Brother Gobel and Lost Love

Nutsrok

roseJust days after Daddy’s death, Brother Gobel, a Pentecostal preacher, paid a condolence call to Mother.  A Bantam Rooster of a man, he was bow-legged, bald and not much taller than she,  a stark contrast to the tall, handsome husband she was still mourning.  He drank coffee, prayed with her, as ministers on visits normally do, and took his leave.  Thinking no more of it, Mother was shocked to get a letter from him a few days later.  Even more startling, was the fact that it included an epic poem of love telling of his devotion and hopes for their future together,  followed up with a marriage proposal, and some appropriate Biblical quotations about the role of wives, remarking that he’d always admired what a dutiful wife she had been, waiting on Daddy hand and foot.  Wisely, she pitched the letter in the trash.  Unwisely, she told me about it.  One of my great…

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Y’all got a Snake in Y’all’s Tree

It’s not everyday one hears a dynamic statement like this! Melvin was the ex-husband of Mother’s old friend, Maggie. A good man, he’d gone just a bit “off the rails” and Maggie, had reluctantly left him as a result of his increasingly fantical religious leanings. Mother and Daddy had long been faithful congregants of their church, only missing services if unable to attend. Melvin showed up to visit one day, not long after Daddy died. Mother wasn’t particularly anxious to visit with him but had no concerns about inviting him in for coffee, since the families had been friends for more than twenty years. She served him coffee, dreading what might be on his mind. She was wearing a faded jeans and a cotton shirt with the top button undone. Speaking pleansantly, he asked, “Would you mind buttoning your shirt and rolling down your sleeves?” She did as he asked, as though she’d been caught flaunting herself.

Melvin unfolded a hinged message board. Before starting his talk, he made another request. “Would you please uncross your legs?” She did. Back to the talk; on one side of the board was a crudely painted train, running off the rails in a mountain pass, on the other, a plane ascending toward a cross in the heavens. Melvin explained to Mother, that if she didn’t follow Christ, like the train, she was “off the rails” and headed for hell.

Without thinking she recrossed her legs. He caught her. “Uh! Uh! Uh!” Shamed, she uncrossed them. He continued. “If she followed Christ, she’d do like the plane and “go to Jesus.” She was anxious for this creepy talk to be over and have him on his way. He turned to stare out her front door, speaking in a monotone. “Did y’all know y’all had a snake in y’all’s tree?”

The hair stood up on the back of her neck!

He walked directly to the gun cabinet where Daddy’s loaded guns still stood, took one out, walked to the front door, shot the snake, returned the gun the its slot, and returned to his seat to finish Mother’s religious instruction.

She got her purse, told Melvin she had some business to attend to, instructing him to lock the door on his way out. He never visited again, his duty done.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Nutsrok

imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with.

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Goats Pop the Top

Nutsrok

imageThe visiting preacher came home with us for Sunday dinner. He had a just gotten a new car and spent most of Sunday dinner talking about it. His wife had a bad heart and lay down for a nap after lunch. He whispered “She could go anytime.” This did nothing to lighten the mood. It was clear the new car was the only bright spot in his life. It would look nice at her funeral. They were from out of town so we were stuck with them until time for the evening service. The afternoon looked long and hopeless. The kids escaped outdoors as soon as possible. Our house was on the edge of the farm, sitting inside a larger fenced area where Daddy raised hay and grazed cattle, horses, goats.  The driveway was several hundred yards long and fenced separately, enclosing several pecan and fruit trees, and space for…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 6

Marzell was back in ten minutes.  “I don’t guess I can go.  Mom said we didn’t move the fishing poles and tackle box.

“That’s okay,” Charley reassured her.  “We’ve got plenty.  Sometimes we all go.  If Ginny catches us, she’ll have to tag along, so we’ll take an extra for her.  You can dig a few worms while I fetch the gear.  Don’t run off squealing.”

“I’ll be fine.  I eat worms for breakfast!”  Marzell quipped.

Charley ran in just long enough to get some pants on  and yell to Cora.  “Cora,  I’m going fishing.  Tell Ginny to come on down if she wants to.”

“Okay, but don’t be late for supper.  Here’s a couple of apples to hold you over.”

“Better make it three, Cora.  A friend is with me.” Charley told her.  Cora smiled to herself, glad to know Charley had a companion.  It had been a long time.  Ginny burst in the back door, banging her books on the kitchen table.  “Ginny, I ‘m going fishing.  Come on down to the creek if you want to.”

“Okay!” Ginny answered as she grabbed a couple of cookies.

The girls dropped their lines off a five foot embankment into to sandy-bottomed creek.  Small sunfish were tempted by the worms dangling before them, but were too small to get the bait n their mouths.  Occasionally, a nice white perch took interest and was added to the stringer.  Eventually, seven white perch and a catfish hung in the cool water.  “I’d better get home for supper,” Marzell announced, starting to get things together.

“Can you stay for supper?” Charley asked.  “Cora always cooks my fish for me.”

“I’ll have to ask Mother.” Marzell replied.

As soon as they got back to Charley’s, Charley told Cora they had fish to cook.  “I thought you might.” Cora laughed.  I’m just about to put some chicken on to fry.  Bring me them  fish as soon as they cleaned and I’ll fry them up for you.  Marzell, call your mama and ask if it’s okay for you to stay to supper.”

Cora set an extra place for Marzell and set a sizzling platter of fried chicken and fish In front of Charles and the girls.  “Dr. Charles, you can thank the girls for this nice mess of fish.  Charley, you know catfish is my favorite, so I am taking that one home for my supper.  Next time, you’d better catch two if you want one.  You girls don’t forget to clear away and I’ll do the dishes in the morning.”

Charles was delighted Charley had a guest, but was careful not to make much of it.  “I thank you girls for the fish.  I could each fish every night.  Maybe you’d better go every day.”

“I’d a heap rather fish very day than go to school,” Charley answered.

“Me, too!” said Marzell.  “School can be a pain.”

 

 

Joke of the Day

Nutsrok

Why are you yelling that?

A contractor was speaking with a woman about her job.

In the first room, she said she would like a pale blue.

The contractor wrote this down and went to the window, opened it, and yelled out “green side up!”

In the second room, she told him she would like it painted in a soft yellow.

He wrote this on his pad, walked to the window, opened it, and yelled “green side up!”

The lady was somewhat curious, but she said nothing.

In the third room, she said she would like it painted a warm rose color.

He wrote this down, walked to the window, opened it and yelled “green side up!”

The lady then asked him, “Why do you keep yelling ‘green side up’?”

“I’m sorry,” came the reply. “But I have a crew of blondes laying sod across the street.

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Joke of the Day

Nutsrok

Two blondes were walking through the woods when they saw some tracks.  The first said,”These look like deer tracks,”and the other one said , ” No,they look like moose tracks”. They argued until the train hit them.

A blond boarded a plane to Chicago. She was seated in the general passenger section. Once the airplane was in the air, she got up and went into first class and took a seat. The stewardess told her that unless she produced a first class ticket she had to return to the other section. The blonde refused and said I am going to Chicago and I am staying here. Other stewardesses tried everything to get her to move, but she refused and kept saying she was going to Chicago and she was staying where she was. Finally, the stewardess told the Captain about the situation. The co-pilot offered to go in and…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 5

Things eased up a bit for Charley over the next couple of years, once she looked around and noticed she wasn’t the only kid excluded from the popular group.  After math one day, she saw Marzell Anderson  hurry out of class just ahead of her.  The poor girl was unaware the back of her skirt was blood-spotted, a nightmare Charley had always dreaded.  Charley closed the gap between them, and whispered as she  tapped her shoulder.  “Stay in front of me and go to the gym dressing room..  Your skirt is spotted.”  Marzell got a pad from the gym teacher who checked her out, changed into her gym clothes, and went home, her dignity intact

Charley dreaded lunch.  She always avoided the line making, her way to a table far from the giggling groups of cute girls and athletes with the lunch Cora made her.  Her nose was buried in a book, when she was surprised to hear Marzell’s low voice.  “I brought you something.  You saved my life yesterday.”  Marzell sat, opened her lunch bag, and pushed a waxed paper wrapped fried pie across to Charley.  “I never have anybody to sit with.  Is it okay if I sit with you?”

“Sure,” Charley answered, looking at the lunch Marzell pulled from her bag.  “I’ll take half the pie.  You eat the rest.”  With that, she pulled her Swiss Army knife from her skirt pocket and sliced it.

“Wow!  You carry a pocket knife.  I never saw a girl carry a pocket knife.  That’s a pretty good idea.  I might try it.”  Marzell was obviously impressed.  “I’ve never seen a knife like that.  Can I see it?”  She examined every feature as Charley explained their function.

“My dad gave it me last Christmas.  I use it all the time, fixing my bike, cutting fishing line, stuff like that.  I don’t know how I got by without it.  Best present I ever got, except for my bike, of course.” Charley was surprised to have anyone interested in what she had to say.

“You fish?  Where?  I used to fish all the time before We moved, but haven’t found a place  here.  Can I go with you sometime?”   Charley had never met another girl who fished.

“I’m going after school today.  You can tag along if you want, but I’m not baiting your hook or taking your fish off for you.”  Charley replied, expecting the girl to lose interest.

“And I’m not doing  yours, either.  I told you I used to fish all the time.”  They both got a chuckle out of that.

“I have to run home and let Mama know I’m going.” Marzell told her.  ” I only live a block away.  Do you want to walk with me?”

Charley hadn’t expected this.  “Sure, it’s on my way.  Meet you out front after school.”

“We have last class together.  I’ll just scratch up with you there.  Don’t you ever look up?” Marzell asked.

“Not really,” answered Charley.  ” I like to keep to myself.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Precipice of PTSD…

Please read and reach out!

Combat Medic

Most people don’t understand the change that happens within a soldier that just gets back from war. Everyone comes back changed, whether they’d like to admit it or not, some worse than others.

In my case, I was the worst.

Not a day has gone by in these past 13 years that I haven’t thought about Iraq and the messed-up things I saw and did there. I have only recently started moving on with my life with the intent to show America what it’s like to be on the battle front, fighting for our country and our lives only to come home to a never ending battle.

This scene from the first chapter of my book Combat Medic takes place at the precipice of my Post-Traumatic stress disorder, the worst moment of my life.

Slamming the door, I locked it and rested my head against the wood frame, trying to regain my thoughts.

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