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.

When Decorum And Respect Is Lost


Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Mayra Flores is the new Hispanic congresswoman from South Texas; she was sworn into office a few days ago. Her husband and children attended the ceremony. During the official photo, Mrs. Flores and her family were joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A photo op Mrs. Pelosi was visibly uncomfortable with.

Mrs. Flores’s oldest daughter was standing next to Pelosi, perhaps a little too close for Nancy’s comfort.

In a fit of childish behavior, Pelosi elbowed the young girl not once but twice, wanting her to move away. This was caught on video, and photographers and Mrs. Flores and her husband, a United States Border Patrol Agent, are unhappy about the incident; as is much of conservative America and the Hispanic community.

Perhaps, Mrs. Pelosi was upset because a young Hispanic woman won her seat as a Republican when, historically, all Hispanics are supposed to be Democrats, no excuses. If you ain’t a Democrat, you ain’t a Hispanic.

You won’t see this on our national news broadcast. The Dems have put out the word not to cover this boo-boo. The media always complies with the leftist because they are of the same ilk.

Nancy Pelosi should “publically apologize” to Mrs. Flores and her family. But she won’t; she is incapable of apology. Many doctors say she and Diane Feinstein are more cognitively challenged than Biden, so don’t look for decorum and decency from this evil woman. It’s not in her DNA.

AOC, the social media princess of morons, is back in her adoring national spotlight.

She stands outside the supreme court building with hundreds, if not thousands, maybe even millions of her female worshipers, shouting through a bull-horn to abolish the supreme court and impeach the conservative judges. Then she ramps it up by calling her constituents and followers to take to the streets and fight and attack the judges in their homes, “violence is the only way,” she screams. So, where is the DOJ? To me, this is worse than what President Trump implied. Will she get an investigative committee? Will she be arrested? No, she will be immortalized as a demonic saint by the horde of twenty-something ignorant women that hang on her every word and action. Without Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram, this childish adult woman would still be bartending in a blue-collar beer joint in Queens.

This is what the Democratic Party has become. The party of hate and violence. But hasn’t it always been? I was a teenager in the 60s and watched the news. Not much has changed, only better and faster coverage.

This summer is shaping up to repeat the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago; blood in the streets, buildings burned, and innocent people shot. So it’s time for ordinary American citizens to clean their weapons, stock up on ammo and get ready for the big show coming to your city.

The Fathers Day Reel That Never Caught A Fish


A few nights ago, I thought about “Father’s Day.” I often wake in the wee hours, which are my most fruitful time to contemplate the state of the world. Things such as, did I forget to water my veggie garden or put the trash bin out for collection. The small items require as much thought as the big ones.

The restaurants will be packed to the limit this coming Sunday, and Bass Pro Shop and Amazon will be working overtime until Saturday night. But, of course, it wasn’t always this way.

Like Mother’s day, it wasn’t an official government-sanctioned holiday until the 70s, although the American public has recognized the special day since 1910.

During the second world war, it gained ground because the retailers figured out how to make a few extra bucks by plucking our heartstrings with schmaltzy advertising. As a result, hallmark has sold Billions of cards, and American retailers continue to milk this golden cash cow dry.

Around our house in the 1950s, “Father’s Day” wasn’t considered an extravaganza. My Dad mowed the yard or made repairs on our home, Mom made him a special meatloaf with cornbread, and my sister and I gave him our homemade construction paper cards. Sometimes, he received a gift, but not often. One year Mom purchased a fancy fishing lure for us to give him. Large shiny treble hooks and feathers were sure to make any fish want a bite. Another year, a nice shirt and a pair of fishing sneakers. He never expected much because money was always tight, and folks of his generation weren’t wired like they are now.

In 1969, I gave my Dad a Garcia saltwater fishing reel for ” Father’s Day.” Captian Rick Corn, who owned the Sports Center in Port Aransas, gave me a “poor boy’s” deal, or I could have never afforded such a gift. It was a beautiful bright red and chrome reel, nestled into a padded black leather case. Unfortunately, it was too pretty to use. The saltwater would tarnish the colors and the shining chrome within a few weeks. Then it would be like our other working reels.

For years to come, during our fishing trips into the Gulf, I noticed he never put the reel on a pole. He said it would be a shame to lose it overboard like we had a few others when a 40lb King Fish hits our bait at light speed, and the rod escapes the holder and goes flying into the water. He kept it locked in the storage closet of our family beach house. So I forgot about the reel for many years.

My father passed away in 1996. So when my sister and I sold the beach house in 2001, I ran across the reel in the storage closet; it had never been on a pole. It was as shining and beautiful as it was the day I gave it to him.

Years ago, I passed the reel on to my youngest son, Wes. He knows the family story behind the reel.

He and his family live on South Padre Island, just a short drive from Port Aransas. His home is on a canal that leads to the Gulf. His Blue Wave fishing boat moored to his dock behind his home. As of yet, I have not seen the reel on his rods, so I will assume he treasures the 52-year-old reel as my father did, by not risking its loss in the Gulf. One day, he may pass it on to my grandson, and perhaps he will catch a record-breaking Kingfish with that reel.

Thoughts From The Cactus Patch


If a Republican Senator or lawmaker had attacked a liberal Justice like Sotomayor or Kagan or Jackson, declared without ambiguity that ‘they will pay the price,’ it is virtually guaranteed you would see wall-to-wall coverage if an attempt was made on their lives,” he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., comments in 2020 about conservative justices, including Kavanaugh.” Taken from the New York Post.

It’s disturbing that the national news media outlets gave zero coverage to the attempt on Supreme Court Judge Kavanaugh’s life. True, the young man did not fire a shot or get into the house, but it was an attempt. When did one political party assume total control of the information on television, newspapers, and the internet? A guess would be in the early 2000s. Peter Jennings and a few other tv talking heads from back in the 90s, although liberal, attempted to give us the facts and the truth. I had high hopes for Lester Holt, but he caved in record time and fell into step. Who can blame the man? The networks pay these teleprompter readers extravagant salaries that have no base in reality. It’s a job, and they don’t write their own script.

Our Supreme Court judges are our most sacred cows deserving to be protected no matter the party affiliation of the president that appointed them. Not a concerned or denounced word from President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or others of their ilk. So, does that make them complicit in the attempt? First, it would be a yes, but maybe they are afraid to speak out against their radical base. They could be next in line. Silence can be golden, but it can be deafening and damning in the newsroom.

I’ve seen much in my 73 years, but I must confess that 2021 and 2022 may win the golden calf or at least a plaster Saint for your garden. History denotes the effectiveness of presidents, starting with General George Washington. Up until Carter, Buchanan, and maybe Hoover was considered the losers of Washington. Jimmy and Rosiland Carter can rest easy now; our current president has taken the flaming torch and is leading a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. He thinks he is going to light the Olympic flame. Please, Jill, take him home.

Maureen and I don’t take many trips nowadays. We did manage a family gathering in Fredricksburg, Texas, back in May for Maureen’s 70th, but that was before the gas prices went south. Galveston was on our agenda for July, but with the cost of fuel, hotels, and food, we will be sticking close to home. Maybe a short day trip and a good meal will suffice. The days of long hauls in our trusty Honda may be over for a while. I believe the Gulf of Mexico and Guido’s shrimp baskets will be there next year.

The tomato harvest is upon us. The backyard garden is fruitful this year. Small, medium and Godzilla-size orbs are ripening within a day. It’s either my taste buds or on the fritz, or the tomatoes this year lack flavor. The Squash bit the dust early on due to a disease or bugs. I blame it on the hot, dry spring and, of course, the economy.

” I Mean, You Know”


Photo by Lilly Munster

The president also dismissed the world’s richest man, seeming to mock Musk’s business endeavors in space exploration. “So, you know, lots of luck on his trip to the Moon. I mean, I don’t — I mean, you know…” Biden concluded on the subject, trailing off. 

This is the response from our president regarding Elon Musk’s take on our economy. Elon is a visionary, a genius, and an employer of thousands; he gets it and has the good sense to move his empire to Texas. Thank you, young sir.

Joe Biden is a man who never has in his long life held a private-sector job, owned a company, made a payroll, produced a product or a service that benefited the public, and made a career of using his elected office to make millions of dollars for himself and his corrupt family. Basically, Joe Biden is as worthless as a steaming pile of Racoon shit fermenting in a vacant lot in downtown Chicago. Makes one wonder how and why the state of Deleware still exists?

The Summer of Love and Joy Is Upon Us


Yes, Dear Hearts, another summer of “love and joy” is approaching. It usually starts the day after Memorial Day, but it’s early this year, of course, it is, and why wouldn’t it be? There is so much to do that it can’t wait another minute. I always loved the way our treasured southern comedian, Brother Dave Gardner addressed everyone with that old south greeting; “Dear Hearts.” It brings to mind fried chicken, tater salad, and the smell of cooking cornbread. Deadly sweet iced tea with a shot of Jim Beam to ward off the skeeters.

A deranged young white man goes into a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and shoots ten shoppers dead. All black Americans there to buy groceries for their families. The local cops knew of this guy; he had been institutionalized for mental problems, yet his parents let him procure a firearm. It’s not known as of yet if it was legal or a “ghost gun.” He was on social media and is known as an avowed racist. There are plenty of them out there folks, and they come in all colors. You don’t have to be from Texas to be a lunatic, although we have more than our share and could ship you some if needed.

A church in California was shot up, members were wounded, and one died. The shooter is a 68-year-old Asian man, but the national news skipped over all that. Wrong race, not the correct narrative. I guess the Asian guy is also a racist? Here in Texas, I would say many worshipers in church congregations are packing a piece. If it’s a Cowboy Church, they all have a sidearm.

And now our cognitively destroyed president and his (not a doctor) wife will go to Buffalo to mend America. He will make a screaming demented speech against white people, racists, and Trump, and lecture us on who knows what vile crap will spew from his mouth. He will stand at a podium and scream at the imaginary demons that float in the sky above and follow him like a beloved pack of devil dogs. Jill will have to lead him away before he says something racially insensitive. He and his ilk will turn this tragedy into a George Floyd moment and use it as a summer blockbuster trailer for the upcoming mid-term elections. Never let a good disaster or a mass killing go to waste. Right?

Over last weekend, in the once-respected city of Chicago, 77 black Americans were shot; sixteen of them died from bullets. The shooters were all young, and black. So does that make them racist against their own citizens? Mayor Beetleguise says this summer will be the most celebrated “summer of joy” the city has ever known. Yet she is afraid to go to McDonald’s without bodyguards or an armored vehicle. On the national news broadcast, Old Lester, Metroman David, and that green-eyed devil, Norah won’t mention this on their newscast. Ukraine might be safer than Chicago.

I might be wrong, and more than a bit nostalgic, but we could sure use a good “1969 Woodstock” concert right now.

More Wise-Ass News from the Cactus Patch


Old fart and extreme liberal has-been actor James Cromwell, best known for his role in the heartwarming farm movie “Babe,” has superglued himself to the serving counter at his favorite Starbucks. His reason for this stunt is to protest the cost and treatment of plants to obtain their vegan plant-based creamer.

“Power to the plants!”

” How dare they put those poor plants through the milking process, squeezing their poor little leaves while they scream in pain,” he yelled. There was no mention of what part of his body was glued, but let us hope it was his dried-up old bare ass. Also, most folks that saw the movie agreed the pig was a much better actor than Cromwell. “That’ll do, Pig.”

Mentally deficient Pelosi and her gang of diaper-wearing Grey Goose guzzling outlaws have passed a bill to send an additional 40 Billion dollars of our money to Ukraine. Hunter Biden will personally deliver the bag of cash. Also, attached to the bill written on a post-it-note, they approved a 21 percent pay raise for congressional staffers. These are the little shits that do nothing but run errands for our elite politicians.

” Oh Spalding my good boy, could you run to the liquor store and buy me a single malt 100 year-old case of scotch?”

Millions of illegal Mexicans are invading our country, bankrupting our social services and healthcare system while getting everything they could imagine for free. Our streets in liberal-run cities are full of homeless, drug-addicted people, many of them veterans and families. Throw away souls living in tents and crapping on our sidewalks. The US citizens get the shaft, the illegal river-wading criminals get the payday, and Ukraine gets 40 Billion in party-hearty money. Hunter will make sure there is 10 percent for the “Big Guy.”

” Don’t forget my ten percent. Is that Old Spice you’re wearing?”

We have a baby formula shortage because it’s being shipped to the south American countries instead of our supermarkets. So I look for the Cartels to start smuggling Similac instead of Fentanyl.

” What the Hell! Where is my Similac?”

Since the Biden administration agrees that it’s acceptable to publish the addresses of our Supreme Court judges so they can be harassed and threatened, how about old Mitch McConnell or one of his staffers, publish the addresses of all the Democratic leaders starting with Pelosi and Schumer. Let’s see how many young conservatives show up at their homes. Of course, our Republican leaders are too spineless for such chicanery; a bunch of pussies.

Which Came First? The Writer or the Author?


A while back, an obnoxious blogger that fancied herself a serious author said that writers are not authors, and real authors are those that have been published and cut their teeth in academia, meaning a teacher or a professor of sorts. The rest of the poor souls plodded on through pages of typos and third-rate editing. I hope Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Capote don’t become too riled over her observation. I know in my heart, those men could give a flying shit.

Being the smart-ass that my mother raised well, I challenged the blogger on her assessment of the current literary scene and its “wink-wink” secret membership.

I knew she was a teacher right away because the following lecture and browbeating reminded me of high school. Much high-handed rhetoric and pontification without explaining anything. Sound familiar?

My measured response was that you must first be a writer to become an author. A writer is anyone that puts to paper a story of fact or fiction. It matters not if anyone ever reads your effort; it’s done and sealed. If your writing makes it to a publishing house or a website, you may call yourself an author, but you are still a writer. Nothing changes but a definition and perhaps a fat check.

My first writing was around ten years old and was on a Big Chief tablet. I was working my way to being the second coming of my beloved Mark Twain.

My uplifting teacher at the time had no problem telling me I would likely become a writer. Of what, I asked? She said maybe a book or a novel or a newspaperman; she thought I had a knack for the genre. She did encourage me to learn typing, which I did on a 1930s-era Underwood that occupied my parent’s dining room table. I was the only kid in our neighborhood that knew typing. My friends were google-eyed envious as if I had broken the enigma code or figured out the Orphan Annie decoder ring. I did gloat a bit, but not too much.

So, at 72 years old, I consider myself a writer; A hundred-plus short stories and interviews later speak of my efforts.

I have, over the years, been published a few times; Interviews about the rock scene in the 60s and early country music, so even though I received little to no money, I could, if I wished to, call myself an author. But it’s all a wordplay around egos. So, until I can come up with something as serious as Thomas Wolfe, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, or my beloved Mark Twain, I will remain a humble writer.

The Transformation of Giblet


Photo by Diane Arbus

I ran into my old friend Mooch at Whataburger a few days back. Many a fine friendship is based on the breaking of bread, ours is no different.

Standing in line to order, from the corner of my left eye, there he was, sitting in his usual booth by the window; head down, hands splayed on the table, palms prostrate as if he has lost his best hog.

Something was off. His bucket hat, the overalls, and the ever-present mustard stains on his denim shirt rang Mooch. Then, I noticed the absence of his everywhere buddy, little Giblet, the crusty Chiuaua that usually rides in a front mount baby sling, drawn tightly to his chest. I feared the worst, old Giblet is no more.

I took the opposite seat, clearing my throat to alert Mooch of my presence. Without looking up, Mooch muttered through clenched teeth, “Those rotten little bastards down in Austin, they ruined my Giblet.”

” Man, I’m so sorry Mooch, I had no idea Giblet had entered the realm,” being as conciliatory as possible.

He looked up, ” Giblet ain’t dead you moron, he ain’t Giblet no more, he’s now, Gabrielle, thanks to those little woke shits at that animal psycho place.” I’m thinking this will be one of his best stories yet, I need more.

Mooch took a swig from his Dr Pepper and began a lengthy explanation.

” A month ago, Gib started acting weird; wouldn’t eat his Wolf Brand Chili or watch his shows on Animal Planet. He stared out the window all day and paced the floor all night. Doc Barker over at the vet says Giblet has suffered a nervous breakdown, so we take him to this fancy clinic down in Austin. This doctor lady with green hair and a fishing tackle face says he needs to stay a few weeks for therapy and convalesce. We can check in on him via a remote camera in his suite, or do a “face call.” The first time we log on, he is laying on his Sterns and Foster bed watching Animal Planet, that’s a good sign. the next day, there is a Calico cat snuggled up to him and they’re watching “The View.” By the end of the week, he is watching the Food Network, CNN, MSNBC and now has a bunny rabbit and the cat hanging out in his suite. Mrs. Mooch and I jump in our truck and hi-tail it to Austin. I demand that they cough up my dog. After paying the stupifying bill, they bring old Gib out. He is wearing a wig and has pink toenails and false eyelashes. The doc says that Giblet has always felt to be a girl and has transitioned over to Gabrielle. He still has his junk, but that can be removed when he is ready. Mrs. Mooch has to restrain me from killing that sum-bitch doctor until the doc says the Government will give Gabrielle a check for 3 grand every month to help with expenses. What could I do? I bought Gabrielle a new Ford Pick up so she can ride around town in style.”

“The Cactus Patch Is On The Road Again”


Photo from Texas Monthly

Since last Sunday, we have been in the high-altitude lovely village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. If it weren’t for visiting Texans, like us, this town wouldn’t exist. Every business owner seems to be an expatriate.

As of April 1st, New Mexico allows recreational sales and use of Marijuana. The evil weed is now legal for anyone 21 years and older. Up until the 1st, it was by medical card only, which could be purchased online for a small price. I had no idea the folks in New Mexico were such potheads. Then I was reminded that everyone that comes to Ruidoso is from Texas, so I guess that makes us cowboys the potheads.

So MoMo, my wife, and I are thinking maybe a gummy or two to help us sleep. Why not? We’ve earned the right by being old and living with constant pain. We stop at one of the five Pot Stores in Ruidoso.

A nice period adobe building hidden among the pines is painted a garish Weed green. Nothing like curb appeal to draw customers in.

The perky little “Pot-arista” led us, through a secret triple bolted door into the main shop where all the goodies are displayed in well-lit sterile display cases. I feel better already knowing that all health regulations are met.

We are the oldest folks in the shop and feel out of place and on the verge of embarrassment. The employees are in their twenties and seem unusually happy. My wife asks our Potarista about a gummy specifically for sleep and relaxation.

“Oh, it all makes you chill and sleep like a baby” she replies. “I take a bit in the morning, then some at noon, then more in the evening, and then a toke around bedtime,” she says.

It’s obvious the girl is stoned all damn day and this is the only job that she can perform while high.

I tell her we are from Texas, we’re old as if she didn’t notice, and we want a gummy to help us with the pain and sleepy time. She brightens up and exclaims, “we have a new gummy, just in from Austin, it’s called Willie Nelsons Head, you’re gonna love it. Willie has the best stuff you know.”

She brings us a small box printed like the Texas flag. Inside are a dozen little gummies shaped like Willie Nelson’s head. The realism is uncanny. The skin tone on the wrinkly face, the pig-tails, and that scallywag glint in the tiny eyes. It’s also a bit creepy. It comes with a CD of his greatest hits, so I’m all in.

Once in the car, I pop in the cd, and ” On The Road Again” plays. We each eat a Willie gummy, put the car in gear, adjust our sunglasses, and head for who knows where.

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