Archive for Some truth to it

What Did He Say!?!?

angelI don’t think anyone will argue when I say, Charlie ain’t no angel. I don’t have time to list all the bad things I’ve done, said, or thought. Take the “said” thing for instance. I’m not proud of some of the language I’ve used and let me assure you that though I use the past tense, it’s more recent than I want to admit. Like, oh, an hour ago. Yep. My daddy wasn’t no sailor, but when it comes to cussin’, I couldn’t have had a better instructor. Or worse, depending on how you look at it.

My most recent outburst occurred this morning (twice), when I messed up the jalapeno bread (twice). In retrospect, it was comical. Except for the water and jalapenos and cheese, I put the ingredients in the bread maker last night. Then, at 6:00 A.M., I added the cheese and jalapenos, and started the machine. It takes four hours to complete the cooking cycle; rest, mix, rise, mix, rise, mix, bake. But as the machine began to mix for the second time (two hours into the process), I noticed it didn’t sound like it normally does at that point. As I was opening the lid, I saw the water, still in the measuring cup, sitting beside the machine. I didn’t use all the words the old man taught me, but I think I got most of them in.

So! Off to the store I went to get another jalapeno! Got home, cleaned the machine, and put in another batch. Thirty minutes later, when the first mix began, something—AGAIN—didn’t sound right. I opened the lid, and it was apparent the mixing blade was nowhere to be found. I’m fairly sure I got all the words in that time. Dad woulda been proud! Or, not.

Finally found the mixing paddle in the trash with the first “dry” ingredients, and put it in, started the machine again, and I’m hoping the bread will turn out okay. We’ll know in about three hours. And if doen’t, I’ll put together another batch. Won’t be no more cussin… today.

Like I always say, “I’m gettin’ better.” But I sure ain’t no angel.

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Drifting

Maybe it’s a good thing—this new way we’re living. Actually, we’re not even sure it’s a new thing. Maybe, like my grandpa used to say, it’s the same thing only different. It’s kind of like riding a makeshift raft down a slow-moving river. Bumping into the shore now and then, sometimes spinning slowly, then finding the middle of the stream and moving on. We’re not sure where the stream will carry us to, but we trust it will be a good place. Our faith is strong—most of the time—but we admit it fades now and then. We explain away the dimming of our faith by saying it’s merely wondering. Wondering what lies ahead, not afraid of it really, just curious. That’s what we say—but only to ourselves; in our thoughts. But when the raft bumps hard on the shore or spins ‘round too many times, it’s hard not to grab onto the edge and even harder not to shout out. But…

lazy river quote

They were there when this journey began. Too many to count lined the shore, wishing us safe travels, telling us it would all be good—whatever it was—and wherever we landed. “We’ll pray!” they shouted as the current pulled us down the stream. And I’m sure they did. But they’re gone now. Or maybe it’s us. Maybe we’re the ones that left, and maybe we want it this way. We’ve always loved to travel, leaving the past and moving on to the next thing. And the next. Taking no one with us, but promising to stay in touch, which we seldom did.

Well… at least the current is slow. And… we don’t have to worry about daylight savings time.

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Me & Tater Salad

My first wife, Evelyn, brought it up in a Facebook comment yesterday, so I thought I might as well share it with y’all along with another related story.

It was Thanksgiving—I’m going to guess 1970—and we were living with my maternal grandparents, Ma and Pa, in Moab, Utah. Ma had invited her friend, Edith to Thanksgiving dinner, and Edith brought potato salad. Well, I didn’t care for potato salad, and thought nothing of not putting any on my plate. Edith, however, noticed it right away, and thinking she’d help me out, handed the bowl to me and said, “Charlie, you didn’t get any of my potato salad.”

I said, “Thanks, I don’t want any.”

“Oh,” she said, obviously hurt that I didn’t want any of her potato salad.

A few minutes later, she said, “Charlie. Are you sure you don’t want any of my potato salad?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “I don’t care for potato salad. But, thank you.”

I think this is where it became a challenge for her. “I think you’d like my potato salad. It’s very good”

She got a raised eyebrow from me with that comment. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw Pa grin at me, then quickly look back at his plate.

edith bunkerI looked across the table at Edith. The hurt expression was gone, and a glare had taken its place. This was not going to end well.

She put one hand on the bowl of potato salad and said, “You should at least taste my potato salad. It’s really good, and I just know you’ll like it.”

I put on my best smile, and said, “Lady! I don’t want any GUFFING potato salad! (I did not say guffing.)

Pa busted out laughing. Ma gasped, put her hand over her heart, then shot Pa a glare that could curdle gravy. Poor Edith was in shock. Evelyn, attempting to save the day, said, “I’ll have some! It’s good!” Me, I went back to eating my turkey and dressing.

I was wrong. It ended just fine. Not another word was said about that stupid potato salad. By the way, in later years, I developed a taste for potato salad. I love the stuff!

~~~~

Several years later, I was single, and visiting Pa, who had retired and moved back to Fritch, Texas. It was the early eighties, Ma had passed in the late seventies, and Bunk (Pa’s nickname) was baching it too. Evelyn had gotten tired of following me all over the country (I was –still am, I guess—a gypsy of sorts.) And so, we went our separate ways. Well, I went, she stayed put.

Any way Bunk and I went down to what was, I believe, the only bar in Fritch, where we played some pool and drank a few beers. It was late, maybe about eleven o’clock, when this drunk guy came busting in, looking like he wanted to fight, and not caring with who.

The guy was a couple inches taller than me and outweighed me by probably sixty-seventy pounds. He stood in the doorway, glaring as he looked around the room and, since the only other person in the place was the old guy behind the bar (Pa was in the men’s room), his glare landed on me. I smiled politely as the big guy lumbered toward me but kept a firm grip on my pool cue. You know, in case he didn’t want to be friends.

First thing he said was, “You know who I am?” He had a funny way of saying things, so I thought he was joking. I grinned at him.

I heard the men’s room door open, and Pa laughed out loud then said, “Tater Salad!” The big guy looked past me, his face lit up, and he shouted, “Bunk!”

I said, “Tater Salad?”

The big guy ignored me and as he strolled toward Bunk, said, “Just the man I want to talk to.”

“Tater Salad?” The guy still ignored me.

“Well,” Bunk said, shaking the big guy’s hand, “Buy me and my grandson a drink, and we’ll talk all you want.”

The guy glanced at me, grinned, then yelled over his shoulder, “Boo-Boo, Give us three Crown and Coke!”

“Don’t call me Boo-Boo, Tater Salad, or you’ll be drinking through a straw for ‘bout a month.”

They all laughed—Bunk, Tater Salad, and Boo-Boo. I said, “Tater Salad?”

We climbed aboard stools at the bar and Pa said, “What’s up, Ron?”

I said, “Ron?”

“I’m fixin’ to go into stand-up comedy, Bunk. And I got some ideas for routines, but I figure you must have some I can use, too. Can’t nobody tell a story like Bunk Stringer.”

So, Bunk told him some of his best stories, and Ron “Tater Salad” White soaked ‘em up.

When Bunk had about run out of material, I looked around him at “Ron” and said, “Tater Salad?”

ron whiteHe grinned a drunk-on-his-butt grin and half snarled, half laughed, “You just ain’t gonna let that go, are ya? Ah-right, here’s how it goes.”

He told me the story about being drunk and getting arrested for driving on a sidewalk in Fritch. The cops knew who he was so when they asked him his name, he—being the smart aleck he was—said, “They call me Tater Salad.” And, a legend was born.

When he finished, Bunk laughed and elbowed me. “Charlie, tell him your tater salad story!” And so, I did. Ron got a big kick out of it and said he might use it in one of his routines when he hit the big time. He never did. Use it that is. He hit the big time, big time. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

~~~~~~~

Please check out my remodeled website and my latest books:

Just A Boy ~ A childhood memoir

Just a Man ~ A book of encouragement

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A Promise Comes

For some reason this poem came to mind this morning. I wrote it in 2006 but it seems appropriate I should share it again today, the day after Labor Day.

I was taught at a very young age: Never give up. Never quit.

~~~~~~~~~

A Promise Comes

 

The sunburnt harvest moon slowly rises

on the porch

Picture courtesy of Google Images

In the east on this late day in fall

A gentle breeze moves the porch swing

In the distance a whippoorwill calls

 

The neighbor’s dog down the way barks

While lightning bugs blink in the yard

Serenity wraps ‘round us like a shawl

‘tis forgotten that life is so hard

 

From the children’s room, soft giggles

As they play with their simple toys

Their lives are filled with struggles

And yet, they hang on to their joy

 

In evening dim we dream of olden times

The way it used to be

To go and come and just walk about

In a place called land of the free

 

We rise each day and do our work

As to the Lord, and not as to man

Doing as we are told to do

Singing hymns, we work the land

 

We know not if our wait be long

But know alone, we won’t carry this load

And soon we’ll rejoice and praise our Lord

A promise comes down the dusty road

 

Copyright © 2006 C. Mashburn

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The Same Thing Only Different

Bubbles and Lies

Bubbles are much like lies 

They usually come in bunches

One leading to another

Obscuring the truth of who we are

 

But they soon drift away

Leaving the others to burst in time

And always sooner than we expect

We are exposed to the world

 

Some are big, some are small

Some reflect the light in beautiful ways

Fooling those who witness them

But only for a short while

 

Bubbles and lies cannot survive

Unless time can be stopped

Or the expelling of them does not

Or… they become our truth

 

What will we do

When the bubbles are all gone

When the world sees us clearly

As we stand naked and ashamed

 

Will we hang our heads

Or quickly dip into the jar

Wave our arms and like magic

Remain a figment of our delusion

bubble

 

Copyright © C. Mashburn 2011

Photo courtesy of Google Images

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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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Just a Normal Guy

I play golf a lot, and many times I play alone. Back in the day, most courses didn’t allow players to play alone. I stumbled upon such a course yesterday, and they put me with another group of three. Two of them I’d never seen before, but the other one was quite recognizable.

 

Matt

He told me I could take pictures, but asked me not to put them on Facebook. But… hey, he’ll never see it, ’cause he doesn’t know who I am!

“Hey, Matt,” I said, shaking hands with him. “What’re you doing in this neck of the woods?”

 

He grinned, then turned to put his clubs on the cart. “Got a couple cousins over here,” he said, nodding at the two loading their clubs on another cart. “Hey, Josh and Dan! Come over here and meet…” he looked at me for a name. “Charlie,” I said. “Come over here and meet, Charlie.” They came over, we all shook hands, then they went back to the cart. “They’re not very sociable,” he said. He grinned then sauntered over to the driver’s side of the cart. As I slid into the other side, I grinned back at him and said, “That’s okay. I ain’t either.” He grinned again and said, “Right, right, right.”

At the first tee, Josh and Dan were not happy about their respective hook and slice. Looking to cheer them up, I said, “Okay boys, I only have one rule; get back to the house without hurting anyone.” Josh and Dan looked at me like they thought I wasn’t funny, but Matt laughed and punched my shoulder. “Gonna be a good day,” he said.

And it was. We had a good time all day, listening to Dan and Josh grumble and cuss as we tried to help them find their golf balls. The trees and brush lining the fairways were thick, and those boys seemed to like to play anywhere but the fairway.

As we were heading from number seventeen green over to the last tee, Matt looked over and said, “Pops (that’s what he’d decided to call me), I enjoyed the heck outta playing golf with you today.” I said, “Well, the feeling is mutual, son. You’re an okay fella.”

As we climbed out of the cart at the eighteenth tee, he met me around back of the cart and said, “You treat me like a normal guy. I like that.”

“Well… Matt…” I said. “You are fairly normal.” I was grinning, but before I continued, I put on a serious face. “And besides, you’re not the most famous actor I’ve ever met.”

He looked at me with a hurt expression and said, “Right, right, right. And who was this famous actor you met before me?”

I pulled my driver from my bag and said, “Jimmy Caan.”

“Who?” He said, with a confused look on his face.

We both got a laugh out of that and were still chuckling as we watched Josh hook his drive into the number ten fairway. He blamed us, saying we’d been messing up his game all day with our constant chatter and giggling. That got us to laughing out loud, which didn’t help Dan’s slice a bit.

The glare he gave us after his ball vanished into the pines led me to believe we might not make it back to the house without somebody getting hurt.

 

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