If it’s war they want, it’s war they’ll get.

So, it was all out war. We were ok with that. Nobody knew that patch of ground better than we did and the panhandle punks were gonna find that out the hard way. There was a lot to do to get ready for this certain victory and the permanent ownership of our land.

First thing we had to set up was stockpiles of clods in strategic places all around the field. That plus they had to be hid so they could not find them. That was easy. We just dug holes in the right places and then covered them up with loose dirt. They weren’t smart enough to find them. We added a few well placed tumble weeds but they got blown away.

The next thing we had to do was plan our strategy to react to whatever direction they came from. That too was easy. They were not smart enough to plan an attack. They would take the easy way and come from the direction of their own neighborhood straight towards the field right by James Butler Bonham Junior High School. Knowing that, it would be an easy defense. We could lay in wait behind the church that sat on the edge of our field. They would never know what hit them. We put our biggest stock piles of clods around the back of the church. We also put clod piles in various places throughout the field in case one of them got smart. Doubtful but we wanted to cover all of our bases.

We got it all done and everybody got his assignment. The last thing we did was make sure everybody knew they would have to be extra special nice at home to avoid getting grounded. That meant doing all the chores AND not tormenting the sister in the house (or, as in my case – the big brother). The last thing we needed was to lose men to home jail. We were ready.

Saturday morning came and we got our chores done as quick as possible (while avoiding a last minute grounding). We were all there in Stew’s backyard.

“We’ve done all we can, fellows,” Larry said with great sincerity. Steve and Gary had been sent out to watch and warn us when they sighted the panhandle punks. The ten of us remained in hiding in Stewi’s backyard and waited for the alert from Steve and/or Gary. We waited. Any waited. Lunch came and no word. It was summer and it was hot, hot, hot. Steve and Gary came back with no sighting. Larry and I replaced them until dusk. Nothing. Not even one. Where were they?

At dark, we all headed for home. “Tomorrow is Sunday,” Larry pronounced. “They will come after church. I’m certain of it.” We agreed we would meet back at Stew’s on Sunday after church.

Next Week: Wait



The unholy alliance

Given that we had been run out of “our” territory not once but twice, we were in  no mood to hear any guff out of the four meanest girls in the neighborhood. They laughed and laughed until I thought they were going to collapse. When they got back to almost normal (for a girl), they stood up (they had fallen down from laughing so hard) and faced us.

“Ya’ll are ridiculous”, Gail said, stifling yet another laugh. “Yeh, no kidding, Margaret added with a guffaw. “You know they are easy to get rid of, you know that don’t you?” Alice added, “But you all don’t know you have a secret weapon.”

“Secret weapon?” I was incredulous to imagine that these girls would ever stoop to think that we didn’t know about our secret weapon. “Of course, we know about our secret weapon!” Stewi tried to sound smart and all that. Larry had no clue about any secret weapon and said so. (Rule #1 – NEVER admit you don’t know something to a girl-EVER). That just made everything much worse.

Margaret laughed and said, “WE are your secret weapon!” All of us laughed in unison at that out of this world remark. “You! That’s a joke!” I was dead serious even when Larry asked how these girls could be out biggest secret.

“We’ll tell you on the condition that you all have to play four square with us at least two Saturdays a month AND let us use your GI Joe’s with our Barbie.

“NO WAY!!!” We were in complete unison on the matter and there would be no discussion. “OUR GI Joe’s play with YOUR Barbie!? Not on this planet!!” I replied at the top of my voice “You’ve got your Ken doll! Use him.” “GI Joe is much tougher than Ken,” replied Alice. She was right on that for sure but that did not mean they could make our GI Joe play house. He’s a combat soldier and that’s just the way it is. We would not budge.

“Suit yourself,” Alice was unmovable. “Hope you find a new field to play on!”

With that, we gathered up our Moon Pies and RC Colas and left for Stewi’s back yard. No way were we going to agree to Foursquare and loosing our GI Joes.

Next week: A new attempt


Licking our wounds

It took quite a spell to get all ten of us into the safety of Stewie’s backyard and the protection of his fence. That fence didn’t help much as our enemies continued throwing clods over the fence and into the yard. We retreated even further into the safety of the garage. That attracted the attention of Stewie’s dad who, upon realizing his back yard was being littered by clods, went out and ran those skunks off. We were, for a time, safe.

It was late Saturday morning by now and we were confined to the interior of the garage with a whole bunch of Saturday to get through yet. Larry went out to scout the area and was met with a merciless shelling of “Panhandle death clods,” as we called them. He was lucky he survived. We were unsure whether we would ever see daylight again until Max had the idea to walk down to Mr. Walker’s store and get an RC Cola™ and a Moon Pie™. We would be safe as Mr. Walker’s store was the opposite direction and further away from the field. Those skunks would leave us alone there. We would be safe out back and could talk over our plans for counterattack.

We forgot about the neighborhood girls.

Here it might be the time to explain the neighborhood girls. They were the bane of our existence. If memory serves, there were about a million of them. Unless we got to our field real early in the morning (btw: my Dad told me it was against Texas state law for girls of any age to be on the field at any time), we had to put up with them and their girly goofiness. Their entire agenda was to entice, invite, or otherwise rope us into playing with them. I’m sorry, but our “Man Code” forbade us from playing house, handling any kind of dolls (G.I. Joe™ was the sole exception), playing some goofy game called foursquare, and anything other than what met our man code. It was just that simple. We were ten years old, for crying out loud! Well, Stewi and Rusty were eight. You get my meaning.

So, on this sunny Saturday morning we went to Mr. Walker’s store, got our RC Colas and Moon Pies, and settled out back of the store to soak our sorrows. (for some of us, It took more than one Moon Pie to drown the sorrow). Mr. Walker even came out to see if we were ok. He went back inside his store and no sooner than the screen door slammed shut than we spotted the four orneriest girls in the neighborhood. Alice, Margaret, Brindley, and Gail came around the corner, stopped dead in their tracks, and stared at us. After what seemed to be an eternity, all four broke down laughing themselves silly. Girls do that you know. Our man code did not allow us to throw clods at girls so we just stood there and stared as meanest of a stare that anyone can muster.

Next week: An unlikely alliance.

Free water and hugs!

Being the beautiful day that it was today, the wife and I decided to take a nice stroll along the canal in downtown Indianapolis. Turned out much better than I could have expected.

As we walked, we bumped into and had several great conversations with people we did not know and most likely would never see again. There was the family from St. Louis who we chanced up at the USS Indianapolis memorial. He worked for Ford Motors and enjoyed what he does. The missus was a little pooped and was resting on a bench. When she learned that there was a place to rent paddle boats, she tried her best to get her husband to go rent the boat and bring it back here and pick her up. We left before learning whether he would go get the boat.

Then there was three women, one being VERY pregnant, out for a walk. The one in a family way was clearly uncomfortable, this being her sixth child. I got the impression that she might be past her due date and was hoping this little girl would get a move on. We left her with some encouragement that it would soon be over.

Oh, and there was two women from Germany with whom we had a nice chat. One was living here due to her husband’s job and the other was here on vacation. Having lived in Germany for some eleven years or so, it was a joy to hear the German language and reminiscence with these two about our days in “Deutschland.”

But the height of the day came when we went under one of the bridges that cross the canal. There we chanced upon a group of students (I guessed them to be college age or thereabouts) of about a dozen or so and of various backgrounds handing out free bottles of water. Along with the free bottle of water came free hugs (I took two). I inquired as to the reasoning behind the free water and hugs. The young lady who had given me a bottle of water and double hugs said, and I quote, ” Well, we’ve all had a pretty tough week, haven’t we?” She was, of course, referring to the recent violence across our nation. It was a remarkable gesture of kindness and I said so. I don’t know where they came from or anything about them. They improved the day of so many with their kindness.

Now, why doesn’t the press report stuff like this?


Memorial Day

(Posted here is a bit of wisdom courtesy of The Patriot Post. Enjoy)

Memorial Day provides a stark contrast between the best of our nation’s Patriot sons and daughters versus the worst of our nation’s culture of consumerism. But Memorial Day is NOT for sales. Millions of Patriots have already paid the full price.

Amid the reverent observances honoring the sacrifice of millions of American Patriots who defended Liberty in accordance with their sacred oaths, it is unfortunate that too many venders have commercialized Memorial Day. Indeed, Memorial Day has been sold out, along with Washington’s Birthday, Independence Day, Veterans, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. And no wonder, given that government schools now substitute grossly adulterated and revisionist history for the civics courses which used to inform young people of their duty as citizens.

In his essay “The Contest In America,” 19th-century libertarian philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

Open note to an unknown neighbor

Dear neighbor. It may be that we know each other and it may be that we do not. In any case, I am unable to make a positive identification so I will trust that you read this in the full knowledge that I harbor no animosity toward you or your family. It is with nothing but pure charity and the welfare of our neighborhood that I place before you the following request.

Prior to my request: I do know one tidbit about you in that you are in possession of an animal of some sort.I have the evidence of said animal in several places in my front and back yard. Considering  the size of said evidence,  I surmise the creature to be a medium-sized canine. If, by chance, your animal turns out to be a cat, well then, he is certainly a very large cat indeed. My bet is on a dog, though, as I have no knowledge of any large felines in the neighborhood and we are not that close to any zoos. Leastwise, none that I know of.

I mentioned a request earlier in my correspondence. My request is a simple one. If  you would do me the kindness of locating a new place for your canine (assuming he is a dog) to leave his or her “digested remains” in some place other than my front or back yard, I would be grateful beyond words. I would put forth a further desire that you would not resort  to another neighbor’s yard in place of mine at the risk of alienating yourself from ALL of your neighbors. Perhaps your own yard would be the best place? That way, you are at liberty to do what you wish with the evidence and not be required to carry removal equipment on your daily constitutional.

My final admonition is that you not allow your animal (whatever he or she is) to roam our streets at night. He or she will not differentiate between yards and you will find yourself at odds with most of the neighborhood. I would not want that to stand against you.

If you would, give the following note to your dog: “BARK!! BARK BARK!!! BARRRRRKKKKK! BARK BARK BARK! ( Propriety precludes me from translating).

With kindest regards for you and your kin,


The legend of the sorghum bull

I lived on Hall street in Amarillo, Texas way back in the sixties. Our neighborhood was on the south side of town. Two blocks west of my house was a field that I played on with the neighborhood boys. We spent our childhood on that great section of the Texas panhandle.

“Our field” was, I would guess, twenty or so acres. Our neighborhood bordered the east side. The west side of the field was bordered by a farm to market road named Soncy Road. On the north side was Bonham Junior High School.

On the south side of the field was a farm. That farmer grew sorghum that they used to feed cattle. Sorghum grows pretty tall and when it was grown we would sneak into the sorghum fields and play hide and seek. We never did stomp any of the sorghum down or hurt nothing. I knew some teenagers would get in there and stomp down the plants for whatever dumb reason. I walked into two of them in there once and they were smoochin. Anyway….

Well, we were in there once and the farmer that owned the land caught us. He called our daddy’s on us and, boy, Jesus had a lot of meetings that night!

After what seemed like a year of being grounded, the ten of us went over to Rex’s house one night to roast marshmallows. We had a great time. Rex’s daddy came out and asked us if we wanted to hear a story. He had lived in the panhandle all his life and knew about all there was to know about Texas.

He told us about an old man that lived way back in the cowboy days. You know, back when everybody rode horses and carried a six shooter? He lived on the very farm that bordered our field. You know, the one we got in trouble for playing in? As a matter of fact, the farmer that had caught us was the old man’s great grandson. Anyway, that old farmer had a cow and she was pregnant. She came due late one night during a storm. That old farmer went out into the field to where she was going to give birth to help her. She was making such a ruckus that he thought she was going to die. Right at the time the little calf was coming out, the old cow jerked in pain and hit the farmer and knocked him plum out. Just as that happened, lightning struck the old cow and her calf. The farmer came too after a minute and he thought the cow and the calf were dead. They were not as it happened and the old man was able to get mother and calf back to the barn. But things were not the same. No sir.

As the bull grew up, he wasn’t like the other cattle. For one thing, he was mean. He was. He was meaner than any snake and he was the biggest bull in the panhandle. He was so big and so mean there wasn’t a cow or bull anywhere that would have anything to do with him. He didn’t have any friends except the old farmer. He and the old man knew one another and knew what each other wanted. The old man decided to plant a field of sorghum just for the bull to eat. Somehow or another the bull knew the field was for him and he stayed out there all the time, day or night.

You know, that bull got so he didn’t want anybody in amongst his sorghum field and that included any and all animals. He’d chase off any snake or coyote or anything else that got into his field. If he did catch something, he’d up and eat it. Didn’t matter what it was. Lizard, horned toad, didn’t matter. He’d eat it.

The only living being that could get on that field and not get hurt was the old farmer and his sons. It was that way until they turned that field into houses some years after I left.

Rex’s dad looked at us long and hard then he said: “You all remember Rusty’s little brother Billy? (Rusty was one of the neighborhood boys   – but he was home that night because he was grounded). “You remember then”, Rex’s Dad went on, “that he up and disappeared one night?” We did and nobody ever knew what had become of him. When we would ask Rusty, he would just cry. “Well”, Rex’s dad said in a dead serious tone and with the light from the fire behind him, “We don’t know for sure but Billy was last seen near the sorghum field.” He looked at us with a deadly serious look on his face for what seemed like forever. All of a sudden. He slapped his legs, stood up and said, “night ya’ll.”

We never set foot in the sorghum field again. Ever.I did hear that, when he died, they stuffed him. I am told he sits outside some restaurant on the highway near Amarillo.