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.