When Dutro hit the horse

I was watching the beginning of the  final day at Mardi Gras in New Orleans this morning. And what a flood of memories.

First let me say it’s a long way up that river from the gulf when you’re traveling in a United States Submarine…And it’s cold too…I was maneuvering watch helmsman, with the hatch to the bridge open, going up river on a twelve hour maneuvering watch. we finally made it, and a good time was had by all.

We had tours of the Boat for several days, and were packed everyday. A few months after leaving, we received word that the City asked for us to return the next year…which we did. We first went to Galveston and trained reserves for a week..all I can say about Galveston was they told me I had a great time…but that’s another story.

I had learned enough on our first trip to save as much money as I could. We were here for ten days before Ash Wednesday started..What a party !!!…some of our guys brought some young ladies aboard looking for a place to sleep..some were stashed safely in Hogan’s Alley, and a couple were in the rag locker under the deck plates in the forward torpedo room. They would knock if they needed to come up, and use the Officers head ( toilet) located in the forward room. I had a mid watch, and one of the ladies came out of the head at the same time the OD stepped in to the room to use it. She turned and said hello, then back under the deck plates she went…He looked at me, and just shook his head. I started to say something, but he raised his hand and said, “I don’t want to hear it.” Submarine Officers were cool like that.

Later we backed out in the Mississippi and submerged the ship, it’s a whole new game in fresh water, and there was a Japanese freighter coming down river. We were told the Captain had been sunk in WW11 by a Submarine, and when he saw the periscope he panicked and almost ran a ground. But it ended well.

Several members of the crew found this club with some of the most beautiful women ever, that would dance all night, but they weren’t women, they were guys, and you couldn’t tell it. It seemed you had to watch this town.

We drank our Hurricanes at Pat O’brien’s…took a cab to the cemetery to visit Marie Laveau..went to the “Bucket of Blood” to see if it was that tuff a place…and we’re watching a fight on Bourbon Street, when this mounted police officer, got his horse right in the middle of the combatants and went round and round…but the horse bumped Dutro (first name is long been forgotten). he was a little inebriated and drew back and hit that horse in the nose as hard as he could. Police came from everywhere, and a van already full of drunks appeared as if by magic. They carried most of us back to the ship, except Dutro, which they kept.

As soon as the police van left, the OD let us go back downtown with a warning. He was hanging around the Sonar shack under the After Battery…I found out later the best looking of our visitors was safely stashed in Sonar.

We shut Fat Tuesday down at midnight, and staggered back to the Ship.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s going on in my Life….

after I retired back in 2007, I felt that I needed a hobby of some sort to keep me busy..I’d heard to many stories of retired folks sitting around a few years then kicked the bucket…with a disabled wife..that thing about retire and travel was not in my playbook…so what to do..the last ten years at the Police Department I wrote grants along with my other chores. I love history, and genealogy, so I started digging into those with a vengeance, and at the same time began sending in columns to Rome News Paper.

Then I thought I’d write a book…I had a lot of information on the Weaver-Johnson feud in Chattooga, Floyd, and Cherokee County Alabama…have even more now ( still want to write that story). But I ran into Bertha Gossett Hill, and fell in love with her…she became my first Book (and I must say, she’s treated me right..Id marry her if I could, but wouldn’t eat her cooking)

She was the first of five books…I have parts of three different ones in the computer now. One is an untitled piece I simply call “Marseilles” for lack of a better title. Plus Marseilles has a place in my heart. I spent a year there one week. Then there is the sequel to “A Time to Gather Stones”…but presently I’m working on my answer to Hallmark stories…watching them before Christmas I felt like I could add a twist, and make a better story…looking back, I can see a common thread running thru all three…there are witches in all of them…different varieties, but they’re there…I call the last one “The Crabapple Tree”….finally research continues on “Holy Ghost Murders”…a true crime story from the 1920’s…in the meantime my Arts and Craft Fair season is about to get underway…stop by and say Howdy

and…we still got another “Lucy” book to go…not really retired I don’t feel like

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Just an Orange and a few English Walnutsi

I write a lot of columns, but have avoided the Depression of the thirties..although I didn’t live through it (thankfully), my parents, and family did. I heard a lot of the stories, and most were depressing. If I do ever start, it would have to be how it affected my corner of the world, I doubt my grandparents ever heard of a stock market. If they did I’m sure they thought of a holding pen for cows.

But there are triggers that bring back memories. The other day while strolling through the fruits and vegetables of a large super market, I noticed the mountain of Oranges for sale. There were Navel and regular juice oranges, and I mean lots of them.

My mother had two sisters and two brothers. She was born in 1919 and was second oldest, so she was a young teenager early ito the depression. She often mentioned how scarce things were, especially at Christmas time. It seems their prize gift would be a Florida Orange, with a few EnglishWalnuts. They treasured their oranges, and wouldn’t dare eat them for a few days.

I can visualize those three happy girls giggling over an Orange, and how happy my grandparents were for being able to provide them.

I walked by my mountain of oranges, then turned back and bought five. There you go, one for each of you…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welsh Fest 2019

The City of Rockmart, Georgia was founded by Welshmen…and they have the only celebration in the State dedicated to the Welsh..there are numerous Scott, Irish, and even October Fest in the State….but only one Welsh Fest…this year its on March 16th in Downtown Rockmart ..a great street party..wear your kilt if you wish..yeah, Welshmen wore them too…since Ragland is Welsh..and my Ancestor Evan Ragland was shanghaied of the streets of a port city..brought to Virginia and sold into indentured servitude for seven years…I feel obligated to go…I’ll be set up to sell and sign books in the South Marble Street Coffee Shop……Remember….Welsh Fest and Heritage Days on the 16th….

CYMRU AM BYTH…..or …”Wales forever”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Time to Gather Stones…my third book..

I ran into a term, and a group of people that lived way up in the Appalachian mountains…and still do..a lot of Wise County, Virginia and Hancock County Tennessee are still regarded as #Melungeon country…a dark complected people that are not African American..Tennessee enacted a law called FPC (Free persons of color) to prevent these folks from Voting or owning property..the law was in effect until the 1980’s…I would encourage you to read about the Melungeon people…

When older members were asked where they came from, there answer was ‘Portaghee’…(Portuguese)…and DNA shows a lot of Eastern Europe, and around the Mediterranean blood lines..coupled with Sephardic Jews…which were Spanish Jews fleeing the Inquisition from Ferdinand and Isabella…many fled to the new world…and from Florida colonies, they disappeared into the mountains…

Our history teaches, black, white, and Indian…there is so much more..even the name of our mountains..Appalachian..is French..there were Jewish Colonies in Northeast Georgia, and in the Nantaheyla..(sp)..then came the Scots-Irish down the Shenandoah and intermingled with the Melungeon….many folks say..my great grandma was a Cherokee….maybe…and maybe she was a Melungeon…both are acceptable now..in fact once taboo for either..it’s downright upright..

I use the Melungeon race extensively in “A Time to Gather Stones”…a fictional story…with a lot, a lot of history…don’t be afraid to learn something…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Profile picture got changed..

It appears that the ugly old profile from nine years ago has gone away..and my answer to Selleck and Elliott has been posted..eat your heart out Tom..You too Sam..

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Crab Apple Tree Introduction

I’ve got several WIP’s ( Works in Progress)..right now I’m engrossed in this one…Before Christmas I watched every Hallmark show that came on..some several times…and if you’ve watched them..then you know they’re just alike…so I thought I could write one with a different twist, minus the love interest, and it still be a Hallmark type Story…so I’m working on it…my main Character (Amelia McCafferty) was left at a Catholic School in a basket one cold night in Baltimore..she was an incorrigible child transferred from foster home to foster home…she is very smart..gets a scholarship to Univ. Of Maryland..graduates,and goes thru OCS an gets a commission in the Army..on her 2nd tour her vehicle hits an IED…left foot and right leg below the knee are blown away…right arm is shredded, but still works some…after several years in military Hospitals she leaves with nowhere to go, no family, and only a couple friends…she has read everything she can about the Appalachian Trail…she takes a bus to Harpers Ferry and heads south on the trail…she is Suicidal…but things happen……..

I’ll give you another installment later…..

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Which causes the most pain

I got into this big discussion several weeks ago..about which causes the most pain..most of the ladies said Childbirth had to be the winner..nothing compared to it…the guys on the other hand said getting a full kick in the crotch was worst ever..actually there is no way either side could understand the others argument…but after using careful deductive reasoning..I believe the guys are right..It seems that the ladies, after a year or so..are as apt as not say, “I think it’s time for another baby”…but have never heard any guy after that year say “I think I’ll go get kicked in the groin again”….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The honey-bun girls and a farewell kiss

The honey-bun girls and a farewell kiss

  I was sitting in the Gazebo on the main street the other day watching the motorcycles come and go. Cave Spring is no doubt a motorcycle magnet and has always been so. It just seems there are a lot more of them than when I used to ride. I started thinking about that while watching some leather clad doctors and lawyers mount up.

     The trouble with thinking when you get old is that it sometimes takes you in directions that you don’t want to go. That was the case here.

     My riding partner was one of my best friends. Vern Pitts was one of the best riders I knew, and he too was also a Police Officer. We both had our own bikes and did a lot of riding.

     In the seventies we also ran our own tree service and made as much or more money cutting trees as we did policing. Both of us were assigned to the traffic division of the Police Department, and rode motorcycles eight hours a day at the City’s expense. Life was good.

     At the time of this story Vern had a late sixty something Harley. I had a repossessed Sportster that I purchased from a local bank. Why I bought it is beyond me.

     It was pure stock. The gears were on the right side, like the British bikes. It had no windshield and the seat was about two inches thick. It really wasn’t bad riding on short little trips around town. But some of the guys talked me into riding to Cherokee, North Carolina and over the mountain to Gatlinburg. By the time we got home I had no feeling in the lower half of my body.

     I took the Sportster to a chop shop and they changed the front end. It got a little rake which extended the front forks and allowed it to set up a little. We also changed the handlebars, and put a King and Queen seat on it hoping that would cushion the ride. Still didn’t put a windshield on her, just couldn’t bring myself to do it. 

     Ok, now I’m not easy rider, but I’m ready for another road trip to see what improvements we’ve made. And I wanted to show it off.

     A few weeks later Vern and I were hanging around the Country House BBQ when an old friend came in. He said he saw the bikes out front and thought they were ours, and had a proposition for us.

  He had rode motors with us at one time on the Police department, but had left for another job that paid a little more money. The department had rehired him and he had just bought a brand new Harley. Well, new to him anyway.

     He was a good guy, and had served honorably in the military and was proud of it. On his arm was the tattoo of the 101st first Screaming Eagles. He liked to wear T-shirts with cut out sleeves so it would show.

     Now I want to let everybody know I personally have nothing against Tattoos. In fact once in Milwaukee I got in line to get me one. I had picked out this Leopard climbing up my arm, but I sobered up just about the time they called my name.

      Anyway, I’m going to call our buddy Screaming Eagle, since I don’t know where he is these days, and I promised years ago, not to tell this story on him till I was sure he was no longer among the living.

     We were sitting in the Country House catching up on what he had been doing for the last three years, when a couple of “Honey-Bun” girls walked in. They had just gotten off work and were still wearing their white uniforms. He immediately dropped his head, and Vern and I could see it upset him pretty bad.

     I’m going to run a rabbit right here for a minute, but as the lawyer says, it does tie in, and I’ll get back to it.

     Rome has several Bakeries. And in the sixties and seventies they had one that made Honey-Buns almost exclusively. Most of the ladies that worked there were good, God Fearing, Family oriented, church going women. But in many companies, and this was no exception, there is a small percentage that likes to party. And at this time in history, at this bakery, it was a pretty good percentage.

     There were some real lookers among the party crowd. Now the thing that stands out about the “Honey-Bun” girls was the way they smelled. I’m not sure delicious is good enough. I feel confident that Estee Lauder or Chanel didn’t have anything close. After working that sweet dough and glaze for an eight hour shift they were permeated with the smell. And Screaming Eagle had married one. He said that after a couple of slow dances he was forever more hooked. The sad thing was that she had just divorced him. He didn’t see it coming and was on the rebound.

     So now he proposed a little midnight ride, to Panama City Florida. He said we could be there by daylight, we’d sleep a few hours, hang around the beach during the afternoon, party that night and ride back Sunday. I looked at Vern and he just shrugged his shoulders. I knew from that he was all in, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Screaming Eagle could test his new bike, and I could do my scaled down version of Peter Fonda Saturday night on the strip. So away we went. Redneck Riviera here we come.

     One thing here I want to add. Riding through the night in South Alabama with no windshield is a challenge. You’re going to get the chance to eat a lot of bugs. Now please be advised. As any rider can tell you, some of them are mighty tasty, and some are real bitter. The problem is, like Forrest Gump said about a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’re going to get.

     We made it to Panama City with no trouble at all. Vern knew a guy that had a cheap motel right on the beach. We slept till noon, had lunch, and were now sitting on the patio behind the motel on the beach side. We had purchased a Styrofoam cooler and it was full. All we had to do now was just kick back and wait for the sun to kind of dip into the Gulf. Life was good.

     Right before dark we saw this young woman walking slowly along the beach. There was nothing uncommon here, except she wasn’t really dressed in beach wear. She would stop and take long looks out into the gulf, and finally started walking out in the surf to where it was over her knees. There she had stopped.

     Screaming Eagle turned to us and said. “I think that girl is going to kill herself.” While we were watching, the Eagle got up and started walking toward her. Vern and I were following a good distance behind him. When we got with-in twenty or thirty yards we sat down in the sand. Eagle was already talking to her and we were close enough to hear what was said.

     It was obvious that she was going to kill herself and Eagle was doing all he could to talk her out of it. Vern and I didn’t move, we didn’t want to spook her, or break the rapport that was being developed. Eagle had her listening now. Later in hostage negotiation training that’s one of the first steps taught. He told her all about his problems with his ex-wife. How living wasn’t so bad, he knew life wasn’t fair but you just had to make the best out of it. He did a great job. But she seemed unconvinced.

     Finally he told her that if she was bound and determined to drown herself. To please allow him a final kiss to remember her by. This seemed to get her attention, and she asked several times was he sure of that. He assured her he was and she gave him a good one.

     That did it. He held her hand and led her out of the water. Vern asked her to come have a cool one with us. She said she had to retrieve her shoes and would be right back. While she was gone Eagle was really proud of himself and we were too. “Boys, she kisses better than the Honey-bun wife I had,” he said. Then looking straight at us he added.”When I kiss’em they don’t even want to kill themselves anymore.”

   She came back and sipped a couple of beers and then said that if she wasn’t going to kill herself she was going to have to go home and get ready for her shift tomorrow morning. As she started to walk off Vern asked her why she wanted to kill herself in the first place?

      She replied that she was supposed to get married this coming December. And her fiancé had dressed her up in girl clothes a few months back and they went to a party as sisters. She told Vern that she liked the look, so I started doing it myself. My fiancé doesn’t like me wearing her clothes, and is threatening to call off the wedding if I don’t quit. So on the week-ends she has to work I dress in her clothes and drive the fifty miles to the beach. But now my mother and dad are pitching a fit about me dressing like a girl. It’s just a family thing, I guess. Vern just dropped his head as she walked away.

     It was a long ride home !!!

Posted in redneck stories, short stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

One for the good ol’ boys

                                                              ONE FOR THE GOOD OLE BOYS

 A few months back I wrote a blog about some Yankees coming through my little home town of Cave Spring. And while they were having breakfast in a local café near me they insulted the grits that was brought to them. Most folks thought the column was quite humorous and I received a lot of positive comments and e-mails that stated that fact. But not all of them did.

      I received a comment from a lady in New England who was born and raised in the south. She stated that it was men like me that prompted her to move and I could take the grits and home- made Southern breakfast of biscuits, and Red-Eye gravy and stick them up my Rebel butt. Modern women had better things to do than get up, fix food, and be a waitress for some man who was no better than they were.

     I e-mailed her back and apologized for being so crude in her eyes, but I would like to know a couple of things. I just wanted to make sure I understood what a modern woman was. I simply asked if she was married or had a boy friend and did she shave her legs.

      I can’t put in print her reply, other than I was a Neanderthal and Mencken was right when he said the south was an intellectual Sahara. She advised me in no uncertain terms it was none of my business if she ever married or shaved her legs. And of course, she was right. But now I knew. She stated she enjoyed her life in the Green Mountains of Vermont where intellectual people lived and conversed.

     I then tried to explain the cultural differences. For instance, Nascar made the “good ol’ boys” quit bringing long necks to the race track. They were afraid somebody might insult the good name of Dale Earnhardt which was a sure fired way to get your head bashed.

     And I couldn’t apologize for country music. We loved Willy and Waylon—and if Gretchen Wilson didn’t mind calling herself a Redneck woman, and wanted to leave her Christmas lights on her front porch all year long, that was her business. Preaching is on the TV somewhere twenty-four seven, and on another channel there are John Wayne re-runs. And about once a year we watch Gone With the Wind again hoping it will end differently.

     She said she had retired to the North in her twenties beause we were loud and boisterous. I think she was indicating we drink too much. I can’t argue with that I said, we do like to tap our foot along with David Allen Coe and Loretta Lynn.

      We also like to fish and hunt. I asked her if she knew how many good ol’ boys it took to catch a Catfish. Four I replied. It takes one to catch the thing, another to write a song about it, and two to start a fist fight in the parking lot later arguing about how big it was.

     And then there’s football. I’ll bet you don’t like football at all do you. Well the good ol’ boys certainly do. At last count I could only come up with nine professional teams in the South. But then there is the SEC, which includes Alabama and eleven other teams. And I can’t forget about their little sisters in the ACC. So please give us our football Mrs. Vermont, a fellow can only fish and hunt so much you know.

     That brings me back to what you said about Mencken. He made his statement with-out much investigation, and from Baltimore. It’s not exactly Oxford or Cambridge, is it now?

      I was stationed in Connecticut once upon a time. And on our first week-end of liberty we went to New York City, ‘cause the drinking age was 18. It didn’t take us long to find 42nd street and a place called the Peppermint lounge. Now this was in 1965 and things were different than today.

      Across the street was a bar called the Club .45. We liked it a lot better than the Peppermint Lounge and got a table. Couldn’t get to the packed bar. I finally said, “How about y’all letting a feller get him a beer, if’n you don’t mind.”Things got quiet and some guy bought all of us a beer.

     Our table was soon full of giggling yankee-girls. One of my buddies eventually married one of them. Anyway they wanted me to keep talking. I’d give them a lot of ain’ts and hain’ts and grey-its and tell them they was purtier than a whole litter of speckled puppies under a red wagon. And they just giggled and giggled. As I remember, they were right friendly girls.   

     That was a lesson well learned. I was in Connecticut for three months and never had to buy more than the first drink in any bar in New York if I’d lay on the Southern Accent.  I was back in the city several years later and it still worked, wonder what Mencken would have thought of that.

     Please understand that I wrote the blog about Cave Spring as a public service. I had just finished reading some stories by a famous Southern Philosopher named Jerry Clower. Now Jerry is of the opinion that if more women would get up in the morning and cook real biscuits, not “Whomp” biscuits that come from a can, it would cut the divorce rate to almost nothing.

     One of my favorite Southern authors, the immortal Lewis Grizzard, was a little more forceful. He quoted his boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker, a great American, on hairy legged women. Weyman had said that he wouldn’t take a hairy legged woman to a rat killing.

     My grandson while reading over my shoulder said that I should throw in a little Friedrich Nietzche or Jean-Paul Sartre and show the lady that we do have some education. He’s a college boy and knows everything, so I did. But I told him he better warn those fellers that if they got around Talledega on race Day and started running off at the mouth some good ol’ boy would bash their head in with a long neck. I guarantee it.

Posted in musings, redneck stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments