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    “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that is in the right and keeps on a-comin’.” Captain Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger.

    My Photo
    Location: Texas

    Good guys wear white hats. And they never run out of bullets.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Missing Grandad

    Cheryl made me reminisce today. I read her why I named my blog post. It got me to thinking about my own childhood. In some round about way this made me think of a special man.

    I owe a great debt of gratitude to certain people who shaped my character as I grew up. The one I will talk about today is my paternal grandfather.

    Burgess was a mountain of a man to me. He was only 6’3” but that seems huge when you’re a child. He was a roughneck by trade and I seldom recall seeing him outside of black work clothes. He was dark haired and tan. His hands were rough and his smile was sincere. He smoked King Edward cigars on the back porch usually with a radio earpiece so he could hear the ballgame.

    I remember being attacked by our bantam rooster when I was very young. He walked over from where he was smoking and kicked it over the roof. That bird was kind of tough, barely edible.

    His work kept him in Odessa though he lived in Brownfield. This meant that he always had a room in my house. Most of the oilfield work was based out of Odessa. When he drove up on Sunday afternoons he always brought a chocolate cake that my grandmother had baked for me. We would finish it by Friday so he could take the pan back home.

    He always kept a garden at my house and one at his own. He loved the garden. That is where he lived and where he died. The days of my childhood were spent in the garden too. I remember the feeling of the soft sandy soil on my bare feet. I would catch horny toads and he would help me pick the grass burs from my feet. I would climb up the windmill just so he could catch me. I think all children love to jump and fall. I could play forever in his shadow as he hoed the rows.

    I now know he was up to more than growing tomatoes. He was growing a man. God bless him for that.

    When he died I was sad but not shattered. He did a better job with me than that. In fact I think that was his final lesson for me. We talked on the phone the day before. I was away at school and he wanted me to come see him. I had made plans to do so. I even bought the plane ticket. I ended up using that ticket to go to his funeral. This proved to be a major rite of passage.

    When the graveside service ended something happened on my way to the car. My cousin Karen needed to see me. Our grandfather was a major father figure to both of us but, even more so for her. Karen never knew her father. He was killed in Vietnam when she was a baby. She approached me quickly then buried her head in my chest. I held her pretty little head as she sobbed profusely. You see there was no one else in the world that would do at that moment. For the first time in my recollection, somebody needed me. She needed me specifically not any body but me. Her tears watered something in my soul like my grandfather watering the rows. I am forever changed and I cannot be the same again.

    That day in that cemetery my purpose and calling broke through the surface of the earth. That day I realized being a man is more than what you do on the field of play, plowing fields or the battle field. Being a man is about what you do for those you love not just what you do. There comes a time when folks need the strength and understanding that no one on earth can provide but you. There are callings that only one person can answer. And on many occasions I am that man. It is incumbent on me not to flee for Tarshish but to stand up and say, “Here I am Lord send me!”

    Many days have passed since then. I have held many crying heads. I have hoed a few rows of my own. I know that I can do anything I am called to do. That confidence doesn’t come easy. It only comes from the successes we experience. Those successes are hard earned and hard fought. Nobody picks the grass burs from my feet anymore. But somebody continues to water my life even from the grave.

    Thank You Lord, for giving me Burgess. Thank You Lord, for blessing my life.

    Sunday, September 25, 2005

    Naked Football

    My work week was long. I still haven’t slept. So I’ll come up with a good post tomorrow. Right now I have mitigated joy on the mind. You see I am an incurable Dallas Cowboy fan.

    We won today. Barely.

    Barely is the appropriate word. Because our defense is laid bare. Naked. Nude.

    It happened on the season opener. Dallas defeated a superior team. But in doing so they showed the whole world all the strengths and weaknesses of their new defense. Don’t get me wrong, I love the improvements. But when you try new things you get new problems. The whole world knows how to split our secondary.

    Last Monday we were defeated by an inferior team due in part to our defensive nudity. Today another inferior team came close to doing the same.

    This is much like my own life. I’m no poker player. I’m no actor. My face is as easy to read as a children’s book. It is pretty easy to know what I will do next.

    So what is the strategy for winning with an open playbook? Simple. Run up the score. Some times the best defense is a good offense. Oh, and uh fix the weaknesses too.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Blogging Art and Addictive Hobbies

    When Echotig convinced me to blog, I had no idea that it would be this addictive. I had no idea I would enjoy it this much. I had no idea that it would start so many friendships. I had no idea.

    My first online friendship started in 1988 when email was still in its infancy. I had a pen pal in Singapore who sysopped a bulletin board as did I. We were both attending nerd schools on different sides of the world. To our amazement and the amazement of others, we corresponded daily. In 1988 few believed that was possible.

    Things have improved since then. Blogging gives me an outlet. I need creative outlets and this one only requires as much time as I give it. It also can be kept up with short sessions. But I have felt for a while now that I wanted it to be better than it is.

    So I started playing around with dreamweaver trying to come up with a new skin. It did not take me long to the discover this is a project that takes real skill. I don’t want to wait until I have developed that skill. So I started looking at blog stuff on the web. I decided I should pay a graphic designer to do this.

    As you all can imagine, the first person I thought of was Darlene. I am concerned however. Most of the stuff I have seen her do is too feminine for me. So I figured if she has to macho it up, I should give her some good material.

    I thought I should use some art. Not just any art but, art that screams TEXAS! Immediately I thought of my favorite artists: Dalhart Windberg and Kyle Polzin.

    My parent’s and grandparent’s homes were always filled with Windberg’s work. We had prints of his stuff since I could walk. I grew up finding the wildlife hidden in his landscapes. My own home has all I could steal from my folks. When I have the opportunity, I go to signings to talk to the man. About 10 years ago, in Odessa Texas, he talked with me for two hours about my own photography. He may not know me but I love this fella.

    One of the other artists in his Gallery is the young up and comer Kyle Polzin. He is definitely from the same school of thought and a master in his own right. His land and seascapes remind me of Windberg but he shows his own style. Look out for Kyle. He has the stuff!

    I’m no sycophant. I doubt these artists will ever look at this blog or read this post. I’m just that big of a fan.

    Hopefully the artists and the Gallery will let me use their art on the new blog skin. I’m also going to purchase I hope Darlene doesn’t think that I’m too big of a headache and charge me large amounts of cash. I hope I can get more traffic without getting political. I hope.

    Creativity is a plant. Either it is growing or it is dying. I’m going to keep watering.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    I was tagged. Here is my meme.

    Jeff tagged me. Yes it is a silly little game. But I’m happy to be picked so let’s get this over with.

    5 Things I Plan to Do Before I Die

    * Take Echo on a just the two of us trip to Hawaii.
    * Build the home I’ve been contemplating for the last 20 years.
    * Take Echo on a trip to
    * Ride the train from
    Manhattan to Saratoga and wander around at every stop.
    * Smoke Cigars with Rush Limbaugh.

    5 Things I Can Do

    * Make folks laugh.
    * Make folks cry.
    * Make folks angry.
    * Make a fool of myself.
    * Laugh, cry, and get angry at myself for being such a

    5 Things I Cannot Do

    * Tie a cherry stem in my mouth.
    * Roll my R. (Spanish)
    * Sing along at the Opera.
    * Move away from
    Texas unless God makes me.
    * Eat collard greens.

    5 Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

    * Those, “Walk yourself right over here” looks.
    * The anticipation of long warm kisses that blow the big
    white hat right off my head and into the sunset.
    * The anticipation of intense sexual experiences that
    send me to my knees thanking God Almighty for the
    miracle that is my wife. (Yes. She is that hot.)
    * Soft touches that melt my flesh.
    * The glorious aroma of her cooking.

    5 Things I Say Most Often

    * NO!
    * Stop!
    * Get down from there!
    * Don’t make me spank you!
    * I told you not to make me spank you. Now BEHAVE!

    5 Celebrity Crushes

    * Paulina Porizkova
    * Joan Jett
    * Sophia Loren
    * Rachel Ward
    * Raquel Welch

    5 People I Want to Do This Next

    * Echotig (Sorry babe.)
    * Stacy (I’m dying to hear this.)
    * Admin Worm (This should be funny.)
    * Darlene (This seems like something you would do.)

    * Diison (It is about time you posted something.)

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Rangers Lead The Way

    To paraphrase scripture, “Children are like ammo. Blessed is he whose dope bag is full.” Let me introduce you to one of my bullets. His name is Alexander. He is Great.

    When he was a toddler, I would ask him what he planned to do for the day. He would respond, “I’m going to fight the evil!” That seems to be his calling.

    Alex currently wants to grow up to be a Ranger. Not a Texas Ranger but an Army Ranger. This started when watching football on TV. We were watching one of the many Pat Tillman tributes during a game. He asked so I told him Tillman’s story. Since then he wants to be a Ranger.

    I use this as a motivator. If he doesn’t follow directions in class, I ask him, “If you won’t follow orders, how will you lead the way?” If something is too hard, I challenge him by saying Rangers can do it. It seems to work pretty well. He’s shaping up into good man.

    He inspires me. You see he thinks about his heroes. He can be motivated by thinking about what his heroes do. He picks good ones too: Jason (king of Iolcus), Davy Crockett, Aragorn, the Rangers et cetera. I wish I could do that as consistently as he does. I often get distracted by feeling sorry for myself. I’m glad I can see Alex’s character and mettle. He snaps me out of my pity party pretty fast.

    Rangers lead the Way! Lead the way little Ranger! Lead the Way!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    It Is Time

    This morning I was driving to my prayer group. It’s really a support group but since guys don’t like admitting that we call it other things. Basically we are a group of fellas trying to get by and we show up at a diner on Tuesday mornings to offer each other some support.

    So I’m driving along going to this noble clean cut Christian thing when some dude almost hits me with his pick up. He is clearly late and in a hurry to get on the freeway. He lays on the horn and shoots me the finger for daring to be in his way. I promptly shout, “@#%**#%^$#.” I catch up to him at the next light. He gets one look at me and decides to avoid eye contact after that. As he speeds off, I see a Christian radio bumper sticker and an ichthus (see right).

    I can see it in the paper, “Road rage Fight Between Good Christian Men.”

    I’m thinking this is a sign from God just for me. It is time to clean up my act. I’m really not angry about the other fella’s behavior. That is his headache not mine. I’m worried about me. You see my use of expletives was only an example. I am Christian man who struggles to live the Christian life style. My language at work and home leave something to be desired. I get violent and have fits of rage from time to time. And that is about all I want to share. There is much more but I don’t care to air it out.

    It is time for me to clean it up. To get myself and my life together again. It is time to devote myself to becoming God’s man again. It is time to get the things done that I have been neglecting. It is time to carry my load at church. It is time to only have eyes for Echo. It is time to devote the attention to my children that they want so much. It is time to get back on the diet. It is time to be more productive at work. It is time to get out of these doldrums and start living again.

    I did make it to the diner. It is also time to finish study we have been doing. This time the subject matter is lust. Christianese to English translation: all men (including Christian men) struggle with porn, watching pretty women (too closely) and not paying enough sexual attention to our wives. As you could imagine, this study has been good for all of us. I’m just wondering if the next study should be on controlling my temper. After all, it is time.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    The tease.

    I am impatient. I want it now. If only the world worked that way.

    Today Tiger teased me. For those that do not know, Tiger is my autistic son. Today he grabbed me and handed me a book. Wow! He wants me to read to him! Or so I thought. It seems we did not make this flying leap toward normalcy. As soon as we sat down and started reading, he closed the book and moved to something else.

    It seems this journey is taken in baby steps. Sure, sometimes we have breakthroughs. But, most of the progress comes in little advancements. This is a game of inches.

    I’ll keep my eye on the goal line and take it down by down.

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    What will I do?

    This weekend I went back to the small West Texas town that I once called home. I didn’t grow up there but I lived there for five very formative years. Echotig and I were married there. My parents and Grandparents are there. I went there to see my new great nephew and spend time with the people I love the most.

    The town is small so your family is usually a little bigger than just your family. You have to include some of your neighbors. Therefore Sunday morning I spent a little time with some extended family.

    Among these is a couple that I love and respect more than I can say. She would kill me if I put her name on the internet. So, lets call them Phil and Karen. I respect them for their marriage, their character and the way they raise their children. I love them because of the way they treated and helped me.

    Karen and I had a brief conversation that doesn’t seem all that profound. But, it is. The youngest of their three children is a high school senior. So of course I asked if she was counting the days with glee. She shocked me. She doesn’t want the empty nest. She is not looking forward it at all.

    So, why is this profound? It makes me wonder if what I will think when my youngest is ready to leave. I look forward to my children being adults. I’m confident they will all make me very proud. I want to finally have some alone time with my wife. But how will it be when it happens? Will I get all sentimental? Will my mind completely change?

    We raise our children to be the best adults they can be. But that’s just a game plan. We work to make them independent. But does emotion take over near the end?

    The thing that surprises me is that Karen was this way. She is one of the most together people I know. If she can feel this way, I might.

    So I guess I’ll keep on getting them ready for the cold cruel world. And, I’ll walk across that other bridge when I get there.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Jabbar gets a Big White Hat Award

    Jabbar Gibson. That is his name. He is the one we have all heard about.

    Jabbar is a 20 year old with better head on his shoulders than most. This young man commandeered a school bus, drove it around his New Orleans neighborhood and drove his neighbors to safety.

    When all around is madness, I thank God for folks like Jabbar. He has presence of mind and bravery. He may only be 20. He may wear stupid pants with the crotch at his knees and the belt below the hips. No matter, he is a Real Man with true grit in my book.