Sunday, July 23, 2017

The River Road

During the years when a scrawny little boy grew up to a gangly teenager and into the first years of an adventurous young man,  there was a road that was as much a part of my life as anything else that allowed me to grow up "Country".  

We called it simply the "River Road." I  travel that road still everyonce in a while if only in my mind when needed. 

 It stretched from Austin to just outside of Bastrop Texas.  It is a road that I could not even try to tell you how many times I rode or drove down. From adventure rides into the big city of Austin to visit family and friends as a little boy, to joy rides later on as a young adult. 

Lots of memories, a lot of good times and lots of good friends who lived along that road and the dirt roads and back roads that came out to meet it as it snaked along following the Colorado River through the leading on towards Bastrop.

 Along the way you came upon an old run down General Store at one of it's curves. I can remember it's screen doors that slammed shut behind you announcing your entry. I seem to remember a Buttercrust Bread hand push on the screen door or perhaps it was Rainbow, it was a long time ago. I can remember the floors creaking under my weight even though I could have been more then 4 or 5 years old.  Looking through the glass countertops to pick a dime or nickle piece of candy then a run to grab a Dr. Pepper to go along with it. 

There was my Best Friend's Grandparents place who lived in the only true Dog Trot Cabin that I knew of at the time. It sat on a little dirt side road leading to nowhere, backed up to the river bottom's hillside overlooding the pastures and crop fields over as far as the little fly through community of Webberville. 

Living in that little community was a lady we use to go see because she owned and raised Cinchillas in a small air conditioned cinder block shed behind her house. To us, at the time, tthey were the most unusual creatures we had ever had the opportunity to hold and cuddle. 

But of course the best memory of that little town was the picnics on Family Night at the Masonic Lodge that my Father and Grandfather were members of. Eating a pot luck banquet of what everyone brought on long tables in the yard. Then as the sun dropped below the pecan and willow trees that were rooted along the banks of the river there, we all took off to catch Fireflys and Ladybugs so we could sneak up on and place on Grandma and Mom's shoulders to only run off laughing as they made a make believe scream so they could hear our giggles and snickers as we got ready for a good game of hide and seek.   

Later as a teenager and into the first few years of manhood, there was  the, at least once a summer, going with my  firends to make the River Road  Full Moon  Run.  Guided only by the full moon and your knowledge of every curve and hump in the road. You did it with your lights off. From the turn off at Hunter Bend Road to the County Park along the river in Webberville.  It was the "real" way to prove to anyone and especially yourself that these were "our" old stomping grounds. OUR back roads.  What a Adrenaline rush.

Then there were the early morning rides after closing down the nightclubs, and Dance halls of Austin to take a ride along it's curves, and straight aways used to show off to a new young lady who had decided to take a chance on a Crazy Country Boy. The ploy was to go watch a beautiful sunrise, while lying on a blanket out in the middle of a cow pasture down by the river.  I can remember the  line oh so well, "Want to go see the Second Most Beautiful Thing in the World?"  with the inevitable question by them,  "The First Most Beautiful  Thing in the world? pause......Well... That would have to be you."  How many nightly rides, how many young ladies? Well, it was the 70's, we won't go there.   

I have gone back several times over the years when and if I find myself in the area.  They come fewer and farther apart now and now- a - days, you have to stop for red lights and pedestrian crossings along some of it's miles.  I must admit, it's just not the same. 

So... The way I travel it now is by closing my eyes and letting the memories of days gone by take over for just a little while.  Allowing me to lean to the left and then to the right as I take its turns and curves then push the make believe gas pedal under my right foot down all the way to the floorboard for it's straight-aways, only letting  up just in time to coast around the next curve without having to touch the make believe brake..... 

That was the way it has always been done.

The way a man can still run that road with his eyes closed. 

Because I still own that road.... 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Start of a New Year for America

July 5th, 2017

Today we start a new year for our country.  July 4th, 2017 fortunately came and went with great fanfare.

The level of Patriotism was obvious.  Our love for our country is deeply rooted in our souls and this is a good thing, because it is a country that we should be proud of.

In under 250 years we have grown into a country that has shown the world that when a society decides what they want is worth coming together for they will.

I can only hope that the world is still able to look at our country still and have that impression.  But much of the impression given is by our leaders and that means all of our Leaders.

All of those who asked for and were given the opportunity to lead us down the right paths.  Only by demonstrating a unity among themselves can we as a Nation continue to impress the rest of the world.

I was once offered a small tidbit of advice when I was working my way into being an administrator of a group of employees.  It is an old Cowboy "Motto".. and it goes simply..

"If you are going to lead others down the Trail... Look back every once in a while and make sure they are still following you."

I feel that that should be a "Motto" that many of our Government Officials should rise each morning with before they start their day...

Also, take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself.. "Do I like what I see?" If a frown forms on the face looking back at you then maybe you need to rethink your priorities.

Our land is a Great Land and it can continue to be a Great Land if, we all do our part.

Our leaders were put in place to lead us.  Please... Your actions represent not only yourself but every single citizen of this Nation...

Make us Proud... By Leading Proudly.....

Monday, June 26, 2017

So... I Shook His Hand...

While standing the other day at the luggage turnstiles in Las Vegas's airport among what had to be over 2 thousand people I noticed him from across the large room.  He was standing quietly beside what I was soon to find out was his wife.

The people bustled around them, hugging their found travelers or Sons, Daughters, Friends and whomever had arrived for a visit.  But they stood there alone, no one there to greet them nor help them if there was a need.

I excused myself from the person that was waiting with me for our incoming relative and made my way across the room.  As I approached, I read the emblem and the name of the ship that was on his ballcap that he had served on.  I smiled and I extended my hand in fellowship as another sailor and introduced myself.

"Veteran Petty Officer John Glass Sir... I just wanted to Thank You for your time you gave to save our country." He took my hand with a smile and held it strong.

"This young lady with you? Can I assume she waited for you at home back then?"

She nodded and I gave her my thanks also.  A lot of people don't realize what woman like her have and still do go through during those times.

I kidded with him about serving on a Aircraft Carrier and how I didn't think I could have handled being with that many people on one ship.

He smiled and asked what type of ship I had been on and I shared that it had been one of those "little bitty" Destroyers that followed his ship around all the time.  He smiled and said that he could remember standing on fantail of his carrier and looking back at a Destroyer that followed them about a mile or so back serving "Life Guard Duty" during one of their Flight Operations and thinking "no way would he ever be on a ship that small"

We laughed, we both smiled and watched as the luggage started making it's way towards us on the turnstile.

I asked "how many pieces do you have? and he said "Only one, we're only in town for a couple of days. Then he looked away quietly as if not wanting me to see his face.

"We're here to say our goodbyes to one of his best friends who had served with him" came the answer from his wife.

I nodded and understood the reason now for their travels...

"Here it comes now", he said pointing out the small bag and I stepped up and pulled it off the luggage carousel for him...

"Aw ya didn't need to do that" he said quietly regaining his composure.

Sir... If he wound have been able to met you here, he would have done the same right?  It's my honor....

Before they turned to leave, I handed him my business card... "If there is anything I can do while ya'll are in town.  My numbers on the card...

He smiled, and she took it and put it in her purse with "He'll lose it for sure, let me put it where I know we can get it if needed.  Thank you Petty Officer Glass..."

They turned and started to walk away, but then he turned again and asked "What's your first name son?

My name is John, but my good friends call me Johnny Sir.

"Take care Johnny,  Mine is James, never did like that "Sir" title.  And His name was Walter, we all called him Walt."

I smiled back as we shook hands again, this time a little stronger. Then they walked away as I walked over back to my friend and we we watched them go towards the door, her hand holding him at the left elbow while he pulled the rolling suitcase with the other arm.

"Who were they? he asked.

"Oh just someone I just got the privilege to meet" I said as we watched the exit door closed behind them..

"They were in the Navy... a long time ago"... I replied, as I closed my eyes for just a second and threw them a prayer....

New friends can be made so easily....


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our Turn

I sat the other day on the second row of a university theater with those that are most important to me now a days... The curtain was down, and the family and friends of others filled the room with anticipatoin of seeing and watching a Son, Daughter, Niece, Nephew,  Cousin or in my Wife and my case,  2 of our Great Grandchildren preform in public for the 1st time...

I thought back to how much I had missed of my own two children, now grown adults, due to, well to due to reasons that neither one of them had any control over and that I am sorry for.

I thought back how years ago, I had not been able to attend my Grandchildren's 1st performances or their time on stages as a Grandfather.  We were there but we were thate as Father and Mother instead, due to those who should have been there choose not to be.  And thats OK... we did it proudly and with all the love and understanding of knowing that they were given as much love and care we could possibly give.  All I know is that their parents don't know what they missed.

I thought of what I had lost as a Father to my own 2 Children whom had grown up through their early years without me not being there.  All of the occasions and special times that I had missed due to those who were raising them not allowing me the priveledges of being there as a Father. But that's OK I do have some memories that I will always keep deep within my heart.

Then, I thought back and looked down the row at my Stepson Ron, who sat 4 seats down from me and looked at him as he sat smiling staring at the curtain, waiting for it to rise to see His 2 Grandchildren.

I smiled, thinking of being given the priviledge by his Mother in allowing me to be part of their lives and being able to be there as he grew into his teenage years and into his adulthood.

 A Fine Man he has become there is no doubt, and I gladly beam with a little pride that I had something to do with that or at least I hope I did.

And with all things said and done... I sat and I took my wonderful wife's hand in mine and I promised her that Now is Our Time... That these are the things that we have endured for.

 That it has all been worth it because that Little Blonde Haired Boy with the look of determination and that Little Red Headed Bundle of Joy Girl who were about to step out onto this stage are OUR GREAT GRANDKIDS and No One can take that away from us...

Yes... Now is Our Time...

Our Turn, to Be What We Should Be...


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How Embarrasing

Many years ago....

I decided that I wanted to become a part-time Softball Umpire... Don't ask why... I don't remember.

So... off I go reading the required material, taking the test and passing it (yes there is a test).  Now to the store to by the offical Umpire Uniform..... A Blue Shirt and a Dark Blue Pair of Pants plus a dark pair of athletic shoes.

You also had to watch at least 16 innings of another umpire doing thier job.  So off to the local baseball diamond.  What is hard, is to watch the umpire..not the game.... You learn very quickly that the busiest person on the field, is the umpire. Because, with every hit there is a place you have to get to very fast to cover the result of the hit and at the same time stay out of the way of the players...

Now... I'm ready...

Just before leaving the house on my first real Umpiring experience my wife (Lord Love Her) asked me where it was I was going to be.   I told her and she rolled her eyes back and while hugging me goodbye said "I'm glad that your insurance is paid up.. Because that is probably the WORST PART OF TOWN you can be in...  

Hmmmmm.... Thanks Babe... and I drive across town thinking of all the rules, regulations and what all I had just got myself into... But now I cannot forget her last words... THE WORST PART OF TOWN YOU CAN BE IN.

I arrived one game early hoping to be able to watch the two umpires going through their roles only to find that one of them had not shown up... So... Yep... here I go....

I walked out onto the field and took my place between 1st base and 2nd..  Thank God, at least I was not going to have to be the Home Plate Ump..

The "on field" team warmed up.  I tried to look as "Professional" as I could again follow the Golden Rule of Umpiring which is "STAY OUT OF THEIR WAY."  All the while, those little words given to me by loving wife kept bouncing around my head.. THE WORST PART OF TOWN YOU CAN BE IT.

Finally.. the moment arrived,,, The Home Base Umpire... raised his hand.. stepped over the plate and brushed it off with his $.99 cent paint brush... Turned and scanned the field and yelledd those most famous words..."Play Ball".

The 1st Batter took his stance and the Pitcher glanced over his left shoulder at 1st base.. I don't know why... it's just what they do just before pitching...

I was concentrating and being very Proffessional looking.  Knees slightly bent with my palms resting on my knees... That was when it happened..


My reaction...   well of coursee.... I dropped flat on my stomach.....

When I openned my eyes after making sure I wasn't hit.  I noticed everyone else on the field were still standing... But looking at me.....

The Southside Track Competion on the Track and Field Stadium which was adjacent to the Baseball Diamond blocked by a very large row of thick trees had  just started the 1st 100 yard relay race.... With... The shot of a starter pistol.....

I didn't continue to be a Softball Umpire very long....  Main reason... it seemed about every third game, one of the two teams that had all laughed at me as I picked myself up and dusted my self off that first night was playing...   I also remember that I had gotten a standing ovation from everyone in the stands.

From that game on there was someone who always yelled out "Hey Blue... got your bullet proof vest on?"

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Honors

In Memory of those who did not return....
On these days set aside for them, let's remember those who did not return while serving their country for what they believed in.
If you knew one personally. Talk about them, who they were, what they meant to you and how you miss them. Or... at least take a few moments to think of them and what they must have gone through... It's not that hard...
Those are the greatest honors you can do for them.
Then pray that soon the verse of Isaiah 2:4 can come true.
:"He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.."
From near the begining of man's existence there have been battles... At each battle there was almost always one weapon present. It hung at the warrior's side ready to be drawn to defend one's homeland or as a weapon of assault by those who came to conquer.
A warrior's sword in many cases was the deciding factor whether he was to walk away a victor or be remembered as one who gave his life for what he believed in.
Remember them....

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Farm Fresh Corn

Thinking back to the fields of cotton and corn that my
Brothers and I passed through each May to start our \
summer escapades.

The corn ran 4 cents a ear if they picked it, 5 cents if we picked (correct me Brothers if I'm wrong on the price).  Usually started picking about this time of the year and this time in the morning...

 I got to go only on the last few of those excursions myself but the memory is still with me and will always be ...

As if it happened only yesterday...

But times, they are achanging and we have to flow with it... saw a special on sweet corn in the paper yesterday...

"Farm Fresg Corn..... 45 cents an ear or 2 for 80 cents"

What a deal...