Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from Texas

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“More Things That Make You Wonder, Why?”


In Texas, if you want a hamburger, you go to one place; “Whataburger”. Born in Corpus Christi in 1950, it is the home grown holy grail of burger joints. Always fresh cooked to your order with all the fixins’. It is a redneck culinary delight. Sure we have other boys popping up on prime real estate. “In And Out,” and “Five Guys,” are a bunch of West coast flakes trying to sneak in here and contaminate our burger pool. Cute little paper wrapped sandwiches you eat with one pinky finger sticking out like your drinking a glass of Chardonnay at a movie star pool party. I would like to see Spielberg try to eat a Whataburger.

I whipped into my local orange and white Whataburger here in Granbury yesterday for my monthly fix; a burger, fries and a Dr Pepper made to my order.

The voice from the speaker said, ” would you like to try our number 4?”

I replied, “no mam, just a Whataburger meal number 1 with fries and a small Dr Pepper, hold the onions and add two spicy ketchup’s.”

A few moments ticked by and the voice says, ” Sir, the meal comes with a large drink.”

Not trying to be difficult, well maybe just a bit, I say,” Yes, I know that, but that is too much liquid and my old bladder is smaller now, so I can only handle a small Dr Pepper or I will wet my jeans. I will pay for the large drink, but make it a small.”

Now the voice from the speaker is getting testy,” Sir, it comes with a large drink, and you have to take the large drink, that’s what has to happen.”

I pull up to the pick-up window for my meal. The lady opens the window and thrust a large drink into my hand.

I hand the drink back to her, and she shoves it back to me. I set it on the ledge and say, ” I will pay for the large Dr Pepper, but I want a small drink, just make the substitution and I will be on my way.” She is clearly, shaken and bug eyed. She leaves and in a few seconds, the manager appears at the window, ” Sir, you have to take the large drink, that’s the way it is. Our kitchen is in a turmoil now because you changed the Number 1 meal.”

“Tell you what Bub, take the Dr Pepper back, and give me a small Dr Pepper shake with chocolate ice-cream instead of the Dr Pepper drink,”I say. Now the crap is really hitting the fan. The window lady, standing behind the manager, is leaning against the counter, weeping. The manager looks as it he got goosed by a cattle prod and the kitchen is in a tither.

After a few minuets, the vehicles behind me begin to honk. The guy in the pick-up truck directly behind me takes his shotgun off of the gun rack and chambers a shell. Texans take their burgers seriously, and this is about to get nasty. There is nothing scarier than armed men in pick-ups having a blood sugar low because he can’t get their feed bag.

The window opens again, and the manager tosses me my burger meal, a large, and a small Dr Pepper, and a small Dr Pepper shake. He also gives me a gift card for twenty-dollars, a Whataburger Covid 19 mask, and a coupon for 30 days of free Whataburgers. ” No charge, and have a nice day,” he says.

Things That Make You Wonder, Why?


My wife and I visited our favorite Mexican restaurant a while back for lunch. We live in Texas, so Tex-Mex is one of our food groups that must be consumed at least once a month in order to maintain our cosmic balance and to keep our gut bacteria in check.

The wait staff, or the chip guy, plopped a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa on our table. No hello, how are you, and no water to wash down the salty chip dipped in a tomato and jalapeno fortified liquid fire? How does one eat hot and spicy foods without water? Why do they not think of that? Gringos are sissy-asses when it comes to hot salsa.

Our waitress, a pleasant young Hispanic girl arrives to take our order. The music in the room is loud and I have a hard time hearing her explanation of the “special of the day.”

Not wanting to appear deaf, which I almost am, I ask her to please turn down the music so I might understand her. She stares at me like I have a third eye on my forehead, something my wife does often. She says, “we need the music for the ambiance of the dining experience, and besides our staff likes it.” Okay, that’s fine, but it’s too loud.

This is one of the questions that make you wonder why, so I ask her, “young lady, do you know we are in Granbury, Texas, and not in Cancun, Mexico? Everyone in here is middle age or older, and they are all gringos that don’t speak Spanish, so they can’t understand a word of the songs being played.” She looks puzzled and rubs her chin a few times, then replies, “Sir, if we don’t play the Spanish music, then the food will not taste as good, and we want you to imagine you are in Old Mexico dining on a vine-covered patio and watching the waves roll onto the white sandy beach.”

Okay, this is getting good. I say,” I am looking through a window at a parking lot full of big-assed pick-up trucks and a highway full of speeding pick-up trucks pulling construction trailers, and nothing you can play or say will make me imagine I am in Old Mexico eating a resort lunch. We are in Texas, and I am going home, which is about four miles from here, to take a nap after this, not to my hotel room overlooking the beach.” I think she got the message.

Somewhere around my tenth chip and a few sips of beer, the music stops, then starts again. Eric Clapton playing “Sunshine Of Your Love” fills the room. The other diners smile, and there are more than a few tapping feet. Makes you wonder?

“Books For That Child That Is Different”


One of my favorite books from childhood.

“Fun With Dick and Jane” was okay for starters and sissies, but I and my buddies craved the real Avant-garde children’s books like the one above. We didn’t own an Indian tent, a pedal car, or a Cocker Spaniel. We had BB guns, sharp knives, and German Shepherds, so our reading material was a bit more on the street smart side.

The neighborhood gang, around the 5th grade, discovered Mickey Spillane and True Crime while looking through our Daddy’s sock drawer; which, in turn, had an adverse effect on a few of the boys during their teenage years. Booger and Georgie wound up at the “Dope Farm” and Billy Roy did time for robbery of a Dime Store with a Mattel Fanner 50 cap gun. Being a child in the 1950s was a hell of a lot more fun than now.

“I Told You It Was Sick”


Old Pal Mooch called this morning asking me if I would help him bury something. Mooch is not a sentimental guy, so I was a bit taken back with his request. He didn’t say who are what it was, or what happened. I immediately assumed it was his old Chihuahua, “Giblet.” He said he would pick me up in ten-minuets.

As I opened the passenger side of the pick-up truck, I noticed a tarp with something underneath, and a shovel laying in the bed. There was also a gas can. We drove in silence for a few miles then turned on a dirt road and onto some federal land.

Mooch found a spot by a large Oak tree and dug a nice little hole, about large enough for a small dog. He then retrieved the tarp and laid it on the ground next to the grave.

When he jerked back the tarp, I was expecting to see the remains of his beloved doggy, but instead there was his new Apple laptop. He quickly pushed it into the hole, poured gas on the machine and threw in a match. The fire did it’s work in less than a minute. I was too stunned to say much about what I had witnessed so I let Mooch do the talking.

“I paid nearly two grand for that sorry piece of plastic and I turn it on this morning and get Error 19. Sum-bitch, the damn laptop has the Covid-19 Virus so here we are burning it just like they did when the plague was killing those folks in Europe” he says.

It was best to just remain quiet. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a computer error and not the Virus.

“I Did What?”


The White House released a statement this morning confirming that President Joe Biden accidentally signed an executive order giving all former Trump White House staffers a $1,000,000. severance check. When the president was asked about this mistake, he said “Come on Man, my earpiece was acting up and besides, Kamala said I was paying the electric bill.”

Biden Wins Nobel Peace Prize!


Breaking News from The Dead South News Service, Figaro Scaramooche reporting.

The Nobel Prize committee says this morning that President Joe Biden will receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021, even though he has been in office for one day and has accomplished nothing constructive. The committee did indicate that ” canceling every good thing that former President Trump accomplished and ruining America for eternity” counts as a logical reason to receive their distinguished award.

Hajkevek Neadervon, the spokesman for the committee, said that President Biden has asked that the 1,000,000 dollar prize be deposited into the Biden family account at the “Bank of The Happy Bat” in Wuhan, China.

” Waffles of Insurrection”


Photo courtesy of Colonel Sanders

Old Pal Mooch called me early this morning. I was dead asleep and dreaming of Pioneer beer batter pancakes slathered in Aunt Jemima syrup. In his usual excited state, he tells me that his band of patriots, the Hood County Plowboys drove straight through from Granbury to Washington DC, stopping to buy gas and some North Carolina jerky and pork rinds. I believe about half of his stories, so it never occurred to me that he and his bunch of armed rag-tags were serious about forcefully taking back the country before old Joe lays his hand on the “Good Book.” I will pay more attention to his wild schemes from now on.

He said that the closer they got to Washington, the more National Guard troops and armored equipment they saw. Thousands of soldiers posted along the highway, eating from food trucks and playing games on their phones. It was the scariest thing he ever saw.

Arriving in the city, they tried and failed to get to the mall, but installations of razor wire, armed troops, tanks, cruise missile installations, and claymore minefields blocked their way. A group of large and menacing soldiers told Mooch to take his raggedy-ass pop-gun carrying hillbillies back to Texas and then pointed a 50 caliber machine gun at the would-be insurrectionist. They got the message.

I asked Mooch what their plan B was and if they might be in peril. He took a moment to answer and then told me that since they couldn’t shoot anybody or get to see Old Joe, they found the nearest Waffle House. When all else fails, it’s time for a waffle.

“Plowboys and Snowmen”


Last week we had snow in Southwest Texas. It wasn’t our typical donut powder dusting, but 7 inches of heavy, wet snow that required the tree limbs and plants to muster all of their natural strength to stay upright. The hundreds of cedar trees surrounding my rocky plot fared well; my salvias and a few sissy cacti lost the assault and lay flat like a pancake, wondering what the hell hit them.

My wife channeled her inner-child and fashioned a decent 2-foot snowman in our backyard. Organic cucumbers for eyes, a carrot for the nose, and organic red grapes for the mouth. She said since snow is organic, then the building materials must also be. She topped it off with my worthless Texas Rangers ball cap. I took pictures with my smartphone, knowing that it may be years before another storm comes our way, and by then, who knows? I may be resting in a colorful Fiestaware container on the mantle, not caring about the weather at all, but If it wasn’t for keeping close tabs on the weather and waiting for the postman to deliver my favorite junk mail, my life would be over. I’m especially fond of H.E.B. ads.

Old pal Mooch called me yesterday. We haven’t met at Whataburger for six months, thanks to the “Rona,” and it was good to hear from him. He said himself, Mrs. Mooch and his chihuahua “Giblet” are now “vegan” and as happy as summer squash. He donated his freezer full of West Texas venison to Father Frank, the priest at Our Lady Of Perpetual Repentance, and the Mexican taco trailer in the Discount Tire parking lot.

After a few pointless pleasantries and howdy’s, he asked me if I would join his group of senior citizen revolutionaries and ride in his pick-up truck caravan to Washington, so on January 20th, they can take back our country. I entertained the invite for a few moments until he said his group’s name is “The Hood County Plowboys.” They wear overalls and gimme caps and have loads of AR guns and other assorted weaponry. I told him it sounded more like a hillbilly jug-band than armed insurrectionists and declined his offer; I don’t care for overalls or gimme caps. I told a disappointed Mooch I would watch for him on the TV news and to send me some pictures on his smart-ass phone.

It’s Alright To Speak Your Piece


I started my blog twelve years ago as an outlet to publish my short stories, opine on everyday life, and serve as a recounter of odd-ball Texas history. America and the “blogosphere” is different now.

My blog,” Notes From The Cactus Patch,” was born on another blogging site, and then switched to WordPress, which for me, a non-geek, was challenging and difficult to navigate. It took a while, but I became friends enough with this platform that writing and posting is no longer an ordeal.

Readers have inquired about the name of my blog. “Why do I write notes from a cactus patch?” they say. At the time I started my blog, my wife and I lived in Georgetown Texas, north of Austin, and was surrounded by cactus and cedar trees. Now we live atop a rocky hill in Granbury, over-looking Comanche Peak and I am once again, surrounded by cedar trees and cactus. The locality has changed, but the fauna is the same, so the name remains.

I discovered the “Search” button in the “Reader” category a while back. Not that I am keeping a count, but, I find that leftist-leaning blogs have hundreds, if not thousands, and possibly millions of more followers than conservative ones. Why is that? Coincidence? maybe, because more bloggers are in that twenty-to-thirty something age range. Us older bloggers, also known as “boomer’s and deplorable’s” are gaining on them. What else do we have to occupy our time but collect our Social Security check, clean and load our gun collections while reading our Bible, go to doctor’s appointments between medical procedures, and yell at kids to get off of our lawn? Blogging is a welcome and healthy distraction. A recent study finds that for seniors, blogging can add five years to our lifespan, or, cause us to stroke out and face plant into our laptop. Who did this study, Dr. Fauci?

This morning, I am sitting at my laptop watching the north wind whip the trees into a formidable frenzy. The sky is gray and spitting cold rain, the windchill is way below what I can stand, and, there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow’s eve. Not our typical Texas weather, but it’s dawning January, and winter’s appearance is late this year. The Cardinals visited their feeder a few times before giving up; too windy to eat. These hunker-down days are for writing, tuna sandwiches, and strong coffee. I will read and write for a while, then succumb to a nap.

After suffering through a dozen or more random blog posts, one, in particular, grabbed me. His blog picture was the spitting image of that “Jack the dude” that owns Twitter. Short un-even haircut, a ZZ top hipster beard, and that “no one is home” look in his doll eyes. I clicked on his post.

It seems that this slightly if at all educated young fellow is dead certain that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will save the world in 30 days or less by un-doing every good deed our President has put into place the last four years. The dynamic duo will correct the wrongs that plague every third or fourth world country on the globe, but will save our fascist, greedy white privileged racist America for last; It’s the right thing to do, and yes, America will foot the bill. He supports the movement to make AOC a saint, even though he is an atheist and has no idea how religion and the Catholic church works. I am assuming this young man was born in the late 80s and started his education around the same time the teacher’s unions became a full-blown socialist organization. They still are but now have “outed” themselves because they feel “empowered” by “the movement” and the great reset that is due to premiere in 2021. Let us pray he doesn’t have access to a Harry Potter wand.

His comment section was fat with support for his soliloquy. ” Go dude, we are with you” and “f… America and the conservatives.” I cringed more than once as I read on.

I don’t care for his poisonous pen or his misguided forecast of the future, but people that share common beliefs bond together, no matter the outcome. That is what shaped our Republic, and that mindset is what made us America. Let all free citizens speak their piece, but don’t be offended when others challenge that piece. God Bless Texas and Willie Nelson.

“Get It Right!”


As a guitar player of 50 plus years, and one that has played and heard others play this song hundreds of times, get it right, fool, it’s not that hard. Also, learn how to tune that damn instrument. Another thing while I’m thinking about it, stop watching YouTube; those guys making those guitar teaching videos aren’t any better than you are.

The American Classics at Eno’s in Bishop Arts District

Pictured above, The American Classics at Eno’s in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District. Yes, we are playing that song “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and then went into “Take It Easy.” That’s me on the left with my 80s Epiphone Casino. It was so thoughtful and nice of the management to leave the televisions on while the band plays.

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