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.