Graceland

I’m standing in front of the mirror, practicing my quick draw. You know what I’m talkin ’bout. My Faux Cowboy hat tugged down low over my right brow, eyes squinted, toothpick barely peeking out from between my lips like some small, fashionable cigar. The corner of my upper lip is quivering in a stylized TV-gunfighter snarl. My right hand is taught, just a hair’s breadth above my Vaquero. You HAVE seen High Plains Drifter, right? Clint Eastwood? Classic spaghetti Western stuff.

Well, I don’t look like Clint Eastwood. Then or now. Though he does strongly favor my Uncle.

OK, a classic Clint-quote, “If she looks back, she’s interested…” Of course she looks back, and he smiles. I like this one, like some kind of grade school game. There are a number of other very funny, crude, and even profound lines from his films, but this blog is PG-13. Go to Youtube and see for yourself. Several from Gran Torino just put me on the floor… And even though Kowalski was a rotten, miserable “blankety-blank” (that’s better, right? :), heck, he called his Hmong neighbors “fish-heads”, they could see in him what he could not see in himself. What he thought was dead and gone, lost, and couldn’t be resurrected. He was so sure that he was beyond saving, so hard, so far gone. And was so wrong about it all. I digress… Good movie, great message about rescue, sacrifice, and redemption. And that others can often see what’s most true about us when we simply cannot. Not that the Church Lady would ever watch this film, or even “get it”. But the message spoke to my heart.  I felt this, and this is what salvation is all about, what God wants others to see and experience. To be made new. But for others to see it, to read it out of our own stories, we have to take the christian-veneer off of it, and let them turn the pages themselves. The truth is unvarnished, the pages dog-eared, and when it’s up close and personal it can be just a little “too real” for some. That’s what makes it beautiful though. I like people who have lived life, and are brave enough to keep doing it. The wrinkles and scars that come with those kinds of miles are really attractive. They tell the story of an inviting life, a courageous heart. A Brave Heart.

K, I can get off on a rant, can’t I? All distractions aside, I spent a few beautiful days at a friends ranch outside of Georgetown, TX. It was a very grace-filled place. I now refer to it as Graceland. No, I didn’t return with a Texas accent. Or a 10 Gallon hat. Or even a 5 Gallon hat.  Although I heard a few very nice accents, and did see a few cool hats at the feed store. I wish I could pull off a Texas accent at will. I’ll practice in the bathroom mirror later on, with my hat, it may come in handy. Then next time I may ask a certain cowgirl for a dance, and if I’ve got the accent right, she may oblige me. I really DON’T have an accent ( we never think we do, do we?)  but if I did it would be a blend of Upper Midwest/Coastal South. You might call it Atlanta-Military mongrel-speak. Not quite as bad as the junk they spoke in Blade Runner (one of my early fav’s) The upside is that now, wherever I go, I can understand people when they talk.  I remember my first trip South, and having to lip-read in order to make sense out of what I was hearing. Now I generally “blend”. More or less. Texas will require a bit of practice.  But I’m willing to give it a spin. 🙂 I have family down on the border, maybe they can help me.

Interestingly enough, the accents I heard in Texas were very different from those I regularly hear. Several were visiting and distinctly British, which just added to the intrigue. The accents in that part of Texas, at that time, were all very classy. Of course I only saw one very small part of the great state. I’m sure that SOMEWHERE in Texas there is a poor soul with an accent that can stop a train in its tracks. I could be wrong…  My son believes that Texas is inhabited by characters with accents, hats, and handlebars like those out of the Dish Network commercial.  Below…. :)~

If they are there, they live just a little further South and West from where I was staying.

It was a long drive, filled with incredible music, great scenery, and relaxed me like I haven’t been in a very long time. I did however make the mistake of listening to my Garmin GPS unit once I crossed over the border. It behaved just fine in Louisiana, but once I crossed that magical line, the thing wasn’t worth a toot. Texas really is altogether special. For the last two hours, I listened to Betty and consistently remained one hour away from my destination. It didn’t look like it on the screen, but I must have been circling point zero like a 747 in a holding pattern over  Dallas-Fort Worth. Betty has a British accent, BTW. I bet if I’d have downloaded an assistant with a Texas accent, I’d have been on the back deck with a beer by sunset. Next time…

I finally arrived after driving for 15 hours, late, visited briefly with my friends, and entered the trailer I’d call home for the next several days. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a fantastic bed. It’s certainly far better than my own, and much better than the cot and sleeping bag I used last winter for about 3 months. And better than most hotel beds I’ve ever slept on. That reminds me, I have to go bed shopping once I have paid down the co-pay for my heart cath, which I didn’t tell you about. It’s enough to pay for a really nice vacation anywhere else in the continental United States. Or Europe for that matter. Or a down payment on a nice car. Or a cruise. Que Sera, Sera. I didn’t enjoy the Cath nearly as much as I would have any of those. Sigh.

If I warrant a bonus this year, I’m buying two beds, a new vacuum,  and a decent coffee maker. Mine works fine, although the lid doesn’t shut all of the way, and black gold dribbles out of it under the best of circumstances. Can’t have that. So, a Black & Decker Coffee Maker it is.  This is a MANS kitchen after all. My mixer is B&D as well.  How do you think I maintain my swagger after all of the cooking, baking and cleaning that goes on here? Man tools…. H0o-rah!  The sign over the kitchen entrance says “Hard Hat Zone”.

Anyway… I did do some work around “the ranch”. I hauled a bunch of horse feed, helped pick up and transport one horse back to the arena where the clinic was to be held, narrowly escaped being stomped by said horse, and helped put the arena into shape for clinic.

But I was not without some free time. I sat by a great fire, well, it was a sad little fire but the conversation was great, with great company.  I mugs of wonderful coffee, hung out with new friends, and with old ones. My visit ended far too soon at 3:30am that Friday morning. I made the drive back home for the 6A High School Football Championship. Which our team proudly won. You are Young Lions!

This was technically my second visit to Texas, although I’m not sure what little border burger shack outside of Shreveport we actually crossed over to late one night.  The guys made the drive because they discovered I had never been to Texas, and that just wasn’t acceptable in their eyes. It hardly counts, except for the time in my mind and theirs. But this time, I was REALLY there. And I really liked it, it exceeded expectations.

All I know, is that the next time I head that way, I’ll be better prepared, will stay longer, and see more.  And try out my Clint impersonation on the locals. That should be fun.

And may possibly, under the right circumstances, try some line dancing. That should be interesting.

But to get a certain Lass to the dance hall, I’d better get some real boots, a BIG hat, try out my accent, and grow a large handle-bar mustache. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just settle for some new boots, normal sized hat, and a clean shave.

I really did wear a Cowboy hat years ago when I worked outside every day, it kept me from developing alligator hide on my neck. It looked more like the hat the first man in the commercial is wearing, it was cool too.

I wonder if it still works for me… or if it ever did. 🙂

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About chuck

Aha! Look what I've created. I... have... made... FIRE!!!
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