Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There is some of the old that will be kept and will share space with the new.
This past year has been a journey in itself. Parts of which will bleed over into next year like a red sock in with your t-shirts and underwear.
Like most folks, I will make a resolution or two here in a couple of days, and forget about them in about a month. Me? I got no will power when it comes to keeping resolutions.
For 2010, let's say I will try and do better with any resolutions I may make.
Things that will bleed over:
* This blog of mine. I hope to improve my freelance writing skills.
* My current job will end in the next few months...future not quite known but have a couple of leads.
* Garage that needs cleaning....talk about bleed over, there's stuff in there from years ago.
* Go fishing. I have lures that have never seen the water. Will change their status.
* Get more exercise. I have a perfectly good neighborhood with paved streets and lighting that beckons me to try and wear it down. Here's to going for a walk.
* Try to eat out less. The convenience just ain't worth it.
* Support my writing buddies and buddy-ettes more through their efforts with comments and feedback.
* When I see someone that looks familiar or I might know and haven't talked to in a while, stop and say hello. By the way, this drives my wife up the wall...but it also offers material for the blog.
So let's say good bye to most of 2009 and welcome with open arms and minds the new year of 2010. A new decade to embrace. New friends out there to meet and old ones to grow older with. And if you continue to come back and visit this blog spot, I will do my best to give you something to talk about, even if it is just my meager life.
Here's wishing you a Happy and a Healthy New Year.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Once our granddaughter, ABBY arrived; all 8 pounds and 8 ounces of her almost 20 months ago, the topic of conversation concerning what she would call her grandparents surfaced.
Oh yeah, we all had our preferences and expectations, but never actually realized that we, our desires would never figure into the equation.
In our family there has been nieces and a nephew that had to discern between two grandfathers of the same name...Harry. That situation was diffused with them being called Little Grandpa Harry and Big Grandpa Harry. The kids worked it out themselves I guess. I may have to ask them who actually came up with it as they are now all grown.
When we venture out to my mother in laws home, to explain it to Abby, we just tell her we are going to "other grandma's..." and she is perfectly happy getting out and into the car for an adventure.
Deep down, you just hope your grandchild takes a liking to you for whatever the reason. The fact that my wife is keeping our granddaughter during the day while our daughter works, gives us the 'home field' advantage. Abby is training us as best she can and wrapping us around the smallest of pinkie fingers known to mankind.
Oh sure, our daughter had ideas as to what she thought ABBY should call the grandparents, but believe me you...that didn't quite work out. (is that one of them regional phrases??? believe me you..?? kind of like, 'fixin to'..?? fixin to eat, fixin to leave, fixin to start getting ready?)
Well, the idea was for Abby to call us, Grandma and Grandpa. In her mind and she is a quick study on the 'stuff' in her world; when she needs either one of us, she just calls out...
Na-Maw.. or Pee-Poe, depending on how big the need is.
To capture the effect of 'things' in her world today, we have the vacuum cleaner standing guard over the Christmas tree and making sure she doesn't venture too far into the ornaments that are proclaimed...'low hanging fruit' for her inspection.
She helps me push on the oak tree in the front yard. Something that is only understood between granddaughters and their grandpa. We have to keep it growing in one direction right?
I haven't bought her a fishing rod yet...YET I said, but it will not be too much longer. Getting her near the water without a U.S. Coast Guard certified rope tether to the nearest pine tree will likely be in the top ten list of precautions prior to a fishing trip...but that's another story.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Was it something in the wind or actually the wings of an angel brushing the air around you?
It's right about now that you are able to focus on the booming reverberation of the distant words that find your ear.
You search the area near you, making a scan of the horizon knowing you will find the source of the words demanding your focus, but there is nothing.
The air is completely filled with familiar words. So many that you wonder how can it be that you are perfectly positioned to understand and comprehend each and every word.
It's surround sound in its prime, yet you are outdoors with no obvious generating source for the ever increasing din of this supernatural event.
Suddenly and without any introduction you recognize the message from days past, years of your youth, years involving your basic foundation.
"Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name."
There is something different about the prayer this time. It's not really a prayer, but more of a proclamation. An announcement to all within earshot of what has been forgotten.
"Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
A reminder of our teachings from days gone by. Basics that we opted not to keep in front of us.
"Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Giving thanks for the blessings we have and for the blessings we are still to receive, and the protection from our enemies.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Keeping our focus on what is real and not of the flesh that will only hinder our journey.
"For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen and Amen."
As the quiet settles over our being, our existence, the realization becomes evident that we have just witnessed the obvious. Where we have turned away from our Creator, the actual creation has had to respond in our stead and cried out in our behalf.
"And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins."
Remembering the Reason for the Season, giving thanks in all things.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wish I had a good story to tell you other than it's been a wee bit hectic around the Chambers' household of late. To steal a line from Mel Brooks he had in one of his movies....
"Work work work work work..!"
I haven't had a full day off since the Friday after Thanksgiving. So this coming weekend is looking might enticing with it leading into the final two weeks of 2009 and me getting the final 16 days off before heading back to the grind.
The grind is simply writing procedures to turn a chemical plant into a parking lot.
Weird sort of stuff at work it is. Our corporate office made the decision back in May to shut our little production unit down....using the words to describe the move as... "exiting the business". And the catch phrase from our CEO who does a pretty good mimic of Katherine Hepburn, kept telling us that this over and over again.... "It is what it is..."
And yes, that is where I came up with the name for this blog...trying to be a straight-shooter with the way I see things leads me to say...it is what it is folks.
I talked recently about a good friend that is also a writer and has his own blog on a national web page...and it got me to thinking about these cyber world friendships we develop. Everything and everyone is so reachable and available now due to the amazing Internet.
Remember way back when you had a pen-pal and you actually wrote letters to each other and having to wait on the U.S. Snail Mail for your correspondence? This caused me to think about those folks that were into HAM radios. Having friends all over the world and tethered together by the microphone of your radio set.
Today, its the keyboard and flat screen monitor that allows us to maintain the global friendships we take for granted. Just let the system get hung up with a virus or lose your hard drive and you are just about helpless. Helpless to the point where you have to dial your cell phone if want to talk ear to ear to your friends.
My friend lives in Virginia. We hope one day to meet up and share some time on the water chasing the elusive little green fish we have come to love and hate at the same time. The little green slimy fish that thousands of anglers chase with a fevered intensity only to be angered to the maximum effect by a cold blooded creature that is unknowingly adept to creating such turmoil and chaos in a human beings world.
Pick any of the species of the bass. Largemouth, smallmouth, or the spotted bass. Each one can deliver you a boat load of grief on any given day, which is usually the outcome for most of us. But we continue on with our quest and we even write about our ordeal with the wily bass.
Simply stated and often heard around these parts, it's something in the water. Yes, I believe it is at least that....it is something in the water and it is what it is.
Let's try and get together a little more in the future okay? You folks take care now and have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and may the Good Lord take a liking to you.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Big surprise here, it's a fishing web page. Even more of a surprise, it's a bass fishing web page. Imagine that...me having a friend....a writing friend at that.
Jaison has been writing his column for about 2 years now, and even though we have never met in person, we have talked on the phone, swapped comments back and forth, and even found some time to talk about bass fishing, and our writing.
The column Jaison shared this week was one of a close call. His chosen title was ... if I remember it correctly .... "Life Is Too Precious for Stupid".
My buddy lives in Virginia...one of the many states that experience actual seasons and all that comes with the different seasons. Cold weather that comes and sticks around for a while type of seasons.
Seems that Jaison and one of his fishing buddies hit the lake recently. Seeing as it was a cold day, all the precautions were taken to ward off the cold as best a person could and still be able to move around in the boat. The usual layering of clothing was the standard attire, topping off with a good parka over big overalls.
If you are a regular boater, you may see where I am headed with this...if not, just read on in the next paragraph.
Finding a desirable spot to fish, the big motor was stopped and Jaison found his way to the front deck of his boat, sitting on the pedestal seat to work the trolling motor. This all being pretty standard operating procedures among bass fishermen.
As the story goes, Jaison remembers reaching for something, but ends up looking up at the boat from the outside of the boat in the inside of the lake. The cold lake that is.
To answer your next question....No, Jaison had taken off the (his words) bulky life jacket when he sat down on the pedestal seat.
Efforts between Jaison and his buddy were fruitless in getting him back into the boat. The extra clothing was dragging him down. My guess is right about now, Jaison was at least 2 or 3 minutes from meeting our Creator face to face.
Through sheer refusal to quit the fight, a grip on the side of the boat was managed and his buddy got the motor cranked and idled towards the shore where Jaison finally was able to touch solid ground and make his way from the lake.
I haven't talked to Jaison other than a couple of emails where I relayed to him my concern for him and grateful that he survived the ordeal. Not making light of the situation, he did recall in his column about making a deal with God. Probably not much more than any one of us would have done had it been us in his shoes....let's make that...his water-soaked bib overalls and winter parka.
I did ask Jaison if he remembered to mark the coordinates of the 'hump' they were fishing, so he could go back another day to try again....but then, that's my jab at him for now.
Glad you're OK Jaison and thanks for sharing your story.
Folks, if you want to read his story in his words, go to BASSMASTER.com and look for Jaison's story under The Reel World.
Coming home from my monthly appointment with my shoulder doctor, I got broad sided by a Texas sized hunger pang or pain....your preference here, kind of like poe-tay-toe or puh-tah-toe...but back to being hungry and wanting a pizza with everything on it...and the story unfolded like this.
Found the number for this particular pizza shop who in my honest opinion makes the best pizza this side of the Louisiana border here in Texas and dialed them up.
PIZZA GUY: Hello, this is Dave and thank you for calling your favorite pizza making place. Would you like to try one of our special large all meat pizzas for the low low price of....
ME: No, not today thanks, what I want is one of your large with everything on it pizzas...
PIZZA GUY: OK sir, you gonna want that with jalapenos?
ME: No, no jalapenos...just everything else.
PIZZA GUY: What type of crust you want on your pizza? regular, thin, pan ......
ME: Regular...just make it regular please.
PIZZA GUY: Will you be wanting any dips, drinks, or bread sticks with your order today?
ME: No, just the large pizza with everything on it.
PIZZA GUY: OK sir, we have one large pizza with the works, regular crust and no extra dips, drinks, or bread sticks...will that complete your order?
ME: Yes, that's it.
PIZZA GUY: ...and how will you be paying for your order? Cash?
ME: No, I will paying with my debit card...
PIZZA GUY: .....and what type of card is it?
here it comes....now mind you this guy has a manner of speaking, his voice was so clear and concise..great enunciation, things were rolling right along, but when he asked me what type of card it was....my first response was simply...
ME: It's plastic..... (even my wife cringed on that reply......) oh you mean the type...Visa.
his silence pretty much let me know either or eye-ther, he didn't get the humor or wasn't in the mood for me and my hunger quenching quest of word play.
PIZZA GUY: Can I have the number please?
ME: No......., I will give it to you when I get there.
PIZZA GUY: ......sooo you're gonna pick this up?
Don't you think he would of asked .....Pick up or delivery.... way back when we first began this conversation about the type of pizza and the crust? He even had asked for my phone number and with all the caller-ID programs there are out there, he even knew who I was, where I lived, and probably the history of all the pizzas we had purchased in years past.....
I fully intended on apologizing to Dave when I got to the pizza place, but he was waist deep with another phone order when I got there with my plastic Visa debit card....
..trying to find a discount for the large pizza order that was coming in...the rolling of his eyes, the grip on the phone, and the body language told me to think again...after all he still had my large, regular crust pizza with everything on it well within his reach.........his humor-less, having to deal with public phone ordering, minimum pay, if you wanted a cheap pizza why don't you call the cheap pizza store....... reach.
Dave won that round today and I can only imagine the eye roll he gave me, when I laid the 'plastic' answer on him.....glad he wasn't the one making my pizza.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
And I would be willing to bet that most of you reading this will have at least one time, had the conversation when you were younger....and I bet also after hearing some of the other answers, you probably changed your first answer.
....if I was to die...I would come back as a ________.
I know I know, but remember, these are kids we're talking about and the realm of eternity doesn't fit into the afternoon...and the issue of reincarnation is at hand.
What would you come back as? If you could.
I always seem to pick some sort of bird. A hawk or an eagle. I wanted to be able to fly and just soar on the wind currents....not to mention the keen eyesight these critters have.
Well my son posed that question to me the other afternoon. I immediately went into the matter of fact mode and reminded him that we do not believe in reincarnation...and he quickly assured me that he understood, but didn't have another word for this time honored discussion among kids.
The conversation soon filled the cab of my truck with "what-ifs" and it started to get interesting.
How many times have you heard stories about someone dying and then contacting a loved one still here on this big old rock we call Earth?
Do you think only certain folks get this type of privilege?
Or is it a special grade of angel that takes the information down and gets the message to the left behind chosen earthling?
How come only certain people get to 'hear' from grandma or a brother after they have passed?
My grandfather had promised a watermelon just for the two of us when he got back from the hospital....I never got that promise filled and maybe that's why I don't care for any types of melons today.
What kind of signal would you want to have to prove that the message was Heaven sent?
Would it be a thought of something you had long forgot about? Maybe an old photograph and for the first time in years, you spot an item in the background you had never noticed before that prompted your quick trip down memory lane....an old friend on Facebook?
Are there bonus points in heaven?
I wouldn't think so....besides, why would you need any other bonuses...you're in heaven.
But a snowfall in August here in Southeast Texas would sure cause me to wonder....
Let me hear from you and any heavenly connections you want to share.....
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Another Veterans Day to pay honor to our veterans.
If you are reading this in English, please take time to thank a veteran. We owe a world of thanks to our veterans for this privilege and the freedom to speak our mind.
There is a fine line being crossed today and many won't even recognize the transgression.
Well, it's not exactly an act of aggression or the breaking of any law or statute. It is simply a misunderstanding of a practice that has been handed down over the years.
What is this poor old country boy rambling on about now you ask? Reckon I am just a stickler for details....and like a t-shirt I often wear, it usually will get a decent discussion moving.
The t-shirt..nothing special...it just reads: 'I get enough exercise....just pushing my luck'.
The Internet is filled with the subject of today's holiday.
Veterans Day. To be celebrated every November 11th, on the Eleventh of November, no matter which day of the week it happens to be on....right here in the United States of America.
Other nations call it Remembrance Day and will include the fallen heroes of past wars.
Originally, Veterans Day here in America was designed to honor all our living veterans. Thus the name....Veterans Day.
We have somehow managed to merge a large chunk of Memorial Day into this day. If memory serves me correctly, Memorial Day is tucked away back at the start of summer, right there at the end of May. I think even the government got involved on this one and we are subject to celebrating Memorial Day on a rotating Monday...which gives many a three day weekend. (give me your comments on this down there where comments are asked for...OK?)
Honoring our veterans for their service to our nation. Answering the call to duty during times of war, standing in the gap defending our way of life here in America, and also being at the ready during times of peace.
Acknowledging all veterans who served honorably without regard to the price they were prepared to pay with their lives, for the blessings of being called an American.
I probably will step on some toes with this one, but if we already have a holiday remembering our fallen veterans back in the month of May, why do it twice in a year?
Veterans. I salute you and thank you for your service to our great nation. Thank you for your being the one that stood for me and my family, defending our way of life. Giving us the freedom of choosing where to live, what church to attend, the freedom to drive across our states at our own discretion, and the fact that here in America, we stand proud because of the uniforms you have worn or still wear today, support our Stars and Stripes here and around the world.
Thank you Veterans. Thank You.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
What do you remember about it? The low pay. The working conditions. The people you worked with.
There's a good chance your first boss is likely to be mixed in there somewhere.
I can see this man, but I cannot recall his name....maybe as this story comes out and I share it with you, I will remember his name, however... I do remember he had a daughter that was...well let's just say....she was easy to look at.
Seems like we were always finding an excuse to go by his house with some sort of problem to get some guidance on.....
Well since I can't wait around for you to answer the question, I will tell you about mine. So sit back and get comfortable for this short journey with me back to Jasper, Texas and my first job. Where I learned the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and the make you or break you mentality of being the paperboy.
There was about six or seven of us boys that managed to secure the residential routes in and around Jasper. The major portion of my route bordered two sides of the school property where the local junior high and high schools were located.
There was one street in particular; Olive Street, that had a vertical rise on it and it was 'THE' hill to challenge every kid with a bike....to see if they could make it to the top without jumping off and walking the bike to the top.......I beat it one time and one time only.
Getting back to the subject of this story, the Beaumont Enterprise and the Beaumont Journal were the obvious choices of local newspapers and to have these delivered to your home or business would require the human touch.
To assist in the delivery of the newspapers, someone came up with the idea to paint a series of letters on the road in front of each subscribers house that would indicate as to which paper to drop off. Seems simple enough right...?
Don't forget we are dealing with teenage boys, the weather, early morning hours, and the ever present customer that is innocent of any wrong doing other than expecting home delivery of their newspaper.
To get our supply of papers for our customers, we would meet at the local fast food establishment.
Now mind you at the time, we didn't have a clue as to what a fast food restaurant really was, but looking back, the Dixie Queen would have to be on the list.
I remember one morning the juke box was still turned on and one of the guys who will remain nameless, inserted a coin or two and we listened to the music while we folded our papers....mind you it was around 3:30 A.M., so I am certain the neighbors really appreciated us that morning.
Remember me telling you about the schools being in close proximity to my route? Did I happen to mention the rumor of the high school also being haunted along with the local movie theater?
Funny how information like that never comes to mind while you're across town and folding papers. But you just wait until you get on out on your route, tossing papers at the porches of your customers in the wee hours of the morning...a warm summer morning that just begs for a short break.
Using my new 1967 Honda Trail 90 motorcycle as my main mode of transportation for the deliveries, I pull up under a street light and remove my helmet for a well deserved breather. Sitting there thinking about almost being through with the morning run, my mind relaxes and I realize I am sitting about a full city block from ...........the haunted high school.
With all this eerie information spinning in my head, the next event of the morning could be classified as my encounter of the scariest kind. Fighting against the forces of evil that hide under the cover of darkness and invade young minds was more than I was ready for.
While finishing my short break, the next several minutes would etch upon my memory and quite possibly be the single reason my hair began to turn gray while I was still in junior high school.
I never realized that so many human senses, emotions, and reflexes could be called to order in such a short fashion. All due to the power of the mind...and I was absolutely certain that my very existence would soon be nothing more than a faint vapor on the streets of Jasper.
Beginning as quickly as it had ended, the shriek was as intense from its start to its finish. Precise and clear. There was no lead in, no warning, no sound of the tree that fell on the woman that morning as it she lay trapped and screamed a single time for her life.
The siren splitting the summer air, reaching my ears, causing the activation of self preservation to kick in.......or was that me on the kick start of my motorcycle...yeah must have been.
I would find out later that the murder I had only witnessed with my ears was in fact, a simple yet innocent chance meeting with nature but would certainly not be my last encounter with the common screech owl.
Oh yeah, due to the movement of several layers of brain cells, I have managed to recover the name of my boss from the Jasper paper route.
Here's to you Mr.Graham and the memory of tossing newspapers.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
That right of passage from two wheel transport up to the family car.
Gaining the trust of my parents to prove that I was responsible enough and worthy of learning to drive. To take the only mode of modern day transportation my parents owned and take it out on the open road.
The first new car my parents ever owned was a 1972 Mercury Comet. Up to that point, every car we called ours was at least a second or third hand used model.
Come to think about it, that '72 Comet was the only new car that ever graced a driveway where the Chambers' resided.
Most of my driving skills were learned on a paper route; during the darkness of early morning hours, running the back roads, city streets, and highways between the east Texas towns of Woodville and Jasper.
Mind you the cars I speak of rarely ever had an automatic transmission. I loved the shifting of gears and figuring out how 'not' to jerk the car around by dumping the clutch when shifting gears.
One of my favorite cars we came across was a 1958 Chevy. You remember the body style...the area just above the tail lights were horizontal fins. Kind of reminded me of a whales tail fin but sort of swollen.
It had four doors, was turquoise and white. A six-cylinder engine, with standard shift on the column. Originally owned my dad's brother, but driven mostly by my Aunt 'Tiny'. Can't remember what her given name was right now...but that's what we called her. She was a little bitty lady and loved doing stuff out of doors.
My aunt and uncle lived in Alvin, TX. Remember the story about my dad growing up in Alvin...well his brother kept his family there until they moved to the Texas hill country out around Junction, TX., but that's another story.
By living in Alvin, the commute to Galveston for my aunt to spend a day of fishing and crabbing was easily accomplished.
There's no telling how many trips she had under her belt, but I can tell you this...every time it rained, the trunk would take on a bit of water due to the rust holes around the back window...(standard options of the early Chevrolet models) ....and the mix of fresh rainwater with the remnants of sand, crabs, and saltwater would allow an aroma familiar only to the gulf coast would emanate out and find the nearest and untested set of nasal orifices, resulting in the usual response from the unsuspecting victim...
"What the heck is that smell.....?"
It got better....or weaker with time and more frequent rainfall.
Going back to the paper route my parents were responsible for, at one time we had the entire distributorship of the Beaumont Enterprise and the Beaumont Journal for the entire town of Woodville, Texas and its outlying areas. I perfected my driving skills while dodging potholes and throwing rolled up newspapers at the end of subscribers driveways.
No big deal you say. How about if I tell you that I wasn't even out of junior high school when all this was 'happening'? Thinking back, it probably wasn't all that odd learning how to drive at the young tender age of 13 or 14 years old.
Reckon you could say I had earned the trust of my parents. I remember my dad dozing off during parts of the route, leaving me to drive and make the tosses that had to be made. Reckon he felt pretty good about me and my driving ability.
Have you ever heard a song on the radio and either the song or the words would transport you back to a time in your life that just made you smile and maybe laugh at the memory?
Just last week, the country and western song by Alan Jackson; "DRIVE" came on and caused me to make that trip down memory lane.
...and I would press that clutch,
and I would keep it right,
and he'd say, 'a little slower son you're doing just fine,
just an old dirt road with trash on each side,
but I was Mario Andretti,
when daddy let me drive....
I remember several different events while driving the paper route. The nocturnal life of the native critters in our corner of the world, snowflakes as big as fifty cent pieces, and the best place to get a grilled cheese at 4 A.M.
Every time my travels take me through that part of Texas, I look for specific landmarks and re-visit that time in my childhood and smile....because,
...I was high on a mountain,
when daddy let me drive.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My dad wanted to move back to his hometown of Alvin, Texas. It was soon after my mom had died and he felt the need to go home.
So we moved him into a nice apartment complex there in the heart of Alvin where he and his siblings were all raised and attended school. As a matter of fact, you could say that my dad and baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan went to the same school....even if it was 3 decades difference in time. This move lasted only about a year or so, until he realized that 'home' was back here in Beaumont.
I guess it was about ten or twelve years ago when several years of graduating classes from the 1930's began having shared reunions and I had the honor of taking my dad so he could attend and reminisce. That was neat being able to sit in and listen to him and his classmates talk of their stories from ....'back in the day'.
One of the last reunions was scheduled around the last formal public viewing and visitation of the old high school before it was to be demolished for a new school. Let me tell you something; the folks that made the trip to Alvin for that final public visit were amazing.
You could see it in their eyes and their smiles. You could hear it in their voices as well as sense it in their presence. That common bond between Alvin High School Yellowjackets.
There were tears and laughter all being shared openly. Memories were filling the halls and classrooms where the different years of classes were gathered.
Then there was the lull in conversation when a name would be mentioned and for whatever reason, that individual had passed on ahead of them...then almost at a predetermined time....the silence would be broken with the familiar phrase: "Hey, do you remember the time that...."
I am certain that many memories were revisited that day; the simple stirrings of first loves; the friendly competitions between team mates, and the banding together to pull out a victory on the field of play....were only a few that I noted hearing while trying to blend into the background and listening to the shared stories.
My dad as was many of his classmates were surviving members of the notable group of people called the Greatest Generation that had also survived the great depression and had fought in the war to end all wars.
These people had managed to go home for a visit of the old high school and came away with a different set of memories.
I suppose these folks had never been told that you can't go home...my guess is that they probably wouldn't have cared if they had either.
Call me sentimental....but I was hoping Nolan Ryan was gonna show up and top off the day for me.
Reckon you can go home after all...if you really want to go there...
Monday, October 19, 2009
His wares of choice were common everyday items that most everyone could enjoy having at their ready. I will dare say that a few sold better during specific seasons simply due to the way each was manufactured.
Now mind you the seasons here in Texas are as follows: Hot and not quite as hot.
The biggest difference in the two are like night and day....kinda like when the sun goes down...it's not quite as hot. But still, the heat of the seasons did play a part into the success of whether or not my dad had decent sales or not.
My dad was a route salesman for a couple of different cookie companies...and he traveled the country roads of East and Southeast Texas for many, many years.
Just to clear up the seasonal sales statement, chocolate covered cookies didn't do really well in the hotter months, so these were obviously a 'hot' item come the fall and winter months...and the fact that we didn't make many night time runs to stock the stores shelves will support this.
Mrs. Shelby's Cookies and Little Brownie Cookies are the brands that brought me through my childhood. You could say that I was raised on stale cookies....probably more than I like to admit.
My dad would use me and my brothers as his own personal "in house" test survey to determine if a new product was going to sell or not. He would soon know whether or not to push the new 'taste' to his customers.
It was late 1964 when we left Beaumont and headed north to Jasper, Texas. The Little Brownie Cookie company wanted to expand into the area where a new Corp of Engineers project was in its final stages of completion.
Hello Lake Sam Rayburn reservoir.
The largest man-made reservoir inside the boundaries of the great state of Texas. Little did I know then, what type of impact this body of water would have on me and my life this far down life's highway. (you did read about me and my love of bass fishing didn't you...?)
I rode with my dad in his cookie truck through many summers. Making the so called stops at the hundreds of Mom & Pop stores to restock the shelves. Taking in the memories of the screen doors emblazoned with the popular Rainbo Bread logo or the infamous Triple 'XXX' Root Beer that called out to a young boy thirsting for refreshment.
My dad's route covered so many little roadside stores, I still find myself wondering when I pass by an abandoned building along the many miles of familiar roads; if it in fact once housed a set of shelves where a mild mannered father would place his offerings of treats for the public...while his son would go in search of and find the owners old hound dog to pet, or pay a lay-away installment on his first .22 caliber single shot rifle that he still has today, or actually help in rotating the stock of cookies with the freshest in the back, or question where we were gonna eat lunch that day.
Yes I spent a lot of time on the old step-van cookie truck, having to ride sideways on the motor cover and try not to stare at the ever disappearing white stripes on the roadway...double checking with my dad to see what set of license plate numbers we were looking for next.
This was a game he played endlessly to keep his mind occupied. Always looking for a triple set of numbers on the license plates of the thousands of automobiles either coming or going....111 , 222, 333, BUT you had to go in proper order and keep your own list.
This must be where I first learned of and about ethical behavior.
Hey thanks Dad. Thanks for the little things.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Oh I know that it really does exist, but what happens when the 'drive' goes away? Is it like the transmission on a car? If it's not in gear, you're not going to move very far.
The driving force behind getting something done. The reason for, the need to, the gotta have, the will to endure to reach a goal.
Sometimes it's as simple as ... just because it's what I want.
The part of nature that kicks in and causes different amounts of gray matter and body mass to be put into motion that ultimately give us room to perform and reach that plateau or level of acceptance among our peers.
I witnessed a bit of the phenomena earlier this week when report cards were issued. These were the first for my son in high school.....
Mind you I wasn't expecting the next brief exchange with my son, but was pleasantly surprised. He had received passing grades in all but one class.
The conversation immediately went into the common tennis court theme. Just like players who volley to see who gets to serve first...thooomp..thooomp...thooomp.
To my surprise his counter reply with..."I am simply going to have to hunker down, study, and try harder for the next grading period..."
The driving force for my son is that he wants to try out for the freshman baseball team come next semester and like any good and decent parent, I seized the opportunity to remind him of this.
This is that 'something' he wants...his driving force.
That 'gotta-have' that is fueling his desire to play high school baseball.
Isn't it good to see the 'want-to' in your kids lives actually work with the rotation of the earth? The natural balance of the systems are within factory specifications and working together for the good of life in the Chambers' home for now.
Last week I took my son to the batting cages for the first time in about 3 years. He has been away from organized baseball for that long and understands that he will have to work harder than others that have continued playing.
His attitude is much different this time around. Not sure exactly why, but thankful for the fresh wind that is blowing in from outfield.
That wind blowing in could be the result of the many new and unfamiliar eye catching smiles that crowd the halls and classrooms of his school or even discovering his older sister's Letterman's jacket from her four years of being a cheerleader in school...which prompted the question...
"How do you get one of these jackets?"
We will have to wait and see.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I owe each and everyone of you a special heartfelt thanks for spending time here.
Where here is exactly is what you're looking at. Inside my blog. You could be any other place in our cyber world, but you chose to exit off the cyber-hiway and cool your fingers and space bar pounding opposing thumb for a few minutes....you're looking at your thumb resting on the space bar there on your keyboard aren't you..?
In setting up my blog a friend of mine suggested hooking up with an online device that tracks all the visitors to this site. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to see the list of 5 or 6 friends who frequent my new obsession of randomly captured adventures from my life or not.
Just this week, I stumbled across a few extra visits from some of you folks out there and wanted to acknowledge your part in boosting my morale. The discovery came on a day that was just really lousy for me. Almost to the level of lousiness..(is that a word?) when the Dallas Cowboys lost their opening game to the New York Giants at the new billion dollar facility.
Goes to show you, spending money on your house and not your foundation, which in this case in my humble opinion...foundation is the QB...tony romo...does not...I repeat....Does Not guarantee you a win.
...sorry about that. Let's get back to the issue. My cyber friends out there who give of your valuable personal time to visit my blog. Just for grins, I am gonna list a few of the places where you have checked in from...be it all a mistake or on purpose that you came in here, I can deal with it.
Here we go now. We have on the list in no particular order the following locations:
Canada - Regina, Saskatchewan
New Zealand - Wellington
Philippines - Manila
Like I opened this post with the numerous ways to say thank you being way more than any one person can list. Being a simple old country boy at heart, let me try it this way....
Hey thanks y'all, I really do appreciate your making time to visit. Hope to see the list of locations grow in the near future. Tell your friends.
It Is What It Is ..... y'all.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Oprah refers to this as an ... "Ah-ha" moment.
Many others of less notoriety will pass it off with a mention of ..... 'Well now, don't that just knock your hat in the creek?'
Most of my moments will be parallel to some type of utterance of swear words usually not fit for printing here....and more than likely there are a minimum number of witnesses to the specific point in time.
This time of year used to always have me planning on being in the woods chasing the elusive white tail deer. Having to find my small pack of essentials that go with me into the wild outdoors is one of the first items I check to see is still intact. Mainly the stuff that will assist in getting me into and out of the woods.
One particular year, I was hunting on a parcel of land near my home. Driving less than an hour is considered local for me so this place was really close.
This property is better known as the Big Thicket and is made up of several different tracts of land that total right at 100,000 acres. The acreage of this section was near about 25,000 acres, but I was only interested in a small part that consisted of lets say 1/2 mile square.
I knew the road that I drive in on ran north and south...cause that's what my compass told me.
Never argue with your compass.
Venturing off the road heading west to the small creek that wound through the thicket was my intent for this days hunt. Packing in my folding stool for sitting along the creek, hoping to see some type of native game that lives here. Every time I make a day hunt, I always try to discover a little bit more of the area so that I can say I hunted smart. This day would prove to be an eventful day.
As I skirted an area that looked really 'deer-ish' to me, I stumbled upon an old tree stand. Made a mental note to where it was and continued on with it to my left. About an hour later, I spotted another old tree stand just to the right of my line of sight.
My ah-ha moment was moving towards the idea that this area must be a great place to sit and wait for the deer to cross. Looking for a game trail to focus on, that the deer use to travel from point A to point B on, made sense to me.
While searching for a game trail, I was drawn closer to the second tree stand...only to realize that this was the SAME stand I had found an hour earlier.
You guessed it. I had walked in a circle for an hour. I made a mental note to have my legs measured when I got back home...to eliminate this the next time. Obviously, one of my legs is lazy and doesn't keep up the same pace as the other....
"Oh crap!" ... that's my ah-ha moment. I am freaking lost....I ain't never walked in a circle before, not without wanting to....
Remember earlier when I said to never...NEVER argue with your compass. I had never actually gotten to the point where I was confused and doubting my location...until that day. This was before the handheld GPS units were affordable.
If I remember right, it was even before the home computer craze took off.
It was right about now, I took a reading, heading east to the road. Hopefully, when I find the road, I will not have to flip a coin to see whether to go left or right to find my truck. Trucks are never where you leave them in the Big Thicket....not like you would think they should be.
I should tell you that this area of the Big Thicket is in close proximity to an old straight as an arrow dirt road that many locals refer to as....Ghost Road.
With that knowledge in the back of my mind and my personal experience as a teenager spending many different nights on that ghost road chasing the 'light'.....kind of spurred me to get to the truck before dark.
You ever heard of it being bad luck carrying two compasses....?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Do you remember me mentioning learning a little bit about patience in a recent entry? To be truthful I have discovered that I am not as patient an individual as I once was or at least thought myself to be...or so I have been told. Thank you Cindy.
The term short temper would pretty much cover the overall feeling I have been dealing with in recent weeks.
Along with a few brushes of...deep dark depression...excessive misery....gloom, despair, and agony on me....go ahead, you finish the song...you know it from the old comedy from Cornfield County we watched years ago... HEE HAW.
Today my doctor released me from my immediate restraints. I no longer have to keep the arm in the sling. This in itself was a load off of my mind, my neck and my shoulders.
Just do not use the arm for any type of lifting. Got it..no lifting.
Pretty good trade off as I see it....no sling...no lifting. Can do....or won't do.
My daughter has obviously picked up a smidgen of my sense of humor without me knowing it. In one of our visits a few days ago, she casually asked when I was going to go fishing again.
Re-wind back to me and my arm in a sling. You having a visual yet?
Family sitting around the living room with conversation being wide open to any topic and she hits me with ....
"Hey Dad, when you gonna go fishing again?" ....and as she looks over to me she finds me looking rather intently at her. She never has been able to win a staring contest with me.
Then she realizes what she had just asked me....I pretty much have been dry-docked the entire summer and with the slated recovery time...the fall fishing season is pretty much a wash out as well.
The best I can do for now is to put some fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank of the boat and run the motor while sitting on the front casting deck and dream of front-ending my fishing partner in the back of the boat.... all the while sitting along side of the driveway....keeping a charge on the battery.
The staring contest is still going on.....
My daughter tries to avert the attention of the awkward moment to her latest malady. Her shoulder has been hurting also. Mind you she hasn't had any surgery that we know of, just sleeping on it wrong when she and the granddaughter sleep in on Saturday mornings along with a recent flu shot.
Still staring....maybe even an upgrade to a possible Level-1 glare....
Then it happens.....just about now, she tries to stifle a laugh and fails....she cracks up and so do I. She knows how much I love to fish and is trying to find the lighter side of my dilemma.
The irony of the situation...I made the final payment on my boat with the September payment.
Looks like I will have to give the round to my daughter. Since she scored way more points than I did. Well hey, she does take after her dad....thanks for caring Laci.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
'High on Arrival' is the title to her book.
Wow! What a life she has lived....no let's make that...what a life she has survived.
You remember Mackenzie from the television sitcom One Day at a Time and her first big screen acting job in the movie American Graffiti. She is the daughter of John Phillips of the 60's rock 'n roll group, The Mama's and the Papa's.
To put it bluntly, there is no earthly reason for Mackenzie to be alive today and sharing her story with those of us that enjoyed the music from early in our generation. It is obvious to me that our Creator has a plan for her and will use her in reaching others through her tumultuous childhood and almost lifelong abuse of drugs that nearly took her life.
I picked the book up last weekend and finished it just today.
Even though I basically read it from cover to cover in less than 24 hours, it was easy for me to read simply due to the fact that I enjoy reading true stories and learning about people of my generation. No politics involved, just the music of our youth and the life style that ran parallel with it. The generation of making love and not war.
After finishing the book today, I wanted to share it here with you. Some parts of the book are tough to read and hard to get your mind wrapped around due to the nature of the activities and the lifestyle of the rich and famous in the 1960's.
There has been a lot of controversy from her family pertaining to the 'tell-all' format of the book. After reading the book, I can understand the concern, but I found myself pulling for Mackenzie as the story unwound.
I see it as a form of healing that Mackenzie needed so that she could turn the corner and escape the 'monster' that had taken up residence in her life. The monster was the drug habit she lived with and her daily encounters with her monster will take the reader into places never imagined. Let me warn you that some of the language may not be suitable for tender ears...providing you read out loud...so read it quietly to yourself.
'High on Arrival' pretty much sums up the storyline....but you need to get you a copy and read it for yourself. If the 60's meant anything to you...I'll wager a bet that after reading the story, your opinion of the author will be something you didn't see coming.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Driving etiquette...or the lack thereof.
In particular the ramps along the freeways of our area. Folks these ramps have specific reasons for being in the places you find them.
For the ease of getting on and off of the freeway and not winding up in Hardin County or heading to Houston.
Plain and simple...getting on the freeway...use the ramp to accellerate to match the flow of traffic already flowing.
That's why it's called an 'ON' ramp...you're getting on the freeway and everybody is moving smoothly until you decide to grace the roadway with your attempt at driving.
I now understand the phrase from NASCAR about..."putting someone into the wall..."
Luckily for you, NASCAR is not the real world...for most folks it's common sense and common courtesy...but then how can it be common when a lot of people don't have it....common sense that is.
The off ramps are the same theory in reverse...BUT don't slow down to the posted speed limit on the service road a half mile before you get to the exit...the ramp is designed for the de-accelleration and blending into that flow of traffic....again common sense here. But I digress with the common sense theory...
Drive safe and read this when you get home ... please.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
There is a time for all seasons, and right about now it appears to be the season for healing of damaged shoulders.
I admit to you.....my few and faithful readers...I am about to learn a little more about patience along this path than I originally thought.
The visit with my doctor enlightened me to the fact that I had almost completely severed my bicep tendon but was still hanging by a few threads. The rotator cuff was ultimately unscathed which left the tendon to be dealt with.
In short, the tendon was re-attached to the humerus ...(which ain't even thinking about being funny) by some modern day, medically named, just what the doctor ordered....screw thingy.
I am also told that within time, the tendon will attach itself to the bone.. and along with those infamous words ringing in the background...be good as new.
Good as new, 'eh? I'll take it!
After the good doctor shared this wonderful news with me, I set about putting my shirt back on along with my new little best friend, the SLINGSHOT2 arm sling. The nurse made a return visit to see what was taking so long with me coming out of the exam room.....
Well hey, I am but one middle-aged man with one good arm and associated factory installed left-hand....trying to button my shirt...give me a second or two.
Upon leaving the doctors office with the stitches removed and feeling good about the prognosis, I waited out front along the drive-thru drop-off area for my soon to be nominated for sainthood loving wife to arrive to take me home.
Soon after returning home, looking at my reflection in my bathroom mirror, I realized that single-handed as I was, I managed to miss-button my shirt...it's no wonder the nurse was stifling a laugh when I so proudly walked out of the exam room and down the hall....my wife almost fell down laughing at the sight of her independent spousal unit standing before her in his lime green fishing shirt all askew....
Well done Mr. Independent-Fluorescent-Lime-Green-Fishing-Shirt-Wearing-Shoulder-Patient Sir...well done.
Now for some ice on my one good hand....CINDY!!!!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Being a new writer, I am constantly on the 'listen' for a topic.
Sitting in the 'pre-op' cubicle Tuesday morning, not one but two different nurses prepping me for the procedure reminded me upon exiting the curtain framed room...
"If you need anything....just holler."
The second reminder prompted both me and my wife Cindy to a memory of our first born and the passage from diapers to being a big girl and getting 'potty' trained.
We would position her and told her that when she was through....to just holler.
Within a few moments, lost in the program we were watching, we heard her voice from down the hallway...reaching an octave never before believed possible....
Such a smart child she is. She absolutely listened and did just as instructed. She hollered when she was ready for our assistance.
I have been doing my share of hollering around the house since coming home from the day surgery. Cindy has been available for my every request.
She even takes her cell phone to bed with her, just in case I may need her during the night...from the living room where I have taken up residence..I can simply call her.
Truth be known...I haven't called yet...scared to wake her up...but I know she would be there if I did need her.
As she closes the door and turns out the lamps for my attempt to get some sleep in the not so comfortable over stuffed chair....she tells me....
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Times like that make me stop and wonder where the hidden camera is.
Who out there is setting me up....and why me.... why today?
I had the pleasure of coaching both Little League Softball for my daughter and Little League Baseball for my son for a total of about 9 years worth of fun and adventure. Some years way more memorable than others when the parents remembered.....IT, meaning the sport...the game was for the kids...not us parents.
I was always amazed at how many of the dads could drop the kids off for practice but never could make it early enough for helping out on the field prep for game days. They would always show up just as the first pitch was made....perfect timing that was.
There was one year that stands out for me. My assistant coach and I were handed the roster of our team and the league president mentioned something about one of our players was new to the league and put him on my team for obvious reasons.
I guess the reasons were many but mostly were simple because I was so good at what I did, had a good rapport with the parents, never created problems, and was one of the older managers in the league that could probably do really well with a new kid.
Hey, these kids were 5 and 6 years old...how tough could it be?
To my surprise, this new kid had a parent that was....how do I say this....well known in the area.
Not just in the area, but pretty much known across the country.....country music that is. The main concern for this situation was that both of the parents wished for the focus to be on their son, and not particularly on the well known parent.
Things worked out pretty well that year. We won a few games. Had the usual team parties during and after the season. Thought it was kinda neat to have a country music entertainer among the parents in the stands...who loved the fact he could come to the games and not get mobbed by the local fans for what he did and take the attention away from the son playing baseball.
During the capping ceremony where all the players are introduced to the entire league, Mark would make it a point to find us where we were lined up prior to the team introduction. Make some small talk with the coaches and then venture off to take advantage of the photo opportunity when his son received his team cap at home plate.
I was not able to acquire Mark's son the next year. The next years level included the draft system and I didn't get the boy on my team. I haggled with the coach for a trade, but he informed me that his wife loved the music that Mark played and was told to hold onto him for her.
Yeah right, he knew that boy was a player....trying to tell me his wife was a country music lover....do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?
At next years capping ceremony....Mark looked me up on the field again...like friends do. We chatted and he was trying to stifle a laugh. I asked him what was up, and he just mentioned the extra 'T' in the last name on his sons jersey...and we both had a good laugh.
The team mom had mis-spelled the last name.... CHESTNUTT
Hey, stuff even happens on little league fields with big fans of country music stars.
My thanks to Mark Chesnutt for sharing some family time with us.
It is what it is......
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I am speaking of what every writer calls .... "writers block".
Writers block is capable of setting the parking brake on the flow of creative juices...much like sunblock will hinder the UV rays of the sun....only better...or worse, depending if you're the writer or the one sitting in the sun.
Trying to decide what to write about that might entertain you folks out there who are kind enough to spend an average of 2 minutes and 44 seconds per visit and keep you coming back for another dose sometimes is like a dog chasing its tail....humorous to watch, about as productive, and leaves you wondering about you and your pets sanity.
Lots of stuff going on in this old East Texas boys life this past week or so...more distractions than
you can shake a stick at with school starting tomorrow and being bitten last week by an undisclosed species of spider...which by the rate of healing....now as been determined NOT to be of the dangerous category.
Just mentioning spiders causes me to shiver a bit. I really don't care for those eight legged creatures that God gave us.
For you hunters out there, if you have spent any amout of time in the woods of East Texas, you all know about the infamous 'banana' spiders that spin their webs across every cow or game trail in the Big Thicket...just waiting for you to walk into and then spend the next several minutes wiping away their sticky old web and then searching for the spider that you can never locate.....and leaves you wondering where the heck it went.....but this may have to be shared with you later so let's get back to this weeks issue of my stumbling and stammering around.....
As I was speaking of earlier, there's writers block to contend with along with all the 'stuff' that finds its way into the daily mix...so you never really know who, what, or where your inspiration will come....but it always does.
I had even thought about maybe this blog thing wasn't gonna fly and flirted with just taking a short time off and away from the keyboard...then BAM...there it is. So unexpected but so obvious.
The credit for this piece goes to my neighbor across the street...Mrs. Arena.
Actually this is the second time she played into my game without her knowing. She was the inspiration behind the story about "Headlights and Tail-lights"....and of all places like the grocery store to run into her, she smiled and greeted me about how much she and some friends of hers were enjoying my blog.
Timing is everything and the fact that our paths crossed as I was entering the store and you were leaving with your purchases proves to me again about being just a small player in this thing called life. Ten or fifteen seconds either way and I would have missed your blessing of encouragement today.
Just so you will know Mrs. Arena....your kind and generous remarks concerning this small space I claim in cyber-space...were well timed and received. That is 'just' what I needed...the old shot in the
arm for keeping on ....."keeping on".
....and I thank you.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Not the funny bone in your elbow, the funny bone that defines your sense of humor. The part of you that lets you find the funny stuff in your life.
I always say that you gotta laugh to keep from crying these days. Laughter is good for the soul. Which brings about the question...
Do you think that God likes baseball? Of course He does and He even had it documented in His Word.
So you didn't know that baseball is mentioned in the Bible? Yep, it sure is and it must be a favorite sport of our Creator since He had it recorded right there up front of everything else....and you most likely have heard it before too.....
"In the Big-Inning...."
You get it don't you..? in the beginning..God created ... (just checking...)
While sitting in the drive-thru this A.M. at the local McDonalds, my son and I noticed...let's call them mature... a mature couple arriving for their morning coffee and breakfast.
Just as they came to a stop in the parking spot, you could tell that the wife was just a wee bit irritated with her husband of several years....reason we knew this was due to the 'body-language' she had going on with her head and the clear, concise, and complete -who-the-boss-is reply...before they exited the car...
It couldn't have been too terribly bad since he did carry in both of their McDonald's logo loaded coffee mugs for their meal.
I casually asked my son if he wanted to wager a bet as to how long the couple had been blissfully married..and he added that could be or should be changed to....'blisteringly' married.
After witnessing this early morning event, another question surfaced...
If a husband is in the woods and makes a decision, with no wife actually there, is he still just as wrong?
Yeah, I might catch a bit of the business from that remark...but that would mean that whoever gives me the flak, actually went online and read this blog....I'll take that chance.
Our son is beginning to hone his own sense of humor, but this morning, he really got me.
While at the doctor's office to complete his required list of immunizations for the school year, he was carrying around the usual basket of nerves. There were 4 shots that he needed to be ready for the coming year and the doctor was doing his usual banter with the patient and commented how several of his female patients had fainted from the ordeal.
As the fourth and final injection was administered, I watched my son sink to his left...thinking he was checking the sense of humor of the doctor....when he hit the exam table....I suddenly realized ....
He ain't joking! The boy actually fainted dead away. His eyes never closed and was only out for just a few seconds....but it sure was enough to stir the emotions of his dad....yeah buddy.
On the way home, I reminded him of the reason for the additional call buzzer in the examining room...had his mother been the one there, the doctor would of had to deal with both of you....a fainting patient and a hysterical mother....
Tomorrow we ...me and my son, will go and do all the registering for his first year in high school.
Chances are, my sense of humor is about to be tested....I will let you know....wish me luck.