“A Fort Worth, Texas Kind of Christmas”


When I first published this story, readers asked me if the characters were real, or did any of it actually happen. Our neighbors, the Misters were real folks and became our neighborhood mentors. Leonards’s Department Store Toyland in downtown Fort Worth was a sight to behold, and the attempted flocking and ruination of our Christmas tree is true. My father was able to negotiate peace with my mother, and my uncle delivered a new tree, so Christmas was saved. A flocked tree never adorned our living room, but we did buy an aluminum tree with a rotating color wheel. Years later, in the early sixties, I used that rotating wheel as part of a hokey light show for our rock band.

A personal recount of my childhood Christmas memories.

Photo by: Elf -O-Mat Studios

Riding a ceiling-mounted “Rocket Train” to nowhere around the basement of a department store doesn’t seem like a Christmas thing, but that’s what thousands of other Texas kids and I did every year in the 1950s.

Leonard Brothers Department Store occupied two square blocks of downtown Fort Worth real estate and was known as the Southwest’s Macy’s. They offered everything the big shot stores in the East carried, and then, hundreds of items no retailer in their right mind would consider.

If you had a mind to, one could purchase a full-length mink coat with optional mink mittens, the latest women’s high-fashion clothing line from Paris France, an Italian cut-crystal vile of Elizabeth Taylors spit, James Dean’s signature hair tonic, Rock Hudson’s autographed wedding photos, a housebroken Llama, an aluminum fishing boat and motor, a new car, a pole barn, a nice two-story craftsman home “build it yourself kit” delivered to your lot, chickens, barb wire, hay, horses and cows, a 30-30 Winchester rifle, a 40 caliber autographed General George Custer Colt pistol, a bottle of good hootch and a Ford tractor. That’s about as Texas as it gets.

The Christmas season in downtown Fort Worth was internationally recognized for its innovative and wonderful decorations. The righteous city fathers figured the best way to outdo Dallas, a full-time effort, was to line every building with white lights from top to bottom and install large glowing decorations on every lamp pole, street light, and building fa├žade available. If that didn’t make you “ooooh and ahhhh,” then you needed to go home and hide in a closet.

A week, or so, after Thanksgiving, my parents would take my sister and me downtown to see the decorations and visit the Leonard Brothers Department Store. Santa just happened to be in their basement taking advanced verbal orders from every crumb cruncher that could climb the stairs and plop on his lap.

My sister, in between screams and crying fits, always asked for the latest doll. She was scared senseless of “HO-HO,” but she somehow managed to spit out her order. Like clockwork, every year, I asked for a Daisy BB Gun with a year’s supply of stainless silver ammo ( for killing werewolves), a full-size Elliot Ness operable Thompson Sub Machine Gun, or an Army surplus Bazooka with real rockets and a long, razor-sharp Bowie knife encased in a fringed leather holster. It was a 1950s boy thing; weapons were what we longed for. How else could we defeat Santa Anna at the Alamo or win World War II, again? Our neighborhood may have sported the best-supplied “kid army” on the planet, and jolly old Santa was our secret arms dealer; parents non-the wiser. I finally got the BB Gun, but Santy was wise enough to not bring the other request.

Walking down the stairs to the store’s basement was the thrill I waited for all year. There, hanging above my head, was the beautiful red and silver tinseled sign, “Toy Land,” kid nirvana, and the Holy Grail all in one room. The smell of burned popcorn and stale chocolate candy wafted up the stairs, and I could hear the cheesy Christmas choir music and the sound the Rocket Train made as it glided along the ceiling-mounted rails. I almost pissed off my jeans.

Hundreds, if not thousands of parents jostled down isles of toys, pushing, grabbing, and snarling like a pack of wild dogs fighting for that last toy; the holiday spirit and common courtesy were alive and well. The queue of kids for the Rocket Train snaked through the basement like a soup line.

There, sitting on his mini-mountain top perch, sat old red-suited Santa Claus and his elfin apprentices, herding kids to his lap at break-neck speed. Each child got about fifteen seconds, a black and white photograph, and then it was off the lap and down the steps. Kids were fast in those days; we memorized and practiced our list weeks before our visit for maximum impact. “Ho-Ho” had better be writing this stuff down. Kids don’t forget, squat.

Two Santa visits, four Rocket Train rides, and three popcorn bags later, our family unit departed Leonard’s for the new and improved “Leonard’s Christmas Tree Land,” located across the street from the main building. Thanks to the demolition of several winos-infested abandoned buildings, the new lot was now the size of Rhode Island and held enough trees for every person and their dog in Texas.

Thousands, if not millions of fresh-cut trees awaited our choosing. Father, always the cheapskate, chose a sensible tree; not too big, not too small, yet full and fluffy with a lovely piney aroma. My sister and I pointed and danced like fools for the “pink flocked” tree in the tent, which cost the equivalent of a week’s salary. My parents enjoyed our cute antics. The sensible tree was secured to the top of our Nash Rambler station wagon, and we are homeward bound.

Pulling into our driveway, it was impossible to miss our neighbor’s extravagant holiday display. We had been away from home for 6 hours and returned to a full-blown holiday extravaganza that made our modest home look like a tobacco road sharecroppers shack.

Our next-door neighbors, Mr. Mister and Mrs. Mister were the neighborhood gossip fodder. The couple moved from Southern California for his job. He, an aircraft-design engineer, and she, a former gopher girl at Paramount Studios. The Misters reeked new-found money and didn’t mind flaunting it. They drove tiny Italian sports cars and hired a guy to mow their lawn. His wife, Mrs. Mister, always had a Pall Mall ciggie in one hand and a frosty cocktail in the other. Father said she looked like a pretty Hollywood lady named Jane Mansfield, but Mother said she resembled a “gimlet-assed dime-store chippy.” I got the impression that the Misters were quite popular in the neighborhood.

Their Christmas display was pure Cecil B. DeMille. A life-size plywood sleigh, with Santa and his reindeer, covered the Mister’s roof, and 20 or more automated Elves and various holiday characters greeted passersby. Twinkling lights covered every bush and plant in the yard, and a large machine spat out thousands of bubbles that floated through the neighborhood. This was far more than Fort Worth was ready for.

The kill shot was their enormous picture window that showcased a ceiling-high blue flocked tree bathed in color-changing lights. There, framed in the glow of their yuletide decor, sat Mr. and Mrs. Mister with their two poodles, Fred and Ginger, perched on their expensive modern sofa, sipping vermouth martinis like Hollywood royalty. This display of pompacious decadence didn’t go unnoticed by my parents.

Father hauled our puny tree into the living room and began unpacking lights for the decorating that would happen tomorrow evening. Mother hurried my sister and me off to bed. Visions of spying Elves, sugar plum pudding, and dangerous weapons danced in my head; Christmas was upon us.

Sometime after 10 PM, Father got hungry. Searching for sandwich fixings in the kitchen, he found a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon. Then he found a fresh half gallon of Egg-Nog, which of course, he enjoyed with the bourbon. While searching for bread to make the ham sandwich, he found two “Lux Laundry Soap Flake” boxes, with a dish towel in each one. Then by chance, he discovered the food coloring. This gave him an idea for our sad little tree.

I awoke with a start. The sun was shining on my face, which meant I was late for school. I ran into the living room and was stopped in my tracks.

Our formally green tree was now flocked in thick pink snow, as were the curtains, the fireplace mantel, two chairs, the coffee table, and my father, who lay on the couch, passed out, with a half-eaten ham sandwich on his chest. My Mother sat a few feet away, sipping her coffee and smoking a Winston; my Louisville slugger lay on her lap. I was reluctant to approach her, but I had to know.

I timidly put my hand on her shoulder and asked, “Mom, is Dad going to be alright?” She took a sip of coffee and a drag from her ciggie and said, “well, for right now, he will be, but after he wakes up, who knows.”

This Will Be A Little Uncomfortable


The latest in the battery of tests after my spine surgery is called EMG or Electromyography, as it’s known in medical circles. My surgeon said there may be a few more, but he didn’t want to worry me because everything involves needles and pain.

After the surgery on August 31st, I’ve been dragging my right leg and foot around like the Frankenstein monster, an after-effect that may or may not cure itself. However, my wife said I had it down pat if I wanted to try out for any film parts.

The walker from the hospital was a cheap affair with the tennis balls that kept getting in the way; it was so 1980s, so I purchased one of the new walkers with four wheels, a seat, and hand brakes like the old English bicycles from the 1940s. Now I could obtain a speed of at least 5 mph, and dragging the leg and foot didn’t matter.

The older people on the square seemed impressed and gave me a thumbs up when I whizzed by. Next, I challenged an old lady with a motorized electric scooter to a race and beat her to the stop sign. She was reluctant to part with the $20 bet, so I let it slide and bought her a gin and tonic.

While lying on the exam table, I noticed the medical gown had a pleasant aroma of lavender which helped soothe my nerves.

The young technician said the electrodes might hurt a smidgen and make my muscles react involuntarily. Unfortunately, she was correct; as the electricity increased, I jumped around like a frog in a 7th-grade science class hooked up to a 24-volt battery. However, the pain wasn’t too bad because I had taken a 50 mg tablet of Tramadol before the visit, so I was a bit loopy and perhaps more compliant than I should have been.

After twenty minutes of shocking me into submission, she unhooked me and said the Doctor would be in shortly to administer the needle test.

” He’s going to stick needles into me?” I asked.

No one said anything about needles; by now, after 3 years of operations and cancer, I should be used to needles; but I am not.

The young Doctor came in, asked me a series of questions about my spine surgery, then said, ” well, let’s get this over with.” How comforting.

I looked him dead in his highly educated eyes and asked, ” is this going to be a bit uncomfortable,, or will it hurt like Hell?” “Oh, it’s going to hurt like Hell,” he said. At least he was honest.

The first needle was about 6 inches long and went into my calf. It didn’t hurt too bad; the second hurt like hell, the third even worse, and by the time he stuck me with the last one in my lower back, I was telling him I would give him a hundred bucks to stop. Obviously, he doesn’t need the money.

He called my wife Maureen into the exam room and told her everything because she is a nurse and won’t forget. They did their “secret medical handshake,” and we went home.

I got a message from the surgeon’s office this morning that I need to come in next week for some more tests that involve needles and other machines.

Who You Gonna Call?


When the juvenile name-calling has stopped, and the fossilized Republicans gather in their lyre to consider their candidate, who do they have? Trump or DeSantis? That’s it, kiddies. No one left with enough charisma to hold up to being a candidate. Biden can’t run because of a brain malfunction, and Hillary is so damn evil not even a Democrat would vote for her. So, Mr. Hollywood, Gavin Newsome is their only hope.

Trump’s already declared his intentions with a great speech. Instead, whether we like him or not, DeSantis will most likely issue a statement within a few days.

Trump has the bulldog tenacity and sharpest teeth, but DeSantis has the second coming of the “ghostly Kennedy family” working for him, even though he is a conservative. It’s damn right scary. The only thing missing is the compound at Hyannisport and loading up the Mafia with cash.

McConnell is a disgrace, and McCarthy is likely to bumble-dumble all he attempts, even though he has a very nice haircut. Let us hope he has the balls to have Pelosi removed from the building by the Capitol Police. She deserves no better.

I’m going to Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble and load up. At least reading good books will keep my mind off of this clown show.

Camelot 2.0


As a kid, I remember reading Life and Look Magazine about the new Camelot and the youthful president and his family that occupied that white castle. Every woman on the street wore her hair like Jackie.

The Kennedy family was the national portrait of the nation; the youngest man ever to serve as president, rich and with a beautiful wife, and kids, it was almost like a Norman Rockwell painting. Life, Look and Newsweek magazines could report on nothing else.

Gone was the old bald-headed soldier and frumpy wife, FDR, and Trueman was but a memory, and the world had changed in the blink of an eye. The Cold War with Russia was running full speed as was the race for dominance of outer space. We were headed for the moon within the decade; and by damn he kept his word, even though he was not there to share the jubilance. The world was eaten up with The Kennedy family.

Enter 44-year-old Ron and Casey DeSantis and their three beautiful children. You could say “Camelot 2.0” has arrived, but DeSantis is a Republican, as Kennedy probably would have been if he were governing today. I wonder if DeSantis has checked on the availability of the old Kenndey family yacht.?

The Republicans need to huddle and consider this one. Lightning can strike twice and Camelot 2.0 might not be a bad idea.

The current president will soon be cabbage soup and Trump will turn eighty in office, so old does not make one the best candidate. Pelosi will be president within a year, and that was the plan from the get-go.

The poor Republicans are stuck in political Hell and can’t find the ladder.

“Remember The Good old Days?”


Now I’m sounding like my grandfather ” remember the good ole day’s” for whatever point he was trying to make. Now I am him.

Remember the good old days when people actually took the time to set before a keyboard and answer your emails instead of using one word or a stupid little picture of a beer or a heart or some other useless bullshit like that.

I send a lengthy email to a few friends of mine. Nothing that was a novella or a short story, just some questions, and recollections. What did I receive, ” an emoji and “sent on my iPhone” I almost had a stroke. I spent thirty minutes composing an easily readable, edited, and entertaining email, and I get a thumbs-up crap from a smart-ass phone.

No more; I will send one word or a cute little picture and let them figure it out.

When Baseball Was A Kids Game


The padlock on the gate to the baseball diamond would have taken a welding torch to remove, and the metal sign attached to the fence above spelled doom for our summer of pickup baseball games. The sign read, “The Forest Park Baseball Facility is closed to public play. Only organized teams will have use of the diamonds. Call for times and additional rules. JE-74428

 What is this? Our neighborhood team has been playing on these two fields since we were six, roughly 1956 until now. This dirt and grass are hallowed ground, and we had laid claim to it years ago. This was our land and we will fight for it. Damn the Parks and Recreation Department; a bunch of fat old men sitting behind desks.

After a brief discussion, we agreed on, and did what any nine or ten-year-old pack of boys would do; we climbed the fence and started our game.

 Thirty minutes into our play, two Parks and Recreation men chased us off the field. We didn’t take them seriously until a Police car showed up. The officer was friendly but told us if we did this again, he would haul us downtown, fingerprint us and take a nice picture for the newspaper.; we were gone in a flash.

My mother, upon hearing my sad story, which included real tears and wailing, and the possibility that I would be under her feet every day for three months, drove to the Parks and Recreation building and came home with their list of rules. We were desperate, but not as much as she and the other mothers in our neighborhood.

To play baseball, now known as Little League, we need an organized team, a coach, an assistant coach, proper uniforms, and certified safety equipment. The baseball committee will schedule all practices and games with no exceptions. Unfortunately, our neighborhood band of brothers was screwed. Our dad’s worked, and our mothers weren’t about to coach a baseball team, so we went to our mentor and Svengali for guidance, my neighbor, Mr. Mister. He had all the answers.

Mr. Mister read the document and winced, “Looks like they got you by the gonads, boys. We had Little League in California. It wasn’t bad because it evened out the teams by age. I coached a few of the units myself.” Ha! Our problem was solved. Mr. Mister could be our coach. He told us to sit under the Mimosa tree and disappeared into his house. Ten minutes later, he and Mrs. Mister came out with a pitcher of Kool-Aid and a large plate of cookies.

“Here are the rules, fellas,” he said between bites of an oatmeal cookie. “I work at Carswell and don’t get off until 3:00. Mrs. Mister will be your assistant coach and run the show until I get to the ball diamonds. Fred and Ginger, our two Poodles, will be your mascots; no wiggle room on that one.”

He saw the shock on our faces. “Don’t worry, boys; she played in the Air Force women’s league during the war and coached her team to win two championships. She can out-run, out-pitch, and out-hit any of you and has forgotten more about baseball than you mound rats will ever know. Take it or leave it.” We took it.

Mr. Mister found a gold mine of baseball equipment stored on the base. Five years ago, the officers had tried to start a league for their kids, but the brats lost interest. So, as usual with the government, they ordered triple what was needed. Multiple boxes of Rawlings baseballs, shoes with metal cleats, uniforms, caps, and a box of assorted gloves. It was a treasure trove from baseball heaven. The uniforms had the name “Jets” across the front, and the caps sported a USAF insignia. We were hot crap on a china plate. The Air Force was our sponsor, which kept us at arm’s length for their protection.

Our first practice was a rousing success. Mrs. Mister had us shagging balls from every part of the outfield. Holding the bat with one hand, she could put a ball anywhere she wanted with pinpoint accuracy. She corrected some of the boys batting stance and grip and taught Freckled Face Bean how to catch a fly ball like a pro. The team on the adjoining diamond looked like idiots compared to us.

Mr. Mister showed up and immediately took our two pitchers, Skipper and Georgie, to a corner of the outfield and started reworking their pitching technique.

This was the big league, and we became rather full of ourselves within an hour. Mrs. Mister sensed our overstuffed self-evaluation and made us run 20 laps around the field to bring us back to reality. She advised us as we lay on the grass, wheezing and on the verge of death. “This is Little League baseball, and you are nine -year old boys; this isn’t the big leagues, so get over yourselves” She knew how to bust our bubble.   

In June, we won all but two games and were at the top of the heap. Mr. Mister had turned Skipper and Georgie into pitching machines.

Mrs. Mister let it slip one day that her husband used to throw for UCLA back in his college days, something he had failed to tell us, boys.

The gang of hoodlum players from Poly grade school gave us the most trouble. “The Pirates,” and the skull and crossbones were sewn into their jersey. They looked and carried themselves as a group of hard-assed boys from the bowery; their name was a perfect fit. More than a few of the 10-year-old boys smoked ciggies and a few carried switchblades.

Their coach was a chubby sleazy guy that constantly had a cigar in his mouth. He also processed the vocabulary of a one-eyed rummy Pirate. The only thing missing was the peg leg and the Parrot on his shoulder. The boys had been taught the fine arts of cheating and could pull it off because we had one referee, and he was behind home plate.

The first time we played the Pirates, the referee ejected their leading pitcher because of a layer of vaseline under the visor of his cap. The second pitcher had 3-in-1 motor oil on his rag in his back pocket. The third was because the bats they were using had been drilled and filled with pine tar, and the infielders had filed their metal spiked to needles, guaranteed to give any of our boys a nasty injury. Nine and ten-year-old kids don’t think this stuff up. Their coach was a world-class mobster, making the entire team an accomplice. We felt terrible for most of the boys; all they wanted was to play ball, and they got stuck with a little Al Capone for a manager because of their school district. The team was banished from playing for 3 games.

Mr. Mister, our coach, was also an inventor and a world-class engineer that designed jet fighters. He also sent his wife’s two poodles, Fred and Ginger, into the stratosphere with a homemade backyard rocket, so he knew his groceries. He noticed our bats were too long, too heavy, and out of balance for our size. We carried an assortment of old bats from Rawlings, Wilson, and Louisville Sluggers. So he set to work on building the better little league bat.

The folks at Louisville Slugger said he could change the balance, handle and head weight as long as the bat didn’t exceed the approved lengths or carried inserts of any kind to change the weighting.

Mr. Mister sent a redesign for approval and a fat check for $50 per bat. Five bats would arrive if Louisville Sluggers could have them within a week. Finally, we all agreed “The Jets” were about to change little-league baseball.

The new bats arrived the day before our big game with our new nemesis, the “Aces,” the second group of ‘hard guys’ from the Crozier tech area. They were supposed to be nine and ten-year-olds, but a few of them were already shaving and sporting tattoos.

The “Jets” could feel the difference in their new bat’s balance and swings. So Mr. Mister said to line up the wood-burned star towards the top of the bat facing the pitcher; that sweet spot would send that white ball screaming.

The first three batters for the Jets struck out. After that, Ace’s pitcher threw hard and used a slider and a mean curve. He was a long tall knuckle dragging kid.

When the Jets took the field,  Georgie let the Aces get three men on base, two walks, and a bounced line drive off the second baseman. A kid named “Brutus” drilled one over left field and emptied the bases. So the Aces are up by 4. The jets came into the dugout hangdog and hopeless. Freckled Face Bean, in center field, had dropped the ball and then kicked it another 30 feet, trying to retrieve it. Mrs. Mister let him have it with both guns, which were big ones. She was pissed.  

I got a base hit to second. Willy got one to second, which advanced me to third. “Brutus” walked Georgie; the bases were total, and the game was tied. Now the dilemma. Our worst batter, Freckled Face Bean, was next in the rotation. Mrs. Mister pulled him aside for a heart-to-heart and a big hug. He was going for it. The last thing she told him was, “use the sweet spot.”

First pitch and Freckled hit the sweet spot sending the ball over the fence, bouncing onto the street and into the woods. The game was now tied.

Bottom of the ninth, one Jet is on base, and Skipper steps up to the plate. Second swing, the ball soars over the fence into the woods. The ‘Jets win.

We finished the season by playing the ‘Aces’ for the city championship. By that time, the boys in the league were afraid of us. A newspaper clipping of our team and our small trophy is somewhere in a box I hope to find. It was the best year of baseball in my life.

Now we have high-living billionaires playing a kid’s game. It’s all for money and not an ounce for the fun of it.

Wills Story


The following is a short story I wrote a while back. The character Will is based on a story from my Grandfather, John Henry Strawn who served in the United States Army and fought in the trenches in France during World War I. My memory of this particular story is vivid because of the way he told it. His voice would fill with a mild rage and then sink to a whisper that bordered on tears. I was young and never heard him speak this way. I knew enough to keep quiet and give the man his space. A good yarn teller needs room to spin.

Chili Pete and Nicotine were his friends during this time. They could have been from anywhere, but it wasn’t important.

The visitor, wounded twice and gassed, came home, Chile and Nicotine did not. In honor of D-Day, I feel it is appropriate to share some of his stories; and if he would have lived longer, there may have been enough for a book. I was happy to know the few he did tell.

The white-haired visitor sitting to Rufus’ left had been quiet throughout Del’s story; staring at his boots and showing no emotion. So, Rufus, trying to be hospitable, asked him if he had something to say.
The way he wore his hat, all cockeyed and sweat-stained, was sad. He was in dirty clothes, worn-out boots, and no woman miserable. Chili wasn’t sure he wanted to hear about anything this old codger had to say, but he is a guest, so he gets to speak.
The visitor opened a Pearl, drank it all in one swig, gathered himself for a minute, and says, “my names William; my friends call me Will. I grew up around Kennedale and fought in the Great War back in 1917 over there in France. I ain’t never told anyone about this, but I’m getting old, and the angels are coming to visit at night, so I figure it’s about time to let this out.” Chili moved closer to the visitor.
“I joined up in the Army over in Fort Worth in1917. Then I got sent to Kansas for training and was then shipped over to France on a boat. When I got to there, my Captain, knowing I was from Texas, put me in charge of the caissons and the mules that pulled them. He figured if I was from Texas, I was a cowboy. I never told him differently. At least I was stationed back from the worst of the fighting, taking care of the stock. I was okay with that. I saved my sorry ass. I got pretty fond of those mules, and it hurt me a lot when one of them got killed. I always fed them more than needed. They were happy, critters. I liked my job; I loved being alive.
One cold miserable muddy morning these three German boys come walking across the battlefield holding a white hanky. They were giving up. Some of the boys wanted to shoot them, but our Captain said that wouldn’t be right to kill an unarmed man. Captain was funny that way. He was a preacher back in Kansas, so he tried to live by the word. Even in war.
Those kraut boys were pitiful. No coats, dirty and scared, they were a mess. We fed them some grub and gave each a blanket and a tin of hot coffee with some brandy. They were grateful. One boy sobbed a bit, and then in pretty good English, thanked us for not killing them. His name was Frank. I liked that young fella.
After a week with us, the men didn’t bother watching them anymore. Those boys helped with chores and even did KP for us. They were nice boys that didn’t want any part of this war, but like us, they were doing their duty. They were our prisoners, but we treated them like they were one of us.
I asked Frank if he wanted to help me with the stock, and he was happy to oblige. He said that back in Bavaria, his family raised farm horses for a living, so he knew horses. I was glad to have him help. I never imagined I would become friends with a German soldier, in a damned old war, but that’s what happened. Frank and I became best of buddies. I exchanged addresses and such so when the war was over, we could keep in touch.
After a while, he and the other two got moved to a town in France and turned back over to the Germans when the war was over. I didn’t know if I would ever hear from him but hoped I would. I never had many friends, except for a couple of dogs and my horse.
A year after I got home to Waco, my Momma brought me a letter from Germany.
Frank, in his best English, wrote to me about him coming home, getting the horse ranch and farm going again, and marrying his girl. A baby was coming soon. He closed his letter asking me to sail over to Bavaria and work with him on his farm. He wanted to make me a partner. I didn’t have anything going on in Texas, so I told my Momma that I was moving to Germany.
I wrote him back and said I would come to Bavaria and be his pard. We exchanged a few more letters, and he writes that a boat ticket has been purchased for me to sail from New York next April. He also said that he has a cute cousin that might be interested in meeting me. Hot dog! I was going to live in Germany and marry a little alpine princess. Whooooo-weeee.
I got my affairs in order. Sold my horse and saddle, found a home for my dogs and such, and was counting the days until I rode the train to New York City. It was never meant to be.
In early March, I received a letter from Frank’s wife, Liese. She told me Frank had died in a farm accident a month or so back. She said I could still come, and she could sure use the help running the place.

I couldn’t do it, not with Frank being dead and all. I sent her a telegram saying I wouldn’t be making the trip and I was sorry about Franks passing.
I was devastated. It changed my life, and not for the better.
I had a second chance to do something other than being a dirty cowhand, and it was jerked right out from under me. I was a real, bitter man for a long time. I drank too much whiskey and did some bad things to people. I was a horrible person at times. I didn’t know myself anymore, but I did know enough that if I didn’t change, the good Lord was not going to be calling my name on judgment day.
I sometimes did odd jobs for an old Mexican fellow named Pepe. He saw the demons on my back and talked me into coming to his church to worship with him and his family. I never was a church person, but I went just to shut him up. I never saw any of what happened until it hit me. When I walked into that little Mexican church, the demons lifted off my back. I accepted the Lord into my sorry life, and he led me to salvation. Imagine that.
I went around and apologized to everyone if I ever did any wrong. I wrote to Franks’s wife and apologized for not coming over to help her.
I enclosed a separate letter for her to put on Frank’s grave.
There it is. I’ve said it all. Feels good to get that off my chest after all these years.”

The two of us sat in silence for a while; grandfather drinking his Jax Beer and me my Coke. He rose from his chair, put his beer glass in the sink and my coke bottle in the trash can, and gave me a goodnight hug. Then I realized that the man in his story had been himself.

Happy Trails Till We Meet Again, But Only For A Little While


Photo by; Gabby Hayes

Tomorrow morning at approximately 7:15 AM, one of the two surgeons assigned to my medical predicament will be slicing into my stomach on his way to my spinal column. This has been a while coming, and alas, the highly anticipated moment has arrived. I have total faith in both surgeons since they are from foreign countries, attended multiple the bet medical schools, and are highly rated in their field.

The first surgeon, (the general surgeon,) and the stomach expert showed me a beautiful 4K video of the actual operation. Stunning color with sharp close-up photography of what one’s insides actually look like. They don’t use scalpels nowadays, but tiny light sabers similar to the ones used in Star Wars. Funny that his nurse is named Leia and the examination room I was in was labeled Exam R2.

Cutting through the viscera and old muscles, the soft pliable pinkish and rose-tinted innards, pulling back guts, tendons, and vital organs, blood veins pulsing with every beat of my 72-year-old heart, tons of escaping blood, and then driving a stainless steel wedge in between my L5 and S1 disk, that is no longer functional and are bone on bone and constantly fighting about who gets to cause me the most pain. He did mention, in passing, that if a blood vessel or artery burst he would be there to repair it, if possible. But, if I do pass on to the “other side” I wouldn’t feel a thing since I will already be halfway there. I told him “I would rather not wake up dead.” He thought that was witty, and giggled a bit.

He assured me the hardware and the tools are made by Craftsman and have a lifetime warranty from Lowes. I exhaled in comfort knowing that bit of information. He also adores Craftsman tools, so we talked a bit about home improvement. Seems he is remodeling his ranch house in Weatherford and forgot to support the main beam which allowed the den to collapse, resulting in the home being razed. Oops!

He congratulated me for not fainting since 99 percent of his patients do when viewing the film. I gave the presentation a 4 popcorn box rating and continued on to the next surgeon’s office.

My second surgeon, the spinal expert is rated so highly in his field, that he is considered a revered legend. The medical people don’t use his real name, but in the circle of surgeons, he’s called “The Spine Man.” It’s all rather James Bondish.

He’s repaired numerous high-profile and talented sports figures including Dac and Tony. It’s said that the first surgeon in his family tree corrected Qusimoto’s condition after the famous Notre Dame debacle, but that’s part of the legend I assume.

He also uses Craftsman tools and parts and showed me a brief presentation on how he will slice me in three or more places and install stainless plates, screws, rods, and spacers into my spinal column around the spacer wedge assisted by the spinal surgeon. They don’t use real bone for splicing anymore, but bone pieces are taken from recent and highly rated cadavers. He assured me not to worry, the cadaver looked a bit like me and didn’t object to the donation. That’s a good thing, I don’t want to wake up to ” It’s alive!” screaming in the operating room.

The question of years of practice came up and he told me he got his start at ten years old repairing mopeds and motors so he gained expertise early on with repositioning wiring harness, to accommodate nuts, bolts, and screws. Another good thing to know.

I will likely not be able to write on my blog since I will be as doped up as a San Francisco street person for a few days, then in excruciating pain which will require more drugs. I will not be in any state of mind to write about subjects that will surely offend every one of my readers and friends. My wife says I cannot have my laptop until I am reasonably sane again.

All kidding aside, I have complete faith in my surgeon’s skill and the care of the nurses and staff at Medical City Fort Worth. After all, it’s God’s gifted hands working through these two blessed surgeons.

Let’s hope all ends well and I’ll see you on down the trail in a short while. Happy Trails until we meet again.

When Artist Interpretation Takes Over Real Life Events


Odd, yet typical, our sacred F.B.I., now fodder for the news sites, escorted one of their own out of their Washington Headquarters. The poor man is knee-deep in the cover-up of the Hunter laptop and thinks that by resigning, he will be above prosecution. He may be, but the agency and the D.O.J. are so marginalized they have to start leading people to the gallows, and he is a good one to begin the scheduled executions.

That darling little black, Lesbian, immigrant moron press reader, spouting from her prepared book of B.S., says Americans that support Trump, Christianity, Conservatism, or common sense, are Facisest? So the leftist has a new ” call to arms” just before the mid-term elections. ” Fires and Facisist and Riots. Oh My!” I doubt president Poopy-Pants remembers saying the same thing a few days ago. It’s her job to remind us.

A crazed, shaved head, hoodie-wearing mentally-addled radical is leading Dr. Oz in the polls? How can this be? Oz, a highly educated physician, and a conservative man, is the clear choice of reasonable voters, yet this freak of nature is likely to win. He is almost as bad as Biden in putting together two sentences that make sense.

Have we heard enough about J-Lo and her new husband Affleck yet? They are stealing the spotlight from the Kardashians. So look for an uptick in subversive sluttish behavior from the “Clan of Kardashian soon.” Young women all over the country are having withdrawal symptoms.

N.A.S.A. spends billions on a one-time use rocket, precisely as we did in 1968, to send an orbiter around the moon. I assume to see if it’s safe to land there again. The Aliens that the rock group “The Byrds” warned us of many decades ago actually told us not to come back. More than a few astronauts have attested to this confrontation at a campfire, along with some Vodka-laced Tang. The problem is that we must file the paperwork and close on the property before the Chinese beat us to the title company. The C.C.P. has a few robotic surveyors staking and subdividing the property. So why are Space X and its better quality reusable rockets not being used? N.A.S.A. has good friends in congress, and to Washington, Elon Musk is the most intelligent and dangerous man on the planet; what’s a few trillion here and a few more there? Soon, we’re talking “real money.”

While New York Burns And Criminals Run Rampant, Migrants Get Free Phones, Food, Supplies, and Healthcare ( quote taken from the website American Greatness)


If you’re a Mexican or a Latin American from any country south of Mexico, and Gregg Abbott sends your worthless river-wading ass to New York on his new bus line, then you are in luck.

Line up at the nearest hospital, and tell them your name is Juan. You are here because of political persecution and that nasty old Texas governor.

He transported you here on a bus with no wi-fi and movies in Spanish. So now you tell them you are broke, have no place to stay, and are infected with diseases we don’t have in the United States.

Here is what will happen:

First, you will be treated for your medical conditions, Covid 19 through 55, tuberculosis, Cholera, AIDS, polio, Monkey Pox, Racoon Flu, the Wuhan plague, the south American running shits, and the list goes on. All of this will, of course, be free, then you will get a new iPhone with the best camera and face time so you can constantly show your friends back in south American hell that you have reached Nirvana. Then, there will be a visa card with who knows how much Biden money loaded, free food and daily supplies, and a room at the Waldorf Astoria hotel until your newly remodeled apartment can be completed.

It doesn’t matter that you are a criminal, a drug dealing mule, a rapist, or a serial killer; everybody gets the same stuff for free. 99 percent of the illegals are young males. All New York gangs will give a “job fair” at Madison Square Garden in a few days. Just imagine, within a week, you will be robbing and shooting people with your own 9 mm handgun, and no one will do a damn thing about it. You have landed your balloon in Oz.

The homeless veteran, recently unemployed, or mentally ill young person living under a tarp gets no medical treatment, no free food, no free money, no clean bathroom with toothpaste and toilet paper, and no room at the most excellent hotels in New York. He or she is expendable. An American citizen that at some time in their life had a job, a home, a family and paid thousands in taxes to our corrupt government. To the city of New York, you are as worthless as a street rat. The mayor of New York, a black man, and a former policeman may be as racist as any man in this country. His close second would be mayor Beatalguese in Chicago.

A moron with the brain power of a central park pigeon. How doe’s God Almighty let people like him into positions of power that have the potential to ruin an entire city? It has nothing to do with helping the poor people of South America; it has everything to do with future votes for the Demoncratic Party.

Governor Abbott is taking donations for bus trips to New York, Chicago, Deleware, and San Fransisco. So let’s keep them wagons rolling. Get along, Lil’ doggies.

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