Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Cutty Sark, four fingers from a 6oz glass straight up, the summer after 9th grade.
I then tried to smoke waterbugs, thinking they were "just big 'ol roaches" and inflict myself upon Susan, who was spending the night with my sister. They tried to give me coffee my sister made, except she didnt know how to make coffee, and then they put me in the shower.
All this while my parents slept soundly.
I woke up the next morning, wet, covered in coffee grounds, with a black eye and a busted lip. I spent the next three days near death.

Friday, January 21, 2011


When I was in the fifth grade, about 1966 or so, there was a TIME Magazine that came to the house. I'll never forget the cover. There was a girl in a bikini, not a string bikini mind you, but one of those 60's Grandma style two-pieces. The headline for the Magazine said "THE NUDE LOOK".
So I picked up the magazine and took it into the kitchen where Mom was warming up the Totinos Pizza rolls for dinner and asked:
"Mom, what does "NUDE" mean?"
And she bustled over to the sink and washed her hands. I thought maybe she didn't hear me, so I stepped over to the sink and asked again:
"Mom, what does "NUDE" mean?"
And she looked down at the magazine, avoiding any eye contact with me, and she turned back to the stove to check on the pizza rolls. So I asked again:
'Mom, what..." but before I could finish, she said:
"Stevie, go wash your hands, dinner is ready."
I think about that all the time, that is to say, that little scene crosses my mind every now and then. The thing is, I already knew what nude was. In fact, upstairs under my toy box I had three Playboy magazines I'd found while out trash pickin' the week before. I'll never forget the day a few weeks later I came home from school and my little stash of Playboys was gone.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


About once a week I hear from someone in my past and am able to send them a message like this. This one went to a childhood friends mother; he had died last year and I had not seen him in 35 years.
Dear Mrs. Barnard;
Yes, I found out about Ken last year through Nancy Street just before the Reunion (it was my first to go to after 35 years). I had rather disappeared after High School, working as a Chef. I worked for Luminarias, up on the hill over the Turnpike for almost 4 years. Then I worked for Hyatt hotels for a long time, then Rivercrest and Shady Oaks Country Clubs. I got to be pretty good, carve ice and everything!
Mom and dad both died inside a year back in 87-88, and my grandmother as well. I had married in 1984, my mom loved her a lot, her name is Shila. she and I had two kids, 20 and 21, but we divorced in 1998. We remain very good friends.
I am not a Chef anymore, I write a lot these days, and if you look through my notes (almost 250) and picture albums you may get a pretty good idea of who I am these days.
I guess the best thing I can say about myself these days is that I have 912 days without any drugs or alcohol. They caused me a lot of trouble over the years, and cost me a lot of things I can't get back, but I am blessed to still be here and to have found another way to live.
It is very good to be able to tell this to people that I haven't seen in all these years.
I'm so sorry to hear about Ken. When I pass ya'lls old house on Cheryl I always remember the day Ken and I walked to Whataburger and got the biggest shakes they had.
They were huge, and we swore to have them every day for the rest of our lives!

Monday, January 10, 2011


"I think I'd make a great teacher so I'm going down to LD Bell High School and do a presentation so they will let me teach a class next year."
"Really Steve? I didn't know you had a teachers certificate"
"I don't. But I should, don't you think? Hell, I should have a Masters in something, one would think. And after I give my presentation they will want me, I'm sure of it"
"I dunno Steve. What's the class going to be about?"
"About? Its going to be about "Nothing". A class about nothing in particular and everything in general. I'll come in everyday and just decide what we will learn about that day. We can call it " "Nothing 101""
"Nothing 101" Steve? Do you really think they will go for that?"
"Oh sure! The kids will love it!"
"OK Steve, so supposing they do hire you what will you do your first day?"
"I dunno. Stuff. Maybe we could talk about pencils."
"Pencils, Steve? What do you know about pencils?"
"Well, I know a lot about pencils. Dad told me it was the pencil that ruled the world, that nothing got bought sold or built without a pencil. But I tell you what is really amazing about a pencil."
"What's that Steve?"
"There is no country on the face of the earth can produce a pencil all by itself."
"How's that?
"Well you gotta have rubber for erasers, wood for the body and graphite to go inside and there is no country in the world has all those materials available on their own."
"Steve, that's going to be some class!"
"I agree!"