Yes. A Repost. If you do nothing else, please scroll down and listen to the clip. It is hysterical (and real) Even better.
Cheers Y’all and Happy Saturday Oops! Sunday (is it?)
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Texan, Father, School Teacher, Rancher, & Much Maligned 36th President of The United States of America.
I love LBJ, or as Brother Dave Gardner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4E_Nrm0j8k) once called him: ‘Daddy Bird’. Johnson was a divisive entity during his one and a half terms as president—primarily due of course to the Vietnam War—which he inherited. Yes, I realize I am gonna get some push back. Favorably mention ‘LBJ’ even today and you best stand by for some unhappy and contentious words.
Young Daddy Bird
The problem I have, in general, when talking to folks about Johnson is that most are ignorant of the man, his history, his upbringing; his good works: Rural electrification for Texas. Medicare, Civil Rights, The Great Society (never really came to fruition, due to Vietnam) and so on.
Once he became ‘The Accidental President’ he took JFK’s dreams and made them reality. Johnson could do that. Why? Because he was the consummate politician—far more effective than Jack Kennedy.
JFK’s dreams were hollow pipes. Johnson made them happen. This is historical fact: For those of you who would care to search it out. For those who don’t really care to do that: Just-Trust-Me on this one, ‘cause I am a Texan, and Texans don’t lie (overmuch).
I have read all of Robert Caro’s books (http://www.robertcaro.com/) on LBJ and I have done my own research, and I have my own memories.
During the Sixty-Four election, my Mom, the originalHippy Chick informed me she was voting for Goldwater.
Much of the blame must be placed on the information revolution and the manifestation of the instant sound bite. I am not bemoaning the Information Age. I would not be able to throw my thoughts so carelessly about to the entire world if it were not for this Internet Thing we all embrace.
All I am saying is one must ponder how many potential great leaders are out there, but refuse to step up to the plate simply because they do not wish to have every word they have ever uttered tweeted or twerked or posted or face-booked for all to see. Some things should still be classified as TMI. That is just good manners.
What if JFK had had the internet to deal with? We would all have known of his affair with MM. WWBS? What would Bill ‘Oh Really’ Say? We would have been ass-deep in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Fox and CNN and even MSNBC would have burned more video on JFK’s infidelity. Castro would have loved it. Just sayin’…
My Step-sister worked for Oliver Stone on the film JFK. She was one of the on-set-dressers. We got into a heated argument over the whole conspiracy thing. She was convinced that LBJ was behind it all. I know quite a lot about LBJ as I have mentioned. I have done my research and I love Texas history.
Anyway I asked her upon what she based her unwavering belief.
She said, “That photograph of Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas.”
Smug? Ladybird? (Just behind his right hand, in case y’all don’t recognize her) Of course, that is Jackie on the other side.
“You’re shitting me,” I said.
“Look at that photo and see how smug Ladybird looks in it. You just know then and there, she knew the whole thing.”
“I think I need a drink,” was all I could muster by way of response.
(Oh! And my step-mother worked for Jack Ruby: I know some shit about it)
I am not writing here as an apologist for LBJ. My focus is on the wonderful Texan caricature character he was. His humor, his down-to-earth’ed-ness, his vibrant lust for life, his convictions, and his larger-than-worldly-life persona: His ‘Texan-ness’.
Therein lies the rub for me. Johnson could be a buffoon. He could be portrayed as an idiot. He could be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He would be chastised and eventually ostracized.
But he got shit done!
He was a great, moral, honorable man.
No one will ever convince me otherwise (but you are certainly welcome to try)
Watch and listen to the Video Clip. It proves my point (and it is hysterical). These tapes were released a few years back. I have them all.
(Every so often, Script demanded we ‘kiss’—We never did during rehearsals.)
During one rehearsal, when the script DEMANDED a kiss, and RIGHT NOW!
We didn’t. We did not kiss.
Some fellow ‘actor’ shouted, “Hey! Y’all didn’t do the kiss! How are Y’all gonna do a believable kiss on stage if you don’t rehearse?
Madelyn didn’t miss a beat and coolly replied,
“We rehearse our kisses every night.
When we are at home.
So don’t worry.”
Opening night, we kissed, not unlike two horny teens. It was painful. (For her. Not for me! I had been waiting for years to kiss her!)
And right before we kissed, live on stage, in front of about three hundred audience, she whispered to me,
“You better not slip me no tongue.”
So… guess what I did?
“C’est Française, n’est-ce-pas?“
She was NOT Amused, but she pulled it off, non·plussed
As if nothing untoward had just happened.
OK. I am sober now. Slept off my drunk.
I have Slept Off thousands of drunks in my day.
Got that routine down pat.
Could not sleep off my sorrow over losing my
My Dear Madelyn:
New unchartered waters for me.
Never have I lost a sister.
My heart is broke, but this is not gonna be about me.
Lord knows I write too much about me and my narcissism.
This is about My Sister, My Madelyn.
My intent is to write and write and write about her for the next few days until I run out of virtual ink in my virtual pen.
Some of you out there in ‘Radio Land’ knew her.
If you have any memories to share, now would be the time.
This may come across as ‘sick’ to you, read in the harsh light of present day:
But, if I am being honest with my feelings, I must write them.
Since Madelyn and I were not actually ‘blood relations’ there were more than a few times when we were tempted.
Tempted to be much more than step-brother and step-sister.
There for damn sure was a mutual physical and cerebral attraction.
But… we were ‘mature’ enough, even back then, mature enough to understand that we could not go there, however much we, at times, desperately wanted to.
We wanted to ‘go there.’
Oh My God!
How we wanted to ‘Go There’!
But It would have been so easy.
C’ly I Love You So Very Much!
I Know Nothin’ Stys The Sme (my eh key is still Broken–Fuk it! I’ll Work ‘Round It!)
We had the entire third floor of Marcom Manor to ourselves.
The parents were often gone for days at a time.
Leaving us to ‘fend’ for ourselves.
For the sake of ‘The Family’… we didn’t.
We didn’t go there.
Some small part of me wishes we had.
But if we had, this would be quite a different post than the one I am writing right now.
Over all the years there were so many things I wanted to say to Madelyn, but shit always seemed to get in the way.
Now, my mind is racing with all those words left unsaid.
Never to be said, at least not in this place, this alone place I find me in.
I suppose I can just cast this one out into the ether:
“Madelyn, I love/loved you!”
But she cannot hear me now, can she?
“How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”
This Song very well, and very accurately, describes Madelyn.
She was always a ‘Problem.’
She was SO Fucking charming!
Could NEVER be angry at her.
Not for a moment!
She could melt / play you with a smile.
(And she knew this power she had)
And trust me Folks,
She wielded it.
With reckless abandon.
(Much to my chagrin at times)
I could never get away with shit.
I cannot continue this.
At this moment.
But I will come back.
And sooner than later
“Madelyn had a horse once: a cross between a Shetland pony and a Welsh mare. Now, I really don’t know much about horses and during that time I knew even less, but I really did want to play cowboy, so I decided to make friends with the local “real cowboy” and have him teach me how to ride this animal. I was about twelve going on thirteen at the time.
The problem with this horse was that it was a pet. Madelyn had talked my father into buying it for her not long after she and her mom moved in (I was not yet on the scene; was still living with my grandparents.
I suppose I arrived some months after the horse). Anyway, she soon lost interest in Gretchen (is that a proper horse name?) hence, she (Gretchen) never ever got ridden; (I cannot speak for Madelyn.) This will become important later in my story.”
First he was taken by Kim. Kim got bored with him and gave him to my step-sister Madelyn. She thought he was just the coolest thing ever!
For about three days…
His coolness factor having for her it seems, a very short half-life, I made her an offer she couldn’t refuse for her coon: Cash Money. Money’s coolness factor has no half-life. She was only too happy to surrender Leroy to my care for the tidy sum of thirty-five bucks. Quite tidy indeed to an unemployed High School girl in 1974.
My heart is broken.
I miss you Madelyn!
You were so much more than my sister.
I was so forever in love
OK. Now I am Drunk again.
Seems I have come ‘Full-Circle.’
I am gonna stop fucking around with this post and just wallow in my grief.
Doctor Gary, The Vet, had been the one who had called to give me the unhappy news.
He NEVER asked any of his staff to perform these kinds of unpleasant duties. He was a good boss and a good, compassionate man who loved animals.
Sensing I was weeping, he said, “It’s okay Lance. I’ll keep her here until you decide what to do. Take as long as you need.” “Thank you,” I said, and hung up.
A day or two passed and Dick brought in a new-hire as a delivery boy. He was a rather short, slightly stocky College Kid, name of ‘Mike.’
In the meantime, I had called Dr. Gary and instructed him to dispose of the body. I explained that I just could not bear to come and pick her up. He said he understood.
I immediately telephoned Lisa in Florida and informed her of my decision. She said, “I cannot talk right now. I have a student in my office for a consultation. I’ll call you back.” She was lying I found out later.
Immediately after she had hung up, she called Gary and told him not to dispose of Lucia. (Commerce is a very small town and everyone knew everyone else, so he said, “Okay Lisa.”) She called me back and told me what she had told Gary.
I asked her why. She said “I commissioned a tombstone for ‘Chia and have UPS’d it to you at Latsons’. You should have it in a couple of days. It is similar to the one we made for Kitty. I want her buried right next to him.” “Okay,” I said. “I’ll take care of it.”
Two days later the UPS guy arrived, and since we were friends, he had no qualms about remarking, “This is sure a heavy package to be so small. What is it?” “A tombstone,” Was all I said.
After he left I took the package to the back of the shop away from prying eyes and opened it. It was a work of art—light gray stone, slightly rough oval-shaped, about eight by twelve inches, and an inch or so thick.
Engraved at the top was a small cat. Carved under that it read:
“Our Belov’d Lucia” “Our Cat From Hell” “Whom We Loved So Well” “She Left Us Far Too Soon” “ Forever In Our Hearts She Remains” “To Haunt Us With Love And Sometime Pain” “ Rest In Peace Little Darling Daemon Cat”
Dick came to the back of the shop, presumably looking for me and wondering why I was not manning the retail front of the business. He caught me weeping over a ‘rock.’ He walked over and read what I had just been reading. Then he started weeping too.
I re-wrapped the stone and placed it gingerly back into the box and returned to the front of the shop. In my possession, I had several photos of Lucia. And at closing time, I laminated them, placing them in a manila envelope. Then took the photos and the stone home.
Next day, which happened to be a Friday, was Mike’s first day working under me as I was responsible for getting all the orders prepared for delivery. I instructed Mike that after he had made his last delivery, he swing by the Vet Clinic and pick up my dead cat.
He looked at me as if I had just flown in from Mars, his mouth agape. I interrupted his bewilderment: “I’m serious. Do NOT return here without my cat, and don’t worry. She is frozen and fairly certain she isn’t a zombie. Now get gone.”
Few hours later he returned carrying a small cardboard box wrapped in red ribbon with a red bow taped on top.
As there yet remained a few hours in the work day, I took Lucia to our little break- room where we kept and old Sixties era refrigerator, the kind with the bottom part reserved for food brought from home for lunch (and beer). The top part, the freezer part reserved for ice cream and popsicles. Opening the freezer part, I shoved all the ice cream and popsicles into a pile and placed Lucia inside.
Now mind you, if any of my female co-workers had witnessed me doing this, there would’ve been some unhappy vociferous words hurled in my general direction, but none saw me.
Closing time came and I retrieved my Lucia along with the stone and went home and put her into MY freezer which never contained anything but vodka. I placed the photos and the stone on my kitchen table and went searching for her favorite toy, a little gray mouse imbued with catnip. Found it and put it on the table with the photos and the stone.
I called up my Girlfriend-du-Jour and asked her if she would be inclined to come over the next day (Saturday) for a funeral.
Happily for me, she said “Yes.” I did not want to be alone while burying my Lucia. “Be sure to wear black,” I said. All I had were Navy Blue garments, but ‘twould serve, I suppose.
Next morning she pulled up and saw me, shovel-in-hand digging a grave. And yes, she was decked out in a lovely black dress.
I asked her to go into my kitchen and bring out all the items on the table, which she dutifully did. Lucia’s grave completed, about three by three and four feet deep. Nothing left to do now but get it over with.
I went into the freezer, pulled out the bottle of vodka and filled two ‘Texas-Sized’ shot glasses to their rims. Went back outside, careful to not spill nary a drop—a ‘talent’ I had mastered over the years. I handed her the glasses saying, “We’re gonna need these, so don’t spill any.”
Returning to the freezer, I gently removed the little box with the red ribbons and the red bow on top and carried it to the grave site, ever so carefully and respectfully to keep it level at all times. Gingerly I placed the tiny coffin down about midway by the grave, a foot away from the edge.
There was an old concrete bench; circa nineteen thirties, about two yards away from the grave site. (This was an old house I was calling ‘Home.’) Realizing My Girl was struggling to not spill the vodka, I suggested she set the glasses onto the bench and come closer to me. Relieved, she did so and came up to stand by my side.
Spying some beautiful perennial blooming flowers that June had planted and taken meticulous care of when she had lived here, I decided they would serve a larger purpose today. So I walked over, and using my Buck Knife, proceeded to cut the top stim off of half of them.
Walked back over to the grave, and handed the ‘bouquet’ to My Girl. “Please hold onto these, but don’t grow too fond of them.”
Jumping down into the grave, I reached over and very carefully and slowly picked up the little coffin and laid it as closely as I could in the middle, making sure it was level in the freshly loosened earth.
“Baby “I said. “set those flowers down and kindly hand me the photographs and the toy mouse.” Clutching the photos in my left hand, with my right I placed the mouse facing to where I surmised Lucia’s little head would be.
Then tucked each photo under the red ribbons and climbed out of the grave. Picked up the flowers, handing half of them to My Girl.
We stood over Lucia, and one at a time, we dropped a single flower on My Kitty-From-Hell, My Darling Lucia: until the flowers were all gone. I retrieved the vodkas, handed one to My Girl. We held our glasses high as I spoke these words:
“To My feisty, brave, mean as a snake, Beautiful Lucia I will always love you I will never release you from my heart You rest now baby kitty”
We tossed back the vodka, then hurled our empty glasses against the concrete bench, shattering them into a million pieces. We bent down and grabbed a fist of loose dirt, slowing releasing it and letting it spread over the flowers, the mouse, the photos. And Lucia.
“Baby,” I said. “You may return inside the house now if you like. I’ll finish this.” “No way.” She said. “I’m staying with you. What kind of Girlfriend would I be if I did otherwise?”
Picking up the shovel, I began to bury Lucia in earnest. Got about half-way through and broke down and dropped the shovel. My Girl hurried over, threw her arms around me tightly and wouldn’t let go. I gathered myself together enough to untangle us. She was sobbing now as well.
I managed to finish the burying part. Only one task left to perform: Placing The Tombstone.
It took me no less than fifteen minutes before the placement suited me. Remembering the spared half of June’s flower garden, I cut the remaining half off and placed them on Lucia’s grave, Took me fifteen minutes to get that just right as well. We retired into the kitchen and attacked what was left of that bottle of vodka.
After becoming sufficiently drunk, I telephoned ‘Landlady June’ in Arizona. “Hello June? This is Lance.” “Yes. I know your voice Lance, especially your drunken one. (June and I were erstwhile lovers) What’s up?”
“I had to bury another cat in your backyard today.” “Oh my God! Which one?” “Lucia.”
“NOT Her! She was too mean to die!” (June of course, knew all my cats)
“True, but die she did. And my heart is broken.” ”Certainly it is. She was your favorite. I am so sorry Lance.”
“I seem to be turning your backyard into a pet cemetery. I hope you don’t mind.” “Of course I don’t mind. I would have done the same thing.”
“There is one other thing; I kind of decimated your flower garden as well.”
“As long as you didn’t dig ‘em up by their roots, they’ll be just fine.” “Of course I would never do such a thing. You know that.”
“Please take care of your self Lance. I miss you.” “I miss you too June.” “Bye for now.”
My Girl asked, “How’d she take the news?” “She’s cool with it. We go way back.” My Girl gave me a slightly side-ways glance and said, “Uh huh.” “It’s not you’re thinking” I said. “I’m quite sure it is, but at least she’s about a thousand miles away.”
“Any little bit of vodka left in that bottle?” “Let me check.” She turned the bottle up, draining it, set it down and said “Nope.” A woman after mine own heart. First time I had laughed in days. Then I realized, Things were gonna be okay. Just as long as I didn’t this lose this one:
This ‘MY Girl’
(Not actually My Girl, but close to what she looked like. Sadly, I do not have an actual photo of her)
I only recently discovered these gals via KETR—The Local NPR Radio Station here in Commerce—Run by The University. This is the Program that was playing— “Notably Texan.” My FAVORITE For Obvious Reasons.
“With the lofty mandate to curate the culture of Texas music, Notably Texan host Matt Meinke scours the state’s singers and songwriters, stars or not, and hand-selects the purest cuts of well-marbled entertainment for your daily listening pleasure. The tempo, the style, the instrumentation, the genre – it doesn’t matter. The rules are simple – the songs need to have a Texas connection. Rock, rap, country, reggae, electronica, dub step, house, R&B – If the music helps to build an audio tapestry worthy of the Lone Star State, it’s got a shot on Notably Texan.”
I was on my way back from one of my ‘Booze-Run’ Missions when this song came on the program. I had to pull over to properly focus on it—This is how impressed and captivated and enamored I instantly was…
Try this version
It may not take three DAYS to Load!
“Heaven is a Heaven Is A Honky Tonk”
“There’s a choir singing in a southern accent, a fiddle in the band There’s a “Hallelujah!” on the lips of every dying man Mama, don’t you cry when they’re dead and gone Jesus, he loves his sinners and heaven is a honky tonk”
(I do not know who The Rather Large Black Broad Who Joined The Girls on the Stage is–Trust Me: I looked–But Obviously, She Added added Value–Bravo For HER!)
And Bravo To The Highwomen!
Yeah, I am a ‘Closet Liberal’ And an ‘Out-of-the-Closet-Redneck’— And An Extremely Pro-Feminist–My Love of And For of Women is Very-Well Documented. I Never pull My Punches.
Yes, I am ‘complicated’–But Y’all knew this already.
Love me, or HATE Me. I really Don’t Give a Shit!
You do YOU.
And Embrace Your Opinions.
But only if You are Sincere.
I am, if nothing else, HONEST!
I’m as Real as Real Can Get!
What You See, Is Exactly What You Get!
“The Highwomen are the rarest of country supergroups: a quartet who came together at the height of their popularity and creative powers, not when they were settling into their legacy. In that regard, the quartet of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby differ from their knowing namesake the Highwaymen, a band Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson formed in 1985, just as they started to drift down the charts. When the Highwomen appeared in 2019, every member of the quartet was at a peak in her respective roots niche. Singer/songwriter Carlile was fresh off winning three Grammy Awards and Morris was at the vanguard of country-pop, while Shires’ cult was growing thanks to the atmospheric Americana of To the Sunset and Hemby’s reputation as a country songwriter was at a peak, thanks to her contributions to Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour and Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings.”
Article Credit: ALLMUSIC
“Pulling up the floors and changin’ out the curtains Some of us are saints and some of us are surgeons Made in God’s image, just a better version And breakin’ every Jello mold
And when we love someone, we take ’em to heaven And if the shoe fits, we’re gonna buy 11 How we get it done, we like to keep ’em guessing But secretly, we all know.”
“I Was a ‘Highwoman'”
I AM STARSTRUCK
FUN FACT: My Best GF, Highschool Sweetheart, once said to me, and I quote:
“Lance, You are so easily Starstruck.”
I had to beg to differ, but she was at least half-right–when I see talent combined with Beauty, I fall victim–it is a pleasant fall and an admitted failing of mine–I relish and truly appreciate people who add value and meaning to my life.
Fallon: Lucky Unworthy Bastard!
And Just For Reference:
Willie & The Boys
I do hope Y’all Enjoyed Watching/Reading This Post As Much As I Loved Putting It Together.
LET’S JUST CALL IT “A LABOUR OF LOVE,” IF YOU WILL.