All Things Considered

In the mid-eighties, I spent a few blurry years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it was there I ran into a guy by the name of Rooster Myrick. I don’t recall how we met, or where, but it was a match made in… well, we made a good team. That is if you were looking to cut a wide swath through life, kickin’ butts, taking no names, and never using your real one.

Rooster was a big, good looking guy, and he’s even bigger now but his looks have gone a bit south on him. At the time we met he was a lean, mean 240 pounds stacked on a six-foot-six frame. There’s been debate over the years about his height, but the man is tall, ain’t no doubt about it.

We partied hard back in the day, and a few of those parties took place at Elephant Butte Reservoir, south of Albuquerque near the town of Truth or Consequences. For real, folks, that’s the name of the town.

It was on one of our trips to said lake, my propensity for incidents reared its ugly head, and Rooster (so he claims) was nearly a victim. Like I’ve said before, I never set out to do anyone harm, or cause trouble, but sometimes folks were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. With me.

I had a souped-up ’85 Chevy pickup at the time, and man that thing could haul a boat uphill. I won’t go into the boring details but suffice it to say it was a mean machine. Anyhow, one morning we decided to take a cruise around the lake and see what there was to see. I was driving, Rooster had shotgun, and another of our pals from ABQ was in the middle. Of course, we all had a beer in hand. I mean, after all, it was only a few hours ‘til noon, and it’s quite possible it was five o’clock somewhere. And besides, at the lake it didn’t matter what time it was.

pickup rideThere were some jeep trails out where we were and seeing as how the “truck” was four-wheel-drive, we decided to give one of those trails a whirl. Well, I decided. Kind of sudden-like, too. It was like, there was this dirt path going up a hill, and I said, “Hey! Let’s do some four-wheelin’, boys!”

Well, we shot up that little hill, and I never even asked Joe to hold my beer. Shoot. The truck had an automatic transmission, and any old fool can drive with one hand. I got to tell you though, the ride got pret-ty hairy, pret-ty quick. There were some sharp turns where we couldn’t see nothing but air out front of the truck, and I can’t even put to print some of the things Joe and Rooster was saying. Me, I was laughing like a crazy man, and hanging close to the side of the hill. Heck. We weren’t even going that fast! I couldn’t figure what they were so concerned about.

Then, quite sudden-like, the trail got real steep, and the tires lost traction. We began to slide backward down the narrow trail, and that when the screaming started. Darndest thing I ever heard! Took me a minute to realize it was coming from the fellas riding with me. I coulda swore a couple of ten-year old girls had somehow gotten into the pickup. Those two big ol’ boys were shrieking like someone had stole their beer coolers.

Well, anyhow, we somehow got situated and were able to get down the hill. Them boys were quiet for a while, but then started in calling me names and threatening bodily harm if I ever pulled another stunt like that. I just did some guffawing and grinning, thinking they’d get over it by beer-thirty (noon).

When we got to the bottom of the hill, a young fella was sitting there on his motorcycle, and he waved at us to stop. I pulled up beside him and asked what was up. He said, “Dude! Are you crazy, or what?” I give him a grin, and Rooster and Joe hollered, “Yes!”

I took a swig of flat beer—it gets like that when you shake it up too much, and the ride up that hill had done us some shaking for sure. “Whatchootalkinbout, Willis?” I said to the kid.

He shook his head in that way that, says, “Yep. Dudes plumb loco.” Then he said, “That’s a motorcycle trail you just tried to climb!”

Joe and Rooster about went nuts when they heard that. Called me things they’d left out before.

Me, I said, “Well… we did pretty good then. All things considered.”

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A Propensity For Incidents

ear tuck

Oh, rats!

From the age of six (maybe even earlier) to this day, I’ve had what I’ve deemed a “Propensity For Incidents”. I typically did not plan said incidents but rather, in many cases, I didn’t look before I leaped. I’ve chronicled many of them in short story form, and they can be read on this blog. I’ll list a few at the end of this piece. The most recent incident might possibly be a case of karma—if you believe in such a thing—but I’m going to go with APFI.

We recently bought a used house, and we’re repainting prior to moving in. We hired a painter to do all but the garage, and I’m still working on my phase of the project. We had several other things we wanted to do, and we turned to Tracey and Sean (daughter and SIL) for contractor recommendations. Sean grew up here, and Tracey has lived here since they got married twenty some years ago. Their advice has been spot-on!

The most recent request for advice was for a wood flooring contractor, and so I sent a text to Tracey. My typical texts to her regarding contractors were complete questions like, “Do you know a good plumber?” This time, however, my text was brief (I thought I was being hip you see) and it read, “Wood floors?” Her answer was, “??”. My response to that was a comment about blondes, and a complete sentence as to my need for a wood flooring contractor. She replied with a name and phone number, which, despite my use of smiley faces in the blonde comment, I perceived to be a terse response.

So! I went back to my garage painting, and APFI (or maybe it was karma) followed me. I grabbed a can of paint, shook it up, and popped the lid off. Then… I saw a squirrel. Not really, but, you see, another of my propensities is one which causes me to go from one task (or more) while in the middle of another. I call it multi-tasking, but Sherry calls it squirrel chasing.

After completing my squirrel chasing, I returned to my primary task—painting—but failed to remember an important detail; when I’d seen the squirrel, I’d set the lid “loosely” on top of the paint can. So, when I grabbed the can of paint and gave it a good shaking, paint went everywhere! But mostly… all over me. After a thorough cleanup job, I put the lid securely on the can of paint, put it away, and then went out to the patio, where I sat and watched squirrels play in the yard.

I should have let the painter do the garage too.

Here are some samples of my APFI:

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/22-holes-in-one-tire-3/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/22-holes-in-one-tire-4/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/go-get-the-drew-twins/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/go-get-the-drew-twins/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/tothleth-in-tekthath/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/way-over-the-line/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/it-was-suh-weet/

https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/eeeyeent-eenk/

 

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Priceless

The choice to be made is not whether to be sinful or not sinful. The choice is whether we will seek God, love and follow Him, or seek the pleasures of this world. Having sought both, I can tell you the world has one very needful thing missing in its repertoire of earthly offerings: peace. No matter how much wealth, power, and love the world might offer us, none will bring us the peace God can offer. It has been proven time and again that the more earthly possessions one has, the more one seems to want. Enough is an elusive thing.

God's Peace

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

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It’s A Furniture Thing

For years, my pal, Rooster, and I worked together and lived in the same area. During those twenty-plus years, we spent many hours debating the various topics of the day. Well, not so much debating as discussing in what was typically a humorous vein. We’d hash things out quite thoroughly, until at some point one or the other of us would say, “But you know what?” To which the other would always respond, with a knowing nod, “It doesn’t matter.”

And usually, it doesn’t. In the overall scheme of things, we (people in general) tend to get all riled up about things that usually… well… just don’t matter. Or, at best, if they do matter, there’s not a doggone thing we can do about them.

rv couchThe point of this non-mattering diatribe is this; I’ve changed my response from, “It doesn’t matter”, to, “It’s a furniture thing.” I did this after a recent conversation with Sherry. We were talking about our upcoming move to our new-to-us house, and at some point the topic of furniture came up. We discussed it for a bit, her telling me what she wanted, me agreeing some, disagreeing some, until I finally ended the conversation with this statement; “You know. I have an opinion about furniture, and I like furniture, but in the overall scheme of things, I don’t really care about furniture, so whatever you want is cool with me.” What I was saying was, furniture doesn’t matter to me.

So, since that conversation I’ve stopped saying, “It doesn’t matter, and I’ve replaced the statement with, “It’s a furniture thing.”

Now… just between you, me, and the post turtle, I don’t expect my little saying to catch on but, hey, Rooster likes it, the Duck likes it, and … it’s a furniture thing.

 

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A Fidget Spinner Samich!

pbjIt’s not anything like the Tide Pod thing, so don’t even go there, but I ate a fidget spinner samich for lunch today. Sort of. Actually, it was a grilled peanut butter and jam sandwich, the eating of which spun out of control. We were down to the bottom of the jar of peanut butter, you see. There was more than enough for the sandwich, but so little was left in the jar, I figured, why not and just put it all on the sandwich. I saw it as a challenge, and it was! You know how it is. You take a bite, and the jam and peanut butter squish out everywhere. So, what do you do? Well, me, I spin it around and take a bite where the most stuff is squishing out, then repeat the process. Sure, some fell onto my plate, but that just made me spin it faster, and by the time I got finished, I was quite calm and satisfied. I never put much stock in the fidget spinner craze, but now… I’m thinking they might be onto something.

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Peace Like a River

Why do we find it so difficult to love the Lord and pay attention to His commands? His commands are not hard to pay attention to, loving Him is certainly no chore, and the reward is great. Why then is it so difficult?

woman in riverGod offers to each of us

His unconditional love

And when we heed His commands

His abundant peace

Like a river flowing full

And steadily to the sea

Is ours

I suppose we could coin the phrase, “if it were easy, everyone could do it.” But it is easy. I can think of nothing easier than loving God, who loves us and chose us to be His. I believe everyone can do it, and the rewards are fantastic!

When we accept these gifts

His righteousness returns to us

Washing over us

In powerful and never-ending waves

As we wade

In the calm waters

Of His peace

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18

 Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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A Soft Knocking

A Soft Knocking” was originally a rather long short story, which I whittled down to just under 500 words for a contest a few years back. Every time I come across it, I can’t resist toying with it, and on one of those occasions I re-wrote it in poem form. It’s rather long for a poem but give it a read if you’ve got the time. I think you will find it quite entertaining.

A Soft Knocking

In my very bones I could feel the morning dampness

   My dark and dreary world having steeped in slow rain

      Throughout the long and silent night

writer at desk 

The lamp flickering on my desk

   cast a warm glow upon my work

      But did nothing to ease the chill in the room

 

A faint ringing in the distance

   A carriage bell

      Not something I often heard

         Rushed a chill through my veins

 

Then a woman’s scream sliced the cold morning air

 

I moved quickly to my window

   And with trembling hand eased the curtain aside

 

A coffin-like visage approached

   The light snap of a whip sounded

        The steed… paying whip no mind

            Continued at a slow trot then fought the bit with turn of head

                 When the driver pulled back on rein and brake sliding the coach to a stop

 

I turned away

   Knowing with sick dread the carriage had come for me

      Then… wishing not to see, yet knowing I must

         I turned back to the window

 

The driver stared forward

   Face hidden by shadow of brim

      The stallion looked over its shoulder

         Eyes wild and gleaming

            Snorting steam from black nostrils

As…

 

The door swung slowly wide

   And a slender leg clad in white silk stocking

      Appeared at the coach door then fell to the muddy road   

         A river of blood flowed from the severed limb

 

Again, I turned away

   An angry fist squeezing my heart

      And I knew with instant dread

         Never more…

            Would my pen scratch the page

 

I heard the “Yaw” of the driver

   A crack of the knotted whip

      The scream of the beaten steed piercing the damp air

         Like an ice pick

            Through a warm beating heart

And then…

   There came at my door…

      A soft knocking

 

My aged eyes watered as one icy tear trickled

   Slowly… down my rugged cheek

Then…

   Not knowing how I’d arrived there

      I stood looking at the great door

         My mind fighting to stay my hands

             As they moved toward the bolt

 

And … once again… there came…

   A soft knocking

 

Of its own accord

   The door swung slowly open

      And from behind me

         A small hand gently pushed

 

I tumbled into the deep blackness outside my castle door

   Light had fled my world

      Tumbling… tumbling…

         I floated through the darkness

            Lungs burning as I breathed

               The vile substance in which I flew

 

Suddenly…

   I knew with solemn certainty

      It was the taste

         The smell

               The feel…

                  Of ink

 

I knew, too…

   Who it was had come to fetch me

      ‘Twas all those of whom I had written

            In my years at the desk

               Those whose lives I had created

                  Then… taken

                      Oft in brutal fashion

                          In the dark stories I’d told

 

But the cruelest of my acts

   Was the shunning of the one in white silk stockings

      Who wanted naught from the world but my ungiven love

 For this sin

   I will forever hear

      As I tumble through my madness

         … a soft knocking

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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