Monday, August 31, 2009

bang, we all fall down.

I was born into a family of hunters. Nothing too exotic, mind you. Deer and Turkey. Texas game. I remember the first time my dad took me hunting.  It was cold and worse, it was cold and windy. I wanted so badly to see a deer, I was hallucinating deer. I suppose I knew I didn't really want to hunt or shoot a deer but I did want to please my dad, so deer being plentiful, it wasn't long before one wandered into my sites. The deer was a long way off. "Seventy five yards", I remember dad saying. If memory serves, I was shooting a .243. Don't kid yourself, there's plenty of take down power in a .243. I know I was taking a long time, but the deer being so far away, the temperature so low and the wind wicking what little body heat my lanky frame could muster, it seemed almost impossible to steady the cross hairs on the deer feeding unaware across the pasture. Finally, squeezing on the trigger far enough, the gun went off, bringing down the deer in my sites. What I'd done was blast the knee joints out of the deer's front legs. My dad, ordering me to stay in place, walked out to the poor animal and finished killing him. 
I can remember, to this day looking at the deer and sensing his life ebbing away. Looking at his eyes, I watched them go from dark, large and shiny to gray and opaque in a matter of minutes. I didn't enjoy that little experience, at all.
Deer hunters provide a service, they really do. Without deer hunters, the deer population would multiply like rabbits. As for myself though, I'd rather not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

hello mother, hello father

Growing up, I had a turbulent relationship with my father. Sadly, I suppose, I never really did get as close to him as I wanted. We just didn't mesh. Mom once told me, "the reason you don't get along with your father, is because you're too much like him." This may be true. I followed a path similar to his. He didn't get along with his father either and he also searched for a father figure in someone who would not only teach him some life lessons, but show him some respect, too.
Imagine my surprise when I learned my Grandfather, who I always thought of as a nice man, was considered a bastard by his children. My Aunt, a fount of family information, told me the story of how my Grandfather lost his eye. It began innocuously enough. A little something in the eye, followed by persistent irritation, then infection. As a result of that, the eye had to be removed. The doctor told him, "we're going to have to take out that eye or the infection will travel from the eye and possibly into your brain. You should know also, you may die." After this sobering visit from the physician and surely in the solitude of his hospital room he made a deal with God. "God, if you let me live, I'll be a better father to my family." He lived, and my Aunt said, he kept his deal with God and was indeed a better father, after his brush with death.
I was always closer to my mother. She had a hard scrabble family history that could mark a person, but despite this, she had fierce loyalty toward her children, beyond that of her love for her husband. My Dad, I think, found this difficult to take and like most men couldn't understand the love of a woman, his wife, for her children. The fruit of this misunderstanding, on his part, caused him to be jealous of us and our Mother, his own kids. Didn't mean he was a bad man. Many men have felt the very same thing the world over. I'm a lot like dad and very much like mother. I loved them both. I recognize them more with each passing day, in their youngest child.
Its been said, you can't always get what you want, but not many have said it as well as the Rolling Stones.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Took a scheduled day off from work today. I had a spot on my arm that was bothering me (thinking omg,C). I was told by the young woman that set my appointment that I should come in on Tuesday. I scheduled the day off accordingly, but when I arrived at the front counter the young woman informed me, "no it should be on Friday." I was a little put out, having taken a day off and it showed. They saw me anyway. My doctor is an old, friendly guy that's really a pleasure to see, at any rate. The spot was nothing, thank goodness. It worked out good, because my brother, who is seldom off from work, it seems, was off and I got to spend a little time with him. There was, also, business that needed to be attended to; business of the familial sort.
Now it's late and the sun is down and the heat is flying off the face of the earth, heavenward. Plant life must be breathing a sigh of relief now and thinking in their own botanical way the sun has began its descent to the horizon sooner today than yesterday. The leaves of trees and the blades of grass comforting one another with thoughts of the promise of cooler weather.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

shake it like a polaroid

I posted part of this to a blog that'll go unnamed. The owner of the blog chose to not only not post it he deleted his own post that inspired it as well. Well, I thought, he shouldn't mind if I recycle my writing here. I know it's overwrought, but hey, that's the way it breaks down in the big little city.

Now that my Mom and Dad have shuffled off the stage to their ultimate reward I got to thinking about them the other day, Cherry Lane Drive In and my memories of it and them. Cherry Lane Drive In, no surprise, used to be on Cherry Lane at Interstate 30. Back then it wasn't I30 though, it was I20, but that's another story and it really doesn't matter to us now. Today, if we were to stand on Cherry Ln and look out where the drive in used to be, as my memory tells it, we'll see a deserted parking lot. Back when I was a child every now and then we'd all load up and go to the drive in. Kinda hard to believe that you could have a drive in movie in what, today, is in town. Then it was at its darkened boundaries. Down the street from the Bomber Plant, what was then known as G.D., or General Dynamics, my dad's place of employment. All these memories were bubbling up and I was wishing that I had pictures of the old drive in. Some tangible recording of my past.

When I got to my teen years there was a walk in movie house I'd go to. It was old then, too. The 7th St. Theater. I miss it too. The old man and his son selling the little paper tickets at the old fashioned ticket window. The ceramic floors whispering to me in a thousand whispers of those who have trod it before me. The snack bar with it's Milk Duds and Raisinets. I was hoping someone would purchase the old movie house and turn it into a independent, art house, movie geek theater. Alas that was not to be. The building fell victim to development. Shameful, in a way. Pushing it down with a front end loader in a way devoid of sentimentality. Thinking of it now reminds me of a time when I wanted to photograph it. The Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer movie, Wolf was playing there. The title on the marquee displayed as WOLF. I was hoping to take a picture, calling it Wolf at the Door. It may be a constructed memory but I think it closed soon after, when the owners, father or son kept their date with mortality, leaving one to quickly follow the other, and the marquee unattended. WOLF was to stay on the marquee, keeping watch on a deserted movie theater.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

weekend getaway

I'm going to go to my lbs this weekend and make another payment on my bike. I'm not in a real hurry to get it paid off, it's a little too hot to enjoy being on a road bike when I'm out in the heat all day anyway. September is not too far away with it's promise of cooler weather and October with it's promise of winter. Shorter days with long shadows at five o'clock. Flocks of birds overhead, flying south. Long nights with the full moon lighting the earth with its silvery white light. All the stars leaning in close to peer at us below. The arrival of a new season is very much like a relative coming to visit. To begin with, it's always an enjoyable experience to catch up on memories and current events, but begins to drag. When are they going to leave, you'll find yourself thinking. Spring gives way to summer and in Texas that can be quite an ordeal. Fall...blessed fall, yields to winter. And on it goes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

time travelers

The movie, The Time Travelers Wife, based on the book of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger went into wide release, recently. I haven't seen the movie myself, but I did read the book. Not to go into too much detail for those who haven't seen it but it's about a time traveler, obviously. One of my favorite time traveling movies is Groundhog Day. Bill Murray's character, Phil, travels through time experiencing the same after day. His character, as the movie begins, is crass and self involved. It's only when he becomes intimately familiar with his behavior and it's consequences and begins to feel a real affection for those that share his day that he begins to grow emotionally as a human being. We're all time travelers. We aren't privileged enough to experience a day again and again like Phil in Groundhog Day or like Henry De Tamble in Niffenegger's novel but we're all moving through the the great wheel of time. When I was a young man it was hard for me to feel others pain, because I myself hadn't really experienced much myself. It's only with the passing of years when we experience joy and accomplishment balanced with pain and loss that we grow as human beings. I hope as the years pass, I can gather together the wisdom they may impart, and for you, dear reader, I wish the same.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

friday night-people watching

My brother was in town and not wanting to spend his friday night staring into a computer monitor, he gave me a call. Normally I don't go out on a friday nights. Sure, when I get off work I'm thinking I'm going to get cleaned up and get out for awhile, but I'm tired, I have my first beer and then, the inevitable surrender to the couch. Not this friday night, O no. Anyway, he called and "sure, let me get cleaned up..." I met him at Fuzzy's Taco Stand on Berry St over by T.C.U. Man that place does a jam up business. Pretty decent food too. Had me a ground beef taco on a crispy shell and a ground beef burrito. Myself, I'm not too crazy about shredded beef. It makes the beef have a chewy feel to it and I'm not too crazy about it. Also it's necessary for a taco to be on a taco shell. Nowadays it's possible to say taco and get a taco on what amounts to a tortilla. That's not a taco...that's a small burrito. For me it's not a taco unless its on a crispy shell. Call me old school. We sat outside, had our food, made small talk and people watched. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm one of those people who are not acquainted with their own dreams. Usually. I'm sure I dream, in fact I know I do. The thing is, remembering my dreams is something that I don't usually do. Which is unfortunate really, because I think they are the back door to our conscious mind. The exception to accessing the dream state (for me) comes with the luxury of extra sleep time. With extended sleeping hours my mind has the opportunity to peruse the cracks and crevices of the unknown, teasing them out into the gray light of dawn. With work though, sleep becomes more workman like; "just the facts ma'am." And I'm left with nothing more but a slightly stiff neck and the stark realities of another day. One day, when I'm no longer tethered like an ox to the mill wheel, perhaps I'll have time enough to sleep, perchance to dream.

Monday, August 10, 2009

bi cy cle

I've got a mountain bike, and it's a dangerous mechanical thing, or at least, it can be. We grow older and as we grow older it's typical of us to want and capture a little bit of Gloria. The thing is, the reality of riding a mountain bike collides with the memories of riding a bike and our present physical limitations. Perhaps more importantly the frailties of joints and limbs and their absolute necessity in enjoying life. So I'll keep my mountain bike, but I'll be riding on tamer trails. Not willing though to give up my pursuit of Gloria, I've put a road bike on lay-a-way and will have it out soon enough. I used to enjoy riding a bicycle and I hope to find I still feel that way. So lets go, you and I, over the hills and through the meadows, breathing deep a little bit of Gloria.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Winning Life's Lottery

I was reading an article on the NY Times about Julie Powell. Julie I'm sure you'll remember is the young woman who blogged about her experiences of trying to write about her attempt to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I'm sure when the young woman decided to start this little journey in her tiny NY kitchen she had no idea how far the journey would take her. Now her life has been made into a movie. Myself, I'm amazed for her. So, let's push off from shore, shall we? Maybe we can capture a little magic for ourselves.