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Showing posts from 2017

A real pain in the neck

I'm hesitant to write along these lines this week, but feel that many of my readers will relate. I like to write motivational, inspirational, and sometimes humorous or challenging columns that have a message or make us want to be a better person. Probably too often I pontificate while pointing out injustices or rude social behavior, but not this week.
A couple days ago, I drove my 85 year old mother to see her pain doctor. She has to go each month and sit anywhere from 1 to 3 hours in the waiting room to prove she is not abusing her pain drug, which now thanks to recent regulation changes, hydrocodone is being phased out. This highly effective drug has been the only reason she has lived a semi-normal life and she takes it on schedule.
What she gets now is a form of morphine that doesn't address her numerous joint pains, which she itemized with a chuckle. "My shoulder, neck, back, wrist... even my big toe!" Her doctor earlier had explained to her that she was concern…

Take me home country roads!

The Germans call it Fahrvergnügen. The condition starts for most of us at age 15 and if we are one of the chosen ones, it never goes away. It is the love of driving cars, trucks, and anything from a riding mower to a moped. You would think that in this country we would have our own word, but we don’t that I am aware of.

Some of us are like Jay Leno and own far more cars than the legal limit. I say that tongue firmly planted in my cheek, but don’t be surprised when the US government starts fooling with what you can and cannot drive. They will enact some law(s) to gradually remove our ability to physically operate automobiles in the manual mode. Count on it. It will be for the good of the people.

Others fall in love with one or more vehicles and shine them up and pour a good portion of their life savings into them to share at car shows like the one on Texas Avenue last week. By the way, my three favorite cars were the Buick Grand National owned by our own parable sage, Dandy Don Cunningh…

All the craziness going on these days

I know it's not just me who sees the craziness going on all around Baytown, Texas, the USA, and the world. Maybe it's always been this way and possibly because of the Internet, we are more aware. Wait, did I just claim we are more aware? Scratch that immediately. We have more information available and for those of us that actually ponder such things, what is happening is universal stupidity, outright criminal or righteous ignorance. People no longer take time to analyze what comes out of their mouth, or so it appears. Even our newly elected commander is guilty.

For instance, during the past election, I heard numerous people say, "I don't discuss politics with my friends." Now this statement is curious, because it implies they only discuss politics with enemies, or strangers. When I pointed this out to them, they stubbornly stuck to that nonsense in a self-righteous defense strategy that honestly did not hold water.
Back on crazy behavior, does it not appear th…

Pelly's Cap’n Rusty Bouchet

Holding onto the rotting wooden rail, I stare out across the Houston Ship Channel and watch the puffy carbon-coughing black plume bellow from the single smoke stack of the dilapidated shrimp boat. To say I don’t have my sea legs would be a gross exaggeration. I figured after an hour on the small boat I would be okay, but now I'm not so sure.
“What is the oddest thing you’ve ever pulled up in your nets, Mr. Bouchet?” He throws his bald head back and laughs and his gray scraggly beard resembles a worn out frayed mop with mystery items and coated in tobacco juice.
“After Ike, I pulled in a double wide fridge and that danged thing was so well sealed, I have it in my camp house right now. It was a major haul because it was fully stocked with ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beers. Hey, you want one?”
I declined as I don’t usually drink adult beverages before 7am, but that didn’t stop the skipper, who popped the top on one and consumed it in one lip-smacking draw. Disembarking on the solid p…

Is behaving badly, the new standard?

I signaled to exit onto North Main Street coming off SH-146 the other day and there was a car rapidly approaching from the flyover off of Spur 330. To be honest, I was exceeding the 60 mph speed limit by about 8 mph, or 68 miles per hour. The fellow zoomed up behind me so I couldn't see anything of his car except the roof, as I have a large spare tire on the back of my Jeep that obstructs my view when cars are close.
I was slowly decelerating down to about 60, as the ramp speed limit is 45 mph. The fellow swerved back and forth behind me trying to decide if he could pass me up and when I subtly countered his possibly dangerous maneuver, he finally shot around me and made an obscene hand gesture. I ignored him in a supreme act of self-control, as I was more curious about what exactly my offense was, than responding to his rude behavior.
He cut all the way to the right lane and accelerated to a stop behind another car wanting to turn right on North Main. I coasted in and stopped…

Aging ain't what it used to be

"When I get older losing my hair, many years from now. Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings bottle of wine?" This line from the pen of the Beatles was in the extreme far distance when I first heard it in 1967.I was 15 and the idea that I would someday be 64 was inconceivable (did I even know what that word meant?).
I remember what 64 year old people looked like in the 60's and they looked - well, they looked old.Old as in men wore baggy khaki pants and brown brogans and shuffled around on a cane coughing all the time like they had tuberculosis. Their shirts had stains on them and they yelled at kids and were generally useless for anything except taking up space on the front porch or giving kids Dutch rubs.
64 year old women were gray-headed, fat and wore baggy old flowery moo-moo's and had those thick nylons that went up to the knee and black clog-dancing shoes they stomped around in and yelled "Ehhh?" every time you tried to talk …

We are not the same old place anymore

I would like to say "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", but that would sound corny, even though it's an accurate quote from The Wizard of Oz. Our tri-city community is gone forever, being replaced by an ever-emerging agglomeration of new businesses, storage units, trailer parks, apartments, and even a few new houses. We've lost that loving feeling of a small community and driving west on I-10 from Beaumont, you enter the city of Baytown and don't stop seeing what is essentially Houston until you pop out on the other side of Katy, 60 miles later.
We are being swallowed up by the expansion of Houston, as the metropolis has ran out of room north, west, and south. Mayor DonCarlos (who I have voted for at least 6 times) told us that we should plan for a quarter of a million people over the next five years or so. If you remember, I predicted a growth of 200,000 a few years ago and a couple of the local righteous curmudgeons basically called me …

That one moment you never forget

I love the movie "Hitch" and I've watched it probably too many times.I love the message that we should live life to the fullest. Sure, its a cliché we've all heard in twenty variations, but that doesn't mean we understand or get it. Take time to smell the roses.Most of us know that one and we still don't do it, because we don't comprehend how incredible and fabulous living like this can be.

I listened to my bride tell me something the other day and I don't think it was anything earth shaking, but I looked at her face and how animated she was and I stopped her and told her how much I love her. Yea, I was right where I wanted to be. I had a deep understanding of just how important she is to me and how fortunate I am to have her in my life.
Years ago, a few Airmen and I were camping in the mountains of Montana. There was a lone bald peak not too far from our tents and I told them I was going to climb it. "Why?" they all echoed. "I want …

You only get what you give

For some time now, it has been on my mind to not only be more productive, but to make a mark on those I come in contact with. Yea, I know what you're thinking. You think I want to put a knot on the head of all those people who need to go back to driving school, right? Yes and no. Just yesterday if seemed like every looney with a car was on the road and my bride and I had made an emergency trip to the gym to pick up cake Rania Ghani had left for us in the refrigerator and we forgot about it.
We hopped in my Jeep and made the three mile drive over and back and I swear we witnessed at least ten acts of aggravated ignorant driving - but that's not what I want to discuss with you today. As much satisfaction as I get from bumping my gums and pounding the steering wheel of my 4X4, it's time to make some corrections. Seriously with all that hot air, all I'm doing is amping up my blood pressure.
I asked this question to 20 of my BFF's (best friends forever) and this is the…

What is more fun than people?

My friend Melvin Roark invited me to meet a most interesting man the other day.His name is Lowell Herrington and he’s 97 years young this past Valentine’s Day. Afterward he told Melvin that I was his birthday present. I got a good laugh out of that and replied that he must like cheap dates.
Lowell is a wealth of information about Baytown, as he moved to Pelly in 1929, if I remember correctly. For those readers who don’t know, Pelly, Goose Creek, and Baytown consolidated in 1948, as the city of Baytown. The old city hall of Pelly still stands on West Main Street and the old Goose Creek jail is north of there on North Main.
He talked about Hog Island and how one fellow would swim out into the ship channel and stay out there, only coming in when a ship came by, There was a huge pavilion on Evergreen Road that I never heard of that was very active. He told me how much everyone walked back during the Depression and how scarce food was, except for the veggies everyone grew.
He remembers R…

Muscles, Yard Work, and Honey-Do’s

We are a couple weeks into the new year and things are really shaping up. The trees are budding out; grass is beginning to grow, and my bride is itching for me to do massive amounts of yard work on our half acre of heavily landscaped homestead. Never mind that she’s a certified Texas Master Gardener – this is man’s work honey!
I used to go out and do yard work for six straight hours and it was just sweat, not aches and pains. Now I sweat at the gym for hours each day and it appears my muscles are only good for the gym! Yard work is hard I tell you! Heckfire, I can hardly open the plastic bag inside a box of Wheaties… I mean Cheerios. We all know what will happen to you if you eat Wheaties every day.
Try opening the lid on a Power-Ade or Gator-Ade bottle with out a Stillson wrench!Did I just call a pipe wrench a Stillson wrench? Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe it’s just because I am getting old! My daughter Melody is a hair stylist at the Rat’s Nest and cuts my hair. The other day she c…