It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing

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#Fridayreads – Excerpt From a Humorous Memoir

Posted by mcm0704 on June 22, 2018 |

Now that I am back living in a neighborhood and not out in the country anymore, this excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant And A Paycheck, is particularly meaningful. I did like my country home that was surrounded by pine trees, so there was no real lawn to deal with. The rest of the acreage was pasture that did get mowed, but it was with a riding mower, or a tractor and shredder. Nobody cared what your place looked like, unless you let the weeds get “As high as an elephant’s eye, and they look like they’re going clear up to the sky.”

Whoever can name what song that line is from, will get a free copy of one of my short stories. Leave your answer in the comments. Ready, set, go….

One of the joys of living in the suburbs is the inevitability of the Lawn Wars. You know what I mean. Who has the prettiest, neatest, best maintained lawn in the neighborhood?

Normally, I did not enter into that competition. Hey, I know when it is futile to even try. But one Sunday I told my husband that it was about time we did something about our lawn.

“Why?”

“Because just once this summer I’d like to see the lawn mowed, edged and trimmed all on the same day.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. It’s just this strange desire that comes over me now and then. It’s the same compulsion 1 get once or twice a year to see the house all neat and clean for ore than five minutes at a time.”

“But it’s a futile effort. It’s all going to grow back.”

“I know, but it will look so nice for a day or two. And who knows, we might even find the kid who got lost out there last week.”

So, we dusted off our yard tools and set to work.

A couple of hours later, the thrill of our adventure had worn thin, and I was beginning to think that maybe my husband had the right attitude all along. We were hot and sweaty and surly, and I had just made my third trip to bandage a new blister, wondering what idiot had ever invented lawn care.

Obviously, humanity was not born with a desire to have a lawn that looks like a putting green, and lawn care could hardly be included as one of the basic primitive instincts of survival. Not only would it have been next to impossible to keep a nice lawn with all those dinosaurs stomping about, I think a caveman had a lot more important things to worry about than what his neighbor’s yard looked like. So where did this compulsion to tame green growing things come from?

After giving this question careful consideration, I decided that once upon a time there must have been this obsessive-compulsive pioneer woman who drove her neighbors nuts by keeping her house so clean she didn’t have to send out for a new sod floor every six months like the rest of them. She probably never had a wrinkle in her sunbonnet either. And she was probably the type who had all her work done while the rest of the ladies were still trudging down to the creek with their clothes baskets.

One day, to stave off waves of boredom, she probably got this brilliant idea to take her compulsion for neatness outside. And that, folks, was the birth of lawn care.
But what I’d like to know is why her great-great granddaughter had to move in across the street from me?

That’s all for me, folks. Do tell me if you have guessed the song title. And also share your stories of lawn care and working in the yard. Have a great weekend. Be safe and be happy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before you go, don’t forget to enter the CONTEST I’m sponsoring with a number of other authors. You could win a bunch of neat prizes, including a Kindle Fire. I’m sponsoring with my mystery, Open Season. Check out all the books and authors on the giveaway site. I’ve found a couple of new books I’m going to read. The contest ends June 30, 2018. Click and enter every day.

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Great Summer Evenings

Posted by mcm0704 on June 20, 2018 |

Before moving on to the guest post by Slim Randles I want to share something special from last Sunday. The Let’s Play Beginner Drama Camp at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts was dedicated to me, and I must say it was a great honor, as well as a huge surprise. I was the Theatre Director at the art center for almost 15 years and the summer drama camps were always the high point of my year. It was such a thrill to work with those kids and see their creativity blossom. Not to mention working with the talented camp leaders, especially George Gagliardi who wrote songs with the kids for the original musical production that the kids put together.

The drama camps evolved over the years from a simple one-week program to the two-week intensive camp that WCA has now. I am so proud of what it has become, and I am confident that those who have stepped up to administrate the camps now will make them even more successful.

I was also gifted with the lovely flowers.

 

Mary White, President of the Board of Directors, presented the award.

Slim Randles brings a thoughtful piece to the blog today, and it is perfect for those of us who cherish a great summer evening when we can step outside, leave our worries and concerns in the house, and just enjoy. I can actually feel a lifting of my spirit every time I step outside. 

Now, here’s Slim.

Our day is filled with heat at this time of year. It commands our attention and makes our work harder. As we toil, we daydream not about love or success, but things as mundane as shade and a cool drink.

But though the oppressive heat weighs on our brains and taxes our bodies, it is the price we pay for being allowed to spend time outdoors … and it has its one singular consolation: our summer evenings.

When the sun goes down in summer, it’s romantic enough to hug a cactus.

The recipe is simple; keep the earth warm, but just bring out the stars and a soft breeze that cools the skin. Mix this with a fulmination of little night varmint sounds of peeping and chirping and croaking.

And guitars.

Whether we play them ourselves or just turn on the radio, a lovely summer evening is a setting that is perfect for guitars. Villalobos, Fernando Sor, Tarrega, Randy Travis, Doc Watson, Steve Cormier.

We sit on brick-paved patios with something cool and someone sweet and relax and talk about dreams, because on evenings like this, anything is possible.

On nights like this, it’s difficult to decide whether remembering evenings like this in the past is better than anticipating those to come. All we really know is that it sure is nice to be here right now.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can remember all the words to “Little Joe the Wrangler” and find out if my guitar is still in tune.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Tractor Supply Company  “Everything but the tractor.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before you go, don’t forget to enter the CONTEST I’m sponsoring with a number of other authors. You could win a bunch of neat prizes, including a Kindle Fire. I’m sponsoring with my mystery, Open Season. Check out all the books and authors on the giveaway site. I’ve found a couple of new books I’m going to read. The contest ends June 30, 2018. Click and enter every day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press.  If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years he has been writing columns.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted by mcm0704 on June 18, 2018 |

Good Monday morning everyone. Before moving on to a bit of a snarky commentary, I want to share a pretty picture – just because. Looking at pretty things can bring a sense of peace and calm, just like a good belly laugh can. So I hope the picture and the jokes get your week off to a good start.

Sunset over a pasture in East Texas

Now the commentary. If you have an opinion on the topic, I do welcome the sharing of such, as long as it is done in a civil manner. Thank you.

I heard on the news today that over 2,700 children have been taken away from their parents at the border since November 2017. Homeland security statistics indicate that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31. And again the man in the White House with the orange hair blames the atrocity on the Democrats.

According to a report in The Independent on Saturday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders justified the policy on Thursday by describing it as Biblical: “It is very Biblical to enforce the [particular immigration] law, that is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”

Biblical? Really? I’ve read the Bible several times, and I don’t recall any place in there that says that children should be removed from their parents based on illegal immigration.

Atty. Gen. Jeff sessions also tries to use the Bible to justify this very inhumane treatment of people. He quoted Romans13, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

Well pardon me for believing in a God that would not give authority to man who establish policies such as this immigration policy. Which by the way is only a policy and not a law.

When asked by reporters recently why the administration will not exercise its ability to stop the policy, Trump said: “The Democrats forced that law upon our nation.”

Not only is it not something the Democrats are responsible for, nowhere in US immigration law is the federal government mandated to charge asylum seekers with crimes and take away their children. This is a policy created by the Trump administration and fully supported by the orange-hair man. And no matter how many times he tries to deflect that responsibility, the more people take him to task about it.

Consider this brief quote from an article in the Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine’s news blog:

President Trump is still trying to avoid responsibility for his administration’s brutal policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, but a new report confirms that Trump and his advisors had been considering the extreme measures for as long as they’ve been in power. According to the New York Times, White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller was “instrumental” in convincing the president to enact the policy, which applies a zero tolerance approach to prosecuting undocumented immigrants caught entering the U.S. — even if that means taking children away from their parents in the process.

And just a word for Trump and all the others in the White House who are pretending to be good Christians – REALLY? If Jesus had not risen from his grave, I’m sure he would be rolling over and over at what is being done in His name. Shame on you.

Okay, end of sermon. Here are some jokes I found over at The Laugh Factory

A man called his child’s doctor, “Hello! My son just snatched my pen when I was writing and swallowed it. What should I do?”

The doctor replied, “Until I can come over, write with another pen.”

Son: “Dad, when will I be old enough so I don’t have to ask mom for her permission to go out?”
Dad: “Son, even I haven’t grown old enough to go out without her permission!”

Fair warning, the following joke has the F-bomb, so if that offends you, you might want to stop reading here. I would not have posted it, except it made me chuckle, and not much was making me chuckle today.

A 7 year-old and a 4 year-old are in their bedroom. “You know what?” says the 7 year-old, “I think it’s time we started swearing. When we go downstairs for breakfast, I’ll swear first, then you.”

“Okay,” replies the 4 year-old.

In the kitchen, when the mother asks the 7 year-old what he wants for breakfast, he answers, “I’ll have Coco Pops, bitch.”

*WHACK* He goes flying out of his chair, crying his eyes out.

The mother looks at the 4 year-old and asks, “And what do you want?”

“Dunno,” he replies, “But it won’t be fucking Coco Pops.”

That’s it for me, folks. I hope you enjoyed the jokes, and if you have a favorite one please share. And don’t forget to enter the CONTEST to win a bunch of neat prizes, including a Kindle Fire. Giveaway ends June 30, 2018. Click and enter every day.  

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Friday Odds and Ends

Posted by mcm0704 on June 15, 2018 |

Last weekend I was in Austin for my granddaughter’s graduation celebration. She opted for a party at home with some of her friends from school, as well as several adult friends that she enjoys. So it was a casual, fun party, and I am so glad I was able to go and share in the fun.

The graduate showing off her autograph dog. The cat, Simba, couldn’t care less.

Her whole family was involved with the party preparations, including her younger sister, who got a taste of what it will be like in a couple of years when she graduates.

The cupcakes were yummy, by the way, and arranged quite artfully by yours truly and my friend, Becky.

This table was where guests could sign the dog, as well as fill out “advice” cards to drop in the red box. There was lots of red around the house.

If you look closely at the two panorama pictures above the table, the reason for the red becomes clear.

The second day we were in Austin, my friend wanted to see the bats come out in the evening for feeding. These are Mexico free-tailed bats who take to the skies in flights of 60+ miles per hour, soaring 2 miles into the sky before leveling off to feed on Austin insects.

The following information is taken from the website Bats In Austin, where there are a lot of interesting facts about the bats and the allure of watching the nightly spectacle in Austin.

Whether a bat enthusiast or not, many just love to take in an evening view of bats in Austin as one of the many local Austin, Texas attractions.

Thanks to Lady Bird Lake, formerly Town Lake, circa 1980 renovations making a home for the bats in Austin, Texas, the South Congress Bridge, also known as the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, bats put on a nightly spectacular show of dynamic aerial flight typically lasting 45 to 60 minutes long.

The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge (formerly known simply as the Congress Avenue Bridge) crosses over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Before construction of the Longhorn Dam was completed in 1960, the bridge crossed the Colorado River from which Lady Bird Lake is impounded.

I didn’t get pictures of the bats, as I was not in a good picture-taking area, but I did get a couple of shots of lovely places along the lake. And I did see the bats as they took to the sky. It was quite fascinating to watch them form two lines and then see the two blend into one.

I didn’t know those people. They just happened to be in range when I took the picture of the cactus and the pretty blue flowers. I thought the balance of the blue and green was quite lovely.

Ready for the bats to come out.

Our touristy path took us to The Austin History Center, where my son is the manager. We got a private tour, and my friend had a good time looking through albums of photographs from the years when she was a student at the University of Texas. I just had a good time looking at all the old photographs.

We also had the opportunity to have our picture taken in cut-outs that are part of the current exhibit at the History Center.

I was Oliver Twist and did not like having my hair pulled like that.

My friend and I did this one. Can you guess who’s the witch?

This was a much cooler stroll down Congress Avenue.

 

That’s all for me, folks. I hope you have a great weekend planned. Be safe and be happy.

And don’t forget to enter the contest at the Kindle Book Review for your chance to win a 10″ Kindle Fire, Amazon eCard, and a Bookworm coffee mug.

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A Special Dog

Posted by mcm0704 on June 13, 2018 |

Slim Randles is my guest again today. This time with a sweet story about a dog and his job. I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Austin, so no time to bake. Does anyone have a cookie or scone to share with our coffee?

Before I turn the stage over to Slim Randles, I want to remind folks about the contest that I’m sponsoring with a group of terrific authors over at The Kindle Book Review. Enter now for a chance to win a 10″ Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eCard, and a Bookworm coffee mug. The giveaway ends June 30, 2018. You can enter every day for more chances to win.  And while you’re there, check out the books and maybe find a new author you’d like. 

Now here’s Slim.

The first few days of summer vacation were hard on Billy. He was there, at his appointed post – that being the school crossing – at the right time of morning, but look as he may, he couldn’t find any kids.

He couldn’t find Martin, either. The perennial crossing guard, with his vest, sign and whistle, was home for the summer. So were the kids. School was out.

Billy, being the official town dog since Sally passed away on Doc’s porch, decided on the fourth day of no kids that he might as well do something else.

He cruised on down to the Rest of Your Life retirement home and got ear rumples from all the residents there. That’s a good way to start summer vacation. Then he dropped over to the Gates of Heaven Chinese Restaurant, and Delbert Chin gave him some scraps out the back door.

On his way to the Mule Barn truck stop at the edge of town, Billy came across Dud Campbell, walking slowly and being very quiet. Dud rubbed Billy’s ears, then sat on a low wall. Billy rested his chin on Dud’s leg and looked up at his face in admiration.

“Why is it,” Dud asked this big brown dog, “that you always know the right thing to do to help people? I think it’s a gift and you have it.”

Billy wagged his tail slowly and kept looking up into Dud’s face.

“You just keep going on, don’t you,” Dud said, “no matter what else happens.”

Dud sighed and stood up. “I guess there’s a lesson there for all of us, Billy. Thank you.”

Billy continued on toward whatever lunch scraps might be available at the back door to the Mule Barn. Smelled like chicken fried steak from here. Chicken fried steak is good. Any scraps usually has some French fries with it, too. And gravy.

Ear rumples, Chinese breakfast, helping a friend, and then cream gravy? Nothing wrong with being the town dog.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Tractor Supply Company  “Everything but the tractor.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press.  If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years he has been writing columns.

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Friday Read – Book Excerpt

Posted by mcm0704 on June 7, 2018 |

As promised on Monday, here is another excerpt from A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, my humorous memoir. Back when I was writing the weekly newspaper column, from which most of this book is taken, I didn’t shy away from poking fun at anyone, including myself.

Today, let’s share some chocolate, chocolate chip muffins. Who’s got the milk?

Long before it became chic to hang out in fitness centers, have a personal trainer, or lose 130 pounds eating Subway sandwiches, I knew the importance of regular exercise. When the kids were little and my days were spent in overdrive just keeping up with them, I didn’t have to worry about getting enough aerobic exercise. But once they passed out of the terrible twos, and threes, and fours, my daily mileage was significantly downsized. Plus I started noticing bulges where I didn’t really want bulges.

So I decided to join a local fitness center.

On my first day, I was greeted by a bright, enthusiastic young woman who tried to convince me this was going to be a fun experience.

Ha!

She didn’t know how long some of my muscles had lain dormant. Waking them up was going to be about as much fun as disturbing a grizzly bear during hibernation.

Thirty minutes later, as the bear was breathing down my neck, she came back with a cheerful little smile. “Don’t you feel just great?” she asked. “I always have so much energy after a workout I just want to run out and mow my lawn, trim hedges, and weed flower beds.”

At that point, I wasn’t even sure I had the strength to breathe, and the only thing I wanted to do was drown myself in a hot bath. Or maybe drown that all-too-chipper woman.

After I staggered out to my car and drove home, I swore that I would never return to that torture chamber, but being the undaunted spirit that I am, I went back a second time, determined to stick it out until the screams of agony from my body became mere whimpers.

It was during that second visit that I figured out one of the reasons I was not “just loving” this experience.

I wasn’t dressed for the part.

All the women, who were decked out in cute leotards and tights with coordinated leg warmers, weren’t straining a bit. They even sported the same kind of cheerful smile as the instructor.

Was there a store where one bought a cheerful smile?

And to top it off, they weren’t even sweating!

What is it with these designer women? Is there some medical procedure to stop up all their pores?

Obviously, I was at a disadvantage in my warm-up pants and sweat-soaked tee shirt, huffing and puffing through clenched teeth.

Then I noticed something else a little strange. None of those other women looked like they needed to be there. Picking five at random, I didn’t see enough excess fat to make one good tummy roll.

Wasn’t there one more woman in town who could have made a personal loan to each of those five without making a dent in her “spare tire?”

After careful consideration, I started to wonder if I was at the mercy of some creative marketing mind. Maybe the sight of all those slim bodies was supposed to give me incentive, making me think if I stayed with the program, I too, would look so good.

Perhaps they were even getting paid to work out and never sweat.

Then I realized that was a silly idea. How could the company stay in business if all those people were paid staff and there was only one member?

That’s when I came up with a creative marketing approach of my own. Maybe they’d consider hiring me to hang around with all my bulges. That way the next woman who walked in still carrying the evidence of multiple births wouldn’t feel so discouraged.

That’s all for today, folks. I hope you have a great weekend. And if said weekend involves a trip to a local gym, I hope you have more fun there than I did at mine.

Be safe. Be happy.

And don’t forget to enter the contest at the Kindle Book Review for your chance to win a 10″ Kindle Fire, Amazon eCard, and a Bookworm coffee mug.

  

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Feeding the Homeless

Posted by mcm0704 on June 6, 2018 |

Before I turn the stage over to Slim Randles, I want to announce another great contest that I’m sponsoring with a group of terrific authors over at The Kindle Book Review. Enter now for a chance to win a 10″ Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eCard, and a Bookworm coffee mug. The giveaway ends June 30, 2018. You can enter every day for more chances to win.  And while you’re there, check out the books and maybe find a new author you’d like. 

Since summer is in full bloom in many parts of the world, I thought we could all enjoy a nice cool drink. This is a sparkling blueberry lemonade and if you’d like to make some when this runs out, you can find a recipe at Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

Now here’s Slim…

Mrs. Forrest has always been a compulsive feeder. Before she retired, she was cooking for the Mule Barn truck stop’s customers, and is singularly responsible for about three flabby tons of avoirdupois on this nation’s truck drivers. She may have also been marginally responsible, third-hand, for a cardiac event or two.

But now she’s retired, and a widow, and her kids all have kids and are scattered like a covey of quail. Local bachelors of a certain age know if they should just happen to be chatting with Mrs. Forrest on her front lawn along about supper time, there’s a dang-near dead certainty they’ll get a meal out of it.

And, through the magic of telepathic communication and the synchronistic wave lengths of humanity, the message about Mrs. Forrest’s unstoppable feeding compulsion had somehow reached the psyches of the homeless.

At any rate, two of the aforementioned drifters had knocked on Mrs. Forrest’s door and asked if there were any chores she needed done in exchange for some food.

Well, you should’ve seen her eyes light up at that question. She said she had a bunch of firewood that needed to be split into kindling and if they didn’t mind doing that, she’d fix them a chicken dinner with cream gravy.

Mrs. Forrest puts cream gravy on everything.

So she busied herself in the kitchen, and then went out to see how these fellows were doing. And there, leaning on an axe handle, was one of them, and the other was doing gymnastics in and around the woodpile. It was amazing. He’d come out of a round-off flip flop and then gracefully go into a full layout Sukuhara with a right-hand twist. She watched in awe for a few minutes before whispering to this gymnast’s partner.

“I had no idea your friend was an acrobat,” she whispered.

He looked at her and whispered back, “Neither did I ‘til I cracked him on the shin with this axe.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Tractor Supply Company  “Everything but the tractor.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press.  If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years he has been writing columns.

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2

Free Read – Book Excerpt

Posted by mcm0704 on June 4, 2018 |

I will be sharing excerpts from my humorous memoir over the next week or so, with a break from this nonsense for nonsense, er guest posts from Slim Randles. Between the two of us, we ought to be able to keep you entertained. If not, don’t bother to tell us so. 🙂

For refreshments, I’ll share some cookies that should last until I get back from my short vacation to bake some more. Enjoy.

This is from chapter two of A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck. The chapter is titled Socially Unacceptable. And wait until you see Friday’s post, which is a continuation of this chapter. 

It’s an indisputable fact that as parents our intelligence ratio is in direct proportion to the ages of our children. The younger they are, the smarter we are. Not so much as we all advance in years.

I came to this profound realization the day my oldest daughter turned 16 and half my gray matter disintegrated. I could hardly believe that she was the same daughter who used to consider me the final authority on everything from why God made bugs to how the moon got up in the sky.

How fondly I remembered those good old days when she was four and I was smart.

She stood in awe of me because I could answer all her questions, not to mention the fact that I could actually grow a plant from her watermelon seed.

Then she grew up and it reached a point where I would give almost anything for just one brief glimmer of that old wide-eyed wonder. In fact, I would have given anything for a simple nodding acknowledgement that I might know something besides my name, address, and phone number.

It was a terrible shock to realize this was happening. I had years of education behind me. Not to mention all the accumulated wisdom from the intervening years, and I was reduced to pre-kindergarten status by one disdainful glance.

I, who used to be the most respected beauty consultant outside of Glamour magazine, suddenly knew nothing about hair care or make up.

I, who used to rival Chef Tell and the Galloping Gourmet in the kitchen, was now hard pressed to turn out a decent carrot stick.

I, who at one point could have started my own designer label with all the cute little dresses I created, had about as much taste as Miss Piggy.

Mind you, this was the same daughter who used to wear those dresses and tell everyone that her mommy made them for her. Now she wanted all the old photographs destroyed so nobody would ever see that she once wore a coat made out of pillow ticking.

It was a cute coat. Honest. With little yellow daisies on it that I hand appliqued. But did that matter? No. All she worried about was the fashion police and the fact that someone might decide she looked like a pillow. Forget the fact that she was thin as a rail and everyone knows a pillow is plump. She was sure that if anyone saw the picture, she would lose what little social standing she had.

This disdain for my mental acuity reached a point that I started wishing we could go back in time so I could bask in her adoration once again.

But then I had a second thought on the subject.

If we went back in time, this day of reckoning would still be lurking in my future, and I’d eventually have to face into it. Since I was already there, I might as well tough it out while I still had a small shred of intelligence left.

Keep in mind that this is not a unique experience. All mothers live in mortal fear of the day when you suddenly wake up to discover that this great intellectual gap has cropped up between you and your child, and your IQ zooms to a minus 10 overnight.

And it is not a temporary condition.

Mothers have been known to exist in this wasteland until the kid turns 25, so be prepared. Here are some of the comments you are likely to hear when your teenager is no longer interested in your ideas or advice or opinions:

“You wouldn’t understand. How can anyone who talks to her washing machine ever understand my problems.”

“You always say the dumbest things.”

“What do you know? You grew up in the dark ages.”

“How can someone who still wears flared jeans and bobby socks ever understand why I can’t live without a satin vest?”

“How can someone who thinks disco rock is a new flavor of ice cream ever relate to what I’m going through?”

That’s all for today, folks. I hope your week gets off to a good start. Stay cool. Stay happy. 

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4

Justice For All?

Posted by mcm0704 on June 1, 2018 |

Yeah for Friday! My cat, Sammy follows me everywhere I go and gets tired of the many treks from my bedroom, to the kitchen, to my office, back to the kitchen, back to my office, then maybe to the laundry room, then back to the kitchen, before ending the day in the living room, where he finally gets a lap upon which to sit. Weekends are much slower around here, and he is a happy cat. 🙂

Just in case you think the justice system is not horribly broken and biased, consider the case of a man on death row in San Quentin Prison in California. Kevin Cooper, a black man, could be executed next year if Governor Jerry Brown does not step forward and grant Cooper a new trial, based on new evidence, as well as what has come forward about the blatant mishandling of the original investigation by San Bernadino law enforcement.

DNA testing of hair found in the victims’ hands, blonde and brown, could prove that someone other than Cooper killed those people, but as of the latest news, Governor Brown is refusing to allow the testing, even though the defense is willing to pay for it.

The crime took place in June 1983, when Doug and Peggy Ryen were stabbed to death in their hone, along with their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old neighbor boy. Eight year-old Josh Ryen was also attacked, but he survived.

All of the victims were white.

Some of the most obvious problems with the case against Kevin include a statement by Josh that three white people had murdered his family. That was substantiated when others came forward to say they had seen three white men with blood on their clothes at a bar called the Canyon Corral.

Later, a woman told police that her boyfriend, who was a convicted murderer who had served his time, might have been involved in these murders.

He was white.

Do you see the pattern here?

This woman gave her boyfriend’s bloody overalls to the police, and also told them that a hatchet was missing from her garage.

There was forensic evidence that indicated that the weapons used in the murders included an ice pick, a hatchet and several knives. How one man could have wielded all those weapons, while subduing five people, including an ex-Marine who had a loaded gun nearby, was not a question that prosecutors or the jury asked themselves.

Everybody bowed to the pressure of a state’s attorney, a state senator, and the community to solve this case and solve it quickly. And how convenient that Kevin Cooper was right there.

When I read about Kevin Cooper in articles online, as well as listening to his story on The Daily with Michael Barbaro, I couldn’t help but think of a Netflix Series, Rectify. The series that ran for four seasons was about a man who had served 20 years on death row in Georgia and got out through the dogged efforts of his sister and an attorney. Like, Kevin, the character of Daniel Holden was pushed through the judicial system based on pressure from on high and poor police work.

Five federal judges believe that Kevin was framed by police, including William A. Fletcher, a federal circuit judge. He gave a lecture at the law school of Gonzaga University stating that Kevin is “probably” innocent. He added that often happens in such cases is that, “The police are under heavy pressure to solve a high-profile crime. They know, or think they know, who did the crime. And they plant evidence to help their case along.”

You can read a lot more about Kevin Cooper’s story at The New York Times in an article by Nicholas Kristof, with Jessia Ma and Stuart A. Thompson, “Was Kevin Cooper Framed?”

Now for some fun, jokes courtesy of The Laugh Factory

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they laid down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?”

Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies, and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “It tells me that someone has stolen our tent.”

Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?”

The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The interviewer says, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?”

The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”

That’s all for me folks. Do weigh in on the state of the judicial system in the U.S. Or tell me which joke you like best. Or share a joke. Or tell me how much you love me cat. 🙂

Have a great weekend.

 

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Mr. and Mrs. Wheezer

Posted by mcm0704 on May 30, 2018 |

Slim Randles is here to entertain us with another story about one of the guys from the Mule Barn Truck Stop gang. These people are imaginary…maybe, and we don’t know where the truck stop is located, but I imagine it could be any small rural town in any state in the country. Well, except Hawaii. They don’t talk like country folk in Hawaii. I know. I’ve been there. Nice people. But they do have their own, distinctive way of talking.

They also have some great tropical drinks. I know. I’ve been there. The Blue Hawaiian is very popular among natives and visitors, and a very cool drink on a hot summer day. If it is hot in your corner of the world, grab a drink for yourself and enjoy…

Doc smiled and felt really good inside when he heard the familiar bird song.

“Hey there, Wheezer,” he said, “happy spring!”

For some reason, this mourning dove with the speech impediment comes around to Doc’s back yard every spring, and Doc thinks that’s just all right. If ol’ Wheez didn’t have that distinctive voice, Doc would never know if this bird favored his yard or was just another bird looking for a home. Let’s face it, Wheezer looks just like every other dove in town.

But he was back and flirting with a good-looking lady dove up on the branches of the locust tree. Doc always wondered whether doves mate for life, and this was the same Mrs. Wheez he sees every year, or if Wheezer had to court a new lassie each spring.

“I’ll have to look it up,” Doc said, knowing that he wouldn’t.

But he did go over to the concrete block wall and clean out the crud from the hollow in the top block by the gate. Doc had put dirt in it years ago, and each spring, the Wheezer family hauled in twigs and grass and made a place to raise their family.

And each spring, as Mrs. W. sat on her eggs, it would take Doc a few days before she would tolerate him coming and going through the gate. This was the dove family he was close to. They let him get right up to maybe a foot from the ugly little baby birds each spring, and he was careful never to move quickly or make a noise. That was his contribution, you see, to the putting together of the “Doves in the Concrete Block” family.

Wonder how long doves live? Doc thought. Wonder how long old Wheezer will last?

I’ll have to look it up.

No.

He wouldn’t.

Do you have birds building nests in your yard? I have a nest in one of my hanging baskets this year. Makes watering the plant a little challenging, but I manage to get that done. Like with Doc and his doves, I have to be quiet and not get too close. Luckily I have a watering can with a long spout. 

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Brought to you by the Assoc. of Mature Americans (AMAC), better for you, better for America.   

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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press
If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years.

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