talk as we ate breakfast, he referred to them as my "Wild Bill Cody" days. I definitely had the hair for it.
It took a some years, after the Diagnoses, after considering the years he spent severed from hiis family, splintered from even himself, living an unimaginable existence that could not be foreseen, that I came to realize what a problem I must have been.
Dad was a man of few words. He told good natured stories, clean bone dry jokes and used the ever present cigar for punctuation. He had a slow and steady cadence to his pattern of speech that allowed every word to sink in.
He met and married my Mother after returning from WWII. She had a 4 year old son, Don Lynn, and Dad legally adopted him, giving Don his name and his love.
Don told me a story about the first time that Dad was going to discipline him, and give him a spanking. Don could not recall what the infraction was, but this he vividly remembered:

"Mother, not wanting her child spanked, jumped to my defense.
'You are not going to spank my Boy!'
Dad turns and faces Mother and in his slow methodical way, says softly but firmly;
'We are start…right now. You are my wife…and this is MY son…and ..I am going to…to raise him as best… as best as I know how"

My first memory of Don was the day he snatched me off the front porch as I was taking a piss… Don came out all right…he graduated from West Point in 1964.

In 1982, Mom had a stroke. After a few weeks she seemed to be making progress, and I had been keeping Don advised, but he was able to come home from his station in Saudi and I was glad to have him there. During a late night conversation , I expressed regret at having been such a problem for Mom and Dad through the years. You know what he said?
"Steve, we were all problems."">

Pretty smart, my brother.
Sunday, February 18, 2007


Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say,
"Hello in there, hello.
"john prine

1984 Part 5

"He probably won't know what we are here for, or what has happened, but I'm glad for you to meet him just the same."
"Oh I can't wait, I know I'll like him"
"He's a great guy"
My new Wife just looked at me with that soft look that says "Of course he is. He must be".
The first year...anything associated with me must be great. Its just a shame that she will never really know, about dad I mean, but I don't say that. For now we can pretend that everything is the same as it ever was.
I was never sure what to talk to Dad about when I came and I wondered what Mrs. Bulletholes and he would find to discuss. I'm just hoping he will know who I am. We are almost to the VA Hospital, when new Wife says"How does this look?"
I glance over and she has unwrapped one of the cigars meant for Dad; she has stuck it into her mouth. It looks like a giant Gobstopper and her eyes are flashing blue as she shakes her shoulders, removes the Stogie and blows imaginary Smoke rings at me.
"Thats real nice Babe, he's going to like you a lot."

He is led into the visiting Lounge, he sees me and I see the recognition in his face, then he spies the New Wife and I see a little confusion.
"Dad, its me- Steve!"
"Steve? My son? Well, Ill be damned!"
I give a hug and motion to Wife...
"Dad, I want you to meet someone. I found an Angel Girl and I got married and she wants to meet you."
She steps forward with her hug and says her name.
Dad used to tell me when I was a boy that when I got married he would decorate my Car with cans tied to the back and honk his horn as we drove down the street. That was nothing compared to what he would give us today.You could see the wheels spinning as he tried to make all the connections... but it really didn't take that long for this weary mind to grasp the moment.
He looked at me then back to her and pulls her back for another hug.
"Well, let me welcome you into the family. You are a Bullethole now; you are my Daughter."
Mrs. Bulletholes cannot believe it. But she never missed a beat.
"Is it OK if I call you 'Dad" Dad?"
'"Sure. Do we have any Scotch?"
'They took my Scotch or we could have a Toast"
"No, but we've got these" and holds up a fistful of cigars.
Big chuckle from dad as he says "Now theres a good girl"

She has heard the stories and the warnings about how far gone this man is. The expectations are that we are going to confuse Dad, and in that confusion there will be a sadness and a sense of loss. Instead there is a sense of place and ...Redemption for all the years of waiting for a "Hello" and paying double for a line that has been disconnected.
Nothing could have prepared me for his sudden lucidity.
Had he been saving it, hidden in reserve for the moment he would need it?
Are we not all Psychic, with our brains operating like Time Machines, where information from the future influences events of the past?
I was so proud of him that day.
I always wonder if he knew how good he had done. Certainly he had recognized something significant.
Years ahead he would have another great day...
We sat, and as he talked, the Cigar was used to great effect. At times it was a Baton and he was the Maestro. As he and his new Daughter discussed her career in Sales, it became a Pen writing a new customer a letter of introduction. Then it was his Crystal Ball, as he gazed into it and declared that someday, somehow, he would "beat this thing" and find a way to move closer to us.
His family.
I wonder if he knew he had met a Hero that day.
His Hero, and mine.(to be continued)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I heard newborn babies wailin'Like a Mournin' Dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without Love
Do I understand your question, Man
Is it Hopeless and Forlorn
"Come in" she said "I'll give ya
Shelter from the Storm"
bob dylan

Part 6
On December 1st, my Mother died at home. She had battled Emphysema and Cancer for several years. On her birthday in 1982 she had had a Major stroke; after months in the hospital, she recovered enough to go home and from there her capabilities improved to where she could drive and be fairly independent.
She had tried to take care of my father in the year or two that he was in the beginning stages, she had tried to be able to keep him at home, but the effects of Alzheimers demand much more care than what she could provide. Putting her Husband into a VA hospital just must have been gut wrenching for her.
I remember a Christmas where she had gone down and brought him home. It must have been about 1980 or so. When I came over the next day, she had already taken him back. I got the feeling that she wasn't able to handle him being there emotionally and she had already taken him back to the VA Hospital, 100 miles from home.
She never tried that again.
Gut wrenching stuff.
In 1984 I married and the girl I married was an Angel. You have already read how she and Dad had gotten along and I want you to now that she probably added a year and much happiness to my mothers life as well.
The Xmrs B'holes spent a lot of time with my Mother.
The only wish or hope that my Mother really had, except for the hope that she would live to see some little Bulletholes, was that she die before Dad. If she had had to bury Dad, that just would have been too much.

We spent Thanksgiving '86 and the following weekend with Mom. She had begun to take Morphine to help ease the pain she was in from the Cancer, but we had a good Weekend.On Monday she started to fare badly, and that evening the Lungs just gave out.
I had to call the Police and Fire Departments, the Funeral Home and then began the task of calling family and friends.Finally I had to call work and it was my friend Jeff that answered the phone. Thats when I lost it. I could barely speak.
I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it was that Mom should go first.

March, 1987
We brought my grandmother home from a Nursing Home, hired a Nurse, set her up in the guest bedroom and hung Family Pictures all over the Walls. She had been in the Nursing home so long that she was like Dad, maybe worse. But after a few weeks, she began to come back; there were moments that she seemed to recognise us, and had become quite fond it seemed of certain pictures on the walls that we moved closer to her. Mostly it was the Pictures of my Grandfather, her husband. After about 3 months, she died. You can't imagine how good it felt to have brought her home to spend her last days with us.

A few months in the future, the VA Administration would move Dad from the VA hospital into a Private Nursing Home, setting the stage for the last part of this story.

"time is the echo of an axe within a wood"
philip larkin

Part 7
1987 The Conclusion

There were a lot of ways for this story to end, but they all really end the same, don't they?I think, all things considered, I could not ask for a better one.

November 1987
The night before Thanksgiving I was up all night , smoking a Turkey on the Grill outside.
I thought about how Mom had died less than a year before, in the room right in there.
I thought about how we brought Grandma home, and put her in the room right in there, and how when she died, we were right there with her.
We did not get a call from a nursing home 100 miles away... we were right there.
And as I watched my old friend Orion rising in small hours of the morning, I thought about the last 4 weeks, and what they had brought...

I had quit my job with a large Hotel.
I’d had enough.
While I served out my 2 weeks notice, my wife had gone to check on my father at a Nursing Home. The VA had had to move him to a Private Facility, and though they still picked up the tab, it put him another 50 miles further from home, and if we were to move him, they no longer would pay.
What my wife found on her visit set her already Red hair ablaze. The care at the VA had been spectacular. Now she found that within 4 weeks of being at this Private facility, he had bedsores and according to her ‘smelled like an outhouse with fecal material and urine on his bed and person”.
I want you to know that when the xmrs B’Holes gets her blood up, the shit will hit the fan. I can only imagine the coals that she raked those folks at that Nursing Home over that day.When she got back to town, we decided on this:
With Mom and Grandma no longer in need of Dads money and Estate, we would move him to the Nursing Home that was 2 blocks from our house.
To hell with the expense.
We entertained the notion of bringing him all the way home, like we did with Grandma, but that had been hard on us.So the next week, the day after my last day of work, I drove the 150 miles and removed Dad from the Nursing home from Hell, and brought him home, to the Nursing Home around the corner called the LaDora Lodge.
I had a Van, and laid the seats out in back with him on them. I straddled his chest, taping paper over the windows to keep the sun off him and as I looked down into those Ice blue eyes I said
“Are you ready to go home, Pop?”
His face came alive with knowing.... his eyes flashed and I knew he understood. It had been a long time since he had spoken, and he did not speak now ...instead he gave me his big belly laugh and a tear rolled from the corner of his eye.
After all we had been through I can tell you I would not trade that moment for anything in the World.
We were going home.
We got him to his new home and we visited and had visited everyday for the last two weeks. I also want you to know that the Xmrs B’Holes can talk the ears off a Wooden Indian and she talked to Dad like he had always been right there.
She is like a Superhero to me....

Its Thanksgiving morning.
I checked the Turkey; lookin’ good.
I checked Orion and he was where he should be at 5:00A.M.
The phone rang. Who could that be?
Its LaDora Lodge.
‘Mr. Bulletholes, I am sorry to be calling at this hour, but I thought you would want to know your father has passed away”

I like to think that Dad stopped by for a two week visit on his way Home.