Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall tales from Texas about characters I know and have known. Who knows, you might be one of them.

Archive for the month “February, 2019”

Luann’s Platter


Maureen and I visited Luby’s Cafeteria last week for lunch. When we walked in, the smells of food brought back memories from my childhood. Back in the 1950s in Fort Worth, there was Wyatt’s and Luby’s. It was always a hard choice for the family. Luby’s had the best deserts, while Wyatt’s always served larger portions. My Dad usually chose Wyatt’s. More bang for the buck. It was the Eisenhower years and things were tight. That’s back when he was still a Democrat. I was just a hungry kid.

We took our place in line, trays aligned on the metal rail. I scanned the extra large menu board for my favorite dish, but couldn’t find it. I panicked. The platter I came for, and have always ordered for decades is “The Luann Platter,” and they damn well better have it. My blood sugar was low and I could feel a rant coming on. Maureen rubbed a drop of “Peace of Mind” lotion under my nose to calm me. Then, in the lower corner of the board, I spotted it. ” The Luann Platter, half portions with a roll – $8.99.” What the hell! It used to be $4.99 with a roll, a drink, and pie? Retired folk cant afford those prices.

I approached the smiling lady server and using my best old man controlled voice said, ” I’m not paying $8.99 for a half portion that was $4.99 with a piece of pie the last time I ate at Luby’s” and slammed my fist on my tray for effect.

Still smiling, she replied, ” Well sir, then you can choose the children’s plate if you are over 65 and or acting like a child, as of which you appear to be. You have a choice of chicken strips, a hot dog or spaghetti with a 2% milk and a fruit cup. That will set you back $4.99 plus tax. And by the way, The Luann Platter has been $8.99 since 2001.”

Oh, she was really messing with me now. Her smile had turned to a slight sneer and her eyes got beady. I leaned over the glass barrier. ” Do you know who Luann Platter is, young lady?” I demanded. ” No sir, was she a famous cook or employee of the month or something?” she said. Good Lord, this girl is clueless.

By this point, two other line servers had flanked the young miss in case I went postal. I faced them and with conviction said,” Luann Platter is the most famous character on the television show, ” King of the Hill.” An animated series that is set in Garland Texas and this dish that you serve is named for her. Don’t you know who Hank, Bobby, and Peggy Hill are?” The three servers had the look of social ignorance on their young faces. It was useless to explain. I collected my platter and we proceeded to the checkout.

We sat in our booth, eating our lunch in silence. The food wasn’t as good as it used to be. The good old days are gone for good. My turnip greens turned out to be Kale; the most evil weed ever cooked. Maureen’s chicken was rubber faux chicken and my corn muffin was doughy and awful. We can scratch this one off of our list.

Leaving the cafeteria, a fortyish blond women in a Luby’s uniform held the door open for us. In a girlish voice she said, ” Ya’ll come back now.” I noticed her name tag read “Luann.”

The Boys in Blue


I have always advocated purchasing things from children. Lemonade, cards, homemade candy and even cookies. It helps them understand capitalism, and having a little jingle in a kids pocket makes them feel good.

Last evening as I sat eating my second box of Girl Scout cookies, it dawned on me that there is a form of discrimination being practiced in the scouting world. The Girl Scouts, Brownies, Campfire Girls and Bluebirds get to sell merchandise for profit. Where does that leave the Cub Scouts? Penniless is where. The little boys in blue are as poor as blind mice living behind the Goodwill store. I hatched a plan. I called an old friend of mine, Marvin, a former scout like myself and ran my sure fire money maker by him.

For the time being, the Cub Scouts are boys. There may be those few that are confused about their assigned gender, but they can work that out later. Most of the scout leaders are men and fathers. Men like manly things, so by deduction the Cubs follow their lead. Selling cookies is not manly. Selling things that men like is.

Following the winning method the Girls have established, the Cubs can set up their display outside of Walmart or any retail establishment that will oblige them. On their tables will be an array of things men like such as; craft bourbon with names like Wolfs Breath, Hair of the Bear, and Webelo’s Firecracker. Beautiful cedar boxes of cigars with the scout emblem burned into the top, (every Dad loves a good stogie and a stiff bourbon after a scout meeting.) On another table, Daisy Red Ryder BB guns and kid size camping hatchets next to an array of extremely sharp knives and Cherry Bombs.

Marvin loved my idea. We meet with the Boy Scouts of America next week. Things are looking up.

You Will Buy My Cookies


Walking into Walmart this morning, I was accosted, not by a panhandler or some poor schmuck with a sob story, but a cute eight-year-old girl selling Girl Scout cookies. She wouldn’t take no for an answer and she “had” all the answers. This little waif, hands on her hips and a defiant gleam in her eye, actually blocked my entrance into Walmart. Standing in front of me like a little David about to punch Goliath, she meant business. I couldn’t bump her out of the way so I was forced to engage her. It was all a grand scheme. Standing behind a table stacked with boxes of cookies were four Mama Bears just waiting for me to decline. They all had that ” Just try to get out of this one,” sneer on their face.

” I don’t have any money,” I pleaded

” We take credit and debit cards,” she chirps. When did this start? Does every kid have a credit card machine in their backpack?

” I’m diabetic and could have a seizure,” I add.

“No problem mister, we have sugar and gluten-free,” she sneers.

I’m trapped. Twenty adults are staring at me as if I am a leper. I hand her my Visa card and she rings up five boxes of cookies and a twenty percent tip to boot. I take my cookies and walk to my car, fearing they will grab me again on the way out. I’ll be having cookies for supper.


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