Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of Texas

Archive for the tag “summer”

“WTH? The Olympics and More”


As if today could get any worse. It’s 101 degrees and expected to stay that way for the next week. There isn’t enough water to save my veggie garden, and my landscape plants are begging me to put them out of their misery. The birds at the feeder are lethargic and barely peck at their seeds. It’s summertime in Texas, ya’ll. We don’t need a stinking grill, just lay that meat on the concrete patio and walk away for a few minutes. Chef Ramsey would dig it.

Simone Biles exited the Olympic competition because of a mental issue? Well, what do we expect when the weight of the entire American team is on her 24-year-old shoulders, and she supports her whole extended family, that happens to live pretty damn well. Her coach should have seen this coming. Let us hope she finds some relief or inner peace. If she was a quitter, it would have happened years before this.

” Aw…come on man” Biden bitch slapped one of his most famous defensive line- women, news lady Kelly O’Donnel, and she is pissed. He called her a “pain in the neck” because she actually had a brain fart and asked an honest question that wasn’t scripted and expected a logical answer.

Peppermint Pattie got through another presser without answering any questions. Maybe the Fox news guy should dress in a Charlie Brown costume. Who knows, it might work?

Ben and Jerry, those two famous 60s radical Birkenstock wearing-granola munching anti-semite ice-cream guys are pulling their products from Isreal. Makes sense to me, it probably doesn’t sell anyway. Isreal could do with a shipment of good old Texas Bluebell ice cream. Instead, B & J are giving the peaceful folks in Palestine their own ice cream flavor. “Yasser Ara-No Fat,” chunky vanilla.

Famous Democrat Crazy woman Barbara Boxer got mugged and robbed while sight-seeing in Oakland, California. Well, what the hell was she doing in Oakland? Buying crack?

Nancy Pelosi, “the old bag of bones” with a wood hammer, put together a commission to look into the January 6th invasion of the Capitol. It includes two Repub’s that she can trust to not ask any real questions. Maybe she will tell us who killed Ashlee Babbit and why the capitol police invite and give guided tours to the insurgents? You would think it was an invasion on the scale of D Day. Ken Burns needs to set her straight.

So who designed the Olympic skateboard course? It’s too small, too tight, and gives the home skaters the advantage since they have practiced on the course for a year. The only thing missing was those stupid Pokemon characters cheering the Japanese on to victory. The U.S. got a medal, but they could have used some of those grungy little Z Boys from Dogtown on the team.

Stay cool; it’s summertime, ya’ll.

“More Things That Make You Ask, WTH?”


“Happy Summer Solstice.” Really? It’s called summer-time you little wokie twerps. This is not Stonehenge with a bunch of naked Druids dancing around a pile of rocks. It’s Texas, and it’s damn hot from April until October. Our seasons in Texas go like this; spring for a few days, then summer for 5 or 6 months, then winter for a few weeks, then summer again. Fall is a few days, maybe.

Flash! Chicago, the murder capitol of the US. Obama’s home town, yet he wont live there. Over the weekend, more than 50 shootings and multiple deaths. So much for their Juneteenth celebration. No coverage of this on NBC or ABC. Guess Lester Holt doesn’t read the newspaper.

New Zealand is sending a trans girl to the Olympics. She lifted weights for years as a guy, but couldn’t win, so now he is a she and is expected to be the gold medal winner in women’s weight lifting. The other girl competitors should organize a whoop-ass party for this dude.

Macy Gray, that has-been singer from decades ago wants America to have a new flag. It appears the current flag triggers her emotions. How about Macy moves to a country with a flag that meets her approval.

“Coming Soon To Your Hometown!” Kamala La-La-Harris will be our first black woman president, although she is not black, and Nancy “Grey Goose” Pelosi will be vice president. Sippy Cup Joe will be banished to the basement or his beach house. Dr. Jill will have to go back to teaching. Who was it that said things can’t get any worse?

“Live Your Life Like It’s Your Last Summer”


A half dozen years ago, I was sitting on the patio of my golf club having a beer with one of the H.O.A board members of the community I lived in. DeCordova Bend Estates is a hot-shit golf community in Granbury Texas, and if you can afford it, it was the happening place to be. At that time, my wife and I could afford it. We were hot-stuff. We considered ourselves “Donna Summer” hot stuff golf cart driving disco baby.

Dave, the nice fellow I was visiting with shared a tid-bit of knowledge with me. It wasn’t solicited, but he just threw it out there, kind of like a lure; something to discuss.

He said that he and his wife looked at their older years as “how many summers do we have left.” It was an odd statement and I didn’t understand it, so I begged further explanation. He expounded a bit. Alcohol has that effect; it tends to make normal folks speak like Will Rogers.

After a few beers, he shared this, “As we grow older, we approach the future with how many good days we have left before the medical issues arise, and the bills they produce, and the infirmity that comes with those issues, and then the hospitalizations and surgeries, and the nursing homes, and then the inevitable, which is death. Summers are our good place, our good times to remember with our families and our spouses. No one remembers winters, except for Christmas, we remember and cherish our summer times. It starts with our first childhood summer that we can remember.” Heavy stuff.

When he laid it out in those terms, it made perfect sense; “how many summers do we have left?” Why had I not had the fore-site to approach life in those terms?

I will turn 72 in September, and my wife is 69 as of last May. The two of us are on the downhill slide of life as we know it. Unless Dr. Fauci invents an age reversal shot, we are big-time screwed.

What summer are the two of us in? I have no idea. The medical issues started in 2019 with my cancer. Now two years later, I deal with the effects of massive radiation that has fried my internal organs. My wife needs major back surgery, as do I, and our little dog Winnie is 13 years old and having a bad time. What the hell? Is this it? Life sucks and then you die? So the television commercials for Fidelity investments are complete fantasy laden bullshit? Yes they are.

When my mother was struggling with terminal emphysema, and my father was dying from brain cancer, she looked at me and said,”what happened to the golden years?” I didn’t know what to say. At some point, the golden years had passed them by without a nod. Both of them, sick and dying, where was the happiness? No traveling, no walks on the beach, no nothing, except waiting for a miserable death. My sister and I watched this unfold, helpless to change the outcome.

I think Mo and I may have four or five summers left, but who knows. We will live each of them as if it is our last summer on this earth. Fire up the grill, throw on the burgers and pop me a cold beer; It’s summer time.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Cicada Days of Summer


Little Buzzy

It will happen any day now. Zillions of them will crawl from their dirt bungalows, dust off their wings, slick back their hair and proceed to make us miserable with their obnoxious song. Cicada’s are Gods way of shaking his “no-no, you’ve been bad” finger at us.

In the 1950s, it seemed the little critters were everywhere in our Fort Worth neighborhood. Cats loved to eat them, dogs like to crunch them, and us kids captured them for fun. Tie a kite string on their leg and fly them around like a model airplane, and then blow them up with a Black Cat firecracker. Such fun. Nothing was quite as freaky as an angry Cicada buzzing in your hand.

One summer evening as the family sat in our back yard, drinking ice tea and listening to the buggy orchestra, I put my pet Cicada, “Little Buzzy,” down the back of my mothers shirt. No one in the family knew she was such an accomplished acrobat.

The educated experts say the insects appear in seventeen-year cycles, then die off and reappear seventeen years later. Who are these experts, and when did they start keeping track of the bugs appearances? What if a few miss the die-off, or stay too long in their hidey hole and mess up the entire show? That may explain why we heard them every summer in the 1950s; confused Cicada’s.

I’m looking forward to sitting on my patio, a nice tumbler of Irish whiskey in my paw, and listening to the sounds of my childhood.

“A Beach Day in Texas, 1969”


Port Aransas 1969

The beach in Port Aransas around 1967

I first published this story almost a year ago. My good friend Danny asked me to republish it because it’s one of his favorites. I have added a picture of the beach in Port Aransas from around 1967. The guy in the foreground carrying the longboard is Pat Magee, a local resident who won many surfing championships and opened his own surf shop in Port A around 1968. Any day in the summer during the late 60s, there would be a line of vans and cars two deep parked between the pier and the South jetty, since that was the favorite surf spot. I was fortunate to have been a part of that.

The hint of daylight gives enough lumination for me to find my way down the steep steps of my family’s beach house. Grabbing my surfboard, wax, and a few towels, I load my supplies into the back of the old Army jeep and leave for the beach. The old vehicle takes time to wake up, and it sputters down E Street, doing its best to deliver me to the water’s edge.

Port Aransas is quiet this morning. Fisherman and surfers are the only souls moving on the small island.

As I drive to the beach, taking the road through the sand dunes near the jetty, the morning dew on the metal surface of the jeep, pelts me like fine rain. The salt air is heavy and I can see the cloud of mist rising from the surf long before I reach the water. The seats are cold on my bare back and legs. The vehicle lacks a windshield, allowing bugs to hit my face and chest. Texas is a buggy place. That’s a fact we live with.

I park near the pier and see that two of my friends Gwen and Gary are kneeling in the sand, waxing their boards. I am usually the first to arrive but today they beat me by a few minutes. I join them in the preparation. We are quiet. This will be a good morning and making small talk might interfere with our zone.

The Gulf of Mexico is glassy and clear. The swell is four feet, with a right break. We enter as a group of three and paddle out past the second sand bar.

Sitting on my surfboard, I see the first half of the sun rising over the ocean and feel the warmth on my upper body. A tanker ship is a few miles offshore. The smoke from its stack gives us a point to paddle to.

Today will be hot, and by noon, these beautiful waves will evaporate into a slushy shore break full of children on foam belly boards. But this morning, the three of us are working in concert with our beloved Gulf.

We ride for hours. The ocean is feisty this morning. The waves are doing their best to beat us, but we show them who the boss is. The beach fills with other surfers, and now the line-up is crowded,, and we ride into shore. Gary and Gwen leave, and I make my way home to go fishing with my father. The Kingfish await.

Gary and Gwen are gone now and have been for some time. Gary lost in Vietnam, and Gwen from an auto accident the next summer on his way to the island. If they were still here, I would like to think that we would have kept in touch and shared our surfing stories around a good glass of bourbon at Shorty’s Bar. Three old men telling lies.

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