Did You Ever See a Snake Smile?

My head was spinning as I got on the bus. My first REAL kiss. Oh, I’d kissed before but only stilted, trying to not fuck it up kisses. This one was different, totally unexpected, and mind blowing.

We, some friends from school and myself had jumped the bus from Chadron, NE to a small town some 60 miles South to Alliance, NE to go roller skating. This happened on an irregular basis as bus fair was a factor.

I had a car that my sister-in-law was in the process of blowing the motor but that was 300 miles away, but that didn’t stop us. Back then all a kid needed for travel was a Greyhound bus ticket and the patience of the Saints. No one batted an eye to see a 14 year old cutting cross country. I understand even little tykes would travel by train alone back in the War Days to stay with Grand Parents. At the time of this story I was 16 and used to the process.

We had 2 gypsies in our school, one who went by the name Montana and the other, I don’t remember. A quick side story here: One time a kid from our school didn’t show up for breakfast so a quick search party was formed and by noon the place was crawling with professionals and volunteers. Montana was the last person the kid was seen with. They were seen down by the edge of the forest just at dusk and no one believes a one-eyed gypsy that says he doesn’t know what happened to the missing kid and he didn’t do it. By the end of the second day they had Montana on lock down and the State Police weren’t messing around. On the third day the kid’s Grandma called the school and said her Grandson had just showed up. He had hitch-hiked home and didn’t even know anyone cared. He simply hadn’t told anyone he was leaving. Well, you can bet your ass that Montana cared. He was a bit different after 2 days of interrogation.

Anyway, it was the other one that was skating this eventful evening. I was a bit pissed at the gypsy kid because I had all my rules and regulations about how life ought to work and this kid didn’t give a FUCK. If what he did bothered you, he would do more of it. What pissed me off so bad was that he was so merry about it.

So this little chicky-poo was a-flirtin’ with me and this gypsy kid kept getting in the mix making my insecure life worse than it had to be and the evening closed at 11:pm, just in time for the bus heading North.

I was on the bus licking the wounds of my injured pride when a bit of commotion got me looking out the window and there she was! She was a cutie! Nice brown hair, short and bouncy and just enough tummy to let me know she wasn’t starving to death. I dashed to the door and down the steps.

“I had fun skating with you tonight. Are you guys coming back next weekend?” “I dunno know. I’m gonna try.” There was no way I could come back next weekend. I just didn’t have the money.

Suddenly she leaned in and pulled me forward with her hand on the back of my neck. She had beer on her breath. It was fantastic! I had had beer before and I hated it. Its NASTY!!!

Mmmm. Not this time. So unexpected, so raw, so sexy.

I climbed back onto the bus in a confused bliss. I couldn’t stop sucking on my lips reliving the last two minutes. Even now typing this I can still smell her breath and taste the beer.

One week later I spied her. She waved and skated my way. “I knew you’d come!”

Yes, yes I did.

She dumped me for the Gypsy that night but it was OK because the following weekend I was in Rapid City, SD at a Heart concert when the (back then) skinny blonde was playing a guitar solo. She bent down while playing and looked me straight in the eyes while I looked down the front of her shirt. She smiled and shimmied and I SAW MY FIRST TITS!

Beer Breath AND Tits!

To Quote My Grandfather 1917-2013: “Did you ever see a snake smile?”

On Human Weakness

……. And God, help me in my times of weakness… Those moments when I am distracted and fall into my traps of SKKKKRRRREEETCH.. silence… What the FUCK was THAT???

Weakness??? Are you for real? Humans aren’t weak. Where in Sam Hill did the delusion that humans are weak come from??

“But mister… I AM weak. Look, I’m not living to my full potential.” Well, OK, if you insist. For the rest of humanity though, I have an argument.

How about a Massy Fergusson Tractor. It’s parked along side the barn. Is it weak? No. Is it operating at its full potential? Also no.

The main thing is that operating at full potential is not sustainable so get over it.

During the overwhelming majority of your life that you are parked next to the barn you are still consuming tons of breakfast cereal followed by train cars worth of toilet paper. Just keep consuming while you think about life while watching TV and the entire economy will stay in operation until that day when a bumble bee flies up your skirt and you will be off and running at FULL POTENTIAL.

Go on that trip, sing at church, cook at the soup kitchen and show the world what full potential looks like and create another group that will pray for strength in times of weakness. Then park your fanny next to the shed AS A PERSON OF STRENGTH and wait for the next bee.

Maybe I’m wrong. I thought that once but was mistaken. But I have never seen a weak or unmotivated person after stepping on a hornet’s nest or had a spider crawl on their face while watching TV.

I just ain’t convinced that any human is weak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parsel Tongue

“You got it all figured out yet?” “Got what figured out?” “Anything.” “No.” “You?” “Fuck no.” He dribbled beer down his chin and wiped it with his sleeve. I glanced around the sports bra…. I mean sports BAR. Damned auto correct! It was getting late and I was about done.

A young guy was showing off a youtube video of an old geezer in a MAGA hat. He has these great gnarled knuckles wrapped around the handle of a custom made cane that helped him navigate with that curved back and heavy framed coke-bottle glasses hanging on an impossibly bulbous nose. This old bastard was suddenly and brutally attacked by three tolerant twenty-somethings and this old guy came unglued. It was quite a battle and the three could have taken him but he knocked one of them out and was doing damage to the second when the third tough guy took off like a bitch.

Crazy old bastard! Doesn’t he know he is supposed to love and accept the rights of bullies that want to encroach on his rights? Anyway, I watched the video 3 times and headed out.

The guys were discussing the craziness and why people are acting like this as I left. I thought about it while waiting for sleep to bring dreams of darkness and I decided I got it figured out.

There is a special language that is easy to learn much like Pig Latin. The difference is clear though. In Pig Latin the language is changed to be unclear and the fun is to learn to make it clear and respond in like.

In THIS special language however, the words are not changed. It is just that only special kinds of words are used that create a special experience where everyone hearing your statement thinks they understand exactly what you said and meant… AND they will tend to agree completely and feel good EVEN THOUGH YOU SAID NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE.

Even if the listener disagrees in every way with you (and still thinks they understood what you said) they will still usually not be moved to action because a part of the sub-conscious still finds agreement and pleasure in your speech.

Sometimes a person will be so disappointed in what you said because they heard what they thought you said….Not WHAT you said. And… Sometimes they will rise up passionately and follow you because of what they THOUGHT you said…. Again, NOT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY SAID….. because you said NOTHING!!!!!

When mixed with presuppositions, ambiguity, metaphor, and slippery logic, uniquely skilled users can tell the clear truth and people will believe an unstated lie or the user can lie, leading the listener to only hear a truth…. even if the truth that is heard has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with what is being spoken about. If it sounds smart, people will repeat it. If it sounds stupid people will repeat it. (George Bush anyone?)

Also clever is the changing of the meaning of words in mid stream. For instance, the word Fascism. Prior to 2009 the meaning of fascism was what it has always been and suddenly, AFTER 2009, it means Right wing conservatives or anyone who disagrees with a liberal point of view. It is astounding what I can find in the library on such tactics! There are other examples and due to basic laziness I did not include them.

There are different names for this type of ‘code talking’, usually Political Talk or fluff language. I like to call it ‘Parsel Tongue’ from Harry Potter.

This language is used professionally by attorneys, preachers, psychics, hypnotists, song and speech writers, poets, and politicians.

Although it is instantly easy to assume all who use this knowledge and skill set are using it in nefarious and dishonest ways, some of us use it to listen close and unwind the puzzle and bring understanding to the labyrinth. The basic learning takes a few days and after a hundred hours of intense listening and watching you can learn to listen in color.

I’m getting close to the point.

In the last few years 2 politicians clearly DID NOT speak in this vague nothing-language and both caused an uproar, one much more than the other. Trump and Palin.

Here is what I think happened.

When you speak Parsel Tongue, No one really knows what you are saying. Whether you know what they are saying or not, or even know what you agree with or not, there is usually a numb feeling of hopelessness that hold your passions at rest.

HOWEVER…. If you speak plain honest language… People know EXACTLY what they agree with or not. 

Add to that the fact that if you watch a plain spoken speech on split screen with the News Media reporting on it in Parsel Tongue, you can see the plain stupidity of the blatant lies.

Since the standard person listens with their emotions instead of their ears and don’t have the training to hear the weaving of dishonesty and are so conditioned to only believe what the most hysterical among them is screaming, it causes an imbalance.

Add to that that for the first time in anyone’s life a person in High Office is speaking in plain, unambiguous language, the shock of this rare occurrence is taken as a thing to be feared instead of embraced.

TADAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

It happened..

because Trump…

speaks in a language….. that      PEOPLE  CAN UNDERSTAND!!

 

NOW STOP APPLAUDING AND BRING ME MY P.H.D GODDAMMIT!!

 

 

I Wonder if I’m Racist

I knew about Indians by 3 and 1/2 to 4 years of age from cowboy movies. Grandma said when we were older we could fight Indians if we wanted but we had to wait. Later, year 5, we played Cowboy and Indians with the neighborhood kids. Sometimes there were ‘Real Indians’ and most of the time not. Among us White Kids, we all new the Whites win so we all played proper. Some of the Indian Kids however, well, some of them didn’t seem to know the rules so if they won and weren’t willing to admit defeat there was likely to be a real squabble.

Until year 7 I didn’t even know Black People existed. That was a seminal year for my racial training. I learned lots of jokes that year. A few were racist even though I didn’t know it at the time. Example:

Black Boy: My daddy just got a new Cadillac and when he honks the horn it goes ‘Honky, Honky, Honky.

White Boy: Oh yeah, MY daddy just bought a new chainsaw and IT goes RUN nigger nigger nigger, RUN nigger nigger nigger RUN nigger nigger nigger.

You know…. and a few other of such caliber.

That year was the first time I had ever been robbed. We were in Denver for something having to do with my dad’s work so I was shipped off by the company with the other kids to do ‘activities’ and while there, a small group of Blacks surrounded me in a tight circle and robbed me straight. Took my pants off, went through the pockets and threw them back at me while 2 of them held be by the throat against the wall. They left, I dressed and went about my day feeling sorry for myself. It still didn’t occur to me to think of it as racial, I just assumed that was the way Big City Folk were.

Come year 8 we had a new kid coming to our school. Our teacher had a big announcement. Something similar to the following: “OK children, listen up. We have a new boy coming into 2nd grade.” (3rd was my grade. It was a 2 room school house with grades 1-4 in one room and grades 5-8 in another room) “Now I want you to know that he is a bit different. He is a BLACK boy and he comes from MILLS.” Almost a whisper: “And you all know how THOSE people are.” We all nodded in agreement.

“Here’s the thing children, None of us want him here but the Conference says that it is the LAW that we have to accept him but that if he breaks the rules we can get him kicked out. So here’s what we want you to do. You all know how Black People say bad words and bad words aren’t allowed here at OUR school so if any of you hear him say any bad words you need to come tell me right away so we can get him expelled.” Again, we all nodded in reverent agreement.

David Howard was his name. He was my best friend for 2 years. We fought as many as 3 times during any given recess. Sudden anger, fists flying, friends again. No one got hurt cause we were to little to hurt each other. Also, we never got in trouble because fighting in the school yard was pretty normal. Boys will be boys, the saying used to go.

I learned a lot about who I’m supposed to hate that wasn’t linked to any kind of racial stuff but I’m trying to keep it clean here so I won’t mention how pedophiles from other churches were the Bad Ones. The ones from OUR church were driven by love of JESUS but they were just having a weakness and need prayers.

Looking back, I was so innocent. Steve Chavez was a Mexican half breed in high school and I thought he was a hero and I used to follow him around. I used to watch him pop zits in the mirror and wished I had zits to pop. I didn’t know at the time that I was supposed to hate Mexicans.

At 16 I ran away and went to a little town in South East Colorado and learned a lot more about that. Everywhere I went kids were telling me “Dude you can’t just talk to the Mexicans like that. They hate Whites and you’re gonna get stabbed or shot.” Well, they were mostly wrong although I do have a scar in my lower back from a pair of scissors being lodged there but it wasn’t because someone hated Whites. It was because they hated me personally.

Age 16: still not racist. Dad kept warning me and telling me stories about being in the Marines and how the Blacks seemed to like attacking Whites with knives and such.

Junior year of high school saw me off to a big government school. I got the low down. “We don’t tolerate racism here.” was the official statement. It basically worked out that if a Black hit you, you’d better NOT hit him back. If you hit a Black, you are going to jail.

They had a ‘first come, first serve’ policy at the cafeteria. However, if you were at the front of the line the Blacks would saunter past you to the front. If you said anything, YOU were racist.

Shit got real. It was at this school that I accidentally started my first Race Riot. When it happened I had no idea. As I got older, (into my 40’s) it became perfectly clear how it happened. Beginners luck I recon. I could do it now in 2 minutes or less in most cities in the country.

We had about equal Blacks and Whites, a fair amount of Indians – mostly Sioux, and a light mix of Cambodian and Vietnamese. Probably a few Mexicans but none come to mind.

The Indians, well, ALL of us were alive at the time of the AIM (the American Indian Movement). It happened just a few miles north of the school. The ones in my school however were mostly city Indians so there really was no racial tension that I was aware of. My best friend at the time was Sioux from Lincoln, Nebraska. The first time I saw Scott at this school was a few weeks in and I hollered “Hey Tonto!” I was happy so see him as I had met him a few years earlier. Again, I had NO IDEA that Tonto was a racist thing. I found out real quick.

The Vietnamese, I don’t know. I was friends with one and familiar with another. I liked them even though Chuck Norris movies made it pretty clear that THEY were the bad guys. God! I can’t remember his name but most kids called him Gook, this guy, he taught me ALL about sex. He was a bit older, probably 21 or 22. He had special allowances because of refugee status and was married. He missed his wife and kid and couldn’t shut up about how much he likes eating pussy. “I’d rather eat it than fuck it.” he’d say.

The Mexicans. Never had issue with Mexicans other than that big sexy bottom that follow most Mexican women. That’s racist as HELL! But still….. Those Mexican ladies got it goin’ on! I tried to hate Mexicans but dammit, it just didn’t take. Maybe in my next life.

I learned a LOT about the differences between the Black and White during those formative years.

In this order. 1) How much they cuss and 2) How big their dicks are.

Any Whites worried about the size of their dick that went to MY school is gonna need therapy.

That’s when I understood the Big Dick jokes:

Three men peeing off a bridge:

Chinese: That water long way away.

White guy: Yeah and it’s cold.

Black guy: Yeah, and it’s deep too!

For you Kennedy intellectual types that think big dicks on a Black is a stereotype, well… maybe it is a stereotype but it’s true too. Fuckers are huge. There were a few girls I was sweet on but they were all wrapped up in taboo relationships that has now morphed into a specialized fetish. “You’re cute but you ain’t got what I need.” I’ve forgotten her name but can still see her in my mind. I eventually gave up on her. She likes the darkies.

Huge amount of Reverse Racism in the army. Pissed me off for a few years but it didn’t hold.

The socialized version of racism has gotten to the point that if a White folk doesn’t drop to his knees every time a Black (or lesbian or crippled person or woman or gay or priest) walks by we are somehow haters and racist or some other word that I haven’t learned yet. Sorry Whackos! I ain’t buying it!

So… am I racist? Yes, I think I am.

**********Racist Likes:***********

I like Mexican women (fine use of blue jean material)

Black female rappers (love that nasty talk)

Hot Asian models and Jackie Chan (Asians are awesome)

Omaha girls (gotta respect the Oldest Profession)

British humor (I think I might have some British blood on account of some crooked teeth) The full blood brits really ought to import someone that knows how to install braces.

********** Racist NOT likes:

I don’t like fat, disgusting, White lesbians screaming about Angry White Men. (That would be me)

Muslim Terrorist Ragheads blowing people up in the name of whatever religion that is different than mine. If it was MY religion than it’s OK because they are really full of JESUS and just need my prayers.

Swarms of Black Thugs burning their town because old, fat, White men pay media propagandist to get the people riled up.

So if you had asked me yesterday if I was racist… I would have said “um….. I’m not really sure but maybe a bit.”

If you ask me today I will say “Yes, Yes I am. Yes, I am racist.”

I STILL can’t figure out for the life of me why people hate the JEWS or why JEWS think people hate them. I’m old but probably have a few years left. Maybe I’ll figure it out.

 

Grandma Rose

The enormous woman glared at me, hands on hips, as I glanced in the rear view mirror of my Yamaha Venture Royale. She didn’t approve of me and I didn’t know why. I knew a lot of reasons that she shouldn’t approve but SHE didn’t know those reasons. All she knew was that I had designs on her grand-daughter.

Before you think of enormous as a circus sized fat lady, she wasn’t like that at all. It was her posture and authority. Of course I didn’t realize that at the time. Looking at photos later made me realize what a tiny shape and size she really was.

Her grand-daughter was a tasty little snippet that worked in the pretty underwear department at Sears and Roebucks and she liked my motorcycle. Grandma had worked out a fantastic future for her grand daughter that included wealth and privilege and didn’t include the likes of me. Frankly I don’t blame her. I had the morals and life vision of an alley cat.

There was a bit of a tug-of-war and I won. Grandma Rose became my Grandmother-in-law.

Grandma Rose didn’t come to the wedding. Some kind of thing about all the friends coming or just family. My bride wanted just family. Maybe because I had to borrow the 10 dollars to pay the minister at the Salvation Army to marry us. That included use of the chapel and use of the basement. (Just clean up when you’re finished.) Feelings got hurt when Grandma invited lots of friends and my bride shut her down.

I always felt Not Good Enuf around her family and tried to avoid Grandma Rose. Time went by and I re-roofed parts of her house and painted it twice. (20 years apart)As kids started emerging, Grandma was generous with her love and time. She was a really good cook and thoughtful is so many ways. An amazing homemaker and crafter.

We were on a 4 month RV-ing trip with my wife and kids and one day while I was in Vancouver, Washington taking apart a lawnmower at my wife’s uncle’s house, Grandma Rose kept coming out and bringing me snacks and lemonade. “I appreciate how you have always been a good man and good provider.” she told me out of the blue. I didn’t respond. I didn’t know how to. This was completely unexpected. While I worked on the mower we visited and I began to realize she was a bit of a mystic and maybe a bit saintly.

I sat on my thoughts for a while, a few years maybe. More and more I realized she loves. She loves everyone. People love her. How did I not notice? I started looking forward to being around her and could see so many traits I love in my wife that came through Rose.

Rose is the Matriarch of the family.

She got smaller in size. One day I hugged her and realized she must be all of 4’10” when stretched. While driving home she was bigger in my mind. How did this little tiny woman hold me in such awe and fear all those years?

You know how it goes, one day my wife said Grandma was going somewhere to a big hospital to get cancer treatment. I begged her not to. She’s a grown woman and she chose ONE of the treatments instead of BOTH of what was offered. Good thing too. The one treatment came an eyelash from killing her. Cancer is a warm, soft, and snuggly puppy compared to the cancer ‘cure’. Her strength never did quite come back after Doctor’s care.

Please don’t get me wrong. I DO like doctors. I just think they ought to get out of the cancer-treatment business and stick to something in their competency. Taking a person to a doctor when cancer is the issue in akin to taking a car with a scratch to an auto recycling/salvage yard. All the doctors can skillfully do is kill the person. If the person survives doctors care IT IS CALLED A MIRACLE!! Good God. Ok, I’m done with that, Thanks for playing along.

We had a family party a few months later at Grandma’s house and folks came from half-way across the continent. I love her so much.

A few months after the party my wife went to visit Grandma. She was in the hospital. They talked and sang. Grandma reached out to one of the cousins and said “I’m Dying”. “No Grandma, You’re gonna be fine. I’m Gonna get something to eat. I’ll be right back.”

My wife interrupting me and correcting me as I’m writing: She didn’t die then when I was there. She died a week later. She was in intensive care and then was moved out to a room for monitoring, she was coming home. That’s when Grandma reached out to one of the cousins and said “I’m Dying”. “No Grandma, You’re gonna be fine. I’m Gonna get something to eat. I’ll be right back.”

Cousin was back in 15 minutes and her spirit had left her body.

The funeral was beautiful. A short-winded professional did the speech and then guests said what was on their heart. People love Grandma Rose. She was the Real Deal.

People won’t miss me like that when I’m gone. I ain’t that kind of guy – they don’t have to. But if I ever wanted to, Grandma Rose has shown me the way.

R.I.P

I miss you.

The Old Lady’s Hug

I aimed carefully in the low light. It was eerily quiet. He was in a dark messy office moving erratically in the beam from Bill’s light and I had to do the deed. Then, just as I squeezed the trigger he turned. Instantly the deep country Kansas barn/shop was consumed with a sickening screaming. God Dammit! Not like THAT!!

Bill came down from Washington State to try his hand at meaningful accomplishment. He was a hell of a worker for 3 weeks. 3 weeks was great actually considering that twenty-year-olds  usually don’t last that long.  He was broke when he showed up so I fed him till he started making money. Holy Jesus this guy can eat! Most of the time a meal at Denny’s Cafe is enough to feed a family of five. This kid needed seconds. He’d eat so fast that one day I used the toilet after him and the floater was a full lettuce leaf neatly undigested. Still looked fresh.

               Anyway, the story isn’t even about Bill, he just happened to be there.

We had driven 80 or so miles to meet a sweet old country lady who needed our services. Her husband had passed and she was country lovely. I had called her a few days earlier to let her know we were getting close to her area and could she give good directions. She was real glad to see us as I doubt many folks stopped by just to visit.

While Bill and I surveyed the condition of her request this mangy cur came bounding out of the 80 acre weed patch that used to be her late husband’s pride and joy. It was howling and yipping with a crazy way about it and out of it’s backside was about 16 inches of its colon turned inside out and had bits of grass and dirt stuck to it.

“JESUS Lady! What’s the matter with your dog?”

Well, it wasn’t her’s or the neighbor’s and she allowed that she was scared of it and was hoping it would just die. It had been hanging around for a few weeks and keep jumping out at her like it just had us and was starting become a problem.

“Want me to kill it?” She spun so fast I had an instant of concern that she was upset at the question. “Oh could you? Would you do that for me?” “Uh, sure. You got a gun?” She spun for the house and came back with a .22 rifle and a box of ammo. “This is my husband’s. Are these the right bullets?” They were and the dog wandered into the tractor shed.

Sitting at my dining room table pecking out this story feels pretty normal but following this deranged and obviously sick dog into a dark shed had me a bit rattled. Entering the darkness straight out of bright Kansas summertime had me blind for about 30 seconds until my eyes adjusted and I started looking around for the pooch. For all I knew, it might have slipped unnoticed out a different opening which would’ve been fine but he could be lurking in the dark shadows of the shed like in a horror movie. My mind was encouraging the second one so I hollered at Bill to help me find the dog. “Fuck that! I’m not coming in there.”

He came and helped me and we found the dog in some sort of cluttered room off to the right that was about 20 ft x 20 ft with shelves, boxes, a workbench/counter top along one wall and a table or two. I’m guessing it was some sort of office back in the farm-hand days. This animal was lying among the clutter in a dark area near the counter. Bill was shining the flashlight saying “See him there? Right there, right there, Can ya see him?” “Yeah I see him. Hold the light.”

He was laying down on his stomach but was kind of making these odd movements and swaying and turning. It was weird. Bill keep saying “Shoot him dude. Just do it.” “I AM Goddammit. Shut up.” I think we were both a bit off. I rested easy and waited till he was still for a few seconds and was looking straight in the light. Perfect.

At the exact instant I let ‘er rip, the dog swung his head to the left. MY left, His right.

I had never fired a gun inside a building before and was NOT ready for how loud it was gonna be. The only thing louder than the screaming of my eardrums was the shrieking of this poor wounded animal.

Being rural, you might have to put an animal down from time to time and it is a bit grim. No one likes doing it, its just a fact. The thing is, I had never not made it instant before nor had I ever felt bad about it before. Always before it was !!!BAM!!! and it was done. This one wasn’t done and now instead of putting a potentially dangerous, wounded animal out of it’s misery, I now have a horribly suffering animal screaming and shrieking and I caused it.

I hope I never have to go to war.

He hid again but with all the noise he was easy to find. He was under an old pickup truck parked near the great sliding door at the front of building. It was a nice truck and I wanted NO part of accidentally shooting it or have a bullet ricochet and hit it. Nor was there ANY way in hell I wanted to take a chance and not finish the job with the second shot.

I crawled in close and did what I should have done the first time and the yowling ended at the EXACT SAME INSTANT as the report of the rifle.

Bill and I wrapped it up in 3 garbage bags so it wouldn’t start stinking before the garbage man comes next Thursday and we went to work.

It only took a few hours so the cookies and pie were still hot when she signed off on the work order and we accepted her fresh baked gifts. I started turning toward the truck when The Old Lady offered to shake my hand. She held it for an extra second then we pulled in for a long hug.

“Bye”

“Bye. You boys be careful.”

“K.     We will”

Bill: Dude, that lady was nice!

ME: Yeah

B: She made us a pie dude. Do all these old ladies do that?

M: I dunno, Not really. Only the country ones.

B: Have they always been like that out here?

M: I think women started making pie a few weeks after country women were invented.

We were crunching along the gravel leaving her farm, going slow to keep the dust down. I was memorizing the directions to our next project and Bill was squinting at a windshield full of the best nothing that Kansas farmland has to offer.

B: Till you called me a few days ago, I didn’t even know there was a place called Kansas.

M: We go 17 miles then left for 84 miles till we hit the river. Then we follow……

B: That Old Lady HUGGED you dude!

M: Shit! I hoped that kid at the supply outfit remembered our order.

B: That Old Lady didn’t want to let go. I started wondering if she was in to you or something.

M: Hey Rodney, can you call Rick and see if he still needs help at that church.

B: Would you have done it? Like with an old person. Like, do you think old people still do it? I hope I die before I’m old enough to want to do it with an old person.

M: Hi Mrs. Klatt? Hi, this is just a quick call to let you know we are just a few miles from your town. We will be starting your place today and finish tomorrow.

B: All these old people like you. I don’t get old people. My Grandma, my Uncle Pete… they all told me I should work with you.

Radio: Money talks, but it don’t sing and dance.. and it don’t walk.

Bill blew out cigarette smoke and flicked the butt. “Fucking Kansas. I haven’t even been here two weeks yet and I can’t stop thinking about my wife. I’ve never been away from her like this before. God dude. How do you do this? You ever miss your wife and kids doing this shit?

Radio: Forever in Blue Jeans

Announcer: The noontime visit with Paul Harvey is brought to you today by The IGA Food Basket and Tru Value Hardware. Now for Paul Harvey:

Hello Americans, This is Paul Harvey. Stand by…For NEWS!

Me: Yeah……..     I miss my Wife…. my family.    You want to check in the mirror there and make sure that ladder is OK?

                                  I didn’t want that Old Lady’s Hug to end