My Mother The Car

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.”

And the rest, as they say, was History.

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

http://markbialczak.com/

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. 

Lance, You Lie (Chapter Two)

Chapter Two of Fiction

(Chapter One Here)

The apartment was a very busy place. I could not figure out who was actually living there and who was just hanging out. There were certainly a lot of people about all the time. Guys and gals would just come walking in at all hours as if they had been living there forever. The girls were all beautiful and of course all belonged to the sister sorority of Kappa Alpha. Naturally the guys were all KAs. I was the only ‘independent’ around, but they didn’t really seem to mind. (I think Kim  John told some of them that as soon as the fall semester began I was going to enroll in McNeese and pledge Kappa Alpha. He was shocked to find out a few weeks later that I had been telling all who asked me of this that No, I had no intention of pledging Kappa Alpha or any other fraternity, Not now, not ever.)

After I found a room which didn’t have too much of a lived-in look and got settled, I sought Kim Jim out and began asking him what was the scam. There had to be a scam because no way could he afford to live in such a place. Not the Kim guy I knew. Not the Kim  dude who hated hard work above all other things on Earth. No ma’am. There had to be a scam.

And there was, in spades.

Kim James and some of his roommates (I had finally figured out who actually lived in the apartment—two other guys full-time and some girls who drifted in and out, “short time”) were tending bar at the largest joint in town. A University hang-out of course. And of course they were skimming the till. One of the guys worked part-time during the day at a convenience store and whenever there was a need for groceries or booze, or gas, or toiletries, or whatever else they had in stock, Kim Bill and the Gang would just roll up, load up, and leave. Very convenient, this convenience store. They had embraced the promise of the ‘Cashless Society’ long before it would become popular years later. Call them ‘Pioneers’ in this regard.

That explained some of Kim’s Bubba’s new found opulence, but not all. The take from the bar couldn’t possibly cover the rent, free food, booze, and gasoline notwithstanding. I confronted Kim  James and told him that if I were going to remain in Lake Charles he must tell me everything that was going on. He had every intention of doing this and I knew it, but I also knew he wanted me to get a taste of the lifestyle for some days before he told me the whole deal. Kim Charles had never been difficult to figure out, at least for me, but then, I had known him since I first moved to Honey Grove years before. Backing up a little: Kim Sam and I had always flirted with, and engaged in, larceny during High School and had pulled many scams over the years. The practical jokes we played on Honey Grove ISD are legion (and legend) and still remembered to this day. There was the time late one night when we broke in and emptied all the books in all the lockers (almost 300 lockers) and piled them all in a long, narrow hallway running past the chemistry lab…took all the next day to sort them out. Classes cancelled… Kim  Bart and Lance heroes (everyone knew who did it, but no one had any evidence)

Anyway, Kim  Jim and I had always been bad boys. We planted marijuana all over my grandfather’s 100 acres in Winnsboro one spring, dreaming of a bountiful harvest making us, by my calculations, at least one-hundred thousand dollars. Our crop failed however and we had to figure out another way to make money. Since I have never been afraid of hard work, I took to hauling hay, a respectable profession, but hot and dusty and brutal work. I loved it. I worked on ranches year round after school as well. Kim  Buford would never have any part of hard, honest work, so he muddled about best he could, usually borrowing money from me whenever he was in need. But we were never ready to give up on the potential profits of the pot business. We just put it on hold for a few years.

Since Kim’s  Paul’s reputation in Honey Grove had become, shall we say ‘tarnished’, he decided to move to Lake Charles and begin anew. Lake Charles was perfect. Big enough for one to blend in (The necessity of which Kim  he never did fully understand, nor could he have, even if he did), yet small-town enough to feel like home. By the time I arrived he had established a thriving pot dealing business. He was making money. A lot of money. But he wanted more, and his suppliers were not able to keep up with his demand. He explained in great detail how his operation had come to be and where he wanted to take it. Kim  Gabe always sought my counsel because he knew I would keep him out of jail. I was the anchor: the guy who would force him to recognize folly, even though he generally traveled through life wearing blinders. He wanted me to remain in Lake Charles and help him grow his business. Having no good prospects at the time (I had been trying in vain to get an overseas gig in Sinai for almost a year) I told him I would stay and help him. My only requirement was that he took my counsel and when I told him something was ill conceived, poorly planned, or just too dangerous, he would listen and follow my instructions, and never “get stuck on stupid.” He anxiously agreed.

*************

There is too much more, if anyone would like to read.

Chapter Three

The Flat-Bed Truck and The Pastel Sun-Dress

Thou talks of Nothing.

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

PITY PARTY WARNING!

WARNING!

WARNING!

DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

DANGER!

“NO BARE FEET BEYOND THIS POINT!

(THIS MEANS YOU!)

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?”

“TV.”

“Never heard of such nonsense.”

“Yes, My Lord. Me neither.”

Whew!

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.

(Moron!)

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!

*************

STOP!

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?

Mercutio/Peanut?

“And being thus disquieted…”

Or something….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Mab

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!)

“Torn-ment”

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.”

–Joni

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.

–Lance

********

Nothing seems to keep you high.

Who knew?

Who could have?

Ever?

“I’ll try to be there for you….”

“When your spirits start to sink.”

“Is it all just books and words?”

Haulin’ Hay For Fun & Profit

It’s been a while since I have written about Peanut, but he has been on my mind of late. A few of us in Honey Grove during the Seventies, not being afraid of hard work and also not being afraid of making good money would haul hay during the summers, brutal hot honest work. This was back when those infernal ‘round bales’ were just making their appearance, threatening to put all the ‘square bale’ haulers out of business. (The bales were not geometrically square of course, but ‘rectangular bales’ just didn’t have a ring to it.)

Hauling hay was a two-man operation: one man would drive the truck guiding the hay loader along the rows of bales. The other would stand on the back of the flatbed and stack. Once the truck was loaded the duo would head to the barn (or more often than not, an old depression era house which served as a hay barn.) One guy would throw the bales off the truck and the other would drag and stack. Return to the hay field and repeat, but with the rolls reversed for fairness.

Squarebales

Generally, but not always, one guy would be the truck owner and the other just a hired hand. I was a hired hand behind a famous hay-hauler named Nubbin. He paid me a nickel a bale; not bad money considering hauling a thousand bales a day (our usual goal) would net me fifty bucks tax free. If we hauled in prairie grass fields (which always had bumble bees) he would pay me two cents extra to stack every load. Nubbin was frightened of bumble bees. I wasn’t.

If the ‘haul’ was from a hay field close to a proper drive through hay barn, we could sometimes haul fifteen hundred bales a day. But more often we had to drive a few miles and stack hay in an old house, dragging the bales through the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, past the old bathroom, the wasp nests, dead skunks, eventually stacking hay in the back bedroom and filling up the place as we worked forward through what was once the pride and joy of some dirt farmer from the Dust Bowl days.

WildoradoTexasFarmhouse

Peanut was hauling using his uncle Hungry’s truck. Hungry was the most celebrated hay hauler in North East Texas, a real legend. Even Nubbin would admit this. There was no man had hauled more hay than Hungry. Memory fails as to when Hungry actually hung up his hay hooks for the last time, but Peanut was eager to take up The Legend (and the truck).

A word about your average hay truck in the fleet back then: There were none younger than about Nineteen Forty Eight. Most had gone through a several overhauls or downright re-building with new engines—well new to the truck anyway–held together with spit and bailing wire, and they did just fine.

Continue reading

My Friend Jimmy

I miss him

Marv Much.

Since I am in “Peanut Mode” tonight, I thought I would post this excerpt from a very ‘early-in-my-blogging days’ post regarding same, in the vain hope some would read the bits in their entirety: Sharking, Campin’, Bow-Fishin’.

peanut.jpg

Seems to me we sometimes realize far too late the true value of friends had and lost.

There is a scene in “Tombstone” where Wyatt Earp hands a smallish book over to a bed-ridden Doc Holiday, entitled:

“My Friend: Doc Holiday.”

Here is to wishing Peanut could receive same from me.

Alas, he cannot.

**************

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.

Continue reading

I am gonna repost this for two reasons:

It’s a Shakespeare kind of day.

Ok??

One: because I missed Thursday

(Probably because I was in a coma)

Two: because I can.

And here is the bonus:

Because I miss Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Piland.

*****

“I dreamt a dream tonight.”

“And so did I.”

“Well, what was yours?”

“That dreamer’s often lie.”

“…In bed asleep while they do dream things true!”

“Oh! Then I see Queen Mab hath been with you!”

–R&J: Romeo and Mercutio,

Queen Mab:

Ya’ll gotta watch the video “or it all just falls apart” Just saying… (Yes! I feign Texan; it is my wont.)

After a night of hard blogging and writing of drafts, and becoming somewhat disillusioned and more than daft, I perished toward my bed, reaching out for the Arms of Morpheus.

Within moments, I slipped into that nether sleep, that sleep between sleeps, that semi-conscious state of affairs. Sleep, but Not Sleep.

Then I began to dream things that should have been true. But were not true, yet so true.

Wonderful words words words! Words to sate my unnourished prose.

Words swirl’d about in my mind like so many fireflies on a summer’s eve:

““Words, words, words!. Once, I had the gift. I could make love out of words as a potter makes cups of clay. Love that overthrows empires. Love that binds two hearts together, come hellfire & brimstone.”

— “Will Shakespeare in Love”

I had it (them, those) words… goin’ on. Brilliant words. Beautiful, poignant words! All right there! Right there In My Mind. I reached out my finger to tap the “Publish” Mouse.

My finger was frozen.

It would not move.

How hard I did try!

It would not comply!

I lay there in my nether sleep, commanding.

The hand, the one digit, just the finger! Demanding!

Just move the damn finger!

Would not.

Could not.

Then I realized:

I am with Dante now.

And Mercutio is Peanut.

And Peanut was my Mercutio

Yeah, Dante

Dante ‘R’ Us