Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of 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 reins, 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.

“The Light Crust Doughboys Are On The Air”


The Light Crust Doughboys 1990s

I am posting a picture of the legendary Texas western swing band, The Light Crust Doughboys, in memory of National Country Music Day. Top L to R; Jerry Elliot and Bill Simmons, bottom L to R; Smokey Montgomery, Johnny Strawn ( my father) and Jim Boyd.

As a small child growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, these men were part of my life until I helped carry some of them to their final rest. Texas, country music, and I are better because of them.

“Iron Butterfly’s Are Heavy”


In 1968, the rock band I was in signed a management contract with the top agency in Dallas, Texas; Mark Lee Productions. We had been together since 1967 and played all over Texas, but once we hitched on to Mark Lee, we entered another level. Friday and Saturday nights were booked for the next year, and we made more money than our fathers. Pretty good for a bunch of teenagers in Texas.

That was the year that rock music exploded in Dallas and Fort Worth. Forget Los Angeles and New York, we had more bands and better music right here in Texas. American Blues, which would soon be ZZ Top, Felicity that would become the Eagles, Delbert McClinton, Roy Orbison, B.W. Stevens, Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jimmy Vaughn, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Doyle Bramhall, Southwest F.O.B that would birth England Dan and John Ford Coley, Kenny and The Kasuals, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Sly Stone, The Jackals, The Nova’s, and our band, The ATNT. We didn’t think much about the East or West coast; there was too much happening here.

A rock band out of San Diego, California, was making some noise with a 45 that was getting some airplay on KLIF AM radio in Dallas. The Iron Butterfly was unknown outside of California but was starting to make some noise in our neighborhood. With the release of their 45 and the following album, they hit the tour circuit playing smaller venues in the Southwest.

Mark Lee informed us that the band would be coming through Dallas in a month and if we would like to do a few dates with them at a local music club called “Strawberry Fields” and “The Phantasmagoria.” It was a go. We got their 45 and really dug their music, so we learned the two tunes and added them to our set-list. Folks liked them even though the songs were much heavier than what our local bands were playing.

The night of the first show at Strawberry Fields, we set up first then the Butterly arrived and added their gear to the stage, making it darn tight, so we agreed to let them use some of our equipment. In the dressing room, they were quiet, talking among themselves and not much to us. We were teenagers, 16 being the youngest and 19 the oldest. They were in their mid-twenties or older, hardcore and mysterious rock musicians from the west coast.

Before we went on, our manager, Mark Lee thought that it would be nice if we did one of The Iron Butterly’s songs; an adoring shout-out of sorts. We were young and stupid, so we agreed to do their song “Possession.” If we had massacred the song, it would probably have gone unnoticed, but we nailed it to the wall and plastered it with gold stars. We finished our set and were met by the pissed-off members of the Butterfly. The keyboardist and the elder leader, Doug Engle, tried his best to keep his band members from kicking our butts. He understood what we had done and didn’t take offense to our gaff. Our illustrious manager thought the entire event was hilarious and was laughing his ass off. Feelings were soothed, tempers lowered, and we finished the gig and on to the next club where, by the end of the evening, we were all buddies, exchanging phone numbers and promises to keep in touch after we all made the big time rock scene.

“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.

“He Wore A Big-Iron On His Hip”


Childhood photo of Mooch

Thanks to our retro-cowboy movie-loving governor and the state of Texas, the famous gunfighter ballad ” Big Iron On His Hip” made popular by cowboy singer Marty Robbins in the late 1950s is now an “in your face reality.”

I ran into Mooch a few days after the open carry bill went into effect. I was walking into my favorite H.E.B and he waddled out the front entrance doing his best John Wayne walk. It was impossible to miss that he was wearing a Colt six-shooter on his hip and a genuine “The Duke” knock-off cowboy hat and fast draw holster. He was the epitome of the Texan that all of Europe imagines us to be.

“How are ya Mooch, sure like your piece,” I say.

He replies, ” yep, I figure now all the good guys will have pistola’s so the bad guys better watch out.” Point well taken.

Mooch, I say, ” if all the good guys can wear a gun, then so can all the bad guys and that will lead to a shoot-out over the last Red Baron pizza at the old H.E.B.” He was clearly thinking this one over.

“Well little buddy,” he says, ” all of us’un true blue Texans teach their kids to shoot, so we’ll give guns to the little buckaroos. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll arm our dogs too. Problem solved.”

I may be getting my groceries delivered from now on.

“Surfing Into The Sunset”


We have been in Corpus Christi the past few days visiting my son and his family. I will be 72 on the 17th and figured that I owe myself a bucket list item; surf one more time.

Wes, my son, was accommodating and borrowed a new-fangled all foam board that he thought I could handle. My grandson has a much shorter board because he is 8. The beach at Padre Island was the most crowded mess I have ever witnessed. Granted, the last time I was on a Texas beach on Labor day was in the mid-90s, and that was at Port Aransas. This was beyond stupid. Thousands of people parking their cars near the water, getting stuck in the sand, hogging any sliver of a spot to reach the water. After searching for an hour, Wes found a small opening and squeezed his truck into the slot.

Beach chairs unloaded, cooler and surfboards ready, my grandson and I grab our boards and wade into the surf. As it turns out, the surf today was terrible. Slushy with no good form. We struggled to find a decent wave and did luck into a few.

I paddled through the shore break past the first sand bar and tried to sit on my board. Nope, that wasn’t happening. I took off on a wave and couldn’t stand up, nope, that neither. The head injury from two years ago is most likely the culprit. No balance and no equilibrium. Being 72 didn’t help my quest. I was a good surfer in the 60s and 70s and figured it was something that could not be forgotten. Wrong on my part. The defeat was at hand, and I took it willingly.

I came back to the beach, laid the board down, and told my wife that I can now scratch this one off of the bucket list. Sometimes your eyes are bigger than your brain.

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