Archive for funny stuff

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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Nov. 10, 2018:

carole singersYesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items–bread, milk, etc.–and when I walked in, I heard them, and then saw them. Three young women—one with a ukulele, singing Christmas songs. They weren’t bad, but not that good either. Someone had obviously told them they sounded “just like” Lady Antebellum. To say the least it was irritating, so I quickened my step and hurried toward the other side of the store. They followed me. No, really.

So! l ducked down the bread aisle, where things went from bad to worse. I tried to grab a loaf of bread as I went and, of course, wound up with a “loaf” of something one molecule above rice cakes. Didn’t care, and only discovered after I got home that it was some kind of 98 grain (none of which were flour), gluten free, no sugar, no salt, no ANYTHING, organic “loaf?” What? If it’s not bread, don’t put it in the bread aisle!

They found me. I looked back as they were turning down the aisle, singing, “All I Want For Christmas is YOU”. They seemed to be shouting now, and their eyes were glowing. Smoke was coming from the ukulele strings! When I turned to flee, the aisle was completely blocked by carts, each of which had a little old lady behind it. They were all glaring at me like I’d yelled BINGO and was only playing with one card! I was trapped!

I must have blacked out.

As I stood in my kitchen, reading the ingredients list on the crushed loaf of whatever it was, wondering where it had come from, the doorbell went, doo-oon-guuh. I really need to fix that.

One of the policemen—there were four of them, two waiting at the curb, probably in case I tried to make a run for it—was very understanding—he had a great smile—and said no charges would be filed by the store if I’d go back and pay for the loaf. His partner said it would also probably be a good idea if after that I stopped at the music store and picked up a ukulele. He said the owner of the one I’d run over with my pickup—several times—would probably be willing to drop the assault charges if it was a premium model. He said the Santa hat she’d been wearing had saved her from serious injury.

I’m not gonna shop at that store again until after New Years.

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My Not-So-Patient Ways

Yep, I’ve pulled some stunts, and many were due to my rebellious and not-so-patient ways. Hey, I already knew everything. Such was the case when my grandpa taught me to climb poles.

I was nineteen and working for the local cable TV company. The job was cool, except for that big heavy ladder. It only took a few days for me to know I needed to learn how to climb poles, so I wouldn’t have to pack that ladder back and forth to the truck

One afternoon, I told Bunk (my grandpa) I needed to learn how to climb poles. We got his hooks and belt and headed out to the light pole by the storage shed. Bunk explained the basics, and after a few tries, I had it all figured out. I’d go up a few feet, then jump back down. It was easy! Bunk tried to get me to go a little higher, but I saw no need. “I got, it, Bunk,” I assured him.

“Now, wait a minute,” he said. “I need to show you how to get dow…“ I waved him off, took the belt and hooks off then sauntered toward my car with them. I was a lineman, now.

The next morning, I drove to my first install, put on the hooks, and up that pole I went. Once I was up there, I snapped the safety belt around the pole, leaned back and surveyed my kingdom. Man, this was awesome! I was awesome!

WichitaLineman.tif

I did the install, then as I was putting my tools in the pouches on my belt a sudden realization hit me; I didn’t have the slightest idea how to get down. My mind raced back to all the things Bunk had said, and I recalled those last words, “I need to show you how to get dow…”. Oh, guff! He’d been trying to get me to slow down, so he could tell me how to get down.

I was only up about twenty feet—it looked like ninety, and I think I stayed there—frozen in place—for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, resigned to the fact I was going to have to try and get down, I went for broke. I yanked my right hook out of the pole, my left knee bent allowing that hook to split out of its grip, and I was on my way to the ground. Then the belt caused me to slam into the pole, which at the time I thought was a good thing, and I wrapped my arms around the pole and hung on for dear life, which slowed my decent, but not much. I slid in jerky motions—fast, then slow, then fast again, to the ground. Did I mention there was a drainage ditch on the street side of the pole?

I hit the ground, tumbled sideways into said ditch, landing upside down with the belt twisted and holding me tight against the pole. My shirt was torn to shreds.

I stayed there for several minutes, hoping no one had seen me fall, then started wishing someone had seen me, and would come help me get out of the ditch. Finally, I managed to undo the safety strap, then slid to the bottom of the ditch. I finally got to my feet, knees shaking, and my face, chest and stomach literally on fire. I was scraped and scratched from my cheek to my waist and there must’ve been a hundred large, creosote splinters in me!

I got most of the splinters out, and somehow struggled through the rest of the day—I used the ladder—but by the time I got home, I was miserable. Bunk helped me get the rest of the splinters out, chuckling the entire time. I’m pretty sure he was laughing at me, not with me.

That weekend, we went out back again, and Bunk gave me a thorough lesson on how to climb poles. He also showed me how to get down after I’d gone up. I listened intently to every word he said.

 

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Just A Boy! It’s Here!

Just A Boy - Cover“JUST A BOY”—my new book—is now available! The paperback can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through the publisher, Outskirts Press. Now available on Amazon Kindle, too!

AMAZON

AMAZON – KINDLE

BARNES & NOBLE

OUTSKIRTSPRESS

Click on any of the four links above to purchase your copy!

THANK YOU!

 

 

 

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Many Years Later

boysMy new book, Just A Boy, will be coming out in a month or so, and I hope you’ll read it. It’s mostly about growing up in a small town during the 50s and 60s but it’s also about growing up in the dark shadow of an angry, confused man. The book is full of good stories, some of them funny, and some of them about me just being a kid, but I felt like the other stuff–the bad stuff–had to be touched on as well.

When I’m beginning a new book, my thoughts wander in a random and jumbled fashion (Don’t say it, Gary Williams) and then they start forming sentences, paragraphs, and pages. And usually, that’s when the book begins. While the first book was about a boy, the second will tell the tale of that boy becoming a man (Gary!). That said, this morning I woke with the following thought on my mind, and thought I’d share it with you. I’m quite sure the following paragraph will, in some form, appear in the second book:

I realized what had happened when I was a child was my dad made me fear him, which made me angry at him, which made me hate him, which caused me to become like him. And then, many years later, I realized all that had happened when I was a boy, then a boy becoming a man, had eventually helped make me a better me. I’m certainly not trying to say I’m a good man, mind you, but I will say this; I’m not afraid, I’m not angry, and I don’t hate.

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Soup in My Fly

I thought y’all might could use a little Monday morning giggle!

A Fly In My Soup

 

There’s a fly in my soup, I shouted 

A hush fell over the room                       

The big cook with one lazy eye                  

Stared straight at me…. I assumed

 

Slowly, he walked to my table

A pin dropping could not have been heard

Said, say it again ‘bout the bug, my friend

And it may be your very last words

 

Well baloney, I thought and then I said, what

To me you’ll not speak to like that

He gave a big grin, looked right at me again (I think)

Then the soup hit my lap with a splat

fly in soup

Laughter uproarious filled the room

I blushed and then leapt from my seat

Looked up at my huge assailant

And then hastily beat my retreat

 

Arrived at the house much disheveled

The wife said, oh me and oh my

Dear I must ask you this question

Did you know you’ve got soup in your fly?

 

Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn

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Speaking of Gary Williams

What? … Oh, I know we weren’t speaking of him, but I saw a post his sister, Karen, put on Facebook, and it made me want to share this with y’all again. He’s a fine fellow, and he just loves to poke fun at me about some of the adventures (incidents) I write about. I don’t mind; the old fart is getting along in years, and his memory isn’t that sharp anymore, so I let him prattle on. I know he doesn’t mean any harm, and when it comes to being quick witted, he’s pretty much a non-threat. But enough about that; let me tell you how me and ol’ Gare squared off for the tennis championship one fine spring day.

………………

minion tennis I was a junior, and Gary was a senior (again). He’d been on the tennis team all six years he was in high school, and because of the longevity of his career, he was the best player on the team. Of course, everything is relative, and you have to understand that nobody played tennis at our little high school in those days—except girls… and Gary. He was the only guy on our tennis team, and thus, as I said, the best we had.

We did, however, have to play tennis in PE class. It wasn’t something most of us enjoyed—except Gary—but it was only for a few weeks each year, and we tolerated it. Gary hated it, because most of us—even some of the freshmen—could beat him. He was, by the way, undefeated in conference play. The school refused to haul him to away games, and none of the other schools in our conference would bring one guy to our campus just to play Gary. But! He never lost!

It was pretty comical when tennis season would roll around in PE class. We all had to wear the basic PE uniform; blue shorts and a white T-shirt, but not Gary. No way! He showed up in his starched white shorts and dazzlingly bright white polo shirt, with this red scarf around his neck. He kind of reminded us of Snoopy when he does the Red Baron thing, except—thank goodness—Gary wore pants.

Gary somehow fell mysteriously ill during PE tennis season his senior year. Rumor was he had mono, but we all knew he couldn’t possibly have that. It was common knowledge you got it from kissing girls, and there was no way Gary could have gotten it. Just sayin.

Due to an unfortunate miscalculation on his part, Gary showed up for the last day of PE tennis. He tried to fake a fainting spell and get excused but Coach Ramsey just grinned and said he’d have to play. It was the last day, as I said—the day we had our tournament—and as you might guess, I wound up playing against Gary for the championship. It wasn’t like we had a big double elimination tournament or anything like that; we simply blasted the ball around the court until most everybody got tired and took a seat on the benches beside the court. Gary and I happened to be the last two on the court.

I walked up to the net—Gary stood back at the serving line, eyeing me warily as I approached—and when I arrived at the net, I said, “One game for the championship?”

Gary looked over at all the other guys and Coach; they were all grinning at him, and he turned red as a baboon’s butt in the summertime, then yelled at me in his high-pitched voice, “You’re on!” It was more of a whine than a yell, but I’m trying to give him some credit for at least accepting the challenge.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I beat him pretty soundly. Not that I was any good at the game—I wouldn’t admit it if I was, because it wasn’t cool to be good at tennis in those days—but, truth be known, Gary was simply too big and slow for the game. He likes to tease me about how slow I was back then, but I heard one of the baseball coaches laughing one time and saying how Gary was slower than a moose in a mud bog. It was sadly true.

So there you go; the story of how I beat the school tennis champ at his own game.

 

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