Friday, April 29, 2011


“O.K.,” I said. “You’re basically alone. Your wife is still asleep”—he was then married, but not for much longer, to Marla Maples—“you’re in the bathroom shaving and you see yourself in the mirror. What are you thinking?”
From Trump, a look of incomprehension.
Me: “I mean, are you looking at yourself and thinking, ‘Wow. I’m Donald Trump?’”
Trump remained baffled.
Me: “O.K., I guess I’m asking, do you consider yourself ideal company?”
At the time, I deemed Trump’s reply unprintable. But that was then.
Trump: “You really want to know what I consider ideal company?”
Me: “Yes.”
Trump: “A total piece of ass.”

For the rest of the story, click here...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


  I'm so tired. I been so tired a long time. I used to pop up out of bed in the morning and feel like a million bucks.These days it takes a few minutes and a soak in the shower with my eyes shut before I get my legs under me. Then I feel like a million bucks, or at least I say I do because it helps. It really does help.

  I go in to work and I have the most boring job in the world these days. I'm almost catatonic when I leave. I get through it because its a job I cannot replace.
I'm too old to go a-whalin', too dumb to go to Harvard Law, and too young to retire.
And now I flunked my Testosterone Test. My doctor says that is why I'm so tired.

  What kills me is how old I'm starting to act. I come home in the evening and back-sass the weatherman on TV and feel good about that. I look forward to it. But a minute later I'll be sitting in my rocker, my head is rolling around because I am sound asleep, mouth wide open, with drool coming off my chin and down the front of my checkered shirt. I need a bib, or an attendant to wipe my face and roll me back into my room. I just about need a button to press to call the attendant.

  I have long conversations with friends about Health Care and what medicines we take.

  Now heres the capper. They replaced the Luby's Cafeteria around the corner with a new buffet called the Texas Firepit. But make no mistake...its still a Luby's and just the way Luby's was Great-Aunt Glesnal's favorite, the 'Pit has become my favorite place. I was there at 6:00 sharp 5 days in a row last week. I know half the waitresses by name now. I can walk to the Texas Firepit from my apartment. I wear my checked Bermuda shorts, striped polo shirt, white socks and loafers because I am old and crotchety and don't give a damn. Like grandpa, I've begun "dressing for comfort" either out of sheer laziness or complete ignorance - take your pick.

 If all that still doesn't make me old, this is a sure sign:
I've made friends with a table full of widow women down there.
They smile and wave to see me come in, and let me sit with them. I've even started dressing better when I go.
I can't wait to get there tonight.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Austrian Philosopher Wittgenstein to the two examiners of his Doctorate thesis at Cambridge:

“Don’t worry boys, I know you’ll never understand it.”
as he slapped them on the shoulders.
I like that.


my Testosterone test.
The good Dr. Strznik says this explains why I am tired all the time.
It may explain a lot of things!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


H&I Subcommittee Meeting
December 20, 20XX

Duly I arrived when I was approached by one of my fellow H&I Subcommittee Reps.. He proceeded to inform me that there were some rumors circulating concerning him and our group here at Last Chance Group. In keeping with our traditions of anonymity and placing principles before personalities, I will say only that I assured him that Last Chance still operates under the Third Tradition, that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using, and that there had been no motions before the group to bar him for being a jerk. Not yet,.
It was out of compassion that I (being a fairly crotchety loudmouthed opinionated old man with a lot of hair on my ass and thoroughly set in my ways) refrained from informing this person that my personal experience with him could possibly substantiate the first rumor, and he was lucky I didn't just go ahead and punch him in the nose..
As for the second rumor, I informed him that here at Last Chance we are still stressing the importance of the 12 Steps, that we will continue to do so until hell freezes over, and that the only reason we are out of Step Guides is that they have been on back-order since December 1st.
It is not my purpose to perpetuate the spread of these rumors, which I consider to be fairly innocuous if not irresponsible, immaterial and nothing more than idle chatter among loose mouthed people, but to give you a fairly objective and interesting report that might describe and illumonate some spiritual principles, or the lack of, as they present themselves to me in my H&I Experience.
That is all I have to say about that.

It was then presented to the committee that there are certain Chairpersons taking meetings to outside groups, from which there has been no report filed in many months. These Chairpersons have now achieved a “Renegade” Status and the Subcommittee will be contacting these folks forthwith to bring them back into the fold. This includes a Chairperson that falls under our jurisdiction here at Last Chance. This person is supposed to take a meeting to SpringXXXX every week, but without monthly reports it is impossible for the H&I committee to ascertain whether this is being done within their Guidelines, if at all.

Who is this renegade, this scofflaw who has gone “Rogue?” you might well ask.
It is none other than our own fearless leader who manages to fill many shoes and wear many hats: President, Vice-President de facto, Treasurer tempore’, Asst. Treasurer at large, Rogue Chairperson, President of Third Tradition Motorcycle Club, Sponsor of many and inspiration to all ….
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Petro!

In a secret meeting at an undisclosed location, I confirmed with the Petro the Rogue Chair that there is a meeting being taken into SpringXXXXevery single Monday night at 8PM, that these meetings meet or exceed H&I Guidelines, and that there are 6-8 people in attendance. Petro and I have determined that I will take his Report to the H&I Meetings, and submit them as a proxy Representative Chair.
Respectfully Submitted by:
 Bulletholes, H&I Subcommittee Group Rep.

Friday, April 22, 2011


All the man did was travel and talk peace, they said he healed folks too, and performed miracles and everyone was astounded, and he walked and he talked more peace, and made wine, and then he got to arguing with experts. See, that's the problem with an expert, no one holds a jealous grudge like ol' expert; you can water-walk and talk peace, raise the dead, wash folks feet, but the minute you get up involved with some experts and moneychangers; it just don't much matter all the healin' peacekeepin' feetwashin' you might do. They want the details, and good explanations, gonna whup you, whup you good get a confession-oops-get an explanation from you. An they no like your explanation those experts set you on lumber carry up the top of the hill and yes, there will be nails, and blood because mister, this ain't theatre in the round, no, them experts mean business. But the man traveled I say, and its hard to stop a travelin' man that talks peace, and they took him down wrapped him up and set him in cave, and when they went to check on him, he back to travelin', and they beheld angels said don't look for travelin' peaceful men among the dead, and then he left the peace talkin' to be carried on by us.

So I figure you can either be an expert, or you can talk peace, but I'm not sure you can do both.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I was a boy, I used to spend a week with my grandparents in Grandview twice a summer. Papa had a peach orchard of about 100 trees and several of them were mine. I had planted seeds from the peaches I had eaten years before, and now those trees bore fruit.

In the house there were jars filled with homemade peach preserves. They lined a very sizable pantry on the porch and shelves that ran along the stairway that led to the second floor. Papa had a huge cereal bowl that he filled with corn flakes every morning then topped with half a jar of peach preserves and milk. Then he would take a shot of Sunshine Prune Juice that came in a really cool looking green bottle. All the while during breakfast, the farm report would play from this ancient radio that sat next to the table. It seemed like there was but one weather report all summer long:
“Clear to partly cloudy and hot.”

People came by all the time to get some peaches, and anytime we went anywhere in the car we took peaches with us to give away. I think maybe Papa knew just about everyone from Itasca to Rio Vista. You know, Papa had all those peach trees, but I do declare that he never sold peach one.

Besides the orchard, Papa had a huge garden. It wasn’t quite a farm, though it seemed that way to me when I was a boy. He and Grandma grew most of the food they ate. There was always just a little too much okra and squash on the table for my taste, but what I wouldn’t give now for some of those black-eyed peas!

For Papa, the highlight of those summer visits was at the end of the week. On Saturday, before I left for home, he would take me downtown and get my hair cut. Back then, it was called a buzz-cut and left every hair in your head about quarter-inch long. Then the barber would splash some sweet-smelling rose water or tonic or something on you and remove the cover that protected you from all the hair that had been shaved from your head. He took a brush to any remnants off your shoulders. When you ran your hand across your head, it felt funny and gave you a chill up the back of your neck. Sometimes I thought my head resembled a peach after that haircut.

The whole time, Papa would be talking with all his buddies, so proud of the young man and the haircut taking place. As you stepped from the chair, the ol’ timers would tell Papa what a good looking young man he had there. The barber shop on Saturdays was the meeting spot for Papa’s buddies — the same buddies who always had two tables of dominoes going in Papa’s barn with a cloud of tobacco smoke and gentle smell of whiskey in the air.

One year, I think it was right after seventh grade and Kent State, when it came the last day at Papa’s at the end of the summer, he asked if I was ready to go downtown for my haircut. I remember looking up at him and saying:
“You know Papa, I’ve been thinking. I might want to let my hair grow out a bit.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face. You would have thought I’d cut his heart out.
I’ve been thinking all these years that Papa had that look on his face because he didn’t like long hair. But now that I’m older, I think maybe he had that look because he was going to need a new excuse to go downtown on Saturdays.

This was first published as a post titled "PEACH FUZZ" a few years ago. It is my second story to run in the Alvarado Star Newspaper. They titled it "Summer visits meant peaches and haircuts" which I am not really wild about, but it is assumed they know what they are doing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"Tonights the Night” by Rod Stewart

Heres a guy that wears Seafoam Green lame’ pants, a frosted blonde hairdo, and treats jewelry the way Tammy Faye treated make-up.
Look at that androgenous look on his face; he just wants to be touched and he doesn't really care by who. If you look closely you can see he has at least been vaccinated for something.
Sometimes I let a bad song pass because maybe it helped get me laid, but I just can't do that here.
Its bad enough that Rod threatens to kidnap you and keep you hostage with these frightening opening lines:

“Stay away from my window
Stay away from my back door too
Disconnect the telephone line”

That's creepy.
Its hard to stop a man wearing a waist bracelet.
But did we really need to suffer through all the moanin’ and groanin’ going on at the close of this song?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


So here comes Pam Paul at the Key's Lounge "Buddy Whittington and Rusty Burns Show",  runnin' up to me, her eyes buggin' out like Roger Rabbit, cheeks bulging and clutching her throat. I figure that either she is jealous because I have brought a date and intends to strangle me, or else she might be choking. I quickly deduce that it must be the latter, as she has begun to turn a Smurfish blue.
"Pam, are you OK?"
She shakes her head no.
"Pam, are you choking?"
She shakes her head yes, vigorously.
'Pam, will you consent to me performing a Heimlich Maneuver, without the fear of lawsuit or litigation should this all end badly?"
She rolled her eyes and shook her head yes.

I hollered 'Someone dial 911" just to cover my bases because that's what they taught me  in order to get my First Aid Merit Badge way back when.
I got behind Pam Paul and grabbed her up good with my arms around her, up under her breasts, bent her over a bit and I squeezed like all get out; I think the technical term is "Abdominal Thrusts"; and I could tell that first thrust didn't do no good, so I said:
 "Are you ready for another one baby?"
and she shook her head and I give another abdominal thrust and I could tell that didn't do any good either 'cause nice soft little Pam Paul was still hard as a bicycle tube under that blouse and I was just about to give her another good abdominal thrust when I look up to see Snow White Miller standing there (she was wearing the most gorgeous arctic cream colored fuzzy fluffy sparkly deep fluffy turtle necked top that accentuated her pixie face and magnificent fluffy bust line, and ridin' pants tucked into some kinda knee boots like I never seen before, she's a real number, that Snow White Miller is) and she is looking at me all aghast like "What the hell are you doing to Pam Paul?" as though I am acting out a modern day "Rape of the Sabine Women" and I tried to get the guilty look off my face and said:
"Its not how it looks Snow, I promise"
and gave one last deep abominable thrust and *POOF* out came the Fajita Nacho Pam had swallered whole and Pam's body relaxed, began to deflate, her cute smile returned to her dimpled face, her color restored and she could breathe again.
She was back to lovely.
And that's how I came to save Pam Paul's life last night.
I was a Chef for 25 years, but this was the first time I ever did a Heimlich.
Pam came to me a little later and said "Ooooh, Steve, I'm still shaking" and I winked at her-
"Me too baby, I need a cigarette!"

Monday, April 18, 2011


I've had this picture for months. You'd think after blogging for 5 years, and reading posts by Davy and UF Mike, that I would be able to come up with some kind of crazy story to go with this picture, but I just absolutely have no talent for fiction.
You can tell it is a Maneater, a rogue, and once a squirrel gets a taste for man-flesh people will come up missing. Even thats not original; I stole it from Souby

Or there is a really bad joke about a squirrel hunter in East Texas that knocked squirrels out of trees, stone cold dead as they hit the ground, just on the virtue of his being so ugly. When asked if he knew anyone else ugly enough to kill a squirrel, he indicated his wife was, but she couldn't come squirrel hunting anymore because she was SO ugly it tore 'em up too bad, and there was nothing left of them after they seen her.

There were squirrels in our neighborhood in Detroit, and the brown ones could be tamed with a bag of nuts to the point they would eat out of your hand. The black ones, well, they never did seem to trust nobody, but in Detroit in 1967, how could you blame them.

Anyway, thats about all I know to say about this really funny picture.

Friday, April 15, 2011


3) Chris B. wants to know what to do to make smoking meetings more tolerable, they are way rank. I asked if we could ban cigars, and several smokers in the group suggested the rest of us simply stop breathing.


I started this blog almost five years ago to try to learn to type better, and to try to improve my writing skills to where I didn't send out as many dipshit unreadable E-mails as my co-workers. The next thing I knew, I had myself a full blown hobby. At times I may have written myself out of some dark and misty places. Along the way I picked up some pretty good friends that I will likely never meet, yet we may know each other in ways that folks that see us every day do not.

But writing, it was fun. I had a run a while back where I did like 320 posts in 340 days. Then I slowed considerably on the blog, but continued pretty heavy on Facebook.
And like anything else in this world, its who you know  as much as what you know.
I met a woman on Facebook a while back, and she became Editor of a weekly newspaper, the Alvarado Star. And she saw some of my stories, some of which take place around Alvarado and she wanted to use some of them in her paper because of that. My grandparents lived in the vicinity for 60 odd years, and I have relatives around Alvarado dating to 1850.
Yesterday, they published one of these stories. Here is the link, and a picture of me large enough that it looks like I could eat Tokyo, or at the very least a Bowling Alley.

I do not get paid. . My hope is that I will get to do more stories for the Alvarado Star. The payoff is that sometimes I can write a story that will bring fond memories back to folks that read them. That always makes me feel good, and I usually know it when I have done it, though I don't really know anything about writing
But the Grand Prize for me will be when someone that knew my grandparents, or their parents that settled and lived and farmed and died here; or my father when he was a boy; or Uncle Harry who allegedly never drove a car but preferred to ride his horse right up till 1970; the Grand Prize will be when someone reads a story of mine and says:
 "I knew your grandparents Steve, I remember them well "
and then, THEY can tell ME a story. I would like that maybe more than anything in the whole wide world, so much the thought brings a lump to my throat.
Yessir, that would be the day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


She called me Monday to confirm our appointment on Tuesday.
'How have you been Mr. Bullets?"
"Doc, I hate to say it but I think I gained weight again"
'Thats not good"

The reason I told her I might have gained weight was because even though for one week I had played tennis twice, gone dancing twice and played two hours worth of softball, the last week I had done nothing but walk from the car to the couch.
But when I weighed at the scheduled appointment I was surprised to find I had lost 4 pounds!
Four pounds!
I was so excited that I gave her a high five, and they had to recheck my blood pressure.

After I consult with her for thirty minutes, the Doctor always comes in and consults with me. He was right pleased I had lost weight, and my blood pressure checked good on the re-check, and he asked about my diabetes numbers, which also looked good.
'Have you had a Testosterone Test?" he asked.
"No doc, do I need one?"
'Well, if you are low on testosterone, sometimes that can affect your blood sugar, and if we get those levels corrected we could possibly reduce your diabetes medicine."
"Well how about that doc!" says I "And maybe that would explain why Mr. Happy ain't as happy as he used to be" and I pointed down to my crotch.

I've told you about Dr. Strznik before. He has that loppy-jawed Jack Elam eye, and the one happy eye, and I always manage to crack him up. His eyes started this chameleon spin thing they do and he chuckles and leaned back in his chair and says "Are you having trouble with your erection Bulletholes?"
"Well Doc, its hard to say because I haven't really needed one in some time now, because I just seem to be better off by myself these days. But I can tell you that when I am by myself, things just aren't the same as when I was a little boy, if you know what I mean. In fact they aren't the same as about a year ago."
"Well, Bullets, would you like something to help fix that?"
"I don't know Doc. Do guys come in here and get that stuff just so they can have a better know... a better time all by themselves?"

And ol' Doc Strznik, he just busted out laughin' and his eyes we're doing that kaleidoscope thing and he says;
"Probably so, but none of them ever do say so".

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Clear to Partly Cloudy and Hot Today"

Whenever I think of Grandview, I think of sitting in the kitchen in the morning and grandpa had this big black tube radio that took halfway through the Farm and Market report to warm up; it was ancient, this leather clad radio with a weird dial, and sometimes there would be fuzz and feedback and grandpa would give it a backhand saying "cock-eyed radio". He wasn't really angry, it was just part of the routine, the same routine we had while watching Big-Time Wrestling on Saturday nights when he would seem to verbally joust with Dan Coats, the very excitable ring announcer.

"Johnny Valentine has the referee Bronco Lubich caught in the ropes . He's going to hit him with a chair!"
"A chair" grandpa would repeat, in disbelief.
"While Fritz von Erich is knocked out cold in the center of the ring " Coats would gasp.
"No he's not" grandpa would respond, dryly.
" But here comes Wahoo McDaniel!"
the very excited Dan Coats would say, and my grandfather, much annoyed by this, would mumble back:
'Here he comes"
and then Dan would say with some surprise
"Wahoo is doing his War Dance! Wahoo hits Johnny with a huge Tomahawk chop!"
and grandpa would say, with real disgust in his voice this time
"It was HUGE alright"
And Fritz would revive himself, pin Johnny, and Coats would get closure, then they would break for a Kissinger's Discount Auto Parts commercial and grandpa would mumble "cock-eyed Kissinger's" and get up and smile at me and we would go get some more ice cream with peaches from the kitchen.

And every morning you looked out the window and saw the heat waves start coming off the shed roof, and the radio would whine, and you could almost feel the black gumbo dirt slowly cracking open underneath your feet because that's what it surely would do. You could look down into those cracks later that day and I'll swanny, you could almost see clear to China. Some folks call it Blackland soil; the Blackland Railroad operates out of Sulphur Springs. They make a beer in Iowa called Black Gumbo, named after this soil, which is a marine sediment. I remember when I was a kid you could always find cockle shells in the garden, and little clams too. They got black gumbo dirt up all the way to Montana, and Dinosaurs and other critters have been getting stuck in it for 150 Million years.
You might think you seen mud, but you have never seen anything like black gumbo. You don't dare walk across it when its wet. You will end up with feet that weigh 50 pounds each before you get too far. Cattlemen say its hard to run a lot of cattle on this soil during a wet winter, so many get stuck, and there is a concern during the summer that an animal might get swallowed up in one of those cracks, or least ways break a leg.
But it is very rich for agriculture, and grandpa used to say you could stick a crowbar in it and the next day have Mercury dimes.

But grandpa would backhand the cock-eyed radio, the Farm Report would be pork bellies down five cents, beef up about the same; it looked like it would be a real good year for sorghum, but a poor year for cotton . Somewhere probably, Johnny, Bronco, Fritz and Wahoo were all having breakfast together, and the weatherman would drawl the same thing every day:
"Clear to Partly Cloudy and Hot today".

Monday, April 11, 2011


They always said my Grandma was the first woman to have a drivers license in Johnson County. I don't know if its true or not, they always said a lot of things but I'll tell you what is true.

Grandma made the best scrambled eggs I ever had.
She had this little Cast Iron Skillet, it was just my size when I was 4,and she would put it on the stove next to the strangest coffee pot I ever saw. It was glass,with a top and bottom, and the water started out in the bottom and it moved up to the top as you watched, and passed through the grounds and finally ended up as coffee in the top. It was a magical thing to behold, and even though I understand the physics of it today, there is still some mystery left within the memory. I've never seen another coffee pot like it, ever.

But back to grandma and those eggs. Her trick, that is to say what she did that made them so good in my eyes, was she would cook them till they were a little brown. My momma cooked them for me like that too, but she didn't have that little black iron skillet, and they just weren't the same. Especially after Grandma reached into the icebox, past the row of six-and-a-half ounce bottles of Dr. Pepper, and pulled out a little Grape Jelly to put on my eggs. Mama never did that.

Grandma would let me help her in the garden. She showed me how to clip off old blossoms on her Roses, and how to snap the little buds off the Mums, explaining how this would make the remaining buds bloom into bigger flowers. She was a member of the Grandview Garden Club, and had a flowered bonnet and friends that came by while we were outside to talk to her, and take a good long look at me. Then we might go hang some laundry on the clothesline, or she might take me to the Crawdad pond, right there south of the house before you got to the High School.

I remember one day after hanging the laundry she went back inside the house to get a string and bacon and a safety pin so we could do just that. I got a little bored waiting for her to come back out, and started to shaking the T-Shaped Laundry pole. It made a funny buzzing sound, and the laundry bounced up and down on the pins clipped to the wire, and the whirring buzzing sound got louder and I shook shook shook the heck out of that pole and then my grandmother was there at the back door to the house and waving her arms and hollering something but I couldn't hear what she was hollering because the buzzing sound was so loud and then I saw a hornet. And another hornet and another, and I started running as fast as I could because now there was that loud buzzing and a cloud of hornets all over my head and they were stinging me as I flew towards the house where Grandma was hollerin' for me to "stop shakin' that pole".
Because there were hornets in there.

What really kills me though, what I think of most when I think back on this, is how no kid in these days of excess would be happy with one little six-and-a-half ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


"If you see her, say hello"
In the 9th grade, she sure could wear that choker.
We were the standard for a couple kids going steady back then; matching shoes, shirts and pants; rode the same bus to school; Friday Night couples skate down at Skateland; but we had the added bonus of her being my sisters 2nd best friend which meant...

Friday, April 08, 2011


Tootie, she is my long lost friend from High School. She was a nice girl when I met her and she was a nice girl when I saw her last, all those years ago, except she had learned, among other things, how to smoke a little pot.
She says her first time was  with me, in my car, at the All Saints of the Resurrection Church parking lot in the rain, with "Dark Side of the Moon" playing. I had been trying to get her to have a toke for some time. I was leaning against my door, legs outstretched, and she was leaning against her door and I twisted one up and lit it. The car was a 68 Impala rag top, and I imagine the top leaked and the interior filled with smoke, and we got stoned and made out. That's what I liked to do the best, was get stoned and make out. It didn't matter much if it was "Dark Side of the Moon" or 'Ten years After". But I probably took Tootie home, still a nice girl except for having smoked a little pot and done a little smoochin'.

She told me later that the next day she had gone to the lake with her family. They had a boat out at Possum Kingdom Lake, and they all went skiing. She was in her swimsuit. Her mother started giving her the hairy eyeball.

"WHAT IS THIS?" her mother asks. She moves Tootie's hair from around her neck, revealing a deep purple bruise right at the nape of her neck, just over the collarbone.
"What?" says Tootie, covering the bruise with her hand.
Their eyes lock. In my mind I can see the guilty look on Tootie's face and the wheels spinning in her mothers mind....

Tootie still smoked some pot with me after that, but she never let me make out with her anymore.
And I never did get to go skiing with them at Possum Kingdom.


Angeline, Angeline
darker nights I've never seen
I don't love these East Texas pines
where I can't find my sleep
in the shadows so deep
dark as these doubts in my mind

slow train down the tressle goin East 'cross the Neches
like the one I got off of a long time ago
outside of a little town where I never meant to settle down
not knowing the seeds I would sow

barefoot in the autumn weeds, cotton dress hanging to your knees
to the eyes of a stranger you offered a smile
I went to work in your daddy's fields didn't seem like such a bad deal
least it would do for awhile

we were both young and unabashed we took what life offered
when the folks were distracted or too tired to care
with a frost on the land the fates forced our hand
your dresses fit tighter with the spring in the air

now I watch the trains rattle on from the seat of the tractor
your daddy's old harness still hangs in the barn
and your mama don't like it that our children all scattered
she swears its my blood
it was not meant to farm

and you and I don't talk alot; we don't really have to
we spent many years reading each other's mind
we used up the lightning now we don't bother fighting
such things will happen in time

Angeline, Angeline
darker nights I've never seen
I don't love these East Texas pines
where I can't find my sleep
in the shadows so deep
dark as these doubts in my mind

james mcmurtry

If ever I'd like to plagarize a song this would be it. Down in East Texas there is the Angeline National Forest, an almost inpenetrable pine thicket where the quiet can almost be deafening and the stars and moon are lost in the tall canopies, creating a darker night than you have ever seen. There is the Angelina River, and the Neches too,  that McMurtry references, with weatherbeaten barns and scattered families, broken down tractors and battered old harnesses, and the Neches just runs silently through the whispering pines.
Unlike McMurtry, I dearly do love those pines.
My mama's side is from down there, and he could be singing about them. Quiet people, capable of sitting in a room or on a porch for hours at atime without saying a word, fully content with their lot.
"Such things will happen in time."

Thursday, April 07, 2011


A long time ago I had a briefcase full of notebooks with Poetry I had written. It was all very painfull, and mostly plagarized, and the ones in red ink were the worst. You should be very glad that I lost it.
I am.
I'm glad its gone.
I wish I had it back.
Ain't that just like poetry?


You know, sometimes when I chair meetings I wonder what some of the old timers think, the way I act so crazy sometimes. Well, not so much crazy as much as I'm just so good at it. I'm a good reader, and a good talker, and my years growing up in Michigan gave me that midwestern accent which I can turn on and off at will. I'm also quite animated, if you can imagine, as well as being a loudmouth. But I'm a funny, happy loudmouth, and  I can make my voice sound like a Game Show host at just the right times.
But there is more to chairing a meeting than having a good voice. As Chairperson, you pick and present a topic, and I'm good at that too. Maybe the most important thing a chair does is to sit back and shut up after the topic is presented, and let the meeting find its way, and to make sure that whoever is sharing has your undivided attention, because you set the example for everybody else.

But I wonder sometimes, what the Old Timers think. Guys that have been around for 20 years and always come off serious as a Heart Attack about everything. Not everyone is supposed to be a loudmouth, not everyone can do that, and sometimes I feel uncomfortable when my personality just takes over and I start in being carefree, laughing, foolish and wise, and I look over at Yak-Yak and Digger, two guys with about 50 years clean time between them, and they are almost scowling at me with Zero appreciation for my jollility..
So yesterday, when it became obvious that we needed a chair for the noon, and L'il Christie asked me to do it, I said "I really just wanted to listen. I really don't feel like putting on the "Steve Show" today" and of course everybody laughed and then Petro, the tough lookin' no-nonsense President of the Third Tradition Motorcycle Club who sometimes looks at me like I'm nuts, he says:
"But I LIKE the Steve Show"
So how could I refuse that?
Its not easy being me , its really not.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Whenever I think of Grandview,  I think of sitting in the kitchen in the morning and grandpa had this big black tube radio that took halfway through breakfast to warm up; it was ancient, this leather clad radio, and every morning you looked out the window and saw the heat coming off the shed roof, and you could almost feel the black gumbo dirt slowly cracking open; you could look down into those cracks later that day and I'l swanny,  you could almost see clear to China; the announcer on the radio would drawl the same thing every day "Clear to Partly Cloudy and Hot today".

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Oh lord yes, this Tenth Step is such a pain in the butt, filling out this whole long list, not so much because I have some hard thing to put on my personal inventory, but because yesterday was a quiet, sheepish, lazy day, where I tried to recover from my softball injury (I had taken a hot shot to the shoulder) and did a physical inventory of the Stockroom at work (without incident or complaint, mind you) and then went to dinner at the Fortune Star Buffet, where I got the really scary looking Waitress, the one that looks so Communist with her hair up and Red Uniform with sandals, and that wry smile that is not a smile, but a smirk as if she knows I am not a member of the Party but a Capitalist pig, a fork-using member of the Capitalist Pig Party, but she is depending on my wallet tonight to make her living while the MUZAK plays 'Flower Drum Song". I keep imagining four big Chinese Henchmen to come out from behind the beaded curtain beyond which lay the kitchen, for the purpose of torturing me in some Oriental fashion, but instead its just her nephew, a smiling buck-toothed black eyed little guy named Ed, bringing Hot Tea for the couple next to me. They know how to use their Chopsticks, and I have to wonder if they might be Comrades to the Waitress, but finish my dinner quickly, pay my bill without incident and drive back home to settle in to watch and record Part Two of "Ken Burns 'The Civil War".
I didn't have a blank tape, so I taped over "Amistad". I guess that was the worst thing I did all day, right there.

But I got my list all filled out. Thats fifteen days in a row now.


She looks like my old girl Cross-eyed Myra.
Same hair, Cross-eyed Myra's hair looked like that always, and it was a good look for Myra; wild, untamed and unpredictable. But thats not the only thing what reminds me of Cross-eyed Myra in this picture.
Nobody ever accused Cross-eyed Myra of being good looking, but she had great meaty beaty bouncing breasts and if you cinched 'em up in a top like that, thats how they would look except she never cinched em up, they always hung wild and free slouched in a halter. But thats not all what that reminds me of Cross-eyed Myra in this picture.

Myra was Sex-crazed and rambuctious. If you started out in bed, you wound up on the floor. Myra lived just a few houses down from me and would call me whenever her parents left.
"I'm having a party" she would call on the phone and say, and you were the party, which started right when she opened the door, and you may or may not ever make it all the way to the bedroom. that was the only thing predictable about Cross-eyed Myra.

The lights stayed on pretty much all night every night in Myra's room. She was the physical embodiment of Robert Palmers song "Addicted to Love". Her teeth would grind, her hands would sweat, she bucked like a wild mare and her eyes would cross when she reached the moment of truth.

What really reminds me of Cross-eyed Myra about this picture is the mouth. Such a pretty, naughty smile. She looks like if she were to open her mouth, two Doves and a Canary might fly out.  Cross-eyed Myra smiled and looked at you just like that right before she ate you up.
I don't think I've left much out here.
No, thats not true.
I've left a helluva lot out.

Whew! F'n Myra!
Thanks Mike, for reminding me of Myra!

Monday, April 04, 2011


Today is the birthdate of Dorothea Dix, Union Superintendent of Nurses during the Civil War. She wanted plain looking women between the ages of 35 and 50 with no make-up or jewelry in order to provide a modest environment and keep them from being exploited by the wounded men (and the Doctors) , but by the end of the war her only question was "When can you start?".
She worked the duration of the war without pay.
At the end of the war General Sherman had this to say about her:
"She ranks me"*

Part Two of the Six Part Ken Burns Masterpiece 'The Civil War" on tonight, and continuing on through the week. I advise you record it.
It could help get rid of a pesky bill collector someday.

*Uh-oh-- occasionally I try to write these things up from memory, and after doing a fact check I find it was not  Dorothea Dix that General Tecumseh Sherman said this about. It was Mary Ann "Mother" Bickersdyke.

Friday, April 01, 2011


I smoked a pack a day for 30 years. I started out smoking Raliegh's, they came with a coupon on the back you could save up for valuable gifts, and it was the foulest smelling cigarette ever made. They really stank up an elevator; this was back in the day you could smoke anywhere, anytime. In line in a grocery store or looking through clothes racks at JC Penny's, there were no smoking regulations, it didn't matter.
For proof of this you need only look at the picture above, taken in the "Smoking Area" at my High School. My kids are astounded that cigarette smoking was part of the curriculum at LD Bell High School.
I even had a little saying too, that went like this:
"There are times that you need a cigarette, and there are times that you need a Raleigh"
"When would that be?" you might ask. Times like these.

It seemed mandatory to smoke a pack a day, and for 30 years I never varied from the 20 cigarettes that come in a pack by more than 3 butts either way. I could be drinking, drugging, fishing, sleeping, have Double Pneumonia, it didn't matter; I still smoked just about 20 cigarettes a day.
That's why it was a strange thing a few years ago when I looked up one day and became aware that I had only smoked half a pack this last 24 hours.. And then a week later I found that instead of having smoked my mandatory pack a day, this pack in my hands was at least 48 hours old with squares to spare.
A few months later I found that a pack of cigarettes was lasting me a week, and when I lit one up it tasted, in the words of George Carlin, "like crap", and after a few drags I was done. I'd make sour face and snuff the son-of-a-bitch out. I began to sense that I was losing interest in smoking, as if my body and mind were rejecting cigarettes because I was making no effort to quit and yet it was starting to seem like I didn't smoke at all, with no cravings or nicotine fits.

I woke up one morning without cigarettes, and determined to get a pack ASAP. I got home from work later that day and still hadn't bought a pack of cigarettes. Finally at 10:00 that night  I walked across the street and dropped a five-spot on the counter and walked away with a pack, a pack that I forgot to open when I got home and did not open till sometime the next day. Later that month I realized the half pack sitting on my dresser had been there for three weeks. I threw it in the trash.

Somehow God had taken cigarettes away from me. I think maybe they were about to kill  me, those cigarettes, but not until after they made me really sick first, and some Higher Power within me or without me had intervened.
I can't help it if I'm lucky.
Its been 3 years now, and I still wheeze a little when I breathe.

Smoking. I sure don't miss it one bit, and if I figure up the dollar figure on what I've saved the last 3 years its about $4,500 give or take.
You know what cracks me up? Seeing an Executive in a 3 piece suit probably makes 6 figures standing alone outside his office building blowing smoke rings with a look of supreme concentration on his face like he's really doing something.
He ain't doin' diddly-shit, 'cept standing in freezin' drizzle or scorching heat slavin' away suckin' a butt, and the minute he gets back to his desk up on the 16th floor, he's gonna want another one. 
Either way he's missin' out.
You can't get a Raleigh anywhere anymore.


Some of you may have read my stories about my mom and dad and the year that I lost them. Some of you may know my buddy Souby at Grit in the Gears. He lost his mom last week, and put up what I think is a marvelous story that he will treasure always. He tells it in his usual excellent style, and I could not help but smile with a lump in my throat to read it. It may not have been appropriate while reading a Eulogy, but I actually spewed coffee to hear what an imp his mother had been.
She hid it behind the lettuce.
Good for her.
Click here to read Soubriquets post...SHE"S GONE