“Another Sunday Night In The Twilight Zone Between Christmas and New Years”


Photo by Captain Kirk

I feel like I’m living in a black and white telecast of the Twilight Zone. The ghost of Rod Serling is sitting in my den telling me stories and smoking Camels. That “dead zone” between Christmas and New Year has arrived.

Christmas can be such a damp squib to one’s spirits. Yet, throughout December, we anticipate the evening of the 24th and the 25th. Plans are made, food and wine are consumed with friends and family, phone calls made, presents exchanged, all in a whirlwind of excitement and frivolity. The world is at peace, life is good, we are all out of debt, and the family members we disliked a week ago now sit in our den spilling beer on our new carpet and double dipping the queso.

Then December 26th arrives, the tire goes flat, the cake goes stale, and the wine is soured. A whole week of angst lies ahead. I stock up on Valium and Tullamore Dew to fortify my journey.

I sit in my cushy recliner, slack jaw, drooling, staring at the ladybug on my ceiling. Pat Sajak is droning in the background, and Vanna is marching across the stage, turning those damn letters. The poor lady loses the car over a pause of 2.5 seconds. Sajak is an asshole. The lady goes home, her predicament goes viral on the net, Audie gives her a car, and Wheel of Fortune comes off looking like the dipshits they are. Why doe’s Vanna White even have a job?

My wife and I have doctor’s appointments this week. She, physical therapy, and me for a sinus invasion. We talk of going to the mountains, the ocean, or anywhere, there is no cedar. Christmas kicked our senior butts. We are as broke as 1930s sharecroppers. So I’m searching for old reruns of the Twilight Zone for insight and inspiration.

The coming Friday evening will bring a welcomed end to the year from Hell. According to the newscast, we will be walled into our homes within a few weeks and most likely deceased by February because of the Omicron bug. New Year’s Eve brings revelers blowing their little paper horns, drinking champagne, groping each other’s butts, and making drunken fools of themselves, but come morning, nothing has changed, and no one gets a pass to start all over. So put on your face diaper and shut up.

I think Rod Serling had it right. “Live every day like you’re in The Twilight Zone;” come to think of it, we are.

We All Screamed For The Ice Cream Man


Summer afternoons with temps in the upper 90s. There is no air conditioning in your house, and you have a bad case of chiggers you picked up from the vacant lot down the street. Your front tooth is loose, and two toes on your left foot may be broken from being run over by your uncles’ station wagon. Life for kids in the 1950s was hard. But, the one thing that made it all worthwhile was the Ice Cream Man.

You could hear the cheesy music from two blocks away; plenty of time to make it home for some change. It didn’t matter if there was an entire half-gallon of Blue Bunny in the freezer, the Ice Cream Man was coming, and he had what we needed, the good stuff; Popsicles, Dreamsicles, Chocolate Cows, Rockets, Push Up Sherbert, Fudge Bars, and Eskimo Pies.

I thought selling ice cream from a white truck while dressed in a uniform was my career path. So I told my father that’s going to be me in a few years. But, yessir-ree-bob, it didn’t get any better than Mr. Good Humor pushing frozen sweets to kids. Of course, my father was concerned about my plans, but I was 7 years old and likely to change professional aspirations within a few hours. I also thought the Milk Man was a great gig. Half the kids on our block resembled him.

My pal Skipper and I once crawled into the back of the Vandorvorts Milk truck and rode for two blocks before being caught. We drank as much chocolate milk as we could hold before being discovered. It was freezing cold inside, but we did our best. It was worth the butt-busting.

There is nothing quite as funny as a bunch of kids with Popsicles stuck to their tongues running and screaming bloody murder. I always thought that ice cream man had a mean streak.

“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.

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