i A Time and a Place...: August 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Family Adventure...

I was writing in my Journal, "Jim's Journal," and remembered this little adventure and thought someone might get a kick out of reading it. This happened in about 1959 or so in Redding, California. Buddy is my brother and Clarence is my brother-in-law.


Buddy owned a 1937 Chrysler coupe that had been built into a pickup. One day, the day after deer season closed, Buddy, Clarence and I drove across the Shasta Dam and turned off onto a dirt road that went up a ridge. It was a pretty good road and we had no trouble driving on it with the Chrysler. We had gone there to hunt silver grey squirrels. Buddy had a gun of some kind, I think, and Clarence had a 410 shotgun and I had a 22 automatic rifle.
I was riding in the back of the pickup and Bud was driving. Clarence was sitting on the passenger side. We had seen a couple of squirrels but hadn’t gotten close enough to take a shot at one.
Just then a huge buck deer jumped up from the left side of the road and ran down the road a short ways and stopped and looked back at us. Clarence yelled for me to shoot it and Buddy agreed so I got off a shot but the deer jumped for the right side of the road. I snapped two more shots off at him and we stopped the car and ran up to where he had gone over the side. We heard a crash, like something crashing through the brush down the hill aways.
The hill was really steep and the shale rock made it very slippery but we headed down anyhow, slipping and sliding as we went. About fifty yards we found the deer. I had hit him in the neck, just below his head and he only lived a few seconds, just long enough to crash through the weeds.
There was a small dam of a sort, probably made by water running off the hill and getting stuck between Manzanita trees. (They look more like bushes than trees. They look a lot like small, Mesquite trees of Texas.) The buck had landed just below one of these dams and we could see it would be impossible to get him up the hill, even with all three of us hauling on him.
He was a big Mule Deer, in rut, and weighing at least a hundred and twenty of thirty pounds. His neck was swollen up very big because of him rutting. (Ready for a fight with another buck for the privilege of having sex with a cute little doe around here somewhere.)
Then we remembered there was another road on down the hill about a couple of hundred yards. The big problem was, deer hunting easeon had closed the day before and we had to be very careful to not get caught by a forest Ranger or game warden.
We decided to go back home nad use Buddy’s car to come back and get the deer. We couldn’t skin or gut him here because we would be too obvious. So we did that.
After dark, we drove back and, after looking for a while, found the deer. We had a heck of a time getting him down the hill. Below the little dam he had fallen through was another one just like it. It was as if this had been planned just to make us work hard.
We dragged him over to the little dam and tipped him up and let him go. It was very dark and we couldn’t see it was a long way down over the last dam. We thought he would never hit the ground but he finally did. It was lucky for him he was dead. Otherwise the last fall would have killed him anyway!
To make a long story shorter, we finally got that deer into the trunk of my brother’s car and got back across the dam without getting caught. We took the deer to Buddy’s house and strung him up on a rafter in the garage and gutted and skinned him.
My wife, Maggie, Bud’s wife, Mary Ann and Clarences wife, (my sister) Mickey cooked up a platter of back strap that night and it sure was good, but, boy was it gamey! It made us pretty gassy and, when one of us cut one, we’d all have to go outside to get some air! It was terrible! But, it was worth it.


Friday, August 22, 2008

'So Long' to a Great Guy...

I just learned that a great guy died a few days ago. He was Chester Smith of Modesto.
Some of you may not know who Chester Smith is,-or was. He was a young fellow, an Okie who came to California from Oklahoma way back when the depression was on and dust storms blew the land away from the farmers and blew the farmers to California, the land of opportunity.

Chester's family came to California from Oklahoma just like we came from Texas and all the other Okies came to California from somewhere, looking for something better.
Chester was a singer as long as I can remember, probably as long as he could remember.

When Chester was just a youngster, he finagled a disk-jockey job at KTRB Radio Station in Modesto. My family and I listened to many of his programs. He always started with a song by him and his guitar then played whatever was popular at the time.

The first time I saw Ferlin Huskey was on Chester’s disc jockey show on KTRB, Modesto about 1949 or so. Ferlin went by the name of Terry Preston, also known by his comic name, Simon Crum, and he did a pantomime of a motorcycle rider that was hilarious! Later Terry Preston decided to revert to his real name, Ferlin Husky.

Chester sponsored Hank Snow, Johnnie and Jack and Kitty Wells, Marty Robbins and Hank Williams, Del Reeves, Little Jimmie Dickens and many others at the Riverside Clubhouse, a big old barn in Riverbank, California.

And, of course, I have to mention Chester's long time close friend and fellow musician, Merle Haggard. Chester and Merle just recently made an album together.

Two other teen aged boys and I were having a drink of Seagram Seven whiskey out in the parking lot of the Riverbank Clubhouse during a break in one of Hank Williams shows when a tall, skinny man all dressed in white(they could have been brown-I don't remember for sure)western clothes walked up to us and asked,"Do you boys know where a man can get a drink around here?" It was Hank!
You bet we did! We handed him the bottle and he wiped the rim on his sleeve and took a big pull! We chatted for a few minutes and passed the bottle around a couple of times and he said he had to get back to work and he thanked us for the drink! It was the highlight of my life up until then and I've always thanked Chester for that opportunity.

And when Lefty Frizzell was beginning to get popular, it helped that Chester played Lefty's music on his DJ show on KTRB almost every day for several weeks.
Back around 1990 or so, a bunch of us ex-Okies had a Little Okie, Airport District reunion jam session and dance at the Legion Hall at Legion Park. I lived at Orland at that time and had no idea of who would show up but my wife and I drove to Modesto and got to the hall at around six PM or so.

The music started before long and I’ll give you one guess at who showed up and sang a couple of songs with us! It was Chester Smith. He knew many of us because we had gone to his drive-in cafe for cherry cokes as well as to the radio station to watch him DJ when he had celebrities performing.

My sister, Joan, went on a date with him to the Jumping Frog Jubilee right after he broke up with Ann, his first wife. She said he was a perfect gentleman.
I could go on for a long time about Chester but you can look him up on the net and find out all you may want to know about him.
I never knew how well off he was financially until now but I know what a great fellow he was when I knew him, way back when, and I'm sure he didn't change.

So, if you didn’t know Chester personally, you really don’t know him. You can take my word for it. Chester Smith was a great guy I hate to see him go but I'm glad I knew him.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

He Couldn't Make It This Time..

Well, (I say that a lot) Lefty couldn't make it to our Jam Session this time. He sent a message that he had a prior appointment with Hank Williams to hum a song or something of that nature.
Lefty and Hank used to play music together sometimes. They'd flip a coin to see who played first at whatever club or beer joint where they were appearing.

And, to make matters worse, there was no ice cream! I don't remember what excuse Loretta had for not making it! She was sick or taking someone to the hospital for a snakebite or something like that! Oh well! But it was a fun session. With only a few musicians it seemed a bit more personal than usual.

One regular had other business and the two who usually rode with her averred they hadn't the money for gas to travel such a distance.
One guy told another jammer he just couldn't afford to buy the gas, then he gave him a beer and offered him a cigarette. Well, who knew?

Anyhow, it was a fun day. I did a Lefty Frizzell song called,"Always Late," and Mi Espousa, La Donna d'el Nebraska (a little Mex lingo here for; my wife, Donna from Nebraska-then Castro Valley) did a couple of songs and the rest of the singers did their things and then we all ate.

The food was good and there was plenty of it. (but no I-C-E C-R-E-A-M!) We all had a good time.

Donna and I went to the creek yesterday and the day before. We found quite a bit of gold including one pretty good sized nugget. And we got some good exercise. I lost some weight,- one and a fifth ounces. Only thirty two more trips to the creek and I'll lose a pound! 'yuk'


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Well, It's Jammin' Time Agin...

So here we go again, headed for the big Jam Session at Paskenta. (You gotta look real clost to see it on the map-or in person) It's always fun, though, and now that the weather is so hot, Loretta makes ice cream to cool us off! Yum,-Yum!!!

(Here's a picture of my baby,-no, not Mi Espousa La Donna!-my Guild--it ain't no SJ 200 Gibson but I think Lefty 'will understand and say Well Done' -sounds like another song)

I decided to do a couple of Lefty Frizzell songs today. I haven't done them in a long time. Luckily, most of the Jammers are old enough to remember who Lefty is,-or was. He's gone to the Big Jam Session in the Sky now but I understand each time someone here in the flesh (heavy on 'the flesh') sings one of his songs, he shows up and says 'Hello!' Now, at least that's what I've been led to believe. I'll let you know what happens.



Thursday, August 07, 2008

Things Happen Sometimes...

I just read Walker, Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris's) column and was touched by the story he told of a homeless man. Here is a link to it and I sincerely hope some of you read it. I could tell it to you but it wouldn't be as good as Chuck telling it.

Things do happen sometimes. Chucks' story reminded me of something my mother did when I was a young man.

Here is a picture of Mom about the time I am telling about.

We were in Modesto, my home town, and I was taking my mother somewhere in my car, over to South Modesto, I don't remember exactly where or for what.

As we drove by a bridge, Mom saw a homeless man, a tramp or hobo, whichever you prefer him called. She told me to pull up and stop by him and, with a question mark above my head, I did.

I axed her what she was doing and she answered by getting out and speaking to the man. She asked his name and he told her and she asked where he was going and he replied, he had no place in particular in mind.

Now, you need to remember, this was a long time ago and homeless men were just tramps or winos. But mother didn't worry about such things. She asked the man when he had eaten last and he told her then she told him to get into the car and he did.

My mother is a person who would allow no back-talk from any of her kids, even if they were in their twenties, as I was then. She always knew what was and wasn't right and never found herself needing to ask for advice from anyone.(except God)

When we reached our house, mother told the man to take off his clothes and take a bath while she washed and dried them. She gave him some trousers and a shirt to wear while his dried. She filled the bath tub and he went into the bathroom and did what he was told.

After he had his bath, Mom cooked a chicken and fried some potatoes and made biscuits and, after she said grace, we all ate.

Then we sat and talked for a while while his clothes dried. It was summer and windy and the drying didn't take long.

Then the man asked my mother why she was doing this for him; what did she want from him and she said she was doing it because she thought it needed to be done. She said a 'thank you' would be enough.

After his clothes dried, we took him back to where we picked him up and let him out of the car. He thanked my mother and asked God to bless her and she told him, God had already blessed her.

I never asked her why she did what she did that day. I never thought I needed to.

At the beginning, I said,"Things Happen Sometimes;" It's because of people like my mother (and Chuck Norris) that things do, indeed, happen sometimes.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Words of Wisdom...Obviously Written By a Former Soldier...

Thanks, Gail!

New Direction for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters:
Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry' We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brain teaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training.
Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone out run a bullet.

An18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way.

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple of million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them.

If nothing else, put us on border patrol....we will have it secured the first night!

Share this with your senior friends. It's purposely in big type so they can read it.