More WTH News From The Cactus Patch


I have since given up smoking in my last portrait and had an ear reduction.

I can’t bring myself to watch our faux president give a speech. So, I didn’t. Instead, I watched the 4th episode of 1883. But I did catch bits of it on Youtube after the fact, and even then, I cringed and felt a tad oily. I realized that I, at 72 years old, am a domestic terrorist, right up there with the Antifa, BLM, and those crazy boys, the Taliban.

According to that pod person in the white house and Pelosi, I meet all the criteria; a Christian..yep, a gun owner..yep, a white man..yep ( although I am mostly Cherokee American Indian), an American patriot..yep, so I am a terrorist, and also a white supremacist, and a racist. I had no idea I was so damn evil. So it’s better to know now before I pass on.

I vowed after January 1st, I would limit my exposure to such political theater and nonsense in an attempt to lower my blood pressure and perhaps live a bit longer on this planet, which is doomed because most of Europe and about one half of the United States thinks a 16-year-old Swedish screaming savant is an expert on all things weather, climate change and the second coming of Baby Jesus. Sweden gave us ABBA, most of the folks in Minnesota, and Swedish Meatballs, and that’s about it. I’m really sorry that the cow flatulence from Texas ruined the ozone layer above Sweden and robbed her of her childhood.

If Jesus is coming down to kick our sinful butt’s, the ass whooping will likely start in Washington DC and then move on to the west coast, leaving most of America’s heartland alone, except for maybe Austin.

My late father’s late uncle, Harvey, was Biden’s doppelganger of a sort; although he more resembled Ernie Kovaks than Biden, He had the same temperament. I remember him as a demented screaming hot-mess in his twenties, and he lived to be eighty-five or so, perfecting his behavior into an act that the family immensely enjoyed during get-togethers on holidays. Hours of yelling and ranting about nothing, in particular, gave us children an excellent performance, which we much preferred to afternoon cartoons. He did take a piss in the gas floor heater one Christmas during our holiday luncheon, which cleared the house for a few hours, and he tried to roast his cat on a charcoal grill. Still, other than those few incidents, he was everyone’s favorite crazy uncle living in the basement. Today, with the proper handlers, he could have been president.

Uncle Harvey, during one of his classic dementia, inspired performances

Poor Ronnie Spector, she passed away “being no one’s baby.” Maybe she’ll send a selfie taken with Clarence, the angel, to Phil Spector, who is most likely roasting in Hell.

Betty White won the contest. She lived to 99 and was a few days short of 100. She outlived everyone she ever worked with or knew. Bad assed gal. Maybe she and Paul Lynde can get an act going and headline at “Sonny’s” Bar and Grill, located right off the main paved in gold highway next door to “Angels Wing Cleaning Service.”

After further and exhausting genealogy research, I found that I may indeed be related to Will Rogers, Chief Quanah Parker, Belle Star, and Butch Cassidy, but not the Sundance Kid. A decade ago, a fellow with the Sons Of The Alamo lodge, a dedicated member of whom did a run on our family tree, and these folks showed up. Queen Elizabeth is in there somewhere on down the tree and Odin the Viking king. I mentioned my family tree to my buddy Mooch, and he said, ” I got ya beat Lil’ buddy. I’m related to Golda Mier, Goldy Hawn, Old Yeller, Golden Earing, Wyatt Erp, King Faruk, Annie Oakley, The Hulk and Batman.” So yeah, I guess he does have one up on me.

Committing Myself To New Years Resolutions


As a child growing up in 1950s Texas, I never understood the need to put myself behind an eight-ball with proclamation’s I had no way of keeping. New Year resolutions were the worst of them all.

My parents made them by the dozens and broke them without batting an eye.

My mother was the worst of the family bunch. Every year, on the eve of midnight, she would make a grandiose announcement to the family, usually after a few glasses of sparkling Cold Duck wine or too many Old Crow eggnogs. She made many resolutions in her day, but her yearly favorite was “kicking the ciggies.” She smoked like Bogart, one in each hand with a third, lit and waiting in the ashtray. My father, a lesser smoker, was a rank beginner compared to his bride. As a result, our household had more ashtrays than dishes. My sister and I also enjoyed the mild smoke from the ever-present Chesterfield cloud that hung in every room. Mother finally kept her favorite resolution at the age of 74, with some help from emphysema.

So, here I am at 72, and for the first time, I am considering making a New Year resolution or two.

I’ve been kicking around the less painful ones, easy things like giving up red meat or sugar. But then, Ovaltine contains sugar, and there is no way I can sleep without my hot Ovaltine, usually taken between 1 and 2 am, which is also my writing hours so that one is out. But, on the other hand, red meat can give me gastronomical grief, and I like fish more so that one is still doable.

Abstaining from distilled spirits? Now that’s tough, but it seems to be the national favorite.

It’s immensely satisfying to hold a crystal snifter of Jamesons or Tullamore Dew while sitting on my patio admiring the beauty of our local mountain, Comanche Peak. Good Irish whiskey settles my nerves and fuels my literary creativity. Jack Kerouac and Truman Capote will attest to that. Reaching old age without dying is hard work, and suitable rewards are in order. So unless I plan to stop writing and live out my final days as a nervous wreck, that one is kaput.

Attending a non-denominational house of worship with my bride. I can do this one with a few exceptions. Firstly, how does the word “none” go with denominational? There are hundreds of organized religions out there, just pick one and go with it.

Secondly, I’m old school church. I need to hear “the word of God,” not some big-haired pastor with an expensive haircut using the bible as a Cliff Notes report. I don’t dance hip hop in the isles, or clap, or sing songs projected on a screen, or enjoy hearing a choir of off-key screeching women whining about their personal tradgadys to the accompaniment of a Led Zepplin tribute band. I need that old-time religion to soothe my soul. The bubble-haired lady playing that Hammond B3 organ; that old rugged cross hanging on the wall next to the velvet Last Supper painting. A yelling red-faced slobbering preacher that points to me and says I’m going to Hell in a used Honda if I don’t change my sinful ways, and then expects money for admonishing me in front of strangers. Uncomfortable seating is a must. I can’t be a Baptist again, that would require me to give up my Irish whiskey, so it’s best to move on to another resolution or consider becoming a Catholic.

Improving my health. Maybe the easiest one of all, except for the sugar Ovaltine thing and the Irish whiskey thing. I possibly can do this one and make it stick. I beat the snot out of Cancer, so what’s left that could get me?

My doctor is young and hip. He wears one of those Apple watches that keep you alive and listens to TED talks in his wireless earbuds and drives a Tesla. He recommends, walking, hiking, biking, going to the gym, meditating, using fewer medications, and eating less of everything that tastes like food.

I reminded him that I need a knee replacement and major back surgery, so the walking, biking, hiking, and gym are out. Using fewer meds? He’s the idiot that put me on them. Sorry doc, I am not eating bagged weeds, Kale, plant-based meats, or gluten-free anything. Lactose-free milk is as woke as I get. I could only achieve a meditated state after a pipe full of Maui Wowie and Cat Stevens on the stereo.

By writing my resolutions down, I realize that nothing has changed since I was a kid. I’m not standing behind that eight-ball at this age.

“A Fort Worth, Texas Kind of Christmas”


A personal recount of my childhood Christmas memories.

Photo by: Elf -O-Mat Studios

Riding a ceiling-mounted “Rocket Train” to nowhere around the basement of a department store doesn’t seem like a Christmas thing, but that’s what thousands of other Texas kids and I did every year in the 1950s.

Leonard Brothers Department Store occupied two square blocks of downtown Fort Worth real estate and was known as the Southwest’s Macy’s. They offered everything the big shot stores in the East carried, and then, hundreds of items no retailer in their right mind would consider.

If you had a mind to, one could purchase a full-length mink coat with optional mink mittens, the latest women’s high-fashion clothing line from Paris France, an Italian cut-crystal vile of Elizabeth Taylors spit, James Dean’s signature hair tonic, Rock Hudson’s autographed wedding photos, a housebroken Llama, an aluminum fishing boat and motor, a new car, a pole barn, a nice two-story craftsman home “build it yourself kit” delivered to your lot, chickens, barb wire, hay, horses and cows, a 30-30 Winchester rifle, a 40 caliber autographed General George Custer Colt pistol, a bottle of good hootch and a Ford tractor. That’s about as Texas as it gets.

The Christmas season in downtown Fort Worth was internationally recognized for its innovative and wonderous decorations. The righteous city fathers figured the best way to out-do Dallas, a full-time effort, was to line every building with white lights from top to bottom and install large glowing decorations on every lamp pole, street light, and building façade available. If that didn’t make you “ooooh and ahhhh,” then you needed to go home and hide in a closet.

A week, or so, after Thanksgiving, my parents would take my sister and me downtown to see the decorations and visit the Leonard Brothers Department Store. Santa just happened to be in their basement taking advanced verbal orders from every crumb cruncher that could climb the stairs and plop on his lap.

My sister, in between screams and crying fits, always asked for the latest doll. She was scared senseless of “HO-HO,” but she somehow managed to spit out her order. Like clockwork, every year, I asked for a Daisy BB Gun with a year’s supply of stainless silver ammo ( for killing werewolves), a full-size Elliot Ness operable Thompson Sub Machine Gun, or an Army surplus Bazooka with real rockets and a long, razor-sharp Bowie knife encased in a fringed leather holster. It was a 1950s boy thing; weapons were what we longed for. How else could we defeat Santa Anna at the Alamo or win World War II, again? Our neighborhood may have sported the best-supplied “kid army” on the planet, and jolly old Santa was our secret arms dealer; parents non-the wiser. I finally got the BB Gun, but Santy was wise enough to not bring the other request.

Walking down the stairs to the store’s basement was the thrill I waited for all year. There, hanging above my head, was the beautiful red and silver tinseled sign, “Toy Land,” kid nirvana, and the Holy Grail all in one room. The smell of burned popcorn and stale chocolate candy wafted up the stairs, and I could hear the cheesy Christmas choir music and the sound the Rocket Train made as it glided along the ceiling-mounted rails. I almost pissed my jeans.

Hundreds, if not thousands of parents jostled down isles of toys, pushing, grabbing, snarling like a pack of wild dogs fighting for that last toy; the holiday spirit and common courtesy was alive and well. The queue of kids for the Rocket Train snaked through the basement like a soup line.

There, sitting on his mini-mountain top perch, sat old red-suited Santa Claus and his elfin apprentices, herding kids to his lap at break-neck speed. Each child got about fifteen-seconds, a black and white photograph, and then it was off the lap and down the steps. Kids were fast in those days; we memorized and practiced our list weeks before our visit for maximum impact. “Ho-Ho” had better be writing this stuff down. Kids don’t forget, squat.

Two Santa visits, four Rocket Train rides, and three popcorn bags later, our family unit departed Leonard’s for the new and improved “Leonard’s Christmas Tree Land,” located across the street from the main building. Thanks to the demolition of several winos infested abandoned buildings, the new lot was now the size of Rhode Island and held enough trees for every person and their dog in Texas.

Thousands, if not millions of fresh-cut trees awaited our choosing. Father, always the cheapskate, chose a sensible tree; not too big, not too small, yet full and fluffy with a lovely piney aroma. My sister and I pointed and danced like fools for the “pink flocked” tree in the tent, that cost the equivalent of a week’s salary. My parents enjoyed our cute antics. The sensible tree was secured to the top of our Nash Rambler station wagon, and we are homeward bound.

Pulling into our driveway, it was impossible to miss our neighbors extravagant holiday display. We had been away from home for 6 hours and returned to a full-blown holiday extravaganza that made our modest home look like a tobacco road share-croppers shack.

Our next-door neighbors, Mr. Mister and Mrs. Mister were the neighborhood gossip fodder. The couple moved from Southern California for his job. He, an aircraft-design engineer, and she, a former gopher girl at Paramount Studios. The Misters reeked new-found money and didn’t mind flaunting it. They drove tiny Italian sports cars and hired a guy to mow their lawn. His wife, Mrs. Mister, always had a Pall Mall ciggie in one hand and a frosty cocktail in the other. Father said she looked like a pretty Hollywood lady named Jane Mansfield, but Mother said she resembled a “gimlet-assed dime-store chippy.” I got the impression that the Misters were quite popular in the neighborhood.

Their Christmas display was pure Cecil B. DeMille. A life-size plywood sleigh, with Santa and his reindeer, covered the Mister’s roof, and 20 or more automated Elves and various holiday characters greeted passersby. Twinkling lights covered every bush and plant in the yard, and a large machine spat out thousands of bubbles that floated through the neighborhood. This was far more than Fort Worth was ready for.

The kill-shot was their enormous picture window that showcased a ceiling-high blue flocked tree bathed in color-changing lights. There, framed in the glow of their yuletide decor, sat Mr. and Mrs. Mister with their two poodles, Fred and Ginger, perched on their expensive modern sofa, sipping vermouth martinis like Hollywood royalty. This display of pompacious decadence didn’t go unnoticed by my parents.

Father hauled our puny tree into the living room and began unpacking lights for the decorating that would happen tomorrow evening. Mother hurried my sister and me off to bed. Visions of spying Elves, sugar plum pudding, and dangerous weapons danced in my head; Christmas was upon us.

Sometime after 10 PM, Father got hungry. Searching for sandwich fixings in the kitchen, he found a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon. Then he found a fresh half gallon of Egg-Nog, which of course, he enjoyed with the bourbon. While searching for bread to make the ham sandwich, he found two “Lux Laundry Soap Flake” boxes, with a dish-towel in each one. Then by chance, he discovered the food coloring. This gave him an idea for our sad little tree.

I awoke in a start. The sun was shining in my face, which meant I was late for school. I ran into the living room and was stopped in my tracks.

Our formally green tree was now flocked in thick pink snow, as were the curtains, the fireplace mantel, two chairs, the coffee table, and my father, who lay on the couch, passed out, with a half-eaten ham sandwich on his chest. My Mother sat a few feet away, sipping her coffee and smoking a Winston; my Louisville slugger lay on her lap. I was reluctant to approach her, but I had to know.

I timidly put my hand on her shoulder and asked, “Mom, is Dad going to be alright?” She took a sip of coffee and a drag from her ciggie and said, “well, for right now, he will be, but after he wakes up, who knows.”

A Chicken And 88 Keys


Photo by; Colonel Sanders

Marjorie Mae has a dozen chickens living on her small farm on the outskirts of San Angelo, Texas. Normal Texas folks don’t think much of chickens except when they eat their eggs or have a piece of it fried or baked. Marjorie Mae is different; she treats her chickens like real folks; all of her fowl have first names and are somewhat educated.

Gilda, Ruby, Tootie, Francis, Lucille, Ethel, Jessie, Rea, Poochie, Piddle, Bebe, and Poteet. Call any one of them by their given name, and they come running like a spotted pup. She rather prides herself on being the keeper of educated farm fowl. She isn’t sure about the depth of their education, but they seem smarter than most run-of-the-mill barnyard chickens.

One day, walking by her barn on the way to the chicken coops to gather eggs, she hears piano music. She instantly recognizes the out-of-tune sound of her ancient broken-down upright piano that’s been stored there for ten years. Unfortunately, her husband Wilfred doesn’t play, so she figures a hobo or possibly an escaped felon from the prison farm must be hiding in her barn, twinkling the ivories. She grabs a 20 gauge from the house and marches off to confront the interloper.

As she gets closer, she realizes this is not some rube pecking around on her piano, but an educated musician, like herself, that knows their way around the 88 keys. So she slows her advance to a near stop to listen a bit more. She can’t be sure, but that sounds like Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 in B minor, but the piano is old and out of tune, so it could be anything short of a barn cat walking on the keyboard.

When she reaches the barn door, the music stops, then starts again. The beautiful haunting notes of Moon River float from within the dark depths. Whoever this trespasser is, she wants to meet them and have a bite of lunch at her kitchen table; hobo or felon, she opens the sliding door and enters the barn.

Thirty steps to the center of the barn, behind the frozen-up Ford tractor, is her dust-covered piano. The tarp cover is haphazardly thrown to one side. In the low light of the barn, she can’t see anyone, yet the playing continues. Finally, the culprit is discovered when she gets within five feet of the piano.

Her Sussex Speckled Hen, Rea, is standing on the keyboard, pecking the keys with her beak and both feet. Not the corny huckster trick pecking you see the chicken at the county fair playing on the toy piano for a quarter, but calculated and coordinated movements that are producing beautiful music. The first thing that comes to her mind is, “I’m going to be rich.”

I’m into the second week of my month-long summer visit to my grandparent’s farm in Santa Anna, Texas. It’s a hot night, and everyone is sitting on the covered front porch drinking sweet iced tea and Pearl beer. My two uncles, Jay and Bill, are visiting for a few days from Fort Worth and are putting the finishing touches on a case of beer they bought this morning at the Dino station. July is beer drinking season around here. It’s considered a main food group but must be served iced-cold to gain the nutritional value from the barley and hops.

Bill gets up from his chair and reaches into the Coleman cooler, extracting another Pearl; he uses his feed store church key and a pen knife to pop the cap. Then, looking out over the Santa Anna mountain, he says to no one in particular, ” I heard this morning there’s a piano-playing chicken over by San Angelo.” Uncle Jay, his brother, immediately replies, ” bull-shit, there ain’t no such thing as a piano-playing chicken. I bet you twenty dollars it’s a can of crap.”

The two brothers are the biggest storytellers and liars in Southwest Texas and will bet on anything. The more far-fetched and unbelievable, the better. Uncle Bill says we are leaving for San Angelo in the morning. I’m excited about this one.

After getting directions from the feed store and a man standing on a street corner, we head towards the farm of Miss Marjorie Mae. She is already a local celebrity and is the gossip fodder of the town. We arrive at her farm around 10 AM.

Marjorie answers her screen door, and uncle Jay states that we are here to see the piano-playing chicken. She says, ” it’s ten bucks a carload and I can’t promise you she will be a play’in if there are eggs to lay, she will most likely be doing that first; she’s a chicken you know.”

We are led to the barn, the door is opened, and there, glistening in the sunlight is a hand-polished upright piano. A silver candelabra and swirled glass vase of fresh flowers rest on top. Marjorie collects the ten bucks from uncle Bill. Jay pokes him in the ribs and whispers, “this is all bull-shit so you might as well pay me now. ”

Marjorie emerges from the barn carrying a fat Sussex Speckled Hen. This chicken is downright gorgeous for a barnyard critter. Its feathers are fluffed up into a fuzzball, and its toenails are painted bright red. A gold nametag hangs around the fowl’s neck. I can tell my uncles are duly impressed, as I am.

The hen is placed on the keyboard and immediately launches into a jive-inspired rendition of Glen Miller’s” In The Mood.” Finishing that tune, she plays a classical number and then goes right into ” Moon River, ” closing with the theme from ” A Summer Place.” My uncles are tapping their feet and laughing like deranged mental patients. Finally, the hen hops down from the keyboard and struts back into the barn; the show is over.

Uncle Bill thanks the lady for her hospitality. As we leave, he asks her name. She replies, “Marjorie Mae Mancini.” Bill inquires if the chicken has a name. She says, “oh yes, that’s Hen-Rea Mancini.” I kid you not.

Scatter Shooting While Wondering About Things I Can’t Change


I miss Blackie Sherrod and Dan Jenkins; two of the greatest sportswriters and humorists of our time. Authors, comedians, and good old boys that drank martini’s with the rich folk at Colonial Country Club and then afterward got a dice game going with the black caddies behind the superintendent’s shack.

Against my wishes and my common sense that told me not to, I did get the vaccine; both shots, in my left arm. Unfortunately, the second jab left me sick for 36 hours.

I lay on my sweat-soaked deathbed dreaming of cold ice water with a lemon wedge and banana pudding topped with vanilla wafers. The CVS lady that jabbed me the second time said I might have vivid dreams with a high fever, but she never mentioned food cravings.

I don’t plan on a third or fourth, or fifth shot. I’m done. It’s clear the vaccine does not work as intended, at least not in most countries. I will stay home, avoid crowds and all that BS from last year, but no more jabs for this old guy. I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, a jail-broke Firestick, good Irish Whiskey, and Becker wines, so I’m good.

I have an uneasy feeling that the government may have inserted super-duper-micro-tracking devices and Alexa-inspired listening bugs into the vaccine. I can’t prove it, but it’s a premonition that came to me in a nightmare a few weeks back. My wife had the same dream, so either we are spending too much time together, or some Twilight Zone stuff happening here.

My sister and her husband flew to Frankfurt Germany, to see their incredible Christmas Markets a few days ago. WTH? We have lovely markets here with plenty of lights and decorations, and you don’t risk getting killed by a terrorist. They said the risk is worth it since they got a sweet deal on plane tickets last year; buy one get one free. My brother-in-law is partial to warm German beer, and my sister likes strudel. She asked if I wanted a souvenir; I said bring me an autographed picture of Adolf.

They are fully vaxed, with punched cards, tattoos, baby pictures and all that, and reams of medical records offering more proof than anyone would require, so hopefully, they will make it back to Texas before Germany shuts down. I did advise her to find a friendly Bavarian family to live with if they can’t return home anytime soon.

I learned this afternoon that another caravan of 9,000 well-equipped and well-fed Haitians is on its way to the Mexico/Texas border. Apple has an 18 wheel tech truck traveling with the invaders if their $1500 iPhones or IPads break down. Add that to the other caravan that is a few days away, and you have enough folks to populate a Texas border town.

President Demento is thinking about re-instating the Trump law to stay in Mexico. The Mexican El Presidente’ is panicking. No crossings mean no payoffs from the Cartels and no economy. It’s either that scenario, or the Texas Rangers Cutting Horse Team, the Texas National Guard, and The Sons of The Alamo will be waiting for the invading hordes as they gather on the banks of the Rio Grande. I may go down to watch the battle and wave the 1824 Texas flag. We can open carry firearms with no license here in Texas, so you never know what might happen if some gun-slinging Bubba says “hold my beer and watch this.” It happens all the time.

Biden is now touting that he and the Pope have been good friends for decades. Joe B says he liked all the Pope’s routines when he was on Saturday Night Live. Father Guido Sarducci couldn’t be reached for comment.

The newest rage in urban America is flash mobs breaking into department stores and cleaning out their expensive merchandise. Of course, the cops yawn and have another donut. Not my job, man; I’m defunded. After cleaning out a Gucci Store in Beverly Hills, one mob did a choreographed dance routine to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and streamed it live on Facebook.

Upon Becoming Mark Twain


Photo by: Ansel Adams

When I was young and started to read books, real books, not the comics my friends read and I had no interest in, I discovered Mark Twain. I thank my elementary school librarian for that. She gently guided me into a world of imagination through a masterful author.

After reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I was going to be Mark Twain. It didn’t matter to me that almost a hundred years earlier, he had already been Mark Twain; I was set on becoming him, through me, a ten-year-old with limited writing ability. However, I did have a colorful imagination, so that was a good start.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t write, I did write exceptionally well for my age, but I didn’t possess the mind of Mr. Twain. I hadn’t known Tom Sawyer, or Jim, or Huckleberry, or lived on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. I was a kid stuck in Fort Worth, Texas, with a Big Chief Tablet and a handful of No. 2 pencils.

I read other authors as well, but they weren’t Mr. Twain. Jack London was too scary, and too many wild animals. John Steinbeck was a masterful storyteller, and I did make it through most of The Grapes of Wrath, which mirrored what my grandparents and father had lived through. I continued to write on my tablet. I didn’t knowingly plagiarize any author, but they did give me good ideas and taught me to group words into a story.

The day my class let out for Christmas vacation, my teacher asked the class to share what we wanted to be when we grew up. It wasn’t a serious exercise, only one to kill the last 30 minutes of the school day.

The usual from our age group was a doctor, a fireman, a policeman, and some of the girls who wanted to be teachers or nurses. When my turn came, I stood up and announced, with all seriousness, that I want to be Mark Twain. Mrs. Badger, my teacher, promptly informed me that there already was a Mark Twain, and he had been dead for a while now.

I answered, ” yes, I know, but, his spirit requires that I continue on with his writings, and witt. So I will be the new Mark Twain.” I was in the principal’s office within a few minutes.

I never became Mark Twain, except in my daydreams or nightmares, but I did learn to appreciate good writing and stories.

The Christmas I Discovered Santa Was A Fake


Photo by: Head Elf No. 1

The hundreds of hours I wasted thinking about Santa Claus; where he lived, was he happy, did Mrs. Claus make him hot cocoa and cookies, do his deer have a lovely barn, how do they fly, did he get my letter, was I on the nice or naughty list, are his Elves watching me?

My life was consumed by Santa from 4 years old until I turned 9. I was a true believer, a young pilgrim to the point of becoming a child Santa Evangelist. Anyone says something terrible about Santa, it was put up your dukes time or a come to Santa prayer meeting. My younger sister was also a firm believer, but then, she was brainwashed by me, and I was programmed by my parents, grandparents, and the rest of the fam damnly.

On Thanksgiving Day, the trickery commenced around our household. First, my mother, the master of deceit, would warn us about the naughty list and what would happen if we were on it. Then it was, ” the Elves are watching you through the windows to see if you’re good.” That’s the one that got to me the most. I had a plan to catch them.

After lights out, I slinked out of bed under cover of my darkened room. Crawling on my belly like a soldier, I made my way to the nearest window. Back against the wall, I slid up and moved the blinds in a flash, hoping to catch the little guys. I never saw one spying on me, but I knew they were there and faster on the draw. Santa and his gang were tricky.

The annual Christmas visit to Leonard Brothers Department Store in downtown Fort Worth was the ultimate Santa experience. Toyland was akin to holiday Nirvana for us kids. A rocket ship monorail glided around the basement ceiling, kids packed in like sardines on a rocket train to nowhere. Parents rush to purchase presents while the kids are busy, hiding them under their coats or in bags and lying to their innocent children with straight parental faces.

Santa held his court in the middle of Toyland. His throne was 10 ft. off the ground, with stairs leading up and then down. A majestic sight if there ever was one. Sitting in a velvet chair fit for a king while his Elfin helpers lifted the crumb crunchers on and off of his lap, it was pure excellence. A line of snot-nosed kids snaked around the room, waiting for their chance to place their order, up the stairs, on the lap for 15 seconds, then off the lap, and down the stairs. The visit was over before you knew what had happened. It was the same routine for years, and I loved it. I could spit out my order in under 10 seconds. Santa and his helpers were impressed.

I asked Santa for a bicycle when I was 9 years old. A red and white machine with side mirrors, streamers, a headlight, and white-side-wall balloon tires. I also asked for a new BB Gun, a larger Cub Scout knife, and a Fanner 50 cap pistol with green stick-um caps. My sister asked him for a doll that was larger than she was and a dollhouse.

Christmas Eve arrived, bedtime rolled around, and we hit the sack. Hot Ovaltine and cookies put me out like a light. Then, sometime after midnight or later, I had to pee. I didn’t want to get up, but the Ovaltine was causing me some discomfort. Half asleep, shuffling down the hallway, I looked into the living room as I passed the doorway. With a Schlitz beer in his hand, my father was sitting by the tree, assembling a red bike like the one I was expecting. My mother was working on a cardboard dollhouse, and the giant doll my sister wanted was standing under the tree looking creepy.

I convinced myself that Santa must have run out of time and had recruited my parents to complete his work. The reality of the sight was not an option.

My father looked up and saw me standing there; our eyes met, and he smiled like a raccoon caught in a trash can. The jig was up. The big lie was exposed, and my childhood imploded right there in the hallway. Daddy was Santa, and mom was Mrs. Claus. I peed and made my way back to bed, not comprehending what I had witnessed.

I awakened at daybreak, our usual Christmas morning routine. I was thankful to be awake and away from the nightmare that had gripped me most of the night. I was relieved that it was all caused by the Ovaltine. The gifts were under the tree, and life was good. I loved the bike and the BB Gun, but my sister was afraid of the enormous lifelike doll.

After breakfast, I was lying under the Christmas tree building an army fort with my plastic soldiers. That’s when I found a Schlitz beer bottle, assembly instructions for a bike, and a few tools.

“Uncle Rays’ Last Hurrah”


Uncle Ray

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1950s was a great childhood experience. It made me what I am today. Winters were Blue Norther cold with ice storms and the summers were over 100 degrees, capable of turning the front fender of my father’s Nash Rambler station wagon into a griddle. The eggs I fried on said car, turned out perfect. The butt busting not so much.

As a family unit, we would take one vacation a summer. A few times to New Mexico or maybe Port Aransas for some saltwater fishing and beach time. Most summers if money was tight, and it usually was, the go-to trip was to my grandparent’s farm. It was free.

In the summer of 1956, my father purchased a new Nash Rambler station wagon with a factory air conditioner crammed under the massive metal, unpadded dash. In the 50s, an air-conditioned car was a rarity, and I had never seen or ridden in one.

The car was baboon butt ugly, and I wouldn’t have been caught dead inside the beast except for the A.C that gave me a reprieve from the hellish summer heat. If a night was blistering hot, we would sleep in the car with the engine and AC running. Our house was not air-conditioned, as were most in our neighborhood. Attic fans were about the best we could do.

That car air conditioner was so cold, it could be used as a backup refrigerator. Yes, sir, none of that Eco-friendly coolant we have now, this was the real stuff; ozone-earth-killing gas. Eisenhower was no wimpy-ass tree hugger; he and Mamie wanted everyone to be cool in the summer.

My sister and I agreed, the trip that year was going to be an event. Cruising down the highway with the windows up and freezing our toes off while inhaling thick deadly clouds of cigarette smoke from my parents constantly lit Pall Malls. We couldn’t wait.

My mother’s family had a farm a few miles outside the small country town of Santa Anna, Texas. My Grandfather would take his Ford tractor, and plow, then plant diligently for days. Johnsongrass and bull nettle sprouted where Maze should have. Those were the drought years in southwest Texas and growing any crop was a miracle. Granny tended the livestock and chickens, selling eggs to city folk to make ends meet. They had seen tougher times, but no one could remember when.

There wasn’t much to Santa Anna as far as a town goes. A few churches, a school, and the ever-present chickens that inhabited the downtown area. A Dino gas station that never changed their prices on their sign, a feed store, a Dairy Freeze, and a few ma and pa stores, necessary for sustaining a dwindling population. Most of the young folks left during the war to work in Fort Worth at the aircraft plants. Most never returned. It was a town of old people.

The central, vibrant hub of the town was The Biscuit Ranch, a cafe, domino parlor, and gossip emporium. My Grandfather and his farmer buddies spent more time there shuffling dominos than farming the bone dry land. No one had money, so they played for toothpicks.

At the cafe, every order came with a sizeable buttery biscuit flopped on the plate. If you ordered a hamburger with fries and a coke, it arrived with a biscuit crammed next to your burger. It didn’t seem right, but no one complained. In Texas, biscuits are one of our main food groups.

Grandfather usually ate my biscuit because the ones my Granny made were hard within a few hours. They may have been uneatable but darn good for chunking at things. Nothing fly’s like a rock-hard biscuit. Next to my Daisy BB Gun, they were my weapon of choice.

I once knocked a hen dead out with a well-chunked biscuit from my Granny’s breakfast table. The other chickens gathered around the addled hen, making me feel awful for whacking her. I was ready to confess the deed to my Granny when I realized they were not gathered to inquire about her well-being but to peck on the offending weapon. The hen hopped up and strutted away. There is no sisterhood of chickens once you get past the yellow peep-peep stage. They all know that the next stop could be the skillet, so it’s everyone for themselves. There is much to learn from farm-educated chickens.

Over the years, it’s been my observation that there is a favorite uncle, aunt, or cousin in most children’s immediate families that they look up to. It matters not whether the adulation is deserved, kids don’t get twisted up with social, criminal, or married life. All we want is a jovial role model that makes us laugh and gives us things our parents would never approve of. The more eccentric and crazy, the better.

My favorite offender was my Mothers brother, Ray. A hulking piece of humanity with a face as red as a Nehi strawberry pop. His jaw was home to an ever-present plug of Red Man tobacco.

He was a proud veteran of WWII, having served in the Navy. He told us many times that he had thoroughly enjoyed his job of shooting down Japanese planes from the deck of the U.S.S. Hornet. He said it was like shooting a dove in a maze field, leading them a bit, and then blasting them out of the sky. He claimed to have over 50 kills. His brother said that Ray didn’t like to brag, but it was more like 200 kills. He was a hoss.

Uncle Ray drove the obligatory rusted-up pickup truck, but his “Sunday come to visit” ride was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible with genuine Mexican crafted, red and white roll and pleat seats. The body had pinstriping covering every inch, and the money shot was a full longhorn rack mounted on the front of the hood. The interior had little Mattel derringer cap pistols for the radio knobs and a big black and white ivory dice stick shift for esthetics. It was the hands-down most incredible car in the state. My cousin Jerry and I took a ride to town with him one Sunday in June, and it was the highlight of my summer visit.

We piled into the back seat between his two shotguns, a bowling ball, and a Coleman ice chest full of cokes and Pearl beer. Uncle Ray told us to drink all the cokes we wanted, but take the church key and start “popping him some Pearl.” I was struggling to keep up the demand for Pearl because Uncle Ray could drink one in a single gulp. I couldn’t get one sip of my coke down before he was calling for another beer. Those were the days when a real man could enjoy his favorite cold brew while driving a 3,500-pound tank down the highway at 70 miles per hour.

When we rolled into the city limits, the ice chest was void of beer, and Uncle Ray commenced singing. A person would expect a big old farm boy like Ray to sing country tunes or at least a few religious songs. Not this feller. He began belting out Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, and Patty Paige’s songs like nobody’s business. We had no idea he could sing so well or drink so much beer.

When he broke into Judy Garlands’ “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” he stopped the car, got out, and did a great show tune finish complete with hands held high in the air, hat off, and a bow at the end. Cousin Jerry and I clapped and gave him a bravo for the performance.

He was appreciative, but then turned to us, and in a hurtful voice, said, “my family has no use for the finer things in life such as music, broadway show tunes, and good booze, and, I love all those things, so they have no use for me either.” We didn’t know what in the hell he was talking about but just nodded in kinship agreement.

By then, I guess the beer had kicked in, along with the emotion of the singing performance and his long harbored hurt feelings, so he started bawling like a baby that had lost its bippy. All we could do was stare at the floorboard of the most incredible car in Texas.

After his embarrassing session of bawling and gagging, Ray pulled out a lovely hanky from the glove box and dabbed his tears away. 

In a low, growling voice, he told us that he would kick our little scrawny asses and feed us to the Mountain Boomers if we ever said anything about this. Naturally, we nodded in agreement not to say a thing.

Uncle Ray got his gas and more beer at the Dino station, then peeled out in front of the Dairy Freeze, and we headed back to the farm.

Later that afternoon, Jerry and I were sitting under the oak trees talking to my cousin Beverly, who was setting up her playhouse with her collection of 6-inch plastic “Dolly” dolls.

At the age of seven, Beverly was beginning to communicate with humans through her dolls. She was the nontalkative and strange one of the bunch, so no one thought much of it. “Just a kiddy phase,” my Aunt Charmaine would say, “she’ll outgrow it.” I found her behavior scary, but I rather enjoyed speaking to a six-inch plastic doll that talked back. All questions had to route to Beverly through the doll; answers were returned the same way. We were kids; it was fun.

I told the doll, in the strictest confidence, about the incident with Uncle Ray on the side of the road. The doll, in a squeaky mouse voice, said that “Beverly’s mommy thinks that uncle Ray is a big old fruit. I asked the doll what a big old fruit was? The doll said it was a boy that liked to blow kisses to other boys and painted his fingernails. I told the doll that uncle Ray didn’t blow kisses to us, but he sang Judy Garland songs. The doll said it was the same thing; it was a sign from above.

My mothers’ large family was never one to let a gathering of the sisters go to waste. It was agreed that because most of the Fort Worth family had missed Easter at Grandmothers that year, we would celebrate Easter while everyone was here, in June; the hottest part of summer.

Granny and a few cousins went to the chicken coops and gathered eggs for boiling and coloring. Then, Aunt Charmaine drove to Coleman and purchased chocolate to melt for the candy. She came back with a massive bag of Peeps, the little yellow marshmallow chicks that contained enough sugar to keep a kid humming like a top for days. Peeps were something new, and all of us kids thought they were the best candy there was. 

Everything was humming along fine until cousin Beverly saw our bag of Peeps. She turned pale, crossed herself, which was strange because she was Baptist, then grabbed her box of plastic dolls, and scooted off to the smokehouse, locking the door.

When we were enjoying the damp coolness of the storm cellar later that afternoon, Beverly, via her talking doll, filled us in on the real and true story of Peeps.

She said that the little marshmallow chicks were the “reincarnated souls” of all the eggs taken from the chickens, and the Peeps were going to get even. After explaining what reincarnated meant, it all made perfect kid sense to us. Peeps were going to kill the whole town. Beverly’s doll made us swear not to eat any Peeps, or they would come looking for us too. We agreed but kept our fingers crossed behind our backs.

Later that evening Jerry and I sneaked some Peeps, went behind the barn, and ate our fill. There was no scream as we bit the little squishy heads off, just the excellent taste of yummy Peeps melting in our greedy cavity-ridden mouths. We agreed that Beverly and her dolls were idiots, and she needed to go see preacher Wilson and get some special prayers. He said his momma took her there, but the preacher said he wouldn’t talk to a darn Dolly Doll, so that was the end of the healing days.

At supper, Granny informed everyone that uncle Ray would be joining us for the egg hunt and celebration the following day, Sunday, the usual day for Easter. It didn’t matter if it was June 15th, 1956; the festival was happening.

After supper, which consisted of buttermilk fried chicken and chunk-able biscuits, we kids retired to the screened-in porch to plan for tomorrow’s egg hunt and the looming Peep attack. Cousin Beverly’s doll, once again, warned us all not to eat Peeps or it would be horrible death for us all. We listened to her doomsday doll, then trudged off to get ready for bed.

Being summer and hot at night, all the cousins slept on the screened-in porch on pallets made from Granny’s quilts. It was a bit scary because being out in the country, there was no city light and that night, no moon, so we used candles to find our beds. The sounds of crickets and the breeze blowing through the Mesquite trees lulled us into la-la land.

Uncle Ray, knowing for once he was almost not in the dog house with his family, decided to drive to San Angelo and get a new suit for the Easter in June celebration. Maybe showing a cleaned-up side to his sisters would raise his respect-o-meter a few bars.

A shopping trip, a chicken fried steak at Woody’s Drive-In, and a visit to the Fishing Shack for a few beers made for a long day. It was around 2 AM when Ray headed back to Santa Anna. In his semi inebriated state, he thought it was morning and he wanted to be at the farm for breakfast, so he stopped on the side of Highway 84 and changed into his new, bright yellow sear-sucker suit. To top off the ensemble, Ray had purchased an orange feed store ball cap. Quite the dresser he was.

Ray parked his Chevy down the road from the farmhouse. Full of beer and looking like the grand marshal of a Mardi Gras parade. He was so tired he didn’t realize that everyone was still asleep because it was 4 AM. He quietly made his way around to the side of the house to the screened-in porch.

Uncle Ray had a devilish side to him that we all knew too well. He was always scaring us kids in some way, so why not now. A moonless night, sleeping kids, it all made perfect sense to him.

Earlier in the day, in San Angelo, he had come across some tiny plastic whistles he bought as an Easter gift for the kids. Thinking that he would scare the fool out of us, he put one to his lips and stepped through the screen door onto the porch where four sleeping kids lay in fitful semi-slumber.

The scene was right out of a movie. We all awoke at the exact same moment, hearing the squeak of the screen door; we froze in fear. The Peeps were coming to do their foul deed. I was so scared I started getting hot and itchy and could hear Jerry whining on the pallet next to mine. We all lay there, stiff as a plank with eyes closed, waiting for the end.

Uncle Ray, a former championship smoker with a prize-winning hack, chose that moment to expel a drunken cough, and when he did, he sucked the plastic whistle down his throat, where it lodged. He was gasping for air and trying to speak, but it came out as a “Peep-Peep-Peep.”

We all sat up at the same time, seeing a “Giant Yellow Peep” standing there with its wings flapping wildly and chirping. That was it. I dove through the screen-in porch into the flower bed, rolling twice then turning on the after-burner. Cousin Jerry and little Charmaine made their own hole in the screen and took off down the dirt driveway screaming. 

Cousin Beverly backed into a corner, held up her dolls in both hands, and commanded the big Peep to go back to hell from whilst it came. Ray, arms flailing, was attempting to get her attention for some help.

Seeing cousin Beverly about to get her head bitten off by the giant Peep, I cried out, “I should not have eaten those sweet little Peeps behind the barn I’m sorry Beverly.” I had to save her, so I grabbed a shovel from the flowerbed and ran onto the porch. I made a mighty swat right onto the back of the Big Peep, hoping to take it down in one whack. When I hit the peep, the whistle dislodged from uncle Ray’s throat, and he spits it out. He turned around, ready to kill the one who had whacked him. He then realized I had struck him and possibly saved his life, and he started laughing.

Beverly, too afraid to escape, passed out cold on her pallet.

I was so relieved to see it was Uncle Ray and not a “Giant Peep from Hell” that all I could do was give him a big hug. He was laughing so hard he was crying after realizing what he had done to us. 

The whole house was awake and on the porch. The aunties gave Ray Holy Hell for this antic and told him to get out now. He said he would, but first, he had to “clear the air” about some things. High noon was here.

First, he told my mother and her sisters that they all had corn-cobs up their butts and didn’t know “crap from fat meat” about the finer things in life. He then broke out into Ethel Merman’s version of “There’s No business Like Show Business,” followed by Judy Garland’s “Mister Sandman.” We kids sat and listened to some great vocals, and it didn’t matter if it was coming from a Giant Peep.

When Ray stopped singing, cousin Beverly walked up to him and held out her plastic Dolly Doll. Ray bent down on one knee and leaned in close to Beverly. The doll, in her squeaky mouse voice, asked uncle Ray if he was a big fruit? To which he replied, “I’m as fruity as Carmen Miranda’s hat.” Aunt Charmaine yelped, “see I told you so,” to the rest of the cast on the porch. Us kids didn’t care; Uncle Ray could sing his ass off and still had the most incredible car in Texas.

We had a good June Easter that Sunday. Uncle Ray asked that he be allowed to stay for one last celebration and his sisters agreed. He hunted eggs with us, sang show tunes all day long, and even took us behind the barn for a chew of Red Man and a few sips of Pearl. 

He drove off that afternoon, convertible top-down, waving and singing Doris Day’s big hit, “Que Sera Sera,” a perfect departure to end a perfect day. 

The family stood in the road listening to the fading song until the dust trail settled.

No one said anything; perhaps it was too much to talk about at that time. Supper was quiet that night. Beverly left the dolls in the smokehouse, and Grandmother made a buttermilk pie to comfort everyone. It wasn’t discussed, but everyone felt they wouldn’t see uncle Ray for a long spell. His way of life didn’t fit in Santa Anna, Texas, in those times.

We went back to Fort Worth the next day and didn’t hear much about uncle Ray for quite a few years.

When I was twelve, I received a Christmas package in the mail, which is quite a great thing for a kid. My mother watched as I ripped it open and lifted out a record album.

The cover picture showed an overweight woman wrapped in a towel. The title was “Let Me Tell You About My Operation.” This made no sense to me; who would send me this flaky album?

My mother gasped and said, “Oh my God, that’s uncle Ray.” I looked real close, and sure enough, it looked like him, but I still didn’t believe it. I opened the small card in the package and read, “To my favorite nephew Phil, I still have my cool car and like my Pearl. Enjoy the songs”, Auntie Rae. I listened to the album on the hi-fi and fondly remembered that crazy Easter in June of 1956.

“The Legend of The Mountain Boomers of Santa Anna Texas”


My childhood vision of a Mountain Boomer

At seven years old, I learned of my first, but far from the last Texas legend. One of the best storytellers and liars I ever knew, my uncle Bill told my cousins and me about Santa Anna’s “Mountain Boomers.”

Supposedly, man-size lizards that ran on two legs came down from the Santa Anna mountain searching for food. Anything would do, but they were partial to goats, chickens, and tiny humans. If you were caught outside in the wee morning hours, it was a sure bet a Mountain Boomer would get you. Us kids were scared shitless of even going out after dark.

With no air conditioning in the farmhouse, we were forced to sleep with the windows open and would lay in our beds shaking all night, waiting for the monsters to break through the window screen and carry us away. Our Granny was no help; her standard goodnight to us was ” sleep tight and don’t let the Mountain Boomers bite.”

Summer evenings on the farm were made for sitting on my grandparent’s covered porch, watching lightning bugs dance, listening to the crickets chirp, and catching the far away howels of an occasional Coyote pack running the pastures.

The sky was black as pitch, the Milky Way as white as talcum powder, and heat lighting in the West added to the drama of the evening. We kids were ripe for a big one, and my uncles never disappointed. First, homemade ice cream was eaten, then the cooler of Pearl Beer came out, and the stories commenced.

Already that June, my cousin Jerry and me had been to see the hero pig and the three-legged chickens, so we needed a new adventure. But, unfortunately, the hobos had left the railroad bridge down the road, and our summer was losing air like a punctured tire.

“Did you kids see that over there in the trees? I think that might have been one of them Mountain Boomers,” says uncle Bill, in between swigs of Pearl. Then, of course, we strained our eyes to see what he said he saw, but nothing. Then a few moments later, ” there it goes again, I tell you kids, that was one of them sumbitches running on two legs carrying a goat.”

He had us hooked and scared. Then he starts in on the story.

Uncle Bill took a swig of Pearl and says, ” Right down this road here, about twenty-years ago, a families car broke down. The daddy, a man I knew well, walked into town to find some help. He left his wife and small son in the car. It was late at night, so he figured they would sleep until he returned. The little boy, got out of the car to pee along side the road. His Momma heard him scream and came out of the car in a hurry, there was a 7 foot Mountain Boomer standing there with the little kid in it’s mouth. The poor boy was almost chewed in half already. His guts were hanging out and dragging on the ground. The big lizard took off running with the Momma chasing it. Another of them Boomers was hiding in the scrub brush and got her too. A few days later, the sheriff found their bloody remains up on the mountain. They knew a Mountain Boomer had got em because they found their tracks. That’s why we never go outside after midnight around here.” Jerry and I were almost pissing our pants.

When we stayed at the farm, I don’t believe either of us ever slept well again after that night. But, even after we were adults, my Uncle Bill swore the legend and the story was true. I still dream of them.

“When Jack And Neal Hit The Road”


Jack Kerouac

Two Catholic boys, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassidy are on a road trip by car across the American west to find the meaning of life. The badlands of New Mexico held all the secrets that New York City would never have. It could be a great book are a movie. But, as it turns out, it was a book first. What could go wrong?

It was 1947, and half the country still lived in a Norman Rockwell painting, and the other poor souls struggled with keeping food on their table and a decent job. The war was but a few years ago, and the scars were fresh and raw. As the movies would have you believe, not everyone had the good fortune to live in New York City and shop at Macy’s and Bloomingdales. The Hollywood boys covered everything in Fairy Dust and Unicorn Piss, and the commies were coming to your neighborhood. The two young men sensed the growing change and needed to find the “real America”; the wide-open, gritty, in-your-face, working man culture that made their country run on regular.

“On The Road” was published in 1951. The author, Jack Kerouac, a French Canadian American that didn’t learn to speak or write in English until he was six years old, became an instant literary celebrity and a reluctant prognosticator to the “Beats,” which would become the “Hippies” in the 1960s. He tolerated the Beats and the new intellectuals because he helped birth them, but grew to despise the Hippies before he died. He wrote many times that he was sorry they found his books and used them as their warped ideological drug-addled bible that led to the near destruction of his beloved country. The “beat generation,” another term he loathed, wasn’t meant to survive past 1960. The writings and musings made no sense after 1959. He believed everything had an expiration date.

Ginsburg and Burroughs kept the plates spinning; the publishing cash and the adulation were too strong to walk away just yet. So Kerouac moved on and became a drunkard and pill head. Fame, and all that came attached, was not his bag.

The only comparison to the book that I can think of would be the “road” movies of the 1940s. Two pals and a gal road-tripping to Nirvana. Kerouac would have been Bing Crosby and Cassidy a bi-polar Bob Hope with his girlfriend a sluttish Dorothy Lamour. But, of course, their adventure was adults only. Weed, booze, Minga Minga, and foul language would not have made it with old Bing and Bob.

The two main characters, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity, were the essential bad boys before it was cool. Their names alone were enough to make you buy the book. Every teenager that read it could easily place themselves in their universe for a while. Who knows how many ill-fated trips the book influenced.

My cousin and I toyed with the idea. First, to California and back to New York, then home to Texas in his Corvair Monza; then the effects of the pot wore off, we ate a cheeseburger and shit-canned the plan.

James Dean was a disciple, as was Marlon Brando. They wore bad boy cool like a soft leather jacket. The movie boys jumped on it. “Rebel Without A Cause” and “The Wild Ones” sent parents screaming through their middle-class neighborhoods with hair ablaze. Ozzie and Harriet doubled down. Pat Boone turned up the heat. Art Linkletter had a meltdown. The fifties were dying before our eyes.

I may revisit “On The Road” again. It sits on my bookshelf, aging like wine, and needs to be jostled.

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