Archive for the good old days

My First Video!

A cute little ad for “JUST A BOY“, put together by the publisher. I need to learn how to make one!

Available in paperback or e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Billy Staub

It was hotter’n blue blazes around this part of Texas this past summer; over a hundred degrees on a lot of days. It reminded me of this poem I wrote several years ago. It’s a true story–embellished a bit–and what happened on that long ago day had everything to do with the heat. Lord knows I wish I could say the whole thing happened in my imagination. If it hadn’t been so hot, and the logging crews hadn’t been shut down, Billy Staub might still be with us. But then again… probably not.

This Silence Was Not Golden

 

I was on the porch in the wood swing

It creaked and gently swayed

In a hot south wind

 

No workin’ in the woods on those kinda days

Fire danger and all

Didn’t matter to me

 

I was four beers in; two to go

And Hank Jr. was croonin

‘Bout bein’ whiskey bent

 

Billy Staub’s chainsaw was whinin’

Out back somewhere

An angry steady sound

 

Dale’s old hound dog came up and laid at my feet

I thought to shoo him

But let him be

 

My leg was itchin’ something fierce

No way to scratch it

Through the dang cast

 

Hank stopped singin’… a tree crashed

Then Billy’s chainsaw

Sputtered… and died

 

hound-dogThe old dog raised his head, listening

Somehow seeming to know

This silence was not golden

 

The breeze sighed then went still

And somehow I knew…

Billy was gone

 

Billy Staub was small in stature, but tough as nails, and had a heart as big as an old-growth fir tree. He had his faults, and one of them may have been partially responsible for his death, but he was a good man and a good friend.

I left the woods after a big tree fell on me, breaking my leg so badly it required two operations, and about two years in and out of casts. Billy was killed not long after my accident, when a big tree he was felling took an unexpected turn and landed on him. He was probably high when it happened, because he usually was. When the big tree hit my leg, I saw it coming and ran like crazy trying to get out of its way; I imagine when Billy saw the big tree coming at him, he probably just grinned and looked at it with those ever-droopy eyes of his and said, “Huh… would ya look at that…”

Copyright © C. Mashburn 2012

(Revised 11/07/2018)

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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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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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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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A Fathers Day Tribute

My grandfather, Luther “Bunk” Stringer, was a man whose life, in my opinion, was of historic note, and his story deserves to be told and remembered. He was by far the best man I ever knew and he was my hero. If I’m one day considered to be even half the man Bunk Stringer was, I, too, will have had one hell of a ride.

One Hell of a Ride

 

Come over here and sit for a spell

Lend an ear, I’ll give it a bend

I’ve been known to tell a tale or two

Of things that were, or might have been

 

With words I’ll paint a picture of days

When I was young and I was lean

Of days I sat tall in the saddle

Long ago when just a teen

 

I’ll tell of the time I met a girl

Who made me blush and act the fool

The most beautiful girl in Texas

Was no mistake they called her Jewel

 

I’ll tell you about the sunlit days

                              Out on the north Texas plains

Where I chased the steers that wandered

                                 ‘cross the hot mesquite filled range

 

I’ll tell of how I sat atop my mount

         On a hill as I pondered and dreamed

             Dreams of what lay beyond the hills

                   Far places I’d never been

 

I’ll tell you ‘bout some of those places

For a bit of traveling I have done

                                Oh, I wandered from ocean to ocean

                              In pursuit of that brighter sun

 

     But all roads lead me back here

                         Now I’ve lost the lust to roam

And so you find me here on this porch

       In Texas, my home sweet home

 

No, I don’t have much to show

                               For the eighty some years I’ve lived

For I lived hard and I loved hard

                            I gave this world all I had to give

 

But cry not when you look upon

             The few things I leave behind

My life was full of love and laughter

            And I had one hell of a ride

Copyright © 1996 C. Mashburn

 

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