Jessie and Mabel’s Anniversary

Jessie and Mabel’s Anniversary

Jessie and Mabel live in a small town near Chattanooga, Tennessee. They have lived there the biggest portion of their lives and really haven’t kept up with the events shaping the world. Now, they’re smart enough, in a common sense sort of way, but they don’t tend to involve themselves with things they don’t know much about or feel maybe none of their business. They do care for their little town and their country, but they just reckon that there are smarter people who can handle the big matters a lot better than them.

They listen and watch the news reports on television, do their little grunts and groans when they hear about what’s happening in other parts of the country and the world. Sometimes they make a comment about something, like, “The world’s sure getting complicated!” or, “With gas so high, you’d think we could find our own oil and bring them prices down!” or, “Guess we got our reasons for fighting in the Middle East, but it sure seems those people over there have been at each other an awful long time!” or, “Let’s stop messing up our heads with all this news business and go see a movie!”

Then, again, maybe that ‘messing up our heads’ is why Jessie does a little cussing and gets together with his buddies for some drinking and talking. He and many of his friends served their country and keep a lot locked inside…maybe protecting their wives from all the ugly stuff they saw and felt while serving.

Anyway, Mabel loves Jessie and she is a regular church-going lady, is always busting Jessie for his cussing and his drinking nights with his buddies from work. Jessie loves Mabel very much but he also loves getting together with his buddies, drinking from the fruit jars, jawing, and, after the booze kicks in, telling the same jokes they’ve been telling for all the years. There are some things they avoid talking about, military experiences and deaths they’ve seen around them. 

Jessie and Mabel are good people, help those in need, give no fuss to anybody. Mabel’s just more God-fearing than Jessie, although he’s about as good a man you will find in the whole state. There are just a few nights when he unwinds, drinks a bit too much, and needs his special buddy camaraderie… And you need to know that Jessie’s cussing is small cussing, not those real ugly words some sports players yell a lot.  

Mabel is a pretty lady in her early forties and she still sports a beautiful body, shoulder-length silky brown hair, and soft blue eyes that make a man want to keep on looking into them. A lot of guys refer to her as the hill version of that real pretty movie star, Jennifer Aniston. Mabel has a lot of patience and common sense to go with them bedeviling blue eyes. 

Jessie has a couple years on Mabel and the country good looks of a younger Burt Reynolds. Jessie’s six feet tall with just a little paunch on him but otherwise solidly built. He carries a one inch scar from his right cheek bone to his ear – a US service reminder from Iraq. That little scar line involuntarily twitches a lot, particularly when he’s drinking. Jessie has a lot of patience, too, but he’s been using certain cuss words that aggravate and embarrass Mabel when they have company… The company generally just snickers a bit and don’t seem offended by it, so he can’t figure out why Mabel is so upset with him.

Mabel is also a particular shade of red when Jessie tells his ‘colorful’ stories to their assembled family members and guests. But what really troubles Mabel the most and causes her concern for his health is his late night drinking with the buddies. Mabel these days goes on to bed without waiting up for Jessie to come home from his fruit jar partying. Now, it’s not every night, mind you, and it’s usually not an evening when they have dinner plans or guests coming, but it is getting too often for Mabel.

So, comes this particular Friday night, Jessie is to come home from work and take Mabel into Chattanooga for a really nice romantic evening. It’s their fifteenth anniversary. Mabel is all gussied up waiting for Jessie and she’s really looking forward to that fine dining in Chattanooga and not having to cook

With insistent urging after work, Jessie goes along with his buddies to their drinking spot. He figures a drink or two can’t hurt, and he can still get home for his anniversary date. One of the friends brings along a guitar, and, with each drink, the song words bring with them some melancholia. With all the drinking, the music making, the talk, and the jokes, Jessie just forgets the time and arrives home around 2:00 AM, his anniversary dinner forgotten in the fog of his drunken state.

Normally, as stated earlier, Mabel usually goes to bed and never knows exactly when Jessie gets home, but this Friday night she’s madder than a rooster at a cock fight. Her husband has broken a date with her and she’s going to wait up for him and give him a piece of her mind. She sits first on the sofa, then on Jessie’s favorite chair, and back to the sofa. With each hour that passes her anger rises.

Mabel is now sitting at the kitchen table tapping her fingers and humming with wide eyes and her cute little nose flaring. She is wide awake from all the caffeine she has consumed in her several cups of coffee…even spilled a drop or two on her pretty dress.  A side note here: Mabel has never had a drink of liquor in her entire life and would never even consider the possibility.

With her keen ears, she suddenly hears several bumps at the front door, and after what seems like minutes passing, Jessie opens the door and staggers in. His soiled and booze-stained shirt half out of his slacks, and he seems to be wearing his clothes sideways – one side of his collar is up, the other side down – his pants zipper is down – his abundant head of hair is all in disarray – he is truly a mess. He tries to quietly close the door but ends up banging it closed and shushes with a weaving finger to his lips. The living room is now dark but he notices through half-closed eyes that the light is on in the kitchen. 

Jessie tries to very softly tiptoe to the kitchen door opening, but bumps into the furniture. Finally, hands in his trouser pockets, he stands weaving at the opening, bouncing back and forth into the sides of the door space. He sees Mabel sitting, still tapping her fingers on the kitchen table, glaring up at him.

“Hi, (hic), honey,” Jessie says, trying so hard to sound sober and keep his eyes open wider, “whatcha (hic) doing up, (hic), honey?”

Mabel glares up at him, slams her hand on the table. “Don’t ‘honey’ me, Jessie, you stood me up! We were supposed to go to Chattanooga for our anniversary dinner. You…”

Jessie stands weaving in the kitchen doorway, hands still in his pants pockets, his face now visibly saddened by the news that he has forgotten their anniversary. “Oh, (hic), honey, I’m so (hic) sorry. I…”

“Oh, Jessie, if you could only see how ridiculous you look right now, if you could see how stupid you look…” She stopped as a thought came to her, slapped the table again, and rose from the table. “I’m going to show you just how ridiculous you look right now.” She moved away from the table toward the small kitchen pantry.

Jessie stands swaying in the doorway, his weary half-open eyes following her moves.

Mabel comes back to the table, slams a bottle of Jack Daniels down on the hard wooden surface. She removes the top from the Jack Daniels, and, having never before taken a drink of whiskey, she starts to guzzle straight from the bottle… The bottle of Jack Daniels falls from her hand onto the table, spilling most of its contents. Mabel sits quickly on the chair, hacking, coughing, spitting up some sour mash.

Jessie still stands at the doorway, weaving back and forth. “Honey (hic)…”

“Jessie!” She tries to regain some of her angry focus. “For heaven’s sake and all its angels, how can you stand to drink this stuff?”

Jessie still sways at the doorway. Then a slow smile comes to his face as he attempts his reply. “You see, honey, (hic) you thought I was out having a good time!”

At the table, Mabel cradles her head in her arms, intoning: “God, please help him!” She then rises from the table and starts laughing, watching her weaving Jessis with his now sad and bewildered face. She goes to him, puts her arms around him to steady him, and walks him to the bedroom. “Let’s get you into bed, you silly looking goose. I’m reckoning tomorrow that head of yours is going to be giving you some fits. I love you, you ole hound dog.”

“That’s (hic) just about the nicest thing you ever (hic) said to me, Honey.” He dug in his pants pocket while Mabel was sitting him on the big bed. He pulled out a jewelry box and handed it to his wife. “Made sure I wouldn’t totally forget (hic) my sweet woman. I (Hic) picked this up for you earlier today.”

A tear came to Mabel’s eyes as she listened to his slurred words and opened the jewelry box. In the box was a gold bracelet. Engraved on the wide band between two lovely birthstones were the words: “Mabel – My Forever Love.”

Mabel wiped at her eyes, brought the bracelet to her heart, and stood for several long seconds lost in thought. 

Then she heard the snoring. Jessie had fallen over onto the bed, totally beyond wakening. Smiling through her tears, she carefully lifted his legs onto the bed, removed his shoes, socks, and, amid some grunts and more snoring, all of his clothing. She then undressed and lay beside him, watched his half-open mouth twitch as though trying to speak. His snoring became softer and continued as she cradled him in her arms. Her ‘forever love’ was home, safely beside her.

“Happy Anniversary, Jessie,” she whispered and snuggled closer to the man she loved. 

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Autumn And The Muse


Autumn And The Muse

It was all so different these many years later…

The clapboard houses were all gone, replaced by small brick and hardwood homes with indoor plumbing. The dirt and gravel lanes were now paved although still isolated and rural. The old white church with its high steeple, now freshly painted, was the marker that let me know I was really home again.

It was like time had abbreviated everything I looked upon. The distance from church to Mama’s and Papa’s old house was hardly a quarter mile. The lanes that branched off the short stretch of road to the old sawmill and the railroad tracks were now unrecognizable, overgrown with brush, trees, and weeds… I could not even determine where the old sawmill and train tracks had been. Where so many years ago there had been Papa’s rows of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, and scallions was now tall green grass for a few grazing cows.

I smiled and pointed out to my wife Julie and son Scott where the old out-house had once stood, where Papa had once castrated the squealing hogs. I pointed out where old ‘Fred’ the mule used to lead the plow through the fields with a few ‘gees and haws’ from Papa. The little hamlet of Wooldridge was now all condensed for my memory but the thoughts, good and bad, raced through my aging brain…

It was here where some of the first memories were built of my displaced youth, where fear of the unknown and new experiences collided to make me a docile and disturbed little boy. It was here where my microcosmic world was filled with dreams and dark ugly shadows. Here was the nexus that was the foundation for all that I would become – the nomadic drifter in search of illusive dreams, the uncertain master of a fate always to be determined.

The tears were not seen through the smiles as I passed on to my son and wife the wisps of yesterday, but they were there…tears for Mama and Papa, their hard lives, yet their devotion to me…tears for the parents who fought, who loved and tried, but were unable to make things right for their family…tears for a life that could have been better in some ways but did, through all the wanderlust, bring me to wife Julie who personifies family, love and patience…tears for my beautiful children of whom I am so proud and love so deeply.

This day trip from my middle Tennessee home to the east Tennessee hamlet of my youth inspires this post. While there has to be some sadness – that’s the way I’m put together – it is likely one of the best days to go into my still active memory pages. The day serves to point out for me that, indeed, ‘everyone has to be from somewhere.’

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Complaining Comes Easy

Complaining Comes Easy


Seems it’s always a good time to complain about the government, one side or another, whether it be the war in Afghanistan, the year-ago Benghazi raid, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and weapons of mass destruction…leaving aside the more mundane complaints on the economy and everyday domestic living. Politics, a rather historically ugly business, just might be at an all time high in the area of complaints. Choose your side and go for it.


If you’re a democrat, you are complaining about the republicans throwing obstructive stones into the government machinery…delaying yet again a debt ceiling hike that will keep all systems afloat and the credit-rating bogeyman away…being divisive and ornery about Obama Care by asking for a delay in funding…using uncivil and deceptive tactics for political gains in the 2014 elections…uncaring about the needy and the poor folks among us who need help…only interested in the corporations and wealthy Americans…so on and so on.


If you’re a republican, you are complaining about the democrats building constituency points…catering to certain groups to build their base under false promises…bankrupting the nation with irresponsible redistribution of wealth…taking away incentive of business investments and entrepreneurs to forge ahead and create new jobs in a private enterprise system…creating a mammoth healthcare bill that is uniformly unmanageable and easily the most unintelligible mass of obscure legislation ever created…defying or otherwise skirting constitutional safeguards with executive orders…closing down national parks and stopping payments to widowed families of our fallen military…about a president who is always campaigning and has no time for negotiations and governing… so on and so on.


I should mention, too, the millions of people who go to work each day and have not the time to keep up with these affairs of government, yet are affected by the decisions that are made by our leaders. They are busy with their jobs and only hear the sound bites of the media and others who claim knowledge on the issues. In their way, they complain as well, to the extent of their understanding.


As for me, politics and religion are subjects better avoided because they are subjects that draw too much ire and bellicosity. But, what the heck! I’ll show some bias here in my more or less conservative leaning – ‘more or less’ because it was my hope that President Obama was perhaps going to make a difference when he was first elected five years ago with his voice of ‘change’. It is my feeling now, based on this divisiveness in our government, that Mr. Obama seems to be an extraordinary campaigner and orator but does very little in governing. In my opinion, he has reneged on his ‘change’ promises. After all, in almost five years, one would expect so much more from a leader than his landmark legacy ‘Obama Care’ with all of its massive bureaucratic details and expense. In fact, it amazes me that this president still enchants so many people, citizens and media alike… Surely, an NBA or NFL coach would be looking for work at this point in time.


Perhaps it’s the ‘entitlement’ personality of this man which in many ways is noble. We all want to help from government revenues those among us who really need assistance, the disabled, the aged, and the homeless. If that were not the case, uncaring ogres would be members of both parties. What seems to be missing is an oversight metric for all the entitlement spending by our government, some way to determine fraud and easy manipulation. Maybe it’s too expensive to administer and/or maybe we’ve just made it too simple a process to steal from our treasury.


Perhaps it’s the perceived charm and wit of the man. The President is most glib, effortless in his oratory and rhetoric, easily liked, and convinced he is right in his mindset for our country and the world. He has no apparent desire to negotiate with his adversaries on the right and seems always to be in a ‘campaign mode’, seemingly out of earshot of what the majority of Americans are saying about some of his near socialist views.


What I do know is that in all my years through our wars, victories, and inherent problems I have never seen the country so volatile, so angry, and so seemingly divided. What I do know is that our United States is still the most charitable and the most noble country on earth and it concerns me greatly that our world standing appears severely diminished. We are fighting a war against terror, a war that brings a monstrous and ugly new face to our enemy.


Of what I’m not aware are the top secret avenues our President and politicians must go down, the many security factors that must be considered, without the general public knowing the specifics. Of what I’m not aware would fill volumes of books, so all I have to share are my general thoughts on the politics of our day, my perceptions of how our government is tending to business. At this moment in time I’m not terribly impressed. I admit that I lean toward less government in my face, a strong military, a state of the art security system for the protection of our people, new and stronger educational goals that fit better the needs of the twenty-first century, and an economic engine driven by our private sector where experience, incentive, and vitality live.


Hey, I’m an old man! I just learned recently that millions of asteroids are out there in space, huge ones and little ones, and one could come screaming into our atmosphere tomorrow or next millennium and make all of my amateurish observations above much less than meaningful.


On that doomful note I take my leave… It’s time for lunch…


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The Beauty That Is NevaeH


The Beauty That Is NevaeH  

 The radio signals become a source of pleasure for the NevaeH inhabitants. It is not a malicious but a gratifying and mystically satisfying pleasure. The NevaeHens know a great secret which the senders of radio signals cannot know.

NevaeH is a parallel world where life is eternal and all of the inhabitants live by their genetic codes. The genetic codes are absent any negative strains. The NevaeHens have all the features of humans. They live in houses on lovely tree-lined gilded streets with no pot holes. They eat, drink, and have amusements. They work and earn consumption points based on their proclivity and inherited traits. There are friendly and unbiased competitions in the work place, promotions given on proven goals achievement. All sectors of the economy are based on societal needs. There are no medical necessities, ergo, no practicing doctors and nurses. All inhabitants speak and absorb any new language.  It is one world, one country, one state, one organizational chart, and many cities.

The only governance is by municipality, one eternal governor for each, and there is no tax system. There are frequently fresh and sufficient allotments of consumption points for each inhabitant based on registered needs which can be altered due to vocational changes. There is no guilt. There is no jealousy. As stated previously, there are no negative strains. There are no ‘seven deadly sins’ and harmony rules the days and nights.

There is a Sun. There is a Moon. Days and nights come without calendars to mark them as there is no orbital sweep to count the hours, days, months, and years. Eternity needs not a calendar. The climate is always mild. Free time is spent cloud-blowing, golfing, sweat-less running, swimming, walking, and by viewing earth comedies available on every picture window in every house on every lovely tree-lined gilded street.

The enjoyment and laughter of Earth Comedies come from the human impulses to rush toward greed and power and from the fact that so soon it is all over for the humans. The Earth experiment was engaged to determine replication factors on NevaeH, a test to determine consumption factors. So many humans have failed and some have done very well on the test.

So, new arrivals come to NevaeH from the spinning test-orb known as Earth, all earthly nationalities, creed, color, males, females, all ages, and they are processed through a large central clearance facility known as SILLE (Selected Interns Last Living on Earth). Because new arrivals to NevaeH arrive in their soul-forms, they must be data-typed for body forms, neutralized with special spiritual scanners and sent to chosen cities, based on individual choice…desert, mountains, seashore, urban, rural. In simple terms, the purest form of replication is used in recognition of previous earthly friends and relatives that facilitates municipal moves. Children and babies are placed selectively with their own parents, assuming a common accident took the lives of all family members, or, they are placed with couples who have such preferences.

Unfortunately, there are no early applications or registration for the Earth human, but from one reliable source who prematurely ventured into the fringe light of NevaeH, this advice to Earthlings is given:

Be not afraid of death on Earth or be disturbed by the current experiment. All earthlings will one day find their peace on NevaeH… Some will definitely have to wait longer than others to reach the SILLE Central Clearing. Obviously, those who do better on the test will be in the highest order of replication and reward.

There is one last caveat given by our reliable source: given the large ‘waiting list’ for NevaeH, the better one does on Earth can move them up the list… Those who commit vile crimes, those who by their actions cause wars and destruction, those who defile the sanctity of childhood, all evil doers are at the bottom of the ‘waiting list’ and will be the last to arrive on NevaeH.

No information can be given that speaks to location and rehabilitation duration periods of the above mentioned ‘waiting list’ and to governance factors on NevaeH, except for obvious data already given.