Monday, December 26, 2005

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Morn

The sons seem pretty happy this morning. Son2 racked up on the Lego and video game front but son1 could not have imagined what his present from Santa would be this year.

It happened a couple of weeks ago. One of those right place, right time sort of events.

The Bride was doing some last minute shopping at Target, fingering all of the DVD's and PS2 games, trying to come up with some ideas, when she sees a man taking an XBox 360 up to the cash register. We're not so sheltered as to have not been aware of the hoopla over not being able to get these things.

So, she moseys up to the cash register and asks, "You have XBox 360s?"

"Well, we're not advertising them," replied the pimply-faced clerk, "but I have one left. Want it?"

The little Bride began to tremble as she nodded her assent. She later said it was one of those situations where you don't even think about it, you just act. I guess she has spidey sense when it comes to shopping.

So, fast forward to today. Son1, who has been working full time for about six months now, had mentioned that he wanted to buy an XBox 360 with his last paycheck, but "you can't get them."

The expression on his face this morning made it all worthwhile.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Temporary Safety

All I’ve been seeing for the last few weeks, and from some folks I respect and admire, is a rant about how we must renew the Patriot Act. Fingers are pointed, accusations made and the bottom party line seems to be, “if it bugs a bunch of whiny pussies to have their civil liberties violated in order to keep our country safe and free from Islamoterrorists, then so be it.”

Then there’s usually some sort of comparison to liberals wanting to take away our freedoms being the ones to yell loudest.

Shame. Shame on you.

You are the same ones screaming bloody murder about criminals being released from jail on technicalities.

Well folks, those technicalities happen to be our United States Constitution. And any of you idiots, right or left, who think our founding fathers weren’t smart enough to foresee modern times, and that the constitution is outdated and quaint, couldn’t be more wrong.

Those technicalities are what keeps us free. They are what separates us from the rest of the world. They are in fact what makes us the most successful country on the planet.

I kind of like the “technicality” that our government can’t spy on me without clearing it with a judge first. I think it’s fitting that they can’t come into my home on a whim and snoop through my belongings. I’m pretty enamored of the idea that they can’t drag me from my home and keep me in a cell somewhere for years without charging me with a crime.

And, if some bearded idiot with a checkered do-rag commits a crime in this country because I enjoy these freedoms, so be it. When we give up our freedoms to protect ourselves from them, they win.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 12, 2005

Trout Fishing in America

This article on trout fishing in Arkanasas made me remember back going trout fishing on the White River and being warned to get your boat out of the water "cuz they's gonna start generatin' up at the dam."

The river starts to flow pretty hard when they do that and a little trolling motor ain't much help...

link tip via Fly Fish Magazine.

Shoe Flinging Part II

Since my post on flinging shoes across power lines aired last week, inside sources tell me about an oddly local custom of flinging shoes into a tree up in the mountains.

To further complicate things, the tree was downed in a storm and now confused shoe flingers are tossing into any old tree...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Register Your Guns

It happened in Australia, and now it's happening in Canada.

It will happen here. Be prepared.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

School Days

Son2 has a couple of friends across the street he walks to school with. I think they make a pretty swell looking group. Don't you?

Friendly Advice

Here's some things that were pointed out to me that you should keep in mind if you ain't from around here...

Advice for first time visitors to Arkansas:

1. That farm boy standing next to the feed bin did more work before breakfast than you do all week at the gym.

2. It's called a 'gravel road,' No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Navigator. I have a four wheel drive because I need it... not just to keep up with the neighbors.

3. We all started hunting and fishing when we were seven years old. Yeah, we shot Bambi. We got over it.

4. Any references to "corn fed" when talking about our women will get your butt whipped by our women.

5. Go ahead and bring your $600 Orvis Fly Rod. Don't cry to us if a flatheadcatfish breaks it off at the handle. We have a name for those little trout you fish for -- bait.

6. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making their final approach, we will shoot it. You might hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. That's right. Whiskey is only two bucks. We can buy a fifth for what you pay for one drink at the airport.

9. No, there's no "Vegetarian Special" on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.

10. You bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice!

11. So you have a sixty-thousand dollar car you drive on weekends. We're real impressed. We have quarter of a million dollar combines that we use two weeks a year.

12. Let's get this straight. We have one stoplight in town. We stop when it's red. We may even stop when it's yellow.

13. Our women hunt, fish, and drive pickups, trucks and tractors because they want to. So, you're a feminist. Isn't that cute?

14. Yeah, we eat catfish. Carp too -- and turtle. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the bait shop.

15. They are pigs. That's what they smell like. Get over it. Don't like it? Interstates 40 and 30 go East & West; Interstate 55 goes North & South. Pick one and use it accordingly.

16. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday. You can get breakfast at the church.

17. So every person in every pickup, waves. It's called being friendly.

18. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don't hit in the water hazard. It spooks the fish.

19. That Highway Patrol Officer who just pulled you over for driving like an idiot .. his name is "Sir"... no matter how old he is.

Now please, enjoy your visit. Just don't overdo your stay.

Shoe Flinging

It’s one of the great mysteries of urban life: Why do people throw sneakers across power lines? At last, we have an answer.

Unfortunately, it’s not a very satisfying one. The New York Times recently interviewed a New York sneaker-thrower, and his explanation was that, well, he had some old sneakers and the power lines were there. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same reason that graffiti vandals give: I have this can of Krylon and the wall is there.



Background: You’ve undoubtedly noticed that, in some urban areas, there are sneakers dangling from power lines, often in the middle of the street. It’s clear that somebody took the trouble to tie sneakers at their laces and toss them over the lines. But why?

Common beliefs: Sneakers mark gang territory or maybe places to buy drugs. But New York police officers say it isn’t so. Drug corners aren’t “the sort of thing that people advertise by leaving a sign,” a police spokesperson told the Times.

So the Times went to the source, a 16-year-old sneaker-thrower named Christopher Campbell, who lives in the Bronx. In Christopher’s neighborhood, there’s an intersection with 40 pairs of sneakers dangling from overhead wires. Why would Christopher and his pals go to such trouble? Simply to tell the world that they were there, he said. “We really don’t care who likes it or not,” he said. “This is something for us.” Someday, Christopher mused, he’d like to come back to his old neighborhood, remember the good times and see his old Reeboks swaying in the breeze.

Footnote: Con Edison, the power company, doesn’t like sneakers on its wires and removes them when it finds them. And neighborhood people, too, find the practice offensive. “I think it’s disgusting,” said one woman who lives near the 40-sneaker wires. Is sneaker-tossing illegal? That’s not clear, but it could be considered a form of criminal mischief, a police official told the Times.

I found this interesting tidbit at Civic Strategies.

Happiness is a Present Condition...

I've always striven to be happy wherever I am. To have fun, whatever I'm doing. And, blissfully ignorant of what others think about me.

These traits will enable you to work for a company like this for many years and not realize how unhappy you really have become.

The guy in the corner over there, the one who has been following my blog since I began it, knows that I escaped such a company a few years ago by being tossed out on my ass. The great thing about that was, I woke up and realized that to be really happy, I needed to be as independent as possible.

I need to be able to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, and still be okay financially.

I'm working hard at that goal, and am making great progress. And, I'm feeling freer now than I ever did at twenty-one...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Date That Will Live In Infamy

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

And so we did. A moment of silence, please.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It’s going to be a merry Christmas after all!

Another re-post of a heartwarming Christmas tale...

It was cold and brisk Saturday as I drove up and down the aisles looking for a parking place at the mall. Quite a hike it turned out to be and I nudged my jacket collar up and braced against the wind. The southern sun twinkled off the plastic holly and glass balls affixed to cars as holiday ornaments.

As I walked, I could only think about how cruel this season is. The pressure that comes from having to fight crowds to buy that “perfect gift” and the endless string of parties with people you don’t like. I felt my spine stiffen with resentment, more with each step.

As I neared the mall entrance, between Luby’s and Dillards, I couldn’t help but notice a small, dark-haired boy sitting dejected on the curb. He couldn’t have been more than twelve years old, and as I drew nearer, I could see he was crying.

The feelings of resentment and anger began melting as I started to open the door. It would have been easy to pass him without another thought. It’s not my problem, right?

I hesitated, then turned and walked back to where the lad sat weeping. “What’s wrong,” was all I could manage to get out. He looked up at me with large watery brown eyes. Slowly he stood to face me.

“Our Christmas money,” he whispered almost choking. “My mother works two jobs to take care of us since dad left last year. She doesn’t have time to shop for us for Christmas.”

“She saved all year, and dropped me off here with two hundred dollars and told me to pick out nice presents for my two sisters, my brother and me.”

“As she drove away, two boys from my school saw me. They are the same boys that shove me on the play ground. Sometimes I’m scared to ride the bus home because they have said they would follow me and hurt me. Mom’s never home when I get there after school. She works so much…”

“One of the boys grabbed one of the hundred dollar bills from me and they both ran away laughing. How can I ever explain to my mother that I could only buy half as much for my sisters and brothers?

I could tell that he had already decided to spend what was left only on them, with no thought for himself. “Did nobody try to help you?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “They all kept walking by.”

“Did you cry for help?” I asked, really having trouble believing that nobody, I mean NOBODY, would stop to help this poor waif.

“Yes,” he said quietly, “like this – help!”

It was barely more than the whisper that he spoke in. “Is that as loud as you can yell?” I asked, beginning to understand why no one came to his aid.

He nodded, and looked down, ashamed.

I cast a furtive glance around the parking lot to see if anyone was watching. They weren’t. I snatched the other hundred dollar bill from his hands and ran as fast as I could to my car. I never looked back to see if he went for help.

A hundred dollars! It’s going to be a merry Christmas after all!

'Tis the Season.

You can say I'm sick, you can accuse me of being a Scrooge, but this here is funny, I don't care who you are... A re-post because it's that time of year again.

Now by and by
the kids may cry,
'Cause there's nothing on Christmas mornin',
But the word just came in, from headquarters men
That Santa had gone over to Bin Laden.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Pallasites of Kiowa County

If you're reading this thinking it's a story about inbred hillbillies in rural Kansas, move on to the next blog. But if you think rocks that crash to Earth from outer space are really cool, then check out the Million Dollar Space Rock that Steve Arnold found.



To give you an idea of how beautiful this lump of rock they're sitting on really is, here's a photo of one that's been cut open and polished...

(thanks to Monnig Museum at TCU)

No more posts today... I've got a shovel and a back yard, I'm gonna find me one of them thangs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Second Amendment Target Tour

The Second Amendment Target, having started its journey in Florida, moved from there to Arizona, took a pit stop in Arkansas and is now in Alaska, is looking for its next way station. And all you got to do is submit your favorite gun flavored photograph (taken either of you or by you) to Resurgemus by November 30th. You may already be a weiner winner!

And everybody is a winner! Just showing your support of the Second Amendment makes you a winner, so get going, dust off that camera and send 'em in!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Salmon Croquettes

Sandy’s new recipe blog, Flies in the Butter starts out with, what I’m sure is, a great Georgia recipe for Salmon patties. And it made me think just how regional cooking is.

See, where I come from, they call them salmon croquettes. And those crazy Cajuns eat ‘em slathered in hot sauce and not catsup. So, I guess not to be outdone by no Georgianer, I’m gonna post my recipe for salmon croquettes.

Straight from the canal country of deep southeast Texas…

SALMON CROQUETTES

Start with a roux, (for those that don’t know, just take some bacon grease and get it hot, mix in some flour and cook it until light brown) and add some chopped onions and celery (finely chopped) and minced garlic if you like. Pour the water from the can of salmon into the flour and grease mixture to complete the roux. Continue cooking until a nice brown color.

Don’t you dare pick out the little bones in the salmon because Cajuns don’t want to miss out on anything. Mix your roux and a can of unadulterated salmon in a mixing bowl. Now you can add some cayenne pepper or other seasonings that you like at this point, but I don’t.

Put some corn meal on a plate and dip out a glob of salmon paste from the bowl with a big honkin’ tablespoon and drop it on the corn meal. Once it’s covered all over with the meal, roll it into a ball with the palms of your hands.

Mash it flat, pat it into the meal on each side again to make sure it's coated good, and put it in a cast iron skillet with just enough oil to cover the bottom and keep doing that until the skillet won’t hold any more. Fry them until golden brown on both sides, salt to taste, and slather them with Louisiana Hot Sauce. Tabasco will do, but doesn’t have as delicate a flavor as Louisiana style.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Islam is the AntiChrist

For weeks now I've heard commentators talking about the rioting Islamofascists in France and referring to them as youths, young men, and just about anything other than radical Islamists.

Are we so afraid to call it like it is that we can't name names? And did I actually hear a television commentator refer to them as "young African Americans"? What? In France????

So, I guess (theoretically)it's politically correct to say that young, black males from the United States are running rampant through France, rioting and burning property, murdering and looting, but it's not okay to mention that, "Oh yeah, they're Muslim."

Reck-o-nize Peeeple! It is the religion of peace that is causing almost all of the problems in our world today. Prove me wrong. Please. Somebody?

Daddy Longlegs

Night before last, I saw one of those huge mosquito things buzzing around in my bedroom and by morning it was floating dead in the toilet. At some point my little bride killed the creature and gave him a burial at sea of sorts. Except for the burial part. I guess she didn't think he was worth spending the resources of a special flush.

Or maybe, like the cat, she wanted to show off her trophy.

Whatever the reason, she has always had a healthy fear of these "mosquito hawks" as she calls them. Matter of fact, that's all I've ever heard anyone call them around here. Got me wondering. Just how dangerous are these giant bloodsuckers?

Google is my friend.

Turns out, in most parts of the world, the mosquito hawk is a term for a dragonfly. So, what the heck is this dude in my toilet? It's a crane fly. And they don't suck blood. They don't even bite. They probably don't do anything other than fly around looking creepy.

And a popular nickname for them is "daddy longlegs."

Well, just to show you how messed up we are around here, our daddy longlegs is a big honking spider. Or he just looks big because he has legs about 3 inches long each, but he does have a body smaller than a dime in the center of 'em. The bride pointed out that the proper name is actually Grandaddy Longlegs. But we mostly just call them daddy.

Most of you know that the daddy longlegs spider is just about the most poisonous spider in the world, if not the most poisonous one. Luckily their mouth is too small to bite you so you're safe. At least that's what I've always been told.

Turns out, they ain't poisonous. Not even a little. Hell, they ain't even spiders. Oh, they're arachnids, allright, but they're not spiders. Spiders have two part bodies. Did you know that? And these dudes have a single blob for a body. They are pretty harmless, eating fruit and other bugs and sometimes each other if they get really desperate.

And, it's not really a daddy longlegs. It's a "Harvestman."

But it turns out, there is a daddy longlegs spider. It's not the one crawling up the pine tree behind my house. This one is in my house!

The real daddy longlegs spider is actually a pholcidae spider, or common house spider. To me it's the creepiest of all, but I never called it a daddy longlegs. Or grandaddy longlegs. Until now.

These dudes are venomous, like most spiders, but the venom is so weak that it doesn't even hurt most other bugs.

I know you all are confused at this point so I'm going to put a picture here to illustrate the difference. There will be a test on Wednesday...



left to right, Crane Fly, Pholcidae Spider, Harvestman. Image was lifted from courtesy of The Burke Museum

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Really Bad Idea

My little bride will try nearly any new product. Not too long ago, she brought home several bottles of this Colgate MaxFresh Whitening Cool Mint with mini breath strips fluoride toothpaste.



First of all, it's not paste. Colgate should really get a handle on that. It comes out more as a goo...

And, if you don't squeeze it aggressively enough, it sucks back up into the container which is kind of a turn-off after it's been on someone's toothbrush. So you squeeze it and jerk up and away leaving a large blob on your toothbrush...

...which has a tendency to run off your toothbrush and drip down into the sink below.


And my son wasn't really impressed with the taste.

He used the term rotten burritos, but I think he was exaggerating...

Regardless, this is a poor product and I don't think we'll be repeat buyers. It must have been on sale for her to buy more than one bottle of it in the first place.

What’s your blog really worth?

I’ve been seeing a link around the blog and pony shows that has some kind of algorithm for determining the value of “stock” in your blog. And, I suppose that anything is worth exactly what someone else will give for it and therefore haven’t hung my hopes and dreams on building my blog up for a retirement nest egg.

But Nic Duquette has a more interesting approach. His equation is based on blog ads and the number of hits you get per day. Mind you, I put blog ads on my home improvement site and have yet to pass the $1.50 mark for a month. But in this article, it seems, getting a mere 100 hits per day will put you in the free beer category. Anything above that is gravy.

And, if you link him he promises to trade hits with you and make that happen.

Forget a bunch of African bureaucrats with TEN MILLION DOLLARS to just GIVE ME if I hand over my bank account number. THIS ONE WILL MAKE ME RICH!

Thanks Nic, I owe you one…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Camel Toads

Someone sent me a copy of a newspaper clipping where a woman wrote for advice about her godson talking about camel toads at the swimming pool. She was concerned that this was a dangerous drug thing the kids were into and wanted to know how to deal with it. The columnist replied that the term was probably "camel toe" and referred to a delicate part of the female anatomy.

Last March I posted this. "Giant Monkey Camel Toe." I took this picture in front of a local car dealership on my way to work. I still think it's funny.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yes...

this has got to be the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Thanks Not Fit For Humans, for brightening my day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Top Punch Lines of All Time

A pig that good, you don't eat him all at once.

All right, damnit, I'll wash the dishes!

I didn't say she was crazy, your honor, I said she was fucking Goofy.

I guess I know my own daughter's handwriting.

I didn't want anybody thinkin' I was a truck driver.

Okay, but don't try to start anything!

I told you I was sick!

She puts a suit on him and sends him to work every morning.

You're thirty-four and you're the pricipal.

I don't think I could stand ten dollars worth!

No, I'm not a real sailor. I'm just wearing the hat.

If you haven't heard the jokes, then I probably ruined them for you, didn't I? Some things you can't un-see. Sorry.

Life or Death

I posted this story about nine months ago or so. I thought about it again today when I was sitting in church with my youngest son and he reached up and put my arm around him.

I have never had a job where I made a life or death difference to people, hell I mail stuff for a living, but I have known a lot of policemen, firefighters and servicemen over the years who have such a job.

When I worked as a stage hand, there were a lot of firefighters in the union because their off days afforded them a lot of opportunity to work shows and pick up some extra cash. Of course they loved to regale the uninitiated with stories of blood and mayhem and always the dead fat lady who had been in a bathtub for a week before she was found. The standard crispy critter stories and occasionally the, “that cop asked me how I knew he was dead, ‘you’re not a doctor, are you??’ and I told him, ‘buddy, I ain’t no doctor, but I do know when the mofo’s head ain’t attached to his body no more he is dead!”

For several years I worked for a company across the street from Station No. 1, which was the biggest, nicest fire house in the city. It had a brass pole and they didn’t dance naked around it either.

Once, I was coming out to my car and I could see one of those dumpster trucks barrelling down Seventh Street at a clip and he had flames boiling out of the back. He had obviously emptied a dumpster that was on fire into his truck. I could tell he was headed for the fire station so I ran across the street and into the back door.

Ray, who was Captain at that station, knew me from the stage crew. They all knew I like to joke around and found it hard to take me seriously. When I burst into their break room to tell them that a truck was on fire, Ray gave me that look that says, “okay, what’s the punchline?” One lieutenant got up, ambled over to the door and peeked out. He came running back in yelling, “shit, they’s a truck on fire out there!” The fire truck rolled out the front door, turned the corner and stopped at the burning dumpster truck and they proceeded to hose it down.

When son1 was about 3 years old, the daycare called me and asked me to pick him up. He had a fever and they wanted to send him home. It was late in the afternoon, so I took him back to work with me and figured we’d leave shortly and go home for the day. He was standing next to me at my desk as I caught up a few last minute agenda items.

I noticed that he seemed kind of out of it and asked him if he was okay. He didn’t answer. I reached out for him and he went limp in my hands. He wasn’t breathing!

I grabbed him like a sack of potatoes over my shoulder and ran out the front door, stopping traffic on Seventh and dashed through the open front bay doors. There was one lone firefighter getting a coke from the machine.

I shouted at him that I needed help and laid my son on the cold concrete floor. I don’t know where they came from, but firefighters and emt’s came out of the wood work and swarmed my boy. I was choked with emotion as I watched them work on him. There were so many that I couldn’t even get close, but they would talk to me and tell me what was going on. I never felt like I was left out of the process.

The ambulance came and they told me they were taking him to Children’s Hospital. I followed in my car and called the little bride on my cell phone to let her know where I was going. Her friend from work brought her and they arrived nearly as soon as I did.

After a thorough examination the doctor told us that sometimes children have a fever spike up really fast and it puts them into a sort of seizure. He said they’re actually breathing enough to keep them alive, but you can’t always tell. Though not life threatening, per se, it can be a very scary experience for the parents. They released him to go home with us.

Later that night I received a phone call. It was one of the firefighters that was there when I brought my son in. He said that they all wanted to know if he was alright. My eyes still get a little blurry when I think about those men caring enough about my family to look us up and call.

Those men made a life or death difference in my family that day and I will never forget it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Immortality Redux

About a year ago, I posted about the immortality of garbage cans. And, how the only two ways I could figure to get rid of one was to leave it when you move (a good idea) or to take a reciprocating saw and cut it up into pieces for the garbage man sanitation department. (a little more difficult, but if you ain't movin'...)

Today, I finally got around to it.




Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nothing New

Bane brings to mind that not much has changed when it comes to the American Soldier. For more than two hundred years, it has been de rigueur for the veteran soldiers to give the “fresh fish” a hard time.

“We were actually there for nearly a week, now, as I recall, maybe a little more, and those poor slobs suffered, as most of the time we were being blasted by a bad storm off the ocean, and these guys had no real woodcraft to speak of. Tim and I peeped out of our tents at them, as the storm hit, and the wind and rain began sweeping away their tents, and their gear. We would, between bouts of helpless laughter, and stopping to mix another drink, yell out helpful tips and encouragement to them.

"Fix that shitty fucking tent!" he would holler. Inspired, I yelled "You guys in the motherfuckin Navy? Cuz that sure looks like a fuckin sail, baby!" Then he would yell "Sure looks cold out there!"

”And so on.

”And we, warm and toasty, in our underwear, because it was nearly too hot inside, actually. We each had a candle light; that was something like a telescoping aluminum tube with a big white candle in it, and when you pulled it open, it exposed a glass window that had magnifying properties, and really lit up the tent so we could read one of several books we'd brought. And those candle thingies put out some heat, too. We hung them from little chains, over our respective areas.

”Then, at times, we would each pull out our respective cookware, our Sterno folding stoves and fuel, our spices and condiments, and prepare a feast. We each had a dozen eggs in plastic egg carriers, as well as several cases of C-Rats they'd dropped off with us, and a couple boxes of MRE's, and we feasted like kings. The smell of our cooking would waft down to those boys, and you would hear groaning. Their cook tent had become some fucked up, and getting hot meals in a hurricane, on flappy paper plates, is problematic. The smell of cooking...fresh eggs, bacon, and pan-biscuits, or pancakes, must have driven them to the edge of madness.

”They didn't mess with us because, well, we were grunts, and they knew it. Unless you've been around an active duty grunt, at the peak of his training, you might not understand. I never really got it myself, because I were one, and we all looked fairly normal to me, but others were scared shitless of us. Well, we'd have hurt or killed them for looking at us wrong, but really, we put our knife in one hole at a time just like everybody else, so I don't see the big deal.”


Nearly 150 years ago, during our own Civil War, the old guard acted pretty much the same (re: Wilbur Hinman, Corporal Si Klegg)

”The 200th was to lead the brigade that day, and as it marched past the old regiments the boys made the acquaintance of those who were to be their companions in camp and field… Listen to those ragged and depraved old soldiers as the men of the 200th Indiana, with their fresh faces, clean new clothes and burnished arms, go tramping by:

‘Here’s yer mules, boys! Look at the loads they’re packin’’

‘Fresh Fish!’

‘Thar ain’t no dew fell on ‘em yet.’

“… Si’s feelings were outraged. He wondered why men who were so lost to all decency were not court-martialed and shot. He straightened himself up and cast upon his tormentors a look of utter scorn. Sharp words of retort flew from his tongue, but they were lost in the chorus of wild yells of derision that greeted him.

“Better dry up, Si, said Shorty, them chaps is too many for ye. Wait till ye git a little more practice ‘fore ye try to talk to sich duffers ‘s they be.”

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Second Amendment Target in Arkansas

It's official. Dinosaur and I agree that the Second Amendment target should go to Resurgemus in Alaska. I kind of like that we're going through the "a's" first anyway. Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska... So, before I send it off, I thought I would tack it to my barn wall and take a picture of it along with my favorite '03 Springfield.


2nd Amendment Target on its Arkansas stop, touring America.

When it leaves here, it will also include a shot up target from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Firing range that we used this morning. The lucky recipient can choose between a target shot up by a .38 Chief's Special Airweight, or an M1 Garand.

Same rules apply as before, so pass it on!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Telltale Hand

Bane and Queenie have been posting ghost stories of late.

But, I'll tell you up front, I don't have anything as hair raising as those two, but I had a very eerie and supernatural experience once.

Lest you think this is a memory of a young boy and therefore suspect in its veracity, I must assure you that I was in my twenties when this occured.

I awoke in the middle of the night and had a strange sensation that I wasn't alone. In pitch black darkness I lay as still as possible listening.

Not hearing a noise, I started to turn and sit up. It was then that I felt it.

There was a ghastly, horrible hand on the pillow next to my head!

My fingers traced along its fingers, and I tentatively squeezed a couple of the fingertips, but with no reaction. For all practical purposes the hand was dead. And, for all I knew, detached from its original owner.

My heart was racing and my temples throbbing as I tried desperately to decide a course of action. At this point I was wide awake and holding the strange hand in mine.

In my terror I decided to fling the hand across the room and with a great heave I threw myself out of bed and sprawling onto the floor. It was at this point that I realized that I was holding my own hand, numb up to the shoulder from laying above my head on the pillow.

I guess I had fallen asleep that way.

Monday, October 17, 2005

2nd Amendment Target Tour of the USA

The 2nd amendment target made its third stop on its tour of the US today, here in Little Rock, Arkansas. I got it from this guy, American Dinosaur, out in Arizona. He got it from American Drumslinger, who started the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm going to take it out this weekend and unload a clip of thirty oh six Springfield ball into it from an M1 Garand and pass it on. Who's next?

Description

You Are Bidding On A Second Amendment Bloggers, Touring Paper Target.
Bullseye at americandrumslinger.blogspot.com wants your help! Let's send this target to every state in the nation!

Are you a second amendment blogger? If so then " BID-BUY-SIGN-SEND ". That's right, I said, bid on it, buy it, sign it, and send it! I'm starting the bidding at 10 cents!
Then you can put it back on eBay, stick it in your local classifieds, on a bulletin board at the local laundry mat, or on the bathroom wall of your favorite establishment. I don't care! Just get it to the next blogger so they can sign it, blog it, and send it packing!

Stand up for your rights!!! Don't delay, bid today. You heard me right, bid tonight!!!
Liberal gun grabbers want to outbid you so they can burn this target, this very symbol of what our founding forefathers fought so hard and gave their lives for. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!!! I BEG OF YOU, I PLEAD TO YOU, AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN...DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!!! BID NOW!!!

Am I finished? NO I AM NOT FINISHED! Don't delay, order today, and you will receive a custom state of the art reusable shipping tube guaranteed waterproof to a depth of at least 6 1/2 feet, maybe even more if I can find a deeper pool.

I'm counting on all you gun bloggers out there. With your support we can make this happen. Good luck on your bids. Bullseye

________________________________________

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Davy Crockett vs. Welfare

I have always been an admirer of Davy Crockett, a man that put his "money where his mouth is". But I had not seen this before now. Hat tip to Difster for pointing me to it.

The story is excerpted from The Life of Colonel David Crockett by Edward S. Ellis:

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"

"Yes."

"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

Friday, October 07, 2005

There's No Place Like Home...

My refugees have departed. Off to sleep in their own beds again. We know they have electricity and hope the water is back up by now.

As for me, I really enjoyed having that time with my sister and her family. Now that they know how to get to my house, maybe they'll come visit more often...

Oh, and I learned last night that I am the proud winner of the Second Amendment Target and will be the third stop on its tour of America. If you don't know what I'm talking about, stay tuned... you too may be a winner!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Mountains

Took the refugees to the mountains today. The weather couldn't have been more accommodating. Temperatures in the seventies and perfectly blue skies. We hiked to the bottom of Cedar Falls, a true shock and awe for flatlanders.


Cedar Falls

All were suitably impressed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Live Like A Refugee...

We still have guests and since they're saying that Beaumont won't be safe to return to for possibly weeks, we may have them for some time to come.

I'll have to say that we've been eating well. We're having gumbo tonight, and the larders have been pretty well stocked.

Since these are flatlanders, there's a definite interest in seeing the mountains. We're trying to find time, nestled with my work, to go to the Ouachitas and do some sight seeing.

At least we know their house is okay. God has been good to my family. (thanks!)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Man, what a night

Everyone is safe, sound and asleep at my house. Cheryl's plane came in at 10:30 just as scheduled and I picked her up without incident.

The brother in law, on the other hand, didn't make it in until 2:30 this morning. They left at 8:00 the day before. Nearly 20 hours to get here.

But at least they did.

And now I have to get ready and take son1 to work. I may just come home and go back to bed afterwards...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Texas Evacuation

As I posted earlier, my sister is flying in from Seattle tonight and her husband and children left at eight this morning to drive up here from Beaumont.

I spoke to the brother in law about nine this a.m. and he said the traffic was bad, but "I have a map of Texas and we're taking the back roads and zig zagging up your way!"

He called a little before six this evening and they have made it as far as Jasper, about sixty miles north of Beaumont. They've been on the road since eight and made it a little over sixty miles.

I know I would be really frustrated if I were in his position right now. My little bride has indicated that "you'd be throwin' a fit about now."

Probably would, probably would...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rita

I can't get back to sleep. My sister that lives near Houston called me just a few minutes ago to tell me that they are heading this way to stay with us until the Hurricane passes.

While I wish that they were coming to visit under better circumstances, I am just too excited to see them again. I pray that their home will be protected and safe, but I intend to enjoy every minute of our visit.

I can't wait to see ya'll!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Helping Hands In Arkansas

I received this email this morning from a dear friend who really and truly writes emails like this all the time. She tells in great detail of all their family adventures and it's never a dull moment. But this is particularly touching to me and I wanted to share...

Dear folks --

Between our usual weekend adventures, we tried toput into effect some Golden Rules:

'Love Our Neighbors As Ourselves"

Between our Friday afternoon - Labor Day - Monday night into Tuesday afternoon, we added our encouragement, assistance and yes, our monies to easing the plight of our fellow citizens. Don't just read what we did - and will do again - join us.

Arkansas has become the second largest home for the displaced folks from The Gulf Coast and the tragedies of the Hurricane Katrina. We just received 22 thousand more people bussed in to Ft. Chaffee at Ft. Smith on the western side of the state. (Over by Okla.)

We have witnessed hundreds of people living at the State Fair Grounds in Little Rock. They are sleeping rows of cots, occasionally laden with a small pile of someone's cast-off / donated apparel - a few new / fresh items and a small box of toiletries. That is it - their entire worldly possessions. They sit downcast, numb - a form of shell-shock.

We took food to the State Fair Grounds and visited with a group of Indians from Louisiana. (Now don't ask me the name of their tribe as I had to ask 4 times for it to be pronounced. The talkative gentleman who-was-telling-the-tribe's-tale, had such a strong Cajun accent, I could not understand, let alone repeat the tongue-twister name!) They told of swiftly rising waters "only Moses could have divided." The history of their people - paper records and historic keepsakes - were surely gone. The group were sitting in a circle on the Earthen lawn outside the Fair Ground's buildings, talking amongst oneanother so softly it almost seemed like an odd hum.

Another group of black folks -- with several small children scampered nearby playing a game of nighttime tag -- sat in an assortment of chairs and atop overturned buckets inside a gazebo on the Fair Grounds property. The New Orleans grown-ups -- all relatives / cousins and sisters and aunts and nephews. They would start to discuss who was missing - look at oneanother and pause while their own personal waterworks turned on and a flood would roll down their faces. They could hardly speak of the-unknown-whereabouts of a Grandmother - a beloved elder named Nettie Mae. They had no idea where they were going - if they would go back when the brackish tides had been removed or if they would resettle elsewhere. Remarkably, it seemed as though the decision needed to be a 'joint family' choice as all they had left in this ole world, was each other. They did not want any distance between.

We helped box food and bottled water for hauling away in trucks. Our friend Tom - who is the Labor Relations Director for the United Way - had asked if we would be flexible this weekend in the event he needed us to drive a bob-truck or three down to the stricken area. Instead, he got so much donated from the good folks in Arkansas, they had to rely on far, far larger trucks - big 18-wheel jobs. (We are not licensed to drive these - so the Stanleys were bystanders!)

Monday afternoon we went back to the State Fair Grounds and took more food - a trip to Sam's Club -- whadda marvelous place for delicious stuff. While delivering our goodies, a truck pulled up with the backend filled with laughing and singing people. They jumped out, each having held in their laps a cardboard box layered with wax-paper and warm fried catfish steaks ready-to-eat were offered to one and all.

Summer in Arkansas -- Wonderful Times Sharing with Friends -- Life is Good.

I am soooooooooooooo impressed with the people of our area.

This morn, Hubby had to be in Court in Pine Bluff. This is - 30 mi Southeast of Little Rock - one of the more economically depressed communities in the state; however, it is not as bad as the Delta in the Southeastern region of Arkansas - but Pine Bluff has evolved into a durge of woe.

While on our way down, Governor Mike Huckabee was on the radio doing a special Emergency Talk Show. He recounted the miseries he had witnessed and tried to alleviate. Calls came in from listeners offering assistance. The Governor ended the program telling of a woman he had sat beside on the steps of the old barracks at Ft. Chaffee. The gal and her Momma had come in on a bus from the stormy shoreland. That morning - at 7A.M., her Momma had died; the woman had no money, no way to contact anyone and was engulfed in sobs and sorrow.

As we drove along listening to the Arkansas Governor, I picked up my cell phone and called John Smith, owner of the North Little Rock Funeral Home. I explained to an assistant (John was helping with a funeral just then) the details of the radio program and this lady's plight. I asked for 'a little miracle from the angels working at the Funeral Home'.

A DONE DEAL...

The Jewish teenager Anne Frank wrote some thoughtful words in her little diary as WWII was festering around her hiding place. The young girl penned in her red plaid book:

"How wonderful it is
that nobody
need wait a single moment
before starting to improve
the world."

The Pine Bluff Convention Center has been transformed into a residence for several hundred Gulf Shores folks. Area churches have taken-in families -- individual families have taken in homeless people. Their outpouring of goodwill will surely cause a 'golden glow' on this part of Central Arkansas when outerspace pictures are taken and beamed back to Earth! The Governor (a former Baptist minister) has been there and walked, talked, provided needs and prayed amongst the downtrodden.

I pulled up to visit with a Fireman - who was manning the doors, providing security and to assist in collections. He advised they needed Baby Formula, underwear (in all sizes and for all people) and towels. The man said:

"We have plenty of clothing. Everyone is allowed to take 6 changes of clothes from the stockpiles. We just don't have enough new underwear. The towels help all to be able to bathe, stay clean and refreshed."

While pulling away from the Convention Center, I spotted in the roadway a businessperson's day-date book...pages flipping in the breeze. Someone had probably laid it on their car to write, forgotten it and the book had dropped as they motored on their way. I flipped on my flashers - jumped out and grabbed the flying pages and the book. It belonged to a man named Robert from Louisiana. He had just made a $2,000. deposit at his local bank as the paperwork was inside. The book was mostly addresses and numbers plus his upcoming business meetings calendar - a highly valuable book to the owner. It was real leather and had expensive fountain pens tucked inside. I figured I was going to have to mail it back to him.

Next, a return trip to the Courthouse to pick up Hubby -- the 'bread winner' who was -- after some sweet-talk'n -- going to hopefully cover-the-bill.

I also suggested he could turn in the Walmart receipt for a tax write-off.

(MEN -- this is how their minds work -- ha!)

This is also a powerful incentive FOR EVERYONE to make donations...

We drove to the Pine Bluff WALMART
and bought almost every package of underwear they had.
We had some many briefs - shorts - undies and pants,
we looked like NUDIST COLONY REFORMERS...hahahaaaaaaaa!

As an experienced expert at spending Hubby's bucks, this tour 'd force style of buying is called:

'POWER SHOPPING'.

For those of you who are untutored regarding this technique, it is when you stand and point to a bargain and start yelp'n:

"I want 6 of those, 9 of those; I"ll take 3 of these and 14 of that."
Then you smile at your Hubby
who is possibly sweating
or lean'n next to a nearby wall
or occasionally prone on the floor beside you
allllllllllllllllll the while staring inside his hollow billfold.

(Hubby - who does NOT enjoy accompanying me on many of these excursions -
has confided the mysterious experience of:

'Cartoon Shopping Syndrome'.

This is when he peels back the edges of his wallet
and can literally see the dollar bills flutter out with wings
like in-the-Warner-Brothers-cartoons and float away.)

(Who would have thought a name-brand like 'FRUIT OF THE LOOM' was cheaper than some off-the-wall undies named 'INTERSTATE 40' -- huh?? Six pairs of briefs for $4.98 ain't a bad deal! Forget those 'Road Warrior' name-brand goofus undies at 3 pair for $4.00 - duh. I got this situation - along with a bunch 'o nekkid arses - COVERED! Heeeeeeehehehehee!! )

Then we got sox...mostly white sox and some black ones...
Then we did boys sox...and girls panties and socks.

(What kinda Momma is buying 'low-riding bikini style' drawers for their little girl? They're not go'n on the fanny of any liddle kiddle I'm dress'n!!!!!!!! I want full-blown, cover-yo-sef-up pants across their keesters!

This shopping style is weary business.

I didn't even try on ladies underwear....
nor did I buy any.
(There is a JOKE hidden in that last line somewhere...)

I bought every can of liquid Infant Formula that was one the shelf (I'm buy'n the WALMART name-brand -- much less expensive than the rest -- and what I would have purchased for myself too!). Hubby had to go up on a ladder to get the flats of canned formula down from the top of the shelf as the entire display had been almost bought out by the Pine Bluff locals and taken to the Convention Center!

As I was standing in line to check out -- I talked to ladies pushing their shopping baskets nearby or standing in line behind me.

(Ahhhh yes, the power of big-hearted women!)

I explained the Convention Center officials were begging for towels. One gal said her Sunday School Class would join in 'the towel effort'...another mentioned she would get one towel from every person representing her neighborhood / street...and a last lady said she could help too. It seems her daughter's Pine Bluff school had adopted one item per classroom -- like buying toothbrushes - as many as you could afford. One class had yet to get an assigned 'need.' I exclaimed:

'Its' towels - needed NOW - not tomorrow or next week!'
It was a done deal!

(Ahhhh -- all ya need is a talkative female and a positive attitude. A gaggle of gals can make minor miracles!)

We had 3 1/2 shopping carts full. A volunteer Walmart Department Head assisted wheel'n the stuff out to the truck.

When we wheeled the loot out across the parking lot...it was a hot, noontime sun bearing down. An elderly woman was pushing a cart with many plastic bags. She seemed lost - mumbling to herself as she passed me. I asked if she was having trouble finding her car and she admitted 'Yes'. This dear old woman - who probably should have not been out driving but to the nearby grocery and straight home - had spent (her term) 'a Widow's Mite' to buy 'lady's needs - Kotex and Tampons' and was making a drive to the Center to provide help. We located her old flivver-of-a-car and got her on the way... God Bless this dear, darling woman.

As we were putting the Walmart purchases in the back of our truckbed to haul back across town to the Convention Center, a black Lexus was slowly driving up and down the Walmart parking lot rows. It had a tag from Louisiana. A single man was driving, looking back and forth -- perhaps searching for someone or something. I took a hunch and stepped out into the line of traffic causing him to have to stop. I walked up to the window and asked:

"Is your name Robert?...(and said the last name).
He never spoke, just nodded his head with a dazed, quizzical expression.
"Did you loose something?"
"Yes -- I did..."
"Stay here -- I'll be right back."

"Is this your book and can you tell me the amount of your last bank deposit?"
He had all the answers; Then, he had his book.
"I drove up here to help. But, how'd you know to help me?"

How did I know?
I don't know;
These things just happen
'to' me
and
'for' me
and on this day,
for someone else.

My Great 'n Good Guardian Angel
works overtime
all the time.

It just occurs...like the movie line in 'SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE"
'Its' a mystery!'

(Hubby asked:
'How'd you know that?"
I always leave him a tad rattled 'n in a daze.

Poor man has a mantra after 25 yrs --
"No one ever told me it was going to be like this!"
Hahahahaaaa!!!!!!!!!!)

All the 'stuff' was in the truckbed as we pulled back within a 2 block area of the Convention Center. An old black man was walking down the street with two large bags of items. I rolled down the window and asked if he needed a lift.

(He was too old to be afraid of;
it was too hot for him to be out walking.
The gentleman was carrying waaaaaay to heavy a pair of burdens
for him to have to wag any distance.
OTHERWISE,
I -Hubby too -
DON"T PICK UP STRANGERS.)

He was a storm-tossed soul from Louisiana.
He needed a lift downtown to Simmons Bank.
The man had fallen in love with the people of Pine Bluff.
He had just finished getting papers straight from the Social Security Office
and was headed to the bank to have his account transferred to Arkansas.
He promised: "Pine Bluff, Arkansas is where I plan to live out my days now."
The waters had washed away his former residence and belongings;
and, after some tears 'n fears,
he was going to start anew
with a welcoming home
amongst new friends
in Arkansas.

This will not be over next week nor next month nor a half-year from now.
Illness is going to take hold...both in body and mind...for many of the people involved -

the people in need and those witnessing 'n helping.
Reflect on our small work here...
follow us.

Make a donation to ease the way for a stranger.

A concluding quote from Anne Frank's diary,
(one of my favorite quotable authors as you can tell...)

" We all live with the objective
of being happy;
our lives are all different
and yet
the same. "

-- Audrey in Arkansas

Friday, September 02, 2005

Harbinger of things to come?

Wake Up Zombies makes a good point with this article about the New Madrid Fault line and the impending earthquake that will make this week's New Orleans look mild. It is going to happen, when is the only question. In our lifetime? Most likely.

I remember some years back when an expert had made dire predictions of a major event along the fault and everyone was talking about it. I remember going a little faster when I drove across the Mississippi River bridge at Memphis. But you hear little about it these days and that is lulling us into a false sense of security.

We need to be prepared for "the big one". Much more so than New Orleans was prepared for theirs. To give you an idea of what we're really talking about, I want to quote a letter written in 1816 by an eyewitness to the earthquake of 1811-12. Her memories of it are vivid and graphic and the best account I have found so far.

New Madrid, Territory of Miss.
March 22, 1816

Dear Sir:

In compliance with your request, I will now give you a history, as full in detail as the limits of a letter will permit, of the late awful visitation of Providence in this vicinity. On the 16th of December, 1811, about two o’clock A.M., we were visited by a violent shock of an earthquake, accompanied by a very awful noise, resembling loud, but distant thunder, but more hoarse and vibrating, which was followed in a few moments by the complete saturation of the atmosphere with sulphurous vapor, causing total darkness.
The screams of the affrighted inhabitants, running to and fro, not knowing where to go or what to do, cries of the fowls and beasts of every species, the cracking of falling trees and the roaring of the Mississippi, the current of which was retrograde for a few moments, owing, as is supposed, to an eruption in its bed, formed a scene truly horrible.
From that time until about sunrise, a number of slight shocks occurred, at which time one, still more violent than the first, took place with the same accompaniments as the first, and the terror which had been excited in every one, and, indeed, in all animal nature, was, now, if possible, doubled. The inhabitants fled in every direction to the country, supposing, if it can be admitted that their minds were exercised at all, that there was less danger at a distance from, than near the river. In one person, a female, the alarm was so great that she fainted and could not be recovered.
There were several shocks in a day, but lighter, until the 23rd of January, 1812, when one occurred as violent as the severest of the former ones, accompanied by the same phenomena as the former. From this time until the 4th of February, the earth was in constant agitation, visibly waving as a gentle sea. On that day there was another shock, nearly as hard as the preceding ones. Next day, four shocks and on the 7th at about four o’clock A.M., a concussion took place, so much more violent than those that had preceded it, that it was the hard shock. The awful darkness of the atmosphere, which, as formerly, was saturated with sulphurous vapor, and the violence of the tempestuous, thundering noise that accompanied it, together with all other phenomena mentioned as attending the former ones, formed a scene the description of which will require the most sublimely fanciful imagination. At first, the Mississippi seemed to recede from its banks and its waters gathered up like a mountain, leaving for a moment, many boats, which were here on their way to New Orleans, on the bare sand, in which time the poor sailors made their escape from them. It then, rising fifteen or twenty feet perpendicularly, and expanding, as it were, at the same moment, the banks were overflowed with a retrograde current. The boats, which before had been left on the sand, were now torn from their moorings and suddenly driven up a little creek at the mouth of which they lay, to the distance in some instances, of nearly a quarter of a mile. The river, falling immediately, as rapidly as it had risen, receded within its banks again with such violence that it took whole groves of young cotton-wood trees, which hedged its borders. They were broken off with such regularity, in some instances, that persons who had not witnessed the fact, could be, with difficulty, persuaded that it had not been the work of art. A great many fish were left on the banks living, unable to keep pace with the water. The river was literally covered with the wreck of boats and it seemed that one was wrecked in which there were a lady and six children, all of whom were lost.
In all the hard shocks mentioned, the earth was horribly torn to pieces. The surface of hundreds of acres was, from time to time, covered over of various depths by the sand which issued from the fissures, which were made in great numbers all over the country, some of which closed up immediately after they had vomited forth their sand and water, which it must be remembered, was the matter generally thrown up. In some places, however, there was a substance somewhat resembling coal or impure stone coal, thrown up with the sand. It is impossible to say what the depth of the fissures or irregular breaks was. We have reason to believe that some of them were very deep.
The site of this town was evidently settled down at the least fifteen feet, and not more than half a mile below the town, there does not appear to be any alteration in the bank of the river, but back from the river a small distance, the numerous large ponds or lakes as they were called, which covered a great part of the country, wer nearly dried up. The beds of some of them are elevated above their former banks several feet, producing an alteration of ten, fifteen or twenty feet from their original state. And, lately, it has been discovered that a lake was formed on the opposited side of the Mississippi, in the Indian country, upwards of one hundred miles in length and from one to six miles in width, of a depth of from ten to fifty feet. It has communication with the river at both ends and it is conjectured that it will not be many years before the principal part, if not the whole of the Mississippi will pass that way.
We were constrained, by the fear of our house falling, to live twelve or eighteen months after the first shock, in little light camps made of boards but we gradually became callous and returned to our house again. Most of those who fled from the country in the time of the hard shocks, have since returned home.
We have, since their commencement in 1811, continued to feel slight shocks occasionally. It is seldom, indeed, that we are more than a week without feeling one and sometimes three or four in a day. There were two this winter past, much harder than we have felt them for two years before, but since then they appear to be lighter than they have ever been, and we begin to hope that ere long, they will entirely cease.
I have now, sir, finished my promised description of the earth quake, imperfect, it is true, but just as it occurred to my memory, many of and most of the truly awful scenes having occurred three or four years ago. They, of course, are not related with that precision which would entitle it to the charactoer of a full and correct picture, but such as it is, it is given with pleasure, in the full confidence that it is given to a friend.
And now, sir, wishing you all good, I must bid you adieu.

Eliza Bryan

The Rev. Lorenzo Dow.

P.S. There is one circumstance which I think worthy of remark. This country was formerly subject to very hard thunder, but, for more that a twelvemonth before the commencement of the great earthquake, there was none at all and but very little since, a great part of which resembles subterraneous thunder. The shocks still continue, but are growing more light and less frequent.
E.B.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

American Tsunami

With things going from bad to worse along the Gulf Coast today and yesterday, I hear that our city may be host to as many as 50,000 refugees. Officials are setting up to receive them at the fair grounds.

The hotels here are already full. Our churches need to open their airconditioned doors and allow these people to come and stay in their carpeted facilities, sleep on the padded pews and eat in the kitchens. Most have full nurseries to accommodate families with small children and many have showers and other facilities to make them perfect shelters for the victims of this terrible disaster. I hope they will show the true love of Christ and open their arms and hearts to these poor people.

But, what is the world's response to our tsunami?

One was to raise the price of oil $3.00 a barrel to record levels.

I don't hear an outpouring of generosity or willingness to help us in our time of need. Or am I just not listening?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lazy Post Today...

Boudreaux been fish'n down by de bayou all day and he done run plum outta night crawlers. He be bout reddy to leave when he seen a snake wif a big frog in his mouf. He knowed dat dem big bass fish like dem frogs, so he decided to steal dat froggie.

Dat snake, he be a cotton mouf water moccasin, so he had to be real careful or he'd git bit. He snuk up behine dat snake and grab him roun de haid.

Dat ole snake din't lak dat one bit. He squirmed and wrap hisself roun' Boudreaux's arm try'n to git hisself free. But Boudreaux, him had a real good grip on his haid, yeh. Well, Boudreaux pried his mouf open and got de frog and puts it in his bait can.

Now, Boudreaux knows dat he cain't let go dat snake or he gonna bite him good, but he had a plan. He reach into de back pocket of his bib overalls and pulls out a pint a moonshine likker. He pour some drops into de snake's mouf. Well, dat snake's eyeballs roll back in his haid and his body go limp.

Wit dat, Boudreaux toss dat snake into de bayou. Den he goes back to fishin'.

A while later, Boudreaux dun feel sumpin' tappin' on his barefoot toe.

He slowly look down and dare wuz dat cotton mouf snake - wif two more frogs.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Truth About Global Warming

Researchers at the University of Texas released data today indicating that global warming may be tied directly to air conditioning. For some years now, scientists have looked at the release of Freon into the atmosphere as harming the ozone layer and ultimately contributing to global warming. And, it was long thought that greenhouse gasses contributed largely to the phenomenon.

But it is only just recently that a direct connection between air conditioning and global warming has become evident.

Geri Sanchez, head of the Terra-Two Project, which looks at global warming and its causes, effects and remedies, at the University of Texas, Austin, said, “We have been compiling statistics on air conditioning in this country and around the world for the last three years.”

“We show trends prior to 1958 when air conditioning first started to become popular,” she continued, “until 2004 and you can see a dramatic increase in the average temperature of the earth starting about 1964.”

“When you calculate the square footage enclosed in air conditioned spaces, and the average difference in temperature from inside and outside, it’s easy to see that the air outside is being replaced with heated air and the air inside is cool.”

“Multiply the effects of one 1800 square foot house times millions and you realize that it’s no coincidence that temperatures have risen a full three quarters of a degree Fahrenheit over the past two decades. You can’t expect to fill large volumes of space with cool air and not raise the surrounding temperature.”

Sanchez went on to state that this is why we have become so dependent on air conditioning.

“I hear all the time, ‘how did people live without air conditioning in the old days?’ And, the answer is, it wasn’t so hot then so people didn’t notice.”

Sanchez believes that if everyone stopped using air conditioning at one time, the earth’s temperature would drop to previous levels within a few months and people wouldn’t need air conditioning.

“It’s good for people, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for energy conservation, it’s good for the Earth.” Sanchez stated.

For further information, contact g.sanchez@utex.edu

Friday, July 29, 2005

Daily Ride

You know, it’s funny when I blog about my son and his car, the guys are all maximum performance and go boy and then Sandy is just, “well, how is the ride to work every morning."

And, in usual guy fashion, you can just snort about the guy’s comments and go, “if you only knew, bro, if you only knew,” scratch your ass and go about your business. But Sandy’s comment…well that just has to be addressed.

Typical ride to work conversation:

Boy: “I been over at Nick’s the last couple nights and he’s getting his car painted.”

(To fill you in, Nick came by last week and had bought about $3000.00 worth of spray primer at Wal Mart and had “primed” his car. Pretty much everything except a small area of the windshield for him to look out of. His mother, horrified, told him she would pay to have the car professionally painted if he would promise not to try that shit anymore.)

Me: “That’s cool.”

Boy: “Yeah the dude came over to his house and sanded all of the crap he sprayed on it off, then coated it with primer. It’s looking pretty good. Nick said he’s only having to pay for the materials and that the dude is painting it for free. I told him he could paint my car too and I’d buy the materials and he said he wanted $900.00 plus materials to paint my car, so I said ‘go find someone else to pay you $900.00, and paint their car, dude.”

Me: “Maybe you should make friends with somebody that knows how to paint cars…”

Boy: “Anyway they’re going to put this paint on there that has to cure for 9 days…”

Me: “Can’t wax it until it cures?”

Boy: “No, he can’t even drive it. It has to stay locked up in the garage for nine days until it cures…”

Me: “Damn! What kind of paint is that?”

Boy: “ I DON’T KNOW! I don’t know, it’s some kind of paint. Why are you asking me all this?”

Me: “Dang, ‘Mr. I know everything about cars’ and he doesn’t know what this fancy ass paint is that takes nine days to cure?”

Boy: “LOOK!, I know about ENGINES, and TRANSMISSIONS, and BOOSTERS and TURBO CHARGERS, but I DON’T know about paint. ALL RIGHT?”

Me: “Just trying to make conversation. That’s all.”

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Car Update

Son1, being unable to accomplish job findament on his own, is now working at my company, therefore able to ride to work with me and back every day. If he can drag his lazy butt out of bed.

He got his first paycheck last Friday (covering all of two days) and is projecting he will be able to buy an engine for his car in six weeks.

Well, if he doesn't binge and spend all his money on pot and loose women before then...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hamster Stan

Some of you have been anxious to know, since the report from our correspondent in Long Beach last week, how things have shaken out between Dan the Weiner Dog and Hamster Stan.

Sadly we must report, Hamster Stan is no more. Dan the Weiner Dog, tired of being ignored whilst staring death daggers into the cage, apparently ate Hamster Stan and ground his bones with his somewhat powerful teeth. As powerful as a Weiner Dog can muster, anyway.

After cleaning up the mess, we sent Dan the Weiner Dog to his bed to lick his butt and ruminate over his transgressions. He won't be allowed out until he is sufficiently sorry.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Dream Car

Son1, who is sixteen, bought the car of his dreams yesterday.

His next project is to clean out the right-hand garage to park it in.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hamster Stan

from our correspondent in Long Beach:

Hamster Stan is in jeopardy, Dan the Weiner Dog has been shooting daggers at him from his beady black eyeballs from a shelf across from the cage. Dan the Weiner Dog feels like he is some kind of badass and is itching for a fight.

Updates as they arrive…

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Dark Side

Sandy asks, “…tell us about your DARK SIDE.”

I suppose that whatever dark side of myself that I choose to reveal to you, dear readers, is going to be mild in comparison to the dank, stinking secrets I intend to carry to my grave. With that in mind, here goes.

We used to drive around town in a pick up truck, late at night, drinking beer and picking up the real estate signs in people’s yards. We would do this until we had the bed filled with them and then we would go to the rich neighborhood and put an entire street up for sale.

I sometimes take things out of other people’s shopping baskets at the grocery store and sometimes I put things in them when they’re not looking.

I put toads in a guy’s car every day for an entire summer, once.

I once grew tired of hearing about a co-worker’s fantastic garden so I placed a want ad in the paper for produce pickers. He came in that Monday with an even more fantastic tale of having been overrun with migrant workers all weekend.

When my son was three, I told him the homeless man sitting under the bridge was a troll.

We used to put custom bumper stickers on people’s cars. All you need is a roll of 2 inch masking tape and a Sharpie pen. “Honk if you’re gay too” is a favorite.

I stole a watermelon out of someone’s garden before.

When we were kids we would call the pay phone at the mall and pretend we thought it was our mom that answered and say, “I’m sick, come get me.” in a most weak and convincing manner. Then we’d give whoever answered a phone number and name from the phone book to call because we’d just “used my last dime to make this call.”

Monday, June 27, 2005

Lost As An Easter Egg

The first time I ever got fired from a job, I felt carefree enough to just enjoy it for about six months. I did a lot of different things to make money and keep myself afloat including building sets for the local opera theater, and digging quartz crystals in the Ouachita Mountains to sell.

Which led to an interesting proposition.

One of my old buddies had been going with a friend to hunt an old Confederate camp in south Arkansas with metal detectors. They had found a place down there that yielded up a very rare bullet that went for around $90 apiece at that time, nearly twenty years ago.

Of course this spot was completely secret and each sworn never to reveal to another. But somehow they came to the agreement to let me in if I would show them where I was getting the quartz crystals.

So I take them down into the Ouachitas and we dig crystals all day and I come home with my hands completely swelled and blistered from poison ivy roots. I felt that I had upheld my end of the bargain.

So, a few weeks later we all pile into Joe’s truck and take off about six a.m. for L.A. (lower Arkansas), getting there about 8:30 or so. It’s cloudy and sort of misty, but veteran treasure hunters know that this makes for better sensitivity in locating objects, and easier digging to retrieve them. So off we go into the forest.

More like a long series of swamps and bogs with intermittent thickets of briars and thorny locust trees. So, where are the bullets?

“Oh,” they tell me, “we decided to check out a new place.”

And about thirty minutes into the trek of finding nothing, it starts to rain. Earnestly.

Joe says, “We better head back to the truck,” and whips out his compass. I hadn’t noticed before then that he didn’t bother to check the compass when we left the truck. This turned out to be a crucial bit of information. “It’s this way,” he said.

We thrashed through unfamiliar underbrush and waded a few low spots before realizing that we weren’t really getting any closer to seeing the truck. And there being no sun to judge by, there was no way of knowing if we were going the right way or not. We slogged on.

Some of the swamps are starting to get chest high, and being that wet in a November downpour gets to be mighty uncomfortable, even if you’re wearing G.I. boots and field jackets. It was even more disheartening to find that all of my cigarettes were wet.

On and on and on we trudge. A check of my watch shows that it’s been four hours since we left the truck. Over rises, through sloughs, and scratched by briars of every description, we trekked on and on. Finally, about four o’clock, we come to a narrow, muddy jeep trail. So, which way do we go?

First instinct says go right, but after about a quarter of a mile I saw a sign nailed to a tree. Soggy Bottoms Hunting Club, No Trespassing. “Look fellas,” I said, “the sign is facing this way so that must be out.” Agreed. And, we start hiking down the jeep track.

An hour and an half later we arrive at a gravel road. This is an improvement, but which way? We walked about half a mile and came to a rise from which we could see to the horizon and no end in sight to this road. So, we went the other way.

We walked for about thirty minutes in a driving rain, the hoods on our field jackets pulled tight around our faces, our metal detectors draining rivulets from the speaker holes, when we came to the dead end of said gravel road. That was disheartening to say the least. And a cigarette would have been a great relief but they had all been left disgustedly in a soggy mass at the terminus of the jeep track.

So, off we go on the trail to infinity trying to while away the time talking about how stupid Joe was to not check his fucking compass until it was time to go back and how fucked up it would be to have to spend the night, wet and cold in the woods.

Sometime really close to sundown we started hearing the sounds of a highway in the distance. We quickened our pace and finally came to a beautiful two lane black top with brightly painted amber stripes. Not giving a shit, we flagged down the first vehicle to come along, which in Arkansas is 99% sure to be a pick up truck.

“Say, how do you get to Mount Elba from here?” we asked. “Mount Elba!” he replied, “Hell boys, you’re twenty miles from Mount Elba. Jump in and I’ll give you a ride.”

Welcome words to be sure and one of us had to ride in the back of the truck in the wind. I figured dumbass Joe would volunteer, but when he didn’t, I was just so grateful that I climbed in back and relished the fact that I wasn’t walking in the rain any more.

He whipped a giant u-turn in the middle of the highway and we barreled off to where the truck was parked. It was a silent ride, in the dark, wet and miserable with the heater blasting, back to Little Rock. As far as I know, I have never spoken to Joe again and don’t reckon I ever will. Curt and I have remained friends and I only partially blame him.

But hell, I didn’t even get a t-shirt. I spent ten hours in the rain and all I got was this crummy story…