PRO-‘VANITY’ WARNING! Gone Fishin’: “Peanut, Lance, and Bow-Fishin’.” Inspiration Graciously Provided By Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn (And Samuel Clemens) This Post Is A “Chocolate Mess” Perhaps I’ll Fix It Later. NOT!!

“Why Is The Rum Gone?”—

Yes, I Had A Very Similar Experience To This!

(While In-The-NAVY)

Pirates of the Caribbean – Official Trailer


And Yes, I Am A White Trash Texan Country Boy.


“White Trash” – Tom MacDonald & Madchild



I love this old post. Not just because I wrote it, but because I love the memory of the man who inspired it.  

It is real long and that is probably why not many read it.

I post it here again (and yes, it is still real long)

Please dive into it (when you have the time)

Thank You,


Below is the original (with photos)

Ed. Note: Most of the photos made the trip; no need to go to the original.
But if you dare…


The downpour had finally stopped. It had been raining heavily for most of the morning—buckets of rain—

Bob Dylan – Buckets of Rain:


‘A tall cow pissin’ on a flat rock.’—‘Rainin’ cats and frogs’, a real ‘chunk-floater’.


Then suddenly the clouds parted and a brilliant sun emerged. The air was now still and clean-smelling. The thunderstorm had been about average for Texas, which meant tumultuous, fast, and furious.

I stared out the window of the senior English classroom where I was imprisoned, listening to Mrs. Whitley drone on about dangling participles, comma splices, bibliographies, or some such. It was early spring.

I checked the clock on the wall: Five minutes until the bell rang, ending my boredom and releasing me for the lunch period.

I love northeast Texas in springtime. Springtime in Texas is no time to be stuck in a moldy old High School classroom; not when there are fish to be caught, baseball to be played, or especially cheerleaders to be lured into road trips to the lake or anywhere away from ‘civilization’:

“Let’s get out of here Baby! Let’s go to The Lake! We can score some Boone’s Farm and have ourselves a blast!”

Daydreams, about afternoon things…

The bell rang and I bolted. Since my house was just on the opposite side of the Honey Grove High School parking lot, I mostly went home for the short lunch break.

Walking briskly and heading toward the side entrance of the building, jostling my peers in my haste to get out of there, I ran into Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Piland. He grabbed my arm abruptly.

“Where you goin’ in such a hurry?”

“Peanut, you damn well where I’m goin’. Home for lunch.”

“No, you ain’t,” he said with a goofy grin.

“Yes, I am. Now let go my arm. I’ve only got so much time to have a grill-cheese sandwich, listen to a little Led Zep, get my mind right, and get back here.”

“Your folks’re outta town right now, yeah?”

“Yeah, it’s just me and Madelyn, ‘mindin’ the fort.”

“Well,” he said, “Then you don’t need to be going home for no lunch.”

“Ok then, where do I ‘need’ to be goin’ then?”

“Bow fishin’.”

“What fishing?”

“Bow fishin’. I done invented a way to do it.”

“Well, I ain’t got no bows and arrows, and where the hell does someone bow fish around here? I don’t know about any salmon rivers close by,” I said, not just a little sarcastic, but Peanut, then a wiry, blond-headed, fiery blue-eyed sophomore with attitude, was often difficult to ignore.

Pulling me toward the exit, he said, “Just let’s git outside. I ‘borrowed’ one’a Daddy’s old junk cars this mornin’, and got everything already loaded up.”

Peanut’s daddy (and I suppose an uncle or two) did seem to have more than a few ‘old clunkers’ about their place.

This particular one looked to be circa 1959; a Plymouth I do believe, but honestly, I don’t know a Plymouth from a Volkswagen.

This one was painted some gawd-awful turquoise or maybe it used to be blue, but just sun-bleached out to look turquoise. Peanut climbed into the helm and I jumped into the ‘shotgun’ seat. (Sure enough, there was a 12-guage propped up on the floorboard.)

Piled in the back seat were a couple of bows, some arrows, a tackle box, beer cooler, some rods and reels (Zebco 33 reels), and myriad and sundry other items, some of which I recognized, some of which I did not.

The car had a ‘wonderful earthy’ smell. Imagine six-days-worn socks, twelve pair of them, which if dropped would break into pieces. What this car needed was Hercules, diverting a river through it, just like the Aegean Stables…

“Peanut,” I asked (though I already knew the answer), “when did you get your license?”

“Hahahah! Ain’t got n’eirn!”

“What I thought,” I said, and laughed too.

He cranked her up and obviously a muffler was not part of the standard package for this vehicle. She sounded not unlike what I would imagine an Abrams Tank, or a hay bailer with a bovine stuck in it, could sound like—in an echo chamber—a very small echo chamber.

No matter…

“’Nut,” I said, “If we’re goin’, let’s get goin’ now before we, uh, you, get busted.”

“Gotta let ‘er warm up a minute.”

“She’s warm enough. It ain’t wintertime; c’mon! Let’s get outta here!”

“Sounds good, don’t she?”

“Yeah, good enough to maybe get us half-way out of this parking lot.”

He threw ‘her’ into reverse and with a violent jolt backward, damn near ran over some student walking behind us.

“Damn it Peanut! Watch where the hell ya goin’ in that wreck! Said student yelled.

He ‘navigated’ us, squealing tires, out of the parking lot (which was quite smallish as parking lots go), and we were off, and now officially “Playin’ Hooky.”

After we had gotten a few blocks away from HG High, I said, “Peanut, you gonna explain this ‘expedition’ to me now?”

“Yeah, sure. You know we done had a lot of rain past few days?”

“Yeah, kinda hard to miss, so what?”

“Well, you know that spillway behind Lake Coffeemill, right under the dam, and that concrete wall there, making a little, uh, kinda swimming pool before the water goes over it and down to the creek?”

“Yeah, you know damn well I do,” I said, growing impatient.

“What you don’t know is that big-ass carp get washed over the damn somehow when the lake is overflowin’ and they get trapped in that spot.”

“Okay,” I said, “I’m listening.”

“Go into that cooler and reach me a Coors.”

I reached back over my shoulder, opened the cooler, and sure as shit, there were about ten Coors beers in it, all iced down. I grabbed two, opened them and handed one to him.

“Where’d you get these beers?”

“They came with the car.”

“Ok, so explain to me this ‘bow fishin’.”

“It’s too easy. That water in the pool behind the dam ain’t but about two-foot deep. The carp swim around with their backs out of the water, some of ‘em a good eighteen pounds.

We duck-tape the Zebcos to the bows, tie the line to the arrow shaft; shoot ‘em and reel ‘em in. I got special ‘bow-fishing’ arrowheads; got prongs on ‘em, so they won’t come outta the fish when we’re reeling them in. Like shooting fish in a barrel! Hahaha!”

“Clever, Peanut,” I said dryly. “…It does sound like good sport though, but I got one question: What’re we gonna do with an eighteen pound carp? I don’t think I’d much care for eating carp.”

“We sell ‘em.”

“Sell ‘em?! To who? Who eats carp?”

“All them black folks ‘cross the tracks, that’s who. Can get two bits a pound.”

“You’re shittin’ me!”

“No I ain’t,” he said, grinning, as we too fast approached the twenty-mile-per-hour ‘S’ curve going past the Oakwood Cemetery, doing about fifty.

“Damn it Peanut! Slow down!” I yelled over screeching tires.

“I got this. Relax.”

*Screeching tires and the smell of burnt rubber*

Safely through the ‘S’ curve, Peanut lit a Marlboro and tried to reach the cooler in the back seat while holding the empty beer can and the steering wheel in the other, not an easy (or safe) feat.

“Peanut,” I said, “Relax; I got this,” and handed him another Coors (after I opened it for him; didn’t really trust in his ability to multi-task that much.)

“Damn! That be some good cold beer, ain’t it?”

“Yeah, yeah, so tell me, how do you know those folks pay two-bits a pound for carp?”

“Just know,” he said. “And if we shoot fifty or sixty pounds of them, hell! That’s beer money.”

“Well, I’ll take your word on it,” I said, as I looked out the window, pleased at what a fine, beautiful day it had turned out to be. I was damn happy to be riding along that stretch of road with my best friend, playing hooky, just like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

The northbound farm to market (FM 100) two-lane to the lakes (there are two actually: Lakes Crockett and Coffeemill) winds through some slightly hilly, well, hilly for Fannin County–nice looking land–especially in springtime.

I had hauled hay all over that part of the county during the previous two summers. It was much finer-looking land than east or west of Honey Grove, and that is for sure.

Lake Crockett is about fifteen miles down that road and we would be driving past it to get to Coffeemill. Bois d’Arc creek runs between the two lakes and eventually empties itself into the Red River.

The whole area around the lakes is heavily wooded and all of it is part of the Caddo National Grasslands, a Federal Park, a rarity in Texas, as Texas kept most of her public lands when she entered the Union.

Why it is called a ‘grasslands,’ I have no idea, since it is all mostly forest. Peanut and I, and most of the crowd we hung out with, spent much of our time in this region.

The fishing was decent, the hunting too, although I had given up hunting years before. Not because I was averse to slaughtering wild game. It just didn’t interest me any longer. Mostly what we did at the lakes was fish, camp, drink beer, smoke pot, and usually (but not always) mind our own business.

It was damn difficult during The Seventies to get busted in that area for anything; so naturally that was a major drawing point for us.

Just before the turnoff to Lake Crockett there is a small ‘Mom & Pop’ gas station – grocery store, (We didn’t really call them ‘Convenience Stores’ back then, but this one had always been convenient for us.), and Peanut pulled into its parking lot.

“What’re you doing? I asked.

“Need somethin’,” was all he said, as he opened the car door.

“I think you should tell ‘em to check the gas, and fill her with oil.”

“You wanna walk the rest of the way, or do you wanna stop insultin’ my daddy’s car?”

“Peanut, she do smoke some, ya gotta admit,” I said, and slightly sorry for ‘slightly’ hurtin’ his feelings, but only slightly on both accounts. From the first day we met and became instant fast friends Peanut and I had always sparred verbally and more often than not, physically as well.

“Keeps the skeeters away,” and with that, he headed to the store.

I fished another beer out of the cooler while I waited for him to return from his mission, whatever it may have been. The old gas station and store had been there probably since the late Fifties, without much modernization since its founding.

The two gasoline pumps were probably upgraded maybe once or twice, but still looked ‘old-timey’ to me and actually, there was a hand-drawn sign on them saying “Double the Amount.” This was common after the oil embargo and the per gallon gas prices went higher than the old pumps could be set for.

The building itself was just a wooden structure which had probably not felt the wet kiss of a paint brush in twenty-odd years. The place sat at the intersection of FM 100 and FM 2216.

There were some ancient trees behind the store and two tall oaks on the eastern side, providing welcome shade during the long, hot Texas’ summers.

Under the two oaks were the remains of what once looked to be a decent gazebo, but long-neglected, its only purpose now just a photo opportunity to document the degradation of more prosperous (or carefree?) times.

There was a bit of ancient pavement in spots, mostly around the gas pumps, but mostly gravel everywhere else. But still, I liked the look of the place; it had an air of nostalgia to it.

About the time I had finished my beer, Peanut reappeared, jumped in and tossed a small brown paper bag into my lap. Opening it, I discovered a half-pint of Wild Turkey.

“’Nut, they don’t sell booze here.”

“Nope, they don’t; I ‘traded’ for it. Got me a friend in there. We might need that whiskey in case you get snake-bit. Lot of moccasins down in that spillway.”

“Very funny.”

“I also got a couple of sandwiches; don’t want you fallin’ out on me,” he smirked as he threw another sack into the back seat.

“What, no chocolate Similac for you?” I threw back at him.

“Many-Feet, did I ever tell you, you was a smart ass?”

“Yeah, back during the Great Depression, yours.”

Everyone in Honey Grove knew Jimmy as ‘Peanut,’ but only our clique ever called me ‘Many-Feet.’ I was christened, (or perhaps, ‘reborn’ is a better word) such by Monsieur Le Peanut one night as we were all sitting around a campfire, Indian style, passing around a mason jar of fire-water.

While throwing good-natured insults at each other over the smoke and crackling of the fire, Peanut, looking at me through somewhat bleary eyes said,

“Marcom, where’d you get them big-ass boats you’re wearin’? Look at them shoes Y’all! They look like canoes! Your name should be ‘Grandpa Many-Feet!’ (I seemed to always be the ‘elder.’) I never seen such feet!”

Everyone (including yours truly) laughed hysterically. Mainly because it was true (I wear a size thirteen), and it was uniquely ‘Peanut.’

He had a way of coining phrases no one would else could afford. From that night forward I was ‘Grandpa Many-Feet’ but usually shortened to ‘Many-Feet,’ or just ‘Feet’ for the familiar, informal settings, or when circumstance required economy of language. ‘Grandpa Many-Feet’ was only used when decorum and formality dictated.

Having accomplished Peanut’s ‘mission,’ we pulled out and headed on toward the turn-off to Lake Crockett. After the turn, about a mile or so down the oil top road, we came upon the old boat house/bait shop/tackle store/restaurant.

One could get everything there one needed for fishing and or picnic excursions. Small boats with ten horse power out-boards could even be rented.

It was a fine establishment, but mainly for tourists: Nice & Clean, Proper, and Sanitized for Your Protection–Not our kind of place and in fact, Lake Crockett was not really our kind of lake. We drove on past.

About a mile further down, the road began to deteriorate and in some places mud became an issue. At one particularly ‘issue-laden’ spot we had to get a good running start to get through it.

I was certain we were going to become mired in mud and stranded, but Peanut, always fearless, slammed the car into the gooey mess that a week before would have been a semi-passable road.

We slid a good ways: left ways, right ways, sideways, and fish-tailing all the time, mud flying everywhere, but we made it through. Call it ‘on-road off-roading.’ We whooped and hollered.

The only major obstacle left was the crossing over Bois d’Arc creek. The old gray wooden bridge, well ‘she ain’t what she used to be…’

Coming upon the bridge, I suggested we get out and reconnoiter it for structural integrity and more than ‘potential’ hazards’: real ones. Of course Peanut was having none of that.

So, with the not generally ‘Mighty Bois d’Arc’ now high and mighty and enraged from the recent deluge, we slowly bumped over the ancient heavy planks and I was expecting something to give way at any moment plunging us into the surging waters below.

The planks creaked and complained as the tires hit each one in succession and in one spot there was no plank at all and Peanut had to gun the car a bit in order to get over the gap. Not exactly an ‘Evil Knievel Leap’ of faith and daring, but nonetheless, slightly dangerous and slightly thrilling.

Not many I knew then or now would ever attempt that bridge, even during the summer when the Bois d’Arc is just a trickle.

Historically in that part of the county, Bois d’Arc creek has claimed many lives. Not over the bridge I am speaking of, but over better bridges, flooded and someone making the final and fatal mistake of tempting them anyway, getting swept off and…

Now, please understand, there is an alternate route to Lake Coffeemill; a much easier and better and safer route, but we never took that route. I guess the ‘road less travelled’ would always be our wont. We were, after all, young and bullet-proof.

We successfully crossed the bridge without serious incident, and once again, felt brave and full of ourselves for the doing of same.

We drove on down the sometimes gravel, sometimes blacktop, usually mud road and arrived at a picnic grounds and crude concrete boat launch. The grounds were decent and there were even bathroom facilities there.

These grounds are easily accessible via the alternate route coming from the opposite direction as mentioned above. The dam is clearly visible from this spot, but not easily accessible. To get to the dam and to the spillway  beneath it involved hiking a good half-mile through heavy woods, brambles, an occasional copper-head, and more often than not, mosquitoes, lots of mosquitoes.

Not too many folks were that curious or enamored with the spillway. All the better as far as we were concerned. In fact, we would have to cross over a barb-wire fence just to begin our hike.

In Texas, barb-wire fences always indicate private property and from my earliest recollections, I knew that one just does not casually cross onto and certainly not through private property without permission. In those days there was still much private land around the two lakes, so we can add ‘trespassing’ to our list of transgressions that day.

We parked the car and began the triage of our gear. We certainly did not want to make two trips down to the spillway, unless of course we intended to spend the night, but this was no camping trip.

Some items obviously had to be schlepped to the spillway: bows, arrows, the Zebco reels, the whiskey (for potential medicinal purposes of course), but the heavy twelve gage, the beer cooler, the casting net, buckets, hand nets, the sandwiches—all these I protested we did not need.

We argued a bit, and finally decided to eat the sandwiches, drink the beers, and leave the rest.

Laden with only the necessary gear, we set out.

We soon discovered that the one thing we really needed, but didn’t bring was a machete. I am not Briar Rabbit; I don’t like briar patches–too late now anyway.

On the way to the Coffeemill Lake spillway is a small stock pond. Now that is not uncommon in Texas, but the uncommon thing about this particular stock pond is that it somehow got to be ‘stocked’ with gar and more than a few snapping turtles (mean bastards, those), and more still cotton-mouths (meaner still).

Peanut and I had discovered this one summer afternoon when we thought we’d try it for bass, or bream, (‘Brim’ in the Texan vernacular) or crappie. Gar don’t typically lend themselves to be lured by a bass lure, or by a red-worm, or by a minnow.

Okay, perhaps a minnow, but it must not be minnow in size; it must be a big minnow; kinda like a jumbo shrimp. We finally caught ‘something’ and it was a gar, smallish one.

“Well, that ‘bout ruins this as a bass pond,” Peanut had said.

“How come? I asked.

“’Cause any fool knows that gar eat up everything else, especially the bass.”

“Thank you, ‘Henry David Thoreau.’”

Gar Pond

The Gar Pond & Spillway

We took the time to stop at this pond for a break (it lies about three-quarters the distance to the spillway), and to check it out again to see if we could discern if the fauna and flora had changed.

Neither had. We spotted several turtles and saw a small gar dash away from the bank. It was a damn shame because that pond would have been great for stocking with bass and I suppose it could be drained

(When you are up to your ass in alligator gar it is sometimes difficult to remember your initial intent was to drain the swamp)

and then stocked with buckets full of young bass from a hatchery. But that would have been a shame too. Truthfully, I liked that pond just as it was.

There was a peninsula jutting out from west to east which would have been perfect to camp on. The atmosphere was primordial; almost inaccessible in most parts due to the multitudinous willow trees and vines and the steep banks most of the way around.

So in retrospect, I’d say if it had belonged to me, I’d have left it the same.

After our brief survey of the pond, we soldiered on. Approaching the dam and the spillway, I could hear rushing waters. Magical. Calling to me like the Sirens of The Odyssey.

In Texas, we don’t often hear the Siren’s Song, but the sound of rushing waters, well, that is as close as it got for me back then. There are precious few opportunities to hear rushing waters in Fannin County, and once heard, one is surely drawn toward them.

We marched on with a new-found determination.

The spillway lay about fifty feet below our embarkation point. No matter. We made our way down.

It is a magical place when the water is running over the dam all frothy and angry. The last little bit of navigation is a mite treacherous, very steep and unforgiving. Woe to he who slips and falls the remainder of the way down to the spillway. Scrapes and Bruises at best; broken legs at worst.

There was a small shaded clearing one could find aside the spillway. We unpacked our gear and Peanut showed me how to rig the Zebcos to the bows. The concrete barrier which makes the ‘swimming pool’ was about nine inches wide. Peanut instructed me:

“You just walk on that ‘crete’ and look for carp. Then you shoot ‘em. Then you reel ‘em in. Easy, yes?”


I was game though, and after I had my ‘rig’ rigged up, did as instructed. I saw a carp’s back surface. Shot at it. Missed. (Peanut laughed). Saw another one. Shot at it. Hit! Then the fun began. The carp (a big one) was not going quietly into that good night. He/She fought like blue blazes.

Picture this: A bow with a Zebco 33 duct-taped to it, and a schmuck trying to reel in an eighteen-pound carp. No leverage from a proper rod, no ability to ‘horse’ him up, and on less than firm footing…


The Spillway

I ended up in the ‘pool’ wet all over and pissed off.

But, I ‘beached’ the carp.

Score one.

Peanut was having some success as well. After two hours we had (by my estimation) one hundred pounds of carp, read, ‘twenty-five dollars’ for beer. But of course, beer was not the issue, nor the harvest. It was all in the fun of doing it with a friend and playing hooky.

We had piled all the dead and dying carp on the bank (in the corner of the spillway mentioned above), and sat there studying them and sipping on the whiskey.

“Now what?” I asked, in earnest.

“Well, looks like the rest of them carp got smart; ain’t seen one come up for over an hour now.”


“We got to wade in and flush out the rest of ‘em.”

“’Nut, gonna take us at least four trips now to tote all what we got back to your La Bomba.”

“Still some carp in there.”

“So what?”

“I want ‘em, that’s what.”

“It’s getting late and I have homework to do for school.”

We looked each other dead in the eye.

Then we burst out laughing. Belly laughter. Hard-core laughter. Hysterical laughter.

“Ok,” I said. “We’ll get even wetter and flush ‘em, out. Why not?” I asked rhetorically.

We proceeded to wade into the ‘swimming pool’ to flush out the remaining carp. Honestly, I do believe we looked like a couple of wanna-be Navy SEALs, wading through the Mekong Delta, looking for Charlie. Slowly look this way; look that way, bow and arrow ever at the ready.

We flushed and shot two more carp (they must have been sleepers), when Peanut said casually over his shoulder,

“Hey, I  think I stepped on a moccasin.”

“So…?” I said.

“It bit me.”

“Stop bullshitting me Peanut.”

“No, serious. It bit me.”

I looked back at him and for a very brief instant; I saw a strange boyish fear come over his face. He suddenly looked to be about eight years old.

Then I believed him. This now became a game changer. Strong men don’t usually die from the bite of a cotton-mouth, but that same bite will seriously ruin one’s day, especially when one finds one’s self a long way from home.

And unknown to me at that time, Peanut was a free-bleeder. (Hemophiliac) Glad I did not know that over all the years I did not know it, but that, I suppose is beside the point now.

“Hang on. Don’t move” was the brilliant response I shot back.

“Like I’m gonna move…” was his brilliant retort.

“Peanut, seriously, did you get bit?”

“’Feet’, yep. Seriously, I been bit.”

“Goddamn it!” I screamed at him and then calmed, “Okay; let’s get you over to the bank.”

“I don’t feel so good,” was all he said right before he passed out and melted into the water.

I dropped my bow and arrow, and as fast as I could, elephant-walked through the knee-deep water and pulled him up.

Dragging his unconscious body back to the spot where we had piled all the carp, I began having flashbacks of the day his uncle had drown in the very same lake whose spillway we had been exploiting until two minutes ago. Suddenly, I did not feel so damn good either.

I slapped him a few times and grabbing his jaw, moved his face back and forth, slapping him again.

“Peanut! Goddamn you! It’s just a snake! Wake up! Wake the fuck up! Now! Goddamn it!”

His eyes opened slightly and he tried to say something, but I could not make it out.

“Just shut the hell up,” I said. Then I looked over his ankles and bare legs for the bite. Found it, just over his left ankle. I ain’t no Boy Scout, and had never been trained in the art of fixing snake bites, so I just cradled his head in my lap and said,

“Here, drink this,” offering him some Wild Turkey.

“Yaaa…that’s good,” was what he said. All he said; then passed out again.

Goddamn it!

I threw him over my shoulder, fireman carry style and tried to get us up the stiff bank so I could get him to the car. Couldn’t do it, so I grabbed his arms over his shoulder and dragged him. The bruises that came from that, I was certain he would forgive.

Once I got us out of the spillway, I fire-man carried him to the car. Seemed to take five hours, but in reality, probably thirty minutes. I threw him into the passenger side and as I was getting into the driver’s seat, he woke up.

“Did you fetch along the carp?” He asked, too nonchalantly.

“Fuck you! I’m taking you to town.” Was all I could say.

“Whut for? He slurred at me.

“’Cause you got snake-bit, that’s what for.”

“Ah…forget it; I feel Okay”

“Well, you look like shit,” I said as I cranked the car.

“Seriously, I’m fine; go back and get them carp.”

So, I gave him the half-full or half empty (depending upon one’s perspective) bottle of Turkey, and went back and ‘fetched’ the carp.

Took me three or four trips, and every time I brought a load of carp, I enquired after his health. He seemed fine, well, sorta. But he was adamant; so I kept schlepping the damn carp and finally got all the gear as well.

I took him to my father (The Doctor; he had just returned from his trip to Dallas). He gave him a ‘once over,’ checking his vitals, and asked the question I was dreading: “What the hell were you two doing at the lake on a school day?”

I said something clever like, “Uh, it was a field trip for biology class.”

He glared at me over his glasses and said nothing.

Then Peanut said to him,

“Doc, it hurts when I do this,” as he wiggled his leg around.

“Well then don’t do that,” my father said.

Thanks Dad…

He was given a shot of something, probably penicillin, but I don’t know. He recovered and we did sell the carp for about twenty bucks and bought some beer from a local bootlegger.

And then got stupid drunk.

(I NEVER Write FICTION!) This is a TRUE STORY! “Fired Marshall: Richard’s Lame-Ass Jeans, Chapter Six: FIRE! And Yes! I Shall Burn In Hell. For My Sins.”

Did I Regurgitate. This Already?

Go Ahead!

Ask Me How many Fuks I Give!

Immediately after Madelyn and I had heard the radio broadcast from Bonham, we went back downstairs to join Daddy and Gloria for supper.
As we we wading through the ‘First Course”, the telephone rang. Gloria got up and answered, Returned to the table and announced, rather tearful,
“Madelyn has just lost her job.”
“How so?” Daddy asked.
“Richard’s Jeans was destroyed in a fire.”
Maddy and I exchanged knowing glances, subtly.
“Still on the line?” Madelyn asked Gloria as she went to the telephone.
“Yes,” said Gloria. Maddy went to the phone had some short conversation. Hung up abruptly. Returned to the table and cast me a sideways glance, meaning to say,

“Do NOT say a Goddamn Word.”

Message received.


Loud and Clear

About twenty minutes later there was a vociferous loud aggressive knock on the front door of Marcom Manor.

No “Friend of Marcom” Ever Knocks Upon the Front Door–Only Interlopers, and they could be shot.

Marcom Manor

I got up to answer.
It was the Fannin County Fire Marshall.
“Is there a Madelyn Marcom here?” he inquired.
“Sure” I said. “What do you want?”
“I need to ask her a few questions.”
“We are at supper.” I said.
“That’s okay. I’ll wait.”

I went back to our Norman Rockwell, sat down, poured some more ice tea…
“Who was that?” Gloria asked.
“Fire Marshall” I replied.
“Did he leave?”
“Naw. I parked him in the Parlor.”
“Dammit Lance! When were you gonna tell us?”
“As soon as we finished our supper.”
“What does he want?”
“He wants to talk to Madelyn.”
“Madelyn! You go talk to him. Now!”
Maddy got up and headed to the parlor.
Was I scared she would confess?
Oh Hell no!

Nevertheless, I got up and walked her to the parlor.

“Sister, don’t fuck this up.”
I got this,” was all she said.

To be continued.


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Teaser for a Lil Sumthin’ I am Working On

Hud: Portrait of a Texas Heel


Thou Talk’st Of NOTHING. Pete–Re-Pete, Peter-Pan! Lance Will Never Grow Up. Where Would Be the Fun In That? “The Flat-Bed Truck and The Pastel Sun-Dress”

Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan: 

I am never gonna grow up!

“He Had A Passion For Things He Knew Could Hurt Him… Other Times, He Found Himself Lost”


I Just Wanna Have FU-UN!

Cred: Cyndi Lauper


I Mean,


What’s Life All About Then?

Cred: Cilla Black & Burt Bacharach


C’est Moi!


Thou Talks of Nothing:









And Here is a news flash for you Marcom:

Ronnie Died about fifty year ago. Get the fuck over it!

“Golly Gosh, My Lord. I am tryin’ to… but you see…I have been watching this “Game of Thrones” thing on the Television…”

“The what?”


“Never heard of such nonsense.”

“Yes, My Lord. Me neither.”


Now my lawyers are sated.


There was a semi-recent poll taken, right here on this Blog: TT&H, where the question was broached.

Nay! Asked:

“What should I write about?”

Well, after so many hanging chaffs and invalid voting boxes, and I do not know how many “Landslide Lyndons” we experienced, the tally was tallied:

Someone voted for a Peanut Story.


Just so happens, I had one in my hip pocket. (I carry it about, you see? Just for occasions such as this)

I do believe the year was 1994, give or take. (10 years)

I was in a bad spot with my then-wife and my Girl-Friend who soon, someday soon, I hoped  to become my next-wife.

Nevermind her name; this is irrelevant. After a few… well.

I was in this bad spot, you see. And I needed a flat-bed truck (for whatever reason), you see?

Now, the only one in possession of same was Peanut.

You see? (Because Peanut was always the one who did not ask questions, you see?) And why was that? Because I was also the only one who never asked.

Being poor of money and poor’er of excuse, I told my bride: “Honey, we need to see this man about a truck. Then we can get on with our lives.”

“Okay,” she said.

Off we went, she in her pretty sun-dress and me,  looking for flatbed trucks in all them wrong places.

And then, after about eight miles of Bad Texas Road,  we came upon a tree across the road you see, and a madman with a shotgun,  you see; this madman was shooting at this young girl, you see, and this was embarrassing to me, you see, since the man wielding the shotgun could not hit shit, .. and his aim was lousy you see? And of course the girl was out of range, you see, and it did not matter to me, you see? 

BECAUSE My Brother, PEANUT would never shoot an innocent girl on the wing.

You see?

You See?

You must have seen that coming.

Oh, that ‘other’ guy?

That Guy shooting at that girl?

What did we do with him?

Well, turns out, that was Peanut.

I had to forgive him. The girl was not harmed and I missed my brother.

Thus it ended….

That’s Tejas!



I cannot write this.

Maybe later.

Sorry. It has become rare that I just throw up a rough draft, you see?

(Yes, I know: they are all rough drafts)

This one may have some promise, however, since, like all Things Peanut, it is true.

Caint you see?


“And being thus disquieted…”

Or something….

Not unlike Pygmalion, as the years fly by, I create.

I cannot ‘create’ the woman I love. Not because she does not exist, but because, I do not want to embarrass her.

Yet, she is real and she loves me: since 1971.

She told me so.

Now…..five wives later….My wives.

(I should have never left her to fend.

oh no! I had to go to fuckn egypt for five fuckin years!)


Is just a fucking word.

Hell! It is not even a word for a life lost.

“His only aspiration…. was getting back that girl he lost before.”


But.. what to do with? As a dog chasing a train? What is he gonna do, if he catches it?

Love it?

These are the eternal questions.



Nothing seems to keep you high.

Who knew?

Who could have?


Haaha! Re-Post. “My Mother The Car”

My Mother The Car Intro


Slightly ‘dated’ photo of Honey Grove above.

Sometime shortly after I mustered out of the U.S. Navy…
I found me suddenly in need of a car, a vehicle, a mode of transport, fuckin’ wheels.
Never really havin’ given two shits ‘bout such, I found myself in front of a pawn shop in Honey Grove Texas early one morning. Too early, in fact.

But, I skip ahead (as is my wont)

Let us go back in time (just a few hours; be patient)
I had fallen ‘in love’ with a woman (It happens)
Got drunk one late night; decided I needed counsel (from Peanut—My Yoda—problem was, I was in Commerce, Texas and Yoda was in Honey Grove, miles and miles and styles away)
What to do?
Drive to see him on Endor.
Jumped into my chariot and almost made it.
Alas! A bar ditch jumped up in front of me.
The car did not survive.
Happily, I did, but now I had a real problem:
Yoda was still miles away.
Walked the two miles to HG and spied a vehicle “For Sale”
Walked in to the pawn shop and inquired:
“Yall take credit cards?”
“No Son; we do not.”
“Damn shame,” I said. “’Cause I wanna buy that car y’all got for sale out yonder. Well see ya.”
“Wait! Wait! We can make an exception!”
“OK, gas her up and get her ready.”


Found Peanut and some how I don’t know how… He managed to get ‘hold of a tractor and pull my dead “La Bomba” Out of the bar ditch and drag her back to his front lawn (at the end of eight miles of bad Texas road) Where she probably still resides today–languishing away.

And the rest, as they say, is History.

P.S. This post was inspired by a memory my good friend Mark, over at

brought out in my mind. Thanks Mark. Peace On!

PPS: The ‘Car’ Had a half-life about as long as a bottle of Jim Beam in my house. 

Please Revisit–Worth Yer Time. Trust Me: I’m With Your Government. Another VERY LONG PEANUT TALE….This Never Got Any Play: The Snapping Turtles’ Part Probably Killed It.

And by the way, this is a true story.

I don’t write fiction. No good at it and no need for it.

Janis: “Turtle Blues”

“I Know This Goddamn Life Too Well”

And Probably ‘Cause it’s Eight Miles High

(And almost as long as the video)

So skip the vid; pour yourself a breakfast beer and please read the story.

(You will rack up mega-karma if you do)

Camping with Gene, Peanut, and the Signifying Monkey. Running the Trotline. And of the Sisters I Brought to the Soirée

Continuation of The Bow Fishing post…

One Saturday afternoon much later that spring, Peanut and Gene flushed me out of the old Pool Hall which was located on Sixth Street in a rundown building just off the square in Honey Grove.pool-hall

“We’re goin’ camping out to The Lake,” Peanut announced. “You gonna come, or what?”

“Kinda short notice,” I said. “I don’t know. It’s Saturday afternoon, and soon it’ll be Saturday Night, and I was gonna get dressed up and go ‘Dear’ Hunting.”

“Okay, fine then,” Peanut said gruffly. “You go chasin’ tail, but I doubt you’ll catch any. If you change your mind, we’ll be at the old boat ramp. Just don’t show up empty-handed. Me and Gene got all the gear and food an’ shit, but you gotta bring something if you wanna join us. Them what works, and brings, eats.”

A word about Gene here: He was also a sophomore, like Peanut, but to look at him, you’d think him more a junior, or maybe even a senior on a rough day. He stood about six-three and weighed probably two-ten; a big guy. He had slightly long (in the style of The Seventies) red hair and a rugged looking, yet somewhat boyish face, rolled into one. His speech was slow and deliberate. And rare. But he was not ‘slow.’ He had an intelligence and a manner I found most admirable. Not really what one would call a ‘gentle giant,’ but close. He was never boastful, as Peanut and I were often wont to be. I never saw anyone cross Gene, save for a few idiots from out of town, and much to their misfortune.

“Okay, fair enough,” I said and went back in to my game of Nine-Ball.

The Pool Hall (Euphemistically, it was “The Honey Grove Gaming Center”) was not an establishment that most parents allowed their kids to frequent. It was seedy & sleazy and much gambling went on there. Of course I loved it. I didn’t consider hustling pool as gambling per se. To me it was just a way to supplement my other sources of income: working for a local rancher, building fences, or hauling hay. A vocation, if you will, but also a very pleasing avocation as well.

The building was a ramshackle place, and that is kind. Upon entering one’s eyes had to take a minute to adjust. The majority of the light came from the fixtures which hung closely over the four pool tables, giving the place an almost cave-like ambiance, or perhaps, more accurately, an opium den. The tables were antique: Not the coin operated kid’s toy tables one usually finds in bars these days. These were regulation-size, with three-quarter inch slate: good solid tables, level and with good, reliable banks for those who could make a decent bank or rail shot.

Cigarette smoke would hang in the air, swirled about slightly by a couple of lethargic ceiling fans. There was a juke box; seems like most of the time it was on the fritz. Just as well, for on a Saturday night when the joint was hopping, no one could have heard the music anyway.

The place would get rowdy and much (usually) good-natured shit would be talked and wolf-tickets sold and bought and bartered without pause.

There were two pinball machines in a little cubical-like area just to the left side of the entrance, but of course these weren’t the main attraction and rarely got any play. There was a counter of sorts where one could ‘settle up’ for the cost of playing pool (Ninety-nine percent of the activity was nine-ball, a ‘money game.’) Rarely did anyone play eight-ball—took too long to finish and too long for money to change hands. The charge for a game of Nine-Ball was ten cents.

In Nine-Ball, the nine and the five are the ‘money’ balls and one must pocket all the balls in rotation, or if opportunity presented, the skillful player could make a combination shot of, for example, striking the next ball in numbered succession into the money ball, pocketing it and winning the money. The usual bet was one dollar on the five and two or three on the nine. If I were able to clear ten or fifteen dollars on a Saturday night, I was happy and sated. Rarely did I lose, but the competition was brutal (there were many very adept pool players in HG back then), and more than once I lost more money than I wish to recount here.

The owner/proprietor of the joint was a one-armed man who was not ‘from’ Honey Grove. No one seemed to know exactly where he came from, and I really don’t recall anyone else ever running the pool hall, but certainly it had been there for some years

. This gentleman was a true hustler and a true gambler. (He would bet on which of two cockroaches crossing the floor would make it out of sight first, or on anything else which had an outcome not clearly discernible. And the SOB always won.) But his passion was not hustling pool, betting on roaches, nor even running his pool hall:

He could play golf.

Hard to believe I know, but this guy, using his one arm, could beat the socks off most two-armed golfers, as so many discovered to their amazement and to the lightening of their wallets.

This particular Saturday afternoon, the hall was mostly empty and I was, in fact, just killing time. I started thinking about the camping trip and considered joining Gene and Peanut right then, but changed my mind. Saturday nights in HG back then, were often laden with opportunity for fun, mischief, girls, and Sin. At the risk of sounding somewhat prejudicial, I will state that my town had the best looking girls in Fannin County.

The main venue for activity was Main Street, cruising up and down (American Graffiti? Not exactly, but a similar, if slightly scaled down, low-budget version…) or parking on the town square, drinking beer. (And such)

Having grown bored with the inactivity, read ‘lack of action’ in the pool hall; I got into my ’68 Plymouth station wagon and drove the half-mile to my house. I suppose it was about five in the afternoon. As usual, I was almost late for supper. My step-mother was standing over a skillet stirring something that smelled almost good enough to eat, as she alternately took drags off a Benson & Hedges and swigs from a can of Coors. Daddy was sitting at our little dinette table half-watching TV and half-reading a book.

Madelyn appeared and said, “You set and I’ll clear.”

So I set the table and presently we all sat down for our Norman Rockwell.

Happy to have done the setting duties, freeing me to leave as soon as the meal was over, I ate quickly, then showered, dressed and bounded down the stairs from the third floor. But just before I left, I told Gloria not to expect me home that night, as I was going camping out at The Lake. (There are several lakes in Fannin County, Texas, but if you have been kind enough to read my Post ‘Bow Fishing,’ you will no doubt know that My Crowd only considered Lake Coffeemill worth ‘dipping a toe in’, metaphorically, of course.)

“You don’t look dressed for camping,” she said. “You look more like dressed for carousing.”

“Gonna camp at the ‘Proper’ Camping Grounds: High Class Crowd there.” I smart-assed as I hit the back door and split before she could say anything else.

(And I wonder now why she and I never got along…)

Happy and proud of myself for having escaped so blithely, I quickly reviewed what little plans I had for the evening. First of all, I needed to procure some beverage. The legal drinking age had been lowered in Texas from twenty-one to eighteen. (Mainly, I think, because of Viet Nam and the draft age). I wasn’t eighteen, but I had a fake ID that said I was. It was a pretty good fake too. Good enough to get me into the bars in Commerce, and more important for this particular night, good enough to allow me to purchase some beverage from a package store in Ladonia. As wonderful as HG could be on any given Saturday Night, beverage or herb (or both) was always required. (I was hoping Gene & Peanut at least had some herb. The beverage at least, I could provide).

I headed south.

The Mission to Ladonia and back took about thirty-five minutes. I purchased a bottle of Jim Beam, a case and a half of Coors (“In the Bottle”), four bags of ice, and several packs of Marlboros for Peanut. (He loved his ‘Cowboy Killers’ but never seemed to have the foresight to fetch enough along to sustain him. As I recall, Gene loved them too. I didn’t smoke—cigarettes—back then.)

At this point, I wasn’t entirely certain I was actually going to meet them at the Lake, but in case I did decide to, I didn’t want to show up not bearing ‘gifts.’ Besides, the ‘gifts’ would keep for later, if I chose not to go.

I arrived back in HG and things did seem promising: Lots of folks on the square, and a reasonable amount of traffic up and down Main Street.

I parked on The Square.

There were some of the usual suspects parked there already. Across the street, The Grove Theater (The Last Picture Show…) seemed to be popular as well. I opened a beer and turned up KLIF on the car radio. Chicago was singing Colour My World. I always hated that song, so I switched the station, and got Crimson & Clover. Gag! So I just turned the damn thing off.


I saw ‘Nubbin Kileen’ the world-famous hay-hauler, pull up in his Forties’ era flat-bed hay-truck. He climbed out, wearin’ chaps, Holy blue jeans, a beat up old straw hat and holding a hay hook in his right hand, as if it were an extension of his arm, permanently affixed.

He looked about spent (or drunk)—or both. He also sported long, filthy hair (still bits of hay stuck in it); he reminded me of perhaps a cheap imitation of Bob Dylan in later years. I sauntered over to talk to him, as he was a legend, and I was hoping to haul hay with him as soon as school was out in a few weeks.

hay truck

“Hey Nubbin, how’s it going?” I asked cheerfully.

“Mainly just goin’. How yew?”

“Good enough, I guess. You gonna need a good hay-hand in a few weeks?” I asked expectantly.

“Might. One I got now ain’t worth a cup of spit, to tell you the truth.”

“Just so happens I’m available.”

“Yeah Kid, you done told me before. You a good hay hand?” He didn’t seem too enthusiastic.

“Yeah, I am.”

“Ok. Come find me when yer school’s out. We’ll see.”

Well Hot Damn! At least he didn’t say ‘no.’

I wandered about the various cars parked on the square and shot-the-shit with the local color. There was Calvin, Crabby, Jackie, Donna, Gina, (all older, but ‘old’ friends of mine). There were of course, several high school representatives there as well. I think Kim, Byron, Sheila, Bob, and quite a few others for certain, but memories fade and there were much comings and goings and ‘doings’.

Some were drinking; some were smoking; some were ‘doing’.

Just your typical Saturday Night, HG, Texas.

After spending some time on The Square and catching up on the Counter Culture, I fired up my chariot and made a few circuits up and down Main, which meant east to the DQ, then back west to the ‘Two-Mile Turn.’

Rinse & Repeat.

During one leg of my journey, I saw a couple of cars parked at Jack Self’s service station (It was no longer Jack’s at that time, but it somehow managed to retain the name.)

I pulled in to discover Beverly and Linda in one car talking through rolled down windows to a couple of guys from out of town in the other. (Bonham, I judged from the smell.) Beverly was about my age, Linda, a bit younger. Beverly was a slightly slim and petite red-head who was working on a faint mustache. Linda was, shall we say, slightly ‘chunky’ but very cute. She was a brunette with dark eyes and a permanent pouty look. Peanut was a sometime interest of Bev’s and the feeling was mutual.


Linda… well, as I said, she was cute, although she never said much. Beverly often said too much. Hard to believe these two were sisters, but there you go. Maybe they had different daddies, or different mothers, or maybe they were adopted from different orphanages. I really didn’t know much about them, other than they went to school at Fannindel High in Ladonia even though I believe they lived closer to Honey Grove. They could not usually be found hanging out with the crowd I usually hung out with, but they were known about town and I

liked them both. Honey Grove did not necessarily have classes, or castes, but there definitely was some prejudice, which boiled up in our little melting pot from time to time. I’d like to say I was guiltless of this myself, but that would be an untruth, although generally I was more immune to the tendency than a lot of folks.

I got out of my car and walked over to the girls.

“Hey Y’all! I said in a mustered up authoritative voice, “Daddy told me to come find y’all and fetch you on home. He says you’d better get your butts back right now, or he’s coming to town to find you hisself.” Then I added ominously, “An’ he been drinkin’ a little bit.”

The two Bonham-ites took that as their cue to exit stage left and promptly did just that.

“Hiya Lance! You’re a funny guy.” Bev laughed after Bonham sped off in a cloud of dust and gravel, heading west.

“What’re y’all up to this evening?” I asked, in my ‘normal’ voice, ever so cool.

“Aw Hell! Ya know ain’t nothin’ to be up to in this town,” Bev answered for them both.

“Yeah, not much to do in this one horse, one-traffic-light town, eh?”

“You said it.” Bev concurred.

“Listen Y’all; there’s a party out at Lake Coffeemill. (Medium white lie—there would be a party once we got there) I am heading there now. Wanna come along?”

Now, I know most good girls in HG would beg off, protesting they could not stay out all night, but I knew for a fact that these two could (and would), if the idea were presented in the right manner.

Bev said, “Uh, I don’t know… Who’s gonna be there?”

“Well, so far just us… and a few other folks, but there should be a good many more by the time we get there. I’ve been riding around town all evening letting everyone know about it. (Yes, another lie) Nothing fancy mind you; just camping out and stuff like that.”

She looked skeptical. “Who is ‘some other’ folks and what kinda stuff?” she asked.

“Well, Peanut and Gene, and I think Bob and some others… You know. Just stuff. Kid-Stuff,” I said, rather over-proud of my ‘eloquence.’

“Peanut is there?”

Suddenly I had her interest.

“Uh yeah, most definitely. He and Gene went out this afternoon to get everything ready.”

“You got anything to drink?”

“Bev, who do you think you’re talking to?”

“Ok,” she said to me. Then to Linda, “Get your stuff and lock up the car; we’re goin’ camping.”

Linda, quiet up to this point (as I intimated: the girl was shy) said, “Ya sure Bev?”

“Hell yes, I’m sure. Come on now.”

The three of us piled into the front seat of my station wagon, Linda seated next to me, and we pulled out of the gas station. I always had the back seat of my station wagon folded down and kept an 84-quart red & white Igloo cooler directly behind the front seat, thus limiting my passenger capacity to two. Bev reached back and opened the Pandora’s Box (I didn’t mind her not asking; they were both my guests after all). She perused the contents, saw the whiskey and the beer, then frowned.

“Hey! Didn’t you get no coke to mix with this Jim Beam?”

“Hell Bev!” I said. “That would never have occurred to me.”

“No good. Get to the DQ before they close so we can get some cokes to mix with this.”


“Yes Ma’am,” As I turned the car around and headed in the opposite direction we needed to be heading.

Got to keep the Ladies satisfied.

While at the DQ, I bought a big bag-full of tacos and burgers along with the cokes (Just in case Peanut and Gene had forgotten to fetch along any meat in the likely event they didn’t manage to catch any fish or shoot any squirrels for supper.)

Prudently, I had decided to take the easy route to Coffeemill this time, so after the DQ we headed back west to the Two-Mile Turn and took FM 1396 north past Allen Chapel & then FM 2029 towards Telephone. This meant we wouldn’t have to cross the Bois d’Arc Bridge in darkness. A bridge who’s benevolence (or lack thereof) I was never anxious to tempt, day or night.

We rode along in the night listening to WLS Chicago on the radio, a station one could usually only pick up late at night. They played pretty decent music then.

Not much Bee Gees or similar crap, at least not late at night anyway. Mostly Led Zeppelin, CCR, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, some of the ‘good’ Chicago—

mostly stuff that didn’t make me nauseous. Bev played bartender and poured up a couple of bourbon and cokes for her and Linda. I stuck with Coors. The ni

ght was pitch-black and I didn’t want to screw up and miss any of the several turns we would have to make. There is nothing darker than a country road in Texas on a moonless night and my navigation skills were never worth a damn. I successfully found the road leading toward Coffeemill. Late at night, it is an eerie drive. The road is narrow with solid trees on both sides, some hanging over the road. It was as if we were entering a tunnel or a cave even.

We bounced along this road and eventually came to the turn-off down to The Lake, where I expected to find Gene and Peanut decently and properly camped. As the trees thinned and we neared the boat ramp, I could make out their camp fire. I pulled up and parked beside Peanut’s ‘Jalopy du Jour.’ There was an empty boat trailer hitched to it. Occasionally, Peanut could talk his daddy out of permission to take the old Jon Boat out to the lake.

I saw the glow of two faces in the campfire and could make out two small pup tents in the shadows behind them. They had lit up a Coleman lantern and on the other side of the fire it was hanging from the skinny limb of a small tree—precariously—but adequately illuminating the rest of the ‘camp.’ There were cooking utensils piled up by the tree: pots and pans, a cutting board and some knives on top of a beer cooler, a couple of plastic buckets, some rods and reels, another beer cooler (this one Styrofoam), an axe protruding from another small tree nearby, a rifle (probably a .22), a shotgun, and various and other sundry items strewn about.

“Welcome to ‘Camp Grenada’,” I said to the girls as we piled out of the car.

Peanut and Gene got up to greet us.

“Hey Many-Feet! You done made it after all!” Peanut shouted.

“Who’s that you got with ya?” Gene added.

“Well, y’all told me to bring something, so I brought along these two; figured you boys done had supper, so here I am with dessert.”

Beverly snapped, “That ain’t funny Lance!”

“Hey! That’s Bev and looks like that there’s Linda! Hiya Ladies!” Peanut said with an earnest exuberance as he walked over toward us.

Gene ambled on over as well. “Ya fetch along anything else?”

“Of course,” I said as I pitched the bag of Marlboros to Peanut. “Grab my igloo outta the car there. Oh and grab that DQ bag while you’re at it, would ya?”

It generally took two men to get my cooler out of the car when full of ice and beer, but I knew Gene didn’t need any help, so Peanut, the girls, and I walked over to the campfire and sat down around it. The nights still had some chill in them and the fire was welcoming. Presently Gene stumbled on over with my giant igloo and the DQ bag with the tacos and burgers clinched between his teeth. He set the cooler down with a loud ‘thump!’ and I could hear the beer and ice sloshing around inside accompanied by that tinkling sound bottles make when colliding into each other.

“Hey! Easy there Big Fella; don’t want you bruisin’ the booze,” I said.

He set the bag of food on the ground and said, “Damn ‘Feet, what all ya got in there?”

“Just your basic Beam & Beer,” I said, as he opened the cooler, peering inside.

“Well, I guess now we can stay ‘til Monday, if we’re a-mind to; we’re stocked up real good,” he said in his usual deadpan.

Gene had an appetite that was famous. I have personally witnessed him go through two DQ Dudes, a half-dozen tacos, two orders of fries, and wash it all down with two chocolate milkshakes at the Dairy Queen and then ask me if I were going to finish the onion rings I had left neglected on my plate. I also knew that he was permanently banned from the ‘Wednesday All-You-Can-Eat Catfish Nights’ at the other local greasy-spoon in Honey Grove.

His eyes lit up as he opened the DQ bag.

We passed around the tacos and burgers and beers, laughing and joking as we ate and drank. At that moment, sitting around that fire, there was no place on Earth I’d have rather been.

Immediately after the food was finished, four cigarettes were simultaneously (spontaneously?) ignited around me.

“Hey, am I the only one here who cares about his health?”

Beverly reached into her jacket and handed me a joint.

“Here Darlin’. This won’t hurt ya none.”

I lit the joint, took a drag and passed it to Linda, and watched as it made its way around to the rest of my ‘two-fisted smoker’ friends.

Growing mellow, yet still energetic, we laughed and joked some more around the campfire.

“So tell me Guys,” I broached. “What’ve you done all day, besides set up this camp and drink beer?” (Peanut had provided what beer they had, but they were desperately ‘low’ when I arrived with the Girls, in the nick of time, so to speak; not unlike the cavalry, or more accurately, and properly, The Texas Rangers)

Gene chimed in, “We set a good trotline, ‘bout a hundred foot. We been catching some brim and used them for bait. Probably should run that line tonight, but I suppose it’ll keep ‘til morning, if it has to.”

Gene gravitated toward ‘serious’ when it came to campin’, fishin’, and huntin’. Not that Peanut and I didn’t; we were just a bit more ‘lazy-faire’ and casual in the execution of same.

“Still got any of those brim left?” I asked. “You know, for re-baiting the trot line tomorrow.” Trying to show Gene I could occasionally be somewhat serious when ‘talkin’ ‘bout fishin’ and such.

“Yeah, we got some in a brim basket, tied to the boat over yonder,” he answered, pointing into the darkness in the general direction of the boat ramp.

“We used the basket instead of a stringer.” Peanut elaborated. “Don’t want no moccasins eatin’ up our bait.”

“Yeah, lots O’ moccasin ‘round here,” I said. And Peanut and I laughed, sharing our private ‘Moccasin Memories.’


Linda and Bev said almost in unison, “I don’t like snakes!”

Gene, Peanut, and I laughed, also in unison.

I put my arm around Linda, who had actually become somewhat glued to me since we first got into my car, and said, “Don’t worry Honey, Peanut will protect you; he ain’t scared of snakes.”

More laughter from Peanut.

Gene rolled his eyes.

I had noticed a VW van parked a ways down when the Girls and I had driven in, but had forgotten to ask about it.

“Boys,” I said, “Anybody else camping here right now?”

“Two guys and two gals, probably college preppies,” Peanut spat. “They tried to set up close to us here, but we ‘discouraged’ ‘em off. Now they are down the end of the camp grounds over yonder,” as he pointed into the night, in the opposite direction Gene had pointed to about the brim basket.

We smoked another joint and drank a few more beers and we were all getting sleepy.

So I said, “We’re turning in. ‘G’night, Y’all.”

I wasn’t really sure about the other sleeping arrangements, and I really didn’t want to be the one sorting that out, so I just took Linda by the hand and led her to my station wagon. With the back seat down and the Igloo cooler removed, there was plenty of room in the back for us to sleep out of the chill. I always kept a quilt rolled up in my car for just such an occasion. We situated ourselves in the back of my car. I assumed Bev and Peanut would crash in one tent, and Gene, well, looked like he was gonna be ‘Odd Man Out’ in the other tent.

Sorry ‘bout that Gene…


I was awakened by the sound of an ax repeatedly and incessantly striking hard wood: “Thunk! Thunk! Twap!”

Bleary-eyed, I gazed out of the car. There was Gene, vigorously going at it. Beside me Linda stirred, moaned, opened her eyes slightly, and then pulled the quilt over her head. I crawled out of the car and stood barefoot beside it, shivering in the early morning air. The sun was up, but not by much. I judged it to be about six o’clock.

Damn! But it was a fine morning! The air was clean and fresh with not a cloud in the sky. I searched about and found my socks and boots. I saw Peanut’s head poke out from inside his tent and I’m pretty certain he looked worse than I felt. But youth quickly mends bleary-eyed, hung over young souls.  He squinted in my general direction and disappeared back into the tent.

Gene continued his travail and I walked over to what was left of the previous night’s campfire, squatted down and poked about absent-mindedly in the remaining embers with a small stick. Gene walked over and dumped on some wood, scattering ash and creating a small cloud of ‘fire flies’ attacking my face, saying nothing.

I stood up, walked over to the Igloo and fished out a bottle of Coors. The icy cold water shocked my hands. I sat down on the cooler, opened the beer (The hair of some dog), and began trying to wash the cotton out of my mouth. I looked over and saw Peanut standing one-legged in front of his tent, now struggling with his boots. He fell backwards on his ass and cussed under his breath. He continued with his boots whilst seated there ignominiously.  There was no sign of his ‘Pocahontas’.

After successfully donning his footwear, he ambled over to the now smoldering fire.

“Move your butt; I lost somethin’ in that cooler last night,” he said as I stood up, opened the cooler and handed him a beer.

“This what you’re looking for?” I asked.

“Yup. Gracias,” he said and sat down on the other cooler by the fire.

We continued sipping our beer while watching Gene chop still more firewood. He brought several arm loads over, dropping them beside us, and with each load, glared at us more intently.

“Guess we need to feed that boy, ‘fore he gets testy,” Peanut said as he tossed aside his now empty beer bottle.

Peanut was what one might call a ‘Gourmet Camp Cook.’ He proceeded to busy himself with a frying pan, bacon, some potatoes, and finally some eggs. The bacon and potatoes, he skillfully cooked together, then poured the mixture onto a plate and made quick work of scrambling three or four eggs in the grease which remained. He added these to the plate and yelled to Gene who had gone off to check (I suppose) on the brim they had left in the basket the day before.

“Yo, Gene! Come… an’… get it!” Peanut yelled over his shoulder, somewhat mockingly.

Gene appeared, and after handing the plate to him, he returned to his cooking duties, but slightly less hurried and slightly less harrowed now.

As he was cooking up more breakfasts, I went to rouse the girls. Linda was still out of it, but I managed to get her out of the car. Sleepy-eyed, she joined Peanut in the ‘kitchen’ as I went to check on Bev. Beverly was stirring, but still not fully conscious, but eventually she came to join us, sitting down by the fire and lighting a cigarette.

After we all had a bit of breakfast, Peanut served up some coffee he had been boiling on the edge of the fire. We laced it with bourbon and sugar and it wasn’t half-bad. In fact it was, as Gran’ma used to say, ‘Larapin.’

Gene announced with some authority that it was time to run the trotline.

We all walked toward where the Jon Boat was ‘moored’ on the bank, half in, and half out of the water. Peanut grabbed the .22 rifle, Gene grabbed one of the buckets, and I grabbed a beer.

Trotlines in Texas are for catching catfish—nothing else. This is their purpose; however they also and with too much regularity, catch snapping turtles, water moccasins, and fishing boat outboard motors.


Peanut boarded first and sat down astern; Beverly followed and sat beside him. I got in next and sat down amidships. Gene shoved us off and jumped into the bow as the boat slid into the lake.

Linda said, “No thanks. I can’t swim,” and walked back toward our camp.

Just as well, the boat was probably overloaded enough as it was.

Gene got us turned around using the paddle and we eased out toward a dead tree about fifteen yards offshore where the trotline was tied.  He snagged it and we began running the line. Clorox bottles were attached and floated at intervals ending at another dead tree about thirty yards from the first. It would not be necessary to paddle anymore, since we could just pull the boat along the line, checking and re-baiting (and hopefully unhooking… fish) as we went along toward the other tree.

“Feel anything tugging on the line?” Peanut asked Gene.


He pulled up a decent sized catfish on the first hook in the series and so it looked to be a promising run from the start.

Gene de-hooked the catfish, carefully avoiding the needle sharp pectoral spines which can cause much misery to the neophyte or careless trotline runner. Peanut reached over the side into the brim basket retrieving one of the palm-sized still wiggling fish. He pitched it to me.

“Cut that in half so Gene can re-bait the hook,” he said.

“Be happy to; hand me the knife,” I replied.

“You didn’t bring no knife?”

“No,” I said. “I thought you, being ‘James Bowie’ ‘an all, always kept a knife on ya.”

“Well shit!” He shot back. “Do I have ta do ever’thang? Gene, you got a knife on ya?”

“Nope, got no knife neither,” Gene said in monotone.

“Well I’ll be Goddamn-go-to-hell!” Peanut said. “Now we gotta paddle all the way back to camp and get a God-damn knife.”

“No need,” I said, and proceeded to bite the head off the brim and hand the headless thing, still wiggling in its dying throes, to Gene. “There ya go Podner, cut bait or fish; your choice.”

I thought Beverly was going to lose her breakfast and Gene and Peanut were going to laugh themselves overboard.

“Many-Feet,” Peanut managed to choke out between his laughter, “You are-one-crazy-son-of-a-bitch!”

Historically, when the three of us got together, whether it be in a honkytonk ‘Cross the River’ in Oklahoma, or in a bar in Commerce, or camping here at Coffeemill, things always tended to turn a little bit ‘crazed and demented’.

Anti-social, unacceptable behavior that we would not exhibit individually became de rigueur when we three were together. We had recently been ‘perma-banned’ from two bars in Commerce for some of our antics, but as Commerce had many bars (no less than a baker’s dozen at any given time), we really didn’t care much.

Bars came and went with regularity in Commerce during The Seventies, with only a few (The Showdown, Bar G, Electric Circus, The Mug, and The Icehouse) ever sustaining any longevity. The two we were thrown out of actually didn’t last long after we could no longer frequent them. Looking back, I’d have to say these bars may have made it, if they hadn’t banished some of their best customers.

We continued running the trotline and I continued to ‘cut’ bait. The run was going along swimmingly and we had about ten pounds of channel cat on our stringer when Gene said,

“Uh, I think this line’s snagged.” Then added quickly, “Nope. It’s movin’ now; somethin’ big an’ heavy.”

“Well, pull it up then!” Peanut yelled.


Gene stood up, tipping the boat dangerously to starboard, and put his back into it. The business end of the biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen broke the surface and Gene, full of adrenaline and obviously not thinking, hoisted it into our little boat.

This turtle was pissed off.


It started thrashing about and managed to unhook itself.

Now we had a situation.

I don’t know if there are many animals more dangerous to have on-board a small Jon Boat than a pissed off snapper; possibly perhaps a cotton mouth, or a bull-shark, or a Tasmanian Devil, but none else come immediately to mind.

Peanut grabbed the rifle and was about to shoot the damn thing when Gene and I both yelled,

“Don’t shoot it!” (Neither I nor Gene trusted his aim in the rocking & rolling Whirling Dervish the boat had suddenly become).

Beverly stood up and started screaming. I kept my eyes on the turtle since he was facing me, snapping at my ankles. I kicked him with the heel of my boot, but that just pissed him off more. I grabbed the paddle and tried to push him away. He locked onto it with a crunch. I pulled back but as snapping turtles are prone to do, he held it fast. I succeeded only in pulling his head out a ways from his shell, exposing his neck.

“Why doncha just bite his head off Many-Feet?” Peanut snapped from behind me.


“Very funny asshole!” I shot back, earnestly preoccupied with my tug-of-war with the turtle.

At least he was now engrossed with the paddle and not my leg. It was a bit of a Mexican Standoff.

“Gene, grab this thing and throw him back!” I yelled.

“Don’t think so.” he said.

“C’mon! Do it before he figures out this paddle ain’t what he wants for lunch.”


Gene stood back up, grabbed the rear part of the shell and heaved the turtle over the side, almost capsizing the boat, and all of us with it. The paddle sailed off with the turtle and both quickly disappeared.

“Sheeit!” Gene said, sitting back down. “That’s the biggest damn snapper I ever seen.”

Bev had stopped her shrieking and we all just sat there a second, catching our breath.

Presently Peanut said, “Well, that’s the only paddle I brought. Gonna be fun trying to get back to shore.”

“Tell ya what ‘Nut,” I said, “you jump in and tow us. You’re a good swimmer ain’t ya?”

“That paddle cost me ten bucks,” he lamented, only about half-serious.

“Might as well finish up running this line while we’re out here,” Gene offered.

We did indeed finish running and re-baiting the trotline and claimed a few more channel cats and a couple of mud cats (which we threw back—for the turtles). That sorted out, Gene pulled us back along the line toward the shore. Once we got to the tree and the ‘end of the line’, Peanut slid over the side without preamble and while holding the bowline with one hand and backstroking with the other managed to get us the rest of the way to the shore.

We beached the Jon Boat and unloaded ourselves and a few of the larger catfish, which Gene took over to a picnic table and began to gut and clean. Probably that would have been frowned upon by the park service…

Peanut and I headed for the cooler and some refreshment. Beverly went to find her sister and did–fast asleep in one of the tents. She hustled her out and led her over to me and Peanut, yammering on all the while about the damn ‘turtle encounter’ and how we all could have drown or worse.

“Hey Bev!” Peanut said. “Don’t tell her ‘bout how Many-Feet here bit the heads off’n them brim. She won’t never kiss him agin.”

“What’s a ‘brim’? Linda asked me, as they sat down next to the now dead campfire.

“Never mind Honey,” I said, glaring at Peanut.

I busied myself with building another fire while Peanut poked about, gathering what he would need to cook us all a fine channel-cat dinner. Gene came over with one of the plastic buckets full of catfish fillets, still somewhat bloody. He took them down to the shore and rinsed them off. When he returned he set the bucket down in front of Peanut, grabbed a beer, and announced that he was done ‘a-workin’ and that he was hungry:  Starvin’ like Marvin, in fact.

Now, this was a rather large surprise.


Peanut had accumulated all his camp-fire-catfish-cooking necessities and staged same next to the ‘not-yet-ready fire’.

“Need to let her burn down a bit,” He said.

Seated there around the fire with a little time to kill, Bev fished another joint out of her pocket, lit it, passed it around as we all sat there developing a major case of the munchies. Gene grabbed the Jim Beam and some left-over coke-a-cola out of the cooler. Chivalrously he prepared two drinks for the girls. He sat down and took a swig from the bottle; then handed it to Peanut, who after taking a swig, passed it to me.

“Ya know,” Peanut reflected, “We shoulda kept that turtle. Coulda sold it for about ten bucks, or at least gotten our names in the paper for catching a world record snapper.”

“’Nut,” Gene said, “You’re crazier than Many-Feet. Why don’t you go on back out there and capture it? Maybe you can get your paddle back while you’re at it. No way was we keeping that thing.”

“Jes sayin’” Was all he said as we all stared into the fire.

With the fire now burned sufficiently down into some cooking coals, Peanut began working his magic. He assembled all the items for the meal on top of the beer coolers and began cooking. We were to feast upon fried potatoes, skillet-baked biscuits, some re-heated pinto beans he had brought along, (with Jap-a-lean-O’s, naturally), some apples baked in foil, and of course, fried fresh catfish coated with yellow cornmeal, too much Lowery’s seasoned salt and not a little black pepper.

We left him to it.


Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Piland was a character like none other: Possessing a smallish frame, medium blond hair always askew and asunder, Paul Newman blue eyes, a perpetual boyish ‘possum’ grin, and a wiry build replete with a hard-wired energy. Yet looks can be somewhat deceiving: he was tough as nails and feared nothing, or no one. There was no Brahma bull he wouldn’t attempt to ride, no man he wouldn’t attempt to fight (if provoked—him usually doing the ‘provokin’—“That sonuvabitch done pissed me off…”), no tractor, truck, nor heavy machinery he wouldn’t attempt to operate, instructed or not. Good that he never had access to an airplane, for he would have, no doubt, tried to fly it.

And actually, he did fly, by and by.

He flew through life in a manner most men would never, could never, understand.

Everything about Jimmy was over the top. He embraced life with a lustful, youthful exuberance. If there were a ‘Webster’s God of Definition,’ you would find under ‘Joie de vivre’ a photo of Peanut and the definition would read simply,

“Nuff Said.”

Or maybe,

“Now Run tell that!”

From the early Seventies until the late Nineties, I called Peanut my ‘Best Friend’ even though there were many years during those years when our paths did not cross, and sometimes when they did, ‘colliding’ would be a better-served word.

I fell slave to my wanderlust and left Honey Grove for many far-off places and adventures. Peanut never once to my knowledge, left HG, save for those three summer months we lived together in La Porte Texas working together in an asphalt factory.

He was the original at ‘Home-Boy’. He loved living in Honey Grove, or in later years, at the end of about eight miles of bad Texas road, safely (for the residents) outside of the town.

Every time I found myself back in HG I felt compelled to look him up. Sometimes he was doing well, sometimes not. We had a talent (mostly thanks to him) of finding adventure in even the most mundane of circumstance. Just the simple act of driving to Ladonia for beer one day in ’93 turned into adventure, as we had to take the back roads because, he simply said, “The laws are out for me.” We crossed many ‘Bois d’Arc’ bridges during that trip and got stuck in the mud more than once, and actually got shot at as well, well…another story…

One Saturday night in The Seventies, I was parked at Jack Self’s service station, talking to some high-school friends when we saw a cop car slowly driving past, lights flashing, and hard following,  there was Peanut in one of his ‘La Bomba’ vehicles, with another cop car bringing up the rear, lights also flashing—quite a ‘parade’.

As he slowly passed by, doing about ten miles per hour, Peanut yelled out the window to the assembled group,

“They’re fixin’ to hang my ass!”

Apparently he had some minors with him and some beers and…

That was classic ‘Peanut’. He did not say that with any malice, nor did he say it with any sorrow. He announced the fact just as it was: “They’re fixin’ to hang my ass…”

That was how he lived his life:

“You pay your money and you take your chances, an’ if you don’t, well then, forget you!”

Peanut could ‘talk shit’ with the skill a thespian who after years of training might bring to Hamlet, if lucky. With Peanut, luck had nothing to do with it; he was natural. There was no better ‘shit-talker’ in the world. He could reduce you to laughing jelly with one phrase or even just a goofy look.  In our small-town world, talking shit was one of our primary forms of entertainment, and perhaps could even be considered an art. Though most would discount the art form.

Not I. Most of my best ‘shit-talking’ I have stolen from him.

Peanut could be incredibly childish at times. Once during high school, the two of us drove to Houston to attend the FTA (Future Teachers of America) convention. We were members—believe it or not—but only for the chick opportunities…

Since he had never been to Galveston (or Houston for that matter), I decided that I needed to show him around my once and future stomping grounds. We arrived in Galveston the night before the convention in Houston was to begin and I took him down to the beach in front of Seawall Boulevard.

Peanut had never seen the ocean (Not even The Gulf—hell—no salt water at all). It was winter-time and not much going on. We got out of my station wagon and started walking down the beach, combing. We came upon some jelly-fish washed upon the shore. Peanut pulled out a knife and proceeded to repeatedly stab the dead creatures, exclaiming as he did, “Da! Da! Da! There ya go! Now what?!”

He was greatly amused.

I wasn’t.

But then, that was ‘Peanut’.

Other times, he showed a great deal of maturity and worldly wisdom.

Some years later and after a particularly rough night of us drinking and cussing and fighting each other (And me, getting into a bona-fide fist fight with one of his kin), he said to me,

“Many-Feet, you need to get that poison outta your system. Not sure I can help you. Sometimes the old bulls, they just cain’t run in the same pasture no more…”


Peanut proudly served up the catfish dinner, and let me bear witness: it was the best. We sat around the campfire over our hard-won repast and complimented our chef (in our ‘way’) between mouthfuls.

Bev said, “Damn it, Peanut! Where’s the turtle soup?”

“Hey Bev!” he said, “I got something I been meanin’ to give you..” as he stood up, reached deep into his jean’s pocket, and pulled out with grand flourish,  his middle finger, aiming it squarely at her nose.

Beverly, not to be outdone, turned her back to Peanut and, over her shoulder, announced, “Hey, ‘Nut! I have somethin’ I been savin’ for you too, Darlin’” And then deftly dropped her pants and mooned him, and a full moon it was…shining there in the daytime.

We carried on in this fashion for about an hour or so, finished our feast, lit some Marlboros and joints, and drank some more beer and whiskey. Along about four o’clock, we decided it was time to think about going home. ‘Home’ to our respective hearths. Back to ‘Civilization’. Back to our Main Mundane. The very thought of it depressed us all, though we did not verbalize that depression. Clearly, we had, the five of us, been born too late.

Being well-suited to ‘Lake Life’ as we had become, we had somehow developed intro kindred spirits during our brief adventure, even given the fact that, as adventures rate, this one was about average on ‘The Peanut Meter.’ Yet… we’d had a great time; had ourselves a little adventure, but mainly had gotten somewhat far away from the madding crowd, if just for a night and a day. One must take one’s adventure whenever, wherever, and in whatever quantity one finds it.

Peanut, Gene, and I decided…since camping is a ‘man’s game’, to do up the fire-burned dishes and pots and pans, while the Girls were tasked with loading up the cars. (Getting the boat on the trailer was not yet on our event horizon…but by and by, we’d get around to it…)

We gathered up all the dirty pots, pans, skillets, plates, greasy knives, forks, spoons, and whatever else looked like needed ‘warshin’, and schlepped them to the shore.

We sat there in ankle-deep water, our chores stacked up around us, and not unlike what I can only imagine the black slaves did in the early 1800’s, commenced to sing while we washed and worked.

(Having no proper soap, we were seated in the water, using lake sand to scrub clean the dishes et al)

Peanut began with his famous rendition of…well, guess it wasn’t so famous, as I cannot remember it now.

I tried something approaching Brother Dave Gardner.

The duo beside me was not impressed.

Gene however, was somewhat semi-famous for having ably memorized, and more ‘significant’, become competently competent in reciting ‘The Signifying Monkey’.


Peanut and I begged for a command performance.

Gene gave us an ‘aw shucks’ look, said ‘Okay’ and thus he began:

Way down in the jungle deep

The lion stepped on the monkey’s feet

Ever’ evenin’ ‘fore the sun go down

The lion kicked the little monkey’s ass


All through the jungle town.

One day, the little monkey gathered his wits;

Said ‘I’m tired of this ole ass-kickin’ shit.’


(Note: From The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism by Henry Louis Gates Jr. 1988. The origins of this sometimes toast, sometimes poem, I do not know; probably no one does, although some scholars suggest from Yorùbá Mythology.)

And on and on…Gene had it goin’ on.

Peanut and I (sophomorically) loved to hear Gene recite that. Where he learned it, I don’t know, and it never occurred to me or to Peanut ever to ask. Some things one just don’t ask (or tell). Nonetheless, it was uncharacteristic of Gene to ‘perform’ for anyone, so when he could be persuaded to recite ‘Signifyin’ Monkey’ for us, it was just one more example of that kind of signifyin’, significant, and appreciated bond the three of us had.

We finished our chores and met up with the girls as they just finished theirs. Two last things to sort: bring in the trotline and trailer the boat.

Of course bringing in the trotline also meant running it again, and we still had the problem of having no paddle. Gene solved this quite elegantly: Using brute strength, he liberated a plank from one of the picnic tables, and then using the axe, shaped it quickly into something that would pass for a crude paddle.

Back to sea…

We ran the trotline without major incident; harvested another ten pounds of channel cat, and thusly satisfied, headed back to camp. We got the boat trailered and were ready to head back to HG. Peanut and I had no interest in the catfish, so we bequeathed our share to Gene, who had a momma ‘could cook catfish like nobody’s business.’

“Sure Gene; ‘vite us on over when they done…”

The Girls and I loaded ourselves back into my Chariot. Gene and Peanut boarded theirs. We passed by the lame-ass camp of the college campers. I do believe I heard one of the women remark, “Thank God!”

“Yeah, ‘Thank God’. Thank Your God we didn’t have time nor inclination to steal your store-bought camp food.” I thought to myself as we drove past them. Maybe next time…

Drove the girls back to their car and deposited them there. I kissed Linda goodbye and could tell she was not happy.

“What’s the matter, Darlin’?” I asked.

“Nuttin’” she answered.

“Must be something.” I said.

“Nope. Nuttin’.”

“Okay. See ya around.”

I went on home. Late for supper again. Gloria said something about my appearance, but I wasn’t listening. I went up to the third floor, took a shower, went to bed and slept.

Devoid of Dreams.


Added value


Street Vid Cred: pridden76

Aw Shit Y’All! Please Re-Visit This. I Did. “Not The Waltons” Dedicated to My Much-Missed B’Lov’d Sister. Her Early, Premature Death Broke Me–Mentally. Until I Cash My Chips, I Will Mourn Her. For, For Forever.

Me & Madelyn–Madelyn & Me:

For Madelyn


You will undoubtedly notice the absence of one “Lance A. Marcom” in the list of family members surviving one Ralph A. Marcom.  But I was after all, the “Black Sheep.” I have, since the publishing of this obit,

Marcom the Mountebank

Ralph Anson Marcom, D.O., M.I.M.C.
March 30, 1934 – October 13, 2010


MarcoM the Mountebank has left the building.

I first met Ralph Marcom at a Texas Association of Magicians convention in Abilene, Texas, in 1972. He was a rotund, albeit somewhat taciturn fellow with a Saturnine countenance whose gift for humor and wit and whose intelligence struck me as something quite beyond the pale.

I watched him perform in two different contest shows, one of which was quite serious, the other quite comical. He won the Comedy trophy that year. He was one of only a few performers who won three trophies at T.A.O.M. conventions. In 1971, he won the close-up trophy and in 1973, he repeated his win of the comedy trophy. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Ralph Anson Marcom was born in Levelland, Texas, a small town about 30 miles west of Lubbock. His father was an osteopath, but Ralph expressed no interest at all in going into the family business. Because of a peculiar eye ailment, his doctor prescribed that he spend as much time as possible in dark places, so he chose to do this in the local movie theater. As a result, he became a veritable goldmine of movie trivia. Woe to the would-be trivia expert who challenged Marcom in the field of the cinema!

His heritage was part English, part French and part Gypsy. He grew up next to an Italian family, and as a result spoke English, French, Italian and Rom with equal fluency. He also managed to pick up a bit of German, some Russian and some Arabic as well.

During the Korean War, he served in the Marines, as a drill instructor, and later, as a medic. After the war, he got a job as a radio announcer in El Paso, Texas. He kept this job for several years, and then decided to go into the family business. Soon Ralph Anson Marcom became Ralph A. Marcom, D.O. and he set up shop in Honey Grove, Texas.

Ralph had a penchant for the theater. In the early 1960s, he happened into Douglas Magicland, in Dallas, Texas where the lady behind the counter, Gloria Jacobsen Palmer, caught his eye. In 1968, they married, and he took her away from “all that.”

The Marcom manse in Honey Grove, Texas was legendary for its Addams family-like appearance. The basement contained a dungeon, complete with rack and iron maiden, and the decorations were, shall we say, just a bit out of the ordinary. If one climbed the stairs to the third floor, one would encounter a stuffed orangutan, dressed in morning coat and striped trousers, safely ensconced in a child’s casket.

Marcom authored a number of books, including:
The Magic of MarcoM
MarcoM Presents Magic
Licentious Limericks
This Rough Magic (I & II)(Lectures)
MarcoM Magic: Tricks You Can Do
And The Winner Is…
Rimes Without Reason
A Slim Volume
“…from the table of my memory…”
Lord of Legerdemain

His column, “…from the table of my memory” ran for several years in the Linking Ring. His other awards include the close-up trophy at the Midwest Magic Jubilee, 1974, 1976 and 1977, and at the IBM convention in 1979. He was the SAM Limerick Laureate in 1978. His close associates included the late Frank Caple, the late Van Cleve, the late Logan Pritchett, the late Jay Palmer, Earle Christenberry, Jr. and his wife, Gladys, Bill and Irene Larsen, Joe and Martha Stevens, and a host of other truly memorable performers.

He came out to see me one year at the Texas Renaissance Festival, and immediately recognized this type of venue as one to which he was extremely well-suited. Within a year or so, he was a regular at Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, Texas, and a performer at the Texas Renaissance Festival, as well.

Ralph was a member of The Society of American Magicians, The International Brotherhood of Magicians, The Texas Association of Magicians and the Magic Circle of London (Member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star). He was a charter member of the Tyler, Texas Magic Club.

There lay a heart of gold beneath that Saturnine countenance. Often, when performing at Scarborough Faire, he provided free medical attention to those performers and other participants who had no way of actually paying for it.

He did not tolerate fools gladly. One afternoon, the management of Scarborough Faire presented him with a letter from a disgruntled patron who apparently was a member of a group called “Texans Against Ritualistic Abuse.” The letter stated, “We wish to complain about your magician, the one who wears the pentagram — not that nice Merlin fellow, but the other one.”

Marcom was very angry about this; not because they didn’t like the pentagram, but because they couldn’t remember his name! He said, “I say the phrase ‘O Great MarcoM’ at least twenty times during that show! How could they miss that?”

In early 2003, Ralph suffered a massive stroke. Ron Boulden, former entertainment director of Scarborough Faire called me, and told me that Marcom was “out of it.” I called Ralph, and he was completely impossible to understand. I immediately called his daughter, Madelyne, who got Ralph to the hospital in nearby Paris, Texas. From there he was flown to Park Lane Hospital in Dallas, where he remained for almost a month. He gradually recovered.

Unfortunately, in early October, he suffered another stroke, but this time, nobody knew until it was too late. He was taken to the same hospital in Paris, Texas on October 9.

He passed away in the same ICU as his late wife Gloria, who died in 2002. He would have appreciated the fact that he died on October 13.

Ralph Marcom’s survivors include his daughters Madelyne Marcom and Nicolette Palmer, his son Thomas Palmer, Jr. and thousands of friends and fans world-wide.

There will be no funeral services, but a broken wand ceremony will be held some time in 2011.

Bill Palmer, M.I.M.C.

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spoken to Bill Palmer, (Its author and actually a very good friend of mine now.) regarding this and he told me that it—ME—must have slipped his mind, as I was always thousands of miles away in some desert or similar out-of-touch, unreachable “shit hole.”

Thanks Bill.

Marcom Manor


When my father met my mother at ETSU (East Texas State University) he was studying French and Drama. That really couldn’t pay the bills, so he later (forced by his father) became a physician,

but not before working as a Disc Jockey in almost every small-town hick radio station in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. He also did a stint on a late night TV show in Kansas City in the early Sixties, dressing up as Dracula or Satan, running horror movies and doing all the commercials (Think Elvira in reverse drag).

I lived with him and my first step-mother there in Kansas City for a brief spell

(before my mother hired a private detective, tracked me down, and kidnapped me back—another story how/why all that had to happen) and don’t remember much of it, except hating my ‘evil’ stepmother (she forced liver down me, which I found disgusting then, but love now.).

Years later I discovered she wasn’t all that ‘evil’ and that the only reason she forced me to eat liver was that it was ‘good for me.’ Okay, maybe she was evil.


Many years later, after doing that nickel (prison ‘vernacular’) in Fremont and a short stint with my maternal grandparents in East Texas, I moved  in with my father in Honey Grove and second stepmother (most decidedly more ‘evil’ than the first, and in more subtle and damaging ways, especially for a boy who was ‘coming of age’ and with all the teenage angst that that manifests.)

My father had purchased a three and a half story Victorian house (circa ‘Texas Victorian’ 1880) in HG and remodeled it beautifully.

The place resembled the mansion inhabited by The Addams Family. Literally. Daddy (Texans always call their fathers “Daddy” even when they are in their fifties–don’t ask me why because I don’t know) was by then a proper doctor, but his passion was magic (anything to keep performing, it would seem) and he was very good at it. His specialty was ‘close up’ and he did become a semi-famous person, at least in the Magic Community.

He also performed at Scarborough Faire, a semi-famous annual Renaissance Festival held in Waxahachie (Texas of course).

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