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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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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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Cholly Meets the Incredible Hulk

On my first construction job, I was one of a dozen or so laborers, and our foreman, Bethel Lee, was a giant of a man from Jamaica. He was at least six and a half feet tall and weighed probably four hundred pounds.

On my first day, several of us were eating lunch in one of the unfinished rooms—about ten guys sitting on the floor, backs to the wall. I was just to the right of the door when Big Bertha (some guy with a death wish must’ve given him the nickname) came into the room.

hulkHe casually surveyed the room, a hint of a smile on his face, and when his gaze fell on me it was like I looking up at a tall building. His smile vanished, and he said, “Cholly.” His voice was deep as the ocean, and his dark eyes twinkled with either merriment or murderous intent. “You knows where ah eats ma lunch?”

“No sir.” Thinking maybe I’d unknowingly taken his spot.

His eyes sparkled, his grin got so wide it seemed to fill the room, and he said, “Anywhere ah wonts to.”

For a few long seconds, the room was silent, then everyone—except me—burst into laughter.

I just looked up at Big Bertha with a weak smile and said, “Oh.”

I guess it was his way of welcoming the new guy.

 

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Ain’t I a Hoot!

 

IMG_20171016_150100797_HDR

This is yours truly, demonstrating how to properly attire one’s beverage of choice while on the links. On this day I’d chosen the lime green Rimz One koozie to keep my Shiner Bock nice and cool.

I have been known to be a bit of a smart aleck now and then. No, no, I understand how most of you will find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Every once in a great while, I slip from my mild-mannered, courteous ways, and say something inappropriate.

 

My golfing buddy Jay Bird has often wandered into the path of one of my salvos, but being a bit of a wise-guy his own-self, he usually walks away none the worse for wear. I got him good one day though.

We were playing a nice course out Kingsland way called The Legends. It’s one of those rolling, wide-open golf courses, where guys like us can usually get back to the clubhouse without hurting anyone or breaking any windows. Jay Bird does not like to play on those courses that have houses lining the fairways; freaks him out worse than a water hazard full of alligators.

So, we were in the middle of one of those wide, rolling fairways, and Jay Bird’s ball had come to rest on a slope. The ball was below his feet, and he was trying to figure out how to set up to hit it properly. He discussed the situation with himself—at length—and when he finally reached the conclusion of the self-seminar, he took a mighty swing and hit the ball about ten feet directly to the right of where he was standing.

He turned, threw out his hands—he said he didn’t mean to throw the club, but I gave him a seven for distance and a eight for form—and commenced to complaining as to how he never could remember how to set up for a shot when the ball was below his feet. As we drove over to get his club, I shrugged and said, “You shoulda asked me.”

“Oh,” he said, as he hopped out of the cart, picked up his club, and started walking back to his ball. It was on level ground this time, and he hit a decent shot that landed just short of the green.

A few holes later, he found himself with another shot, almost identical to the one he’d muffed before. He chose a club, walked over and surveyed the situation, then turned to me and said, “Okay, Mr. Palmer, how am I supposed to set up to hit this shot?”

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Beats me.”

One of his eyebrows shot up high on his forehead, and he said, “Well, you told me I should ask you!”

I smiled and said, “I didn’t say I would know.”

Ain’t I a hoot?

 

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The Cake Incident

When my boys were about seven and nine years old there occurred what I’ve dubbed “The Cake Incident”. Their mom, Evelyn had an uncanny ability (I know none of you moms out there had/have this) to tune the boys out, and zero in on what she was watching on TV. I was not blessed with the ability to tune them out, so I heard every word they said. I didn’t mind. Quite often, they were better entertainment than what was on television.

cake incidentSo, there we were, having a quiet evening at home, Mom relaxing on the couch, watching TV; me in my recliner, and the boys playing on the living room floor. Billy, the oldest, leaned over and asked little brother, Wes, “Hey, Wes, you want some cake?”

Wes nodded enthusiastically, and Billy looked over at Mom and says, “Hey, Mom, can we have some cake?”

Nothing.

So, the boys went back to playing, and about five minutes later, Billy leaned over to Wes and said, “Wes! You still want some cake, right?”

Wes is really into the idea of cake by then, and his nod is even more enthusiastic. Wes was a boy of few words, mind you, but when he decided to speak, he could blow your mind. (Still can.)

Billy looks at his mom, and a little louder this time, says, “Hey, Mom! Can we have some cake?”

Nothing. Zonesville.

So, they returned to their toys, and after a few more minutes had passed, Billy leaned over to Wes and says, “Okay, Wes, I’m gonna ask her one more time, then we’ll start tearin’ stuff up.” Wes got a wide-eyed look on his face, glanced over at his mom, then shrugged and gave a curt nod of approval.

I said, “Evelyn, you better get the boys some cake.”

She said, “Huh, what?”

The boys got some cake.

 

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Wows and Holy Cows

pink bugBack in the late seventies, I worked as a logger in the foothills of Mt. Rainier. The work was hard, and as a result, I was in the best shape of my life.

For a couple of those years my “ride” was a 1963 VW Bug, with little flowers painted all over the inside. The other loggers would just shake their heads sadly when I’d come “roaring into the parking lot each morning.

Out of necessity, I learned how to change out an engine on that VW bug. I drove the little car hard, and when the engine went kaput, somebody told me it was easy to take the old engine out and put another one in.

Briefly, here’s the procedure. There are four bolts holding the engine in place—and of course other smaller nuts & screws had to be removed to disengage various smaller parts. Once the bolts and screws were removed, you stood inside the engine compartment at the rear of the car, twisted the engine, pulled it out and dropped it on the floor of the garage. Without the engine, the back of the car was light as a feather, so the next step was to lift the car and roll it over the old motor and set it back down. It was a bit tricky, in that you had to straddle the engine as you walked the car forward. Next, you’d slide the old motor out of the way, slide the new on into place, and reverse the procedure to install the new engine. Piece-a-cake!

So anyhow, one Saturday morning, I was preparing to install an engine in the VW for the second time, and when I mention this to my son Billy, who was eight at the time, his eyes got wide, and he said, “Cool!”, then ran out the front door.

Later–I’d dropped the old engine, and was standing behind the car preparing to lift it up and over it–I crouched, gripped the bumper with both hands, and then a small voice behind me whispered, “Now… watch this!”

I turned to find Billy, his little brother, Wes, and four neighborhood boys standing in a row, bent forward, hands on their knees, waiting for the show Billy had obviously promised. Not one to disappoint my boys, I turned back to the chore at hand and to a chorus of reverent ooos, ahs, wows, and holy cows, I lifted the car up and rolled it over the engine.

When I turned around, there were six very impressed little boys standing there, eyes popping and mouths agape. I took a step toward them, did a weightlifter pose and growled fiercely. They about killed each other trying to get out of the garage.

I often wonder what happened to my little pink VW bug; probably a pile of rust somewhere up near the base of Mt. Rainier.

 

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