Yes. A Repost. If you do nothing else, please scroll down and listen to the clip. It is hysterical (and real) Even better.
Cheers Y’all and Happy Saturday Oops! Sunday (is it?)
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Texan, Father, School Teacher, Rancher, & Much Maligned 36th President of The United States of America.
I love LBJ, or as Brother Dave Gardner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4E_Nrm0j8k) once called him: ‘Daddy Bird’. Johnson was a divisive entity during his one and a half terms as president—primarily due of course to the Vietnam War—which he inherited. Yes, I realize I am gonna get some push back. Favorably mention ‘LBJ’ even today and you best stand by for some unhappy and contentious words.
Young Daddy Bird
The problem I have, in general, when talking to folks about Johnson is that most are ignorant of the man, his history, his upbringing; his good works: Rural electrification for Texas. Medicare, Civil Rights, The Great Society (never really came to fruition, due to Vietnam) and so on.
Once he became ‘The Accidental President’ he took JFK’s dreams and made them reality. Johnson could do that. Why? Because he was the consummate politician—far more effective than Jack Kennedy.
JFK’s dreams were hollow pipes. Johnson made them happen. This is historical fact: For those of you who would care to search it out. For those who don’t really care to do that: Just-Trust-Me on this one, ‘cause I am a Texan, and Texans don’t lie (overmuch).
I have read all of Robert Caro’s books (http://www.robertcaro.com/) on LBJ and I have done my own research, and I have my own memories.
During the Sixty-Four election, my Mom, the originalHippy Chick informed me she was voting for Goldwater.
Much of the blame must be placed on the information revolution and the manifestation of the instant sound bite. I am not bemoaning the Information Age. I would not be able to throw my thoughts so carelessly about to the entire world if it were not for this Internet Thing we all embrace.
All I am saying is one must ponder how many potential great leaders are out there, but refuse to step up to the plate simply because they do not wish to have every word they have ever uttered tweeted or twerked or posted or face-booked for all to see. Some things should still be classified as TMI. That is just good manners.
What if JFK had had the internet to deal with? We would all have known of his affair with MM. WWBS? What would Bill ‘Oh Really’ Say? We would have been ass-deep in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Fox and CNN and even MSNBC would have burned more video on JFK’s infidelity. Castro would have loved it. Just sayin’…
My Step-sister worked for Oliver Stone on the film JFK. She was one of the on-set-dressers. We got into a heated argument over the whole conspiracy thing. She was convinced that LBJ was behind it all. I know quite a lot about LBJ as I have mentioned. I have done my research and I love Texas history.
Anyway I asked her upon what she based her unwavering belief.
She said, “That photograph of Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas.”
Smug? Ladybird? (Just behind his right hand, in case y’all don’t recognize her) Of course, that is Jackie on the other side.
“You’re shitting me,” I said.
“Look at that photo and see how smug Ladybird looks in it. You just know then and there, she knew the whole thing.”
“I think I need a drink,” was all I could muster by way of response.
(Oh! And my step-mother worked for Jack Ruby: I know some shit about it)
I am not writing here as an apologist for LBJ. My focus is on the wonderful Texan caricature character he was. His humor, his down-to-earth’ed-ness, his vibrant lust for life, his convictions, and his larger-than-worldly-life persona: His ‘Texan-ness’.
Therein lies the rub for me. Johnson could be a buffoon. He could be portrayed as an idiot. He could be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He would be chastised and eventually ostracized.
But he got shit done!
He was a great, moral, honorable man.
No one will ever convince me otherwise (but you are certainly welcome to try)
Watch and listen to the Video Clip. It proves my point (and it is hysterical). These tapes were released a few years back. I have them all.
was living large in the ‘Proper Garage Apartment’ and was ‘in good’ with the Landlord. She informed me he had this ‘wonderful little apartment’ for rent, which was ‘just perfect’ for me. Read CHEAP.
I checked it out, paid my fifty bucks and moved in. The moving in took all of two minutes, for I had not much to move.
Working for Ruth at her Liquor store in Ladonia and making a solid three dollars fifty cents an hour (plus ‘benefits), it was indeed, ‘perfect’ for me.
Now mind you, I never complained about living in such a place. After all, it did suit me and no one would have cared anyhow if it didn’t. It had some kind of ‘certain charm’ (just like this place) to be sure.
How many folks could invite a guest into their home and lead them past the shitter before arriving into the living room/bedroom/kitchen/study proper? As far as I knew, I had the only such place in all of Commerce. It was special.
And truth be told, I did some ‘entertaining’ there a couple of times. The only person who I would invite over was my girlfriend. She never judged me. She was always happy to be with me, no matter the venue. (Yes, that sounds conceited, but there it is Gentle Reader—c’est vrai, or quel dommage, or… choose your own français).
Carly Simon – Coming Around Again–Itsy-Bitsey Spider–
I Love Carly—Does It Show?
And of Course… Linda!
Always And Forevermore…
Linda, I Am Always ‘Willin’ For You
I’m Willing To Play The Game.
I Believe In Love–What Else Can I Do?
And The “Continuity’ of This Post Is All Fu*k’d Up.
I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’ Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light Alice, Dallas Alice
Thank YOU Word Press!
Thank You WP For Subverting My Expectations
And For Making A Simple Edit More Painful Than A
Thank Again (For Nothing)
Jim Stafford & Dolly Parton Sing
Spiders & Snakes:
What I had no way of knowing at the time:
Sadie would come to define my relationships with women.
A New Take On An Old Story
While suffering my enforced exile in California I could often be found searching for jumping spiders. One day I captured a particularly stunning one with black and white markings, dark black-green eyes and luminescent aquamarine fangs behind the feathery appendages which covered them.
Absolutely Beautiful Spider!
I gently herded her into a mason jar which contained several wood chips of varying shapes and sizes. Jumping spiders do not build webs; they live in caves made by little boys employing wood chips. (This is what my spidery experience had taught me through the years.)
Once I had done my time we moved back to Texas, but not before I was forced to abandon my Most Beautiful Spider, along with all the others I had collected, my mother announcing quite emphatically,
“I am NOT riding in a car all-the-way-home-to-Texas seated next to five jars full of damn spiders!”
Once back in Texas, for several weeks I suffered from PTSL: Post Traumatic Spider Loss. I missed my spiders, especially the beautiful one I had named ‘Sadie’.
Not that Texas has a spider shortage, mind you; I just did not immediately know where to look: “Looking for Spiders in all the wrong places.”
One day, lo’ and behold, I found a jumping spider which looked so very much familiar to me, (or perhaps she found me)
“Sadie! Sadie! Did you follow me all the way from California?” I asked breathlessly.
“Of course,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I?”
I happily gathered her up and placed her into my newest mason jar, assuming she still wanted to be my pet.
About a month later, I proudly announced to my Grandparents:
“My spider is gonna have babies.”
“Lance Son,” my Grandmother informed me rather condescendingly, “There is no daddy spider in there. Your spider cannot possibly have baby spiders.”
Not ill-mannered enough to say it, I thought it: “Of course she can have baby spiders ‘without a ‘daddy.’ Spiders are like guppies: they store sperm until the time is ‘just right.’ But how could this old Tennessee-Baptist-Dyed-In-The-Wool-God-is-Great woman even wrap her mind around such things Darwin?”
Absolutely Incomprehensible To Her.
About two weeks later, I was up to my ass in baby spiders. I did not show grandmother these offspring. She would have told me it was yet one more miraculous example of God’s Work:
“The Immaculate Spider Conception.”
All the baby spiders slowly disappeared over time, crawling through the ice-pick holes in the lid of the Mason Jar two-by-two, or however. Fine. Neither Sadie nor I were interested in raising a passel of little spider crumb snatchers.
My Lady Spider was a huntress and she complained daily regarding my neglect of her need. She ached for something more than the flies I would daily cast into her mason jar. They were just food. No thrills to be had in the hunt, merely a harvest. She was growing morose.
“You’re killing my Spider Soul with all these damn flies Lance,” she said.
“OK Sadie! I will give you something to satiate your arachnid need,” I told her one morning.
Under the eaves of my Grandfather’s shed lived a few Black Widow Spiders. They had established some manner of ‘Black Widow Sisterhood,’ (Not unlike similar ‘Sisterhoods’ to be found on Social Media these days.) Even though I am most definitely a spider geek, Black Widows never intrigued me as potential pets, mainly because they needed more than a Mason Jar Ecosystem for lodging and accoutrements and also because of their lethargic laisser-faire approach to acquiring sustenance:
“Sit in their parlor-web all day; wait for something hapless to happen by.”
No hunt in them whatsoever. Boring.
Slightly peeved with Sadie, I decided to capture one of The Sisters. I took her to Sadie’s Mason jar and dropped her in.
“Happy now damn you?” I said.
Sadie looked about at her new roommate. Then looked up at me through multiple dark green eyes and said,
“I never thought we would come to this.”
“Sorry, ol’ Gal,” I giggled. “This is the part where the cowboy rides away. Catch ya laters. Good luck.”
I was curious and in fact, had nothing but time on my hands so I watched to see how she would deal with her new jar-mate, never really fearful for her safety.
But Black Widow was wily. She taunted Sadie, waving her long, spindly legs about in semaphore fashion, as if to say, “Come hither Little Jumper, let me demonstrate the technique that has given my kind our terrible dark name.”
Sadie began deliberately circling around Black Widow, sizing her up, her little Sadie neurons firing on and off, then seizing what I’m certain she perceived as perfect opportunity, jumped at her full force.
Her momentum caused her to tumble onto her back.
Black Widow capitalized and deftly captured Sadie and began wrapping her in web, presumably to eat at her leisure. But Black Widow made one fatal mistake:
She bound Sadie’s hind legs (all four of them) first, leaving her front legs (all four of THEM) free. As Black Widow was casually wrapping her up, Sadie grabbed her with unencumbered front legs and planted a big wet French Kiss into Black Widow’s thorax. They remained locked in this embrace for thirty minutes. (I know; I was there, timing it–for ‘science’)
Black Widow now hoisted with her own petard and quite dead, was dropped by Sadie, who watched her tumble down and land with an inaudible (to me) thud on the Mason Jar floor.
“Sadie,” I said. “Your indentured servitude has ended. Here, allow me help you out of that.”
Fishing some tweezers that I had stolen from my Grandmother’s “Lady-Bag” bag from my jean’s pocket I gently and meticulously pulled all the Black Widow silk from Sadie, a tedious time consuming effort which took at least half an hour. Then I gingerly laid the Mason Jar on its side hiding it in a pile of kindling away from the prying eyes of opportunistic birds and went on about my business.
Returning the next day, I discovered no Sadie: just a note written in Spider’ease which read:
“Thank you for allowing me to save myself. I will always love you, but I’ve had quite enough of Texas and Texan ways. If you ever make it back to California, look me up. Here is my email addy: (Redacted) Spider On! Y’all!”
And that was how she ended it.
Took me three days to get the webs out of my brain and a week to find another spider, but she was not the same. She was not MY Sadie, just an inadequately inept substitute, but I suppose that’s how it goes with First Loves lost.
“I miss you Sadie,” I caught myself saying aloud to no one in particular few days later.
When I was a young teen, freshly discovering the Joys of Puberty, I had an Ant Farm.
(Early Puberty does strange things to Not quite still Boys, but not quite Yet Men.)
I had an Ant-Farm.
Not one of those green and clear plastic “Toy Ant Farms.”
Oh, Hell No!
This was hand-crafted and from fine pine two-by-fours: Two panes of 3/8” plate glass measuring thirty by twenty-four inches seated in the painstakingly mitered channels of the wood sandwiched the heavy Plaster of Paris block inside. In which I had meticulously carved all the ant-sized tunnels and oval shaped ‘ante-rooms’ for the ants to place the larvae and store the rations for a winter that would never come.
For these were domesticated ants—house ants, if you will—I had willed them such. These tunnels and carved out spaces were painstakingly coated with clean sand using a strong, but non-toxic well-cured epoxy.
It seems I had always been fascinated by ‘every creeping thing… and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds…’ And ants were always at the top of my ‘Creepeth Hit Parade.’ Once I had my initial stock, I spent many a happy hour studying their daily perambulations. I loved them dearly.
Me and Boeing’s 747 partners: Wheels Down at Ben Gurion Airport semi-close to Tel Aviv Israel late one afternoon, October 1977, just a couple of days before Halloween, found the Talmud. I mean tarmac.
My final destination, however was not Judea; it was The Sinai Desert, to live for eighteen months-plus on a mountain-top base camp,
Dubbed ‘Caddo Mountain’, (In deference to the Texans who built it and ran it and to whom I would soon become a compadre) some shit-hole between the Gidi and Mitla Passes: Historically, the only two routes armies could pass from east to west or west to east across burning Sinai to thwack upon each other’s opponents’ heads.
I was 40 days leeward of twenty years and a little more than apprehensive. (These Two States, Egypt & Israel, were still technically, At War)
I knew some of the history, but I couldn’t be bothered that day about ‘Ancient’ History (Yom Kippur War, Six-Day War, ‘Suez War’ of ‘56, Holocaust.
Nope: I was here for ‘New History’, ‘My History’, ‘My Adventure’:
A Dangerous Desolate Gig (my first). I had never been out of CONUS (Continental United States) before.
3.0and cock-strong! Fuck did I care for Mid-East Politics? I am here! Step right up! Texas has arrived! “Step aside, Son!”
Gathering my luggage (my father’s old sea-bag left over from his USMC Korean War days) and a few other bags, laden with tennis shoes, workout gear, books and magazines… way too much superfluous shit, I scampered to find my liaison, struggling with all my kit.
Finding him, a tall, skinny, thin-haired, gaunt-faced, ‘Middle-East-Hardened’ Texan Veteran (four months here previous to me, I discovered later), man who spoke with an air of, ‘Oh, you’re the ‘New Kid’… Follow me’ he said laconically.
He looked an old thirty-five to me. (Later I found out he was twenty-nine, but we were all so young there. Back then.)
Ignoring his attitude, I tried very hard to ‘get into the groove.’ It was hellishly hot, even for an October—a Texas October. I had jet lag and fatigue like a pup that had been crated too long.
Even though I was ‘stoked’, all I really wanted was a gallon of really cold orange juice, an air-conditioned hotel room, and a bed.
The ‘plane ride’ from Dallas to Tel Aviv had robbed me of some (I thought) important part of my young life and my health. I was severely dehydrated, completely spent, and pretty much left wondering if I had made some horrible mistake.
But, I sucked it up.
After a hot and hotter and even hotter bizarre drive (The Road signs looked so foreign to me, some form of hieroglyphic—never having seen Hebrew before—had not at that point read the Old Testament) from Ben Gurion Airport, through the busy streets of Tel Aviv (me resisting the urge to ask,
“Hey! are we there yet?”) we arrived at the Mediterranean Sea and the Sheraton Hotel.
My ‘liaison’ deposited me at the front desk of the ‘New’ Sheraton Hotel on HaYarkon Street Tel Aviv, telling me in parting,
“The R&R Vehicle leaves at 0800hrs; meet here in the lobby. Don’t be late. Goodbye.”
I checked in, and got me that room, such as it was. It was more a closet than a room, but it was cool and clean, and there was that bed tucked away in the corner…
Shortly after I moved from Winnsboro to Honey Grove my grandmother decided it would be a grand idea for the two of us to take a road trip out west to Levelland,
(“There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing.” –Lawrence of Arabia) which was her childhood hometown.
“Lance, it will be wonderful; you’ll be able to meet all the Marcoms who have lived in Levelland for generations.” (Oh goody)
I really had no say in the matter, but Grandmother Marcom always spoiled me, and since I was a little bit mercenary even back then,
I figured what the hell? I’ll probably get something out of the deal.
Just about half-way to Levelland we stopped in Nocona. You know, ‘Nocona’: World Famous Texan Cowboy Boot Capital of The Universe? Yeah, that one.
Grandmother informed me that I could not enter her hometown without looking like a proper Texan, so while in Nocona she got me decked out in some true Texan dude clothing and a pair of fine Nocona boots.
Forty-five bucks she spent on those boots, and in my mind, that was just shy of a million. Damn expensive is what I’m telling you.
These boots were Fine. Luscious dark brown all leather vamp, all leather cow hide boot top with three rows of stitching, toes not too pointy, soft leather lining.
Damn fine cowboy boots, all shiny and smellin’ richly of new leather. “Nothing smells better than a bran’ new pair of Nocona boots Son.” (I was told, but I’m thinkin’ what about a brand new Corvette? Bet that smell ranks right on up there.)
After long hot miles on desolate roads, we arrived in Levelland. (Nailed the name for that town, they did)
Did the Marcom Fam-dam-ly circuit. I met aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, lesser aunts, lesser uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, second cousins, fourth cousins, and yawn and yawn and yawn.
I was extremely proud of my first pair of real Texas boots though. So the price of admission was worth it.
After a couple of days of my being paraded around to all the kin, we headed home to Fannin County. I absolutely could not wait to show off my new boots.
One of my hobbies at the time was building little wooden models of medieval torture and execution devices: guillotines, gallows, pendulums, the rack—see my post, “Addam’s Family Values,” and you will understand–Maybe.
I kept all my modeling stuff in my room: various pieces of scrap wood, x-acto knives, glue, brushes, sand paper, reference books, wood stain, and varnish.
One day while admiring my boots, I perceived some dullness had begun to set in. They just didn’t have that new glossy look I had been so proud of. (They also were unable to retain that new Nocona boot smell, but that didn’t concern me).
I had some Kiwi shoe polish, but after working with it for some time, sweating and tiring, the results I was getting were unsatisfactory.
I put the boots and polish down, thinking there must be an easier way to get some shine back on the damn things. Spying the small can of varnish on my desk ignited an idea in my mind: ‘Hey, this stuff works instantly and beautifully on my models…’
I took a little brush and painted a penny-sized spot on my left boot. Wow! Instant shine. But best let it dry a bit and make sure the wet glossiness doesn’t fade.
Thirty minutes later both boots were completely varnished and Yessir, they looked great. Better in fact than when they were new. “I wonder if anyone else knows this secret to boot shining?” I pondered. “Naw. Bet I’m the first to discover this.”
Wanting to show off my now shinier than ever boots, I put them on and headed over to a buddy’s house.
“Dwayne, just take a good look here at my shiny boots,” I announced as soon as he answered my knock to his door.
“Damn! Marcom. They are right shiny,” Musta took ya ‘bout two hours of polishin’ and a whole can of Kiwi.”
“Nope. ‘Bout twenty minutes and a can of varnish,” I announced proudly.
“Varnish? Wood varnish?”
“Yep. Works great, eh?”
“Uh… I dunno. I never heard a such.”
“Well, you should try it, as you can see it works better ‘n Kiwi. Gotta go now. See ya at school,” I said and headed on home, satisfied I had properly impressed Dwayne with my ingenuity.
As I was getting ready to crawl into bed, I placed my very glossy boots on my night stand so I could get one last look at them before I turned out the lights and went to sleep.
Next morning I dressed quickly, donned my boots and couldn’t wait to get to school to parade about in them.
I didn’t cop out to anyone after Dwayne as to how I had gotten them so marvelously ‘polished’.
Things were going great until around lunchtime. I began to notice little cracks in the smooth veneer of my boots. My boots were cracking! How could this happen?
“Hey Marcom! Them boots lookin’ a little sad now,” was the comment of the first to notice.
“Yeah, they look kinda… uh, wrinkly,” someone else added.
Dwayne came over and announced, “He done varnished them boots y’all.”
“Varnished?” another said. “You caint be puttin’ that shit on L-e-a-t-h-e-r, you dumbass. When it gets hard, it gonna crack, just like it a-doin’ now.”
This never occurred to me. Shit.
Word spread quickly and before the end of the day, ‘Laughing Stock’ was my new claim to fame.
For weeks after that I suffered the greatest humiliations of my young life.
“Hey Marcom! I got some boots need a shine. Kin y’all hep me out?”
“Hey Lance, when ya gonna open your boot varnishin’ stand ‘front ah Ol’ Johnny Smith’s feed store?”
Read The Words: BOOT POLISH
Folks I didn’t even know would cackle as I walked by, “Hey, there’s that dumbass kid whut varnished his Noconas. Ye ever heard a-such? Varnishin’ boots!”
I was a celebrity, just like Charley Brown.
My boots took an early retirement while I lived on in shame.