Archive for January, 2008


   back in the seventies i took a job working in road construction… we were building the farm road from st.jo to dye mound… it was summer time.. days were hot even by texas standards.. my old pal , v-v-v-v-v-v-vernon ward needed some pocket money , so he accompanied me to the job site to apply for a job as laborer.. they hired him !  he had a speech impediment from birth… stuttered… but was by no means  intimidated by his speech problem….

    vernon never owned a car , so naturally he had to ride with me… he also didn’t own an alarm clock… was never awake when i arrived at five thirty… he had no screen on his window so i just stepped in the flower bed, stuck my head in the window, and hollered let’s go vernon…after honking the horn a couple of times with no response…

   vernon had an old straggly looking red chow dog that shadowed him everywhere he went… the dog slept on the floor beside vernon’s bed… he’d bark or growl when i interrupted their sleep… i’d return to the truck and wait for vernon to emerge with a scrambled egg sandwich in a paper sack for lunch. that old dog would be tagging along… he jumped in the back and take that twenty mile ride to the job site…

    vernon loved to fish or hunt and could often be seen walking along the road with a fishing pole in one hand and a tackle box in the other , that old chow right behind… they were headed to some remote fishing spot where vernon could dip some copenhagen and polish his fishing skills… he was a free spirit… thought that all lakes and fish actually belonged to God , therefore he didn’t spend a lot of time or energy  obtaining permission to fish from the land owner… he was run out of johnsons lake more times than anyone can remember…even took a spray of buck-shot from ol’fred on one occasion , while making a quick exit down the county road….

    on time in particular stands out in my mind… cause he had talked me into going with him to the posted honey-hole…. that was the first time in my life i had actually looked straight down the barrel of a pistol while being reprimanded.. then evicted from private property !! it’ll get your pulse going better than hooking a five pound  gasper-goo !

    vernon’s red chow liked to ride in my  sixty five stepside… front feet on the side of the bed , head around the corner of the cab  , snappin at the air and barking at passing cars…

   one day as we were returning from work , or a misguided fishing trip , we all rounded the curve by the fain’s homestead just east of town…. the fains raised fighting chickens… had  dozens of them in coops and cages or just staked out under a tree with a short piece of rope..

    as we approached the fains place , at highway speed , a huge red rooster shot out of the johnson grass, right in our path… i instinctively swerved to miss the startled chicken… the truck lurched  and slid to the side… i looked back to see if i had missed the road rooster only to see vernon’s red chow rolling down the bar-ditch like a basket ball..

    vvvvvernon was hot… accused me of trying to kill his prize soul mate and companion  rather than hit one of a multitude of fains chickens…

   the dog finally came to a stop… addled but mobile… he ran like he’d just witnessed satin !! straight back the way he’d came ! the wrong way up a one-way street…..

    i had to drive three miles around to search for his ruffled chow.. while vernon worked on his speaking skills in my right ear !! we finally found the startled mut , hunkered under a cedar bush in the fence-row…. three quarters of a mile from the point of impact…. he was scared up from the skid , but tickled to see v-v-v-v-vernon..

     i took a lot of chin-music for the rest of the journey home.. but in a few days , v-v-v-vernon and the old red chow had completely forgotten the near death experience….

     vernon went on to live with the Lord a few years after that , but shall forever live in my memory as one of the most unique characters God ever made…. he’ll be fishing on the far banks of the jordan river even now as i write…..with his favorite zebco 33 and that straggly haired chow … watching the bobber….oblivious to hostile landowners or what time it is !!   fish on ol’pal !! 


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montague bench-mark

     i recall that old wooden bench , under the canopy of carminatti’s store… it was slick from wear… had an occasional nail worked loose to snag tattered overalls of temporary visitors… many good stories were spun there ! some factual , like the account of salvi’s job carrying sacks of cement up to the third floor construction of the courthouse… some were fiction… like deafy’s knowledge of the number one suspect in the mysterious fire of fifty six…

   deep notches scared the bench where attentive listeners practiced their carving with a bone-handled case… initials were gouged into the weathered pine to bear witness to the fact that R.W loves N.R.. … most visitors left a mark of some sort , if only an empty coke bottle…

   tobacco stains covered the sidewalk where various spectators and participants alike , extruded the excess juice from the white tag tensley as suspense filled stories reached their climax… you could learn a lot , just leaned up against the sandstone store front , listening to the oldtimers exchange stories of pulling stumps up with mules to clear the land for cultivation…. or that time their dogs had a coon treed down on the creek by mose davis’s dugout .

    livestock were traded right there on that old bench along with horse drawn farming equipment  and i’ll bet uncle tony purchased a few acres of mineral rights  while bare foot children played under the shade of carminatti’s porch..

    those were simple times.. but difficult times … no one had a great deal of money and manual labor was the staple product of rural farm life…

     trips to town were more seldom then than now…. and totally different in nature… they were more relaxed , casual afternoons of visiting your neighbors surrounding the center piece of social  events… that old bench was filed away in the memory of all the locals… they knew they could see friends there… get a weather forecast or an update on the almanac… find out what eggs were bringing… and the latest treatment for screw-worms..

    they could learn of the next pie supper at church or plan for a decoration day at the cemetery… massive amounts of business were conducted there in the shade , sipping on a soda-water and smoking prince albert..

    that old bench has long since disappeared along with that way of life… no traces are left of either… and frankly ‘ i miss them both…

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key of G

    carolyn attended a church-wide garage sale over the week-end on the south side of town…all proceeds went towards a ski trip for the youth group… she knew it was a good cause , but does not always require a good cause to when it comes to impulse purchases.

   she looked around at the items for sale and locked in on a used guitar… knowing that i had harbored the secret desire to be a country singer since i first listened to porter waggoner…. i saw how norma jean looked at porter as he was belting out one of those tear jerkin love songs… all sequined up in that clown suite…. she melted like blue-bell when he picked up his guitar… what a lucky man !

   carolyn , despite better judgement , purchased that old standard for an undisclosed amount , and brought it home for her musically challenged man….

   i was beyond surprise when i saw it … what the hades ! she’s lost her ever lovin mind ! thinking i could learn to play this flat-top box , at sixty years old , with the hands of a  arthritic pygmy…

    it’s time to put up or shut up ! if i’m ever gonna fulfil this childhood fantasy of being a chick magnet with a guitar..it’s time to get started… becoming an accomplished player like my old pal tucker or tommy or pat hennon , would be an absolute dream come true…

    i’m off to the races …. found a site on the internet to learn the chords… practiced last night on learning the G chord… after about twenty minutes of that i had wrist cramps and needles sticking in three fingers of my left hand…. this is not nearly as glorious as i had imagined…. holding this thing without a strap is comparable to wrestling a half grown shoat…

    like martin luther , i shall overcome some day ! perseverance is the key to the key of G.. i’ll be in turkey texas at the bob wills music festival , jammin with the likes of dancin man, goober and the brother in law , some sweet day !

   jake hooker needs to be looking at his hold card… gathering up all he can while the sun is shinning , cause i’m right behind him… closing the gap between his talent and mine…

   if i could just learn to tune this box of strings i’m confident it would sound much better…the dogs would quit howling and the birds would start singing again…meanwhile , don’t come to my house without calling ahead…. i’m practicing !!

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tight- hole

    oklahoma city and burkburnet are a couple of boom-towns that come to mind when you think of oil related growth and prosperity…. that same sequence of events is currently taking place just east of the four-way stop sign in montague…

   montague suburbs are a virtual hot bed of activity… tank trucks dumping toxic waste on a new phenomenon called mud-farms…. welders and construction crews building gates and roads to wild-cat locations along hwy.fifty nine…. salt water disposal trucks stacked up like fire ants at the four-way stop… lease hounds scramble for every half-acre not yet leased to prospective production magnets… promotion men dig through abstract records in search of some undiscovered nugget with leasing potential…. oil related service companies spring up like dandelions along the road…. wolsey and wise are back-logged til sometime next fall …..i’m tellin’ ya montague is booming !!   lease prices exceed the original purchase price of most farm land around the county seat…

   henley leased his place for enough cash to buy the state of rhode island…. brashear is now  driving a new truck and dinning on tenderloin and margarita’s… he’s flush ! let the good times roll !

     i’ve not seen anything like it since uncle tony attempted that mineral right takeover in fifty nine… he gave those half-starved farmers ten bucks an acre for mineral rights that are now bringing five hundred dollars and twenty five percent of production…

     my quiet neighborhood has become the apex of the barnett shale… several locations being constructed at one time in anticipation of a major strike beneath the abandoned peanut fields and vineyards of early day italian settlers.. all within ear shot of my ranch !

    pipe line survey stakes cut through the landscape just north and west of my homestead… interrupting the annual migration patterns of the north american caribou and salt creek armadillo’s…pump jacks will soon replace native buffalo grass and shenry along the scenic route to head of elm…. the landscape is changing… the smell of crude will soon stifle the tender fragrance of wild plums and indian blankets along noble road as montague crashes headlong into the next decade…. we’re doomed to boom !!

    if you’ve got acreage to lease , call tommy o’neal or ( freddie the freeloader) immediately if not sooner…. they’ve got papers for you to sign that’ll put you in the drivers seat ,for a mere 2 % , they’ll put you on a guaranteed trip to prosperity…. provided they don’t drop junk in the hole or run a cone off the bit !

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jojo’s journey

    most of you are familiar with my grandson, heath  ! thanks to several bragging articles posted here by his proud popa , as well as newspaper and t.v. coverage..  you know about his baseball days at bowie high school , vernon junior college , university of oklahoma , and subsequently being drafted by the cleveland indians last june…and the many honors he received along the way , including two time all-american high school pitcher!

   what you may not know, at this point, is that his little sister jordan. a.k.a. “jojo” roth is following in his footsteps…. as a freshman she was awarded 1st. team all district in softball.. sophomore.. 1st. team all-district , junior year.. 1st. team all-state… offensive m.v.p. for district…. and this year , her senior year, she has already won “setter of the year” for district volleyball… and signed for a softball scholarship to attend vernon junior college…besides playing varsity basketball..

     she has already been awarded academic all state this year in volleyball and has won academic all-district each of her four years in high-school..( new experience for any person in my gene pool ).

    softball season for 08 starts in a few days , and i’m expecting , even predicting more great and exciting achievements from “jojo”..

    heath leaves norman oklahoma near the end of february , for spring training camp in florida… he’ll stay there for thirty days before learning if he’s going to high A in north carolina or A ball in ohio ..

   jojo won’t leave til next fall for vernon… and all the challenges that await her there , but i’m more than confident that she will shine there as she has in all her past conquests.

   i have six more grandkids besides these two… each of them is a gift from God and equally as talented in their own feild… whether academics or athletics.. each is unique and precious to me !

    brag on , brother !

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   i had the unusual opportunity to visit with a professional writer this morning over pork chops and eggs.. he was passing through montague on his way to the presentation ceremony at the bush library…or on his way to the korean korner for a morning paper… anyway , he gave me a few previously little known pointers..

  first he said… don’t ever give the readers all they want…  keep ’em hungry… write only one blog every four or five days… as though you were putting massive amounts of study and forethought into each story….

    you’ll increase your number of hits if they keep checking three or four times a day to see if you’ve posted something new… like a carrot on a stick !… plus they’ll think these tales are the product of some  deep thinking intellectual…like on my superior blog site !  pass the pork-chops !

     finally , he advised , don’t ever use that spell-check button.. it takes a lot of time to correct all those misspelled words… and people enjoy the challenge of deciphering exactly what it is you’re trying to say..like on my cutting edge blog site !! …pass the gravy !

   forget all that punctuation stuff that uncle melvin tried to indoctrinate us with… what did he know about bloggin ?  that was a cheap trick to discourage us from documenting what we saw in the teachers lounge……just keep on typing til you finish the story , like on my award winning blog site… got anymore farm fresh eggs ?

      thanks a heap ! that was great advise from the current best-seller blogmaster…. how about another pork-chop , chipper… ?

    before he left for the library of congress , he did however disclose the true reason why he has’nt posted  anything in several days …. he slambed his typing finger in the helicopter door !


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montague medical

     i had a short but informative visit with ed this morning via the cell phone… i asked him for a medical update on tom’s recent shoulder surgery… how his recuperation was progressing.. ed was quick to elaborate on his progress , in water purveyors terms..

   he said carter, you know that polymer stuff we put in the drinking water to make it settle ? i think the doctor accidentally gave tom about fifty cc’s of polymer in the hip.. cause he’s definitely settled !!… settled for the nurse from hades…

    last time he had surgery he had a personal nurse stay with him twenty four seven… as i recall she was young, very attractive.. very professional… attentive even eager to tom’s every need….waited on him like he was a king !

    this time the story is quite different  .. he’s got the judges daughter cookin celery soup and fluffin his pillow…. sub standard health care at best !! she just don’t have that tender touch like nurse good-body had…  she has limited knowledge of quality care and knows even less about men… poor bedside manner is now the norm at tom’s convalescent suite..

    she’s drank up all tom’s beer and taken over the remote… tom’s a prisoner in his own ivory tower…  nurse ratched has him captive… force feeding him hot milk and chicken-pot-pies…  he would call 911 but becky won’t let him use the phone…

 he’d be better off with nocona’s nurse jackson , if she wasn’t doing hard time for killing her last twelve patients..   meanwhile , he’s settled !

***** for ed’s benefit…. nurse ratched is a ruthless battle axe nurse from ( one flew over the cuckcoo’s nest )  1962 ?  not some uniformed nurse you remember from the 59 club….

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