Saturday, October 29, 2011

Haloween Eve Eve

It's getting close to Halloween and the sunshine outside today gave us the perfect opportunity to get some ooky spooky  decorations up. Most of the front yard is done. Black plastic trash bags cut into strips make a great backdrop to the front porch. When the wind blows they flutter and give a eerie feeling when it's dark outside.

Anthony, Lisa and I made a guillotine complete with a "blood" soaked blade. The severed head will be placed in the basket on Monday. Ah yes, a warm cozy, Hallmark, sort of family moment.

We also made a witch that appears to have flown directly into the column. That should get a few chuckles.

Tomorrow we will turn the garage into a haunted house. Mad science lab, Coffin with a demented zombie, Spiders with webs, snakes... yep, it's gonna be scary fun. On Monday we'll open the garage door and let the little monsters from the neighborhood come in and see our monsters. Lots of treats to hand out too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Picture

It's time for the final installment of The Ten Day Challenge.
Today we are asked to post one picture of our self.

With Halloween just around the corner I thought what better shot to share with you than one of me
all dressed up and ready to P A R T Y !

I was somewhere between 19-21 years old. Dang... look how skinny I was, emphasis on the word "was".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Songs

Today's prompt for The Ten Day Challenge is two songs. Seriously... just two?

Music is such an interesting medium. It can bring people together under a common interest and it can also cause great divides due to personal taste and style preferences. I like a pretty wide range of music types and I don't think it would be right to say there are any that I hate.

I don't care much for Opera, but even so, hearing it live is nothing short of amazing. I was weaned on Rock and Roll, so that would have to be my favorite, but I also like Country. Go Figure. I thought I didn't like Rap until I heard some that had a positive message. So much different than the gangster variety that gets the attention. I've found some New Age stuff that's pretty cool. and I remember listening to a East Indian CD that I really liked. Jazz, Blues, the list goes on.

So how does one select two songs from all that's available to choose from? I think the answer is simply this. You choose two and know full well that they would likely be different selections on any given day, week, month or year.

So the two that I pick for this moment in time are:

"Three Wooden Crosses" by Randy Travis 


"Love To Love" by UFO

Clicking on the titles will allow you to listen to them via You Tube

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Backyard

From this week's writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

"My Backyard"

The distinctive smell of flat stale beer and the omnipresent haze from a number of lit cigarettes both past and present, announced to the senses that I had walked into Callahan's.

An Irish Pub by designation was this neighborhood watering hole, which sadly, served as a home away from home to its usual cast of characters. Many of them were already assembled as often was the case by this time of the afternoon.

Mickey, a Goliath sized man with hands resembling that of a full sized Kodiak bear sat next to his long time friend Bruce Tate. They were jawing back and forth about something of little consequence as was generally their M.O. Politics I think it was today, but it could have easily been about the raw deal their foreman was giving them, or how much those god-damned A Rabs, as they so eloquently called them, were getting for a barrel of crude oil. It mattered not, because the subject of their debates may have changed from one day to the next, but their disdain for nearly everything outside of a couple of whiskeys was the one constant in their pathetic lives.

In the back corner, the only spot in the place with decent lighting was Frank. He was on his fourth of fifth pint by this point and his dart throwing skills were already showing the ill effects of his buzz. He'd only be another beer or two away from challenging anyone and everyone who'd pony-up a ten spot for a game. It was downright comical watching him drop his money repeatedly each time he'd get a taker. Still he tried and still he failed miserably.

Vivian was sitting at the end of the dark mahogany bar intently eying the door in anticipation of  the next businessman to walk in. Her advancing age and less than attractive lifestyle had deposited deep lines upon her face, much like a well traveled road in need of significant repair. Trying desperately to compensate for her shortcomings for what many would consider beauty, she typically wore bright colored, tight fitting tops with a low cut opening in front. Showing off her ample size on top she found, helped draw men in much the same way sugar beckons ants to come closer and have a taste. It seemed to be an effective ploy, because the upholstered bar stool next to her never stayed empty for any length of time. Another mark in her favor was the dim lighting of the old pub which helped her cause immensely.

Then their was Shamus, the owner and barkeep of this padded sewer. He was dressed in his usual attire of black slacks with a permanent crease from their no-iron polyester chemistry and a white button down the front shirt with sleeves rolled up just past the wrist. He also wore a hunter green apron  that hung just below his stomach and a matching bow tie. His once auburn colored hair gave way to more of a gray hue these days, and his voice once strong and boisterous was now subdued and scratchy from years of inhaling the toxic smoke of his patrons.

I ordered a bourbon and coke and retreated to a table along the south wall. There was a cribbage board sitting on the table that had four matchsticks placed in the holes replacing the colored pegs that had long since disappeared. From their positions I could tell the last game had not ended well for one of the players. The one using matches that had the burnt tips had been skunked, most certainly giving bragging rights to his partner.

I moved the wooden game board and deck of old stained playing cards to the adjacent table and opted for the newspaper that was there instead. The front page headline immediately caught my eye.

"Gruesome discovery leaves police questioning why?" was stretched out in bold black letters. I felt a warm rush as I dove into the words that followed. The police had discovered the remains of at least four bodies so far and were continuing their search, it explained. My fingers tugged playfully with the curly brown hairs adorning my chin and a content smile washed over my face.

"The police may have questions," I thought, "but I have all the answers."

About this same time Shamus reached up to the TV set that was perched above the end of the bar from a large metal arm. Pressing the inset button on the panel, he turned up the volume to hear the newscaster announcing some sort of breaking news.

It was channel eight and Kohr Daniels, the regular evening anchor chimed in, "We interrupt your regular programming to bring you this special report. Police have descended on a local home and at this moment are searching for yet more victims following yesterday's terrible discovery of four bodies in rural Brunswick County. We take you now to Crystal Chong who is live at the scene."

The steel faced anchor with the square jaw continued with, "We're getting reports that the police have found at least three more bodies. Is that right Crystal?"

Video coverage from their news helicopter showed an all too familiar location as the smooth skinned Asian reporter provided the commentary.

"That's right Kohr." Chong said with a voice that was strong, yet conveyed a feeling of concern.

"As you can see, local police as well as a host of other agencies have converged on this once quiet suburban neighborhood."

"It's an unbelievable scene here." she continued, "Right now they are using ground penetrating radar and are looking for voids in the subterranean surface in hopes of finding what they think will be quite a number of previously missing people."

"What kind of sick bastard does something like that?" Shamus uttered, just loud enough for everyone to hear.

Quietly I got up, folded the paper and tucked it under my arm as I started for the door. I knew I needed to get going before they showed a picture of the owner of the home they were at. I knew this because they were at this very moment, digging in my backyard.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Three Films

We're coming into the homestretch on The Ten Day Challenge, with today's topic of Three Films.

It's interesting to me that at the beginning part of this challenge it seemed difficult to come up with enough answers for the prompt and now it's the exact opposite. Only selecting three films seems an impossible challenge. Do you pick the ones you love? How about the ones you despise? There are ones that make you cry and ones that make you laugh out loud. (That's lol for all you Facebook users and texters out there). Yes, there is a movie for every emotion and life situation you can think of and to limit the choices to three... that's tough.

Oh well, it is what it is.

Here are three movies that came to mind as I was contemplating this post. I'm quite sure if I were to do this again tomorrow, the list would be completely different though.

1. From 1988 "Big" stars Tom Hanks as a young boy who is magically transformed into a 30 year old adult thanks to the coin-op fortune telling machine, "Zoltar Speaks". It's a pretty cute story overall, but what makes this movie memorable to me is because it's what my wife and I watched on our first date. (Insert a great big mushy "Awwwww" here)

2. Going backwards a few years is the 1936 musical, "The Great Ziegfeld". Although I'm not real big on musicals generally, I do love movies from this era. Well before the special effects, digital sound editing and unbelievably huge budgets of today, there were these gems where quality acting and beautiful stage scenes were the key. The dance number in which this giant rotating spiral staircase was a pivotal piece of is a magnificent work of art. While watching it, what makes it even more impressive is knowing that the entire scene (several minutes long with an immense amount of choreography) was done with a single shot. No second takes, not multiple cameras, no splice editing, just one continuous, amazing shot!

3. In 1975 Jack Nicholson led a cast of crazies in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" I've seen this film several times and I still enjoy it as much as I did the first time. I can not imagine anyone else in the role of McMurphy other than Nicholson. In my opinion he was the perfect fit. And don't forget about the despicable Nurse Ratchet played by Louise Fletcher. Didn't you just want to strangle her to death? Oh ya, McMurphy just about does. The electric shock therapy scenes put a chill down my spine every time too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Books

Time to return to The Ten Day Challange. Today's topic: Four Books

At first I started thinking about which four novels I'd list. A tough challenge for sure having to narrow that list to only four. Then I started thinking about another set of books that have held my attention for quite some time. A little bit of a spin on the challenge I suppose.

The following four books from my library would unlikely be designated as light reading by anyone. They do however, represent approximately 4,200 combined pages of some of the most detailed  information you'll find anywhere on the subject of French/American cooking. I truly love these books and refer back to them often when I'm working in the kitchen.

1. "Larousse Gastronomique"
This is not your typical cookbook at all. In fact, there isn't a single recipe that I recall seeing in between its two covers. Instead, this is an encyclopedia for all things food. Not exactly what you'd consider a "page turner", but as a reference tool, it's unparalleled.

2. "The New Professional Chef"
Produced by the Cullinary Institute of America, This in depth book should be owned by anyone that's serious about the culinary arts. The recipes are geared for restaurant sized portions, but in most cases with the proper calculations, can be scaled down for home use.

3. "The Professional Pastry Chef"
Written by Bo Friberg, this book is nothing short of amazing. I was fortunate enough, as was my wife, to have trained with Bo while at the Culinary Institute of America and let me tell you, working side by side with this guy was incredible. This is one of those cook books that you don't just simply pick up and decide, "Hmmm, I think I'll make this recipe today." without first having a firm grasp on the world of baking and pastry. For those willing to invest the time, this book is an invaluable resource.

4. "The Way to Cook"
Written by none other than Julia Child. This book is the smallest of the bunch, but at approximately 500  pages, it is still quite beefy. (pun intended). If you want an all purpose cookbook that will have you whipping up dishes like a pro, buy this book. It has excellent tips and very clear recipes to follow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A New Word

We temporarily interrupt the Ten Day Challenge to bring you this new word just created by yours truly.

1. To be preached to fervently.

As in:
I went to a Southern Baptist church on Sunday and the preacher shouted hell, fire and brimstone from the pulpit for an hour straight. I got pastorized.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five Foods

Food... ah, glorious food. Like water, but with more flavor, it's something we can't live without. A trip to the bathroom scales tells me I could probably live with a little less though!

Be that as it may, today's question from the Ten Day Challenge is "Five Foods", so here are some of my favorites and one that is clearly not.

Photo from

1. Prime Rib. Looking at that picture almost makes me feel sorry for vegetarians... well, almost. One of the great things about prime rib is that it's usually accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy. That combo could easily make my list too, but for now I'll just leave it here where it belongs, right next to that salt & pepper crusted, fat laiden, aromatic  P R I M E    R I B !!!

Photo by avlxyz on Flicker

2. Sushi seems to be one of those love or hate type of foods. Here's a little tidbit about me: When I was working in the restaurant industry, I spent a small stint working at a sushi bar. I was the only round eye there and as I look back on that experience I can't help but think about how cool that was.

Photo from

3. There are a number of desserts that rank up there in the "I like" category, but making the top of the list would be Creme Burlee. The simple ingredients, (egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla) work perfectly together. I love the crisp caramelized sugar on top along with the chilled, velvety custard.

Photo from

4. I've always enjoyed a good Salad Bar. We used to go to the Sizzler from time to time when I was growing up. I remember them having a great salad bar. It can be an entire meal in itself.

Photo from

5. It's my opinion that anyone who would willingly eat an artichoke should have his or her head examined. It's a thistle people! It makes me wonder at what point some poor misguided soul went out into the sticker patch, looked at the knobby, green leafed bulb at the end of the stalk and said, "Wow, now that looks tasty! Think I'll take it inside, steam the snot out of it and then scrape the leaves against my teeth to enjoy the paste like substance contained within." One word   Y U C K !!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Six Places

Today's installment of the Ten Day Challenge asks us about six places. Here's my two cents worth.

1. As a place this one's as big as it gets. I've always been fascinated with space.I took an astronomy class in college and it captured both my rational understanding and my imagination. With every answer we get, there are at least a hundred questions that follow.
Courtesy of

2. I mentioned the Pacific Ocean before in my lists of "Loves". I've enjoyed beaches from Baja to Washington. Running in the early morning hours along Moonlight Beach. The Blow Hole in Ensenada. Crabbing on the Oregon Coast... A lot of fond memories.

3.Washington DC is an amazing place. I went there about twenty-five years ago. I toured the Capitol Mall and was in awe of all the history that surrounded me there. The Lincoln memorial wowed me, but the most humbling experience was standing in the middle of Arlington Cemetery. I didn't know a single person who'd been laid to rest there, but I found myself standing there weeping at all the loss. I've never had a place move me like that before or since.

4. There's a place in eastern Oregon  near Sunriver where there are lava tubes underground that you can walk through. We went during the summer and even though the temps outside were in the 90's, the temp in the caves was only around 40. It stays pretty consistent throughout the year because they are about seventy feet below the surface. Walking through them with the family holding lanterns and flashlights was pretty cool. Literally and figuratively.

5. One of my favorite places is San Francisco. I spent my young adult life living about an hour north of the city. Italian food at North Beach...yum! Giants and 49ers games at Candlestick Park...usually pretty cold, but a bunch of fun. I always got to play tour guide when friends would come to visit. BTW- October is usually a great month to go there. Even though I've lived in the Portland area for more than ten years now, I still consider the bay area home.
Photo By: Rich Niewiroski Jr.

6. Midland Texas is one place I have absolutely no desire to ever go to again...Ever! My oldest brother and his wife lived there for a brief time many years ago. Mom and I went there to visit once and I can remember it being the flattest place I've ever seen. I think the highest hill there was actually a freeway overpass! I also remember experiencing the wildest thunder and lightning storm ever while there. We were in a mobile home and that did not help me feel any more secure.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seven Wants

After a brief break for some fiction, it's time to get back to the Ten Day Challenge.

For reference I picked this up from a newly found blog called "Carp Dime"

You can also check out CrystalChick who just started it up today.

Today is a list of seven wants:

1. I want to turn on the evening news and hear the following, "Today marks the tenth anniversary of peace between Egypt and Israel."

2. I want to open up my monthly mortgage statement and see, "Balance Due - $0.00"

3. I want to travel more. There are a number of destinations in this country I'd like to visit.

4. I want telemarketers to drop off the face of the earth.

5. I want to drive the I5 & 217 split just one time without some moron darting into the exit lane in the very last possible second.

6. I want to see  my father again. I miss him.

7. I want to learn sign language.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Are Here

 From this week's writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings

"You Are Here"

If you were to ask who had the coolest mom, we'd have told you hands down it was Gary Butler's mom, Mrs "B". Heck, she was probably the best in Alpine Springs, maybe even in the whole state.

On those long hot days of summer Mrs B would always have a big plate of bologna and cheese sandwiches for us to munch on and a pitcher of of ice cold lemon-aid to quench our thirsts.

Sunday's were one of my favorite days to happen by Gary's  place. Like most of us back then he had a house with one of those big covered porches in front and you could bet your bicycle Mrs B would be sitting on the bench swing reading from an old tattered black, leather bound Bible. You also knew on the table next to her would be a large ceramic platter with a couple dozen freshly baked cookies.

I never realized until that summer that there were so many different kinds of cookies. She made oatmeal-raisen ones and little ball shaped ones dusted with powdered sugar. There were round scalloped edged ones with jam filled centers. There were peanut butter cookies complete with criss crosses on top and then there were my favorites of course, chocolate chip with walnuts. Those in particular were best when they were still warm in the center from the oven and you could smell the melted chocolate hovering in the air.

The cookies sat there ready for the taking, but they did come with one small price. Before we could have one, (or two, or three) she'd read a verse from the good book and then ask each person if she could pray for them. Saying yes was never a prerequisite to getting your treat, but we always figured it wouldn't hurt either. Most of us thought it was a little goofy at the time, but now that I sit here all these years later preparing my sermon for the upcoming Sunday service I remember Mrs B's cookies and prayers and it puts a smile on my aging face.

The weekly trip to the cookie laden platter was great, but there was one other thing Mrs B did that clearly put her into the "Mom Hall of Fame".

It was the last week in August when summer vacation was coming to a close and the threat of another school year loomed on the horizon. I think Gary's mom knew we needed a boost and boy oh boy did she come through in a big way.

Making the rounds from one buddy's house to another, we eventually ended up at Gary's, and there it was. Hanging on the back fence was a hand drawn map. Not just any map mind you, but a fell fledged treasure map, complete with an "X" marking a yet undisclosed location. Scribed at the bottom in elegant handwriting were the words, "Young pirates... An adventure awaits you. Go forth, follow the clues and you will find the hidden gold!". It was signed, "Mrs Blackbeard".

I'm sure they heard us three counties away as we danced about cheering and shouting. With the speed of a gold medal relay team we tore around the side of the house to the front porch where a smiling Mrs B was waiting. Dressed in black pants, a white blouse and a scarlet sash tied around her mid section, she definitely looked the part of the piratess. She even had one of those traditional black flags with the skull and cross bones on it flying proudly where she normally kept one of her flower pattered ones.

"Where is it?"

Where's the gold Mrs B?", we cried loudly.

Through her ear to ear grin she handed us a rolled up scroll and said simply, "You found the map and now you have the clues to go along with it. Take them and find your gold."

Then she interjected, "Oh, and before you go, you may want these."

The "These" she was referring to was a bag full of bandannas, eye patches, feathers for our hair and even a couple of plastic swords. Yep, we were unmistakably a band of pirates now and were ready for our quest.

The next two or so hours would take us all over the neighborhood and even through the nearby park. From one discovery to the next, we trudged about, hooping and hollering all the way. With swords raised high we practiced our "Arrrgh's" and "Aye Matey's".

Up trees and over fences we went hoping each clue would be the one that ultimately led us to our treasure, and that's when we found it; the clue that said, "Congratulations young pirates, you've made it this far. Now go to Blackbeard's hideout and look for the X."

We knew exactly what it meant. Blackbeard's hideout was Mrs B's house.

"I knew it!" we all yelled. Like being shot from a cannon we took off for Gary's pla... that is, Blackbeard's place.

Once again we found Mrs B on the front porch.

"Where's the X?" we squealed.

Shrugging her shoulders and lifting her palms up she said, "Don't know. Maybe out back?"

That's all we needed. Around back we went like a flash. Pinned to the fence just where we started was a new note. This one said, "You are here". Below it was freshly tilled soil with a giant X placed on top of it fashioned out of golden fabric and leaning on the cedar fenced next to it was a shovel.

Gary got the honors and started digging. A few scoops in we all heard a "Clank!" Dropping the shovel Gary and the rest of us fell to our knees and started pawing at the dirt unearthing the small metal box that now doubled as a treasure chest. We lifted it out of the ground and popped open the lid. Our eyes opened wide and jaws fell agape as we looked inside. Dozens and dozens of gold coins lay glistening before us in the late summer sunlight. They were chocolate filled of course, but as far as we were concerned, they were pure gold.


Dedicated to my mom who was and still is a Mrs B mom.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Eight Fears

Day three of ten.

Today we look at eight things that give me angst.

1. I'm afraid of dying. This is not to be confused with death itself mind you. Being dead really doesn't bother me. I'm quite at peace with where I'll be after my time on this earth is done, it's the actual process of dying I'm not to keen on. There are too many ugly ways of meeting the end and none of them seem like ones I want to have to endure.

2. Potato bugs. YUCK!!! I can handle spiders, snakes and all other sorts of creepy crawlies, but these prehistoric looking one ounce pieces of nasty just plain freak me out!

3. Heights. I'm sure it's a type of vertigo. Actually being up high, such as on a tall building or a bridge for instance, doesn't bug me tremendously unless I'm at the edge and that's when I feel the imaginary pull. I know it's not real and I know it's not rational, but it still scares me just the same.

4. Not trying. This is a fear that seems to have a reverse effect and actually empowers me. I'm afraid I'll be an old man and realize I didn't take a chance when I should have. This fear has caused me to take calculated risks; most of which have proven to be good choices. Not all, but most.

5. Dancing. Maybe fear is a strong word for this one, but I realize I completely suck at it so my fear is that I'll look like an idiot out on the dance floor.

6. Not being a good enough father. I try to find a balance between providing for my boys, (i.e. working) and spending time with them. It's a constant challenge.

7. That I won't make it to number eight without running out of fears to talk about.

8. Scary movies. Don't like them; not one little bit. I remember as a kid going to watch some horror flick with my older brothers I'd make sure to have a really BIG soda. That way I could pretend to be taking a drink from it when a scary part was coming up, when in actuality I was merely hiding my eyes within the rim of the cup!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nine Loves

The next installment of the 10 day challenge.

Nine of my Loves

1. My family. Ya ya, I know, maybe it's a cheesy answer, but seriously, I have a great family. My wife and I are coming up on 20 years of marriage. We were friends before we were lovers and we've managed to grow closer over the years. I/we have two boys and they're pretty darned good kids if I do say so myself.

2. Quite possibly the worlds most perfect food... Ice Cream. Most flavors are good, but for me, nothing beats Chocolate Chip!

3. The San Francisco 49ers. I was a fan back when Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young and the rest of the gang were racking up Super Bowl rings. I've continued to be a fan in recent years too, even though the wins haven't been as easy to come by.

4. I love a great comedy as well as a good tragedy.

5. Jesus Christ. He loved me first and I now I love him.

6. I'm typically on the go all the time. Camping is one of the few things that allows me to completely relax.

7. The ocean. All of my adult life I've lived within two hours of the Pacific Ocean. Maybe I'm part fish (I am a Pisces after all), but there is something that draws me to the sand and surf.

8. My yellow lab Bianca. She's been a faithful companion for about nine years now.

9. Honesty. It may not always be the easiest path to take, but I really value people who are honest with me, and perhaps more importantly, with themselves.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Saw this at a new blog I've discovered and thought about giving it a whirl as well.

Where I discovered it: "Carp Dime"

Where he got it: "Ha Ha, Wait. What?"

Before that? I have no idea and besides, I think that's quite enough link love for one sitting.

Day One - Ten Secrets

1. I put pizza boxes in the curbside recycle can even though it clearly states not to do that. Their clean, their cardboard... deal with it!

2. My real name is Jeff

3. I once went two days without changing my undies. My mother would be mortified to know this. Sssshh.

4. I can't tell you number four... it's a secrete.

5. I once took a twenty dollar bill OUT of the offering basket at church when it went by.

6. I have a crush on Cameron Diaz. OK, so she's probably the only one that doesn't know this little tidbit, but doesn't that make it a secrete as far as she's concerned?

7. Number five is a bold faced lie. Made ya wonder about me though didn't it?

8. Easily 99.9% of the Christmas presents my mother-in-law has given me over the years have ended up at either Goodwill or Salvation Army. Let's just say her taste in clothes is a bit different than mine.

9. I learned to write in cursive way back when, but I never write that way. I always print.

10. I've been known to bring my own candy bar into the theater. By doing this over the past 30+ years I've probably saved a few hundred dollars, or about three large tubs of popcorn.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Call

A writing prompt from "Sunday Scribblings".

"The Call"

The time on the game clock showed a mere eight seconds left. West Slope High had been controlling the tempo of the game for the better part of the evening, but our boys from East Ridge fought back fiercely and managed to narrow the gap to a manageable three points. It was now what everybody on our side of the cold aluminum bleachers hoped for, a final push down the rain soaked field culminating into a "W" for us.

During the previous down, Cody Grant, our six-two, all American quarterback dropped back three steps for a pass play into the well protected pocket his linemen created . Unfortunately, when he went to plant his foot for a throw, he slipped in the mud and went down. It was no surprise though, because where there used to be lush green turf before the torrential rains of the evening and the constant trampling by all the boys in cleats was now nothing more than a giant mud hole. Somehow, miraculously it seemed, Cody regained his footing and squirmed to the left, narrowly missing being crushed by West Slope's Goliath of a defensive tackle.  Scrambling, Cody found a receiver down field and let go of the perfect spiral. Our wide receiver David Bradly had managed to stay one step ahead of the defender and with outstretched arms grabbed the ball as it fell perfectly into his grasp. As he hit the ground, he slid (more like hydroplaned) another six yards before being touched by West Slope's safety and ruled down.

Using our last time out, Coach Hacket stopped the clock with only eight ticks left. The ball was on the twelve yard line, and on a good night, well within field goal range. He knew he had a tough choice to make and the remaining time would only allow for one play. A field goal would tie the game and send it into overtime, but the conditions of the field made what would have normally been a easy shot, into a probable one at best. A touchdown would signal a win and would also garner him a Gatorade bath from the boys on the sidelines. On the flip side, he knew if they went for it and were unsuccessful, their season would abruptly come to an end.

With the game on the line and the advancement to the state championships at stake, Coach Hacket was prepared to take his chances with the ball on the ground. He called a reverse, banking on the defense looking for another pass play. As the team stood huddled in a large circle on the sideline, Coach gave them the play and called out, "East Ridge on three. One, Two, Three...", and all the players shouted in unison, "EAST RIDGE!"

Eleven mud soaked boys walked to the line with cheers from the stands encouraging them on. The referee blew his whistle signaling the ball ready for play. Cody started his cadence yelling out, "Blue forty-two. Blue forty-two. Hut, hut, hike..." and the center snapped the ball into his waiting hands. The defense sent most of their guys into coverage expecting a pass, but didn't completely sell out, sending a tackle off the strong side toward Cody. It was exactly what Coach had hoped for. Cody dropped back a few steps and handed the ball off to the running back Derrick Combs who reversed direction and took it up the weak side toward the end zone. As he raced across the five yard line, the defense adjusted and was barring down on him. Coming up on the end zone he was met by a wall of red jerseys with only one intent; stopping him from crossing the line.

With the clock at zero and a pile of players in both red and white uniforms mixed with brownish mud and green grass stains, the referee blew his whistle. The game was officially over and somewhere at the bottom of the pile was the football. The only question was, did Derrick manage to cross into the end zone or not? With everyone in the stands on our feet we waited for the call as the refs pulled bodies off the pile one by one.

After a few seconds, which seemed more like hours as we watched, the two line judges looked at each other, nodded their heads in agreement and simultaneously threw both their arms straight up into the air signaling "TOUCHDOWN!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comments Open

Thanks to a friend, it was pointed out that I forgot to turn the comments back on when I fired this blog back up. I think we're good to go again.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mares Eat Oats

 I'm not sure what triggers certain memories of my dad, but whatever the reason, I had one today.

We were driving down the highway in his old red Dodge truck and he was singing a song from 1944 by the Pied Pipers called, "Mares Eat Oats".

I must have only been six or maybe seven years old, but I can still picture that moment in time as if it happened yesterday. We were in Susanville, California and it was a crystal clear day with a deep blue sky overhead as we zipped down the road. I can smell the Ponderosa Pines and other evergreens that covered the mountainous landscape. The dashboard of the truck was quite simplistic by today's standards. A few gauges and the trusty old radio. Remember when radios had four or five black push buttons on them for presets? This was one of those types.

Of all the things I remember about this snippet in time, my favorite is seeing my dad with a sheepish grin on his face singing in his deep voice, "Mares it oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you. A kid'll eat ivy to wouldn't you..."

If you're so inclined and would like to hear the song, I've included the link below.

I love when these memories flash back across the brainwaves.

Here's the link

He's Baaaaack

Tap, Tap, Tap....

Hello... is this thing on?

I've been away from this blog for about a year and a half now. Wow! I put together another blog and wrote on it for a bit, but that didn't seem to stick. All the change came form my worrying too much about what other people thought about me. "What if I say this? What if I say that?"Maybe you know the feeling.

Well, in the words of Popeye "I am what I am."

I've decided that I'm reconciled with Christ and frankly that's all that matters. He knows my heart and my intentions. The rest of the world can choose to like me or not and neither is going to make a flipping bit of difference in another hundred years.

So why come back now after the loooooong hiatus? Well, I miss writing; whether it's a short story or jusrt a paragraph about something trivial. Perhaps in between my chaotic schedule I'll find the time to pen a few words now and again. Facebook is alright, but it doesn't afford the same creative outlet I'm looking for.

So if you happen to still have this site in your reader and you've come back for another look... Thank you.

More to follow soon... really!