Afternoon Winds Of Spring

twisterA little late with my hauling today, had a doctor’s appointment this morning and that kind of set the tone for the day.  Another visit to the VA such a depressing place but we will not go there.

Let’s try this instead.

Oklahoma’s fickle weather spirit is again teasing us, kind of nice, trees are blooming, you can walk five feet, before sneezing. But we know that could change in an instant. Once again, Mother Nature is doing her best to lick us into shape. Putting forth her finest effort to make us ready or presentable, much like a mother bear or father bear with new cubs.

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It’s About Time … Off The Wall

10561597_10204674105265315_8484038910465730662_nSpring!  This is the time of the year when I put the lawn-chair furniture on the front porch and soak up the best parts of the day. 

This morning I was out there early, real early, sitting in the still of the morning, before the sun had come up.

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Some Serious Thinking …

field-of-flowers1Ah spring!

When a man’s thoughts turn to fancy and things upstairs, generally run amuck for a short period of time.  Was over at the beanery the other day, the waitress there, wears shorts in the summer.

I was asking her when are they coming out this year, I would like to book a table.

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El Reno Lite

Yesterday was a splendid sort of day, temp’s were forgiving and it was a nice day to get outside.  I had to do the wheel thing (Friday post) with my truck and there close by is a small park, so I kind of gravitated over there, to sit for awhile and soak it all in.  The only pressing concern for the entire day was the wheel installation and three letters with windows on them (bills) to stuff in the box at the post office.

It’s a tough job … but someone has to do it.

One of those rare Oklahoma days where you do not have to concern yourself with the ugliness of the political climate in our country.  That special time of the day, when you just know that the telephone isn’t going to ring, why people who send you all these stupid insipid emails are not going to bother you.  Folks who when you return the courtesy of a reply, you never hear from them again.

Stuff like that.

I would almost swear I heard a Robin singing, the first one of spring, but I am not sure, my hearing having disappeared a long, long time ago, to rattling freight trains and screeching tight curves and steel on steel.  Age will do that, take a little from you a little bit at a time.

Several small children there, a couple of girls and a few boys.  The girls are such a treasure, so sweet, so kind, quiet, soft giggles and nice laughs.  The boys on the other hand, are loud and raucous, they are suspended almost as if they are Apes swinging from some make believe jungle canopy, diving from the top of anything they can find and they are competing with each other to see who can garner the most injuries or stop just short of killing themselves.

As I watched them intently and studied their every move I heard the words to a quote I had heard a long time, resonate inside my head.  I think it was Margaret Mead that said:  “It is cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.”  More and more each day that I live, these words seem to carry even more meaning to me.

I thought of my Dad, now long gone, who said to me one day in frustration, “Son, these are the best days of your life, only you don’t know it.  Try and get your head out of your ____ and enjoy some of it, before it is gone.”  And sadly, how those words were for the most part, wasted on me.

First thing you know, as if it has snuck up on you un-noticed, you find yourself down the road a piece, lost as a goose.  You reach that point where the American Dream starts to unravel a little, and the door gets kicked in, and you get a glimpse of what is inside.

Marriage, family, bills, obligations and look out, you are over thirty-five and reaching for the sky.

Mid life catches you chasing the ball, reaching for that impossible goal of to “just get a little bit ahead” but it never seems within reach.  Turning and burning, to impress all those folks you think seem to matter, when in reality, they aren’t even thinking about you at all.

Then on to what the call “The Golden Years” that time when all the low hanging fruit on the limb has been picked, and everything that is left, is going to take some energy to reach.  That time of life … When at best you will need a ladder to reach what is left on the tree, but you are too tired to walk to the shed to fetch it.

Yesterday, now long gone, was one of those special times in life, when you can finally afford to find time to sit back on a park bench and think about the all “good times” which were always a lot better as you remembered them and not all that tough to endure.

But we all know, it isn’t like that at all.

Super Bowl commercials are popular this week, so here is my pick for the best commercial of the Super Bowl 2013 … It really moved my spirit and I hope it does for you.

Paul Harvey and Dodge.

Thank’s so much for dropping by today, leave us a comment and let us know what YOU are thinking about.

OOO

Inviolable Reasoning

Some days are going to be good days and then some days are painful and not all that good.  Like it is when you have that small pimple on the bottom of your nostril, and you know you have to squeeze it, and at the same time, you absolutely KNOW that it is going to hurt really bad.

Yesterday was one of those kind of days.

I am in line at the bank, there are eight windows, and ONE TELLER so the conversation is strained at best, you can cut the tension in the air with a knife.  So rather than being somewhere pleasant and nice, I find that I am over at the bank and this lady in the line is all hopped up about what she calls “Obama Money.”  It is some kind of stipend that is currently being distributed to retiree’s and people on Social Security, the amount I believe is $250.

She wants to know if I have mine yet?

Not overly concerned about $250 in mad money from the government, I ponder this one very disturbing thought …”How does this complete stranger know that I am retired?”  …. It is a sad state of affairs when people recognize you as a retired person without really knowing you, I must have that “rode hard and put up wet” look about me again.

lobster hatThis always happens when I venture out without my hat.

When you notice that no one bothers to ask you if you are a “senior citizen” for the 10% discount, then I would say you have officially arrived.

Here is a little ditty about two retiree’s.

Recently in New York retired rogue cops Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, who were convicted in 2006 of assisting the Mafia for many years were sentenced to life in prison.  However, because the men retired from the force before they had been charged with crimes, they are entitled by law to their lifetime pensions of $5,313 a month and $3,896 a month respectively.

No word if they are to receive Obama money.

You ever stop to think about this $100 million President Obama has ordered cut from his $3.5 trillion budget.  This represents a reduction of 0.0029 percent not exactly worth crowing about or writing home to Mama.  If a family with an income of $100,000 cut a comparable amount from its budget, it would spend just $3 less over the course of a year.

Might be why the average Joe is rigidly locked down and staying in place these days.  With the decline of housing prices and the economic uncertainty the populace is not moving.  Some 35.2 million Americans changed residences this year, the lowest number since 1962, when the nation had 120 million fewer people.

Have finished what I consider a good read, “Brothers” which is a compilation of 26 stories of love and rivalry.  The complete issue was originally published in the March issue of Playboy.  One story that was extremely interesting was the segment of what it was like to be the Uni-Bomber’s little brother.  Weather has turned off rather nice, stopped raining, you can slink out onto the porch sit in the chair and read a page or two before the dogs wake up to greet the meter readers in the backyards.

Life in the suburbs.

I read where a 17 year old Eagle Scout is doing fine after being stranded for almost three days on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington.  Having sprained his ankle during a routine day hike, he spent numerous days on the mountain.  He decided to take a short cut down the 6,288 ft peak which proved not to be the right move.  Snowpack and running rivers blocked his path, and also his retreat from the normal route of trails.

He said that he slept beneath pine trees and in large crevasses and started fires with hand sanitizer gel.  He was finally spotted by rescuers after he decided to head up the mountain, towards a weather observatory.  “I would never do it again during snow conditions” he was quoted as saying.

Now on the other hand, I got lost when I was twelve years old, in a national forest for about 26 hours.  Not all that scary, but it was an “eye opener” for sure.

Not having a clue as to where I was or where I was going, I eventually sat down beside a fallen giant and started a campfire with my zippo lighter and was sitting there smoking a Marlboro when a national forest search agent walked up to me and said, “You must be Don Smith, and this must be Fritz (our family weenie dog).” And I replied, “Yes, I am.”

He then instructed me to put out the fire, led me back to my parents who were overjoyed to have their wayward child back.  My dad asked the guy, “How did you find him?” and the ranger said, “I saw his campfire smoke and walked up on him, he was sitting there smoking a cigarette and staying warm.”

At that point my mother promptly grabbed me and hugged me for all it was worth, later on my dad, whipped my butt for smoking again.

Proof again, that all stories do NOT have a nice ending.  To this day I remember it as not being lost, but rather, just powerfully confused.

Some days are diamonds and some days are stone (from the song with the same title and/or lyrics).  Now I return to my Clark Kent atmosphere, my duty in life that compels me to walk this uncertain, often turbulent path, to faithfully do what meets the needs of the day or pays the bill, and not what it is that I truly want to do.

What is your Clark Kent job this Wednesday, are you lost or just powerfully confused.

Our operators are standing by ………..

OOO

Off The Hook

OPEN ROUNDAnother spring time day is heading our way, that is good, soon, the dog days of summer.  Believe me I am ready, this is the time of the year when you feel like whistling even though’ your shoes are full of slush.

I see where officials in Denver have arrested a Mormon Cardinal on charges of running a Ponzi scheme for the past twenty years.  He is alleged to have bilked 20 people out of $40 million and has admitted to “never actually investing one penny of it” in any fund anywhere, ever.

More than likely he will say that Satan had a lot to do with it, we are so quick in this country, to shift the blame elsewhere.

On the legitimate side of all this, Bernie Madoff the King of Losers, has found a buyer for his investment business (which he claims is “profitable”), proving that even in hard times like this, you are still able to ring up a sale.  Now as I weigh in on this issue this morning, I am quite aware that I am going to come off as cynical and I suppose uncaring about all this, so be it.

The truth is, “If these victims had put their money where the rest of America put their money, the majority of them would still have it.  They lost it because they wanted MORE because they were GREEDY and put it out to a crook.”  As the old axiom states, “If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.”  Now here is the part that really sticks in my craw.

Now the I.R.S. is going to give them a write off on their losses, hard to believe, especially to those of us who pay thru the nose.  Wage earners who invest in mortgage payments and college tuition for our kids.  But it should not come as a big surprise to anyone; this is after all a country that routinely rewards the malfeasance of big-biz, the rich, the bogus, the corrupt, the inept with bonus payments and special incentives.

The next time you turn on the TV and hear some expose’ on this crap or pick up a paper and read about another scheme and its victims.  Stop and consider this.  Of the 400 richest taxpayers in the U.S., 31 of them paid taxes at an effective rate of less than 10% last year.  Thanks to tax deductions, tax-free earning credits and other maneuvers, according to the IRS.  No telling what the other 369 pulled down.

Is this a Great Country or what?

It has apparently got so lucrative that the baseball card people are getting in on the action too.  Baseball card company Topps this year will release a set of cards devoted to the worlds biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks, and bamboozlers.  Among the people and companies featured are Bernard Madoff, Charles Ponzi, and Enron to name a few.  We not only celebrate the evil in our midst, we seem to adore and worship them.

If all this wasn’t so tragic and pathetic, it would make a good skit for Monty Python.

So before you reach down for the crying’ towel, and decidedly do your part to fill it with tears, for all these so-called victims, the elite of Palm Beach, the A List of Hollywood.  Think about it.  They had plentiful evidence that Madoff was running a scam.  Anyone who actually took the time to “kick the tires of this thing” could surely see it for what it was.  In a way it is sad, they were seduced by the mystique or so flattered to join in the group of followers that they gladly forked over the cash.

The SEC should have been on the ball, everyone will scream, and to a point, that is correct.

But that doesn’t mean the investors themselves are off the hook.  Blaming your woes on the government (SEC) is like asking a child why he blames his mother for letting him start a fight while she was not looking.  Now everyone is here in place, ready to sign up for the last dance of the evening, but no one it seems wants to pay for the band.  There are two kinds of failures presented here for our perusal.

“Those who thought and never did and those who did and never thought.”

And now the I.R.S. is going to reward them for their stupidity.  It is almost laughable, if it were not so sad.  As much as things change in the twenty-first century, remarkably they often stay the same.  When you lie down with a dog, you end up smelling like a dog after awhile, so it is with these so-called victims.  The heroes of finance are like beads on a string … when one slips off, the rest soon are to follow.

Surely there is a place reserved in hell for people like Madoff and the Mormon in Denver.

My definition of hell would be a place where the Muslims are the police, the Iranians are the comedians, Mexicans are the defense force, the common language is English and the American’s handle …  ALL THE MONEY …. Yeah, that could get pretty lame awfully fast.

OOO

North On Seventy-Four

An easy day today, not a whole lot on my plate. Took an old chair and leaned it up against the wall, listened to the Turtle Doves singing their mournful song in the trees. A time to reflect, on the lazy hazy days of summer.  Spring just around the corner.

A prime candidate for Cabin Fever, I am ready for the summer season, bring it on.  Big winter storm moving in this weekend, some of it today, one more to suffer thru and perhaps it is the last.

Not all that bad this year, it has been cool and it has been nice. Like I said … A little time to sit on the front porch and watch the world roll by. Reflect, mull it over. God has been so good to me. He gives me enough peace and tranquility, time to myself, and my mind can make trips that no amount of high-priced gasoline can stop.

On some days, that is what it is all about.

The American Economy and my spending habits may have relegated me to a life of quiet desperation on the front porch, but it cannot close the borders of my mind. In my mind, there are trips yet untold. In my mind, I can go all I want, and it doesn’t cost one thin dime to head on down that road.

Today I am driving north on Highway Seventy-Four, up that old torn, well driven, worn two lane which harbors those old white wheat elevators in Crescent, Oklahoma, how they stood like ships upon the plain. I am remembering how it was, when I was ten years old, that I thought they were truly the biggest things I had ever seen.

That was before Aircraft Carriers and Viet Nam.

All the mysteries of life, a young heart yearned to discover. Stealing off and skinny-dippin down at the Cimarron River, if mama ever knew, the lickin I would have received. Special days and times, now so precious to me.

Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter. Yellow jackets on the watermelon, honey-suckle in the air, Daddy turning on the sprinkler, letting us run thru it in our underwear. Falling asleep in my Grandpa’s lap, to the sound of his pocket watch ticking in his vest. Angel Food Cake on the counter and a silver fork in my hand.

Learning to drive in a wheat-field full of stubble, shifting gears and using a clutch. Ice cold Grapetts at the Co-Op at the north end of town, beside the railroad depot, now long gone. Fried chicken dinners, ice tea, and fresh picked strawberries for lunch. Riding an old popper, a John Deere to city folks.

Keeping an eye on the furrow and plowing straight, long after the sun has set and into the night. Burning drip-gas in the old pickup, laying a strip of rubber on the asphalt. Secretly stealing a kiss in the balcony on Saturday night.

The noise of an old freight rattling thru town, the sound the train whistle made late in the night. Years later, after decades of time, it would be my hand on that whistle cord, making a living out on the branch line. It would be me riding thru town in the late hours with a string of empties and a little red hack on the end.

Working Oklahoma hot summers, in air so thick with humidity, you could cut it with a knife, barefoot days that seemed to go on and on forever, seemingly to never end. Perhaps I am remembering this all wrong, but, life seemed to be better way back then.

Early morning … Sittin’ on the porch, almost April, trying to work it all out.

All those days, part of my faded past, now a treasure in my minds eye. If life was a classroom and love was just a lesson, I would like to have to stay there, until I finally got it right. Rollin’ north on Highway Seventy-four. There’s a blacktop road, with a faded yellow centerline.

It can take you back to the place, but it can’t take you back in time.

OOO

Almost Spring

field-of-flowers1

Spring has sprung … The grass is riz … Hey, I wonder where all the flowers is?  The above is our new header for March, a field of flowers, pretty snazzy eh?


Where is this year going?  Last day of the month, and I can truthfully say, it kind of snuck up on me.  Life seems too fast paced any more …  You see it that way?

It seems like everything is rushing into oblivion and at times just a blur on the place mat of time.  I on the other hand, seem to be slowing down a little, and I suppose that is good.  I posted 48 articles in January and in February that dropped to about half, 21.  I suspect this month will be the same, as I have adapted to this slower relaxed pace and seem comfortable with it.

This year, the total is 772 posts, some of them good and some of them not so good.  Just depends on your attitude at the time and your current outlook on life I guess.  None of them by their very nature, guaranteed to amuse, please, fulfill a need or entertain.

March.  The windy month … Still, the prospect of a new month always excites me.  Last month was not so great for me, I lost another friend and it took a toll on my psyche.  Death is the only thing that never seems to take a holiday, did you ever notice that?  I find myself attending more funerals than weddings and that is a sad commentary on life, but never the less, and all too familiar routine at this time.

Trouble as usual, searched me out, and called me by name.

February presented its fair share of turmoil and strife.  I had my share of battles fought and won, and yes, some lost, but I suited up for the game every day.  One very important aspect of life emerged for me, my personal epiphany you might say.  All this political crap has jaded my outlook on life, and at times, soured me to the joy of living.  So I have made a conscious commitment this month to cut back on it, for the most part I understand, that I can not be effective in any kind of change anyway.

So, for me, this month, it is all about getting back to basics.

First thing I am going to do is see if I can figure out a way to “reward myself more” and stop assuming the problems of the country and this world.  People who schedule “guilt free playtime or squander a little peace for themselves in life” seem to be happier.  Not to mention more efficient and well adjusted.

Having said all that, here is the nugget, the one simple truth.  One of the absolute best things about life is the fact that it is never, ever, too late to start over.

See You In The Funny Papers.

OOO

Don’t get ugly

Here lately I have just got cranky, might be the wind blowing, it might be I am sick of winter, it might be old age.  I dunno.  Yesterday I allowed myself to get involved in some mindless debate from some critic and I hate that.  The fact that I am so easy sucked into these pointless debates, and the fact that I am not “Politically Correct” or at best, even in the ballpark.

Today however, I wanted to begin by summarizing, but then I got to thinking, shoot, we aint even had no spring yet!

So, this morning I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is possible to do these things, the economy may be bad, but they still have enough left over, to keep the lights on …. For now anyway.  And I tell myself “one more time” to … Focus, you just have to hang in there.

The man who sticks to his plan will become what he used to want to be. As I have said before, perhaps I am like Icarus, simply a man who dared to dream, a man who flew too close to the sun. Or like Daedalus, a man who equipped his son with unsafe wings made of easily melted beeswax? I would say the answer to this question is all and neither.

Dream little or dream small …. In the final tally … it doesn’t matter at all.

Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ.  Most of the news sucks … I will give you that.  The national media coverage on the economy continues to be “dismal at best.” The outright lying and perfidy seems to have escalated this week. I swear, if I get one more Email on Obama or racist joke promoting ignorance and watermelons.  I am going to pull my hair out (and I certainly do not have a lot of it pull at this juncture in time.  Matter of fact, I have more in my ears than I have on my head).

I would rather see reporting on the malfeasance’s of the rich and powerful, and some indefatigable media coverage that turns up evidence of same. That would satisfy my fury of being milked too death, and starved out of life as we know it. I don’t need debates on misspelled state names, or other trivial BS tasteless mind numbing drivel concerning our new black president.

I need some relief from the very American’s that live here, the rich and the powerful, the politically connected amongst us.

Perhaps today is a good day to go to the Mall (before it closes from lack of business) and find a good book for the weekend.  Books are so dog-gone expensive anymore, I don’t know how anyone can afford to buy and read two or three a month. A cheap read is about $15 and that doesn’t guarantee it will be a “good read” by any stretch of the imagination.

I have been spending a lot of time at the keyboard, and I miss my reading time. I am anxiously anticipating spring, some time on the porch with a good book, a glass of sweet tea.  Sure hope I can afford one of the two.

Have A Great Weekend … We will see you on Monday.

OOO