Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bully, Homophobe, Racist; The New Salem Witch-Hunt Mentality Alive And Well

What was Einstein’s definition of insanity; doing the same over and over and expecting different results.

Maybe it’s just me (and it usually is) but wasn’t the story about the viral school bus monitor teasing incident creepy and over-cooked.

I was reading on the NPR News website (the source I always go to for news, understanding, and enlightenment) that the kids teasing her got suspended for one year. Aren’t there drug dealers, felons, and DUIs who do less time?

The lady teased has received well in excess of $600,000 from do-gooders around the country who want their conscience atoned for some dark secret they are hiding. What good is that going to do her?

I don’t know anything about the teens that did this, but a one year suspension from school! I’d say three whacks, three days, and three of something else for the sake consistency.

I also read where the lady refused an apology from the teens. Based upon that can those people who sent her money now get it back? Not to accept an apology is worse than the first act. They are immature kids. If she really wants to show who she is than accept the apology and graciously forgive them. Embrace them and be their ‘Grandma.’ What a powerful lesson that would be!

The only real lesson learned is that money is supposed to make all the hurt go away. This is like winning a frivolous lawsuit without going to court. Money fixes everything.

This whole bullying thing has gotten out of hand. It is a label not easily shaken. Once a person is branded or called a bully their life is over.

In the case of those adolescents what they did on that day for a few minutes will follow them for the rest of their lives. That is monstrous!

Most recently Mit Romney and George Zimmerman have been accused of being a bully. It has become the new name that can’t be shaken. Once a person is called a bully, racists, homophobe their credibility, reputation, and life is over.

This is reminiscent of the 50s when once a person was called a communist it was up to them to prove they weren’t. Or here are three words to consider; Salem, witch, dunking.

Perhaps this is too general, but for my part; when a person says another person is a racist, homophobe, or bully I call into question the accusers character, anyone who reports it I call into question their intent and fairness, and anyone who believes such is intellectually lazy.

So my project is that I’m going to find two over-privileged white kids and have them push me around a bit. I will make certain it is all recorded. Have it posted on YouTube. And watch the money roll in. Later. I’ll split the money with the two over-privileged white kids, depending on how good and convincing their performance is. Hey I could us my grandkids! That would be a good summer job for them. They can start their own reality show. They could become producers!


Filed under Essays

My Music Memories: A Song For My Children And Grandchildren

A couple of years ago I was driving in the car with two my granddaughters, Peanut and Dusti. They wanted to sing the ‘family song.’

When my children were young and we drove someplace and it got a little boring, we sang a tune I learned in my eighth grade music class; Bill Grogan’s Goat.

There are so many happy memories attached to that song. It has been performed with my three grandchildren in Michigan and the two others in Idaho. Each time it is sung another memory is created.

Children know when times are good; “Sing it again Daddy,” or “Sing it again Grandpa.” They want to hear it over and over again. They don’t want the good times to end.

But they do.

The adult world sometimes collides with their lives, as in the song Bill Grogan’s Goat. That innocuous little ditty carries a powerful message; when doom is all that surrounds you there is always hope, resolution, and a way out.

Here is a performance of Bill Grogan’s Goat by some young lads.


Filed under My Music

Man Was Not Meant To Live Without Caffeine

If you can smell the odor and taste the flavor you’re an addict.

One day while getting ready for work I started to brew coffee for my thermos. There was no coffee. All we had was decaf. A thermos of decaf was brewed thinking that the body’s need for caffeine could be ignored and fooled.

It can’t.

Frankly, why do they make decaffeinated coffee? I can’t believe Mormons have that much clout. It really taste as if its made with dishwater or filtered through a dirty sock. How do I know what dishwater and dirty sock coffee taste like? I know and lets leave it at that.

At about 11:00 AM I couldn’t hardly hold my head up. I’m not an addict. The guy who worked next to me said, “I’m tired of looking at you. It’s like watching Richard Kiel act. Here’s a quarter, get yourself a real coffee.”

Instead I got a Surge soft drink. It only took five minutes for me to feel normal.

I’ve made it my practice to be not more than twenty minutes walking distance from a place that serves coffee.

I’m not an addict (Isn‘t that what we all say). The human body has natural needs. I haven’t broke into any place for coffee money. I haven’t begged for it, but have put up a stink when McDonalds charges full price rather than the senior discount.

Anyway, I’m not an addict (You have to say it at least three times); I’ve been clean for over an hour.


Filed under Essays

Mom Was No Gold Digger; Maybe She Should Have

If Mom was a gold digger she wasn’t very good at it. The thing with gold diggers is you never know they’re digging.

It was a little past a year after my Dad’s death that Mom started to see other men. She’d bring them to introduce them. They all seemed like decent men. They had one consistent trait, they were tall like my Dad.

After Dad’s death in 1969 Mom said she would never marry for love; it would have to be for money.

None of those men seemed to work out for one reason or another. Mom said she got the impression from their families that she was a gold-digger. Mom wasn’t that. She  wanted the security that my Dad never provided. That’s not gold-digging, it’s being practical. If Mom ever married again it would be for the long hall.

Mom finally met a short guy, Leroy. I liked him. He was good for Mom. They never married.

They wintered in Florida where they shared mobile home. When they were in Lima for the Summer they lived apart, Mom had her apartment and he had his, but they went nearly everyplace together.

We went to one of my nephew’s wedding reception. Leroy and Mom were together. Leroy had more than his share to drink. He was feeling pretty good. He tried to get Mom onto the dance floor. It was a fast song. Leroy was in his seventies and perhaps he’d seen Saturday Night Fever or something, but he was trying his best. Mom would have no part of it. She left the floor disgusted at his behavior (and it was disgusting).

I’d seen that happen many times before. I’d seen it with my Dad.

Mom didn’t pick tall men, she picked drunks who liked to carouse.

Shortly after my sister’s death Mom and I were having a heart to heart.

“I really loved Jack; (my Dad) probably too much. He never treated me right,” Mom said.

“But Leroy treated you good,” I said.

“Yes he did,” Mom said. “He really did.”

Mom never spent much time around me during my adult life. Even now it is a strain for he to talk to me. I never knew why for certain. I can only speculate and it may sound crass, but I never became her type of man. As much as I love my Mom I’m glad I never did.


Filed under Mom

A Place Called Serenity; Strange Justice (Part 4)

(Continued from last week.)

These are the stories of days of tall trees, Summer breezes, bright sunny days, running barefoot on stones, and swimming in mud bottom creeks. They were days of frosty mornings, bright-colored leaves, burning leaves, cold nights around a bonfire toasting marshmallows, and watching stars shoot across the sky. They were days of knee-high snow, frosty windows, cold mornings, runny noses, mittens, and warming hands over a gas kitchen stove. They were days of soggy ground, croaking frogs, muddy shoes, tadpoles, pussy willows, hoot owls, and jumping puddles. It was a place of security, solemnity, a benign sort of secrecy, and serenity. For that reason it is called “Serenity

They forget to mention in this ad that it’s also a great way to establish justice and exact vengeance.

A few months earlier Dickie tested the Daisy BB rifle on his dog, Herky. He claimed to his parents that Herky ran in front of him as he was taking aim at a tree. Nevertheless the dog yelped and was clearly hurt. The BB had to be picked from the dog’s hide.

Dickie’s Mom and Dad were at work. Nearly all the adults of Serenity were at work.

Dickie was now well aware of the damage that a BB gun inflicted.

The gun was hidden; kept from Dickie as a punishment, but he knew where it was and he knew what he was going to do with it. He rummaged through his parents closet until he found it wrapped in his Dad’s winter coat.

Vigilante justice was plotted in the mind of child about to be carried out in its crudest and most primitive form.

Now with a clear eye, sense of purpose and vengeance Dickie went looking for Tom. He lurked around trees, cars, and houses. He stalked Tom for the animal he was.

“Where’s Tom,” Dickie asked the rest of the kids of Serenity with rifle in hand.

Tom was alerted by others. He got his BB rifle and the two boys looked for each other.

Finally Dickie spotted Tom. “Yer gonna pay for what you did to me!” Dickie said.

Dickie’s rife was already pumped as he fired one shot in Tom’s direction. It missed.

Tom ducked behind a building that was used as a laundry. Dickie shielded himself behind a tree.

The boys exchanged several rounds of BBs. After each shot they ducked behind their cover. A crowd of children formed. No one dared step in for fear of being hit by a BB. They became spectators, but nearly all cheering for Tom, since they were related to him.

Dickie remembered a scene from a western movie. The good guy and bad guy exchanged shots in the same fashion; as one shot they immediately ducked behind their cover. On one exchange the good guy shot and remained in his shooting position waiting for the bad guy to expose himself.

Dickie leaned out from beyond the tree and shot a BB and cocked the rifle quickly. He waited for Tom to expose himself. Tom quickly jumped out from behind the building. Dickie was waiting with his rifle pointed at Tom’s bare chest. Tom froze for a moment. His hands and rifle dropped to his sides. Dickie pulled the trigger. Dickie watched the flight of the BB straight to Tom’s chest.

There was a thud like when the BB hit Herky’s skin. There was a yelp; not of a dog, but a boy. Tom screamed. The spectators ran to him. Dickie stood quiet with his hands and rifle to his side. Tom cried and twisted painfully.

Dickie ran up to inspect. Tom was on the ground. A BB was embedded in his skin in the middle of his chest. His sister Betty picked it out and a trickle of blood oozed from the small puncture.

Dickie ran and hid in the house.

Nothing was said, because if it was Tom would be revealed for what he was.

Dickie avenged Tom’s perverse act and was proud. His sister were proud, but did not know what brought it all about and the extent. Dickie told them that Tom had merely beat him up. There was no mention of rape. It was a word foreign to his vocabulary.

Though the victor, Dickie walked about in fear and a certain knowledge and expectation of reprisal.

(Continued next week.)


Filed under My People My Stories

A Place To Warm Your Hands and Heart

Welcome to the stories about Rode Apple Junction, a small rural community where people are fair, but small-minded. It is where being yourself is fine, but  it is okay to try something else just to confirm you are not so bad-off after all.

Clyde Pixler was more than the guy who owned the Jittery Goat Café; he was sort of a community caregiver. He looked after people. listened to them, and addressed their needs in the best way he could.

There’s more than warm coffee in a cup.

There were times of disasters when Clyde opened the doors long after or before business hours to serve the needs of Rode Apple Junction and the surrounding township.

It was a place to fill your stomach and your soul. It was a place to warm your hands and your heart.

During the blizzard of ‘78 Clyde trudged through thigh-deep snow to make certain that anyone who needed a meal or coffee got one. He stayed open for five straight days. The only sleep he got was in a booth. As soon as the door opened he was awake and drawing coffee.

Road crews, policemen, firemen, linemen, and rescue workers need fed and refreshed. If there was a family crisis Clyde opened his doors to them also. Usually all it took was a phone call: “Hey, Clyde, Momma died this morning. We got a mess family coming in, but they won’t be here till late. We need a place to talk and our place is too small. Can you open up for us?”

It was two in the morning. A terrible thunder and wind storm passed through. Clyde was open by 2:30 AM. Coffee was ready at 2:45 AM

Clyde grabbed a cup from beneath the counter. It is a cup he hadn’t seen in a while. It wasn’t that he hadn’t seen it, he just never took time to notice it. It was Pop’s cup. It was the one his father preferred.

Clyde held it and turned it in his hand. Nicks were on the rim. It was no longer white, more like a light beige; like the faded pages of a favorite book. Every book has a story and every cup has stories upon stories. The lips that drank from that cup whispered, recounted, and spoke many tales of glories and tragedies, triumphs and failures.

Clyde drew coffee from the urn into the cup. Steam wafted from the cup. His eyes slowly closed; heavy from lack of sleep. He took the coffee with him to a booth and it was there that he fell asleep.

He heard the door open, men talking, plates clanging, the sizzle of bacon on the grill, eggs popping, and coffee being drawn from the urn. He smelled the bacon, toast and coffee. Through all of that he was unable to break free from the grip of sleep. His conciseness told him not to fight the urge to awaken, but to surrender.

It was not long after complete unconsciousness that the gatekeeper of sleep said your sentence is up; awaken!

Clyde focused on the counter. Four men from the power company sat at the counter. He reached for his coffee. It was gone. As if by some homing device he saw it immediately. It was in the hands of Pop. There he was; a man in his mid eighties behind the counter and leaning forward.

“We had a doozy that blew through her back in ’57. A lot of folks around here didn’t have power for nearly a week. The biggest thing was milkin’ but none of the old times missed a beat. They hadn’t bought into those automatic milkers ran by electricity. There were a couple of farmers that didn’t even know you could milk by hand….”

Clyde relaxed as he watched Pop tell another story over the cup. And he was reminded that what Pop has passed on to him was far more than a place to eat, but a heritage to fill souls and warm hearts.


Filed under Adventures From Rode Apple Junction

Running: My 8th Week

June 17

My inspiration for the week.

I’m thinking about changing the name of this series of blogs from “Running” to “The Gout Chronicles.” I simply can’t run.

At this point I’m too ill to go on the exercise bike.

I drove to Emmett Idaho today; about a forty-five minute drive. I gave a talk and on my feet for thirty-minutes. I felt pretty good.

A friend said he was given indomethacin. “One pill and it was gone.”

I have theory I’d like to proclaim; I’m on medicare. It is their intent to keep me coming back until I’m dead or so miserable I want to die. The guy who got the indomethacin was still a productive part of society. Sure they’re going to keep him going.

June 18

Very sore today. Songs have been written about cocaine, LSD, and marijuana; but none about hydrocodon. I think the time is here.

An old high school buddy, Bob Hempker, sent an email today and suggested I change the name of my blog to “The Jittery Gout.” Funny, very funny.

June 19

Family came over for supper. The foot is sore, but tolerable; not so much the grandkids.

June 20

The pain is very intense today. I’d have to rank this as my worst day. It seems like with all the medication, rest, and time it should be better.

I promised my wife if it’s like this tomorrow I will call a podiatrist friend.

June 21

I got a hold of my doctor’s assistant. They prescribed another product from the vast monolithic evil pharmaceutical empire. Colcrys was prescribed; take two pills every hour until gone. (Six pills, you do the math)

June 22

I talked with my son this morning. I told him that, all kidding aside, I really miss running.

I’m wondering if I’m a part of a study and that I’m a part of the group given a placebo. I slept quite a bit today and when not sleeping was still tired.

June 23

I still have swelling, but the pain has nearly subsided. It’s time to pop the corks.


Filed under Running