Archive for Stories

Back in the Day

There was a time we’d fix things when they broke instead of just throwing them out and getting a new one. It’s sad it’s come to this. And, even sadder still, it’s too often true with love. Back in the day, “Until death do us part” meant something.

Back in the Day

 

In the old days

When things were broken

You didn’t throw them away

You fixed them

 

Your sock had a hole in it

You darned it

Darned if I know why

They called it darning

 

When a sock got too thin

Or the holes were too big

You used it as a rag

To polish the old furniture

 

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Grandpa ~ Pa to the family ~ Luther “Bunk” Stringer

I remember grandpa and grandma

It seemed like they fought a lot

Sometimes nothing more than

Grandma’s steely stare

 

Grandpa bent over the sink

Washing his hands

Seeing her anger over his shoulder

Reflecting in the kitchen window

 

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Grandma ~ Ma to the family ~ Jewel Stringer

Next thing you know, they’re in their chairs

Side by side, talking about the day

Making up, but not saying so

Just loving each other quietly… easily

 

Back in the day

Things and love got holes in them

You darned them, patched them

Glued them back together

Throwing them away…

never crossed your mind

 

Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn

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When We Were Boys

When we were little boys , my cousin Eddy Madden and I would imitate our TV heroes. Sadly, my fellow hero passed away five years ago after a long battle with cancer. Ed loved God, his country and his friends, but most of all he loved his family. This country is now missing another hero and this old gunslinger misses him dearly. I republish the following in his honor, because I know he felt the same.

We Used to Have Heroes  

We used to have heroes; they rode horses, wore white hats, fought for what they believed was right, looked out for their neighbors, and ran the bad guys out of town. I wanted to be like them.

a-lone-rangerWhen I was six, I was the Lone Ranger, and at the same time Superman; ever ready to stand against anyone or anything that dared to come against truth, justice, and the American way. When I was eight, I was Paladin–Have Gun Will Travel; a black hat this time, and more rugged, but a hero still, who righted wrongs and would go anywhere to correct injustice and defend the defenseless. When I was ten, I was John Wayne. I learned to walk like him, tried to make my voice deep like his, and hoped I’d grow to be tall, broad shouldered and brave like “The Duke”. But mostly, I wanted to be a good man, a superb man, a combination of all of those heroes who cared little for themselves, but lived for what they could do for others.

 Yes, it was just television and all our heroes were make-believe, but they made us believe and they taught us about right and wrong, and so many other things. But… where have all the heroes gone? Who do we turn to now?  What is truth, or justice? And, what is the American way?  Our heroes stood proud and tall, hands on their hips, ready to fight for a way of life and a country they loved, even though that country was flawed, even then, in so many ways. 

I love my country. But it is a love like one has for a dying loved one, and I watch her now, slumbering in drugged apathy, immorality, indecency, and corruption. I hear the blustering of our confused and corrupted government, the noises they make sounding much like the death rattle of cancer-ridden lungs, and my heart aches, as I realize even should she survive, a mere shadowy skeleton of what she once was is all that will remain.  

And so, I think back on those days of yesteryear–days when this country stood strong and proud–and watch as she slowly succumbs to darkness with no heroes to ride to her rescue, and I silently weep.

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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And There They Were

I’d left the door open, and they’d invited themselves in. A hoard of them. Enough to make a village if allowed to stay. But, I thought, it will only encourage more, and soon there’d be no room for the car. So, I grabbed my trusty blower and shooed them out into the cloudy day. I could barely hear them over the blower, but it was apparent they thought I’d invented a new game, and with each sweep of the blower they chittered laughter and raced around to re-enter their new-found home. I found it un-amusing and doubled back to chase them again. Eventually, I won the battle. Or so I thought.

leaves in the garageAs soon as I shut down the blower, I heard a tittering behind me. I whipped around, and there they were, all in a row. I swear they we’re stifling more laughter and were being perfectly still, perhaps thinking I wouldn’t see them there. It was like looking at a group of children, squeezing their eyes shut tight. Smiling… thinking their closed eyes made them invisible. I couldn’t help it; I laughed out loud and then watched them titter and skitter beneath the car. I shut the garage door and let them stay.

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Love Is All We Need

minion guitarSongs have always moved me; some in a positive way, others just the opposite. Lines from songs have struck me as genius, some as profound, and some as simple truth. Interestingly, it took years for the truth of those lines to truly mean anything to me, and I too often wish I’d seen the wisdom in the words before I reached this age of… maturity. Yes, I admit, I wish I’d known then what I know now. I should have listened to the music.

And now, as I inch slowly toward the end, and the beginning is so far behind me, I can no longer recall the roads I traveled, I wonder how life would’ve been if I’d lived without fear. We all do it. We scratch and claw our way to what we’re told is success, which translates to security, and then cling to it as if it can keep us safe from all harm, only to realize the light we obeyed for most of our years was the one in the middle; the yellow one. Oh sure, we often ignored and sped through it, telling ourselves if we stopped the guy behind us my plow into us. And so, we lived, caution being another word for fear. Green being just as frightening, and the red one to be avoided at all cost, because slowing down was bad enough, but stopping meant you’d given up all control, allowing something, someone, to take control.

But… what if we’d lived like we were dying? Would the knowledge our time was limited have caused us to throw caution to the wind? Would yellow have been meaningless, and red nothing more than a dare? How fast and how far would we have gone? Maybe not far. But we would have lived like there was no tomorrow. Or… like there was, and it counted. Counted, because it would give us more time to love, which, I’ve realized, perhaps too late, is what living is all about. Love is indeed, all we need.

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Don’t Buy That House!

Yard 9-2019I’d just finished the yard—which is looking pretty good, if I don’t say so myself—and was sitting in a lawn chair cooling off, when I noticed a guy looking at the house behind ours. He was about my age and looked to be very interested in the house. He must’ve walked around it five or six times. As he finally seemed to be finished and started toward his pickup, I went over to the fence and said howdy, then asked him if he was looking to buy the house or paint it. He caught my sarcasm and chuckled, then said, “Buy it. The realtor hasn’t shown up yet. She’s late. You know anything about the house?” I said, “No, but I do know the nearest neighbor’s kinda mean and can be pretty difficult sometimes.” He glanced around then asked, “Which one?” I threw a thumb over my shoulder at my house. He grinned, frowned, grinned, frowned, then looked at me like we might be fixin to fight. I laughed, put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry ‘bout it though. Her husband’s a real nice guy.”

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Who’d A Thunk It?

IMG_20171016_150100797_HDRDay number 25,202 started like most of the last 1000 or so; about three cups of coffee and some sweet cakes—always have to have something sweet with my coffee—been doing that every morning for about 35 or so years. That said, I then read our morning devotional, and Sherry and I talked about God and our many blessings for a bit. We’ve been doing that for almost 24 years now. After that, I did a four-minute plank, then Mom called and we talked about God, which is mostly what we talk about in our weekly chats. And then, I put on my shoes and was about to walk out the door and take a quick five-mile walk, when son, Bill called. We talked for a good while—we always do—but I had to smile after we hung up. I told Sherry I knew it was my birthday, because Bill let me talk quite a bit. We laughed, because she knows when Bill calls, he usually does most of the talking. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I love to listen to him and get the low down on what him and his boys are up to. When Trevor and Nathan were playing football in high school, Bill would call on Saturday or Sunday and literally give me a play by play of Friday night’s game. Being so far away was hard—never getting to see the boys play ball—but Bill’s account of the games took away some of the pain. So, anyway, after we talked, I went for that five-mile walk, then came back and fixed me and Sherry a PB&J on some of my grilled homemade jalapeno bread. (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.) Now—it’s straight up noon—I’m going to run to the store, then come back and mow & trim the yard. Probably take it easy the rest of the day, then go out for a celebratory dinner this evening. Early evening, of course. I mean, after all, I’m 25,202.5 days old, ya know. Who’d a thunk I’d last this long?

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No Tall Trees For Me!

A tornado tore through Longview, TX on May 8, 2019, doing an incredible amount of damage. I’m guessing the number of downed trees was in the thousands, many homes and autos were damaged, and some residents were without power for two weeks. We lost no trees–we don’t have any large ones in our yard–but we were without power for six days. However, damage was severe all around us. Six weeks later, the tree trimming and removal crews, and city crews, and the residents, have almost completed the cleanup, and now it seems some homeowners are taking steps to see that they don’t suffer damage should another storm come through. I’ve seen several within a few blocks of us having large trees removed from their yards—most of them are tall pines. Only thing is, some of there nearby neighbors aren’t doing the same.

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And, by the way, when we were shopping for a house in Longview, tall pine trees were on the “absolutely not” list. And that included the houses around the ones we were interested in buying. We don’t needs no tall trees!

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