Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bloggers for Peace

I'd much rather be for something than against something. Being against anything just takes too much energy that could just as easily be used to further a good cause or attract something that I really want in my life. I will go to peace rallies but not to antiwar protests. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference between the two. I will leave if peace making becomes war protesting.

I followed a link on Taexalia's blog to this site: I like the idea of blogging for peace. I also like the idea of a million of almost anything.
If I could add a soundtrack to this post it would be David LaMotte's Peter(What I Said). Follow the link. It is near the bottom of the page.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Texas Plates

1963 - The Beatles released Please, Please Me in the US. George Wallace became governor of Alabama. Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash along with Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. The first James Bond movies were released. One day day late in November, I was standing at the chalk board in my 4th grade classroom doing math problems. There was a knock at the door. The teacher stepped out. She came back in a few seconds later, visibly shaken. “President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas,” she said. We all sat down and put our heads on our desks while we waited for more news. At that time, we were told that he was still alive.

1964- Ford introduced the Mustang. Civil rights workers were killed in Mississippi. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. The New York World’s Fair was in full swing.

My father decided that we had to see the World’s Fair. We loaded up all the camping equipment that would fit in a ’63 Chevy….tent, army surplus cots, sleeping gear, the Coleman stove, and of course, clothes that we would look nice in. We stayed in campgrounds from Texas to Washington, D.C. and then on up to New York. There was nothing unusual about this. We took such trips almost every summer. We usually pulled into a state or national park, paid a dollar or a dollar and a half, and started unloading. My dad, brother and I would set up the tent while Mom got out the cooking gear and started dinner. My brother and I would set up the cots and and put all the beds together while dinner was being prepared. After dinner, we would roam around the campground in search of any other kids in our age group. We always had a good time talking with them and asking each other questions about life in each other’s home states. It was easy to tell which state each family was from . You just looked at the liscense plates on their car. People had funny ideas about Texas. It took some talking to convince them that we did not have oil wells in our backyard. We would try to explain cotton farming to them but it was seldom that they really got what we were talking about, especially since we had shattered their ideas about oil wells, cattle, six guns, etc.

1964 was a different experience. Several times people looked at our Texas plates and turned up their noses at us. One kid walked up to us and said, “Texas is the murder capital of the world.” People seemed to blame us somehow that Kennedy was killed in Dallas and that Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald on national TV.

In D.C. we saw all the monuments and the Smithsonian Museum. We stood in line in Arlington Memorial Cemetary to pass by JFK’s grave. A large black woman a few feet in front of us began screaming and fell to her knees when she saw the flame. Two marines lifted her off her feet and carried her away. One of the marines was black. Between gritted teeth uttered, “ We must maintain our dignity.” He was visibly ticked off that a person of his race was making such a scene.

We continued on to New York. The exhibits at the fair could fill several posts. We saw mock ups of the equipment used by the astronouts who landed on the moon five years later. We saw the original “It’s a small world” exhibit. The GE theater, the Chevrolet show. It was all amazing. All the while, our Texas plates got us yelled at, sometimes by people mad at Texas and sometimes by homesick Texas expatriats.

Fast forward to 2000. I left Texas to live in Florida for a year. I did not change over to Florida plates on my truck. Evidently there is still a certain mystic about Texas. Living here, we don’t really think about it. Guys went nuts over blond hair and Texas plates in Florida. Several times, I was followed around Fort Lauderdale and had to take evasive action by pulling behind a shopping center and waiting five or ten minutes for some dude to give up and leave the area. Most of the time, it was some guy at least ten years younger than me. I think they would have been surprised to find out they had been chasing after a woman in her mid-forties. I never let them get close enough to find that out.

From Florida, we moved to North Carolina for a few months. In between we came back to Texas for the Kerrville Folk Festival and since that was about the time my registration was due, I re-upped it here and kept my Texas plates. The mountains of North Carolina were not the place for us so we got back to Texas as fast as we could.

I am glad that I have had the experience of living in other states. I think everyone who has a chance to leave home for a while should do it just to get the view from afar.

If I could put a soundtrack on this post, it would be Berkley Hart’s Texas Line.
They made me cry with this one when I was homesick in NC.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Endangered Bales

The other day at Ten Thousand Villages, I worked with a 15 year old girl who is just starting driver’s ed classes. Several people were offering her advice. It got a little bit funny after a while. I told her that it would have been quite intimidating for me to have had to learn to drive in a city. It reminded me of my first driving experience.

I grew up driving tractors and old pick up trucks on various farms (my grandparents’ farm, my uncle’s farm, my parents’ farm). My earliest memory of driving is in a hay meadow. I must have only been about five or six years old. I was a scrawny kid and could not have weighed more that thirty-five or forty pounds at the time. My grandfather had an old ’49 or ’50 model pick up. The hay had been baled into square bales that probably weighed about fifty pounds each. Someone had to drive the truck between the bales and get near enough to them so that they could be thrown into the back of the truck without having to carry them more that a few feet. This meant that someone had to be constantly getting in and out of the truck. The whole family was working that day so that meant that my brother, a toddler, and I were taken to the meadow with our parents. We were in the truck. One of the adults got the idea that I could drive the truck if they put it in granny gear and let me stand on the floor and look between the top of the huge steering wheel and the dash. I was supposed to depress the clutch when they yelled “stop”.

So off I went at about five miles an hour. “STOP”. I put my foot on the clutch and mashed down as hard as I could. The truck showed no sign of stopping so I put the other foot on the clutch as well, stomping with all my might. Surely that bale of hay in front of me would stop this thing. No, it ran over the bale of hay. By that time my father or grandfather caught up with the run away auto and jumped in to save the day, not to mention all the rest of those hay bales.

If I could add a sound track to this post, it would be something from from one of those great Austin bands Haybale or Stop the Truck.

Photo of bales from:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

An Award for Me?

Taexalia has awarded lil' ol' me the Rockin' Girl Blogger award. I am very pleased and ask forgiveness for my tardiness in passing it on.

I think that LittlePea and Hel really rock so I am passing it along to them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Lesson Concerning Gravity

It is the most beautiful car in town…. a 68 Camaro, metallic green with white bumble bee stripes around the front end. The whole town is a little bit mystified by its purchase. The couple who bought it traded in a white over yellow cream puff of a two door Impala for it. They have two teenage sons. There is no way the whole family can fit into that Camaro. Surely they won’t let the older of the boys, the one who is just about to get his driver’s license terrorize the town in that thing!

As I have written before, this is a tiny town. Three farm to market roads meet here. We are off the beaten path to say the least. There are very few strait stretches of road in these parts. One of these rare strait stretches begins, after a few curves, just out of town and heads due north for several miles. It is called Jones Lane. I am not sure why. I suppose someone by that name lived there when names were being handed out. Several of the high school kids have older (and perfectly kept) cars. One has a 55 Chevy. A couple of others have 57s. One has a 56. You get the picture. The boys spend a lot of time tuning their motors and adjusting their glass packs so that each car has its own unique sound. Most of the girls can tell which boy’s car is heading out Jones lane by hearing the sound it makes when the driver stomps on the gas coming out of the last curve.

When the skating rink isn’t around, the only action of any kind in this place is at the snow cone stand. It is at located in the front corner of one of the old storefronts downtown. There is a vacant gravel lot between the snow cone stand and the drugstore.
You can park there, but usually, everybody just street parks along in front of the stand or the drugstore. The snow cone stand closes at six o’clock so we try to get there just in time to get something sweet and cold then hang out a while. Everyone usually scatters not long after dark on these long summer days. Everyone has things to do tomorrow unless it happens to be a weekend, in which case most of us will be off somewhere to a rodeo or driving around the Sonic in Paris.

However, there are occasions when someone has made a trip across the river and come back with contraband, bottled and distilled contraband, to be exact. See, this is a dry area. The whole county, as well as the surrounding counties, is dry as a bone on the floor of Death Valley. You will not get a legal drop of alcohol around here. No siree! For that you have to cross the Red River into Oklahoma which is about twenty- one miles or so to the north. Now, this involves some risk because 1) Texas wants to get its share of tax money on alcohol sales and 2) theses boys are underage and 3) the places that will sell booze to them are quite dangerous…. gun and knife dangerous. These dangers do not deter certain brave souls who willingly risk arrest or at least having their prize confiscated by an officer of the Liquor Control Board or other branch of the law. I know of a couple of guys who sneaked across the river through a less traveled route. They stopped on the Oklahoma side, raised the hood of the GTO they were driving and ingeniously wired a case of beer into the space between the grill and the radiator before crossing back into Texas. Much to their disappointment, an LCB officer had been hiding on the Texas side watching them. He fined them on the spot and made them pour out all the beer in front of him. As I said, these dangers did not deter certain brave souls and brewed and distilled nectars make their way into this tiny burg on occasion.

The girls don’t usually hang around late enough to witness the goings on when the booze comes out. We either have ridiculously early curfews or we are extremely careful of our reputations. No one wants to be known the rest of her life as the girl who got drunk one time when she was a teenager. In a town this size, she would never live it down. Therefore, no girls were present the night that the oldest son drove the Camaro downtown. I guess he was being extra careful about parking because he parked it in the space between the buildings. Someone must have just returned from a trip across the river. Either that, or boredom just got the better of any sense those boys have. Oldest Son and some other guys climbed up on top of the drugstore and commenced to horse around. The top of the drugstore is rimmed with huge stones. They must be two to two and a half feet square. I was not there. I don’t know exactly what happened. All I can say for sure is that now there is a stone missing from the top of the drugstore and the right front fender and the adjoining part of the hood of the former most beautiful car in town look like a boulder fell on them.

If I could add a sound track to this post it would be Whiskey to Go from Michael Elwood and Beth Galiger's Rolling Valentine cd. I thought it might be unavailable but found that you can listen to it here:
It takes just a few seconds to load.
and buy it here
Michael does the story coming from the other direction but there is such a thing as poetic license.