Juggling.....

..... you know, there are days when I imagine myself as Chris......... but really?....... truly?..... well, I've always been a lot more like Joel than I care to realize........ and that is a hard pill to swallow sometimes.....

... damn, I miss 'Northern Exposure'....

Read the Bullshit »

Marrow.....

.... when I was a little boy, I was continually mesmerized by the antics of my Father when my Mother would decide to make fried chicken for Sunday dinner......

..... once she'd announced her intention of frying chicken, he'd spend the next few hours (the hours between coming home from church and dinner being finished) finding reasons to remove himself from yard work to sneak into the house and smack her backside as she worked at the sink or cooker, and making 'yummy' noises after each slap and tickle.....

.... my Pa definitely enjoyed my Mother's fried chicken...... and I suspect that she enjoyed his behavior, too....... otherwise, why'd we have chicken so often?.....

.... anyway, he did have one horrible Fried Chicken Foible..... and it was quite nightmarish......... see, about the time that the rest of us had finished our dinner, he'd start in on the bones.....

.... me, I have always been a leg guy...... big hunk of meat, nice piece of skin, easy-peasy..... my brother was a breast guy..... my Mom liked the livers..... but Dad?.... he loved the entire chicken..... even the bones.....

.... and as we all settled back in the straight chairs that surrounded the table and began our 'oohs' and 'ahhs' of contented, chicken-fed bliss, there would be the inevitable 'crunch' of Dad breaking open one of the leftover leg bones in search of marrow.....

.... good god, it was horrendous....... my Brother, Mother, and I would spend the next ten minutes watching him crush those bones and suck out the marrow..... absolutely mesmerized....... and completely disgusted at the same time......

.... as a child, I thought he was nuts........ loveable, loving, sensitive, and as strong as an ox, but still a little bit nuts...... now, as an adult?...... hey, being a little bit nuts is acceptable.... actually, it is quite a prize....... being a little nuts certainly makes life a helluva lot more enjoyable........ so there, that's my take on that......

.... and something else, too..... and this is just as important..... I've heard people say that someone or something is "the marrow" of something.... like in 'Jeremiah Johnson" when Que says "The Rocky Mountains is the Marrow of The World"...... or when Anthony Bourdain says that nothing is sweeter than "The Marrow of Life"......

..... marrow, after all, is the core...... the Great Creator.... The Essence.......

... hell, Cavemen relished it - using the very first tools ever created to bash it out of ancient Mammoth tibias - so, who am I to argue.......

.... but, wow.... the Marrow of The World...... my god..... The Marrow of Life....... I think my Dad was onto something and just never lived long enough to clue my Brother and I in on it....... at least, I hope......

..... and you know, I've never tasted it literally...... I've never sucked it from a shattered bone.... I've never licked it from a well-gnawed cavity...... never been handed a spoonful of it....... but I like to imagine that I do know what it tastes like....... and why my Dad would spend the afternoon smacking my Momma's backside each time he walked past.....

..... it was The Marrow of Life..... and she was cooking it for him.....

.... even if the sight of him feasting DID disgust the whole table........ he was teaching us a lesson......

Read the Bullshit »

Jelly.....

..... the peach tree that I planted (with great hope & hand-wringing) beside the patio two years ago has just been harvested.... I picked the tiny, sweet, bright red fruits yesterday evening.... all in all, 14 little peaches..... not exactly a bumper crop, but pretty good for a tree that's only four feet tall...... hey, who says good things can't come in small packages??.....

... it has been my experience that the smaller something is, the more intense it is.... be it a peach or a pepper, when they are compressed by nature, they are exquisitely flavored..... Mother Nature's way of compensating, I guess...... half the size, but with every single morsel of goodness....

.... truth be told, I'm a relative novice when it comes to picking fruit...... and as such, I was a bit worried that I might collect my little basket of peaches too soon.... I tell you, Farmers are born with the patience of Job.... and while I was born in farming country, I can't really claim to be a farmer.....

..... watching those peaches mature has certainly driven that fact home...... every couple of days I would wander out and give them a squeeze to see if they were ready..... and hell, normally I am an absolute pillar of patience.... but watching those fuzzy little fellas was just about more than I could bear.....

..... sometimes anticipation is an itch that just can't be fully scratched.... at least when it comes to me..... anticipation has a way of currycombing the senses....

..... as you watch and wait, your eyes see more... you catch the details.... coloring & texture...... your nose can find the sweetness more easily with each passing day.... the soft fuzz feels more inviting each time you touch it..... but you must wait until it is time..... and that waiting has driven me mad...... until yesterday, that is....

.... I sidled over to my little tree while The Missus lazed in the hammock last evening...... and I noticed that one of the racquet-ball sized fruit had dropped to the ground..... I knelt down and brushed off the dust..... it was ready....

.... I flipped out my pocketknife and began to peel it..... and I was absolutely amazed..... never in my life have I seen a more juicy, succulent, and tender fruit.... warmed by the summer air, the scent hit me as soon as my knife broke its flesh........ but the moisture!..... good god, it was like attempting to peel a watermelon..... halfway through the peeling, peach juice was literally dripping from my elbow as I stood there in the evening sunlight beside that tiny tree.......

..... there is nothing like anticipation, folks.... especially when the final treasure is a hundred times more pleasurable than you had expected...... it makes every bit of waiting more than worth the effort.....

.... today I am making peach preserves...... oh, hell yeah.....

Read the Bullshit »

Fears....

..... you know, things have changed over time, my gentle rubberneckers......

.... once upon a time a Man could voice his fears, bear his soul, and cast his frail heart out into the vast openness of the mighty blogosphere without nary a peep of indignation, consolation, or trepidation......

.... and indeed, many moons ago I was such a passenger on this anonymous cyber-Greyhound Bus of Life.....

.... and a blissful little fellow I was, too.... merrily skipping along through cyberspace with my long, flowing locks of red hair (metaphorically speaking, of course) braided into exquisitely proportioned Auburn Pigtails of Innocence, Trust, and Happiness.... but ooooh, how things have changed in my nearly five years of blogging......

..... to what do I refer, you may be inquiring?...... how have my bared soul, my sharing of fears, and my imbibing of adult beverages at blogmeets thanked me for these five years of perseverance, fortitude, and occasional angst?....

..... Knine is writing fiction about me and my most feared nemesis, that's what.....

.... I tell you, there truly is no justice in this world of ours...... sure, there was that whole chipmunk fiasco, but I could have sworn that he'd have forgiven me by now....... but to hit a man with zombies when he is least expecting it?..... well, that's just plain mean...... go over and tell him to quit it, please..... I frighten easily these days......

.... I'm off to field strip and clean my Bushmaster and sharpen my Cold Steel...... one can never be too prepared these days.....

.... damn, I hate zombies.....

Read the Bullshit »

Horror.....

..... darkness is here and The Missus is watching a horror flick.... not my bag, really, but it does make for an interesting ambiance as I sit here digesting grilled lamb chops.....

.... see, in between the lurking, low-music silences of the scary movie, the outdoor sounds of fifty million various bugs, beetles, and other flying & scurrying things, and the pitched shrieking of freshly slashed victims, my stomach is singing a song reminiscent of one of those humpback whales from that old Star Trek movie where that alien was coming back to Earth to kick ass because we'd run out of humpback whales.....

.... shrieks, screams, and humpbacks, indeed.... I have a feeling that in a couple of hours I'll fear someone screaming (or even mentioning) "thar she blows"..... I suspect that the lamb may have been a wee bit off, folks.... or perhaps it is just the vinegar from the Worcestershire sauce steadily scrubbing through the old plumbing & making the pipes groan a bit..... either way, I reckon we'll be finding out soon......

..... I apologize in advance for this post.... but hey, I just HAD to tell SOMEBODY.... and I tend not to wander into the living room after dark when serial killers are carving up hookers.... it harshes my mellow somethin' fierce just before bedtime...... for after all, I am a quiet, meek, fragile, gentle little soul.....

Read the Bullshit »

Right......

..... you know, I must not be living right..... which is an odd thing to say, really, if you know how I live...... but I went to bed tired last night, woke up tired this morning, and have been a member of The Walking Dead all day long today.... it's odd.......

..... no pain, no aches, just an overall - and fully encroaching - overwhelming feeling of apocalyptical malaise all day long.... even after having a hearty meal of 'grilled meatloaf' courtesy of one of the local roadhouses AND watching 'Hellboy II' beat the crap out of a load of fairies, I have felt run down.......

..... I was even too lackadaisical to grill four beautiful lamb chops this evening..... they were sitting there waiting.... swimming in Worcestershire sauce, and I just didn't have the wherewithal....

.... I made a smoked bacon, Irish cheddar, and sweet onion sandwich with gigantic lashings of mayonnaise & HP Brown Sauce instead......

..... I tell you, it's a pretty weird feeling when look out your window at your grill and say, "you know what?...... to Hell with it...... I need bacon.... that sunlight glinting off the stainless steel is just pissing me off...... and there will be mosquitoes as well...... I'm making a sandwich"......

.... so tomorrow?..... I'm grilling ribs for my Mother AND a few lamb chops for myself......... hey, birthday's have to be celebrated....... right?......

Read the Bullshit »

Wonderful....

..... playing in my garage tonight as the sun dips low, folks....... two of Mr. Prine's masterpieces......

..... I hope you enjoy them just HALF as much as I have tonight.....

...... and of course, Sabu's song......

... feel free to sing along!....

The movie wasn't really doing so hot said the new producer to the old big shot its dying on the edge of the great Midwest Sabu must tour or forever rest.

Hey look ma
here comes the elephant boy
bundled all up in his corduroy
headed down south towards Illinois
from the jungles of East St. Paul.

His manager sat in the office alone
staring at the numbers on the telephone
wondering how a man could send a child actor
to visit in the land of the wind chill factor.

Hey look ma
here comes the elephant boy
bundled all up in his corduroy
headed down south towards Illinois
from the jungles of East St. Paul.

Sabu was sad the whole tour stunk
the airlines lost the elephant's trunk
the roadie got the rabies and the scabies and the flu
they was low on morale but they was high on .........

Hey look ma
here comes the elephant boy
bundled all up in his corduroy
headed down south towards Illinois
from the jungles of East St. Paul.

..... you know, my life is filled with odd moments of absolute wonderfulness.......

Read the Bullshit »

Gum.....

.... it is a warm, foggy morning here and the coffee is hot and strong...... rainstorms rumbled through all night long.... and they've left the world outside damp and still.... I just walked out to the patio and back in my bare feet and pajama bottoms to check on the tiny peach crop that I'm cultivating.... they're still there...... shiny and wet.... undisturbed by last night's wind & tumult......

.... what a smell moist Earth is..... walking on the stones to the patio, you could almost feel the humid air part as it slipped by you.... it just feels that incredibly dense...... thick, sweet, and warm..... soon the Sun will burn it all off, but wow.... I'm beginning to realize that daybreak is my favorite part of Summer.....

.... I re-watched "The Best Years of Our Lives" again last night.... and as usual, I was amazed.... I've yet to watch that movie and find myself un-moved.... and Harold Russell is just amazing...... as is Frederic March and Dana Andrews.... but Russell?.... incredible......

.... I was reminded of a story that my cousin Lucy told me once about my Dad..... she was his older sister's little girl.... his first niece.... and she was six years old when he returned from his first combat tour in Vietnam in 67...

... a few years after he died, she and I had a chance to talk during one of the family get-togethers at Christmas..... it seems that her very first memory of my Dad was when he was on leave.... he was preparing for his second tour in Vietnam and was staying at her Mother's house for the weekend.... his sister was busy cooking and realized that she needed something from town for her baking..... so my Dad volunteered to drive the few miles into town to fetch it... and of course, little Lucy begged to go along for the ride.... my Dad was a natural kid-magnet.... even as a middle-aged man just before he died, all of my little cousins loved to be around him....

.... once they arrived at the grocer and were preparing to leave, Lucy's eyes found a gumball machine near the cash register..... and she immediately asked "Uncle Marion" if she could have a gumball...... and what he did next has had me pondering all evening yesterday and all morning today.....

..... according to Lucy, he sat down the bag of groceries, walked back to the teller, handed her a dollar bill, and asked for pennies..... and then proceeded to drop penny after penny into the machine.... turning the handle, retrieving the bubble gum, and repeating.... over and over.... placing each tiny piece of gum in a little brown bag..... until the machine was completely drained..... and then, he handed Lucy the bag and they drove back home.....

..... on the one hand, a child asked and a child received..... but what drove him to buy out the entire machine?..... was he simply doing it because it was a nice thing to do?.... most parents - or uncles - would just have bought a piece and been done with it...... but he chose to squat there in the foyer of a busy grocery store and collect every single piece of gum....

.... I've thought about it all morning.....

.... did he imagine that, having been through one tour in Vietnam & preparing for his second, he might never be given another opportunity to buy his young niece another piece of candy?..... had being so close to Death made him realize that he should strive to cram as much Living into every day that he possibly could?..... did he just want to make her smile?...... was it the whim of a man with a dollar in his pocket who didn't mind spending it?..... I just don't know.....

.... but watching that movie last night made me remember that story.... and how very happy Lucy was when she told it....

Read the Bullshit »

Explaining......

.... there seems to have been a bit of confusion raised by my post called "Clean...." ..... and as such, I guess I should issue a bit of an explanation.......

.... first off, yes, that is a REAL tombstone.... and yes, it is now residing in my garage.... permanently..... and before everyone starts running around, throwing their hands up in the air, and labeling me some sort of tomb-robber, let me explain..... no, there is too much.... so let me sum up.....

.... way, way back in the mists of time, I was a fiend for genealogy.... I searched each branch of my family tree with a fine-combed passionate purpose.... and I didn't just search the patriarchal side either..... no, no, no sir..... I went every direction that one can imagine...... and by doing so, I scrounged up some interesting characters in the process..... take the tombstone, for instance..... that belonged to my Mother's Mother's Mother's Father!....

..... needless to say, once I arrived back in Tennessee from my extended overseas trip, I brought ole Jackson's name to the table at various family gatherings..... no one had ever heard of him!...... much less that he was in the 5th Tennessee Infantry at Chickamauga..... so, with my Cousin in tow, we began decorating his grave each Memorial Day and Veteran's Day..... (my Cousin is the Veteran's Service Officer for my county).....

.... after decorating his long-forgotten grave for about five years, my Cousin decided that his stone was beginning to look a bit poorly.....so he filled out the paperwork and requested a new US Gov. Issue stone....... that arrived the weekend before the 4th of July...... he and a crew of workmen headed out to the graveyard and replaced the stone with a new marker...... and he then loaded the old one into his pickup truck and headed home......

.... when I arrived at his annual 4th of July Goat Rope, he showed me the old marker and said, "since none of us knew him - or anything about him - I think you should have his old marker..... if it hadn't been for your research, none of us would have known about him.... and his grave certainly wouldn't be being taken care of like it is now..... so, I want you to have his marker..."

..... and that, ladies and gentlemen, is that....... that is the weird and highly unusual tale of how I came to be in the possession of an old ancestors grave marker......

.... but rest assured, gentle reader, his grave is now marked with a crisp new stone that reads exactly the same as his old one.....

..... should I have left the old stone for the landfill???..... or is it better that it now has a home in my garage?......

Read the Bullshit »

Clean.....

.... a bit of a storm breezed through a few minutes ago that tore The Missus away from her hardcore Power-Hammocking.... and now that the thunderhead has passed on out of the county, I have been informed that "everything is too drippy" for hammocking..... well, welcome to a backyard with lots of trees, I guess...... anyway, she's busy coaxing the living room couch into being a viable surrogate..... as of yet the pillows aren't fully cooperating..... but she'll beat them into submission sooner or later.... of that, I have no doubt....

.... as for me?.... well, I've been busy all morning scrubbing the latest addition to my garage's decor..... and quite a nifty job I did, too, even if I DO say so myself.....

..... in case you are wondering what the Hell I am talking about, here's a 'before' photo for you........

tombstone_dirty.jpg

..... and after only four hours of peaceful, zen-like scrubbing with a plastic brush and some gentle bleach?..... well, here you go.....

tombstone_clean.jpg

..... yep..... my GGGrandfather's old tombstone - just about as spic & span as it's gonna get.......

.... now I'm off to rub some sort of liniment on my 'tombstone elbow"....

Read the Bullshit »

Landing.....

..... for all of you flying aficionados, here is a black box transcript of the landing that I had today at the Chilhowee Glider Port.....

*whoosh of the wind*
Pilot: "we'll touch down about halfway down the field."
Me: .... "ok!".....
*whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!*
*sound of us bouncing around and bashing into various gopher holes*
Me.... "HAHAHHHAA!"
*sounds of more bouncing*
Me.... *HAHA!"
Pilot: "it's a little bouncy back here..."
Me: ..... "BWHAHA!"
*bang! clang! bounce! BOUNCE!
Pilot: "Ahhh"

..... I think that it worried him that I was 195lbs...... my body did tend to make the nose that wee bit front-heavy.......

... and for those who doubt my black box transcripting abilities, here is a little video for you to follow along with.....

.... helluva way to spend a Saturday afternoon, I tell ya.....

... they do say that the key to a good flight is a wonderful landing, right?....... I think that my pilot's "ahhh" was a sign of a good landing...... and thus, a good flight.......

... after all, a good flight with a horrible landing must make for a bad day at the office, right?.......

Read the Bullshit »

Gliding....

...... in an unexpected break from the tediousness of defending the crepe myrtle from summertime beetles, the Missus and I are off to have ourselves towed skyward by a lumbering Pawnee.... and then, with any luck, we'll drift slowly back to our snug little valley on the wings of a shiny white glider.....

.... if not, well, we'll be stuck into the muddy banks of the Hiwassee or Ocoee rivers like some sort of oversized fiberglass lawn dart.....

... helluva way to spend a Saturday afternoon, folks......

.... photos/videos of me drifting lazily across the firmament to follow later..... hopefully....

Read the Bullshit »

More....

.... just for Cappy, ladies and gentlemen, because he asked for it...... it is one of my favorites..... and I am sure it'll suit ol' Cap as well......

... and yes, for the record, I DO happen to wish that I had a pencil-thin mustache........ it'd certainly be quite useful at times - if only for its magical deducing powers......

.... and my all-time favorite....

..... just beautiful...... I'm off to sit on the patio!....

... oh, and sadly I could not find a good version of "Coast of Marseilles".... it is one of the few Buffett songs that I actually sing and play on my old guitar when no one is around......

Read the Bullshit »

Undecided.....

...simple, homemade goodness is on the agenda for this beautiful sunny evening.... fresh rib eyes, slow-baked potatoes, homegrown green beans courtesy of my Sainted Mother's garden...... perhaps a slice or two of garlic bread for use in sopping up the proverbial juices?... perhaps... as of yet, I remain undecided......

..... some days are best ended by simply heading out to your garage, quietly facing the southwest, and searing a nice hunk of red meat while you sip your G&T and watch the Sun slide down..... today is such a day..... then again, maybe I'll pop a CD in the garage's jukebox for a few relaxing tunes...... maybe..... we'll see..... as of yet, I am undecided....

.... maybe I should just stand silent and feel the heat from the Sun and grill.... listening to the pop and sizzle of the cooking meat instead of music..... but to some, that may be considered music in itself, right?..... I don't know...... I might..... but as of yet, I am undecided...

..... nah.... who am I kidding?...... it is definitely a Jimmy Buffett night....... yep, definitely....

Read the Bullshit »

Boys.....

.... today at 2:47PM Eastern Standard Time, I assisted in the capture of a wily, quick & cunning woodland/forest/mountain/river creature.... and as of right now, I could not be more proud of me and my partners in crime.....

.... that's right, folks..... I, a man who is known far and wide for his non-fishing abilities, was instrumental in assisting Bou's Boys nab a 1-inch baby trout from the Tellico River while armed with only a plastic Glad container, three rambunctious (and steely-eyed Missile Men) boys, and a packet of peanut butter crackers.....

.... what a RUSH!....... Great White Hunters all, and that's a fact..... for it only took 89 attempts and ten dollars worth of crackers to finally lure a minnow to our awaiting bowl..... but the result of our persistent perseverance?...... the tossing of a few pebbles into the bowl for "habitat" purposes, poking at it with a dampened finger a few times, much "ooh"ing and "aahh"ing..... and then a quick return to the murky depths with hand-wringing and a splash.......

..... I tell you, folks, I've never worked so hard - and been so creative - for such a short-lived victory in all my born days!.....

.... but having said that?...... WE DID IT!.... and I'm in awe of all of Bou's younguns....... they worked like little Energizer Bunnies all day long building stone dams, flipping rocks over searching for crayfish, and chasing minnows in the shallows..... but in the end, WE DID IT!.......... it only took three years, but we finally did it....... we caught a minnow....... in a plastic Glad container......

..... Bou and her boys teach me something new about myself each and every time I take them to the mountains...... and today we caught a minnow..... and it rocked.....

Read the Bullshit »

Tom.....

..... since I have spent most of the day pondering great things and pulling weeds from flower beds, I have no Great Adventure to pass on to you fine, flowery, fresh-smelling folks...... so, as I do in dire times like these when I have nothing to talk about, I shall leave you with the song that I have been humming for most of the day due to it being on WIVK whilst I broke from pulling crabgrass and struck out in search of nachos around noon.....

..... enjoy, and goodnight.......

.... I'm off to re-watch "Fight Club" and wonder where I somehow jumped the proverbial tracks.... those Japanese beetles are kicking my ass...... but, damn, I do love some Tom Waits.....

Read the Bullshit »

Forest.....

.... The Missus and I drove up into the Cherokee National Forest today and hiked the three miles around Indian Boundary Lake.....

.... Sylvia was topless for the drive up AND down from the mountains... so I'm sporting a bit of a sunburn..... but other than that, it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon...... as for me now, well, I'm off to bed soon..... hey, a redhead with a sunburn is quite a funny sight to see..... once the Sun finishes disappearing here, I will be like one of those cheesy NYC slasher flicks where the lights from the cop's cars strobe red, red, red against some rain-drenched alleyway somewhere..... yeah, I'm pulsing...... and I've been informed that it is quite entertaining to watch.... but such is life, no?..... one man's pulsing pain is another person's uplifting comic relief....... ahhhh.... it's all good......

... in other news, a show was on the television last night which seemed to have an old Sinatra tune as their theme/refrain..... and ever since I heard it, it has been a constant earworm..... not a bad tune, of course, and actually I quite like it...... but randomly shouting "FILL MY HEART WITH SONG" whilst swatting horseflies during a day-hike is even funnier than a strobing sunburn..... I tell you, folks, a fella just can't win these days......

... anyhoo, here you go, ladies and gentlemen...... if it tortures you even HALF as much as it has me over the past day, then I can go to bed quite happy tonight...... even if I DO glow in the dark....

..... goodnight, folks.... y'all have fun....... oh, and feel free to sing along..... I certainly did....

Read the Bullshit »

Rain.....

.... it has rained here for the last two days, on and off....

.... it has rained those hurried, blustery little thunderheads that roll in, wreak havoc, adjust the undergrowth, toss a few limbs, and then disappear just as unexpectedly as they had arrived.... it certainly keeps one on their toes when their afternoons are filled with hammock-laying & wine-sipping.....

..... one minute you are snoozing & swaying in the humid, gentle breeze - the next minute you are being windily introduced to "Mr. Big Fat Rain"..... and ten minutes later the Sun is back to steam-dry The World.... and then, as if by magic, afternoon is glorious again......

.... I retreated to the relative protection of the patio's umbrella today during one rainstorm..... and I sat there with my book as the dogwoods groaned against the wind - sheltering myself from the rain.... and for a split second the thought of stripping down and having a little dance flashed through my mind.....

..... I baulked, of course...... but not for the reasons that you may think....

..... in the end - and looking back now - I was just too sad..... I sat there as the wind buffeted the umbrella and watched and watched...... wondering what had changed inside me..... and as the mist that was blown in hit my face, my I just smiled and licked my lips...... and I felt apart from it all...... absolutely and completely apart from it all...

.... the vim and vigor that would have long ago caused me to strip down to nothing and frolic in the rain with the rest of God's creatures just wasn't there..... I was detached...... I felt it...... I felt the wetness, the humidity, the wind in my hair, I felt it all.... and the melee that I would normally have loved to embrace just suddenly felt so foreign....... and I was lost.......

.... as the shower passed, I remembered a time that a school-age friend and I were caught out in just such a downpour... we'd been hunting and were walking up an old gravel road near my house...... and just as we climbed the hill, the skies opened up...... we walked on home in the rain.....

.... we were so tired, I remember that...... we'd walked miles along the railroad tracks, the wood line, and the roads....... and it had been so very, very hot, humid, and tiring.......

.... I remember laughing at Danny as we walked those last few hundred yards up that old gravel road towards my house...... we were just too tired to give a shit about a bit of rain, a rumble of thunder, or a bolt of lightning....... we were done...... tired, soaked, and finished......

...... sitting here now, I can still see us as we approached the mailbox long ago - soaked to the bone - and how we laughed......we stood right there in the middle of the road and laughed..... rain pelting us, weapons rusting even as we smiled, and we laughed........ we laughed at the idea of being caught in such a warm, sweet, Summertime rain...... it was the warmest rain that I have ever felt...... from here to Alaska, to the Philippines, to Japan, to South Carolina., it was an incredible rain.......

..... it rained here today and yesterday......but I did not go out into it.....

..... I think now that I should have....... and tomorrow, if it rains, I will....

..... rain, folks..... it is more important than you imagine..... and I still feel lost.....

Read the Bullshit »

Blogdom.....

.... there has always existed a great, random, tragic, whacky equalizer in Blogdom....

..... always has been, always will be.....

..... you find something today that irritates you, you write about it, and then all of a sudden you find yourself with the bi-polar abstract raining down upon you from a thousand angles...... it is in The Nature of Bitching, actually..... it is somewhere buried deep in The Rule Book..... you complain, you get more and MORE of what you were complaining about....

......this salient fact is the very reason that I seldom bitch on my blog..... it just courts Bad Karma like a bloated corpse draws blowflies.......

.... that said, I have to admit that yesterday's flippant remark about my cats being too lazy to hunt has borne grizzly fruit today..... indeed, bloated & fly-encrusted corpses bracketed my humble home fore and aft when daylight dawned this morning.......

.... needless to say, it is quite frightening to see yellow jackets harvest protein while you have your breakfast.... it truly is....

.... and on the front stoop?..... a tiny, chewed, and spittle-dampened shrew that had definitely seen better days....... and on the deck (amidst a pile of peanuts - hey, ask the Missus) a juvenile rabbit with its throat torn out....... Bob was crouched, chewing, while I made the second pot of coffee this morning........

..... I swear, guys....... if each cat weighed twenty more pounds, I would definitely be on the menu....... thank God that I always carry a pistole and a sharp knife..... petting them is one thing...... but turning your back on them to water the garden is another feeling all together.......

...... but perhaps I am just projecting..... fortunes won and lots, and all that...... but I will tell you this..... sure, they have yet to take down a deer....... but one thing is for certain...... nothing is safe around here if it weighs less than thirty pounds....... nothing.....

..... damn, I need a vacation.......

Read the Bullshit »

Summer....

.... time ticks slowly sometimes, folks.... especially during these holiday-soaked, beer-fogged, frankfurter-gobbling, Hot Days of Summer..... it seems that all one ends up doing is eating, drinking, sweating, clapping at fireworks, and then sweating some more whilst waiting for blessed darkness to fall......

.... as for me, well, it is no small coincidence that I am a Libra...... Generous God, in all his forbearance, saw fit to see me hatched out as the leaves changed colors and a mood of general pleasantness flooded the world....... I am a child of frost and misty mornings....... but now, it is Summertime...... and add in a liberal dash of pure redheadedness and, well, a Great Friend of Summer I most certainly am not..... I'm a pastel and Autumn Breeze kind of fellow.... a kindred spirit of those hushed undertones that they talk about on those cheesy 2am make-up commercials.... Earth Colors, Gentle Air, and Calming Weather......

.... Eric the Red, I am, it seems...... either by natural selection or by sunburn, I am destined to be forever red.......

.... in other news, I spent a considerable amount of time watching the cats laze on the deck today.... two more relaxed beasts I have never beheld......... and as I watched them snooze, two deer walked by the birdfeeder in the backyard and sniffed at the nuts, seeds, etc that the birdfeeder held....... I tell you what, it is a sad state of affairs when a housecat is so well fed that it doesn't even rouse from its korma-induced lethargy to perk its ears up at a whitetail that's less than ten feet away.........

... that said, well, I can't complain too much..... I haven't exactly been burning up the proverbial track around here lately...... but hey, it IS Summer...... and I've been watering the lawn a lot....

.... I would, however, like to point you over to K-9's crib this evening...... he has been playing around with the old "100 Word Stories" and has hit a real dinger...... give him a look...... he had me at "simian eyes"....

Read the Bullshit »

Music....

..... this guy rocks.....

..... word.....

Read the Bullshit »

Pork.....

.... today I was given a tombstone as a "surprise" present at a 4th of July party that I attended way back in the hinterlands of McMinn County.....

... my 'gift' was quite a sight to see..... the tombstone had originally been placed way back in 1914....... and long it had stood beside a wife and brother-in-law in a hilltop cemetery near Philadelphia, Tennessee......

..... the original recipient of the stone has seen it replaced (figuratively speaking) with a brand spanking new US Military issue tombstone two weeks ago.... and as for the old, nearly 100-year old monument?...... well, it is now resting in my garage...... propped up by a redhead in the concrete just below two crossed swords that my Father made....

... it should make for an interesting talking point during billiards matches, I suspect...... but either way, it is a strange and interesting artifact, that's for sure....... oh, and the inscription?.... here you go.....

..... "Co. I, 5th Tennessee Infantry".......

.... I'd put the name down as well, but I don't want long lost relatives googling the internet and then breaking down my garage door to claim a Bit of History..... it would be a shame to shoot kin in the chest whilst thinking them burglars....

.... so, I hope that you all have had a wonderful Independence Day..... mine has been quite surreal so far..... and hey, the fireworks haven't even begun yet!......

.... I will say this, though - and this is a mark twain of 4th's of July as far as I am concerned - it is 9:05pm, and so far I have consumed at least (as far as I can recollect) 3lbs of pulled-pork bbq...... that fact on its own has to stand for something....

... God Bless America!.....

Read the Bullshit »

Bugs...

Oh! Japanese Beetle!
You vile little creature!
Leave my Crape-myrtle alone!
You munch and you crunch
Using her for your lunch
'til her leaves are down to the bone!

I've heard it reported
That you are imported
But that does not give you free reign
To rise from the grass
And chap my white ass
By causing my Crape-myrtle pain!

I sit in my house
Knowing soon I will douse
Your body while caught in mid-mate
While your date and you writhe
In buggy-pleasurable sighs
My dish detergent ponders your fate.

Over coffee I plot
To remove your foul blot
From my garden that strives to survive
I may just be a man
But I'll do what I can
To hell, your black souls I'll drive

I don't understand
With all the trees in the land
Why you harbor a grudge for MY herbage
But I promise you thus
With a squirt and a cuss
There is truth in the form of my verbiage.

Read the Bullshit »

Cups.....

..... I'm not really sure who instigated that dinner meet-up in Knoxville when I first met Winston, but I suspect that it was me.... I feel sure that he must have left some funny comment to one of my posts that prompted me to fire off an email saying, "ha!... next time you are within a hundred miles of Knoxville, give me a yell and I'll buy you a beer somewhere!"..... as it turns out, I ended up buying him a few glasses of red wine instead....

.... it's funny..... I remember him standing up to greet my Wife as we arrived.... he introduced himself, shook her hand and gave a little bow, looked over at me and said, "wow!... I expected you to be OLDER!"...... I laughed, sat down, and said, "that's ok, Winston.... I expected you to be YOUNGER!".....

..... we sat out on the patio of a nice little restaurant just off Kingston Pike.... he had a steak and I had some sort of Alfredo/parmesan pasta with shrimp..... we talked about The Vols (he'd come to watch a game the next day), Acidman, Elisson, Jimbo, and the rest of the gang.... we talked about the annual Helen Blogmeet, blogging, writing, his wife's Southern Literary Journal, his life, my life..... he was perhaps the easiest person to 'talk to' that I have ever met.... he had an ease about him that was charming and convivial.....

.... we talked and talked and told stories as we ate and drank... he even re-told the "Styrofoam Cup" story to us after dinner once the cocktails arrived.....

.... I remember that when the night was coming to a close and we sat replete as the Sun went down, he looked at me and said, "you know, age really doesn't matter when it comes to blogging..... when you read what someone writes, you get a feel for them.... and something instinctive kicks in.... age, politics, religion, they really don't matter.... and you just know that if you ever met that person, you'd have a great time... life is life - and there are more things that we have in common than things that make us different...... thanks for making the trip, you guys, I've had a lovely time.." ....

..... that's how I will always remember Winston, I suppose..... telling stories and watching the sunset.... his eyes twinkling when he got to the best bit of a tale.... his gravely voice and salt & pepper hair... how he seemed to enjoy everything that surrounded him - from the filet on his plate to the autumn pre-game air.... he was the kind of man that it was a true pleasure to be around....

... Winston Rand, folks..... HE WAS A PRETTY GOOD GUY..... and he will definitely be missed.....

Read the Bullshit »