Thursday, December 31, 2020

Blog (entry) of all Blogs (length)

With forethought, I ask forgiveness.  This may be the longest written blog in my entire career -- and I use the "career" word with a obvious, small tongue-in-the-cheek.  I plan to work on this one for a while as the day wears down.  So much to do and say, and nothing of earth shaking importance.  You give up your time to read my missive.  I should give up my time to provide something of moral or educational context.  On the other hand, I have not done it much in the past, why should December 31st of 2020 be much different?

A while back, I started reading some guy's blog about who knows what.  It went on for page after page - "HE," delivering what he considered brilliance on his own chosen subject - "ME," giving my all to complete my self-assigned reading task with glazed-over eyes.   I gave it up.  Which brings me to question:  What is the purpose of this little bluggy O' mine?  That's right.  You got it.  No purpose except to write.


I am reading a series of books loaned to me by my #1 daughter Christine.  {We call her #1 because she was born first.}  The books are part of a fantasy series written by David Eddings and his lovely wife Leigh.  Never met them; but, she must be lovely.  Mustn't - Isn't she?  The 1st five books were The Belariad and the 2nd series of five is The Malloreon.   Fantasy - made  up world - sword play - magic - sorcery - lots of Kings and evil evil evil people.   In addition to these 10 books, he wrote separate books about Belgarath and another about Polgara, their autobiographies. Finally, a 13th book called the Rivan Codex.  I suggest you save this latter book for a time in your life when nothing else is important.  It is a rehash of everything. He does dip into his writing methods - a bit of ancient history - his scholarly background - some of his autobiography - and his research methods.  So as he explains, that gives him 13 books on this subject.  There you go.  Idle time is the Devil's workshop.


It rained yesterday - we got an inch and a half.  It started raining again last night (early morning).  The weatherman projected more water today.  So far, he is right.  Continual downpour.   My backyard, or as we call it after this amount of rain - Lake Metze - is swamped.  If I lived close to the water's edge, I would be fearful of being flooded out.  Luckily my house sets on a hill looking down upon the back yard.  Wear your boots if you plan to slide down the hill.

It is times like this with so much water - let's call it a rain event - I worry that my front yard will leak under my house, and we will all slide down the hill becoming a houseboat - albeit, a houseboat on the bottom of the lake.  Hey, it could happen.

When I arose this morning about  8:30, I looked out front at the rain gauge.  It was showing over three inches.  Next, a peek at the radar on the phone.  There is a column of water extending south of us for a few hundred miles, all leaking its way northeasterly (what a word) towards my back yard.  If indeed it continues as the weather guru says for the remainder of the day - Richland-Chambers lake will fill to the brim.   

Now, that is a sight.  When they open the gates up at the DARN  (I just can't write the other word, this is a family blog), when they open the gates, that is a sight watching the pillars of spilling flood.   Below the "Darn" is a swampy area which fills until the rains eventually filters into the Trinity river - a few miles east - down the way.

Even as I type at 10 a.m., the rain continues to pour upon our roof.  "Rain on my roof."   I see myself swamping out front to empty the rain gauge sometime in the near future as we near 5 inches.  We have rain events like this at times.  It rained over 14 inches a year ago at one time.   Another time the lake was down about 200 to 300 feet from the normal shoreline and the rains came.  It filled our lake to the brim in less than 24 hours.  That's a lot of water folks.  17 inches of rain as I remember it.    It would be nice if the rain god could figure this out and give us a sprinkle or two during July and August.


The house is quiet.  The wife meddles with her I phone stuff.   I sits here doing this.  The dogs have curled up in three different locations waiting - yes, waiting for the rain to stop.  Oscar cannot go outside and chase balls in the rain.  Actually, he could.  His ball thrower (me) won't slush forth.   Sadie finds it uncomfortable to wade out back even to bark at the squirrels.  Apparently, squirrels do have some brains and stay concealed during rain events.   Bruno, my big boy, is unconcerned either way.  Give him a cookie and a cushion to caress.  His massive bladder can fill to over-flowing, and he'll wait.  Rain.  "Why me?" he asked.


In the back yard over by the ancient wood pile lies a low area leading up to the "sea" wall  ("lake" wall if you are a purest).  This has filled with water in some places to over a foot high or more.  The water from the surrounding hill tops flow into Lake Metze caught momentarily by the piles of cut wood - a wall of wood hunks if you will.    We moved here in 2008.   Some trees were cut and stacked neatly.  They were never used.  Snakes, spiders, lizards, creatures of all kinds find refuge in that wood pile - now serving as a lake retention wall.   Lake Metze flourishes.


I took a break to go get naked in the bathroom.  Now there is a sight many of you might wish you had never envisioned.  It is much like the picture of the 500 lb guy on the beautiful, sunny beach wearing a bright red Speedo.  You simply can't forget some things you have seen.  With my refreshing early morning break completed, I walked out of the bathroom to a chorus of dogs barking - at me - standing by the back door.  In the sprinkle we went out and added fluid to the saturated grass.  Bruno, the most insistent, provided a bit of fertilizer to the lawn.  He is such a good boy...considerate, warm, appreciative, and very loud when it is poo time and NOBODY IS PAYING ATTENTION!!!


About 11  (that's a.m.), grabbing an umbrella I swam out front and emptied the rain gauge:   4 3/4"   And, the rains still come.  The 11 o'clock news shows snow out west - as much as 5 inches.  Sure, poor slobs in Michigan or New Hampshire or Canada or North Dakota - or wherever, they might make fun of 5 inches.  Down here, that is a major pile.  I pause now to say that our trash man has cometh.  The house is filled with the sound of screaming dogs.  

Boy, was I wrong.  It was two labs from down the street.  They have broken out of their invisible fence and are roaming the neighborhood.  They are nice dogs - big.  As far as I can tell, they do no wrong.  Perhaps they can kill a snake or two.  What's wrong with that?  The trash man is not here.  His barking festival awaits us.


Christmas has come and gone.  My entire immediate family came.  This house gets busy with ten people and eleven dogs.  Luckily the weather was fairly nice, and the dogs went outside during meals. I do have relatives who just might feed a dog from the table.  That would have created a swarming mob of dogs awaiting their share of turkey.  Didn't happen.  All of our dogs are pretty small.  Seven are dachshunds, 3 are pekingese or a close imitation, 1 basset, and one doxie/bigger dog mix.    The fellowship was fine.  The food was plentiful.  And, I got to sit in my own comfy chair a few times.  That's fine.  I was happy.

My children three and my wife have ganged up on me in the past about Christmas presents.  I was forbidden to give presents.  "Nobody is giving presents at Christmas."  It is too expensive.  No presents.  We have tried drawing names at Christmas.  No, not anymore.  So in defiance, I looked for little things to give to each - one year I gave fire extinguishers - another, was the year of automatic nightlights which worked when the power goes out.  I crafted a couple of years.

So what happens this year?  I gave no presents as ordered.  However, in turn each child gave me presents.  They were quite valuable / good / thoughtful / etc.  I must be getting old and guilt is taking root in their houses.  Next Christmas, do I follow my instructions?  Woe is me.  If it is up to my wife, we will give nothing and ignore Christmas all together.  It can be a trying time.


Instead of individual gifts, we have a tradition dating back to the 60s,  We have a grab-bag, as it is called locally.  Misc. gifts are loaded in a pile.  We draw numbers and select a present from the pile.  The next person can pick a present or steal from another person.  There are other rules.   Usually, there are enough presents in the pile to go several rounds, drawing a new number each round.   

This particular game was introduced to me at a teacher's Christmas party years ago.  At the time, we were having money problems - teachers are not rich.  So, I gathered many small things together and created a small pile.  There was a wrench, a hammer, a work light, misc. tools, candy, etc.  There was maybe one very small child in our family at the time (Christine).  We traveled to my parents house, and I introduced the rules to my 3 unmarried brothers and my parents.   It was well received.  I saved a bit of money.  I didn't have to select individual gifts for each person.  And, my father and brothers enjoyed stealing from each other.  A good time was had by all.

The game continued over the years as each brother married and brought children into the mix.  We never had major problems with the game - well, maybe when my oldest brother Marshall started stealing gifts to make his daughter Marion happy (not her idea by the way).  We've had gifts in the pile from a wilted bouquet of flowers up to unset jewels given by Marshall.  I can remember a grabbag a few years back at niece Sharla's house which had an enormous pile and 25 or more players.  It was nearly a riot.  Try it.  Start small.  Inexpensive gifts.  It will grow.


We had Christmas on Christmas Eve.  Christine had to travel home for work on Christmas day.  I smoked a big turkey and 6 extra turkey legs.  Roger works for United Foods in Lubbock and gets a free turkey each year.  It was big and good.  Thank you United Foods.  Leftovers remain in my freezer.  Naturally, we had all the extras: cranberry junk, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, etc.  

Since I joined my wife's family in 1962, my family was introduced to Czech cuisine.  Her mother was a Macha (from the Kahanek clan)  and spoke no English until starting school.

You see Kolaches all the time in Texas.  Kolaches are rolls with fruit on / in them.  Today, many stores call anything a Kolache if it is cooked and has something in it.   Klubasniks (spelling wrong) are rolls with meat.  We rarely have Kolaches.  We have Klubasniks  here.  My mother-in-law would make yeast dough early in the morning then wrap the rolls around German sausage.  There would be piles of these on the table.  Since it was before my diabetes struck, I would eat half the pile if possible.  No sense sharing.

Now, my wife is making the meat rolls (solved my spelling problem).  #2 daughter Laura has even made a few recently.  They are sooooovery  good.   With MUSTARD of course.


Just dawned on me.  I have a smart phone (sometimes too smart).  "Look it up turkey-face."  

It is spelled klobasnek.  Definition from smart phone:   "A klobasnek is a chiefly American Czech savory finger food.  Klobasneks are similar in style to pigs in a blanket or sausage rolls.  But the meat is wrapped in kolache dough.  Unlike kolaches, which came to the U.S.A. with Czech immigrants, klobasneks were first made by Czechs who settled in Texas."   (Wikipedia)     

So there you go.  Klobasneks may be better than the grabbag (with MUSTARD).


It is time to stop.  I may return and talk more later.  May not.  Let me leave you with an email forward from my friend Jay:

y'all take care until next time




Thursday, December 17, 2020

Fun time in Metzeville

 The title is purposely misleading.  I warned you right up front though.  With all the happenings, there are few fun times on my back porch - or the front porch for that matter.  We go from day to day, and exist.  Is that what you are doing?  sorta sad, really.

I learned long long ago that if I make fun of myself, others have less leverage.    Follow this stone if you can.  I went to town on the 8th of December; that was Tuesday over a week ago.  It was time for my 6 month visit to the Dermatologist, who lovingly burned something red of the tip of my nose.  I might add here that he is Dr. Biltz.  His office and work rooms in his facility are covered with Texas Tech  memorabilia  - photos, etc.  I feel sorta close to anyone that likes Tech this much.  One of his staff told me (a while back) that they get together at Christmas and buy him Tech things as presents.        Good Staff.  Wise staff.

So, back to my stone, I went to town and visited the Dermatologist.  Next, I drove to our new storage space and unloaded a few more boxes.   On the way home, I stopped off at our HEB grocery store and bought just a few things.  Primarily I went in there for big bags of dog food.  We were running short, and eating is Bruno's favorite hobby.  You add bananas, tortillas, half gallon of milk and a few minor items, I was up to $70.23.

But, moving on.  Now get this visual concept.  My car is a Ford Flex - 3 row.  All back seats fold down - almost flat.  When I carry boxes to the shed, all seats fold flat, and I fill the back with boxes.  I fill to the ceiling.  Okay, that day was over.


On December 3rd - a Thursday - we (my spouse and I) went to town with a load of boxes - ate at CiCi's Pizza, bought gas, ended up at HEB.  Let's see now, that was the third.  Today is the 17th.  We have carried stuff in the back of the Flex on 3 separate occasions to the storage shed since the trip to HEB on the 3rd: my trip, another "us" trip, and a trip for the wife's haircut on another.  Stuff was in the back of the car on each trip.


Moving on.  Today, to town we went.  No eat out -- just a stop over at post office and on to HEB.  We will be having company over the next 2 weeks, and this was our grocery run to stock up.  We did.  We certainly stocked up.   Yes.   To the tune of $307.89, we stocked up.  Grocery prices have been soaring since that persistent bug came to Texas.  Mission accomplished, we drove home after a short stop over at What-a-burger.  I was hungry.  I get hungry.   Bruno and I both like the eating hobby.   Two big burgers for under $10.  I remember when we could buy burgers 5 for a $1.  They were terrible, but cheap.

Now we are home.  Unloaded the back of the car.  It took 4 trips each to move the supply inside.  On a whim, as I made my last journey to the car, I decided to look in the middle seat area to see if any food had wormed its way to the front.  The back had been packed so full with those flimsy plastic bags.  To my surprise on the floor of the middle seats - between the two captain chairs - was a two lb. plastic package of hamburger.  We buy the two pounders and divide them before they go into the freezer.  Here was a 2 lb package of hamburger (96/4 blend).  Would you call that luck finding the burger meat?  It would certainly seem to be.

It wasn't.  Nope.  I had a long talk with myself and the spouse.  We have not bought any hamburger since December 3rd.  That package of raw meat had set on the floor of the car for 3 additional trips to the storage shed.  It didn't smell. It didn't leak.  It just set there waiting to find us.

Here is the question.  Since it has been fairly cool lately - even freezing some nights - and the car has been left out side - the temperature has never been over, let's say, 60 degrees in the past two weeks.  Would you eat that hamburger?  Or would you divide it and let your dogs devour it - and yes it would be gone in less than 15 seconds - what would you do?  It's best to think these things out before they happen to you.  You never know, Charley.

We didn't open the package.  Who wants to smell rotten meat?  That is a smell that should be left anywhere else.  And we did.  The trash man cometh tomorrow morning.   He can open the package if he wishes.  good luck with that Ferdinand.


Speaking of the trash men.  I have been emptying the garage.  While gobs of stuff have made the trash pile, most items were boxed and sent to the storage shed to be researched later.  Garage Sales in the countryside are less than satisfying.  In the garage I had 2 dead computer monitors, 3 dead printers, a couple of destroyed computers, plus one big box of old computer and VCR stuff.   I put it out last Friday; and, it is gone.  They are such good people.  My wife is happy.  When the wife is happy, everybody is happy.

My Ford Flex has spent the last 2 nights encased in the garage (guarding the 2 lbs of burger).  I assume the Flex is happy.  The Marauder is still outside and will not start.  I think it's mad.


Let's stop now before I insult someone.

Y'all take.  Look forward to the Holidays.   They only come once a year.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday Morning - obit

 'Tis Sunday morning

With nothing to do

Stuck at home

It makes me blue.

.And with that touch of fine poetry, I shall continue.


As explained earlier, I am cleaning out the garage.  I have moved enough into town to almost, not quite, fill a 10 x 15 storage space.  Now the question we should all ask:  Do I have enough valuables in the space to warrant spending that much money on a storage space for stuff?  Sure, there are photos and gadgets and trash all around.  My books fill many a space.  I have 18 (smaller) boxes filled with old National Geographic Magazines.  I quit subscribing a few years back when it became obvious that N.G. was trying to move social issues forward.  I'm frankly a bit tired of people telling me that letting a 5 year old child choose his  (I must say "or her" for political correctness  "his/her")  own sexual identity is required of all wonder parents.  Yet. n.g. does that.

But, that is off my subject.  Storage of items is somewhat necessary when one cannot find the ability to secure a trash can.  

My thought is, we need to move to be closer to at least one of our permanent children.  Since we have an aversion to the cold weather and sand storms of the Panhandle, that only leaves the Round Rock area.  They have good hospitals down there, and, of course, crazy liberal politicians dreaming up new forms of torture for our own good.  As an example:  Austin doesn't allow stores to give out grocery sacks - plastic grocery sacks - to customers.  You must bring your own.  So stupid; but, we are saving the planet.   Surely, people will bolt against this type of nonsense in the future.  Surely.


The shots for the disease are on the way.  Naturally, they won't be distributed until after Christmas.  At least the plan is to get them distributed.  I wait.


Today is Friday the 13th except in December it comes on Sunday.  Rejoice.


This next bit is a bit maudlin - me thinks that is proper use of the word.

I've ranted before about our local newspaper going down to 2 issues a week.  They try to say that it makes it a better paper.  I believe they are headed for closing down - you should work to make things bigger and better.  You should budget for growth.  They are not.  The are budgeting for  their demise.

Now, for the paper to list all of the weekly obits, sometimes it mus use  up to 2 pages an issue for the obits.  My copy of Saturday's paper is somewhere up the hill in the trash can or I would type you more info.  There were two  obits that caught my eye.  One was for a preacher man.  Most obits are no longer than one column - at the most - this one was three full columns of praise.  His name is not important - here - I'm sure it is important to his people  (see below).  Three full columns.  That's a lot.  A Baptist preacher man can have a very full obit.

Another was typical length.  This guy was apparently your regular Joe.  Raised in Port Arthur, the obit describes his activities (pool, yo-yo, motorcycles, fishing...) and his eating & drinking habits.  I would have a tendency to make fun of these descriptions;  but, his people might set a alligator in my backyard.  That wouldn't be fun.

Obits are not written by the deceased.  They are written by his friends or family.  I'm sure some people would be embarrassed by their own obit's descriptions.  Others might swell with pride.  The preacher went by two initials:  BF.  Not once did they think to give his real full name.  BF was BF, Jr.   His father was BF, Sr.   The article included a paragraph about the father's career.   I'd never seen that done.  That's different.  But were their names BF or Benjamin Franklin or  Burt Fred?  Nobody will ever know.  A hundred years from now as someone is researching ancestry, that person will be slightly held back from knowing.

We have two funeral parlors in town that do most of the business.  One is Griffin-Roughton and the other is  Corley.   You can look up the obits if you want more info.  The red neck one is printed below.  It is really worth the trouble to read. 

I found the preacher:    He had a full preaching life.  Good for him; his children are proud.


January 9, 1938 - December 8, 2020

Now I have found the other one.  Somebody might google his name and think that I am making fun.  Well, I am to a certain degree.  But, I'm not trying to.  His family wrote the obit.  I'm sure he was a nice guy...a terrific friend.  I plan to change his name in the obit that I am printing below.  I hope I don't miss something. Enjoy.

The question  (of course):  should we all write our own obits before it is too late?  It is something to ponder.


James' Obituary

James Coach passed away December 8, 2020, at the age of 74.  (Keep in mind that I am changing some of the names to protect the innocent - me - if you must know the names go to Corley's funeral home.)

James was born February 2, 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio to Choreen and John Coach, Sr.  Growing up as the oldest with his brothers Frank and Edward and his sister Wanda in Port Arthur, James was yo-yo champion. He and his brother Frank would make money while doing yo-yo and playing pool. He even won his sister a bicycle by yo-yo and pool. Taking his role of big brother very seriously, he made sure his younger siblings always had Easter baskets and Christmas presents. He continued that role into his teenage years when he took the time to teach his little sister Wanda how to dance – including how to do the Mashed Potatoes. He was a great dancer and a good-looking young man. With his gift of gab, he always had many friends. James always wore a starched white shirt, which his sister always ironed for him. He loved spending time with his cousins Larry, Darrel, and Sandra, and cutting up and causing mischief for all, including his brother Frank. They were always getting beer in Louisiana and then driving back to Texas in the old Ford. He loved to fish and go crabbing as well. James would ride his bicycle to Pleasure Pier in Port Arthur to catch crabs and put in a bushel basket and ride home. James went to Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Edison High Schools in Port Arthur, Texas.

James was the real deal. His first two marriages, from high school and right after, resulted in two beautiful daughters each: Amara and Sarie from the first, and Fawn Sarie  and Shana Sarie  from the second. His current wife is Melba.  James deeply loved his family and friends. He loved Cajun food and spending time with his cousin Sandra and Rusty during Mardi Gras. He enjoyed fishing with Darrell and Larry and shooting guns with his niece Gathy. He loved chocolate pie from his cousin Shawie (who he called Meaness) and drinking beer on the porch and having long talks with his daughter and his son-in-law Joel. He enjoyed fixing cars with his friend Randy, and he loved riding motorcycles and being in his motorcycle club. James helped everyone.

James supported his family working as a maintenance mechanic and foreman at an envelope factory. When he wasn’t hard at work, he was hard at play. When he was younger, James always took the family camping at Sam Rayburn, and enjoyed fishing more than just about anything. He would fish in the morning and water ski in the afternoon. He also spent vacations in Galveston with Barry and Sarah. He also enjoyed playing pool, yo-yo, crabbing, and playing Cajun music with his cousins. James was pretty Cajun and a proud Coon Ass, so sitting on the porch and enjoying a Budweiser with family and friends was just about perfect – even better if he could have some gumbo, red beans and rice, or boudin.

I'll cut here - no need in listing the entire family or funeral arrangements.  Doesn't this guy James sound like a fun guy?  I'd better that half of east Texas was his friend.      


time to pause until next time.

see ya, (what alligator?)


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Gatherings

 This has nothing to do with human gatherings or spirits gathering or all animate objects gathering.  If you're hoping to read something about a haunted house of creatures or a field of restless zombies all "Gathering" to assault the world, you have come to the wrong blog.  I have never been able to get into the zombie thing.  Now I like a few of the space creature or ancient sorcerer getting together - assuming the bad ones are eliminated by the end of the adventure.  We move on.


Back in high school I read a book by H. Allen Smith called Lost in the Horse Lattitudes.  I can't say I remember much about it.  Surely I picked it up at the local Hockley County Library after I had finished reading all of their Wizard of Oz books.  There was quite a series of those.  I cannot remember my age - but I enjoyed the book.  I seem to remember it as a glommed together of several short happenings (stories) haphazardly lumped together in to a moderately sized book, easily read.   My spell check doesn't like the word "glommed."   You don't suppose that "glommed" is not a real word, do you?

I enjoyed that book.  Since I can't find it among my junk, I must have found it at the library.  Yes, I would like to reread it someday.  Maybe it is on amazon.  First of all, consider that I have remembered the title and author for over 60 years and tears.  That in itself is remarkable for me.  One story stayed with me all this time, the details of which I have forgotten.  H. Allen Smith wrote about an uncle (may have been a cousin or grandparent) who was a bit strange.  He kept a gallon jar under his bed filled with his toenail clippings.

That haunts me.   

I have trouble getting my toes up high enough to properly clip...much less collect.


Which brings me to Gatherings.   He gathered his toenail clippings in a gallon jar.  I'm sure his heirs were appreciative.   Over the years, I have Gathered things.  Most folks consider my gatherings to be innocuous  (ooooo, ooooo, be jealous of me for using that word).  For many years I would pick up match books and file them away.  For a while I put a wire across the wall and hung them up to display.  Then, one year, as we were considering leaving Ardmore, my family encouraged me to sell them in a yard sale (actually a backyard sale).   $5 - a sizable sum in those days.  My matchbooks went to some poor slob.  I miss those matchbooks.  Some were quite interesting - to me.

Later I started picking up business cards.  I had several.  Then, I received a letter (pre-email times) in which a cousin told me about a dying child who collected business cards, and how much joy he had when more business cards arrived.  This was before I became calloused about "scams."  I thought for a while about it.  I mailed all of my cards to the child - all of my collection - truly just a small box.  Never did I hear back or receive a thank you note.  I was a tad bit bitter.  Too late.  That was in Amarillo.   The kid was somewhere in the Midwest like Ohio or Iowa.  Never could tell those two states apart.

Life went on.  When I moved from Amarillo, I dumped my 10 year collection of Instrumentalist Magazine in a trash bin.  All gone.

Years passed.  Christine (#1 daughter, the eldest) was on the Texas Tech plant judging team.  How about that.  They traveled to Florida for a competition.  We were living in Plano when we saw her next; she brought Florida gifts.   Mine was a Disney key ring.  As a mere offhand remark, I said, "I guess I am collecting key rings now."   That was the "Event."  I now have a few thousand key rings ... maybe hundreds is more accurate (so who's counting?).  

I have almost quit acquiring / buying key rings.  One day I had an Epiphany.  One can't own a copy of every key ring produced in the world.  You can try, but you will fail.  The last one I bought was from Buc-ees in Ennis.  It sets on the kitchen table next to the salt shaker.  Cute little critter.

That reminds me.  We were visiting my mother in Levelland many years back.  I had been given a small music box.  I made the remark, "I would love to own 100,  no 200, music boxes to display on one wall."  I should have paraphrased that remark for you, the reader.  Immediately I caught myself.  What was I thinking?  I backed up and explained to all within hearing range that I only wanted the 200 if I could get them all at one time.  No dribbling in of music boxes.  All 200 at once or none at all.

It was too late.  The idea had already taken root.  I started receiving one or two every "present giving" day.  The collection (or gathering, if you will) had begun.  I get blamed for collecting stuff, but it is not all my fault.   I do not think I have reached 200 music boxes yet.  For the past 12 years, they have been collecting dust on a wall in the garage.  Our house is too small to offer a display option.   I do love music boxes.  Once in my early years with my computer Excel program, I did try to inventory all my key rings and music boxes.  Eventually, that project failed.

Well, folks, I'm gonna sum this up.  I have other collections.   Being a Republican, I thought it would be fun to own a stuffed elephant.  That gathering has grown and grown.  Branching out from stuffed elephants, all sorts of elephants, I have.  I'd betcha that I have a hundred around here somewhere.  

Of course, I have several dachshunds - not only the live models - but others to look at. Some are quite nice.    CD's, Recordings, Tapes, VCRs, you get the picture.  I once owned many many band records - 33 rpm.  I put an adv. on ebay and sold them all to some guy back east.   I need to do that with SOME of my other stuff.     Louis L'Amour books, I have them.  The "Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan - they are here.  Decks of Cards - ?  of course, I have several.  My list of stuff gathered perhaps shows my age.   Did I mention the piles of postcards?  Some go back to the early 1900s.  They are fun to hold and read.  Innocuous messages scrawled in the early morning hours by people I'll never meet (there I used the word twice in the same bluggy).

I do love stuff.  M&Ms are just fun to have.  Coca-Cola.  Hobbit books - Harry Potter stuff - just plain workman tools ---  I'll stop here with the question:   What do you have gathered among your things.  Are they valuable collections, or are they like mine?  I like them.  Locally nobody wants to share my enthusiasm.  Nothing here to adorn the halls of a true museum.    I could spend hours boring you with a tour of my possessions (Too Late).  I Won't - but I Could.  Time to move on.  Today is my day to check the financial books in preparation for our next month of hibernation.  Then, this afternoon, with true joy in my heart - I mow the leaves in the backyard.

It never ends.

take care,  "TREES,  LEAF  ME  ALONE!!!"

Mtz (#3)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Clean out / up

 Maybe it is the epidemic - or maybe it is my age (does turning 80 make you want to buy a Ferrari?)  Whatever the reason, I have started cleaning out the garage and other storage places.  We rented a small storage space in town and have made 2 moving trips now.

Originally, I planned to buy a big storage shed for our house.  All that stuff would go inside the shed.  Sheds are expensive.  It is impossible to move a shed into our backyard - too many trees and ditches. Years ago when we lived in Ardmore, I bought a shed from Sears and built it myself - a metal shed.  Then, when we left for Amarillo, I tore it down and moved it with us.  It would not fit in our backyard properly.  I had to cut a hole in the roof to go around a tree trunk.   In Pflugerville, I built another shed - wooden with shingles.  That was fun.  I'm probably too old to climb on top of a shed and install shingles now.

So, over the years, I have done nothing.  No shed = just junk in the garage.  Not good.  What I want to do is have a big, ole garage sale -But (there is always a but) living out in the wilderness, me thinks it would be a worthless activity.  Moving will continue.  My goal is to have my car inside the garage by Thanksgiving.  It is good to have a goal.  Never had a basketball goal.  Never knew a ghoul.

The process of renting a storage unit was involved.  The manager had a process - we followed the process - I believe she had memorized the paragraphs recited.  Of course there was a contract.  I could not sign the contract in the office;  one can only sign the contract online.  Yes, Online.  Later at home, I signed the online contract.  Go Figure.  An online signature is considered more valid than signing, in person, in ink, in the office, in front of witnesses.  Go Figure.


A little aside:  I've learned over the years that old people should be near an excellent hospital.  You never know what may happen.  Competent medical care is a positive.  There is probably nothing wrong with our hospital in Corsicana.  I don't know.   I have excellent local doctors.  It is logical that being near a Level III hospital (or whatever they are called) - this has to be a good idea.  So, we are working on our brains to justify moving to better area.  We are 20-25 minutes from our hospital now.  If I get bit by a snake, the nearest anti-venom is in Dallas - that would be a helicopter ride.  Sumpin' to think about.


It took so long to get the unit rented, we decided to eat at CiCi's pizza - a functional pizza place.  It use to be better.  Now, they won't let us get our own salad or pizza.  I find this over-kill.  I've been several places that give you gloves and let you have-at-it.  I prefer to have-at-it.  This young girls behind the counter have no concept about how many cherry tomatoes make a good salad.  It is painful.  the pizza is okay.  Not much variety since the epidemic: in pizza and the salad.  We struggle forth.

I'm sitting there eating my pizza - wait, first - I have this diabetic problem.  I can only eat so much pizza because of the carbs.  I did have my 6 months medical checkup last week.  My A1C is 7.0 right now.  this is an improvement.  Six months ago, I was a 7.6.  I know that most people don't understand the A1C thing.  That's okay.  If you get diabetes, you'll learn.  Back to CiCi's.  I should only eat 3 pieces of pizza.  My wife gets by on only one; and, she is not diabetic.

To make things better, I usually get 2 of each kind that I eat.  Then I scrape off the topping from one onto the other one.  It makes a better piece of pizza; I can tell you.  Years ago, we were traveling from Austin to Houston stopping in the town of Columbia at a CiCi's.  That is where I learned the trick.  There were these 4 BIG boys (teenagers) sitting at a big table.  Beside each was a pile of pizza crust, no toppings.  These guys were getting pizza, eating the toppings, and piling the crust.  I'd guess each had a foot tall pile of crust.  Now, I don't have that kind of nerve.


Sitting there - at the sparse crowd - I noticed that I was the only male in the place that did not have facial hair: mustaches, beards, massive side burns, you name it.  Does make me special?  At least you can admit that I am a minority.

This brings me to my last observation.  The TV was on - no sound - but on.  Nobody in CiCi's was watching TV.  The only one I could see was a football game. It had to be a rerun.  What college plays football at noon on a Monday?  I could read the teams:  Western Carolina was playing Liberty.  I mean nothing bad when I say that I don't know anything about these two colleges.  That should be no surprise.

I know there is a Western Michigan and  North Texas State - so forth.  Western Carolina bothered me. We have North Carolina and South Carolina.  There is no state named West Carolina.  Is Western Carolina found in North or South Carolina?  Shouldn't it be named Western South Carolina or  Western North Carolina?  Presumptuous to just be called Western Carolina - it seems to me.

Question:  is there a Western Dakota College?  How about a Western South Dakota State?  Or a Northern South Dakota State?  Southern North Dakota State University?  Can you see the possibilities here?  Lots of questions.  South Dakota Western University.  I love this.  If I truly wanted to know, I look it up.  Some questions don't need to be answered - just asked.

over and out

be nice


Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday the 13th - some church stuff

 I can't let this day pass without at least mentioning that it is Friday, the 13th.  Most times, Friday the 13th comes on a different day than a Friday.  For instance, Friday the 13th comes on a Sunday during December this year.  It is just good to know.  Now you know.

The news is on TV now.  I have given up watching the news.  What can the news possibly do to make my life any better?  It is all depressing.  I've heard that it is good to be informed.  At 80 yrs, why?  I do drop in on the weather man now and then.  Knowing if a tornado is descending upon your head - now, that might be somewhat valuable.  Rarely do we have to watch out for the blizzards or hurricanes around here.  Tornadoes, well, sure.  

The news in Dallas starts at 4:00 and goes till 6:30.  Two and a half hours of the same stuff in repetition  This will make me seem what of a psycho, but I don't trust the news to be accurate.  They lie.  They try to be sensational.  It is all depressing.   My AOL website has a news system.  They are so pro-democrat that nothing they say makes true sense.  I do have a theory.  They are prejudiced in order to get people to argue about the news on their website.  Somehow, they make money off the number of people who argue.  Worthless.  Depressing.  Not for me.

Moving on to a happier note:  Today I mowed my leaves for a third time.  We have so many leaves in the backyard that I consider it unsafe for my short legged dachshunds.  Snakes have not gone away from the neighborhood yet.  Not cold enough.  Snakes could be hidden under any gathering of leaves.  

Pause:  Gathering of Leaves.  I like that expression.  It would be a great title of a book if you could somehow associate leaves with people or children or band members.  Shall we work on it?

Back to the mowing.  I set the mower on a level 3 - cover the outlet hole - and mow.  The leaves are destroyed by the machine.  Nothing is left but tiny leaf bits which begin to mush away with the first watering.  I looked up in my trees.  This will not be the last of my mowing.  You'd hope that the mower could be stashed in hiding come November.  Not in Texas.  Snow in the mountains - grass in central Texas.

It is now 5:37.   NBC news is on the TV - in the other room.   Don't care.  Not gonna do that.

Our local 1st Methodist church has a nice young preacher guy - Stephen Bell.  He announced that he is moving to Shreveport.  This is probably good for him since that area is where he was raised.  Stephen was a great choice for this church when he came here about 5 ?? years ago.  The church was in a turmoil over preachers.  Their long time preacher had been moved up to DFW "over-night" somewhere and another guy sent here.

The locals were mad.  It was done in haste.  The new guy was not liked by several influential people.  I had been appointed to the staff relations committee that previous year and was in the thick of it.  I could write quite a lot about that stupid time.  I believe the church bigwig people laid for the guy to run him off.   Now, that was Christian of them?   I thought his sermons were excellent - he had the soul of a teacher.   And, he taught in his sermons.  Long story short:  New guy left in the middle of the season (run off) and was replaced by a temp who had previously retired - The temp was a good con man and preacher - that is - he knew how to smultz the irrational people.  I really liked the new temp guy.   Talented.

 After an appropriate amount of time, Stephen was moved here.   It was a good move.  The church settled down. He is/was good at working with people and the community.  Money started rolling back in; people returned to church.  Certain positive changes were made.  I do hope his replacement is well received.  I am off that committee.  Don't want back on.  "Rather" watch NBC news.  And life in Corsicana moves forward.

Wish that I had a funny story to leave you with.  (bad English, but factual).    Maybe next time I will discuss the books that I have just finished reading.  I think that I like Miss Marple.

Time for supper.  Leftovers, my favorite.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020


 I was going to write an essay tonight.  But, I don't feel like it.

Today I turn 80.   My down feeling is not because of the age.

bless you.


Monday, October 26, 2020

 It is Monday morning.  Everyone needs a photo of Bruno.

Who is that white legged dog in the center right?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

it is what it is

 I believe that I write best when I am in a good mood ... better when I am in a really good mood.  I thought I was in a good mood when I started just one sentence ago writing the above title.  I have made a mistake.  The Texas Tech (my alma mater) Vs. West Virginia football game is on my TV.  Just as I began to type, three words typed and West Virginia runs a trick play.  The game is now in jeopardy.

Frankly, I don't watch much football on TV.  Several years back, the networks quit showing halftime performances.  I quit watching.  But, when it comes to Tech, I have to sneak a peak once in a while.  What if they turned the corner and became good.  I wouldn't be able to brag cause I didn't know.   As it is, we trod on.  Maybe they will pull this one out.


Today was another Adventure.  Laura and Tom picked us up, and we traveled a few miles south on I45 to Fairfield and Sam's Restaurant.  Sams has a nice buffet with plenty of good salads, friendly staff,  and 4 different meats:  Chicken fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy; fried fish with unlimited shrimp;  fried chicken -about as crusty good as can be fried; and their best -- BBQ sliced beef.   The BBQ was their forte when first they started; and, it is as good now as years past.

Your plate can be adorned with side dishes of okra, pinto beans, macaroni, french fried potatoes, mashed same, the list continues.  My precious family thought I over ate.  Well, nonsense.  At the price Sam's charges, over-eating is a must.  I had the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy with okra followed by 3 pieces of fish with a pile of shrimp, topped off by some sliced BBQ and sauce.   Well, yes, I did have a salad.  Well, sorta.  A few pieces of lettuce with 5 cherry tomatoes atop and liberal slices of bell pepper and cheese and radishes.   Of course, I had to get a couple of peppers and green onions.   The unsweet tea was refreshing - all 3 glasses full.  

Did I mention that Sam's brings a loaf of fresh baked bread to the table - you can have cornbread if you wish, why, I don't know???  The bread is so good it could make you forget to watch the football game.

Normal people top off their meal with an enormous piece of pie - or two - or three - or cake.   I had the no-sugar-added (sweetner added) peach cobbler.   it was a fine meal and I do thank Laura and Tom for feeding me... Sometimes, they have fine ideas.  This was one.  Yum.

It is a birthday present.  I turn 80 in about a week and a half.   It is seven hours later, and I am still not hungry. Wonder Why?  I could use some of that fine homemade bread soaked in BBQ sauce.


It is a good day.  It is nice to get out.  It is nice to be around relatives.  

It is nice to overeat.  (It is not nice to be uncomfortable from over-eating.)

moving on,


ps. Tech won 34-27  It is still a good day.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Today, Sunday

 It is getting so - that at our age and the virus - anytime we venture forth in the world, it becomes an adventure.  It may be exactly like last year's drive, but this year it is an .... say it with me ....  IT IS AN ADVENTURE.

Yesterday, we drove to Waxahachie (or as my son Roger calls it:  Wax-A-Hatchet).  Laura and Tom have a new puppy.  They want so badly to show it off.  There is nobody available to come see.  I must admit, it is cute - all white Pekingese - about the size of a powder puff.  It runs and eats and other things just like normal dogs.   The little girl, named Selah, can snuggle with the best of them.

We went to see.  Cuteness.  Laura also raises rabbits  I won't say they are cute because everyone already knows that.   I'm looking forward to Selah growing up into a loving little monster.  

After meeting and greeting and loving, we drove to Arby's for food.  Waxa. has a very nice park with picnic tables.  We went.   Nice trip.

Of course, on the way home we had to stop at Buc-ee's in Ennis.   Other than gas and diet cokes, they are a bit over priced on everything.  Still, I never seem to miss an opportunity to stop off.  Adventure over, we came home.


My pomegranate trees have fruit.  Be jealous if you wish or plant your own tree.  It will produce more fruit in about a year or two than you will be able to eat.  Pomegranates don't seem to have any natural predators or problems other than squirrels.  I took 10 really big ones up to Tom yesterday and I have another 10 or so ready to eat locally.  Good fruit.


I have an ex-band director friend Joe Michel who is prolific with email forwards.  I cannot imagine where he finds all this stuff.   Below is one humorous item he least I think it is funny.

but my real favorite is ===>

or or or or or or

I don't know where these originated or I would give author's credit to them.

meanwhile, enough for today.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Sue - the Cookie Monster

This is my post from March of 2010.  I like it.   I figure none of you remember this from 2010 - That was over 10 years past.   I did edit it slightly.  Enjoy.



Quick stone:  We live in the country.  Our neighbors have 2 black Labs:  Heidi and Sue.  They are both smelly black dogs with great attitudes (you'd smell too if you swam daily in the lake and rolled on dead things in your off time )  Heidi is a homebody.  She is home to wag and smell up my hands whenever possible.  Sue, on the other hand, is ADHD and roams the short hills and creek beds.

You have to love Sue, but never "throw the ball" for her.  She doesn't know when to quit. Throw the ball once & you will throw it a thousand times....except Heidi gets jealous and starts romping aggressively around Sue.  Only throw the ball when Heidi is asleep.  Sue NEVER SLEEPS.   Since her real parents work, Sue spends most of her days at another neighbors helping him to mow, fish, hoe, clean his boat - whatever he does.  We call him "Sue's 2nd Dad."

Yesterday morning my wife went out front.  In the flower garden next to the house was a large pile of dirt.  It was not there the day before.  Scratch marks sprouted from the pile.  A dog had been here.   With my foot I nudged the top off the pile - not quite sure who might be buried within.  A bright blue paper point stuck out.  I reached down and pulled slowly and carefully on the bright blue paper tip.  I couldn't believe it.  I pulled out an entire package, unopened package of chocolate Oreos.  There were no teeth marks, just a beautiful package of Oreos covered with dirt.

You know how you wait for something to get Christmas - so you can open presents - or Easter - so you can look for eggs - We waited all day till the neighbors got home last night.  After supper we checked their driveway every few moments.   Finally, I mean FINALLY, they drove up.   We grabbed the crusted Oreo package and trotted out the door, returning their Oreos.  Wait and No!  They had not lost any Oreos.   All knew that Sue had done the deed; Heidi would never.  Sue just sat there on the driveway wagging and smiling waiting to transfer her aroma to our hands and available legs.   A short discussion followed.

History:  Another neighbor down the street has a doggy door in their garage.  Sue has gone into their house before and taken food off their table - carried it out the doggy door & crossed the street to her 2nd Dad's yard to bury the treasure.  We know she has taken a bag of Easter egg candies - a block of cheese - an apple - no telling what else. The owner of that house doesn't appreciate Sue.  Once Sue went into their garage to get out of the sun - they put the garage door down and drove off - Sue went through the doggy door and stayed 2 days in their house until they returned.  She messed up blinds and left secret surprises around the house and ate what she could find until she could be sprung.

I could just imagine Sue sneaking into their house yesterday - she went directly to the kitchen table  (where the goodies are) - acquired the Oreos  (didn't steal - dogs don't steal they just take what people leave out for them)  - carefully holding (caressing perhaps) between the teeth, she pranced the 1/2 mile to our front yard to dig, store, and protect for later consumption .  She wasn't hungry right now.  In the package, Oreos might have stayed for quite awhile.  Not that it matters to a dog - a wet oreo, a dry oreo, a muddy oreo, it matters little.  Sue smiled at us as we returned home in the dark.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Bad Story - but, a good story

I had a tough time Wednesday evening.  I was not alone.  Let's start at the beginning with a tad bit of background.

I have the 3 wirehair dachshunds:  Oscar, 11; Bruno (twins), 11; and Sadie, (say slowly) "Sadie-Is-Four-Years-Old."  My baby girl, Sadie, is slowly coming out of her puppy-behavior years and has developed the ability to bark at any object:  people, squirrels, delivery trucks, leaves falling, sticks, anything.  

Bruno has one great love: Eating.  He can do his share in barking if the mood hits.  We have this one great big white bird (?Heron?) who likes to walk up and down our waterfront.  This is usually too much for a self-respecting, over-weight dachshund.  Of course, he only barks from the back porch.  It is too much effort to lumber down the hill to our chain linked fence and bark.

And, finally, the cause of my sadness, Oscar, is my Ball Boy, possessed.  I understand that if you find a dog that can be possessed with playing ball or Frisbee - or something like that - that singular dog could become a great drug dog.  They will find drugs just to be able to get the ball again.   Oscar is this way.  Eleven years ago, I once wrote a song about Oscar called:   "I am my dog's toy."   Yes, as he ages, he is slowing a bit.  While we were able to play thirty minutes to an hour, now he seems to tire after 15.  Or, it could be me that is tiring; and, Oscar is taking mercy on his good ole dad.  Dogs are smart and would know if I am tired.  I've noticed Oscar can be so very, very compassionate.  


As explained in a previous writing, on Wednesday I give the dogs 1/3rd can of soft dog food with their normal dry food, mixing them together in order to prolong the happiness.  I am not sure this was THE issue which caused our problem.  I mention it merely as a thought and to help the time line.  The dogs were fed about 4:10 that afternoon.  Greedily, the soft food was gulped.  The boys never chew anything.  WE swallow all food whole if at all possible.   On the other hand, Sadie chews every bite, every small kernel, every sliver of food.  I swear she must count to seven with each chew.

Supper over, we go to the backyard for Oscar's ball playing session.  While Sadie will play a tiny bit before becoming bored, Bruno parks his body on a back porch cushion to stare out across his estate - unless, of course, he has decided it is time to share his "woo" with the dung beetles.   I threw the ball down the hill; Oscar snatched it in mid-air; I stumbled down the hill;  I threw the ball again; Oscar watched the ball land within 3 feet of his nose;  he made no effort to retrieve.  

This is not normal.  I threw it three more times.  He made no effort and, in fact, he began to slowly walk up the hill to our back porch.  If I threw the ball in front of him, he might pick it up for a foot or two.  I gave up; Oscar gave up; we went into the house.  Sadie stayed outside to bark and roll in the grass.  Obviously, there was something down there that needed rolling on.

Around 5:30, I could tell Osccar had lost his energy.  He parked on a couch with his head down.  By 6:30-7:00, he seemed even more lethargic, if indeed he could.  My wife and I started to watch some TV as we do every evening.  Oscar gave out a little moan and started pacing about.  I called him to me.  That didn't work.  So I got up and felt his sides.  They were as hard as a rock and extended out.  He moaned and started pacing again.  Next came his efforts at vomiting.  Nothing would come out except foam.

I started looking up extended stomachs on my phone - aren't smart phones marvelous?  What I read gave me great concerns.  Extended stomachs were usually caused by gas - bloating in the stomach.  They started a listing of which dogs are most affected.  It seems that if a certain dogs gets this problem, the stomach will roll over - yes, roll over. When this happens, the blood supply to the stomach is cut off and the dog will die in a few minutes.   Now, I'm telling you, this got my attention.

I won't tell you how miserable Oscar was (and us too).  He paced.  He attempted to vomit.  Nothing.  He did drink water, lots of water.  Somewhere, between 8 and 9, I started looking for a vet.  Apparently, our vet doesn't work after hours.  His voice mail suggests driving to an emergency room in Mansville - about an hour plus away.  I did try to leave a voice message; but his machine wasn't working correctly - the message was so soft I couldn't hear.  I gave up.

I started to guide Oscar to the dog pit to see if he could have better expulsion out there.  I stepped into the hallway, and a string of enormous bits of dog poo (woo, as we call it) extended down the hallway. I called my wife to work on the hall as I tried to get all 3 dogs to walk carefully towards the door.  It was just luck that nobody stepped on anything.  My wife did a great job.

Next, I had her call the vet and leave a message.  Her message scored.  The vet returned the call which I took while standing outside in the dog pit.  Oscar was walking the perimeter moaning, trying to vomit, and panting.  I won't relay the entire conversation; but, it is safe to say that by its end, I had made up my mind that Oscar would be dead by morning.

The Vet made one final suggestion as we ended the call.  I was to give Oscar a spoonful & a half of Pepto Bismo.  It seems that Pepto will / can break up the air bubbles in the stomach.  It was a major project to find the P.B. and the device we use to squirt liquid down the dog's throat ... Hypodermic needle thingy without the needle.  

I suppose that I was able to get about a half spoonful of juice down his throat.  Apparently, dogs don't like pink stuff.  One of MY efforts against HIS resisting effort ended up with a big squirt on top of his head.  Boy dogs don't like to wear pink on their heads.

You don't know what it is like - or maybe you do - to sit in a chair with your dog lying on a cushion at your feet panting, breathing extremely  fast, gagging, and looking up into your eyes as if to say, "please help me."  I went on my knees and loved him.  As I describe this, I still get emotional.  I was losing my boy.  Once again, I swore to never get another animal that I had to watch suffer like this.

I tried off and on to push more Pepto Bismo down his clinched jaw.  Some made it.   Then, at 11 p.m., he stood up and was fine.  His stomach had relaxed.  No more gagging.  We went to the pit where all three emptied their bladders.  We came back in, and Oscar grabbed a ball.  It was over.  On Friday, we got him to the doctor.  His stomach is still a bit big.  The doc thinks he may have an enlarged liver or spleen - we did not Xray.  All seems to have passed.

I do not like feeling like I did Wednesday evening.  I know Oscar didn't.  Bruno and Sadie could have cared less what was happening.  It was the saddest thing to have happened to me since our Greta died at the age of 18 about 2 years ago.   I am not strong when it comes to my puppies.

P.S. AS AN ASIDE.  Dog food from cans is now OUT unless I buy the really expensive stuff.  Instead I am looking at giving them boiled chicken breasts on Wednesday nights.  They will be happy either way.  Who doesn't like a good boiled chicken breast? -- or baked? -- not fried!!


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Lots of junk here

 SIGH!   Sometimes I marvel at my incompetents at being a marketing genius.  Here I am - 8 plus months into the "hide-from-your-neighbors" period of my life - sitting and watching on my back porch as the world squeaks by.  Nothing of wonder or true excitement has been created within my habitat.  I write.  I read.  I eat.  I sleep.  I play ball with Oscar.  I ... well, you should get the idea by now.  The Corsicana Swing Orchestra doesn't rehearse, so I don't have that little game of fun.  You'd think I could use my brain and find a way to make some more bread.


ASIDE:  I did make some bread a few months ago.  I like making bread.  I have a couple of recipes which produce fine tasting bread with minimum amount of effort.  Maybe, more bread should be made soon.  I love home made bread.  But, the bread I am speaking about in the previous paragraph has nothing to do with eating.  MONEY!!

2ND ASIDE:   Above I said I was "sitting and watching."  This IS the correct word to use.  You set something down - like a vase.  (I set the vase down. )  You people sit down.  Well, I am just-a- wonderin' in this singular case, since the world has forced me to remain on my back porch, have they not "set" me down?  Thus, wouldn't I be "setting and watching"  rather than "sitting and watching?"  It's amazing what crosses the mind when  you are slowly retreating into madness.


I have railed about our local paper in the past, The Corsicana Daily Sun.  It is a dying newspaper which the locals can't figure out.  Instead of planning for a future and growth, they do the opposite.  Our paper cuts back its print editions.  Some fool has told them that the internet news is the wave of the future.  Nonsense.   How many people go to the internet to read the news.  I'm sure they have a statistic.  They are wrong.  The paper is about to wither up and die.  You should always plan for growth and make moves that way.  On the plus side:  Less grammatical errors, less improper use of our English language,  less common mistakes that would make an real editor shiver with discontent, and less intellectual commentaries to plow through.  

We had a Methodist preacher here a few years back that tried to plan for growth and the future:  Bayard was his name.  Our church could only look backwards, and in the tradition of Methodist churches, he was transferred.  Our present Preacher is doing an excellent job.  He was the right person for this job when he came.  One of Bayard's saying was to govern for growth and (in my words) execute.

But, once again, I have veered off my desired path into a different subject.  Money.  Why have I not been able to create anything from this Covid-Stupid to make my life richer and better?  I am embarrassed.  I am dumbfounded.


VEERING OFF AGAIN:  In the Saturday edition of our worthless newspaper are the Sunday comics and the Parade Magazine plus numerous coupons to be discarded.  This week's edition of the Parade features an interview with Sienfeld.  He has a book coming out - publicity is good.  One of the questions is, "Dog or Cat?"  His response is point on.  "Dog.  I have two dogs, but they're not real dogs.  They're dachshunds...."

Right he is.  I have an improved vision of Sienfeld now.  We never - and I mean never - watched his TV show.  It didn't make sense to me.  Well, I had to have watched it some to have formed that opinion.  It was so much fun for so many; but not for me.     "But Not For Me"  great song.  I love to hear Ella sing it.   "They're writing songs of love; but not for me..."  I can hear her now.


Moving on.

On Page 2 of the Parade Magazine is an advertisement for: TheraBreath.   I quote from the adv.   

"Bad breath can get REALLY BAD when wearing a mask.   STOP MASK BREATH.   Dentist formulated oral rinse.  Use twice a day to keep your breath, and your mask, smelling great.  Stay safe, America."     

Yes, keep America safe.  Isn't that wonderful?  Let's think about this.  Stop mask breath!  Here we are being forced to wear a mask daily, and we must smell our own breath.  What a concept.  Save the public from your breath.  Save America!   Stay safe!   Wear a mask!!  Refresh your mask breath.   This company has a marketing genius on staff.  Use TheraBreath, when you want to NOT offend the person you love the very most - yourself.  Wear the mask - save the street from your breath - Keep Safe America  - and breathe only your own fresh smelling breath.  Hang the onions and chili beans.  TheraBreath!!!  TheraBreath for you!!  TheraBreath for America!!  Stop Mask Breath!!  Stay Safe America!!


Before I leave, let's deal with something less important.  Shall it be:  World Peace?  Starving children in Africa?  Socialism vs. democracy?  Our failing educational system?  Electric vs. gasoline cars?  Whitey-Tighties?


I have decided to bless you with a photo of my boy dogs Bruno (left) and Oscar (the Ball Boy)  They were sitting on the kitchen floor in hopes of a morsel of accidentally discarded food.  {I love spell check - it keeps me from looking unschooled - "Accidently" is a fine example.}  Here are the boys & his green ball.

That's it.  Take care America.

TheraBreath!!        Just breathe.



Sunday, September 27, 2020



the book

by Sinclair Lewis, 1922

In my father's yearbooks from high school, graduated in 1928, he seemed to have the nickname Babbitt.  He never wanted to talk about it.  I wondered why.  Bought the book after several years. I can honestly say, I have not learned the "why" at all.  Who knows?  Kids say the darnedest things to other kids - even back in 1928.

I am starting chapter 15 and stopping.  So far this is a book of descriptions and inactivity and daily common activity and "something."   After several days of reading (up to page 192), I went online to read the reviews.  Maybe, I am missing something.  Look it up if you wish.  Descriptions of the book write about George F. Babbitt, a middle age Realtor in Zenith (state unknown).  It talks of his bigotry and attempts towards conformity in 1922.  While I was able to read it without falling to sleep, it still was a struggle - too much thinking.  Oh, so many descriptions of individuals.   I spent too much time wondering where I was going in this story.  The first chapter is his getting out of bed in the morning - the rituals.  The 2nd chapter follows him going downstairs to eat breakfast.

The descriptions were indeed excellent.  Sinclair Lewis does a fine job with this.  You could visualize the entire day, step-by-step.  Maybe I was expecting a quicker story line - robbing a bank, beating his secretary to death, ridding a horse naked down main street (yes, I know, most horses are naked)  - whatever.  Nope, didn't happen.  Surprisingly, George F Babbitt has some of my views on Socialism / Communism and other social bits.  He is a little bit overboard on some other events and thoughts.  

I've noticed in this book and the other one I just finished, The complete Father Brown Mysteries by C.K. Chesterton, written about the same time as Babbitt, there is an abundance of racial and ethnic slurs.  I'm sure these were included in the common talk of individuals at the time.  If you offended by certain words  - not politically correct in 2020 - stay away from these books.   As with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,  somebody will try to get these banned from libraries and, of course, Boston.

My plan is to take a break and read something else for a while.  Then, I can return and make it to the end of the book.  My book is a slightly damaged first edition from 1922.   A sticker on the inside cover gives the name of the original owner:  Martha Ann Goetz of 817 Five Oaks Avenue, Dayton, Ohio.  I thought I might write to that address after I finished the book and see if anyone would like to own a piece of history of Five Oaks Avenue.  Could be that someone has burned down that section of Dayton since 1922.

I wonder if they had stickers in 1922.  It WAS a wild and crazy time .. The Roaring Twenties.  Since the sticker has no zip code, it had to come before - say 1960 something.  Zip codes started about that time.  I am not going to look it up.


I looked it up.  1963.  I graduated from college in 1962 - was married in 1962 - received my Master Degree in Jan., 1963 - took over Sudan HS in Jan, 63 ... I betcha that I wasn't paying attention to zip codes back then.  The last 4 digits of the zip were added in 1983.  There ya go.  Learn something old (new) everyday.  If you ever go on Jeopardy and they ask the non-question, you'll know.    {aside:  Jeopardy is a hard word to spell.  How often do you need to spell Jeopardy?  Rare, I'd guess.  I will admit that I looked it up before I inscribed same on this page.  Tough word, Jeopardy,}


SNAKES:  I can't say that I've talked about them much recently.  I have encountered 3 black snakes during the past 3 weeks.   One took up residence on my back porch in the corner.  My Sadie had a fit and pointed it out.  Good Dog.   The other two appeared on my steps which go down the hill from my back porch.  Both of them were trying to escape by going through a hole in my landscape wall.   At least one of these was not a friendly snake.   There is something about looking down the mouth of a snake when it is wide open and fangs are glistening in the afternoon sun.

Even if snakes are beneficial to our environment, I worry about getting bit and the dogs being bit.  Snakes don't really mean to kill - I believe - but they will defend territory.   One of daughter Laura's dogs was bit in the eye by some snake.  She was probably just wanting to sniff that strange creature. It would break my heart for my dogs to be injured by some snake that I failed to correct properly.  It would break my heart.

So, I close.  Beautiful day - minimum wind - will get into the 80s today - water sprinklers seem to be working beautifully (it is Sunday).  SeeYa-Mtz

Saturday, September 26, 2020


It is the weekend again.  I seem to remember that there use to be 7 days in a week.  Now it seems like there are only 2 or 3.  Is this related to aging?  I'm afraid so.  I know that when I was teaching, I didn't think the weeks would ever end.  It just dragged on and on.  And, when I was a kid - how the weeks dragged before Christmas and my birthday.   Now, nothing drags except me.

As they have said, Time Flies.  

It seems my weeks have a few highlights (weekly highlights or monthly highlights).  Whatever.  The 15th of the month is when we give heart guard to the dogs and put on the flea/tick medicine.  I check my blood numbers on Wednesdays.   My wife gets her whopping oil check on the 25th.  My bank statements are usually here by the 17th so I can check  the bank account numbers - we do need to check the numbers monthly to make sure I have not made a stupid mistake.  I have made stupid mistakes in my bank book before.   I do my books on the 1st and 17th of every month.   A look-forwarded-to trip to the Canton Flea market came on the first full weekend of the month.  My water sprinklers work on Thursday and Sunday.   On the first of the month, I change my flags outside to match the month.  Christmas flags are indeed my favorites.  Our water bill comes on the 29th.

Here is a photo of my present flag flying out front.  One sided print.  Only $8 online.   I'm waiting for the neighborhood Liberal to egg my house.   Nah, they wouldn't do that.  Would they?


I take some magazines.  They each seem to come on a special day.  Start a new month - start a new flock of current magazines.   I don't know how, but I got on a list.  They send me offers where I can subscribe to a certain magazine for a year for $10.  This is a bargain.  When the magazine looks interesting enough, I might send them a ten spot.  I NEVER NEVER sign up for their automatic renewal plans.  Cheeeeee.  Many of the magazines send me renewal notices during the 1st month of delivery.  Then, on the 3rd month, I will get a renewal where:   i renew and they will send a free subscription (sometimes 2 or 3 subs) to the people of my choosing.  So, I can renew and send you a free year of reader's digest.

I have one magazine where my subscription runs out in 2023.  Hey, it was a bargain.

I have had an experience this week.  I learned something.  It will probably serve you no purpose; but, if it helps one poor soul...

I own this Gorilla Cart - it is a large one that we bought when we moved here in 2008.  The cart is valuable.  I move stuff all the time around here.  Whether it is dirt or rock or it is a bunch of branches headed for the wood pile, the list doesn't end.  It is a great cart.  About 5 or 6 years ago, I bent the handle and destroyed some tires.  I contacted Gorilla Cart online and got everything that I needed to move on.

About 2 weeks ago, I discovered one of the Gorilla Cart tires running flat - really flat.  Out came the air compressor and on went the nozzle.  It wouldn't air up.  Closer inspection showed the sidewalls had pulled away from the tread.  This is the death moan for a tube tire.  Where do you find / buy a 15 x 5.00-6 tire with an attached rim?  Not on my computer.   

A trip to town finally located a 15.x-6 tire and rim at Tractor Supply.  I bought the Gorilla Cart there; logical that TSC would have the replacement.  Logical.   It was expensive, but - my worldly view - well worth it to be done with the problem.  I proudly carted the new tire and rim to the house and sat on the garage floor to install.   Nope.  It wouldn't fit. The rim had a hole that was too big for the pipe axle; and, the entire rim was too wide.  The washer and nut would not fit on the axle.   Doomed.   Doomed.  Woe is me.

Epiphany came:   (you remember her, little short girl with green hair and freckles.)  An Epiphany.   I took the old tire and rim to town.  Sardis tire company cheerfully changed the new tire to the old rim.  It wasn't hard.   Only took $$$$.   Problem solved.   works.  no problem.   I spent too much on this whole thing.

What did I learn?   I should have returned to Gorilla Cart dot com and bought a tire from them.  They would have shipped me the whole shootin' match with a lot less trouble.  Sometimes, yes sometimes, living in the past and doing things like I always have - yes, yes, sometimes this costs me.   I'm starting to think I need to hire a life advisor - or a counselor at the least.   You never get too old to learn something once more.

So, here we are again at the end of the bloggy.  Y'all take care now.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Memories #1

I thought I'd start a series called "Memories."  That brilliant idea was all well and good.  I started by writing down my short list of memories to share with the world.  Lists give me the allusion of being organized.  This short list grew to 25 memories in less than 5 minutes.  At that point, I realized that we must create sub-categories under the main "Memories" title.

As an example, most of us were born and led lives around the house for a few years.  This was followed by introduction to public schools - not all of us get to go to private schools and wear ugly uniforms.  My elementary school years were followed immediately by my junior high years.  I've noticed that most people don't get to take long, yearly vacations between elementary and junior high.

An aside:  when I was coming through the school systems, we had junior high schools, grades 7 -8 - 9.  Some brilliant person made up a theory that grouping 6-7-8 together was better for the psychology of the little unwashed mind.  This was probably done in a Doctoral Dissertation by a doctoral candidate who had never been a classroom.  Eventually, another theorist figured out that grades 1-2-3 should be separate from 4-5-6, so we created another level of elementary.  Only larger schools have the luxury of that type of division.

As a band teacher, I had a high school band consisting of only grades 10 through 12 and, later, another school with grades 9 through 12.  Eliminating the 9th grade student from the actual high school makes teaching easier - for me - in band.  A junior high band of 8th and 9th graders is so much better than 7 - 8.  [ I realize that I am bogging down here. ]  If you can isolate grades 5 and 6 and 7 from 8th graders, your life is more pleasant.  8th graders start thinking they are adults.  They're not.  Having a separate 9th grade center for mush minds would have been so nice.   But, I digress.

So, right there you have it:   Sub-category:   birth / toddler / pre-school / elementary school / junior high school / high school / college years / dating / advanced college degree / summer working jobs / our wedding year / early marriage years / 1st teaching position / oh, the lists, the lists.  

I taught 38 normal years - AND - while in college, sub taught one junior high while their new director was moving to town - & - as a graduate student, I sub taught another school for a band director that went into an institution ( this school was a true eye opener for me regarding worthless students - I thought I had died and ended up in the backwoods of Kentucky teaching frogs ) - and I taught 2 schools after retirement (one of those for a lady band director that went bonkers - it happens a lot in my world).

Sub headings - Sub headings - I don't think I can list them all here.  So this is Memories #1 blog.  It has stirred lots of memories for me and left you nothing but casual thoughts.

I will leave you with this.  You listening to memories by an 80 year old guy (almost me) are essentially the same as being stuck in a small room in front of a fireplace with an old guy who just won't shut up talking about himself and his own great accomplishments and his old friends or foes. 

The big Blackout ... 9-11 ...Welcome Back Kotter ... Star Wars beginning and ending ... Panchos ... Rafael Mendez ... Levelland & Lubbock Drive-Ins ... Flash Gordon ... Sonny West ... Phone calls ... South Pacific ... Roots ... JFK assassination ... Beatles ... summer trips ... Mickey Mouse Club ... Sudan ... Ardmore ... Tascosa ... Timberlawn ... Van Alstyne ... Gainesville ... Manor ... 

Too many to list.  So you say, "Stop telling us what you are going to do; do it."   It reminds me of a line that Tim Lautzenheiser use to say:  "Don't tell me you are a good kisser; show me."  I do love Tim and his sayings (look him up on google). Next time, I'll pick a subject and expound.  Look for Memories #2.

We shall move on.  Lunch time.  Lunch always comes before writing.