Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from Texas

Archive for the tag “Texas”

“Who Knew The Scarecrow Was So Smart”


The Democrats are upset that the new Prime Minister of Israel is a Jew. What the hell? of course he’s a Jew. A.O.C., that little Tesla driving-two apartment owning, grandmother ignoring cutie from New York says that the Israelis should have elected a Palestinian.

Some journalist stuck a mic in her face and this is what comes out, “Well, like, you know, they like, live just across the street, so like, it would be good for neighborhood relations,” she said in her 10 year-old valley girl voice. This is the wisdom that comes from a moron that was elected because of her whimsical social media videos. A mediocre bartender with a credit score of 400 goes to congress; definitely not “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” I read that Pelosi fixed her credit problem and co-signed for the Tesla.

“Old Joe” refuses to do a joint presser with Putin? Maybe for good reasons; the teleprompter might be in Russian, they wouldn’t let Dr. Jill, his mouth piece and coach, stand next to him, Putin might bring up the dirty money he and Hunter got from Russia and Ukraine, or Putin might say, ” Joe, you know Trump really won.” Pretty sure Obama called the shot this one.

“N” word Hunter keeps getting all the breaks. Using that foul word, for most Americans, signals the end of your career, your job or worse, your life. Hunter said it, he texted it, the viral community got it out there, Dorsey and Zucker censored it, and the main stream media ignores it. Hunter tweeted an apology of sorts to his followers,” sorry dudes, I must have smoked some bad crack.” So, is there good crack?

Kamala La-La Harris still can’t find her way to the Mexico-US boarder. She figures if she doesn’t go there, the problem doesn’t exist. It’s not that difficult. Google Maps will show her the way. Go to Texas and then head south on I 35.; there will be a motorcade of 500 pickup trucks flying Trump flags to safely escort her to the boarder.

Lester Holt, when interviewing her for his NBC newscast, reminded her VP-ness more than once, that she has never been to the boarder, even after her insistence that she had visited the place multiple times. She mumbled a bit and laughed it off. I guess her cackling witch laugh makes everything alright. Lester zinged her a good one.

The G-7; where all the leaders that ruined the economy in their own countries, get together to ruin the world’s economy so they wont look so bad.

“Ben and Jerry’s” is introducing a new ice cream flavor on July 3rd, just in time for our all American July 4th celebrations. “Aw Come On Man” double-double-Joe’s-in-trouble triple chocolate chunk, in honor of our favorite presidential ice cream man. Joe said he will send a few truckloads to the illegal kiddo’s in cages down there on the Texas boarder. Ice cream makes everything better, right?

The current leadership in Washington, both sides of the street, reminds me of the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy and Toto are headed to Oz, and she stumbles across the Scarecrow.

Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?” The Scarecrow: “I don’t know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”

“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.

Woke Me When It’s Over!


  1. ” Woke” alert to injustice in society, especially racism.”we need to stay angry, and stay wokeDefinitions from Oxford Languages

The slang word “Woke.” A nice little word that has been around for a century or more has been hijacked to fit today’s political correct movement. Like most words, the history of woke is a surprisingly long one. The word was first used in the 1800s but back then, it only meant the act of not being asleep. In 2017 the Oxford Dictionary changed the definition to what it is today. I say Bullshit!, you can’t change the meaning of a word to fit a movement. Who is responsible for this? Elitist educators most likely; those self righteous idealist that are indoctrinating our children into who knows what. I thank the good Lord my boys received their education before our educators and this country lost it’s way.

Like most folks, I “woke” up this morning, had coffee and am writing this blog post. I am “woke” because I am awake, and I will stay “woke” the entire day, unless I find it necessary to take a nap, then I will “woke” up again. Be assured, there is no racism or anger in sleeping or napping.

“Come And Take It; The Story of The Alamo Brisket”


Tex Styles learned the art of grilling at a young age. His father, an expert, medal-winning griller and smoker, proudly and meticulously teaches six-year-old Tex the art of cooking everything from burgers to ribs on his cast-iron Leonard Brothers charcoal grill. The family lineage of grilling over an open flame can be traced back to the British Isles and their ancestral home of Scotland, where a Styles family member cooked meat for Celtic warriors, the King of England, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

When Tex turns eleven, his father conducts a tiki-torch-lighted ceremony in their backyard and passes the sacred grilling tools to his only child. Father Frank, the local priest, attends the party and lays down a righteous blessing on the tools, Tex, and the family grill.


On summer evenings, when young Tex fires up the charcoal, the neighborhood gathers in his backyard to watch the boy genius at work.
Once he has entered his Zen-cooking zone, he serves up a better T-bone than Cattlemen’s, and his burgers are known to bring tears to a grown man’s eyes. Around Fort Worth, the word is out that some little kid over on Ryan Ave is a “grilling Jesse.”

Tex receives a bright green Weber grill for his thirteenth birthday and a professional cooking apron with his name embrodried across the front. The Star-Telegram newspaper takes his picture and writes a glowing article that appears in the Sunday food section. Over on Channel 5, Bobbie Wygant mentions him on her television show and sends him a congratulations card. He is now a local celebrity. Dan Jenkins, the hot-shot sports writer at the Telegram, does a piece on Tex for Sports Illustrated, and just like that, young Tex is officially a “big deal.”

When Tex turns sixteen, like his father and grandfather before him, he is inducted into the “Sons Of The Alamo” Masonic Lodge. To become a member, your family tree must include one direct family member who fought and died at the Alamo. Tex’s great-great-great-grandfather was a defender and was killed in the siege. He was also the head cook and griller for the Texian Army and a rowdy drinking buddy of Jim Bowie and Colonel Travis.

New members must speak before the lodge elders, recounting what they know of the siege from their family’s point of history. Since childhood, Tex had heard this family story a hundred times and can repeat it word for word, but tonight, he is drawing a blank on a few of the critical details and decides to wing it a bit. In the mind of a sixteen-year-old, his modernized recount of the battle makes perfect sense.

He stands in front of the assembled elders, leans into the microphone, and begins;
“In late 1835, my great-great-great-grandfather, Angus Styles, traveled from the Smokey mountains of Tennessee to the dangerous plains of Texas with David Crockett and his band of long-rifle toting buckskin-clad rabble-rousers. Angus was in the dog-house with his wife most of the time, so he figured a year or two in the wilds of Texas would smooth everything out with the Mrs.

Before immigrating to America, Angus was the chief griller and top dog chef for the Duke and Duchess of Edinburg over there in Europe. David Crockett knew Angus was a master griller and wanted him to travel with his men so they would eat well. Crockett and the men killed the meat, and Angus grilled it to perfection.

Arriving in Texas, Crockett tells Angus they making a stop-over for a few days at a place called the Alamo mission. A buddy of his needs some help to fight off a few Mexican soldiers; it shouldn’t take more than two days, tops.

Once at the Alamo, Angus realizes that Crockett was wrong in his evaluation. The rag-tag Army behind the walls would be no match for the thousands of Mexican soldiers sitting on a riverbank a few hundred yards away eating tortilla wraps and polishing their long bayonets. Mariachi music floating on the breeze gave the scene a weird party-like atmosphere.

Angus locates and converts an old adobe oven to a smoker griller and gets to work on some chow for the Texians. Brisket, ribs, and sausage, along with his secret sauce, will be on the supper menu.

A young pioneer woman from the northern part of Texas is there with her father, a volunteer.
Veronica Baird is busy baking bread and cinnamon rolls in another adobe oven and lends Angus a hand stoking his fire. A big German fellow, Gustav Shiner, wonders over and offers Angus a mug of his homebrew beer. It’s looking like the Army will eat and drink well tonight.

A chilly March wind is blowing towards the Mexican Army camp, and the troops are smelling the delightful aroma of cooking meat and baking bread. Having marched 1500 miles with little food, they are famished, and the wafting perfume is making them salivate like an old hound dog.

General Santa Anna and his officers are also smelling the same heavenly aroma and, having not much to eat in the past few days, scheme to get their hands on that meat and bread. Santa Anna sends a white flag rider with a note to the gates of the Alamo.

Standing in the courtyard, surrounded by a hundred plus fighters, Travis reads the letter, ” Dear Sirs and Scurrilous Rebels, on behalf of our large and overpowering Mexican Army and of course, myself, General Santa Anna, we would be willing to offer you a general surrender of sorts if you would share your delicious meat and bread with my troops. Looking forward to a good meal. Yours until death, General Santa Anna.”

The men, in unison, yell, “hell no,” we are not sharing our chow. Being a bit of a smart-ass, Travis then orders two 20 pound cannons to fire a rebuke into the Mexican camp.

The first cannonball destroys the Mexicans chuck wagon and what beans and flour the troops have left. The second cannonball blows up the cantina wagon, vaporizing numerous cases of tequila and wine. Now the officers and troops have no food and no hooch. Santa Anna is as mad as a rabid raccoon and screams, “that’s it boys, we are taking the mission pronto.”

The battle started that evening, and as we all know, it didn’t turn out well for the Texians. Veronica Baird survived the massacre and said that Angus Styles and Gustav Shiner fought off the advancing soldiers with carving knives, a keg tap, and her sizeable wooden baker’s Peel. They fought to their death.


As the women and children of the Alamo were escorted out of the mission, Veronica Baird spots Santa Anna, sitting on his black horse, about to take a bite from one of her Cinnamon rolls. She chunks a rock and knocks it out of his hand. His Great Dane dog, General Perro gobbles it down before it hits the ground. Sweet revenge.

She later wrote a book about the battle, and it sold pretty well here in Texas. Not only is the Alamo our sacred national treasure, but it was also the first BBQ joint in our state of Texas. Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed the story of my grandfather Angus dying at the Alamo.” And with that, Tex steps down and takes a seat next to his stunned father.

Strange Times In The Cactus Patch


Life in the cactus patch has been a bit odd the past month. The spring rains assaulted us like an Indian typhoon. Our veggie garden, thanks to the downpours, is boarding on fantastic and the landscape plants are strutting their stuff like a drum major. I am down to my last two classes for my Master Gardener certificate from Texas A&M, and upon receiving that document, I will be a certified plant snob, ready to impress or offend everyone I come into contact with.

I can picture myself sporting an English tweed jacket, bucket hat and Wellingtons, patrolling Granbury’s historic neighborhood’s dispensing unsolicited advice to the horticulture-ally uneducated.

“Mam, you shouldn’t plant those Hollyhocks next to the roses, the two species harbor a great dislike for each other.” You get the picture. I will be insufferable.

“Good God, help me!” it’s been 66 days and no presser from Kamala Harris. Imagine, after every gentle question from her adoring group of reporters, she cackles like the lunatic she is, and that passes as an answer?

Over at HBO, Bill Mahar blast the liberal media for portraying Israel as the bad guys. I’m not a fan of his, but he shoots straight from his liberal hip and takes no hostages, and he’s not Jewish.

As if he couldn’t get any creepier, Sippy-Cup Joe, in front of a “live” audience at a military base, tells an 8 year old girl he likes the berets in her hair, and she looks like she is 19 sitting there with her legs crossed. What the hell? Can one of his handlers put duct-tape over his mouth.

Switching gears now: I caught a little cancer back in the spring of 2019. Summers are usually boring around here, so it gave me something to occupy my time. SBRT is a high dose radiation treatment from a robot that looks like a Star Wars toy. They stick all sorts of devices up your backside while strapped to a table; kind of like what Frankenstein experienced. I asked my oncologist if the radiation was good? He said ” oh man, it’s the best, right from Los Alamo’s labs and endorsed by Oppenheimer.” So I’m being radiated with the same stuff that built “the bomb?” Yeah baby! Two years down the road, I am cancer free, but now have to deal with the side effects of massive radiation damage to my bladder, prostate and urethra. Pissing a stream of blood like like a vampire for 4 months is not for girly men.

I haven’t had a haircut in seven months. Look at the money I have saved! In 1970, my hair was long, now in 2021, it’s longer than it was then. Bald guys look at me with disdain. They hate me.

It’s never too late to rebel against something. I’m 71 years old, I have earned the right. I’ll let you know when I figure out what my choice will be.

Last week, Texas passed a law that allows every man, woman, child and animal to freely carry a firearm. Children toting 22’s, dogs with an AR15 strapped to their harness and grandmothers wearing twin holsters filled with shining Colts. The streets of Laredo comes to mind. Imagine getting into a argument at H.E.B. with an old lady over the last loaf of rye bread, and she pops you with a chrome-plated 9 MM. This will add new meaning to the saying “Wild Wild West.” Granbury, my town, is installing a new sign on 377; ” Welcome to Granbury, Where history lives. Beer and Ammo next exit. Yeah man! God Bless Texas.

Your-tube, My-tube, Everybody’s Got A Tube


I’m considering starting my own YouTube channel. Why not? Everyone and their dog has one, even my eight-year-old Grandson. His channel is just starting so I am waiting to see what comical videos he post. That goofy little kid that makes videos playing with toys made 10 Million bucks last year, so Jaxson can make at least that much.

What to call it, that is the question. I could use the name of my blog; Notes From The Cactus Patch, but then it’s all writing and no videos. Who wants to read a story on YouTube? No one I know.

I’m an old dude, so I could hone in on that and make it about dealing with younger people working in retail and how they make me want to smack them, because they are ignorant, insolent and disrespectful. But then, that would make me an angry old man basically yelling “get off of my lawn you little shit.” That would give YouTube an excuse to cancel me, being their employees are all “wokies,” which is a word I made up to fit that particular sickness.

I am an artist, a painter to be exact, so I could put on my purple beret and a velvet cape and give painting lessons while speaking in a bad French accent. Now that might draw some viewers.

Gardening is my hobby, and takes most of my time these days, so I could broadcast from my garden giving tips while talking to the plants, killing bugs and fighting fungal diseases. Nothing is more educational than an old fart talking to a cucumber plant, pleading with it to grow some little veggies. On the other hand, my Tomato plants are quite informative and have told me to expect a bounty harvest in July. The Okra has yet to say one word. I think they are pissed off because I planted them too close to the Corn plants.

My hair is snow white these days, and about a month away from being able to put it in a Paul Revere And The Raiders pony-tail. It’s longer now than it was in 1970. Go figure that. I also played in a rock band up until 2019, so I could do guitar covers from my back-yard. Flay and jump like Pete Townsend with my garden in the backdrop. Of course my wife would be just off camera with an oxygen tank.That would certainly be entertaining. To my family, maybe.

I will mull this over for a while until the right formula grabs me, then you will be the first to know.

Good day, and eat your veggies.

A Performance to Remember


Pictured here is my 17th cousin, Carmalita “Cookie” Zevon. In Texas, if we are unsure of our relations, everyone becomes a cousin. It’s a big state with a small gene pool.

In the fall of 1958, the first beatnik-style coffee house opened its door in Fort Worth Texas. Calling itself, “The Cellar,” I can assure you that Fort Worth did not welcome its presence or the caliber of inhabitants it attracted. Cousin Carmalita, who preferred the name Cookie, was a perfect fit and secured a gig as the first waitress at the new establishment.

Being 8 years younger, I and the other cousins had limited interaction during her teenage years, but I know from the sordid family stories and the “almost out of earshot whispers” that she was a real hellion of a girl.

Immersing herself in books by Kerouac and Ginsberg that glorified the new lifestyle created by the “beat generation,” Cookie began dressing in black tight-fitting clothing.

Waist-length black hair and a resemblance to a young Ava Gardner didn’t endear her to the Sandra Dee girls club at school, which resulted in a cliquish form of petulant bullying, so Cookie dropped out of Paschal High School at sixteen to live in sin with her next to worthless hoodlum boyfriend; a motorcycle riding teenage hubcap stealing thief from the north side of town. This decision resulted in her instant banishment from the family.

Polled by a phone-in family vote, she was christened the “little trollop.” Her name was not to be spoken at gatherings, and her mother requested all photographs containing images of Cookie be returned to her for proper disposal by fire. Her father, unable to watch her sweet sixteen birthday present, a Ford Fairlane convertible sit abandoned in his driveway, sold it to Frank Kent for next to nothing. The rebellious type was not tolerated well in the 1950s, especially in Texas, and our extended family.

The Cellar grew in popularity and crowds of the literary unwashed and self-appointed poets made it their rightious digs. High octane coffee and bad poetry create a tolerated misery for the sake of being cool.

Cookie grew tired of the bland poetry readings from ancient books and tried her hand at writing. Engulfed in her rebellion, and possessing a heart full of childish resentment, it didn’t take long for her to dish on everyone and everything she felt had “done her wrong.” Her parents were the main course in her cauldron of teenage hate. She petitioned the club owner to let her perform a personal poem about her life, and he agreed.

Saturday evening is reserved for the serious night dwelling “hip beats.” They convene and hold literary court to any who will listen. Mixed groups of the hairy educated gather around small tables arguing about poetry, politics, sex and the meaning of life. Old Crow adds the extra kick to the java. An occasional strange cigarette makes the rounds.

Cookie senses the time right and takes the stage cradling a cardboard box under her left arm and a large pair of sewing shears in her right hand. She sets the box on the floor next to a tall stool. Tears stream from her sad eyes, forming dark streams of melting mascara onto her peach pale cheeks. A tinsel thin string of snot drips from her left nostril resting on her upper lip catches the spotlight, bathing her face an ethereal glow. She gags a few times, composes herself and begins her poem.

Retrieving her favorite childhood doll baby from the box, she places the doll on the stool, produces a small meat-cleaver and beheads the poor toy. A gasp erupts from the crowd. Earlier, for maximum effect, she filled the doll’s plastic head with Heinz Ketchup and potted ham to simulate blood and brains. When the doll’s head is guillotined and bounces onto the table nearest the stage, the ketchup splattered patrons recoil in horror. A beautiful 8×10 glossy photo of her parents is pulled from the box and cut to shreds with the sewing shears. She produces a Girl Scout uniform and rips it to pieces, throwing the all American remnants of the uniform into the audience.

Cookie leans into the microphone, takes a drag from a Pall Mall, and in a low growl says ” I never liked dolls or toys, but you made me treat the little shits like real people. I fed them imaginary food, bathed them in imaginary water, changed their tiny poopless diapers, and dressed them in stupid clothes, and for that I hate you and I cut my hair.” With that statement, she grabs a chunk of her beautiful lady Godiva length hair and removes a large portion with the sewing shears. She continues ” I didn’t want to be a Bluebird, but no, I had to be like the other girls on our street, you know I don’t like the color blue, and for that, I hate you and I cut my hair.” Whack, another large section falls to the stage. ” you hate my boyfriend because he is a bad boy, and he is all that, but I love him and want to spend my life on the back of his ratty-ass motorcycle holding a nursing baby in each arm as we travel west to find the meaning of life.” She then whacks the left side of her hair to within inches of her scalp. The audience is on the verge of bolting, fearing her next move may be severing an artery and expiring in front of them. A voice from the back of the room yells “this chick is crazy.”

Cookie ends her act and exits the stage leaving a pile of black hair mixed with ketchup and photo paper. The crowd of poets and hip cats give her a lukewarm reception. This performance was too unhinged for the normally unshakable.

That performance at the Cellar that night was the debut of what would come to be known as “Performance Art.” Carmalita Cookie Zevon performed once more before she and her boyfriend and a nursing baby rode west on a ratty-ass motorcycle to find the meaning of life. We can assume they found something.

“A Small Miracle”


I wrote and published this true story in January of 2014.

My Grandfather was a farmer. His life was Seventy-five acres of cruel land in South West Texas. He would not have had it any other way.

On a scorching July afternoon in 1955, I stood next to him at a fence row along the south pasture watching anvil thunder heads form in the West, behind the Santana Mountain Peak, the namesake of his town, Santa Anna.
Little rain had fallen the past few years. The stock tanks were dry, animals were suffering, crops almost dead and the soul of the town was faltering. The prayers on Sunday were plentiful and to the point: please bring rain.

At the domino parlor, there was talk of bringing in a rainmaker, but the town had little money for such a wild idea. The town folk felt as though the good Lord wasn’t listening. A miracle was needed, even if it was a small one.

We had been standing at that fence row for a good hour, Grandfather not flinching or diverting his eyes from those clouds.
I wanted to see what he was seeing, but I couldn’t. He seemed to be taunting those thunderheads to come over that mountain, staring them down, challenging those clouds to bring what they had to his farm.
Looking away from the clouds for a moment, I looked at his weathered face. Just like his land, deep furrows everywhere. It’s as if each wrinkle was his reminder of a furrow that hadn’t produced a crop. He was only sixty, but his face looked decades older.
He glanced down and caught me staring. Embarrassed, I asked the first thing that came to mind “Grandfather, why are you a farmer?”
Still staring at the clouds he cleared his throat and said “I’ve always been a farmer boy, It’s all I ever knowed. One night, when I was about your age, the good Lord sent a tiny angel to my bed. She lit on the quilt and said Jasper, you’re going to be a farmer, and you will grow food to feed the children and the beast. This will be your life. How can you argue with the Lord boy? So, here I am.”
Up until then, we had never had a real conversation, and I liked the kindness in his voice. I wanted to know this man that had been so elusive and indifferent to me.
“Does the good Lord always tell people what they will do?” I asked.“It’s what I here’d” he replied.
Now you best go tell Granny to get the cellar ready, it’s going to come up a cloud tonight.” And with that, our first visit was over.
I came round the barn and saw Granny carrying an armful of quilts and pillows to the storm cellar. She already knew a storm was coming. She always knew.
Grandfather missed supper, unwilling to leave that fence row, afraid that if he did, those thunderheads would retreat. They didn’t.
The first crack of thunder shook the walls and sent me and Granny running for the storm cellar.
Grandfather wouldn’t come with us. He stood at that fence row until the hail stones pounded the cellar door. Only then, did he come down, wet and bleeding from the cuts on his scalp. Granny fussed over him for a few minutes and then he laid down on a cot and fell asleep.
We passed the night in that damp cellar. Granny, sitting, reading her Bible by the light of an oil lantern, Grandfather, snoring, and me slumbering between fitful dreams of thunder and lightning. The storm did what it was sent to do.

At dawn, we came out to a sea of water. The fields, flooded, reflected the sunrise like a new jewel. The farm animals rejoiced in unison. Grandfather checked the rain gauge on the fence, seven inches” he yelled. Granny cried into her cupped hands, and “I can’t remember why, but I cried with her.
Around lunch time, we loaded into the old Ford and drove into town. People lined the sidewalks. Women hugged each other, old farmers patted one another on the back, dogs barked and children laughed. The town had regained its spirit and hope overnight.
The Biscuit Café was alive, as was the domino parlor and the feed store. Everywhere the people of Santa Anna rejoiced and gave open thanks for this small miracle.
At the Biscuit Café, Grandfather treated us to a nice lunch of fried chicken. Pastor Bobby and his wife came in, and standing in the middle of the café, offered up a prayer of thanks for the rain. Grandfather, not a church going man, bowed his head and gave a hearty “amen” along with the rest of the patrons.

As we made our way back to the old Ford, Granny’s old friend Miss Ellis came up to Grandfather, hugged him tight and in a weepy voice said “it’s a miracle Jasper, God gave us a miracle.” He politely endured her hug for a minute, then we moved on towards home.
That seven inch rain didn’t end the drought for Santa Anna, but it gave the farms enough relief for the crops to stand tall again and the stock to survive that summer and fall. Grandfather became a church going man, never missing a Sunday, and his farm produced the best crop in years.
Fifty-eight years later, my wife and I took a day trip back to Santa Anna. I was curious if the town had grown and prospered. It hadn’t. The Biscuit Café, the feed store, the domino parlor and most of the other shops I remembered, gone. The old church still stood, showing its age, but still holding its head high.
We drove out to the old farm. The house, the barn and the smokehouse, all gone, lost to a fire. The only thing left was the windmill and the cellar. The fields were taken by scrub brush and weeds. Not a furrow survived.
I stood at that old fence line, and looked west to the Santana Mountain. Just like that day in 1955, thunder heads were building behind the peak. It was going to come up a cloud. I never forgot that conversation with my Grandfather that day, and sadly, I never got to know him better before he passed a few years later.
I have always believed that the power of prayer can produce miracles, and on that day, standing at that fence line, Grandfather and the Lord struck up a deal. The town got their small miracle, and Grandfather got religion.

“Grandad Is Way Too White?”


With all the hub-bub with big corporations and people, in general, being “too white” I knew I could count on my old pal Mooch to discover a solution.

I was in H.E.B. yesterday, and feel a tap on my shoulder. I turned and said, “can I help you?” I didn’t recognize this man at first, then I saw that possum grin and heard that stupid laugh.

” Hey old buddy, It’s me, the Mooch man. How do ya like my new look?”

” Holy Crap Mooch, you look like a gingerbread man; what happened to you?” I exclaim.

He got a little teary-eyed and said, ” my twin, spoiled, rich grand-daughters said they wouldn’t see me no more cause I am too old, too redneck, too Texan, and too darn white. They are sorority college girls at UT so I guess they know about all the latest woke stuff. They are graduating next week and each is getting a new Porsche and a trip to Europe from my son Harry, and his wife Karen. Those girls say I can’t attend their ceremony, and they don’t want to see me until I change my old ways. I found these pills in my “Popular Gardening” magazine and ordered a bunch for me and Mrs. Mooch. I can’t change my age or my redneck-ness, but I sure can change my color. Well, how do I look?”

I told him he looked real fine, but somehow, I think Mooch missed their absurd point.

“More Things That Make You Wonder, Why?”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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