Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is a true story

Do you know the difference between a fairy tale and a sailor's story?

A fairy tale begins with "once upon a time"
A sailor's story begins with "this ain't no s--t

You know how this story begins. For those of you who are old enough to remember the "Walking Tall" movies.
I was born and raised in McNairy Co. Tennessee. I actually rode in the car with Sheriff Buford Pusser and I wasn't going to jail. He gave a ride to three of us kids one Friday night, just two miles to the next crossroads. He always wore a grey suit and carried a service revolver in a shoulder holster. That night he was in a 64dodge two door hard top with a 383 engine. The car had a console with an automatic shift. On the console was a sawed off double barreled shotgun partly wrapped in a towel. He was talking about Toe Head White. Even as kids we figured that one of them would die. (Hollywood must have invented that big stick the actor carried in the movies)

If this person interests you at all, there is a book " The State Line Mob" I forgot the writer but I know the places and some of the people. One of the mobsters had a daughter in my school class. Her body was exhumed ----- no that's enough

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bois de Arc

On the way home today I pulled into a quick stop down in the black prairie. I saw fruit on the ground and immediately recognized the big grapefruit like balls. (stay with me to the end) They are not for human consumption, but the plant has always interested me. The French called the brushy tree "bois de arc" or wood of the bow. Botanists believe that the original growing region was in the Oklahoma Arkansas area. Native americans used them to make their bows as you may have guessed. The local tribes traded the wood to other tribes out of the area. The plant has spread to several southern states and perhaps some midwestern areas. It grows along fence rows where it bares its long thorns and drops its fruit. Cattle, deer and squirrel will eat the fruit if there is nothing else around and spread the seed with their patties pills and scat.
English speaking pioneers translated bois de arc to bo-dark, board arc or bo-dock. This stuff is one of the hardest woods I have come across. Farmers cut them to use as fence posts, but they nail the fence to them while they are still green otherwise it may be impossible later. This is the only tree when dead and dried that has ever caused sparks to fly from my chain-saw bar.

We have a hardness scale not unlike the one geologists use: examples

"harder than Japanise arithmetic" is that politically incorrect?
"harder than, how do I say, a preacher's anatomy"
"harder than a bo-dock chunk"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Oldest Daughter

I friend called me this afternoon. He wanted to talk about my daughter's blog and about her late friend Ray. He was so impressed with the way she could write her story, the way she made him feel like he was along with them as they explored their world. Ironically she constantly tells me that she wishes she could write well. My freind couldn't get over what a free spirit she is, how confident she is. He talked like he had found a rare gem.

This posting is not to boast about my kid though you find that hard to believe at this point.

It is this. People are horrified even at the thought of being rediculed, ostracized, scoffed at. This fear is magnified many times over when you are seventeen. Kids can even deal with parents brutally opposing them but not their classmates and buddies. This is worse than death.

My daughter's friend was troubled as a teenager years ago and never recovered. He wasn't popular in high school. My daughter on the other hand was very popular. When she became homecoming queen she chose Ray to escort her for the school festivities with teachers protesting that it was poor taste. I am so proud of her because she has always understood that people are very much alike regardless of their social standing. Perhaps that is what scares people about themselves. Some of her friends wanted to shun her friend and others that didn't meet their standards. She stuck to her guns. Everyone was welcome around her. Some couldn't deal with it. I suppose that is OK. We hang out with those we choose.

He died too young not yet forty. No one was surprised after all, it was just old Ray.
He learned much from my daughter. She learned more from him. Someone once said, "wisdom is often found in rags." His own two daughters are very well adjusted. He taught them that they were homecoming queens. They are.

The punch line:

We as teachers tend to be followers. I suppose we have little choice since the mandates come down from the national level. We need to have the courage to step out when possible and encourage kids to be individuals. Maybe we need to do tougher role play to teach them how to resist peer pressure, to be who we were made to be. Perhaps kids could find the courage to split with the group from time to time. What greater lesson is there than to learn how to be truly free. In a time when schools more frequently than not teach that decisions should be made as a group, is there anyone left to point a child in the direction of freedon?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today I planted some crimson clover in the vacant lot next to my house. I made big curving beds by scraping the earth with my rake. Next spring this poor soil will be bursting with red flowers nestled in green. There is something magic about planting a seed especially legumes on the poorest of soil. That which is dead is risen.


I don't get too torn down over this green movement. I sense that it is tied to something larger. By just having fun I probably do more by accident to enrich the earth with flora than those who cry "the sky is falling." The earth is in trouble. Perhaps it is wearing out. Perhaps it's ment to. A famous writer once said "all creation groans." I have planted hundreds of acorns. It's not like I'm on a mission, but one day a kid will play in the shade of a tree that I planted.

Acorn is an interesting word. In the south we call them acerns. Sometimes we are laughed at for these strange pronounciations. I did some research on the word. The Old English is Aecern. That would make sense wouldn't it.

Yes I digress but I'm an N as INTJ