Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of Texas

Archive for the category “Texas”

“Things That Keep Me Awake On A Sunday Night, That I Shouldn’t Give A Rats Ass About”


Well, spray me with Unicorn piss, roll me in Fairy dust and turn me into a Tinkerbell Biscuit; the United States Ryder Cup golf team beat Europe today. Nobody cares; unless you’re a golfer, and I’m a golfer and still don’t care.

A team of multi-millionaire frat boys flies to the tournament in their private jets, stay in the best digs, pay for nothing, dress in awful matching shirts, keep in touch with their sponsors and stock advisors via satellite cell phones, make bets with the Europeans, eat lobster sandwiches, drink champagne and play grab-ass with their surgically enhanced girlfriends. All of this while the United States is being turned into a third-world refugee invaded shit hole by Biden and his minions. But hey, it’s the Ryder Cup, and everybody loves the USA when it’s kicking ass. Right?

Meanwhile, at the White House, Peppermint Patty tells the press “that it would serve no purpose for Biden to visit the southern border,” mainly Texas. Of course not. There would most likely be a half-million people there to greet him with who knows what; Pitchforks and Torches? It didn’t turn out well for Dr. Frankenstien when the villagers paid him a call. Just because most of the population down there is Mexican American doesn’t mean they should welcome his visit; they don’t like him either.

That buzz-haired bug-eyed DHS dude says that his folks may have let 10-12 thousand Haitian invaders into Texas by accident. Well, what is it, Mr. Clean? An accident or on purpose? Did you turn them loose with no paperwork, no vaccinations, no vetting, no forwarding address, no nothing? It’s like the Price Is Right; “come on in, get your new car and everything else you need is free, as long as you vote for us Democrats.” I think a “Christmas Carol” inspired visit from the ghost of our founding fathers would be in order about now. Imagine misty apparitions of Jefferson, Washington, and Adams showing up in Sippy Cups bedroom at 2 AM, flying him away to visit the ghost of the president’s past and future. Jill is not invited.

The entire national news on NBC this afternoon was devoted to shaming the public into getting the jab. Scene after scene of needles sticking into arms as the talking mouthpiece sitting in for Lester Holt scolded America. They did mention the wildfires in California but danced around the reason for them; governor Hollywood wouldn’t let the Forest Service clear the forest floors of dead trees and overgrowth, and all the planes and equipment are tied up with government-induced paperwork and autocratic bullshit. The poor girl murdered by her boyfriend got a few seconds, but then it was back to Covid shaming. Funny how Afghanistan and the border crisis are so easily pushed under the media rugs. Nothing to see here; move along.

John Durham, that pesky special prosecutor, says that he has 14 indictments ready to go. So I would imagine that the Clintons are packing their Gucci bags and getting ready to jet off to their new hideout in South America. It worked for Hitler, so why not Hillary.

President Sniffy is going after the Texas Border Patrol. ” Those people will pay,” he says. “Those poor Haitians, treated like cattle, being whipped and almost trampled by large, uh, you know those things that cowboys ride.” But, Texas Governor Greg Abbot says not to worry folks, “if Biden fires you, you will still have a good job here in Texas because I will personally hire you.”

Wishing you all a great coming week.

Did I say too much?

“Natures Little Excavator Pays A Visit”


Photo by Marlin Perkins

We have critters in Texas; lots of them, and they all have the potential to do damage to our landscape in one way or another. My favorite demo-critter is the pugnacious determined Armadillo. Nature’s natural tank.

Thanks to the cowboy-hippies down in Austin during the 70s, the “Diller” is now our state animal. I can’t drink a Lone Star beer without thinking of the Armadillo World Headquarters and all the great music played there.

My wife calls me to our back door this afternoon with a ” lookey here at this, there’s a diller in our back yard.”

Well, I’ll be sprayed in Unicorn piss, rolled in fairy dust, and made into a Tinkerbell biscuit, it is one, and in the daylight, which is unusual since they are known to be nocturnal. Covid has thrown nature’s time clock off by a few hundred hours, so I presume our little visitor is Covid bug disoriented or just oblivious.

We watch him for a while as he travels around our lawn, nose down, sniffing for grubs, of which there are none because I murdered them all with poison a few months back. There is nothing quite as satisfying to a gardener, as the screams of grub worms dying a painful death. The same goes for fire ants, armyworms, and mosquitos.

The little guy is not digging up my lawn so I let him be. After a while, I step outside and approach him. He is too busy searching to notice me, and I walk within a few feet of him, fully expecting a quick exit. Nope, not interested in my presence, too busy thinking about bugs and stuff. He lifts his head, and we briefly make eye contact, human and critter mind-meld type of contact. I catch a glint in his beady little eye that says, ” hey man, it’s cool, I’m just shopping.”

After a while, he meanders over to a flower bed and exits through a stand of Canna Lillys. All of God’s creatures got to eat too.

“Cowgirl Up”


Chief Moron Frederica “Yee haw” Wilson

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson on Thursday called on “Sippy Cup Joe” to “pay” those fleeing Latin America for the U.S. southern border to “incentivize” them to remain in their country of origin. 

“Fly to those countries,” she said while addressing the Biden administration. “Give money to these people. Set up jobs. Give them some sort of incentives to stay in their country to work.” “I am pissed,” Wilson said. “From what I saw of Border Patrol on horseback beating Haitian people, Black people with whips – they looked like whips to me, I’ve been told they’re not whips. “My father was a civil rights advocate and a leader, and it looked like slavery to me,” she added.

First off you walking talking moron, those are reigns, not whips. Second, horses have been used for crowd and cattle control in Texas forever. Slavery? Yep, those damn border patrol agents are herding those poor Haitians back to the plantation in South Texas. Since you wear a cowboy hat and fancy yourself a cowgirl, get your dumb ass on a bronco and see if you can last 8 seconds.

“Tubing The River With The Haitian’s”


I ran into Mooch and Mrs. Mooch at the gas station yesterday. He was filling both tanks on his Ford 250 pickup. Behind the truck was a 30 ft trailer loaded to the top with inner tubes and coolers. I should have known better, but I had to know.

” What’s with the trailer and all the tubes, you going tubing on the Frio River?” I asked.

Mooch exclaimed, “No, it’s better than that little buddy, myself and the Mrs. are going to Del Rio down on the border. We are opening a new business called Tubing With The Haitian’s. Gonna make a fortune with this one pal. For $100 we will rent you a tube and a cooler full of Shiner Bock. We will tow you to the Mexican side of the river and you can float back over to the Texas side with the Haitian invaders that are wading and swimming in the sparkling waters. We arranged for a few of the Mexican cartel fellers to fire some real bullets at you just to ramp up the whole experience; sort of makes you feel like you are in the fray of it all. Once you get back to the Texas side, you can jump on a genuine cutting horse and chase those little doggies trying to escape around the river bank for a spell. I hired a country band and a food truck to set up over by the DPS boys, and installed a special air conditioned tent for Governer Abbot if he happens show up.”

I hate to admit it, but Mooch may have hit on a winner with this one.

“Things Learned On A Sunday Morning”


I was awake at 2: 45 this morning. I have learned that once my brain engages, there is no time for sleep. I get up, turn off the alarm, turn on Mr. Coffee and my laptop. I don’t bother with television news anymore, but I prefer to read news sites for my information. The coffee brews, a cup is poured, and it tastes darn good. After two cups, I forget about coffee and start making notes for a future blog post. Thirty minutes later, I decide on a third cup. Good grief, the coffee taste like swill, burned, and nasty. I learned this morning that if you leave the coffee on the burner for thirty minutes, it’s ruined, and you might as well pour it down the drain. This makes an excellent argument for using our Keurig machine, but the pods will break your grocery budget, so it stays in retirement. I am meant to suffer for coffee.

I follow many blog sites on WordPress. In turn, some follow mine. It’s an excellent trade-off. For example, this morning, I came across a blog focusing on religion, one of my favorite argument topics.

The writer, a Christian and a Catholic living in the UK, takes offense to music in church. Not so much the white-haired old lady playing the Hammond organ and a choir singing old-time religious songs, but the entire rock band on stage with a trio of singers wailing away about who knows what. He calls it “Jesus Rock.” I get it. I am a musician, and I know how music can move you. A well-played tune can energize your soul or take you to your knees in grief. But, unfortunately, the wrong kind of music can also distract your worship and send me running for the exit. I don’t need a Van Halen tribute band blowing the roof off the house of worship and the congregation holding up Bic lighters as they sway to the music. So I tend to lean more to the liturgical side of prayer. The old-style church service from “back in the day” is what I know. Damnation soothes the soul.

Sunday mornings sitting on a rock-hard pew, sweating, and fidgeting in my starched shirt and slacks while the Baptist preacher tells me I am going to Hell; now that is the real church of my youth. Although at six years old, I have no concept of Hell or why I am going there? My mother tells me to be still and then cleans my ears with a handkerchief and spit. The organist and the choir break into The Old Rugged Cross, the plate comes around and I deposit a dime. I am miserable. It is God’s wish.

“A Lovin’ Spoonful Of The Dairy Queen”


This is a true story that I have been itching to recount since 1966. Better late than never.

April 1st, 1966, found my friends and fellow bandmates Jarry Boy Davis and Warren Whitworth lollygagging around White Rock Creek, just off Parker Road in lovely Plano, Texas. Exciting it wasn’t.

Plano was the epitome of small-town Texas; one red light, a Dairy Queen, two police officers, and one high school with a state championship football team. We could have been fodder for a Larry McMurtry novel.

Our not-yet-famous rock band, The Blue Dolphins, at the time was in transition. A few weeks back, our drummer, Ron Miller, had been dragged by his parents kicking and clawing back to San Diego, so we were now a three-piece act in need of a percussionist.

Bored with wading in the creek, we sat on Jarry’s 1965 Mustang coup trunk that was parked on the gravel road. A great little pony car, yellow as a ripe banana with 160 horses under the hood. It was great being 16 and cool. Actually, we were bored and decided we would go to the Beach Boys concert in Dallas that night.

Next to our favorite creek spot, there was a party ranch or a dude ranch here in Texas. People rented it out for parties, horseback riding, and BBQs.

As we were getting into Jarry’s car to leave, we spotted a line of horses plodding down the gravel road from the direction of the ranch. We decided to stick around for a few and say howdy to the visitors and horses.

As the group of riders got closer, we couldn’t believe our young, healthy eyes. Warren yelped, “holy crap, that’s the Beach Boys.” Indeed it was, riding single file on a horse. Behind them came Chad and Jeremy, two British singers, and batting cleanup was The Lovin’ Spoonful at the end. We were almost wetting ourselves.

The Beach Boys rode by, we said howdy and got the stink eye from Mr. Pleasant, Mike Love. Chad and Jeremy looked scared to death being on a horse and were extremely sunburned. One of the Lovin Spoonful stopped, dismounted, and started a conversation with us. How cool is that? He introduced himself as John and wanted to know about Plano and what we did in a one-horse town. I figured he was milking us for a song idea about hicks in the sticks. We gave him the rundown and were flabbergasted when he asked us to show him the town. You betcha we would.

The social hub of Plano was, of course, The Dairy Queen, so we figured John would like an ice cream cone. Lining up in the drive-thru, no one knew who he was, just some long-haired hippie guy in Jarry’s car. We kept mum, not wanting to create a scene by being uncool. John got his cone, shared a few music and band stories, said he liked small-town Texas, and we took him back to the dude ranch. He asked us if we would be attending the show that night, and we said yep, see ya there.

The three of us were reluctant to tell of this encounter for fear of being labeled liars and lunatics, so we kept it quiet for all these years. No camera, no cell phone, just our recount.

“My Marfa Bubble Just Got Popped”


Fifteen years ago I ran across an article in “Texas Monthly Magazine” touting Marfa, Texas as the next “big deal” in the art universe. The author gushed on about Donald Judd, a prolific artist based in New York City who had moved his home base and all his toys to dusty little Marfa. Up until he arrived, Marfa was known as the backdrop for the 1956 movie “Giant.” After the article hit, van loads of weirdo artists from Austin showed up and claimed the town as their own. “Keep Austin Weird” was now “Keep Marfa Weird.” The mostly Hispanic population thought the gates for Hell had opened and released its hipster demons on their quiet township

For reasons I can’t recall, I became a bit obsessed with visiting this desert town and made myself a little Marfa bubble that grew larger with the passing years. I am also an artist and figured there was something life-altering in Marfa I needed to experience. The lure of the Big Bend desert kept calling. Time marches on and I forget about Judd and his art colony until a few years ago. I figured it was time to make the trip to Marfa.

My wife and I decided that after our summer vacation in Ruidoso, New Mexico, we would drive down to Marfa and scratch one item off of my bucket list. At my age, every trip becomes a bucket list item because my shelf life could expire any day now.

Five hours of driving through the Chiuauan desert landed us in Alpine Texas and the 1950s era motor hotel “The Antelope Lodge.” Retro doesn’t begin to describe this place. Very little updating has been done since the 1950s and the stucco cabins reek of the halcyon years of family road trips in large station wagons. I believe that the Cleaver’s may have stayed here. I can imagine The Beaver and Wally sitting in the courtyard eating Moon Pies and drinking RC Cola in the 100 degrees heat.

Marfa is a short hop from Alpine so the next morning we are on the road early, planning to catch breakfast in Marfa. I’m thinking about bacon, eggs, and pancakes Texas-style while Maureen is wanting fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy. Yum Yum.

Driving into town, the scenery is not what we expected or what I had found online. Dilapidated house trailers surrounded by broken down rusted cars line the highway on both sides. Not the best greeting for visitors. My bubble just sprang a leak.

Once in town, we realize that everything is closed. The art gallery is open on Saturday only, the Hotel Paisano lobby is closed until 5 PM, the Hotel St. George lounge doesn’t open until evening, the square is deserted and the only signs of life are some foreign tourists taking selfies in front of a boarded-up hardware store. My bubble is leaking air big time.

Now officially starving, we search for food, and found “Marfa Burritos,” the only restaurant open, and calling it a restaurant is a stretch.

Marfa Burrito dining area

A burrito is $7.00 and a warm can of Coke is a buck. What the hell, it’s food. The kitchen is located inside a ramshackle frame house; peeling paint and rotted siding give it that weathered west Texas appeal.

A young man and woman are ordering their burrito from the cook. They smell like incense and the girl has more armpit hair than the guy. I figure they must be from “El Cosmico,” the transcendental hipster enclave of yurts and vintage travel trailers that everyone online is raving about.

The outside dining area needed a little attention. A feral cat was munching on a half-eaten burrito that fell from an overflowing trash bin, and ants and flies are everywhere. I’m thinking Marfa doesn’t have a health inspector.

After breakfast, we decide to visit the Prada exhibit, which the Marfa website says is located just outside of town. Some years ago, two German artists constructed a small building full of Prada handbags and shoes in the middle of the desert, and it became the main tourist attraction for Presidio County. The other attraction is the Marfa Lights; twinkling orbs that dance around in the mountains east of town. The locals claim the lights are Aliens or maybe disgruntled Indian spirits. Some of the older folks believe they are the ghost of James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizebeth Taylor, the long-departed stars of the Giant movie.

We drive for twenty-minuets and no Prada. We check Google maps and find it is another half-hour’s drive to Prada. To hell with that, so we turn around and motor back to Marfa. My fifteen-year-old bubble just popped. We decide to return to Alpine, pack our gear, and head for home. No more bubbles for me.

“Who Needs A Doctor When You Have the Farmers Almanac”


I have been reading the revered “Farmers Almanac” for the past 6 months, and it’s surprising how accurate and sometimes, inaccurate it can be.

The Almanac and I go back a long way. My Grandparents introduced me to the book when I was six years old and spent summers on their Texas farm trying to convert myself from a city slicker to a country boy. They were firm believers in the power of its predictions, although they were let down more than a few times.

This fine morning, as I drink a cup of java and read the pages, it tells me the summer in this part of Texas is forecast to be cooler and wetter than average. I know it to be BS the moment I read it. No summer in Texas is cooler and wetter. Every day for us is misery and suffering topped off with biting and stinging bugs. We are the land of burn-your-ass-off heat, and everything planted or growing wild turns brown and shrivels away by August; the bugs are with us until the first freeze. It was a bit wetter in July, but the temps are still around 95 plus degrees, making you feel like you are wrapped in hot-wet-towel and sitting in the devil’s sauna. Unfortunately, they missed that forecast by a few hundred miles.

There is no mention of the Corona Virus and all the hoopla that came with it. So, how did the staff at the Almanac not know about this bug?

Back when the Farmers Almanac was in its heyday, rural folks depended on it for farming, ranching, and day-to-day living. The book was also full of home remedies, potions, poultices, plants, and hocus-pocus to treat their maladies. Unfortunately, doctors were few, and most families lived their lives without seeing one. As a result, most country folks were born at home and also died there.

The Almanac takes great pride in “do it yourself” folk remedies and contains dozens of them, along with questionable ads for elixirs, oils, good luck charms, H’aint Bags, and voodoo dolls. Grandmother used them all. I knew if I became ill while at the farm, all of these would be administered. My Grandfather was strangely healthy for his age. He knew better than to get sick around his wife. If he was ill, no one knew it.

It was bound to happen. In the summer of 1956, I am spending my summer on the farm. Fever and chills arrive during the night. My temperature is off the charts, and I am shaking like a hound dog passing a peach pit. Grandmother calls in her friend down the road, Mrs. Ellis, for a second opinion. The two-country alienists stand at the foot of my death bed in deep consultation.

It is decided. I will receive the complete treatment reserved for the rare “Raccoon Flu” and possible “demonic possession.” Treatment will commence immediately.

The two women drag me from my sickbed and thrust my aching body into a cold water bath for an hour. Grandmother gives me two doses of salts, three teaspoons of “Reverand Moses Triple Strength Root Tonic,” and a double-dog dose of “Dr. Sal’s Really Good Opioid Extract.” Then my shivering torso is coated with “Sister Amy’s Pure And Blessed Olive Oil” from the banks of the river Jordan. Next, I am wrapped like a mummy in a white cotton blanket, a mustard poultice is glued to my chest, and a burlap bag of foul-smelling something is tied around my neck. They place me in bed, covering me with 6 quilts, and two speckled hens are brought in to sleep in my room overnight. Grandmother says I will be well by breakfast. At this point, I am praying for death during my sleep.

Dawn brings a cool breeze into my sickroom, and I am awakened by one of the spotted hen’s sitting on my chest. She is clucking softly as if to say, “it’s time to get up, you’re well now.” I realize the hen is right; I do feel like a new kid. No fever or chills, and I am hungry for a fat biscuit and my Grannies country gravy.

I follow the two hens down the hallway into the kitchen. Grandfather sits at the breakfast table reading the Almanac. Without looking up, he exclaims, ” going to rain today, Almanac says around noon.” The last rain the farm had was over a month ago; what does the stupid book know.

Granny tells me to take the two-spotted hens outside and feed a big handful of laying mash because the Almanac said mottled hens will have an excellent laying week. She doesn’t ask how I feel; she knows her hocus pocus worked.

I head back to the farmhouse for noon dinner after spending the morning building Horned Toad houses out of pebbles and sticks. We sit at the kitchen table, munching on fried chicken when a loud clap of thunder shakes the house. Granddad, without looking up from his plate, says, “yep.”

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: