My Long Absence

I have traveled the past four weeks to Denver and the Northern Kingdom of Vermont. I had classes in Denver I needed to take and family business in Vermont. I eschewed traveling by airplane because I choose peace and tranquility over long lines and irritable travelers any day.

I set out for Oklahoma City the latter part of September, then I took back roads all the way to Denver. I saw little towns like Forgan and Guymon, Oklahoma. I traveled desolate prairie roads where I dodged armadillos and tumble weeds more than errant drivers. I traversed dirt roads for miles looking for obscure historical events I never knew occurred. One of these places was in Eads, Colorado. This obscure historic place was eight miles off the main road. It was on this spot where an eight hour massacre changed the Plains forever.

The Sand Creek Massacre is unlike any other site in America. No wonder few Americans have ever heard about it. I’d try to forget this ever happened if I could. On November 29, 1864, 675 cavalrymen came around a bend to the camp of Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Left Hand and proceeded to kill as many men, women and children as they could. Why? No one knows.

SandCreek 4

Over this hill rested the peaceful encampment before they were massacred. The site looks exactly like it did in 1864.

SandCreek 3

Notice the sacred emblems left by ancestors even today

Sand Creek Historic

For more information on this historic site visit

Two weeks later I found myself in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont. It was here I had the task of doing some chores to get my parent’s home ready for the winter. It comes early to northern Vermont. As I left, it was flurrying, and later in the day my mother called and said the ground was covered with snow. I prefer to remember Vermont this way.

wilmington, vt 3

Route 7 in southern Vermont near Wilmington

Near Wilmington, VT

Near Wilmington, VT

back yard

Cabot, VT

Cabot, VT

I am home now and prepared to get caught up. It sure is good to be back in my own bed.

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“Ouch That Hurts”

I never met such a talkative hair stylist. You know the ones like her. They are middle aged, and have an age identity problem. They want to be young so their hair color is as natural as cotton candy; and it changes often. If she was vaccinated as a child, they used a phonograph needle, because she only paused in her conversation to take a breath.

I remember once reading a list of wise counsel by six year old children and surprisingly it was very insightful. The one I remember most was by a little girl who said, “Never let anyone brush your hair if they’re angry.” Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ll add additional counsel; “Don’t visit a hair salon if it’s really busy.”

As I awaited the stylist’s first move, she opened her beauty brief case and began to pull out dull and overused hair tools like my daughter used to do when she played pretend hairdresser. I didn’t recognize some of her accouterments; it’s just as well. Her first faux pax was placing the large bib like fabric across my chest and around my neck. Presumably it’s meant to deflect falling follicles. Never mind the neck width was more appropriate for chihuahua, she snapped it into place and proceeded to be oblivious that my face was turning a vibrant shade of purple. Kudos to her however, she is only the second woman in my life (besides my lovely wife) that has made my eyes bug out of my head. I prefer my wife’s way of doing that better.

One of my pet peeves in life is when someone asks me my preference and then proceeds to do exactly what they wanted anyway. She picked up her round hair brush and began to brush my head like she was starting a primitive campfire to earn her Girl Scout honor. She rubbed my head raw. I quickly yelled, “Ow, Ow” to which she said, “What’s wrong, is your head too tender?”

I said, “No, your brush feels like a garden rake.” Defensively she said, “This brush doesn’t hurt, the metal tines have little plastic ends over it.” I said, “Let me see the brush!” To which she handed it over to me for inspection. She quickly realized her error. Of the thousand tips that should have been on the brush, 990 had been worn off. With all the sincerity of a kindergartner, she offered a hasty “I’m sorry”, then found a newer brush and continued her quick task.

My head burned for a few hours after her sad attempt to wrangle my hair. I must be one of only a handful of Americans to know what it feels like to comb your hair with a porcupine.

Later as I thought about my experience, I thought some people are like that hair stylist. Instead of a weapon of ‘mousse destruction’ they carelessly and cluelessly use their mouth instead of a brush to do the marring. As a Christian I am always expected to forgive and move one, but what about the individual who consistently and carelessly is oblivious to the pain they inflict? If the hair stylist had just inspected her implement prior to me arriving, my head would not have felt like it was rototilled.

The fallout (forgive the pun) is, I may never want to go back or have a relationship with that person again. Word to the wise, check your tongue and your hair brush before you leave for work in the morning. I can take the occasional teasing a little easier on both counts.

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Love in a Burger Joint

I apologize for my absence the past few weeks. A trip to Denver to learn marriage counseling techniques required me to read four books and be in Colorado all last week. You can only imagine my schedule leading up to this event.

If anyone knows me, they know I despise flying. Oh not because I’m afraid to fly, rather I want to be treated better than a refugee when I travel. The last flight I took, I felt like I was in line for the last plane out of a third world country before the coup took place. Kids screaming, frantic people running everywhere with cold, terse, officials asking, “Papers please.”

So this time, I chose the more calming route. I rented a car and traversed the interstates west to Oklahoma City. Accomplishing that part of my itinerary, I then took nondescript roads through the prairies all the way to Denver. I went through little towns in Oklahoma like Forgan. It’s total school population from K-thru-12 is only 160 students. I traveled through Eads, Garden City, and Ulysses, Kansas, Kit Carson, Lamar, and Limon, Colorado. I saw more grain and beef cattle then one could see in a lifetime.

It was in one of these small prairie towns that I made the unfortunate decision to stop and get a quick meal at a fast food joint. Have you ever seen something you wished you had never seen? That was me. Standing in line in front of me waiting for their order to be taken was a couple that was just too into each other to notice the rest of us. Let me describe the lovebirds to you. She was in her mid twenties, some teeth missing, and she was wearing cotton shorts and a matching spaghetti strap t-shirt. Her hair looked as if the only hair product that could work for her was Grease Relief, and she wouldn’t have won best supported actress either. Her small t-shirt one size too small, left here with an ample amount of what we used to call back in Kentucky, Kentucky cleavage. That is, her shirt and her shorts could never meet thus leaving her belly resembling a busted can of biscuits.

Despite one eye being crossed, she was a starry eyed as she she was held by her boyfriend from behind. While a distinguished looking gentlemen stood next to me and rolled his eyes at their continued show of love, it sure didn’t stop the boyfriend’s ardor. He looked to be about 100 pounds lighter than her, and sported a shaggy tufted haircut. With also a tooth missing and grinning ear to ear, he continued to nuzzle and kiss her neck and stared at her with all the love he could muster with his own two crossed eyes. Watching this fairy tale romance was as stomach churning as a prince climbing Rapunzel’s hair only to find out she was bald and he had been crawling to her by her armpit hair.

I left that place thinking while I may have stopped for a quick sandwich from a burger joint, I bet that was the high point of their week. A friend of mine used a saying that is most appropriate for their young love, “There is a lid for every pot.” I guess in this case, she would have to clarify that with, “a lid for every pot belly”.

I doubt they cared what anyone else thought of their public display of affection. They were in love. Though their story might never be told except one day to their own children, it didn’t matter to them. They shut the rest of us out of their world while we stood in line. I am a romantic at heart, but some love stories might be better left untold.

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Still in the Hunt

A middle aged man was once asked the question we have all pondered at times, “How would you want to die.” Thinking for a brief moment he replied, “I’d like to be shot by a jealous husband when I’m 99.” I believe like an old hound dog, we all want to be in the hunt of life one more time before it gets away from us.

It’s hard to fathom at times how fast time flies by. At my age I still remember all those sporting events I used to play in, but like the old hound dog resting on the front porch, it’s easier to make one woof and continue the nap. Sometimes the memory of the chase is better than the truth.

Back in my first year in college, I dated a young woman who got extremely jealous when I talked to any woman at all. I didn’t realize how bad it was until the I sang a popular song of the day by England Dan and John Ford Coley. While driving into town, out of nowhere I started singing the words, “Oh, it’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along.” I laugh at her reaction now, but back then, I had to put on the defroster in the car to thaw her icy chill. I have since learned to only listen to all gospel stations anytime someone rides with me, it’s safer that way.

A lot of time has come and gone since that failed relationship. I married a gem and had three great children. I have been contented now for thirty-one years. Standing in front of the mirror putting on her makeup today my wife lamented, “It takes so much longer every morning to look young.” She tells me often that she is going into old age kicking and screaming. My patent answer to her wistful comments are, “At least you have something to work with.” My advice at looking great is hang around people twenty-five years older than you and are three sizes bigger. I came across an activities calendar for a retirement village in Florida, praise the Lord, I’m still young at heart.

Games for When We Are Older:
Sag, You’re it!
Pin the Toupee on the bald guy.
20 questions shouted into your good ear.
Kick the bucket
Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over.
Doc Goose
Simon says something incoherent.
Hide and go wee
Spin the Bottle of Mylanta
Musical recliners

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