Archive for Stories

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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Time

Cliff Patterson, the father of my childhood and lifelong friend, Barry Patterson passed away yesterday, after a well-spent 92+ years. I only saw Cliff a few times after I left Buckeye, Arizona when I was about 18, but he always held a special place in my heart. He teased me mercilessly from the time I was 10, until I got out of high school, but he did it in fun, and I always took it as such. He was my little league coach for a couple of years, and he taught me to throw a change-up. He’d signal me to throw it at those times he thought it would work, by giving me a “secret” sign. And when it worked, twisting the batter into a knot, as he swung wildly at the floating pitch, Cliff would split a big grin. That’s what I remember most, that beautiful grin. Rest in peace, Cliff Patterson. You made us laugh, you were loved, and we will forever carry you with us in our hearts.sunset (4) poem

 

 

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Live and Learn

Back in the mid-eighties, I was building a grocery store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and came across something on the plans that wasn’t right. So, I drove to the architect’s office and told him we had a problem. He smiled and said, “There are no problems, just situations that need solutions.” I smiled right back at him, and said, “Okay… we have a situation that needs a solution.” He said, “So what’s the solution.” I stared at him for a few seconds, looked down at the plans on the table and then told him what I thought should be done to correct the “situation”. He agreed, we did the necessary paperwork, and as I headed for the door to go back to the job, he stopped me and said, “When you have a situation, don’t bring it to me until you have a solution.”

That simple lesson served me well in my career but, it also helped me in almost every facet of my life. I learned not to focus on problems but rather to search for the solution. And then, if I needed help or confirmation, to seek out someone who could advise or approve my ideas. Oh, of course I plowed forward without help many of those times, and made a lot of mistakes, but those mistakes also taught me valuable lessons. In fact…

live and learn

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Blood On The Moon ~ the story

This is a short story and poem I wrote when I first started writing. It’s one of my personal favorites. Read it if you have time. I think you’ll find it very interesting.

Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still... and know that I am God"

001 Blood On the MoonBlood On the Moon was the first short story I wrote when I decided I wanted to try and write. This is the 2015 rewritten version (I hope it’s better than the original). It’s 2170 words long (5 single spaced pages), so print it and read it later if you want. I’ll even email it to you, if you can’t print it off the blog. Click the picture to enlarge and read the poem by the same title.

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The Tow-Head Gang

tow-head gang

A rare photo of the little known Tow-Head Gang in the early years. The gang was last seen looking out the back window of a red and white ’57 Ford Fairlane, as it sped west on a rural Texas Panhandle road. Rumor has it they settled in Buckeye, Arizona where they lived a quiet–though somewhat tumultuous–life before dispersing sometime in the late ’60s. You can read more about them in the book, “Just A Boy”, written by the surly, yet loveable, leader of the group, Charles. He’s the bad-looking hombre on the right.

CharlesLMashburn.com

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No Place Was Home

I discovered too late—it seems only moments ago—that there is a troubling downside to the wandering life I’ve led, where no place was truly home. A life that—in the end—leaves one feeling very much alone and truly homeless. For a tree cannot grow strong branches—branches being the friendships we develop in our lives—when it is constantly removing and leaving them behind. A tree, in fact, cannot be strong when it is constantly uprooted and asked to grow and flourish in a new place. Limbs die, and though they are replaced with new growth, the new ones seem never to be strong, easily broken, and in truth, receive not enough nurturing or care to ever survive. Which is of no consequence when the tree is surely to be moved again. Even the roots—the things that are family—grow weak from the constant transplanting. And so… the oft-moved tree is destined to be alone, supported and kept alive by the tap-root, which is self, and is enough to nourish existence, but in the end merely allows survival, not fruitful life.

neighbor's tree (2) quote

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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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