Archive for the good old days

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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Obsessing Still

Obsessing Still

 

In my youth I was obsessed

The automobile and its awesome power

Owned me

Its only rival the music that

Moved me

Or… were they partners in the game 

Both have ceased to call to me

 

jbs house (2) quote

Breathing deep of the unseen rose

While gazing at silhouettes on smooth water

As daylight bows to night

 

In the void, seeking; sometimes finding

Blessed inner peace

Wanting nothing more

Hoping for nothing less

Obsessing on its promised caress

All else… scattering in the road

Behind me

 

Now and then, glancing up to the mirror

Watching… as the silent movie plays

Parts and pieces bouncing and tumbling

Into the muddy ditch of the past

Once filled with the raging waters

Of my life

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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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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