Wednesday, December 22, 2010


several things to report:
1. local newspaper has an advertisement from the Corley Funeral Home. Now this place runs an adv. every day in the local paper. Always, they include a photo of a dog from the pound. "Come adopt this dog." Today's dog was named: MORTICIA.
Now, I think that is funny.

2. There was a lunar eclipse this week. Around here it came to view about 1 a.m. plus 30. I ask you: why can't they get these lunar events during the daylight hours when I am awake?
3. Saw a guy at the Sirloin Stockade in Roud Rock last Sunday. His "dress" T-shirt was imprinted with

4. At the same place, I went to the buffet one last time to get some fresh fruit... cantelope. As I arrived there was this older guy in his Sunday best, off-white suit coat, slacks, tie - the works. He was getting fruit.
The man was singing, not softly. Not too often do you go to the buffet bar and stand beside a guy singing - pretty good voice actually.
He was singing "Santa Claus is coming to town."
Just as the man sang, "He knows whose naughty and nice" the man dropped a slab of cantelope on the floor. Without missing a beat, he kicks the cantelope under the bar. . . walks off continuing to sing.
5. Today's paper has an article from London: WikiLeaks founder complains about leak of police report. Dallas Morning News, Dec. 22nd, page 20A. There is a bit of humor in this my way of thinking.

6. I heard on the radio that the national average for Christmas spending is $6900. Read that number again. $6900. Am thinkin' that I am coming in under the national average.
7. Started the Marauder last week and heard a loud flapping noise under the hood. Looked. The belt was still attached but a quarter inch of it lay under the engine. Drove to town to my favorite repair place - a small repair shop run by the ex-ford house mechanic. I drove in and made the deal. We talked. It was 10 a.m. He told me it would be ready in 2 hours; come back. I did. $108 for the repair. Have you ever had a car worked on for $108 in just 2 hours? Remarkable.

8. Reported earlier about Lee Harvey Oswald's casket being up for sale. The guy got over $80K for it. I didn't enter the bidding.

that's enough for this evening.
night all


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An fyi nonsense

This is one of those blugs that has no major purpose other than to inform and help take up my day. Let us start with...

#1 Just read in the paper that a well-known guide in South America - more than likely Brazil even though that fact eludes me - his name I cannot remember either - while he is "well-known," to me he is not "know well" - this guide - in his kayak - was leading a group up the river when an alligator grabbed him out of the kayak - he is missing and presumed lost.
There can be no reason why it reminds me of the story about wanting to die in my sleep like Grandpop Frank, not yelling and screaming like the passengers on his bus. But it does.
If your guide in his Kayak - and I presume you must be in a Kayak as well - is grabbed by an alligator, what is your next move? Where must Tarzan be when we need him. Which, un-remotely, reminds me of a line I used to use in band when the same kid missed D flat 4 times in a row: "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we need him?"

#2 Last Saturday night the Corsicana Swing Orchestra played in Teague, Texas. It was their yearly Christmas tour of homes. We set up in a 4 sided tent/bldg and played till the boss man tired. Sent an email to some about this affair. A major cold front blew through while we played. This is the same front that blankets the north and east with snow as I type. Time to move further south.

#3 Speaking of Lee Harvey Oswald, the newspaper had a photo of his coffin. It seems that he was dug up 15-20 years ago to check him for something out of little importance to the natural world. He was reburied in a new swanky coffin. The old coffin remained in the back room of some mortuary for these 15-20 years. I must say that the photo does not speak well for the permanency of inexpensive coffins.
They are going to auction off the coffin soon. My wife told me "No." If she actually had learned to cuss properly at an earlier age, I am sure it would have been "@$%&#$^$*+@ NO!!!!!" She leads a sheltered life & I was saved.

#4 You drive out of Denison west or outta Pottsboro north and before you get to Bro Jim&E's place you pass through Fink, Texas. It seems Fink is slowly going away. It was originally started by the Finke family - a Fred Finke arrived in 1884 - but the town is going away. Tis for sale (see #3 above in regards to me buying it).
3 1/2 acre spread with a defunct 17-room motel, adjoining cafe and convenience store, 2 dozen dry boat stalls, and a histerical marker. Fink was on the Shawnee Trail. The present owner moved in a house from Denison - used it for a liquor store and reopened the motel. Nothing has worked. For Sale. Asking price $1.57 mil. Anybody want to go into a failing business with me?

#5 We had another cold front come through this week. I beat it by cooking a couple of small steaks on the grill outside. I experimented with cooking jalopenos too. We cut them in half - covered in Monterey Jack cheese - wrapped in a half piece of bacon and grilled for about 30+ minutes. They were good. No, they were REALLY GOOD.
Also, squeezed some lime into my tea. The half-lime was kapoot and since I had 5 dogs standing at my feet waiting for a food mishap, I leaned over and offered the lime to each dog. Only Oscar and Fritz would even lick the lime. The others moved on fast. Interesting that a dog, Fritz, will eat dog poop off the yard, but a lime taste bad. It makes me think I should harvest the back yard and go into business. If nobody else, surely a Chinese restaurant would buy our product.

#6 Those of the scientific bent or just like pretty things that are different - went to this website: that I found in the Scientific American magazine. Interesting stuff.

#7 Finally before page 2 is composed: somebody has more money than I.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas @ Teague

The Corsicana Swing Orchestra played last night in Teague, Texas - about 30 miles south of here. I realize that we have the tendency to make fun of stuff. . . no, make that I have the tendency. I have never played a job like this before - and we did it for free - makes it more different.

Teague is a small town. As with many small towns, they have a Christmas tour of homes - y'know the drill. 4 or 5 houses are decorated for being to tour - pay ten bucks or so and drive the the houses- be nosey - punch and cookies. In a small town, you know all the important people, especially those who can afford ten dollars.

The Venue: I drove into town on U.S. 84, nice 4 lane. Turned right onto Whipporwill Lane - a one lane paved road heading north out of town, barbed wire fence on the right edge and houses on the left. About a quarter mile up the road I met a bus and had to leave the actual roadbed. Eventually I found 1511 and pulled in the circle drive. A volunteer fireman directed me to drive around - across the grass - behind the house and behind the gazebo and behind the bell choir. Yes, that's what I said - the bell choire.

More set-up: They had a one-story ranch type house with the circle drive. A small barn set in the far corner of the lot. You walk out the back door, step off the porch on to a path. The path is lined with real rough bricks. Between them are rough pave stone. It winds about 15 feet and opens into a large patio - but it continues winding to another building.

The building: If you can think of a wood frame house, roof and 2x4s....that's all.
A concrete floor with a roof over it. The side are 2x4s placed every 12 inches. The inside is covered with screen - but they have completely wrapped the outside of the house with thick plastic. It is what they call their outdoor living room. Inside are patio type chairs and recliners. Hanging from the ceiling is a quilt rack for sewing on a quilt.

So, I arrived. Somebody's church bell choir was inside the room performing. I didn't get there early enough to praise them. They finished about 7 - broke down their tables - we set up and started to play. This building is about 20 x 20. covered in plastic. No audience really. Two hours we played Christmas music as people toured the house and walked down the path to peek inside the plastic mansion.

We got so much praise, it oozed out my ears.

I have never played in an outside room, covered in plastic, as a cold front rolled through. I played one song with my coat, one song without. People who play dances and the likes would never believe the venue. It was fun, I suppose. I like to play my horn... even played a couple of solo ballads. I do love ballads.

In my youth, I'd have made all kinds of jokes about this - but, now, I see it as a great thing for the town of Teague. They were really happy.

On the drive home, I was stopped for no license plate light. Warning.
an aside. Today, for lunch we drove sough to Fairfield to eat at Sam's. We had heard about the place and thought we'd check it out before company comes and we need to find a place to eat. It was a good buffet - the BBQ was really yummy.

We finished eating and stepped into their gift shop. Within 5 minutes, the boss of the band and his wife talked to me -- our female bass player came by and talked to me - and the lady owner of the above mentioned house stopped to chat with me. I met 5 people from Teaque in 5 minutes - more than the number I meet in Corsicana in 5 weeks.

we go on - Happy Christmas Season and all that jazz.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Marauder is hurt

The door creases are deep - the scratches on the front panel and the rear panel are just deep scratches. The drivers window has a gash across the glass - I think the window should have broken - didn't. The real damage is that someone was a bit jumpy for several hours. I think. Things are better today, but when she doesn't want chocolate - man that is major.
My story: It was necessary to drive the motorhome to south Ft. Worth yesterday to go to the shop. I drove the thing and my wife followed in the black Marauder. We drive up I-45 and cut across to I-35W at one point. When we arrived at I-35, I pulled up to the light in the right turning lane - nobody was coming and I turned right on red and headed down the service road. I didn't see my wife after that - figured she got caught by traffic.

Then, my phone rings. She starts talking about being sideswiped. My radio was on as usual. I said something like, "Wait a minute (turn off radio) start over." She did.
She had been sideswiped. Now let's think about this. I know she has pulled into the right hand turning lane. How can she get side swiped unless she drove onto the service road and someone came whipping up on her left? Then she added, "I went ahead and pulled across the highway. I am sitting here and everyone is running down to the other car." I do paraphrase her explanations here.
See - still that didn't make any sense. She said she was fine but shaken. I told her to just sit there I was on my way. Think of John Wayne riding to save the maiden in distress. But this time, I was lumbering ahead in a 35 ft motorhome on I-35W with a mile to go before my exit.
Exit came - made the turn around - dodged a semi to get going around the other way. I trudged back to the offending intersection & finally saw her parked on top of the highway bridge over the highway - and down in the pasture between the service road and the north bound lane was a little smashed ugly car surrounded by folks. An ambulance was there (ALREADY) and so was a Sheriff (ALREADY) lights blaring. I found a concrete driveway off the north bound service road and got stopped.
I could see my wife standing by the ugly crashed car with a policeman. I crossed behind the ambulance and made it through the calf high grass. It was obvious that she was fine...looked fine at least. They had the door open to the guy's car and he was sitting there, air bag in hand. Old short gent with white hair - overweight and obviously much older than we....but then I have yet to be able to accept my present age or appearance.
The sheriff said that the Ft. Worth police would be handling this. Another ambulance came and went. Two cars were parked down the road on the side. We finally figured out they had been hit too. The EMT got the elderly gent out of his car and he WALKED through the grass with his walker - y'know one of those walkers with a little black seat attached. They put him in the truck and closed the back doors. They did not leave the scene while we were still there. The EMT guy said the guy had a real low heart beat - everything else checked Okay. I figure he passed out and his foot stomped on the gas pedal enough to beat up 3 cars and jump 2 major curbs.
Police came - EMT came - they talked to wifey - and we stood waiting. As I stood by the Marauder (my heart bent) I looked down to find a nice looking drill bit. Next to it was a dime. I kept looking. There was a penny. And lastly, I found a quarter. 36cents. When we eat later, I had found enough to leave for a tip.
My car has an enormous scratch down the right side. The window is scratched and the doors are gouged. I get 2 new doors. Lost the mirror too. My wife is fine other than being shook up. She said that her foot was on the brake....and the other car did not move the Marauder one inch. But he was thrown forward and across the road over a curb and down in a pasture. Big cars can be like gold. We will get the Marauder fixed and it will be prettier than ever.
One last little bit: As we started to leave, the policeman stopped all traffic and allowed my wife to back out across the service road so she could be going in the right direction. That was really nice.
Another day, another adventure. Motorhome in shop. Mirror taped back on the car door. Waiting for Monday. Send love. mtz

Monday, November 1, 2010

jury duty

I am not looking for Hallelujahs - or presents - or acknowledgements -- or whatever ... read on.

In the mail today, I received a summons (or whatever it is called) to appear for Jury Duty on November the 8th.

Naturally, I decided to stay home instead of giving my time to the justice system. I have always heard that juries are made up of people who were not smart enough to get out of jury duty.

I will be a bit out of touch on the 8th -- so I called the court today.

I called the lady on the form. She was quite pleasant.

I said, "I received my jury notice for the 8th but I have two problems."
She responded quite pleasantly.

I continued, "first of all, I won't be able to be there on the 8th; however, my second thing may make that of no importance. I turn 70 on the 4th."

She laughed and said that I had no problem and would send the official form to me to complete.

There are benefits to turning 70. As of this moment, I can only think of one benefit to turning 70.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rice tornado

My wife and I were driving south from Dallas Sunday on I-45. About 10 miles south of Ennis and 10 miles north of Corsicana (home) we came to the town of Rice. All of a sudden the tail lights in front of me came on -- I thought, "Morons, what are you people doing now?
Then I looked up and saw the tornado on the west side of the highway. All of us started pulling over to the side of the road. My wife grabbed our little camera and I started firing shots. I'd guess we were less than a mile from the thing - not sure, didn't get out and measure it.
Attached are photos of course. The thing hit the Rice School - really missed up their stadium and brand new middle school - it was only 3 or so months old. I think it is completely wasted. Some photos show the school.> > If you can look behind the school you will see 4 train cars over - they were yellow auto transports I think. Think tornado took out 5 houses and the school. A big semi carrying an enormous 4 wheel dump truck thing was flipped over on top of a car. That driver was able to crawl out his window.
Yes, it was quite an experience. I have never been so close to a tornado and arrived at the destruction so fast. The county storm chasers were right there and made video which you can see on WFAA or other places. The video is on AOL too.
I am going to try to post my 21 photos with this tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

late Oct. stone

I will attempt to keep this short.
too late.

1. Took wife to town this afternoon - Walmart - HEB - Y'Know. She could have taken herself, but we will picking up dogs at the boarder.
2. Stopped at the mail boxes up the hill. On the ground was this nice looking ball point pen. It wasn't a Parker but it had that big grip look to it. My wife likes the pens with the larger bottoms.
What's the first thing you do when you pick up a pen off the floor or the street? Maybe you never pick up anything. I do. I love to find a Penny now and then. The first thing I do is to click it and see if it works. No workee?? Then, back on the ground it goes.
So, I clicked it a bit, and it - it - it - bit me. Shocked me!! It was just a small bit of a buzz. It wasn't a pen at all. It was a joke - a shocker. I would have loved to have one of these when I was in junior high. I gots our mail and returned to the car, telling the wife about the pen. I had her try it; but, it shocked her all the way up her arm. It actually did bite her. On me, it was just a slight buzz.
I took the pen apart tonight and found 4 of the little batteries. I can hardly wait to show people at Christmas. I feel bad that it shocked BJ so much. She was not pleased.

3. Later we went to the courthouse and voted - 1st day of early voting. All of you Democrats better vote if you plan to cancel our votes out. We used a touch screen voting machine. Really interesting how things have evolved in the voting booth. The lady said they had 200 voters this morning from 8 till 10.
4. Our last adventure was to pick up the dogs at the boarders. We found a Vet who only charges $7 per dog per night. Amazing. There are 3 Vets working this clinic- all with the same last name IVIE. ONE was Bo Ivie. about 6 ft tall, long stringy hair - beard - country. You'd never guess he was a Vet or anything other than a bum off the street. Their whole crowd was busy and overly friendly. I was impressed.
They referred to our 5 dogs as "The Herd." They were happy to get home and have slept almost continuously except, of course, Oscar who wanted to play ball for a couple of hours.

5. The dogs were in jail because wife Brenda had a family reunion of a sort - it was a reunion of the cousins in her family. They chose Granbury - nice tourist trap - and so forth. They spent many an hour in the lobby watching football or talking about the good ole days and other relatives. The one thing we did that was a bit excessive had to do with eating. Expensive restaurants were chosen. The food was good - but a bit pricey for me. Taco Bell would have been just fine with me.
I would suggest that all groups of cousins (or families) plan get togethers over time. All of us are aging - you add the rest.

6. One last thing: We took the motorhome to Granbury. It is so much cheaper for sleeping than espensive hotels. We had received a recall on it last week. The MH is on a Workhorse chassis -- I think Workhorse is somehow related to General Motors cause Chevy places are available for fixes.
So the recall had something to do with brakes. All went fine until we almost arrived. i felt this bump in the steering wheel - it seemed to go away. but when we stopped a Granbury, you could smell hot rubber outside the home. I fretted all weekend but started for home anyway, stopping to smell at times. No smell.
Re-read the recall, seems brakes will stick & new parts are in order. I called the proper repair place LynnSomebody chevy house in Alvarado. The lady said she had 8 pages of people in line & they would call me when it was my turn -- probably sometime in December. She told me to just go ahead and drive it - pay attention if it seems to have a braking problem.

December. it's just brakes. What if it were something important, like turn signals? or ash trays?

enough for the night -- see ya

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Stone - wall

Some things become a ramble. We can all pray this one does not for this has been one busy week. Do it by the numbers - whatever I forget will be in next blug - which, may, is actually he first one you would read before this unless you read this one first...but, wait, I ramble.

1. To build our house, over 100 truckloads of dirt was brought in. Our lot is a slope. Little did I know how much a slope. Little did I know how much dirt would be needed. The Back of the house had to be leveled about 9-10 feet or more to be equal with the front, which, naturally, they raised anyway. Builders seem to like raising house off the ground.
2. So the back of the house has a slope wilder than the original. As you may know, if a house is on a hill, it could slide into the lake. Thus, we built a retaining wall. In July, 09, my chillun helped me lay the brick. We spent a long time, a llllooooonnnnnnggggg hot time moving these bricks and laying them. Once the brick is laid there is a void behind the wall that must have rock and dirt poured.
My wife figured (correctly I might add) that I was too old to move that much dirt and rock by wheelbarrow. I was willing to try. It was not to be. In January, I contacted the guy who brought dirt for my house. He talked good on the phone; but, never showed. Last February we contracted with this nice young couple to do the work with a machine. They were so nice. Months later, it became apparent they would not do the job. They had contracted to do the landscape, site prep for Corsicana's new picture movie house. And, then, it began to rain. The first of May - after I re-called them - it was decided I should move on. They gave me a name and they called him. That guy never called me. I called him; wasn't home. Never called me back. I contacted a guy on the west side of Corsicana who said his son would call me. Never happened. Didja think it would. Don't be naive.
Finally, I went back to the phone book. This guy came over. We sat on the back porch; it was the middle of May. The man's mom (he is 50 or 60 or so) was the elementary music teacher in Itasca for years. He was once on the school board of our local school, Mildred. Everything was fine. He gave us a price and said, "We will do it in 3 days, middle of June."
Well, of course not. I suppose I called every week from Mid-June and was led on each time. It reminds me a bit of Charlie Brown kicking the football. The day finally came that I called and said that our relationship was over. They were here within in a week - well that's not quite the truth. They had dirt delived on a Monday (dirt guy showed on Tuesday) - and Thursday. Workers came here a couple days later at 4 in the afternoon.
All of this whining. The wall was finished today - it was done correctly - gorgeous dirt - went ahead and had them put a drain line in to carry water from the front of the house to the lake. I am so glad it is over.
That exhausted me to write. Guess I will save the other stones for later: like 2 septic system leaks - Heidi ate fishing hook - cutting neighbor's phone like accidentally while running line - went to Austin & worked for a couple days in the UT Stadium - my license plate cover - light for the motorhome - gasket for boat motor - Heidi and lunch ---- oh, it goes on and on.
Later guys,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grammy Camp last

Grammy Camp is over - my oldest daughter Christine drove off at 8 this morning with the 3 G-Dots in town and her own 3 dogs. Just heard from her - arrived in Lubbock with minimal problems (including nobody cried on the way there). Yesterday's highlights included a trip to the play type park in is nice ... even has a firetruck ..... then we met at Sirloin Stockade (like a Golden Corral) for lunch - kids eat free on Tuesdays.

The dirt guys finally showed yesterday about 3 to work on our wall. They had first scheduled us about mid-June. Frankly, the problem, our project is not big enough. Summer is the season for them to make all their money - we weren't important enough.

The guy we are working with goes into Dallas Baylor hospital with 95% blockage in his neck - the blood thing I can't spell. All sorts of things go through my mind - like, if he dies on the operatin table - we won't get this wall finished till next July. But, that is a tad bit in bad taste to say.

The dogs cannot go outside until these guys are through - they had to remove a section of the fence. Luckily we still have the Dog Pit for bathroom breaks.

enough for now - later, mtz

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stone from July, 2009

Old Thursday Stone from July, 2009:

1. background: I have a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport. It is slightly smaller than a 4 door Explorer and is a bit light in the loafers, that is, this is not a heavy car; it doesn't have 4 wheel drive. It is perfect to pull behind our motorhome. 8 years old and 67K miles on it. but, it is not heavy....or strong....

2. I have this pontoon boat. When the water level in our lake started down last summer (2008), we pulled the boat out of the water. That was sometime in late August, I believe. We have not been in the water since that time - lake level is low.

3. With son Roger and family here and the Dock finished, we oil and greased up da boat. We attached the boat trailer to our little white car.

4. Our housing development area has a boat launch area, concreted.

5. Off we went to put the boat in the water. Rog & I backed the trailer into the water; Roger aboard the boat to drive it up to the house; me in the car. When the car's back tires hit the water's edge, I had only 12 inches of concrete slab left before falling into the mud with the car.

6. The lake is down about 4 to 5 feet. The trailer was in the water but the boat was not immersed at all. Obviously this wasn't working. I put the car in forward & applied the gas. The wheels sat and spinned - I thought I felt a little sliding towards the water. I am in trouble. I put down the car windows and unlocked the doors just in case I needed to swim out. Roger climbed off the boat through the car's back window & tried to push on the car for better traction. Nothing worked.

7. I called the wife. She hurried with the Marauder. I took a yellow rope and tied the two together. Yellow is a distress color, isn't it? Roger climbed in the black car & I in the little white car. He applied gas as I did the same. Slowly, ever so slowly, we started moving up the ramp, trailer and boat following suit. We made it up and out of the water. The boat wheels were covered in sticky mud.
Roger commented that, when told to barely apply gas in order to minimize slipping tires and both cars slipping slowly into the lake (backwards), the Marauder doesn't do anything slowly - it is either stopped or racing to the moon. But it worked.
A neighbor came over and pointed us towards a lake ramp (free & not covered in mud). We drove over there, my wife and the Marauder following dutifully. The other ramp was less steep and was much longer. So the boat is in the water waiting for passengers.
I was glad Roger & family decided to stay a couple of days. He installed two ceiling fans on the back porch. him a good boy.
His wife Penney helped the wife this morning scrub down the boat - 9 months of gunk collecting under a boat cover. her'm a good girl too. Mtz

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sat Grammy Camp

Another couple of days at Grammy Camp. Saturday is closing; another day on the back porch will start in a few short hours. We had thought about taking the girls out to Garage Sales locally, but the heat nixed that adventure. Laura & Tom are still here tonight but plan to leave tomorrow for home. Daughter Christine and her 3 dogs will be here sometime tomorrow to become Asst. Grammy. She will stay till about Wed. then drive the girls (and her 3 dogs) back to Lubbock. Thursday will be so quiet around here, it'll be like a morgue.

Took a few notes of today's activities. Fishing has been terrible. The temperatures are soaring and the fish are hiding. The water temp on the surface is in the 90s. Bought some minnows to try; didn't help. Laura let the G-kids touch the minnows this afternoon - learning experience for all. I'm sure the minnows weren't too happy about it all either.

Loaded the kids up late morning - drove to town to eat at CiCi(s) pizza...cheapest in town. That went rather well and the people behind the counter even yelled the "come back" to us as we left. Immaterial that CiCis yells it to everyone leaving. They could elect to forget, but didn't.

We visited the Corsicana Petroleum Park, which is the location of the first oil well west of the Mississippi. The kids seemed interested in the well. The park has a two hole-er wooden jail from the oil boom days. We climbed all over that and decided that staying out of jail is good. Our next stop was the chocolate factory.

Corsicana is home to Russell Stover and Whitman's Candy Factory and factory store - reduced prices....and aging products. We found plenty of chocolate to own. I was getting a dark chocolate bunny for my wife, & she made me put it back.
Home again, home again. Most of the afternoon was 2 girls on computer games and 3rd playing various games with her Aunt Laura & Uncle Tom. I read the newspaper and played with the dogs. Had hot dogs for supper. 2 out of 3 girls went for cheese sandwiches and chips instead. I didn't think anyone ever skipped out on a hot dog.

Dog Sidebar: Last fall I found the cutest dog toy. It was a rubber duck - looked a lot like a rubber chicken; however, it squawked like a duck. The best thing was it was a duck decorated like a pirate and was red/black. Being a Texas Tech person, and the Tech football coach loved pirates - and Tech is red/black - this was sooooo great. I had a Tech red and black rubber duck that squawked and looked like a pirate. When Tech's coach was fired - it took a little of the fun out of the duck. The dogs didn't mind. They love this rubber duck & it still works, sorta.

One of my year old pups, Bruno, has a strong voice. He gets bothered by stuff and barks. It can be a car driving by, a boat driving by, someone shuffling feet, a book dropped, a door closing, or a sound in the dark that only can be heard by a dog -- tonight the kids were a bit active after watching Shrek 3 and bruno started with a low growl then barked a lot. I finally held him; his ears were down and back; his tail was tucked between his legs. He was not happy with this noise. I put him in bed and completely covered him with a blanket and he settled. That dog is becoming an old man faster than his scheduled time.

I get emails from a friend, band director Bailey....he has started telling a few short stones about the starting of marching season. It has brought back many a memory of the first days of August. In some ways I am happy to be retired and gone from the hot days and long band trips - but I miss it too. I wish there were a way to do all that stuff when I feel like it & skip it on days I'd rather stay home. Don't suggest being a substitute -- as my wife has always said: being a substitute is like traveling 3rd class in Bulgaria.

One last Grd-Dot stone from Grammy Camp. The youngest is 5. In our bathrooms we have Febreze Spray restomg on the back of each toilet - to be used if necessary. Last fall when the kids were here, I finally hid the spray. Our bathrooms were reeking of aroma; an aromatic cloud floated in each room. Now that she is a bit older, the spray can has stayed out. Only sometimes does the sweet smell of success roam the house....if you get my drift.
More later, Mtz

Friday, August 6, 2010

Anniversary Time

Today is August 5th, a Thursday...I started this on the 5th. It has stretched into the 6th.

On this date in 1962 we were all shocked to learn that Marilyn Monroe had committed suicide. It was something unbelievable. Over the years, many have made theories about her death being a murder ( see John F. Kennedy ) Vs. Suicide. It was all over the news.

I come down on the suicide side of this argument. Lemme tell you why.

On August 5, 1962, my lovely bride Brenda Joy Cooper and I tied the knot in the chapel of the First Baptist Church in Levelland. The preacher from the First Methodist Church did the preaching and tying. It was a lively, lovely time for all.

Before I continue with this "Old Man Remembering" stone, I return to Marilyn Monroe. I figure suicide because she learned I was getting married. That is my story all these years, and I plan to carry it with me to my grave.

Our wedding was not like these fancy dancy weddings we see today. No big band, no tuxes, no champagne (remember Baptist church?), no trip to the Bahamas. It was a nice wedding with several of our closest friends. I am embarrassed to say that I cannot remember who else was in the wedding. Brother Jim was the best man. Backups were Jerry Pickens and Jim Sudduth. Jeff Ingram did something - I think Coy Cook was involved - can't remember if brothers Marshall and Pat were in the wedding part - surely they were...Girl will remember.

BJ, as my father called her -- Brenda ( or Girl ) to me -- and Brenda Joy to everyone else in the entire town of Levelland - she can explain that name later if she wishes... I cannot remember any of her bridesmaids - maybe if I think for a while.

There were only a few things that I actually remember about that day 48 years ago. I do believe my brain went out for lunch for part of that time and date. (1) the night before the wedding, I was cleaning my new electric shaver and dropped it - parts went everywhere and I was teased unmercilessly by brother relatives. (2) gifts for the best men and helpers was a ceramic kangaroo that you put on your dresser to hold your coins and keys overnight. I never got one for myself, but would have loved to have one ( even today I long for one ).

(3) remember having to have a conference with the preacher - y'know, joint confer with the future bride. We sat in his office as he rambled about marriage and associated subjects. I remember one particular phrase - don't know why it stuck with me all these years. He said, "Remember, both of you stink when you go to the bathroom." How Wude!! I don't believe she or I mentioned that conference ever again. (4) When Brother Pat was a little kid he stayed with a lady who lived across the street from the Baptist church. She was a nice lady and Pat seems to have been okay....well, that has nothing to do with the wedding, except the lady who lived there let Brenda use the place to get dressed for the wedding. All the appropriate females gathered at the house & moved across the dusty main street in time for the music. They hid me in a back room.

(5) The wedding was just fine. Neither of us messed up to speak of. I am not sure that I liked all of that attention at the time. At the end of the ceremony we did the traditional kissysuckface thing. It was the first time we had demonstrated this in front of anyone. That was hard to do. (6) when we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license a couple days before the wedding, the clerk told us we had a 3 day waiting period. It was Friday. We were in trouble - actually not. We were both over 21 and the waiting period was for underage people. We looked so young, she just thought.....

(7) In those days, I suppose now too, after the wedding reception, one changed into traveling clothes. Being in Levelland, we were not going to hang around there very long. When Bren was buying her traveling dress, the clerk said it was a very good dress, and she could wear it all through high school. If I remember it was a tan dress with some type of white stripes. (8) she had a beautiful wedding dress - sorta puffy at the bottom with little puffy type sleeves, I believe. I only got to see it once. The dress is in a box in our garage. Recently heard of a grandmother that took her wedding dress and made special things for her grandkid's weddings out of it - like ring bearer pillows and the like.... (9) Our cake was nice. We did the "bit" of trying to mess a little cake on the other's face. Not much else. Did not have a groom's cake. I want one on our 50th. Sugar free of course.

(8) after the gig, we drove away in my brothers Ford convertible. Someone tied cans to the back. The car had been protected and nothing was written on it. I drove off, turned the corner, drove one block and took the cans off. Did I mention I wore a brown suit which Marshall helped me select. I wore that suit forever and still have the coat somewhere, moth holes and all. As we drove out of town, we stopped at the Chat and Chew Drive-In for a coke before driving north towards Clovis. (9) We spent the night in Clovis after having a steak dinner at some joint down that street. The wedding trip was to the Grand Canyon. We had no reservations or plans. Just took off and went. There were no vacancies when we arrived at the G.C. We whined and were able to make one for the next night. We left the park, driving south as we looked for a motel. It seemed like a long drive. The night was pitch black out there; the stars were bright; it was hot in Arizona; the top was up on the Ford; the inside of the top was very black and when you looked up you got the idea that no stars were out. (10) Honeymoons are one of the best traditions we have.

(11) My parents had a trailer house in the backyard in Levelland. We lived in that place till school started. My father got me a job working on a oil field crew. I learned so much - like: dig a hole to fill up that other hole. There was a guy on the crew who told me that he married a Spanish gal. The girl didn't know how to cook anything. He taught her how to make meatloaf right after they married. She was still cooking meatloaf everyday. About one week after the oil field job started, Littlefield high school called and I was hired as their very first asst. director. I was not prepared for that school at all.

(12) We both went back to Tech that fall. She finished her teaching certificate and I completed my Masters. Everyday, I drove to Littlefield and made it back to Tech for marching band at 1 p.m. We lived in a small duplex in a strange part of town. Rent was $50 a month, bills paid. Them were the days.
Old Man remembering ends Other thoughts will wait cause I need to go to bed. Mtz

Thursday, August 5, 2010

grammy camp cont. 5

I do so hope you ( ooo ooo 4 words in a row using the letter "O" - if'n I could speak Spanish, I might have written, " Yo Do So Hope You..." - thus have five words, or if'n I were of Biblical times "I do so hope thou...." but I degress. I do so hope this edition does not become too involved for thou-s to follow. It has been an interesting 2 days at camp and living off the backporch.

Yesterday: Camp was nothing special. The sack present/game for the day was called Monster-ology .. which Laura (LJ) took them through. Have they played it again since then? Nope. Bought it at Atwoods Store for $13.

Today's sack was a finger painting kit. They were through with that in less than fifteen. I don't think any have finished their flip=flop=fun from Tuesday. Nobody asked, but I will tell anyway. I hate Disney TV with all those stupid shows of pretend high school kids having issues. School is not like that & I believe little kids thrive on that junk.

Two loads of washed rock and one of back fill soil have been delivered in 2 days. Work on the wall awaits. It really is an issue. The homeowners have a rule of 40,000 lbs per delivery, and rock must come before 11 a.m. He showed yesterday at 10:50. Our roads are sick in this development. Too much weight will make the roads really bad - no, wait, they already are really bad. Try WORSER. When someone brings a load of rock, how do you really know how much you are getting? 6 yards, 7 yards, 10 yards, a dollar. You are at their mercy.

The Marauder went into the shop and is still there. As of 6 p.m. yesterday, the problem was not identified. I called at 6 today with the same results. But, good news, the cylinders have great compression. Tomorrow Maybe.

Laura has been fishing. I have gone down a few times and helped. We threw out a line with 5 hooks tied to the dock. Later I went down and rebaited same. If you have read previous blogs, you know that Heidi and Sue (black labs) live next door and roam the neighborhood at will - this includes the dock. I took my 5 hooks and put on bait. Heidi was asleep over there. I stepped away from the hooks to get a knife. When I moved 5 ft from the line, Heidi jumped up and ate one of the hooks.....I didn't see her do it, but I heard a noise.

I moved as fast as I could and got her away from the other bait. She had chewed through the line and swallowed a treble hook with bait in one gulp. i didn't see it happen, but I just knew she had had a feast. I loved her and called her mom, our neighbor Lelanie. Long story short. They operated on Heidi this afternoon. She is 9 yrs old. It was not considered to be a safe operation. The X-ray showed the hook, bait still attached in the stomach. Ethically, what is my financial responsibility in this?

Aside note: Several months ago, I was working in the garage and Heidi came in with a piece of string hanging from her mouth. There was foaming. I pried the mouth open to see a large fish hook embedded in her tongue. I called Lelanie. That operation cost them over $200. Heidi is such a sweet dog. This just tears me up.

A few weeks ago, I bought squares of St. Augustine grass. I water them often. Today I decided to do it again. On this lake you can pay a $100 and pump all the water out of the lake that you might want. I paid; I pump. Other than the cost of electricity, that is free water.
I started pumping and squirting. Down below the fence, I rounded a tree and water was bubbling up from the ground. This means the septic system has a break in it. It must be dug up and fixed....soon.
Called the septic system. No return call yet. This is not a bad thing - expensive perhaps, but not bad. With the aerobic system, the water is suppose to be clean when it hits the field. While it may seem yucky, it is not a health hazzard unless Heidi's mom doesn't like sewer water floating nearby.

I am tired of this blog. Wait till you read the next one.

Drummer Jokes

What good is doing a blog if you can't throw in a funny story once in a while?

These are two funny stories, particulary funny if you've ever spent any time around drummers. I realize some of you have not had this luxury, but maybe you'll appreciate the 2 stories anyway.

I got the first story from a musician and band director friend of mine, Bill Woods, retired band director living in Abilene. It was sent to him from a musician friend of his who lives in Louisville, John Bizianes.

John prefaced the next story by telling a true experience. He was once using a local drummer, Hank Glass, and they were getting ready to play a gig. The other musicians from the band weren't perfectly set up yet, but it was time for the downbeat. So Hank started playing, drums only. Someone from the audience approached him and asked if he could play "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" -- to which he replied: "That's what I'm playing."

Here's the 2nd story, mostly for drummers . . .

A jazz trio was playing a gig at an upscale nightclub. They played a classic bebop tune at a fleet tempo with grace and ease. Then came a Wayne Shorter composition filled with mysterious harmonies, poignant melodies and daring improvisations. Next, they presented a medley of lesser known Harold Arlen songs that only a connoisseur would recognize, again played with elegant styling and exquisite taste. The whole evening had been one dazzling performance after another.

Though the trio was playing background music for the club and not a formal concert, the audience could sense that the musical display they were witnessing was of such a high caliber that the musicians should be allowed to perform as they pleased without interference.

Then a well-dressed middle-aged man approached the bandstand and asked the pianist "Can you play Laura's Theme from Dr. Zhivago?"

The pianist told the guy that they were jazz musicians and they usually didn't take requests of that sort.

The man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out three one hundred dollar bills which he laid out on the piano. The pianist looked at the bass player, then the drummer, and said, "Lara's Theme in G." They played the tune in the fashion of the original version, the pianist emulating the Balalaika textures with a delicate upper register tremolo. The song obviously did not present the same level of difficulty with which the trio was accustomed to dealing.

As the pianist played, he absent-mindedly gazed down at the soundboard of his Steinway B ebony, and thought about the grain in the wood. "How would the tonal characteristics be altered if the grain of the soundboard ran perpendicular to the strings rather than parallel"? He was also an old piano salesguy, so that's what he was asking himself.

The bass player amused himself with an assortment of well-placed double-stops and harmonics. He daydreamed, as he looked at the top of his mid-nineteenth century double bass made by French master, Paul Claudot, and wondered "How many times has the top been varnished; how did the varnish of past years differ from today's; how would the resonance properties be affected if there were no varnish at all?"

The drummer gazed down onto the single ply, medium weight plastic head of his 1950's vintage black oyster pearl snare drum and thought to himself

"One, two, three, One, two, three, One, two, three..."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grammy Camp, day 4

The day was not too eventful.

We have this gimmick for trying to make Grammy Camp days a bit better and different. After breakfast all 3 kids sit on the couch, & we give them one sack. Each day a different G-child gets to open the sack. The day of the week is written on the sack for clarity. Inside the sack is a "special" project or thing for that day.

Today was "Flip Flop Fun." Their Aunt Laura had found crafty flip flops at a store. They came with a printed design and marking pens to color the shoes....flip/flops. Around the kitchen table we went. Each colored her own flip flop - then, it needed to dry. Have I ever mentioned that the first flip flops in the world that I saw - were back in 1965 or 1966 (I believe that is the date - may have missed it a few years)? My mom had some that she found in California, saying that all California people were wearing them. In CA. they were known as "Go Alongs." Later as time went by, the name changed to "Thongs." I figured out in my last year of teaching that calling them thongs, yep, that was not cool. I still have trouble using the term flip-flop instead of thong. Enough of that...seemed to have flip flopped away from original subject.

Meanwhile, Laura was down on the dock fishing, catching nothing.

The Camp moved to the dock & climbed in the boat - off we went across the high seas. The plan: each g-kid would drive the boat for 10 minutes. We went fast; we went slow; we went straight; we turned to the left; we turned to the right (stand up, sit down fight, fight fight); we made circles; we made figure 8s; we made S (s). We did not hit any trees or the shore or the boat house - we didn't lose anyone on our ocean. Overall, it was a good boat ride. Tomorrow they are wanting to boat down to the bridge and circle it - 10 minutes a piece. We will see.

The guys didn't show to fix our wall again. Why should they? They have only given their word.
We have 2 people involved. One is going to provide the labor and the other the dirt & rock. So far the dirt/rock guy is okay. The labor guy has problems. You'd think a business person in the trades would treat potential customers better. Nah. I'll ramble on about this more later.

Tired of waiting, I called the dirt guy's store to ask delivery questions and payment questions. He wasn't there. But, his daughter said she would contact him & have him call. Amazingly, the labor-type guy called me within 7 minutes. Later, 30 min., the dirt guy returned my call.

My premise: daughter called daddy, daddy called labor, labor called me, labor called daddy, daddy called me....pretending no contact had been made. I hate being treated like an idiot. Within an hour, both guys showed up on my hill and planned where to put the dirt in the morning. Amazing !!!

Not much else happened at Grammy Camp. They played - they played - they played.

My wife is in the FUMC bell choir which meets on Tuesday nights. I volunteered to substitute in the group - rehearsals only - if they needed me. I went with her tonight and "Rung Them Bells." I have NO skills on bells other than being able to out sightread the whole pack. And, I fake good.

Final bit. I took the Marauder into a shop 2 weeks ago, maybe 3. The engine was not running smoothly when I accelerated. They worked on it. I drove it home and all was well. Within a week it felt like it was missing again. I drove it another couple weeks. When I drove to Waco yesterday, it was having problems. Took it back to shop this afternoon on the way to bell choir practice. I miss my Marauder.

Old Man remembering Aside: Back when I first had to take cars to mechanics, it would always cost me $100 for a repair fix. Over the years, the repair titles remained the same, but it would now cost me $200 everytime we saw the inside of a auto repair shop. My last years of teaching, I could count on a repair bill of $300 everytime. It didn't matter what was wrong, it would be $300. This Marauder's trip to the shop is it's first ever. 107K and it began to hurt. The common charge: Well, yessir, that would be $400. It shouldn't be long till the rate moves up to $500 for all repairs.

Wait, one more Grammy Camp thingy. Everyone is in bed. The girls are in bed. I heard our boy Bruno growl and bark. I got up to go keep him quiet. When I opened my computer office door I bumped into the oldest 2 girls. They were on their way to see me. Shelby had tears. Longer story short. Strange house, dark, different from Lubbock etc. she was scared. Had a vision (don't know what that means) of a bloody least that is what Megan told me that Shelby had. I'm guessing ghost stories crept into our lives.

Made general fun of ghosts. Talked about Bruno would alert us if anything was wrong. Talked about black labs Sue & Heidi next door who roam the neighborhood saving us. Megan tried to help by pointing out that our house was too new to have that kind of monsters (ghosts) roaming the premises. I didn't mention that our house was probably built on an old Indian Burial ground. Sure hope she doesn't hear the ghost drums tonight. The sun will come up, and all will be well - pray no full moon tonight.

I wonder what exciting thing the daily sack will hold in the morning.
o'er & out

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grammy Camp, Day 3

Day 3, Grammy Camp.

Believe this is one of the slowest days we will have.
1. Wife went to Quilt Guild in the morning while I watch the group.
2. I started feeding them lunch about 11:45; wife showed up about 11:58
3. Megan ate a leftover cheeseburger.
Shelby had a piece of cheese between 2 pieces of bread, melted in the microwave, with
tortilla chips crumbled inside
Kayla had a peanut butter sandwich with grape jelly and a piece of watermelon
4. Drove to Waco and picked up daugher Laura so she could become Asst. Grammy.
5. Played dominoes with Kayla. Played tic-tac-toe with Kayla. Taught Megan another 2 pages in her piano book. Let Shelby help me water the yard. Fussed at all three when the wouldn't quit making noise at bedtime.
6. Made an error today. I let them use my walkie-talkies, channel 8. There is a noise that can get annoying purty darn fast.
7. Let them use a portable electric keyboard with sounds and rhythms and pre-recorded music. Finally taught them where the volumn control was. That helped a bit.

Their mama called about 9 tonight. All had a satisfying conversation except Grammy. Well actualy because for and why -- Grammy had already been in bed for 30 minutes, sawing logs.

Tomorrow will be a fine day.
Maybe the dirt guys will come.
We may do the boat ride in the morning.
Girls like to drive the boat in circles.
Stay tuned for day 4.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grammy Camp, Day 2

Day 2

"GRAMMY CAMP" started Yesterday. We drove 3 1/2 ++ hours to Cisco to meet son Roger/Penney at the DQ. Exchanged greetings, ate steak fingers with extra gravy, loaded up the 3 grand-dots and headed for home with only one potty break via the drive. That was good. I could have used another one, but didn't want to upset the status quo aboard the Marauder.

The kids (5, 8 & 10) took up residence & the fun began. As of this moment there have been no beatings of children. The youngest did shed a few tears over some immaterial-to-me things. Today we drove to Canton to visit Dog Town at the 1st Monday Trade Days. Looked at the puppies, rabbits, cows, horses, chickens, various unnamed birds, goats, no sheep(?), and kittens plus one cute gray sugar glider and other animals I can't remember. We had told Rog/Pen that we were going to buy him a goat . . . . But the pot bellied pigs were much cuter (humor).

Just now got in from a short walk down the road. It is still a tad warm and we didn't make one-half mile. Tomorrow = a boat ride and more snacks and sugary drinks. How Sweeeeeeeet It Tis.

Tomorrow - is day 3 - will be a minor problem. The spouse has Quilt Guild Meeting in the morning. This leaves me in charge for half day. Daughter (Aunt) Laura is being driven to Waco for me to pick up @ 2 pm. She will spend the week as the Assistant Grammy when needed. An asst. gram can be such a blessing.

We have workers who are suppose to start working (what else would workers do but work? - major stone on that subject at a later date) on our backyard retaining wall in the morning. And, G-children must be watered and fed. Since I am in charge of lunch, I project cheese sandwiches and a sugary drink. Peanut Butter is my backup plan - maybe with jelly, if requested.

Tears Explanation: Ate at Canton's Pizza Hut for lunch today after we left DOG TOWN. All of us got drinks in a glass except the youngest, Kayla. Her drink came in a small portable plastic cup - not good since all other kids had the real grownup glass. The world almost ended. I pointed out that her cup could go home with us - didn't help. We ordered a real glass & moved on. sigh. It never crossed my mind that Pizza Hut would give the youngest a different cup. I have so much to learn.

Right now the head honcho Grammy (after whom the camp is named) is making S'mores in the kitchen. I did fein tiredness - my back hurts - as to get out of creating a campfire for marshmallow cooking. Apparently it's okay.

A s'more is a s'more is a s'more.

#2 G-Kid Shelby just interrupted my musings to show me her face covered in chocolate & marshmallows. It's not "ring around the collar," it is "ring around the face. I'd send a photo but don't know how to upload here yet.

Tuesday, day 3 is coming - stay tuned.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Puppets and tinker toys

a memory stone of little value:

I am slowly cleaning out boxes in garage. Someday I intend to be able to park a car in the garage. Today i opened a box that had....

Our old tinker toys in a round cardboard container.

4 ink drawings that my mom drew of a little boy playing different music instruments

a picture of an actual cowboy band from Dodge city kansas -- old horns (a reproduction for sure - but interesting to see)

and, the purpose of this memory, a puppet.

It was a cloth puppet, stuffed, poorly made with strings attached to all areas. the strings werre attached to two small sticks.

As a child (5th grade time) we lived in Odessa,
we were in the scouts.
When we lived in Odessa,
we went to the YMCA.
We were taught all forms of little crafts and fun things that kids get to do. I remember a deal where we worked with sheets of copper and created pictures. My 6th grade brother Jim probably could remember other things we enjoyed crafting.

But we made a puppet. I'm sure mom made the puppet on her sewing machine with my observations. My puppet was a little white dog. This dog looked a bit like a dachshund, if you can use your imagination a lot. it even had a red mouth made with thread. As you pulled on a string, that leg moved or the tail wiggled or even the ears flopped. I could make the ears move up and down singularly or dually. I was a talented twirp.

Well, not all quite true. To make the ears go down, we sewed metal nuts under the ears. If you could see the dog, you would know that we were not too concerned with classy, as the nuts are visible and quite large for the size of the puppet.

I mentioned finding my puppet to Jim and he even remembers the bit. Jim had made a little boy puppet. He says he might still have his puppet somewhere in his house. I hope so, cause we need to put on a show. He made people laugh when he made the puppet lift his knees and prance about.

At one point in our production, he chases my dog, but I turn around, start barking, and chase him off the stage to thunderous laughter. Oh, yes, show business is in my blood.

that's it.
I don't know what to do with the tinker toys. They belonged to my oldest brother Marshall originally but were handed down over the years. I spent many a day, creating things with the tinker toys. Jim did too.

Well memory is over.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

church choir + walmart


I joined the church choir. It gives me a chance to do a bit of music and to meet some people in this new town (new to us). We practice from 7 till 8 on Wednesdays and perform in the 11 o'clock service on Sunday. It is an experience for me.

I don't mean this as a "put-down." Many of these people cannot read any music, yet they sing in the choir with pretty good voices. I actually admire their ability to memorize this music on Wednesday and perform on Sunday. I just don't see how they do that. I read the notes on the page and sing the words with a adequate but not great voice. There are some with great vocal cords, and they can read music.

One guy is a boss at the local Chrysler house, another is a general handyman in town, there is a jr college student, a school teacher, a rich oil man who happens to be mayor of the town, a dental hygienist. . . . it is an interesting mixture of locals.

A couple of months back they decided they needed to do a "show." Great Idea. On a Sunday afternoon, we perform Broadway songs for whomever happens to show. Free show. Everyone was excited. Plans were made and music was ordered. Members of the First Baptist church were invited to join us and about 8 have. It is a wonderful possibility.

The performance is 4 weeks from today. And we made it through the first 2 songs tonight -- made it through means we made it through, not performance ready, just through. Now I have faith it will work out.

The director has extended rehearsals. 6:30-7:30 work on Sunday music. 7:30 - 8:30 work on Broadway. That would be a 2 hour rehearsal. He extended it an extra 15 minutes tonight with the approval of the group.

When I left, it was to be a quick trip to Walmart to pick up some French Onion soup, hot peppers, some new socks - etc. Did you know that after 9-ish, Walmart begins to clean the store. They run machines up and down aisles. They block off areas for cleaning. They pack boxes in the middle of the aisles. And, here, teenagers seem to come to hang and be loud. I do believe there was a shift change in the middle of my visit. Not dilly-dallying around, it took an hour in the store. Even the checker made a mistake and had to do my stuff twice as well as change the register tape. I tried the self-checkout - but the machine acted up and the kid in charge was talking to 3 of his best friends - WHO WERE HANGING OUT IN WALMART.

One last thing. Now you can create your own short story from this one sentence. I was walking down the main aisle of the grocery section. Two men were standing in the middle of same (I had to go around them). They were well dressed (one a bit better than the other) - well groomed, etc. I would guess both were in late 40s or early 50s. The one facing towards me spoke with a very stong voice. I quote: You make up story:

".... nobody is going to tell me not to pray for her to come home."

that's it; see ya

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oscar and the TAKS

Just had a power failure here on the backporch -- no let's make that TWO power failures. The first time I had just started typing (with a brilliant first paragraph) when the world turned black. I hate when the puter gets shut down without the proper process. You turn it back on, and there is always some type of curt message regarding my skills in shutting down machines. And, yes, there was an appropriate "put down" tonight too. The 2nd time I was editing. When it shut off I had visions of a blog going into bloggerspace to never be seen again. I do want sympathy.
My pup Oscar & I are having a little battle of wills tonight. He plays with a ball all of the time (THAT WOULD BE ALL OF THE TIME). This is the first dachshund I have ever seen who will run, chase, fetch, and CATCH a ball. I'm sure there are more out there, but Oscar is special to us in that way. He is possessed with the ball. Oscar used the same lime green rubber ball for 6 months - never tore it up. Eventually it developed one small hole, developed into a split & weeks later broke in half. Even then Oscar wanted me to throw the "half" ball which he would chase with the same excitement. That was about 2 weeks ago .
We have adopted a new red ball with Christmas green decorations. I throw; he chases; I throw; he chases; I get bored; he doesn't; he barks and chirps at me. Tonight I got tough and left him to wait. He laid down and began to chew on the ball. Well, NO!! He is not going to tear up this ball tonight. I took it away placing the ball on a table. Right now he is barking and chirping and looking at the top of the table. If I can just hold out, tomorrow will be a new day & this ball may live another 5 months, 2 weeks.

I am changing the girls LAST name below...don't know why since the newspaper put her name and photo right up front.
Now this next part may seem just a bit insensitive; I suppose it is, I do mean well though. The Dallas paper, front page, has an article about kids who fail the TAKS test and don't get diplomas. The one highlighted is Ebonee Johnson. She has failed the TAKS test 6 times and, yet, has completed all high school class work. How? How can anyone go all the way through school and not pass the test? Don't answer that.
The article explains and I quote: "...she has failed the state exit exam at least six times since her junior year. Four times since she got pregnant. Twice since she was suppose to graduate. Once since she gave birth to her daughter." Let me point out first that the staff writer, Avi Selk, did not bother using proper sentence structure. That is minor of course. Why should a scribe for a major newspaper even bother with sentence structure? I can mangle da English here; I am not a pro.
Back to Ebonee. The article continues in an effort to explain.
"I'm not going to say I was an excellent student," says Johnson, tucked into the corner of her mother's sofa with 9-month-old Sy'Niyah. It continues that she made Bs & Cs without much sweat at Newman Smith H.S. in Carrollton leaving herself plenty of free time for cruising and clubs .... the thing rambles on for a full 2/3rd page more. The regular Editor must be on vacation this week. My favorite part was that she would fail a class and make it up in summer classes. That worked through 10th grade. She got lucky on her math TAKS that year, filling in the bubbles at random and squeaking by.
The above is just one story - and thanks to me it was condensed from the paper - statistics ignored. When I was teaching I remember stories of students who would go through and mark all "A" bubbles and complete the TAKS test in 5 short minutes. Some would just draw a line from the top of the page down to the bottom, hitting bubbles along the way. It was so hard to believe that any idiot kid would not attempt to do this test right. Morons. That last senior class in Manor (2004, my final year) was sooooo above average. These kids were aggressive to do the things right. And most did. My band kids did.
If only teachers could just slap the ... the ... the ... nope, keep it clean, slap the "snot" out of these monsters until they put an effort forth. I know there are folks who believe that students just need love and a soft approach. Not me.
That is enough of this. Y'all go out and have a nice time tonight. It is raining on my porch and the breeze is pleasant. Tomorrow, the steam will rise and sweat will pour. Need to quit before the next power failure. CLOWNS !!! Mtz WAIT.
oooo oooo oooo a P.S. Left this part out of the story. Keep in mind, the girl is 18 years old with a 9 month old daughter. Just before she took the March, 2009 test, "she got a prison letter from her boyfriend, who had just been convicted on a marijuana charge. He had a hunch, he wrote, that she might be pregnant. She took a pregnancy test the next day. That test she passed. So it is, staying in hiding on my back porch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We have lived in Corsicana off and on for over 2 years.

For those who don't know the town, Hwy 31 runs through the center of town. About everything you will need is on that one drag. But the town is much larger than that.

We had a revelation. We don't know the town at all except for Hwy 31. So created a plan. On weekends we take the newspaper and make all of the garage sales in town. . . . don't buy anything to speak of, just make all of the sales - get to know the physical side of the town. It is amazing what we didn't know.

Found 2 big ole houses today surrounded by big fences and with Texas Historical recognition.
Last week found a one block square cemetary in the middle of houses, created during the Civil War - really old looking tombstones.
Found a biz that sells Kolaches.
Found Petroleum Park - has a oil derrick - and the notation of the first productive oil well west of the Mississippi. Interesting little park. For those who don't know, some guys were drilling for water and hit oil. It made them mad. They finished the water well. This was the first oil well west of the Mississippi. Guess I already said that.

I did find a couple of stuffed animals that I bought for a quarter. My dogs loved the present.

more later,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 6th

July 6th - where do I begin - I know - start from the beginning. It's a very good place to start. Do Re Mi
1. busy day.
2. Up before 8; ate breakfast; went into the backyard and planted the last 3 pieces of St. Augustine - back up to house about 8:30, wringing wet; BJ was out front watering the new grass & pulling weeds from flower garden; did the shower & other traditional morning events; came out and said, "I'm ready; let's go."
3. Bren came inside, changed shoes, took dogs out back for one last wetting, gave a cookie to each as we prepared to leave. Fritz loves cookies. Y'know that boy seems to know when we are leaving. He starts talking to us - it is his appeal for another cookie. I don't know how they know things.
4. I climbed into the little Ford Sport & she into the Marauder - up the hill we went. We parked the Sport at the highway gas station & I piled into the Mar. We drove to the motorhome storage & I picked it up. (following all of this?) We drove the Winnie to the Big H tire store where they had one tire waiting for us.
The motorhome has not been inspected since Feb., 2009. When I took it in, the guy wouldn't do it because of the 4 inch gash on the left rear tire. He didn't even charge me. So, I finally found someone in Corsicana who changes motorhome tires, apparently this is major work. I ordered one tire last Thursday. It came in.
Now I am aware that I opened myself up to abuse - tires have a life span of 5 to 7 years, then, dry rot settles in. It is a 2004 home, 6 plus years on the tires. I told the guy to check them out. When Big H checked them out, he told me to not put my tire on the ground. The other 5 all have dry rot on the sidewalls. If I put one new tire on, it won't make much difference cause the others are going to blow out on the highway.
I bought into the concept and ordered the other tires. I hate spending money on that motorhome. It is a money pit right now. So I left the motorhome & key.
5. Back we drove to the gas station and picked up the Sport. I drove the Marauder to Dowd and Sons Auto Salvage. Nope I wasn't getting rid of the car. The driver's window won't move. And there is a chip in the windshield. Dowd does all of that stuff. Recently he worked on the electric seat on the Sport - and it was cheap. He fixed the window for $138, including parts ($83 motor at Ford house). He fixed the chip for $32. State Farm gave me a reimbursement for that.
We dropped off the Marauder between 10 & 10:30. It was ready by 1. Remarkable.

6. Left Dowd's and visit the local farmer's market where cucumbers were King - and tomatoes - and some field peas ready to be shelled. One guy had a few black diamond watermelons. We bought one. I pointed out to him (he was jolly) how small the melon was. He said it is a B.D. variety which make 5 to 7 melons per vine. the bigger ones only get 3 melons per vine. I told him that it was good for the merchant. He agreed and took my dough.
That's enough for today. We snapped peas this afternoon; they were good. Picked up the Marauder & stopped at the Salvation Army.
7. You may remember that mother gave me that Baldwin Organ which won't fit in my house. I have been trying to find a nice home for it. The Sal Army has a new local leader. She was excited. The Captain plays organ but they have none in their church. If all goes well, the Organ will find a home tomorrow in the local Salvation Army. I am pleased. Surely Mom would be pleased.
8. One last time: Happy birthday to son Roger. 7/7/70

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Roger's 40th

First of all, a Happy Birthday message to Roger. 7/7/70 -- 40 years and it is just like it was yesterday ( that he was 39 ).

I remember the day he was born; I wasn't there. I was home in Ardmore babysitting the two girls. Bren's mom was at the hospital. I got to go up later.
Years ago they did not have a shot for neutralizing the positive versus negative blood thing. Seems my blood is positive and BJ's is negative. We were unaware of the problem during the girl's births. The doctors never once thought that our blood differences would make a difference.

But, the guys in Ardmore figured it out. Wife had to go to doctor's office several time and have fluid removed ( long needle through the stomach ) from the place where babies grow - trying to think of the name - embriotic embryotic embryo place.

The doctors were ready when Roger was born - a helicopter was standing by to fly him to Okla City. Well, it turned out he didn't get to fly in the helicopter. They put him under sun lamps to help the yellowing & all worked out. Yes, those were the days.

I was so naive and stupid, I never really understood the severity of the situation. Guess I have always been out of touch.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Saint Augustine

We bought a few squares of St. Augustine grass to attempt a slow down of erosion on the yard. These squares were 2 ft x 4 ft. . . . bug rascals. Only bought a few & am cutting them into smaller pieces for installation.

I was outside around 8 this morning.
Mowed the dog pit first and part of my back hill.
Then wife & I started working on the grass.

I was a wet rag by the time I quit - and, yes, quit I did. I plan to try and finish here in a little bit - maybe around 8 p.m. it will cool down slightly. I hate that because I will miss Pawn Stars and American Pickers if I am not careful.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Newspapers and misc.

From the newspaper: a few things I read in the paper -

1. "A bull charged, and matador Christian Hernandez took off -- across the ring, over the wall and into controversy. The admittedly terrified torero was arrested after Sunday's botched bullfight at the Plaza Mexico, apparently for breach of contract" .... he was released after paying a fine. 22 years old, the Mexican matador said, "I didn't have the ability ... this is not my thing." He retired from bullfighting.

2. Cathy Barber reported that a company named DEANO'S is making a cheddar Jalapeno chip (in Vermont) = slices of jalapeno, breaded and fried to a crisp, then dusted with cheese powder ... think French's fried onions but with jalapeno inside. They are only available by mail. You can get 3 bags for $12.95 --thasss right ---- $12.95 for 3 bags full. One for my master, one for my dame, and for the little girl who lives down the lane.

3. Pick your own berries: or

4. From Dear Abby: June 15 was World Elder Abuse Day. Abby issued an appeal to learn more about elder abuse. I can recite right here and now, on June 15th, I was abused. People did their part and abused me mercilessly.

5. Headline: "Should all good yogis shun meat? Vegetarian debate continues."
I didn't read the article.

6. An Ohio church had a 62 foot high statue of Jesus out front. It was Jesus from the waist up, with His hands raised upward similar to the "touchdown Jesus" @ Notre Dame. It was made of steel and foam (guess other stuff). Burned, hit by lightening. The photo in the newspaper is of Jesus with his hands raised, on fire. The final photo is of the remaining steel structure after the fire. The pastor says they will rebuild.
My thought is that the Devil sent the lightening. I will leave other comments to your mind.

Final thing. Ate at a Taco Bell last week. Y'know those little paper things on the tables that advertise food & drinks? I learned these are called Table Tents. The one on my tabled talked of New Frozen Margaritas at Taco Bell. Your choice: Strawberry Margarita or Classic Margarita. In smaller print it recited: "Contains no fruit juice or alcohol." I thought that was worth mentioning.

so I close, see ya soon.

WAIT !!! Let me give a tribute to Bill Etheredge who just retired after 40 years in the school systems. His last adventure was as a counselor in Lewisville ISD. I worked with Bill in Ardmore when he helped run the JHS band program and kept me pointed in the semi-right directions at the high school. Bill was so good with people and especially students - He is moving back to Oklahoma to be near his kids. Good luck to Bill as he joins the rest of us on the back porch, watching the world go by.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Born and Serenaded

As we go through boxes in our full garage, we find things. In my next bluggy, we will talk about a ledger book from 1914 we found. It was used by Bren's grandfather W.L. Cooper in 1924.

But, this one is a small article which showed up in a small Bible. It was yellowing - actually browning. It is now resting in top drawer of the Pink Thing.

(someday I should inventory the pink think and the egg thing (etc.) and put them on here. I would find it fascinating even though my readership might not.

It reads:


There is a new arrival at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Metze, Tecumseh highschool band leader. The baby is a boy and has been given the name of Michael Eugene. The band serenaded the youngster the other evening. The boy was born Monday evening, Nov. 4.

I might point out that mom (Sarah Smith Metze) was the band director in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, at the time. I suppose this got her out of a couple of Friday night football games...I suppose.

For the record, I was born at home not a hospital. I remember nothing of the birthing. I heard that 16 mo older brother Jim was hanging out by the bedside during the event. That could explain what is wrong with him even today. Now, really, who would want to stand and watch that happen especially as a 16 month old toddler? YeeGods!!

It is my guess that I was thoroughly unimpressed by the serenade. Mom probably gave eveyone an A that six weeks. Maybe Jim and brother Marshall enjoyed.



P.S. This was sent as an email with an attachment to my family. I have not learned how to move stuff from my "documents" to my blog....or photos even. Someday maybe.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Old Man Remembering


When I was young, my father who was quite frugal - no make that cheap - would walk through the house turning out lights and yelling out the numbers = "That's one; that's two; that's three....." I never noticed how many lights were left on until I began to pay the electric bill. Now, I walk through my house turning off lights thinking "That's one; that's two; That's three...." I would never yell it out - the wife might flatten me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Going to Pottsboro

PAST WEEK HAS BEEN BUSY - don't get me wrong, it was not too hard & I had time to laze around quite a lot - but I stayed busy in my mind. It started on Sunday when I spent 3 days with my brother Jim helping him re-wire his kitchen and put up some new lights over the center aisle stove and the bars. They look good.

When I make a trip, short or long, I make notes to remember the funnier or strange things. Now, what I think is funny, it seems a lot of folks just stare at me. For instance, my bro lives in the country near Pottsboro, TX. You travel through Sherman, then Denison, make a left a mile after Walmart & another left later - before you know it, you are in FINK, TEXAS. Fink used to have festivals and made some money out of its name, not any more.
I just find it humorous (or "funny" to some OR "Yuk, Yuk" to high school dropouts) that POTTSboro is right beside FINK. Not a belly laugh, just a bit of a grin.
Driving to Pottsboro on a Sunday afternoon. Have you listened to AM radio on Sunday afternoon? Everyone is trying to sell you drugs or stocks or money tips or real estate. I settled on a radio show called Gun Talk. They talk about guns for hours. I know nothing about guns... But, I did write down a website called

As I type, am watching American Pickers on History Channel. Just finished 2 episodes of Pawn Stars. Had to find some show to take MONK'S place. I stopped at a QT gas station in Plano. Inside was this really tall man as thin as one can get with his wife (dumpy is a good description) - she was really sorta short and heavy. Their teenage son was hanging around. He'd fit the generic concept of a great tuba play physique. 32 oz drinks were 49 cents & these three each had a cup -- tasting all the different selections ... all the different selections. After settling on a special, particular flavor, they and moved on to the Hot Dog Station.

I found my Band of Brothers soundtrack on my I-touch and headed north, 65 mph, Hwy 75, crusin'. Whoosh, some guy on a motorcycle came around me liberally as if I were standing still. Just had a moment to glance at his helmet. It had a tuff of hair across the top - a helmet with a Mohawk hair doooo.
Before I move to next blog: didja know Sherman has a Buck Owens Freeway? And an observation: I drive a black Mercury. It is amazing how many people slow down when I appear in their rearview mirror, then, take off when I pull up beside them - "Aw man, he's not a cop!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Greta the snake dog #2

short bit:

I have been at my brother Jim's house to help him do some electrical work in his house. He bought a Fixer-Upper and has been slowly moving forward, but some things need a 3rd hand. I am about a half-hand.

Naturally, since I am not at home, something has to go wrong.

One year when I was taking 100 kids to Florida for a band competition, about 15 hours into the trip my wife called. The hot water heater had self-destructed and water was flooding the house. She came home from teaching ( Actually she was an Educational Diagnostician in public schools - I just thought saying "she came home from diagnosticianing" would be confusing ) - anyhoo, she came home at the end of the day to a floating house. Nothing I could do but go to Disneyworld and think.

I went to my brother's house Sunday, planning to return Wednesday afternoon. My wife called me this morning about 9:30. She is sitting in the Vet's office with Greta, the snake dog. Greta met a copperhead she couldn't beat this morning. The wife took the snake out with a shovel though. The only good snake is a dead snake. For a clarification, Greta is our wire-hair dachshund weighing about 9 pounds after she eats, maybe.

Let me cut to the chase. Greta is fine. The snake bit her on the tongue. The doc gave her a benadryl (sp.) shot and some antibiotics (about $100). She bled profusely from the mouth (tongue) for quite a while. I would think that helped her flush out some of the poison. I do not know if Greta has learned anything yet. That remains to be seen. The doc didn't think she has. He said that dachshunds are born hunters, and hunt she will do.

We once had a black & tan full sized smooth coat Dachshund named Mandy and we lived by a lake near Gainesville. We came home one time and her nose was bigger than Jimmy Durante's. From that day forward, Mandy's growl (voice) would change when there was a snake in the yard. You could hear that special growl. When the sound came, I grabbed a shotgun and wasted a snake. I am more frugal today - a shovel will do just fine.

Greta is moving slowly. She is in no hurry to go anywhere. Greta doesn't want to step off into the grass to do her business. We will see how the Copperhead affects her behavior later. This is now the 3rd one of my dogs to be bit this spring by copperheads. But Greta has accounted for 5 dead snakes...or is it six?
Good Dog!!

I hear that my boy Fritz, a hunter and eater by trade, tried to carry a dead rabbit into the house Tuesday night. My wife had fits getting him to leave it outside for the buzzards. I hate to see the rabbits killed. They are so cute. Snakes are not cute.

I am home & all is fine for now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Polka Festival - page two

We had seen advertisement about the polka festival for quite a while. On Sat. morning wife, Tom & Laura, & I drove to Ennis to watch the 10 a.m. parade We had to park 6 blocks from the parade route. Next time we'll go earlier and take lawn chairs. Yes, it was hot.
Most smaller town parades start with a police car followed by the high school band then a few cars with cheerleaders and teeny tiny twirlers with horses bringing up the tail. This parade had all of that and more - to my surprise, it lasted over an hour. It was packed with old cars, cars from the 50s, new cars, floats of various sizes, the Ennis Band played a nice march and played it well, brought a jealous tear to my eye. Towards the end of the parade was a BMW convertible. As it limped by us there was a loud pop followed by steam enveloping the hood. They pushed the car out of the way.

The cop cars came followed by many old guys carrying flags. I don't know what group they were with, but they had on lots of clothes, big tall hats with feathers and plumes, and long flowing capes. If I had to guess with no knowledge, I'd say something like Knights of Columbus in ceremonial clothing. When they came to our corner, one of the old gents went straight down to the pavement. The parade stopped as they helped him to the curb and doused him with water. I'd bet he was 80+ if he were a day. Next came the band. The Ennis band sounded good marching by - you could hear all the parts. About 4 or 5 more groups later (I don't mean to insult anyone here), was a group of Shriners. I have never seen an all Black Shriner group. There was one really old white guy walking with them.

Later in the parade, I'd guess there were 6 to 10 more Shriner groups. There were floats of them, groups with funny horns and little cymbals & drums, clowns, clowns on funny cars, motorcycles....There was one semi truck opened on both sides - with an old guy guitar band inside. There were probably 7 floats of polka bands and a few small rock & roll bands playing off the back of trailers. Fire trucks blaring horns from every town in Ellis County. At the of the parade, horses. It was a fun smaller town parade. A few of the Ennis band members finished the parade - went back to the start and came back through playing in a polka band. I bet that was fun.

We went home after checking out the booths. On Sunday morning, Christine announced she was going up to hear some polka music. Some of us headed north after lunch. All day Sat. & Sun. they have polka bands playing in 3 different halls. Each group plays about 3 hours and is replaced by another. You pay at the door and get one of those wrist bands which let you visit all halls.

We went to the first dance hall we could find, the Knights of Columbus Hall. We picked a long table at the back covered in white paper, outta the way. There was an empty table next to ours. People were dancing and the band was playing. Great Czech food was sold out of the kitchen. It was interesting.

After 30-40 minutes of polka band listening, I got up to get a diet coke. When I returned, I heard this noise calling my attention to the people who had just sat down at the table next to us. I heard ,"Mr. Metze." It was Jo Ann Hurley and Rachel Hurley.

I retired in May, 2004. Rachel was in that graduating class and was my first chair flute. She was quite good. After leaving Manor, Rachel went to U. TX and played piccolo in the Longhorn Band - she eventually became the piccolo section leader her final year at UT.
Rachel and her mom had just come in and sat at the table next to us. Rachel is the 2010 Miss Texas Czech. [that is not the official title - but I fergit] In her reign, she travels about the state going to these festivals. She dances with the polka people and generally represents the state. In August she goes to Nebraska for the National competition.

Rachel was wearing a gorgeous 110 yr old Czech dress from her grandmother. It was a gorgeous outfit and, oh yes, she gets to wear that fab jeweled crown and a colorful sash. I do believe she loves that crown.

What are the chances that I would drive 20 miles on a Sunday afternoon to watch a Polka band in the Ennis Knights of Columbus Hall and bump into Rachel Hurley and the Taco Lady? I forgot to mention, Jo Ann was a very active band parent. She owned a taco type stand all those years. Jo Ann worked hard and long and was the typical stage door mama.

Honestly had a really good visit with both of them. It was fun watching Rachel flitting around and around the dance floor waltzing and polka-ing and chicken-dancing. Part of duties is to dance with any guy who comes around...and she did. At one point she was introduced to the crowd and did that typical beauty queen wave. I really enjoyed seeing both of them. What are the chances?

We had a great weekend - seeing an ex-student at a polka festival dressed in Czech garb, crown, and sash - that was gravy.