Sunday, April 20, 2014

Put up your Dukes

When I was growing up there was no Redbox, Netflix, HBO or anything like it. The three networks played movies or we didn't see them. It was always something special when they played a John Wayne movie. It still is. We would discuss it at school the next day. Recount our favorite lines..." Liberty Vallance? Why he is the toughest man south of the Pickett Wire...Except for me!" Growing up in Central Texas being tough meant a good bit. Football was king. A great hit on defense was as much admired as a touchdown.
  "Allright!" the Duke bellowed. " We see how tough you are with a kid. How are you when they come a little bigger?" That still gives me chills...Beating up some one smaller or weaker was nothing. Less than nothing. But at my house getting beat up wasn't a good thing either. When I was in 5th grade at Meadows grade school on Ft.Hood we had a test. We then passed our papers to the kid to our right. We graded each others paper.I got the paper of a kid name Stacey. He thought he was tough but he made an F on the test, that I had the pleasure of grading. I was a smarty pants even back then. So I raised his paper with my very big hand written F on it and showed the class..Well the guy guy with the F that thought he was tough was waiting on me when I made an exit from school. With out alot of fan fare he kicked my butt right outside of the exit door. In front of everyone.  Then I ran like hell and he chased me down then choked me! This was not a good day, but it wasn't over:/ At home when my dad...More to come on him later..heard my story he was mad at me! Not the evil Stacey, but at me! I was told to beat him up the next day and report back to him...A lie never crossed my mind...That didn't work at our house. The next day I waited for the evil Stacey and ambushed  him like he did me. He ran like I did, but I didn't chase him down and choke him. I counted my blessing and went home and reported to my dad..... My dad. well. If Albert Einstein was your dad and you said how smart he he was would you be bragging?
   In a world of very tough men my dad stood out.One day when I have time for the story  I will tell about the KKK calling ....After  high school I joined the Army. A few times after a day of training instructors pulled me aside to see...if he was my dad. They day I graduated Airborne school I was told to report to the senior NCO. He invited me to his house where we drank beer and he told me stories. The one he took the most pleasure telling was this in a nutshell.  When my dad was sent to Korea they were on a bus and all the Koreans got mad and a fight was unavoidable. My dad got up and ran to the front...This guy thinks, Oh the new guy is a coward! But at the front of the bus my dad throws the bus driver out of the bus an locks the door so the others cant get out! Must I tell you how the fight ends??
   Once my sister came home and something wasn't right. She had broken up with her boyfriend and he broke a pool stick across her back..In the middle of supper he just looked at me and shrugged..My cue to drive into town and take care of things. I did.It was my first time to set in the back of a police car. For fighting. I was let go. But I was learning our way of life.
   Years later I was in town with my brother. I think him and his friends were drinking(wink wink not me mom). This guy way lays into Jason as he is trying to pull himself free from a sweatshirt. Guys on ourside try to jump in and give Jason a chance but the big ole guy not our friend announces" No one is breaking this up!" I said nothing. I know my brother..In a matter of seconds the tables are turned and my little brother has the tables turned on the older guy, beating him to pieces. Old what's his name tries to step in but I stop him with his own words..No one is breaking this up!
  This is all background.  In THE SHOOTIST a great movie. John Wayne, the Duke's last movie: ' But Doc you said I was as strong as an ox." Doc.. "But even an ox dies"......John Wayne died not long after the movie.
   When I heard my dad had cancer it really did't bother me much. It didn't. I thought he would beat it.
Today I talked to an old friend that I have known for 40 years. We were just shooting the bull as it is called. Her son was there and she mentioned something like.." I told you he could kick ass" or something like that. I was flattered because I really never was around her in my wild days. Then I started thinking.. Her Dad was a CSM in the army, so was mine. Those guys were tough when and where it counted.
   I drove Carl home today and on the way back, just scratching an itch...I notice my arms are nothing like they were 10 years ago. Last night at 3 am I woke up coughing  so bad I didn't go to sleep for hours. I have never been the weak link. I have never had to question can i do it..I guess I don.t fell like Superman tonight.  I dont like.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

You can't make old friends

" When somebody knocks at the door, someone new walks in, I will smile and shake their hand, but you can't make old friends"

  After a Saturday of me working when I really didn't want to, and I never do, then moving furniture, because the couch really does need to be closer to the tv, we sat down for some Netflix. No,not me and my high school sweetheart, she is on her 4th marriage somewhere in Texas. Not me and Carl, he was 20 feet away online playing a video game in his room. Not me and Sandra Bullock, she is still playing hard to get. It was me and Larry.We met in 1976 at Sunday school.Yea i know ,but it Was Sunday school. I met Larry, Jim Caldwell, Sheri Gordon and Sheri Wright. Lou Langston and Dyanna Adair. If I wasn't afraid of going to hell I would have went anyway's because of the great looking girls! But through the years it was me and Larry that stuck.
   Larry set me up with my first job. He was going off to church camp. Don't laugh, he did go to church camp! So I learned to thread the projectors at the Gatesville drive in. He went to camp and I kept that job for over 4 years, right up until the day I joined the Army. Larry joined with me. We were top bunk, lower bunk in basic training. We were roommates in airborne school, where we by chance had our only fist fight because he didn't think I made my bunk up to par...Then after the Army we went off to Jr. College. Larry finished on time but I stayed around while he moved on to Baylor. Finally the MCC people told me to move on so I went to Baylor also. Larry hooked me up with a great roommate Bill Jess. But we were not done. We had the same boss for awhile working at a Waco movie theater. She became my first wife, so I guess we know who her favorite was!
  For many years the married life kept us busy. He lived around Waco I moved to Oklahoma. He got a "few" divorces's then went Iraq as a truck driver where he fell off of Sadaam's palace wall and broke his damn neck.
  He stayed with one of his sisters in Las Vegas until he got semi-better then he moved to Oklahoma City.Then he moved in here.
    All of this is back ground for us setting on the dang couch pulling up Netflix Saturday and watching the first three episodes of Cheers and laughing our asses off! In between episodes he said ' Who would have thought 20 years ago we would be setting her watching tv together?"
   Old Friends, Lord when my work is done bless my life and grant me one, old friend...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

bad days?

On Saturday I threw a hissy fit. It started as a dang bad day and I really have not had a kick the dog, flip the bird, cuss in public fit in a while. But like they say about riding a bike.....
    Early I went to the bank to deposit my check. Easy enough.  As usual I left my keys in my truck, hey this is Oklahoma City and I still trust the folks..But when I came out my doors were locked. I peeked in the windows and my keys were in the ignition. All Chevy's have a safety built in ...keys in: doors wont lock. Except Saturday.So with my trusty Iphone I look up lock smith. "As low as 19 dollars" So I called and what the ad meant was $35. I said ok they said 30 minutes. Waiting and hungry I walked across the street to Carl's Jr to get a hamburger. No one in the parking lot but a car pulled up. I am not in a hurry so I stay a second and hold the door let the couple in before me. Every one there knows these folks, take their order and shoot the bull. I wait. I look at the menu then the girl behind the register. A manager ask her" are you on break" she says yes. They all go back to talking and wont wait on me.I get mad and try to leave but try a locked door..No one will wait on me but all say "Wrong Door" so I leave without anyone trying to take my order...Then the locksmith comes up and charges me 50 for the once 19 dollar then 35.....Next I stop to buy a few things and my debit card is declined. Impossible I think I just deposited 700 dollars. The bank does not reflect this and is closed until Monday.....I wear my emotions on my sleeve. When I get mad...Well its easy to see. I am in my front yard cussing- i am very good at this, sorry mom-when a dang truck shows up with a roofing company's logo on the side...This poor dude is picking a poor time. Well I figure I might have slipped a few F Bombs to the computer I was talking to on the phone when I see the guy out of the roofing truck...Jody Madden. Friend is not enough of a word...more about that some other time.
   I haven't seen Jody in a year and a half and Carl was inside but some way they got me calmed down. I think food had alot to do with it.I really hated Jody, and Carl running into me while I was that mad. Me mad is not like Bill Cosby mad. I am not good to be around. So we went to Bruams for a burger and fries, and Carl gave me his ice cream.I was no longer the Hulk.
  Jody left, going back to Colorado, Carl ended up staying with my brother and his kids, so I chilled out.
The Oklahoma City Marathon started at 630 am and I met my sister in law and Carl to cheer my brother on. I had another friend running the race, a pretty little girl that I worked with for about 8 years, so I wanted to support her too.Oh..I am friends with her husband Kevin just so people who know me dont get the wrong idea....
   I guess my point is: what I thought was such a bad weekend at the start was really great. I got to watch my little skinny brother finish 3rd out of over 10,000 in the half marathon. His friend won the marathon. My buddy Sarah finished over 12 miles without training for it. These people inspire me.Then I got to spend all day long with Carl. We are addicted to NCIS so we watched alot of that on dvd. I went to visit my uncle Billy in the hospital but I am not gonna mention what most think until we get word.
    I started the weekend cussing at the phone , ended up hugging my boy in the front yard. All is well that ends well.
ps Carl going to his moms is the worst part of my week every week. Not because he doesn't deserve to be with her and need to be with her, it is because he has only been gone a few hours and I miss him. It is not real hard for me to get a little rowdy, or mad, or to find a little trouble on my own. It is hard when me and the boy are watching Gibbs and the crew solving crimes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Well the Boston trip had unexpected, unwanted tragedy and drama added by some sick individual or group. Terror will never break the American people so I want to take a moment and do what terrorist don't want us to do. I want to talk about the great city of Boston and the great people of Boston.
    Boston the week of the marathon is like an Olympic village. I must have talked to people from over 40 countries, all of them so excited just to be in the city of Boston for the the marathon. For many they have worked years just to qualify. Many worked years to save the money to come in from various countries on the African continent. I spoke to others from Japan, the Netherlands, Australia... But to tell you the truth the people from right there in Boston were just about as foreign to us..Well that is stretching it a little but not much!
On this trip was me and Carl, my nephew Teel, and cousin Sandy out of Mississippi , my mom who planned the whole deal , and the reason we all went my brother Jason who ran the race.
   Sandy is not really a hick like the rest of us but she was born and raised in Oklahoma so you get the idea of our make up. Me and Jason grew up in a part of Texas that still had party lines when were were young. My graduating class was eight his around 20. My mom grew up in Thackerville Oklahoma, a town of a few hundred people until the Indians built the worlds 4th largest casino in a pasture by I 35. I am not kidding about that. Carl my boy lives in Jones Oklahoma when he is not staying with me, and Jones has two gas stations and one red light.Sandy grew up in Ponca City and I do not know much about it except it is in Oklahoma and is not Oklahoma City or Tulsa so most like she would be considered a small town girl by most. Why all this background? Well our version of the Beverly Hillbillies just hit Boston!
   We found the people of Boston to be great! It started with the cab driver who answered around 4,000 questions from us in the 10 minute cab drive from the airport to our hotel. His accent was worse than mine so when I asked he said he was from Boston. Then I asked no before that? Oh Jamaica! But he considers himself from Boston know. I like that. The line in the hotel was very long. When it was our turn,before the girl could get us checked in and tell us all her spill I asked a question a long time coming : How far are we from Cheers? I know this girl must have had a long day and she probably had that question thrown to her a million times but she acted as excited as I was...." Oh we are close " she said and not only gave us directions but pulled out a map and showed us how she would go. I was expecting " the cab driver will know". But this girl loved her town. We were starting to also.
  After putting our things away we all decided to walk to Cheers. As we were walking around like typical tourist looking at tall buildings and pointing at sights strange to us, a young police woman on a very large horse shines a big ole smile at me-in my boots, wranglers, and black Stetson- and says "You are not from Boston!" ..It was pretty funny. I kind of wanted to get frisked but was with the whole family...
  We did eat at Cheers. We bought stuff, and we took pictures, but I did not drink a beer but I am taking Cheers off of my Bucket list. I was there and I was not disappointed. Good enough. On the way back a construction worker gave me a " Hi Tex!" All the kids laughed. Back at the Hotel some kid about 3 years old shrieked so loud I jumped then asked very loud "Are you a real cowboy?" I started to put on my best John Travolta impression on and reply " That depends on what you think a real cowboy is" but I figured an Urban Cowboy reference would go over a three year old head....
     We split up the big ole group sometimes. Once me and my brother went walking down the streets of Boston. I thought to my self This is a long way from Plumb Creek. We took cheesy pictures of each other in front of Fenway Park.
    I had a roomate in the army that grew up around 50 miles from Boston. He has worked their most of his adult life. Vincent Pedone spent all day Sunday giving us a great tour of Boston with insights of a local. I got to meet his two boys he he met my family. We did all the history stuff that I love then he took us to a 250 year old tavern for lunch, and it was out of the world great! Hope I can repay him some day down here.
   So Sunday morning we all go to church. Jason googles a church and we take a cab. Remember where we are from. Like a scene out of a movie we walk into a full to the back, all black church...Just saying it was different. Man the singing was out of this world. Same songs not same delivery. Think of a song sang by Pat Boone. A good singer. Now listen to that same song by Ray Charles.. You get the point..If not listen to America the Beautiful by Ray Charles...Man that was great.
  I was wearing normal stuff for me. Wranglers, boots, and a pearl snap shirt. These people were dressed up! I sneezed once and three different people gave Kleenex. I asked my mom for a pen but a woman behind us shot one out first. Some man rushed over to loan my mom his bible.We were very welcomed. They gave us a ride back to the hotel in a van. I met a young girl: Senior at Harvard. Two young but very shy guys...Students at MIT that the van picked up every Sunday. Less than an hour after the bombs went off Monday the church texted my brother to see if we were all right and if we needed anything...
   I have been to NFL, NBA. and MLB games. I have been to hockey games and pro rodeo as well as Nascar. Marathons stand up to any sport on earth as far as energy and excitement, and make no mistake...there is no place like Boston..Complete stranger scream encouragement to complete strangers for hours.. I mean real screams real energy!!! I can not express what it was like to watch my brother compete in a world class event against the best runners on earth.. Well over 20,000 people ran and he came in 322. And he is 40 years old. Check one off of his bucket list..a big one
  Last thing. Six people , six schedules, airlines hotels ...My mom made it happen without a flaw. She has never been afraid to take charge. Why should she, she is good at it.
  I know its a sad time. I hurt for the 8 year old and the other victims. To dwell on that is to let the terrorist win

Saturday, April 6, 2013


 I like alot of things. Football, pizza and beer come to mind. I like the smell of leather, and opening doors for people who do not expect it. I like boxing and black and white movies. I like pretty girls, and girls that don't know they are. I like hound dogs and Chevy trucks and Elvis. Some times I like looking at an American flag and fireworks so much it makes me want to cry. I like beef jerky and Bugs Bunny. I like oil paintings and movie posters, and I like reading..Yea I said it, i'm out of the closet I like reading. Books. With no pictures.
    My moms sisters were teachers so I got books for Christmas. I got books for my birthday, but heck I didn't know everyone else were getting Tonka Trucks and playdough , I thought everyone got books so I loved them. And I read them. I read about dinosaurs and hero's. I read about monsters   and villains and trains then cowboys...
    I went to a very small school and to those that went to a big school ...I had a very big advantage....very individualized help and VERY above average teachers. By far the meanest teacher was Ms. Lightsey and no person smart or challenged, rich or poor risked her wrath...but she taught literature and I was hooked on westerns. Louis La' writer ever...sorry Moses, not counting you. She used to bust me reading my  westerns all the time but never busted my b... well never gave me grief over it.Once I was in the principals office and another teacher asked her why she didn't punish me for it... she said at least I was reading..God bless you Miss Lightsey...
    Back before most people had cable and no one had internet I had a good racket going. I showed movies at the theater so I read books while I worked.I got INFO Please Almanacs for Christmas every year so I came across semi smart ..I was..still am ..pretty good at trivia.
  Some way I did get into a good University...Baylor. I made friend with some very smart , high achieving people there. I made just some good friends there. But from Jonesboro Texas to Baylor one thing stands out... Reading.. If you can read you can learn to do anything..Well maybe not read a woman....But if you can read the sky is the limit.. Read comics. Read Sports Illustrated , read the Bible, read your newspaper. Read the note that girl just sent you! read read read..
      I drive a truck now...yea yea reading did me well :) But now I listen to books on cd because I work 10-12 hours a day. Books on cd are not quite the same, but hey it is still information.
   There is really nothing like the written word when it comes from a master....Pick up something paper and read it...Thomas

Friday, March 22, 2013


   When I was getting off work today it was on my mind to get a haircut, a task I ended up not doing. But before I ended up not getting my haircut I had a flashback of getting my haircut when I was young. Back then guys went to a barbershop, and barbershops had a very distinct smell. I think it was the stuff the barbers smacked on the back of our necks when they were done, but I don't know that for sure. One thing I do know is barbershops smelled the same in Gatesville Texas, Ft Benning Georgia, Ft Bragg NC and Ft Campbell KY. I guess when I got out of the army I found out pretty girls gave haircuts too so I didn't hit as many true barber shops as salons..I guess that is 25 years of wasted great smells because I never dated any girl that cut my hair.
   So I ended up thinking about smells. Kids are missing out nowdays with the whiteboards because I love the way blackboards and chalk smell. Erasers too I guess, but I wasn't talking about the big rubber erasers we had on the first day of school. I do not like the way hospitals smell but that never would stop me from holding hands with a nurse if the time was right. I do not mind the smell of gasoline if I am mowing the grass or filling up but really don't want that around if I am eating pie with my hands. Oh the smell of pie is good, even if I am filling up or mowing grass. To me the smell of cut grass is the smell of playing highschool football, the second favorite smell of my life. Speaking of that, a football has a very distinct smell, and i love it. The smell of a football puts me in a "guy" mode instantly. I do not miss the smell of the 70's and 80's hair spray but I do kinda miss the look. If a person reads alot books do have a smell.. Yea, I am a fan. Not so much of a wet dog. I do not like the smell of tires, or oil. I do like the smell of wood burning and sawdust. People that have never been to a western wear store are really missing out on a great aroma not to mention the sight of cowgirls walking away! Locker rooms stink but what I wouldn't give to be apart of one again. I hate the taste of coffee but love the way it tastes. I hate the smell of beer but....I like to smell a horse but not so much a stupid cow. I do like the smell of gunpowder and to a lesser extent bleach. the best smells....
  Well the best smells I know, not being food just because, are...When I am two stepping and a girls hair is right there and clean smelling...oh my
   To me the best smell in the world is walking in to a small movie theater and that fresh popcorn smell hitting me! It is me at 16, it is theGatesville drive-in, the best time of my life...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

things that change your life

   The early part of my life I grew up on military post in the '70s. On base there were many things to do. Swimming pools, places to learn arts and crafts, day centers where kids could shoot pool or play basket ball or foosball. To acess all these things a kid had to have a military dependent ID card, the only catch was a little dude had to be 10 years old to get one. When I was eight and nine years old I figured once I received my ID card I would be a man of the world. I did reach 10, much to the surprise of some, and the ID card did set me free! It changed my small world.
    In 1976 my dad informed me that we were moving off base, to the country. I had never lived anywhere except on an Army base except summers I spent on my grandpa's farm. To help me adapt he bought me cassette tapes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Tom T Hall. He told my mom to buy me some boots, but that is another story-think dingo boots not cowboy boots. So we drove on, and on. I remember rounding a corner and my parents informing us...that is it on the hill. So we went from a duplex on a crowed street on Ft Hood Texas to 7 acres in the middle of central Texas, 50 miles from the nearest Mcdonalds . That kind of change does alter your world. So did going from a class size of 20 people to my graduating class of 8.
    Has your mom ever warned you about running with the wrong crowd? Well that year 1976 she drug my butt to church in Gatesville. Our Sunday school class was Me and Larry, Jim Caldwell, Sheri Wright and Sheri Gordon, and Lou Langston, and if you don't know these people let me say this: among these I was the wrong crowd. Oh and every time I though I was done with church or Sunday school Sheri Gordon would bring Dyanna Adair and I was a regular again! That was church, three time a week. I went to Jonesboro highschool five times a week and you really cannot lose yourself in a class of eight or nine people. Through the years we had a person or two come  or go but me,along with Heather and Lisa ( these girls deserve the medal of honor for putting up with us) Wayne Wallace and Thomas Everett Hill who we called Tom Tom because face it a class this small can have only one Thomas. Mark Breeden who despite trying hard to be a screw up ended up graduating from Annapolis. Ricky Helms fought me very hard to graduate 8th in our class but I am pretty sure my 2 in geometry put me at the bottom of our class. I hope he dosent read this since he has had a long career in law enforcement and might slap me in the slammer! A guy that was there most of the time but moved on named Robert Henson showed me that you could be a highschool tough guy without being a highschool bully. And Carl Beechly I still cant talk about much but I always said if I had a boy he would be named Carl. I met all these great people the year I moved to the country and being around really good people rubs off on a guy.
    Most kids cant wait to get off work so they can go play. Me and Larry worked at the Town and Country Drive( still open called Last Drive in Picture show), so we never wanted off. And we never took off very often. The drive in was owned by Gene Palmer and run by his brother Don. If I was going to be caught in the Ground Hog Day dream I would just pick any day at the theatre and relive it day after day. Gene and Don and Cheryl treated all of idiots so good it really did change my life. Good times or bad they treated us good because that is their character. The Palmers did't have to try, or remember to treat people good they just did it. I think with out working for them I would be like that goober from Hell's Kitchen..I worked at the show until the day I joined the Army.
  Many other things have changed my life but I have to wake up at 4am so I guess those are tales for another time. Why am I writing this tonight. In about an hour and 15 minutes my little boy turns 13. At times in my life I have been mean. I have been bad. Been broke. I have had good times and pretty low times, but since March 15 2000 I have been a dad. It truly is the only thing I have every taken seriously. I have had two marriages and divorces and both times I can take the blame. But I do have a love story that will last forever.
  Happy birthday to my boy Carl Jordan cake!