March Madness?

March Madness is upon us and that reminds me of my very short basketball career.

If memory serves, I was in the fifth or sixth grade at Western Plateau Elementary School in Amarillo, Texas in the mid-sixties. The school didn’t have a sports program so we played under the umbrella of an association called “Kids Inc.” Our team wore red and gold and I think our team name was the “magpies.” Don’t ask me how we got that name. To this day, I don’t know what a magpie is and don’t feel like looking it up. Anyway, I cannot remember a whole lot about my one-season career save two events.

We played somebody (I don’t remember who – maybe the cows or the moose’s, – something like that) at the local Boy’s Club. I was one of those players whose job it was to make sure the bench didn’t wander away. The league had a mandatory “everybody plays” rule so I left my job for a few minutes every half and played center. I was in the thick of things just where the three point line would be if the rule had been around back then. I took it in my mind that I didn’t want to bother with running all that way to the basket for a lay-up so I took the easy way out and launched the ball from midcourt. As luck would have it, the shot sank and I scored two points! I was elated! Two points! My first (and sole) ever in a game. My euphoria did not last as my services were needed on the bench just a scant minute or two after my basket.

The week after my triumph our team ventured out again to play at the Boy’s Club. This time, we were to play a team from the rough side of town. I think they were called the junior convicts. There wasn’t much to write about this game except the magpies had bruises and scrapes over every inch of our bodies.

THAT, dear friends, is the sum of my basketball career.

Pottus Holus

It’s difficult to describe the indescribable. How do I explain what happened just two nights ago?  The trauma that I find so painful to recount has left me with a sore neck and a battered and bruised truck. I will chronicle the events as best I can and allow you, dear reader, to separate fact from fiction.

Some of you may know that we have a foreign exchange student that lives with us. On Friday last, it fell upon me to drive from our Southside home to the university to pick said student up. It is a trip I have made many times with never a sign of trouble. It was after dark when I left my home with the full expectation of an uneventful journey. Such it would have been save an encounter at the point just north of where two major streets split into a fork. It was there that the unseen terror struck.

As I was driving along, my SUV was grabbed by the left front tire in such a violent manner as to make my head jerk back. In that split second of horror, the truck that had served me so well for so long was found in the grip of a monster known as potus cavus. The beast of the underworld made a savage attempt to drag my faithful truck down into its nefarious subterranean lair. Were it not for the quick reaction of my truck, it is probable that neither I nor it would be here today.

After my truck wrestled itself free from the potus cavus, I got to the side of the road and away from the subterranean monster and checked the wounds that bad been inflicted on my friend of some six years. It was clear that it had suffered some great harm and I would need to get it to people who could tend to its needs. Damaged though it was, it was strong enough to inch its way to help where it sits now.

I do not know the extent of its damages. It will, no doubt, recover. Dear friends, let this be a warning to all who read this. Potis cavus has invaded even our beloved Southside. Be watchful, dear reader. Be watchful and wary.


This week, I want to share a story from my childhood in the Texas Panhandle that fits right in with the “Snowmaggedon” that we’ve had here in the Midwest.

Sometime in the late sixty’s, we had a terrible snow storm in Amarillo, Texas where I grew up. Amarillo does not get snow like we do here (least wise not as much).  Anyway, a snowstorm came in with lots of wind, the result being a fair amount of drifting. School was called off for the day so it was just me, Mom, and our dog, Brutus. Brutus was a thoroughbred St. Bernard. We had a good sized fenced in the backyard and Brutus spent most of his time out there, weather permitting.

The day after the storm I let Brutus out the back door so he could do his business. After about ten minutes or so, the front doorbell rang. It was early in the morning and we were surprised that somebody would be out in this lousy weather. Mom answered the door to discover it was Brutus. He waltzed in the house like he owned the joint. I went to the backyard as I thought the back gate was open which would explain how Brutus showed up on our front porch. It was, in fact, closed. I figured the wind had slammed it shut and gave no more thought to it. By and by, Brutus announced his desire to go outside again. I let him go without a second thought but, within the span of ten minutes, he announced himself at the front door.

He pulled this same stunt twice more. Mom and I were at a loss to explain how Brutus could get out of the fenced-in back yard, go to the front door AND, ring the durn doorbell. I went outside again to make sure the back gate was shut and it was. There were no tracks in the snow by the gate either. I was flummoxed as to his trick until I turned around. There at the point where the house and fence joined was a large drifted pile of snow that had frozen. On that drifted snow was paw prints. The snow had drifted up on both sides of the fence allowing Brutus’ escape.

To this day, I do not know how he figured out how to ring the door bell.