A Monday Morning Rant From The Cactus Patch


Elon Musk admits to being on the high side of Autism. He also sees world situations in a way that 99 percent of us do not. So how is it that he is the wealthiest person on the planet? Not by accident or insider trading.

Yesterday, he remarked that the moronic Brittney Griner should serve her time in a Russian prison. She is known and praised as an American-hating, pot-smoking lesbian that makes millions playing basketball in Russia and owns a home on the outskirts of Moscow. She got her ass in a big crack, and now she wants Biden’s cavalry to ride in and whisk her home. Musk is right about one thing, if Biden makes the trade for some Russian criminal arms dealer to get her home, then every American locked up for the exact crime she committed should be released, and their charges dropped.

The likes of Fox News are hyping that the final and complete report on Hunter Biden’s salacious life as a traitor, drug abuser, con man, and pervert is due any minute. The blonde news girls, the ones with the dark stripe down the middle of their hairline, are standing by to give us the skinny on the corrupt first family. There will be nothing there. He will not be incriminated for fear that his father was knee-deep in the same muck his perv son was. The public will exhale and go on about their daily lives, just like we did in the 1950s when Rock Hudsons wedding pictures were plastered all over Hollywood news stands. Good ole Rock, what a man’s man he was; at least Doris Day thought so.

Governor Abbott’s Texas Express is dropping off illegals in New York faster than a shuttle bus at a Yankee’s game. The poor imbecilic mayor is begging Washington for intervention. “Send in the National Guard or the Marines,” we need help and some more Biden cash. Our homeless people have to share their cardboard boxes with these people from South Texas. The local criminals and BLM are up in arms because now the illegals are getting the free shit they’ve been getting. ” This ain’t fair, man, now we gotta start robbing more convenience stores, and I need a new iPhone and another Glock,” said one hoodlum to CBS news. he snatched the news girl’s purse and took off.

Chris Pratt, our favorite Velociraptor trainer, and T Rex killer, told Hollywood to buzz off regarding his new movie. He likes shooting large guns, killing terrorists and commies, and exposing the white underbelly of the CIA. Pratt has made a lot of dough from the Dino’s. It’s called “screw you” money. JK Rowling is another controversial and wealthier person than Pratt that has told the trans community to buzz off. But she has more money than Bubba Gump, so she uses more expletives. All that cash for writing children’s books, back when kids actually read real books printed on paper. She got in on the deal early on.

Now that the dorky Pete Davidson has escaped from Kim Kardashian, could he arrange for her and the entire Kardashian strain to be kidnapped and held on a hidden island for at least 30 years, so we don’t have to read about them or see their faces on television every day of our lives? He would be doing humanity a favor. He should probably include her ex-drug-dealing husband to join them in exile. With all this hoop-la about banning Pit Bulls, I say let’s start with the Kardashians.

Didn’t you love Nancy Pelosi’s little girlhood ditty about digging holes in beach sand to reach China? She was in Japan, a country so close to China that it could also be reached by a deep hole in the sand. The Japanese officials looked puzzled, if not offended, as she made another one of her flying hands word salad gibberish speeches. This is the “thing” that would become president if Biden bites it. Keep that in mind when you wish he would stay in his basement in Deleware watching Jill make her wardrobe out of curtain material from the local Walmart and helping Hunter design artistically beautiful crack pipes for distribution in the wokie cities. But, the obvious may not be the best solution.

So Ellen’s old squeeze, Ann Heche, drives around Los Angeles with a bottle of vodka in her cup holder, a bottle of Ripple in her lap, and crashes into a local citizen’s home, destroying the poor lady’s house and her meager belongings. Poor Ann is toasted up a bit and was most likely drunk as a wino on skid row. But she can’t seem to let that “Ellen” thing go. The old gunslinger, Alec Baldwin, is praising Ann for her courage when he should be organizing his buds to rebuild the poor lady’s burned-out home. A 12.5 earthquake in LA would be nice; any time now.

Mitch and his boys better get their country club asses in full war mode. The cheating for the mid-terms is in full swing. If the Repubs had run stronger candidates in Georgia, this entire collapse of Western civilization would not be happening. Someone slip this incompetent fossil a mickey in his scotch.

I probably have said too much and offended half the world, but it’s my blog, it’s Monday, it’s hot in Texas, and I am old and pissed off most of the time.

John Steinbeck and His Eden


As a ten-year-old, I had no business reading “The Grapes of Wrath,” but my Aunt Norma thought I should discover more than Mark Twain. Her foresight gave me a vision beyond my years.

I learned to read between six and seven. I started school later because my birthday fell beyond the cut-off date. So my Mother and aunt ensured I would be ahead of my class when I entered first grade. I was at least two stages ahead in reading and writing but woefully ignorant of math, my most hated subject. Fun With Dick and Jane were books written for childish idiots. I yearned for more. My young brain was afire.

I’ve read all of John Steinbeck’s books except for ” East of Eden,” which I have almost completed. It’s supposedly autobiographical about his family, the Hamiltons, who were farmers outside of Salinas, California. There was a movie of the book made in the 1950s starring James Dean. It was a disastrous attempt, and Steinbeck deplored the film. I could hardly watch it.

I am a rabid reader and follower of Larry McMurtry, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, and Thomas Wolfe, but good Lord, this book, this blessed and talented man, John Steinbeck, may have written the best novel I have read to date. Its time is old and takes place in the late 1800s into the first world war, and if you know nothing of history, this book will teach you enough to not sound stupid at a cocktail party, which is now called a wine tasting or some other hip gathering. Most young folks nowadays don’t read, so you may be considered a god or a fumbling old fool. The young are not impressed easily.

If you have time, a rainy day brings boredom, or you may simply want to improve your life, read this book and learn from a master of American literature.

Larry McMurtry Made Me Crazy


This coming Wednesday, July 27th, my wife and I are driving to Colorado Springs to visit her daughter and family. New transplants from Fort Worth, Texas to the liberal and hip state of legal pot and “mile-high-hipsters.” We are making a bucket list stop along the way to the small Texas town of Archer City.

My wife Mo, is accomodating, but she thinks the head injury I suffered two years ago has effected my mental priorities. “What the hell is an Archer City?” she asked. I can’t explain without choking up. How can a writer explain the reverance of visiting the holy grail of litature. I get so excited, I piss my pants a bit, but that’s because I am 73 years old and cancer did a whammy on me.

For the illiterate non-book readers who are followers of my blog, Archer City is the hometown, and for 70 years, the home to one of the greatest authors in American literature; Larry McMurtry.

Born, raised, and recently died there, he is the fair-haired favorite son that put this one red-light town on the map. A true son of Texas that accepted his many awards in jeans and Justin boots. He may have lived in New York City for a spell, but he got back to Texas as soon as he could. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Lonesome Dove” in 1986. A good ole boy from hicksville Texas writing about the famous cattle drive inspired by Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, both legendary and larger than life figures in the old west; bet it pissed those Swedes off but good.

Like many great novelist, he was an educater at North Texas State and Rice University; but I don’t hold that against him. He wrote on a portable typewriter and didn’t own a computer or a cell phone. He could play the rube with the toothpick in his teeth then write an essay that would bring tears to a grown mans eye. He also kept a rebelious streak in his back pocket as he was one of the Merry Pranksters along with Ken Kesey and his Acid Test for a few days when the circus stopped at his home in Houston. He said the LSD made him a tad anxious and preferred whiskey. For reasons unknown, in his last years, he married Ken Keseys widow and moved her to Archer City.

One of his novels, “The Last Picture Show” was a Peter Bogdonovich movie that raised a public ruckus in 1971 for the nudity and taboo liason between a high school football player an the coaches wife. A young Cybil Shepard even showed her little titties in a swimming pool scene. Good Lord.

The cast of characters in his books was drawn from the townspeople he grew up with and even with the slightest of name changes, they were easily recognized and plenty pissed until the movie and books put their one horse town on the tourist map. The movie was shot in black and white and filmed in a ramshackle Archer City which took on the 1950 look and name of “Thalia, Texas.”

As in many of his books, the places folks spent their time was at the Pool Hall, The Kwik Shack, The Movie Theater and the Dairy Queen. I plan to visit his book store, “Booked Up,” and of course have a burger and a shake at the famous Dairy Queen. One more thing striked off my bucket list. Who knows; I might see Jacy and Duane eating a chicken fried.

In Search Of My Family History; Didn’t My Mother Own A Pen and A Sheet Of Paper?


Left foreground: Terry The Terrier, Uncle Jack, My Grandmother, My Grandfather, and my Aunt Norma

I am dismayed that the numerous members of my father and mother’s families didn’t have the foresight to record their family history for future generations. So there we were, a passel of kids that would grow up to have our own passel of children, but not a paragraph or a sentence was penned for historical value. For all we knew, the entire gang of us were adopted from the Masonic Home.

A note in an old bible or a scribble on the back of an old picture. Who is the old farm wife holding a baby goat in front of a ramshackle barn in 1935? She may as well have been Ma Joad.

Ancestry has been no help, I know where my father’s family came from; England, Ireland, and Scotland; via ships with vast yards of sails, they made landfall in New York, kissed the Statue of Liberty, and then on to Pennsylvania, and points west these were men and women of Celtic origin, who could handle a sword and drank Jameson Irish Whiskey instead of water. They were the refugees of the potato famine and the Catholic-Protestant conflict that still rages today.

My mother’s family is vague, shrouded in indigenous Indian mythical mystery. Relatives who grew up on the Cherokee Indian Reservations, also known as The Indian Nation in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

These folks lived in Buffalo skin teepees and log cabins and hunted for their food, and there are rumors they killed more than a few white settlers. My grandmother had a large mass of human hair she claimed was a scalp her father took during a raiding party; she would bring it out at Christmas to add drama to the children’s holiday.

From what I’ve been told, my great-grandmother had a serious “thang” with the violent but educated Cherokee Chief Quannah Parker, and that “thang” is still a family mystery. Still, my grandmother looked like him, so the family story calls us relations. There may have been more than holding hands in the moonlight on the banks of the Canadian River.

Belle Starr, the infamous outlaw gal, is another relation on my mother’s side. My grandmother said she never intentionally shot anyone but did shoot her husband’s pinky toe off when he wouldn’t help dry the supper dishes Dime Novels made a fortune off of her antics.

Belle was a larger-than-life fixture residing in the old Fort Worth district known as “Hell’s Half Acre.” Butch, Sundance, and Etta Place were her drinking partners, and it’s rumored that she could out-shoot Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill, who also had a “thang” for Belle. The famous quick draw Sherriff Jim Coulter was puppy-love sick for her, but he knew she could likely out-draw him, so he loved her from afar.

A famous uncle also worked as a US Marshall out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and rode with the legendary black marshall, Sam Bass. Sam handled a Colt 44 as graceful as a forkful of steak and taters. Unfortunately, he had to replace the handles on his pistols twice after he ran out of room for the notches related to the count of bandits he had plugged. The uncle in question was likely the model for the character July Johnson in Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Lonesome Dove.” I’m waiting for confirmation that I may be related to Will Rogers, Sasquatch, Blue Duck, and Amelia Earhart.

I was a teenager when I heard one of the better stories from within the family. My mother’s brother’s wife shot and “more than killed” their only daughter’s mean-spirited husband during an “Old Crow” inspired confrontation of which there were many. The old gal shot her son-in-law three times in the chest with a 38 Police Special and then once more in the head, just to assure he wouldn’t get up. She got off in self-defense. However, the thoroughly dead fellow was unarmed and stupid drunk.

The famous weapon hung on the wall in a framed case, still loaded with the two remaining bullets. Family badges of honor come in all forms.

For me, time is of the essence because it’s running out. I hope to complete some form of family history for my grandchildren by Christmas. It may not be pretty, but it will be a good read.

A Reader Shall Never Be Illiterate


Back in those magical 1950s, Texas had a law that a child couldn’t start first grade unless they were six years old on or before September 1st, the standard start of the school year. So my birthday came on September 17th, rendering me ineligible for formal education.

As my neighborhood friends marched down the sidewalk in their new school clothes, off to George C. Clark Elementry, I stood on the front porch feeling like life was passing me by. In a way, it was, and for a kid, the slightest things seem dramatic.

My Mother and my aunt Norma hatched a plan. They got their hands on two years of Dick and Jane books. First and second-grade editions that taught kids to read. Within a few months, I was a reading machine, having breezed through the books learning to read and then write in the lined notebooks used in school. My Mother and Aunt Norma were determined that I would enter the first grade on a third-grade level. I suffered through the year of drills and teaching techniques, but I emerged a better student for it.

My aunt Norma, a crazed reader, introduced me, by reading me, Micky Spillane, Zane Gray, and a long line of pulp fiction paperbacks that in a decent world should have been off limits to a kid my age. Murder, mayhem, sex, and salacious behaviors seemed normal to me before the age of seven. ” Mike Hammer stood in the doorway as the cool redhead dropped her robe to the floor exposing her watoness to the hardened detective.” What kid reads that crap? It seemed normal to me.

Entering the first grade, my teacher was perplexed by my abilities. I had already advanced to the third-grade level of reading and cursive writing. She assumed I was an idiot savant and recommended I be sent to a special school for mal-adjusted children. Fortunately, my Mother and aunt intervened and explained the situation and their tutorial extensions. I was saved and allowed to attend classes with my peers, even though I was bored and apt to nap most of the day. My teacher asked the class about their favorite Dick and Jane book, and I explained that Mickey Spillane was my most endured famous writer, along with Mark Twain, of who I wanted to become. An hour in the principal’s office did nothing to deter me from my goals or abilities. Once again, I was on the savant list; and another conference was convened on my behalf. With no kindergarten in those days, kids were expected to trod along at a slow pace and learn as a group at that level. My additional year at home had allowed me to surpass in the form of hyper-speed, eclipsing my peers that were by no means ignorant but only learning at the average speed expected.

By fourth grade, I had read Mark Twain’s collection of works and started on “The Grapes of Wrath.” I didn’t grasp many of Steinbeck’s words and his sentence structure, but in all, I got the jest of the story because my grandparents had been the Okies that traveled to California and did the fruit and vegetable picking Steinbeck wrote of. Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, Gertrude Stien, and F. Scott Fitzgerald found me. I was ruined for life. Dick and Jane were nothing but fodder for a good winter fire in our hearth.

A Special Rant From The Cactus Patch


Good Lord in Heaven, the news flashed a moment ago that Biden is sending the oil from our national reserves to China instead of using it to lower the cost at the pump.

“Just Go Buy That Electric Car,” I ask you, what kind of man, much less a president does something like this? Perhaps because he is secure in China’s back pocket because of his sons’ dirty dealings, from which he undoubtedly benefited? Maybe dementia has altered his state of reality and he is of the mind of a child? Doe’s the Democratic Party not have a clear-thinking member that opposes the ruination of this country? All valid questions, and I am but one of the millions with like thoughts.

” Silence Is Not Golden,” although the Tremeloes had a great hit with that term. Why has the Republican Party not offered answers to their constituents? Where are the press conferences and full-page newspaper ads? The gonads of McConnell, Medows and a dozen other so-called leaders are safe in a drawer in their bedroom credenza. Most likely next to their useless pricks, which renders them, useless Eunuchs. Our saving grace may be some of the firebrand female senators that pack a pistol on each hip and mean business.

How does the majority of America receive its news? Good old NBC Lester Holt, the metrosexual young man on ABC, and that green-eyed red-headed pronoun devil on CBS, an avowed conservative Christian hater, although her family all served in the military. She is a contradiction.

There is Fox and Newsmax for conservatives, then the rest of us peons watch the three-letter networks or Google, or Yahoo, or the hundreds of leftist sites that populate the net. It’s an orchestrated effort to feed the population a constant flow of misinformation. Biden’s almost cute little Nazi misinformation Frau didn’t last a full week. She was yet another of his appointments with no experience in anything except producing sing-song Tik Tok videos. To date, AOC is the only one to successfully pull it off, only because her voting base in her hood is as moronic as she is.

Who is the wizard behind the green curtain? Soros, Biden, Pelosi? The Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man? More than likely it is a combination of Obama, Hillary, Eric Holder, and Susan Rice, all with direct lines to the Biden residence. Scoff if you may, but I might be right, based on what I have read in and between the lines. Of all the experts in written media, Victor Davis Hansen may be the most accurate. His assessments and predictions are spot on and should keep us awake at night.

” Come And Take It,” is the flag waved by the outnumbered Texans during the battle of Gonzolaz against the Mexican army. Our illustrious pontificating governor should learn a thing or two from our history, starting with that flag. So the DOJ is filing suit against Texas declaring our border an invasion from a foreign power. It is exactly that and more. Let Merrick Garland and his lackeys try and stop us. They are chickenshit at best. Mexico’s government shrugs their shoulders, “no english” they say. The hordes keep marching to the castle walls with no end in sight. Abbott had a good idea when he held up the trucks at the border, he should reinstate that law. A large chunk of Mexico’s economy is ” Western Union” money from illegals in our country. Halt that and see how fast President Pedro does the sideways shuffle and puts on the brakes. How about our National Guard with a shoot-to-kill order on anyone that resembles a Cartel or drug mule? Maybe some well-placed Texas militia in the scrub brush? That sounds drastic and cruel, but we are eons past the point of civility. This is a war against our country. As in Washington, under the current administration of our once proud state of Texas, the sons of the Alamo have been silenced. It’s heartbreaking.

“Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?” The sixties group “The Barbarians” had it right over 50 years ago. A tongue-in-cheek jab at our parent’s generation of intolerance. It was a catchy tune that if revived today, would likely become a breakthrough hit. If a boy wants to dress up and play Girlie-Girl and a girl wants to dress up and play Manley-Man, then do it. Don’t expect special treatment or rights from the rest of us, except maybe a butt whooping once in a while. We all played cowboys and Indians back in the 50s, and none of us grew up to be Roy Rogers or Tonto; well maybe a few of my friends did. My childhood friend Billy Roy grew up to be the Texas version of Pretty Boy Floyd and spent his entire life on the dope farm in West Fort Worth. I also had a cousin that dressed like a woman and robbed a Piggley Wiggley, but he got off after pleading insanity. The judge sent him to live in Dallas…nuff said.

Remembering the 4th of July, 1957


The whirling of the push mower blades sings their song of torment as I struggle to advance the heavy beast forward. I miss cutting the grass by two days; now, it’s akin to whacking my way through a South American jungle. I’m eight years old, and it’s the 4th of July, 1957.

Later this afternoon, friends and relatives will arrive for a backyard cookout and fireworks at dusk. There is a watermelon packed in an ice-filled tub. Cold beer and soft drinks fill another. Both tubs are sitting in the shade of our backyard Mimosa tree. My father’s beloved Leonard Brothers all-steel charcoal grill sits on the driveway, loaded with briquettes.  

Many of the relatives are on my father’s “shit list,” but being the nice fellow, he extends the invitation on this day and the Christmas holidays. They always come, and the reason for their banishment soon rears its ugly head. Beer gives them the strength to make a beautiful ass of themselves. I’m a kid and could care less. I want to play with dangerous fireworks and blow things up.

People arrive around four. A few cousins close to my age make the party tolerable. My tomboy cousin Ginger brings her bow and target arrows. She wastes no time shooting my cousin Jok in his left buttock. My father removes the arrow, and a band-aid dresses the wound. Kids were tough back then. A speeding bullet is the only thing that might stop us. We move on to firecrackers, cherry bombs, and sparklers.

Burgers are served along with “tater salad” and watermelon. Pearl beer gives my father’s uncle Orum the ability to talk like Will Rogers. His home-spun recounts of past family gatherings captivate the adults. Without the lubrication of beer, he is as humorless as a cardboard box. Cousin Ginger finds her bow and arrows and sends one through the bedroom window glass. She gets a well-deserved butt whooping. It’s not often I see a girl get a butt busting. She does the one-arm dance as her mother delivers the blows. Cool.

I destroy every ant mound in our alley with Black Cat firecrackers and send a tin can into the stratosphere with a Cherry Bomb. Cousin Jok sits a cherry bomb on top of the front tire of his older brother’s new MG convertible to test the velocity of the explosion. The firework blows an outward dent in the fender. Jok is a doomed kid when he gets home.

Darkness arrives, and we swirl sparklers in figure-eight patterns. Sticks of metal burning at 3,000 degrees. Kids holding a welding torch; what could go wrong?

Ten o’clock arrives, and I’m lying in bed after my bath. The soft whir of my bedroom swamp cooler lulls me into La La Land. The adults are still in the backyard. I hear their laughter and catch a few words of some dirty jokes.

Drowsiness comes; sleep is but a minute away; then I hear my mother singing God Bless America, and the others join in. It feels good to be a kid on the 4th of July.

“Weather Days and Weather Nights”


A few nights back, I was awakened by bright static flashes against my eyelids. Lightening from afar brings a storm.

I lay in my bed, eyes now open for most of an hour, cataloging the most intense flashes through the window curtains, waiting for the following thunder to announce the wind and rain. The anticipation of a storm is pure dope for a weather nerd. I’ve been addicted for most of my life.

The television weather folk had been hawking this storm for days prior. Warnings, interviews with people on the street, getting every drop of drama out of their forecast. The cute weatherwomen and stern weathermen called for Apocalyptic conditions favorable for tornadoes and various end times hi-jinx. This would be no more than a typical spring supercell thunderstorm. Texans take their weather as seriously as the Alamo, Willie Nelson, and BBQ.

It’s a well-known semi-historical fact that Colonel William Barrett Travis predicted the cold and rainy weather during the siege of the Alamo. General Santa Anna, relying on his hungover weathermen, expected spring break conditions in San Antonio, and didn’t dress accordingly.

My first solid memory of bad weather happened when my grandmother carried me into her storm cellar as a vicious thunderstorm attacked the family farm; I was four years old. Every summer after that, there were numerous trips to the safety of that dank dirt storm cellar. Two cots, a pile of quilts, and a kerosene lamp were enough to see us through a siege. Shelves of canned fruit and vegetables lined the walls. Winters food pantry for when the land is at rest and for us to dine if the storm lasted more than a day.

If you are a farmer in Texas, the weather “is your life.” It will make or break your crop season with no warnings or apologies.

My Grandfather was a typical old-school pioneer farmer that possessed an active and painful weather bone in his left leg and a working man’s knowledge of the stratosphere. My grandmother was equally blessed with a pinky toe that swelled when a storm was brewing. Together, not much got past the two.

Grandmother would stare at a tiny cloud in a pure blue sky and remark, ” it’s gonna come up a cloud tonight.” She was rarely wrong.

During my summer visits to the farm, against my young will, I was dragged by my Grandfather to the domino parlor daily and subjected to hours of bullshit and weather talk from the old farmers in Santa Anna, Texas.

Old men in straw hats, bib overalls, and a cheek full of Redman tobacco ruled the world in those times. It was all about the weather and when will it come, how bad will it be, and how much rain could be expected? I usually fell asleep with drool running down my cheek after an hour. Then, it was back to the farm while my grandmother limped around the house because her weather toe was swollen. Good Lord. The family was a meteorological wreck.

Thank God, the family gene skipped my sister and me, so we depend on our local televisions weather personalities.

Swimming With Jesus In A Cement Pond


With the world in hellish turmoil, with no credible end of the torture in sight, a Christian person would think that this would be a perfect time for the Lord God to make an appearance, or at the least, throw us a bone. I would be satisfied with a fireworks display or something on television, but God doesn’t work that way; it appears he likes to keep us on the hook. Again, it’s a biblical thing.

My first remembered experience with religion was in my sixth year. A Fort Worth boy, dragged to the Poly Baptist Church to witness the near-drowning of my young father while being Baptized by a zealous preacher named Reverand Toby.

Someone in my family, an aunt or a cousin or all members thereof, thought that father’s soul needed saving, or at the least, a near-drowning to ensure his path to Heaven would be an honest one. I suspect it was his mother. She was a championship sinner with no way to redemption, so sacrificing her only son to Baptism might also gain her entry to God’s domain as a parental guest. Quite inventive she was. I also suspect that the bottles of hooch and the 38 special in her traveling suitcase would also be overlooked as she accompanied him through the pearly gates.

The Sunday of the Baptism was as hot as I can remember. The small church, a wooden frame affair, was surrounded by trees, so no breeze entered. Religion and suffering are one and the same. July in Texas is considered the perfect month for all the above. It’s a preview of Hell to come. Something to remember the next time one thinks about committing many deadly sins.

There I sat next to my mother, my less than a year old sister on her lap. My clothing was sweat-soaked, and I could have wet myself and not have known it. The summer heat radiated from the floor to the bottom of the wooden pew. Hell was just below us, just in case we wained from the word being preached, and for a moment lost our grip on believing; Satan could reach up and drag us down. It was all very convenient. I had no concept of sin or what it took to reach the depths of Hell. Of course, kids don’t bother with such nonsense.

An hour of Preacher Toby pacing the floor from wall to wall. The chorus of big-haired women behind him, punctuating his performance with Amen’s and Haliluahs at the appropriate times. The pulpit held the preachers’ Bible; it rested there, of no use to him. He didn’t need no leather-bound Bible; he knew everything required to scare the liver out of everyone in that church.

The sermon concluded, and the Baptismal commenced. Father was the last on the list.

Mother had dressed him in a new white shirt and black tie. He resembled the television star Steve Allen. The shirt was starched to the point of cardboard, allowing him minimal movement. One would think if a person was to be dunked in a tank of water, a swimming suit or at the least, a robe would be appropriate wear. But, nope, Baptist like it real; fully dressed in your best clothes, shoes, watch, and wallet included.

Father’s name was called. Entering the pulpit from behind a velvet curtain, he climbed into the Baptising tank. I found it odd that a church would have a small swimming pool at the alter. A waist-deep concrete tub full of unpurified water. How would one know that the occupants didn’t release a stream of pee into the sacred water in their moment of personal repentance? It’s a natural response akin to pissing in a swimming pool or a lake. Father stood in the holy waters awaiting his deliverance. He carried the look of a trapped man; no escape route was available, so his fate was sealed.

Preacher Toby wasted no time. He asked Father if he was ready to accept Jesus and be bathed in the Holy waters. Father mumbled a few words, and the preacher pushed him back into the waters of the sacred Jordan. Minuets passed along with lovely words and passages, and still, Father was immersed in the Holy waters. A hand, then an arm, then two reached up, flailing about. Finally, a leg broke the surface, and a shoe flew off. Still, Preacher Toby continued his blessing.

Looking back, it was common knowledge that father was a country musician and made his living playing in the beer joints along Jacksboro Highway. Preacher Toby figured since my father was a fully certified sinner, an extra dose of saving was needed.

With no assistance from Preacher Toby, my father made it to the surface with seconds to spare. Sputtering and coughing, on the verge of death, he rolled over the side of the cement pond and lurched toward the side door of the church. Holding my baby sister, my mother grabbed me by my bony arm, and we made a hasty beeline to the car. Father was there waiting. Dripping wet and defeated, he looked like death on a china plate. Mother drove us home.

I’m not sure what this recount has to do with the current state of our world, but I felt the need to share it.

Religion is a slippery slope for most folks. You either believe, or you don’t; there is no maybe or middle ground. But, the forces of good are believed to be greater than those of evil; it’s written in the book. So, we need an intervention or a sign from God that one evil man will not dictate the end. But, if that is the plan, let it be quickly done and with a gracious smile.

“Be Careful, What You Eat May Cause Something Else To Kill You”


Two nights ago, my wife ate spicy food for supper. I noticed she tossed more than usual during our 8-hour sleep and yelped a few times. Likely a nightmare.

Over our morning cup of coffee, she says that in her dreams, she was attacked by thousands of small snakes that had found their way into our home.

I told her it was likely the spicy food nightmare syndrome. I had heard this explanation on Dr. Phil, or maybe it was Dr. Oz, or perhaps in the checkout line at the grocery, but it was from specialists that tend to know these things. She thanked me for my observation and threw away the Salsa and the leftover packed in Tupperware.

Her dream jogged my memory, which at this age, is welcomed. I am fortunate to have a street-rat-crazy family on my father’s side, so many stories are waiting to be recounted.

Back in the mid-fifties, my late father’s late cousin, Woody, and his late wife, Zennia, lived at the end of a gravel road named “Jungle Lane.” The street was a perfect fit for Zennia, a prolific collector of tropical plants, resulting in her house looking more of a Tarzan movie set than a home. She was also a Tarot card madam, an amateur Botanist, and an aromatherapist. Woody worked as a plumber and mowed the yard.

Zennia orders a rare and deadly plant from her favorite magazine, “Plants Have Feelings Too.” It’s shipped from Burma by boat and will arrive in Fort Worth in June.

The plant arrives via delivery truck on June 15th. Lush and green with large leaves drooping to the floor, the plant is a monster standing at 7 ft and weighing in at 100 pounds. Two men and a dolly struggled to place the beast in Zennia’s living room.

Zennia, being quite the chef, prepares a Burmese dish of Pork Chunks on a bamboo Stick with wafting brown rice and grilled organic vegetables to celebrate the new arrival. She made good use of the sacred Burmese Eden’s Wort, a rare jungle spice made from the powdered bark of the even more rare Eden tree. Woody hates spicy foods and eats a Bologna sandwich and a beer.

Full of Pearl beer, Bologna and Pork Chunks, the two retired early.

Woody, always the early riser, makes his way to the kitchen around 5:30 am, brews a pot of coffee, and returns to the bedroom with a cup for Zennia. Then, switching on the bedside lamp, he screams and drops both cups of coffee, breaking Zennia’s favorite Howdy Doody cup and scalding both feet.

Zennia lay peacefully on her back, hair rolled in Spoolies, wearing her favorite flannel jammies. The once lovely face is swollen and blueish. A large green snake is coiled around her neck, flicking its forked tongue and hissing at Woody.

Zennia is a goner. Woody can do nothing for her, so he contacts the police and asked them to please bring an ambulance and someone from the Zoo; his wife was murdered by a large snake. He thought about shooting the snake with his 12 gauge, but then it would have made a mess of poor Zennia’s face, and then the relatives would have a shit-fit at her funeral because she was messed up. So he decided to let the police and the zoo folks take care of the reptile. He thought Zennia might be pulling a stunt so he poked her leg. The reptile tried to bite him. No stunt. She’s dead. He notices the snake has blue eyes.

Four police officers, two ambulance attendants, a Herpitoligist from the Fort Worth Zoo, and the coroner with a ride-along priest show up thirty minutes later. The few neighbors on the block stand watching the show.

The policemen and the coroner confirms that Zennia died from acute strangulation caused by the constricting movements of the murderous snake. The Herpitoligist said it’s a Burmese Python, but not just any regular one. This is the rare ten-banded, articulating, shape-shifting, smooth-skinned, blue-eyed deadly poisonous “Garden of Eden Python,” a direct descendent of the evil viper that tempted Adam and Eve. Only three are believed to be left alive, and the reptiles can live up to 800 years, and of course, they are endangered and carry a high fine of 10 grand if the serpent is harmed or upset. The priest says that since Adam and Eve are involved and the Bible, the Holy Father in Rome should know of this discovery. It is now gone Biblical.

The Herpatoligist says the snake was likely hiding in the plant when it shipped from Burma and was appraising its new habitat when he found poor sleeping Zennia. Most likely, it was attracted to the odor of the Burmese spices used during supper. The Burmese Eden Tree is the preferred habitat of the deadly reptile, so the spice made it feel right at home. Having not eaten in a while, Zennia was the perfect meal, already seasoned to perfection.

Woody doesn’t give one shit about all this, his wife is dead, and the snake won’t budge. The snake boy says he can’t remove the reptile here but will need to transport the body and the snake to the Zoo.

Desperate, Woody agrees. The convoy loads Zennia and the accompanying snake in the ambulance, and they depart.

Three days later, the snake won’t budge an inch, Zennia is getting ripe and Woody needs to have her funeral and internment. The best he can do is have the service in the snake house at the zoo. Friends and family observe the service from behind a glass window. The zoo choir sings the theme song from the movie “Doctari.” Zennia is buried between the Gorilla enclosure and the Zebra exhibit. The snake is still alive and has its own special exhibit.

My wife stares at me like there is a third eye on my forehead. She thinks the story is bullshit, but I tell her it’s all quite true, and then I explain the moral of the story. “Be careful what you eat because it might cause something else to kill you.”

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