Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can I Get Any Bonus Points?

Yeah, I remember...way back when kids would come up with those thought provoking questions and the better part of an afternoon would be gone before you knew it.

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 old friend on Facebook?

Are there bonus points in heaven?

I wouldn't think so....besides, why would you need any other'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

Veterans Day - Thank You Veterans

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 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?

Enough already.

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

If A Tree Falls....

Think back about your very first paying job.

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 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

East Texas Back Roads

Seems so long ago now.

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.