Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Revenge of the Turkeys

School has been kicking my tail. Thank God, Thanksgiving holiday will give me a rest and time to catch up.

I wanted to leave this story with you for the holidays. It needs some work and a lot more fleshing out. I think its pretty funny.


Revenge of the Turkeys

Thanksgiving 2008, the sky lay over the land like an ephemeral ghost, leaving a creepy cast to the morning. The night before, a comet had shone its gleaming glow across farmer Brown’s many acres. Farmer Brown’s land had been in his family for generations. Since the first Thanksgiving, when the pilgrims celebrated with the Indians at Plymouth Rock, natives were sharing the indigenous turkey bird with the newcomers to the Eastern shore.

The Brown family became fabulously wealthy supplying Turkeys to the Thirteen Colonies. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Paine had all sampled the delicious fowl. Down through the years enshrined in Thanksgiving lore the Big Brown Birds as they were called had been feasted on by Presidents, artists, and the super wealthy.

As the Brown family awoke this morning, silence gripped the farm. The rooster had not crowed. The horses did not whinny, and there was no gobble gobble from the barns where thousands of Big Brown Birds lived. Squinting from the eerie dawn light the Farmer Brown and his wife came outside to investigate. As he looked towards the turkey barn he heard a marching sound, the ground rumbled like an earthquake and the fog parted curtain-like revealing a scene that frightened him so badly he fainted.

Farmer Brown’s wife Bessie screamed. She was plump as a cherry tomato is round. Her cheeks were shiny red, with a pointy nose. Her fanny stuck out not unlike a turkeys’ feathery plumage. She stared in shock at what had scared her poor husband into unconsciousness.

Rows upon rows of turkeys marched through lanes of the farm. Looking like army ants carving trails in the grass as they advanced towards the wealthy country folk. Farmer Brown came to just in time to be wrapped up and taken towards the prep barn where the birds were cleaned and processed for shipment across the country. Bessie was dragged along behind like a worm on a fishing pole that had not been reeled in. Ominously the barn doors closed with a loud bang.

Several hours later several birds stood around a large turkey fryer. The propand flames beneath the fryer had set the oil boiling in the metal cauldron furiously. The head turkey passed out cigars as they made sure the temperature was at a constant 350 degrees. Taking a large drag off of his stogie the chief glanced at the timer. Inside the house the female birds opened the oven and basted the contents.

As noon approached the sun’s cool rays lit up the dreary, cold afternoon. One of the Big Brown Birds looked longingly at the large metal triangle in the middle of the yard. Rubbing his belly with delight he began to ring the dinner bell.

I can hear the groans now. Let me know what you think.

May the Grace of God be with you.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Michael Wilson

First grade, the beginning of my academic career is when I first met my best friend, Michael Wilson. Mikey, had a shock of blond feathery hair, was heavy set bordering on chunky, and he wore glasses. We hit it off like peas and carrots right away. In fact, his father called us Laurel and Hardy; I was skinny as a rail and Mikey was the polar opposite. His mother, Mrs. Wilson, called me Eddie Haskell.

My friend was quiet but mischievous; and no one knew what he was up to. Our Physical Education teacher Ms. Brewster, a Martina Navratilova look alike, discovered us eating Red Fox chewing tobacco in the musty, and decrepit old gym. Mike quietly argued there was no rule against what we were doing. She bucked it all the way up to the principle for a ruling on whether or not we could.

When FM Christian radio was a new born baby in the 1980’s, Mike was determined to be involved, in his words “I was able have fun and get paid for it.” Plus, he was able to dally like a tinker in all of that expensive sound equipment. He became a DJ at fifteen and graduated high school early to become KSBJ’s program director. Along the way he met and networked with a slew of minor dj’s, Christian musical artists and secular bands.

Like a child of the depression Michael never throws anything away. In fact, where most of us chunked or fire crackered our toys away, he kept them stashed, not because he knew they would be collector’s pieces but because he is a packrat. He has tapes recorded off of listener sponsored radio (the dirty stuff we thought was so funny as kids), older than dirt Earth Wind and Fire posters, velvet Elvis paintings and even a tape of our dead friend Rex’s poor attempts at impersonating Richard Pryor.

In the early nineties he and his wife moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work for WAY FM, Nashville’s first Christian Radio station. All of those contacts made earlier blossomed like a Tyler rose. Old friends led to new, and his long time other hobby without working, computers, led him to retire from radio. Gen-X Communications, a Bill Gates type endeavor, who was working out of a garage, led to an international Christian country music radio program spreading its tentacles around the world. Ironically, Michael despises country music the way a Baptist does a Jehovah’s Witness.

In 1997 Mad Dancer Media was born, an evolved version of Gen-X Communications, pioneering web design and enhanced cds. Michael has worked with a who’s who of recording artists, Michael W. Smith, DC. Talk, the Gaithers, Chris Tomlin, and most recently Michael Card. Mikey has a personality like a popular game show host and the self-taught know how of an MIT graduate. A lethal and effective combination linking brains and charm, not only in business, but for God’s greater glory, all of his work other than radio began as a ministry to others.

Michael is still a big guy, as his business has grown so has he. He has a petite little wife named Marilyn who missions to Moldova every year. He has two daisy pretty girls as towheaded as their mother and a son who is following in his daddy’s footsteps. Jonathan has taught himself to use the latest and greatest types of computers and sound equipment, a real chip off the old block. While I am finally completing the pinnacle of my education, we talk of old times, sharing a laugh of old ribald toilet humor. Like Siamese twins, Laurel and Hardy never grow apart.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Travel Tales

I love to spend the day with my wife, Lisa. She is blond, vivacious, and has the same sick, goofy sense of humor I do. We have been married thirteen years. She is my true long lost love of my life.

Lisa and I travel together better than anyone I know. We are two kindred spirits of like mind in our taste for adventure through the rugged United States. Crisscrossing the map between Tennessee, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana, and we drive to all points in between. I rag her about being a blind navigator on a B52 bomber, and she rags me about my demolition derby style of driving.

We would take a day trip to the Texas hill country, stopping first for gas, Dr. Peppers, and pork rinds you know the type, they are salty enough to kill a horse, and hard enough break a crown on your root canal. With our quota of junk food, we head off into the unknown. We have been known to chunk a coin on a map and then go wherever it lands.

We landed on Port Lavaca one Saturday morning and headed off into the blue. Hot black top peeled the tires on a hot August day. She had the map and I had the plan, we were going to go fishing, right off the pier in Lavaca bay.

Lisa and I rolled into town after a long drive through the coastal praire, passing through such venerable towns as Victoria and Goliad. We were exposed to a telling snapshot of Texas history when we lollygagged through Mission La Bahia and the Presidio that guards it. Port Lavaca was a grungy place, a typical Texas fishing town. Lots of blue collar dudes with grease up to their elbows and smelling like the catch of the day, in Port Lavaca you either fish for a living or, are going fishing after you make your living.

We had one problem - no fishing poles. We cruised on over to the Wal-mart, we needed to rectify our lack of angling tools. Walking down the sporting goods isle, we scanned for tackle. First, a rod and reel, second, weights, and hooks. As we were checking out and paying for our stuff, I asked the tall, lean, inbred looking teen behind the counter where the best place to fish was. “In the water” was his reply. I am not the most brilliant bulb in the box (the real bulbs, not those squiggly things that would have Edison spinning in his grave) but I had figured that out already. I wanted to know what part of town was the best.

We had one more stop to make, the bait house. By now Lisa and I are starting to feel like a couple of hillbillies at a black tie dinner. Hurrying to complete our purchase before they guys from deliverance show up, we bought shrimp, shad, and some stink bait. We discovered why everybody in town smelled so good.

The fishing was lame, I have a picture of Lisa proudly holding a tiny croaking dogfish that someone should have shaved and made to swim backwards. Since it swallowed the hook, I had to gingerly cut the sucker in half so I wouldn’t get finned. I get the chills every time I hear the croaking sound of that fish in my dreams. Lisa and I spent the night in a fleabag motel with wood paneling, Captain’s wheel lamps, red shag carpeting, and lots of roaches. I am still in therapy for post traumatic stress disorder from the size of some of those bugs.

We finished off our trip the next day and luckily no further incidents occurred. So, if you like thousand yard stares into your soul and West Virginia inbred types, then Port Lavaca is for you. Watch out for dogfish, and if you see Merle at the sporting goods counter in the Wal-mart, tell him I said hi.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Humble Ghost Lights

Way back in the mid eighties three friends and I set out from a DeMolay meeting at the Masonic Temple off of main street in Humble, Texas. Wayne Bell, Steve Pritchard, and I stepped out into the chilly wind and headed towards my house. It was a walk but back then in Humble, a safe one. Main street in Humble goes back a hundred or more years and it hasn’t changed much since. Old buildings like ghosts shivered in the Texas breeze as we walked down the dilapidated main drag towards South Houston Avenue.

Steve was six foot tall, had a Mohawk haircut and a whatever degree in tae kwon do, he was an intimidating fellow. Wayne, a fellow schoolmate at Humble High had been my best friend in middle school, but we fell out out when we ran away to Dallas in his daddy’s custom van. I was the clown, the prankster, the self deprecating, hide your feelings with humor guy of the bunch.

We walked the half mile to South Houston Avenue and shivered in our jackets like Jell-O at the kiddy table on Thanksgiving. We griped and moaned about the cold and kidded each other about which Rainbow girl we wanted to take to the next dance. There were very few cars out as it was ten o clock on a week night. Dodging the leaves on the lonely road we crossed South Houston.

Crossing our path like a black cat lays the Humble, Cemetery, inside the chain link fence there are headstones going back 150 years or more. The only people who will be buried now bought their plot decades ago. Looking carefully you will see headstones with Husband 1933 to 1975 on one side and Wife 1939 to --- on the other. The husband eagerly awaits the arrival of his long lost mate to sooth his rest.

The cemetery is a shortcut you hop the fence and cut catty cornered across the field, scrupulously not stepping on any graves. We always said if you stepped on one you were being disrespectful, truly I thought we would be dragged down into the ground to join the dead’s slumber party. Gingerly we climbed the fence and cut across.

Halfway through, one of us stepped on a tree branch, Crack! we all jumped ten feet and ducked behind a stone wondering what happened. Looking around I could see and hear the wind whipping through the naked trees as the moonlight cast funky shadows on the ground. Each gust, threw weird lights across our faces. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two heavy set women walking hand in hand on the side walk in front of the graveyard. Sneakily we stayed down behind the headstone and plotted our prank. It was simple really, on the count of three we would wail like banshees over and over again. Steve suggested a howling wolf noise but he was voted down in favor of the banshee.

One, stifle the laughter, two, take a deep breath, three, let it rip. We laid out the loudest, scariest howl ever created by the human voice. The noise was garbled between the banshee wail and the unstoppable regurgitation of laughter.

The two gals, bless their hearts, went from a huddled stroll in a Texas norther to a Carl Lewis sprint, I have never seen women that size run so fast. Rounding the corner they crossed Isaacs street and disappeared like phantoms into the shadowy, surreal night.

Walking on to my house I don’t think any of us stopped laughing. We had the rictus grin of frozen smiles locked into a permanent position. Arms around each other, vowing never to forget this moment we staggered the remaining mile to my home.


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