Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Neighbor’s Truck

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My neighbor has his truck for sale. He says he lost the key but you can start it with your pocket knife. The tires are near bald, but they still hold air if you pump them up, or at least they did a few years ago. Ain’t no hood, but it helps with the cooling. No windshield, but that also helps with the cooling, and no need for wipers. The seat’s a bit chewed up by the mice and rats, but a burlap sack covers it right up. It burns a little oil, but only about a quart every couple hundred miles. The dents don’t get in the way of the wheels turning or the doors closing, except for the driver’s door, but a hunk of rope takes care of that, and you can climb in the passenger side. It don’t need no paint. That’s a patina. Don’t touch it and it’ll last another hundred years. It’ll start nearly every other time, if you have a battery, and go for ten miles or more, if it ain’t too hot. The pickup bed is around back, if you want that, too. There’s no title, but you don’t need no title out here, and no plates. So, money saved is money you can spend on beer. Oh, sorry.

Sounds pretty good to me. What do you think I should offer? He seemed like a pretty shrewd character for a desert prospector and professional alcoholic.

Such is life here in the South. Somewhere, this story is true; probably more than once! At least the photos are real and taken by me. I hope my followers will enjoy my continuing adventures with just a tiny bit of artistic license and slight bits of imagination, I mean, exaggeration, or just plain foolishness.

So, if you’ve read this far and had a few chuckles, please share this with your friends. I’d really like to keep you and your friends chuckling and laughing and giving you something fun/funny to share with more friends. It may seem strange that I have German heritage on both sides of my family and like to talk about the life in  the southwest, but let me assure you, I have many ways to make you laugh, if you will cooperate! Oh, sorry.

Next post: How to make armadillo taste like chicken.

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The History and Proper Use of The Corn Cob

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Everone loves corn on the cob, and corn cobs have existed ever since. They was white corn, Injin corn, yeller corn, sweet corn, butter corn an such, them all had a cob. Now folks lernt to save them cobs since before the beginnin’ ’cause they had another use. Iffin yer still wunderin what I’m talkin’ about yet, yer a plum idjit. You’d let them cobs dry out then put them in the outhouse, fer when you need ‘um.

A thousand years before the Sears and Roebuck catalog, the corn cob was the preferred method. There was dry leaves, and dry grass, and tree bark and not much else. The Real Human Beings, as the Sioux Native Americans called themselves, used a deer skin, and rinsed it after each use. Kind of like the handkerchief you blow a booger into, but don’t wash it, then use it again. Admittedly, I live in Texas, and they do that here, but I digress.

You’ll notice that most animals don’t eat corn on the cob, ceptin deer, what eat it raw, an thay dun’t save the cobs. Animals know they perfec diet and don’t need no corn cob or any kinda clean up, ceptin yer dog lickin’ his butt, or skidding across the living room carpet ’cause you fed him cold pizza. Now, we all know about drive-through Mexican food. Nuff said, okay? Kinda the opposite of a perfec diet.

The proper use of the corn cob: Well, I’m gonna just allow y’all to take a moment and imagine, so’s I don’t got’s to get graphic. Pause a moment . . . let’s move on. Just short of being a wood rasp an more like coarse sandpaper, the corn cob fell way to the Sears and Roebuck catalog around 1909, quite the opposite of the chafing cob, the pages of the annual catalog were more like wax paper, a quite in-effective cleaning device. The first one hundred and fifty years of this country’s heritage is wrapped up in corn cobs, at least, out west.

Them Europeens an them folks in New York city, an the east coast was usin’ linin an such, an wimmins always knowed stuff the men never knowed. An still, everone stunk to high heaven, not just from the improper use of the corn cob, but from sweat, bad breath infrequent bathin’ and the vapors. So, attendin’ the Sunday church social in August could be a near unbearable adventure. Many small paper manufacturers tried to offer a paper product as the new alternative, placing rolls in hotels across America, and slowly, we saw the light. No one person or manufacturer can lay claim to the modern comfort we enjoy, but many scrambled to find relief from the wood rasp like effect of the corn cob.

I have personal experience in this area, havin’ visited the relatives on the farm in North Dakota in 1954. Running water was someone runnin’ with a bucket o’ water, an the Friday night bath was an ordeal for a family with six kids and a wood fired stove for hot water and the pump is outside by the horse trough. This is a true story. I got nekkid with six o’ my cousins an we splashed an giggled in a cast iron claw-foot  bathtub in the winter of 54. I remember Eisenhower and the Republican convention in black and white, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. I was six years old. It was cold that night and the only relief was ten yards from the back door to the outhouse, where the little stack of corn cobs awaited my eventual arrival.

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Finally Found Home

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They pulled her in today and set it up on cinder blocks, my new home. My pride and joy! I got the corrugated tin awning set up an weer good to go. My competition beer drinkin’ nabers come over an challenged me but I gotta kill the rats before anything else. I gotta sleep without the gnawing an chewing an all that. Ol’ Filbert is keepin the vermits at bay. I got him a red neckerchief scarf. He’s a handsome cat.

Did I say 2009 RV? I meant 1909. That’s a very rare and not collectable 1909, horse drawn, Magellan 39 foot Conquistador. Ask my friend, Phil to spell that. Anyways, the goats are comin in tomorrow to mow the grass and I’ll keep you updated on the fire ant advance.

It’s Friday, November 17th, and I’m still working on my tan. How is that moss and mold thing working this pneumonia season? You got mold. We got fire ants and rattlesnakes. If it ain’t on thing, it’s another.

Did you see that super moon? Boy Howdy!

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I Went to London

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I heard they had good barbecue in London, so’s I went. Seemed strange that London would have good barbecue, but then I lernt that London was in Texas, jus a hunnert miles north of Fritztown. All that time I thunk it was summers else. That’s the dance hall above. They was a dance at 7, but I had to get back to the rat killin.

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I was too late for the barbecue. They had already closed. I’m going to Paris next week, north of Dallas. I heard they got a good French dip.

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Nothin’ and Not Much Else

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Driving the back roads from Roswell, New Mexico to Pecos, Texas (that’s the correct spelling for the town), I got a real sense of how vast this country is. This photo is actually just past Pecos, on the road to Barstow, Texas. Those specs on the horizon are twenty miles away. I stopped and got out of the car to take this shot and realized I could see the curve of the Earth.

I left Tonopah, Nevada for Rachel. Fifteen miles out of town, a sign read, “Next Services 157 miles, maybe it was 156 miles. I shoulda took a pitcher.

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My New RV Space

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Ol’ Vern is still gettin’ my space ready when the tractor give up workin’. So, a day and a half later, ol’ Herb felt up to comin’ by, an in a half hour, he cussed that tractor into runnin’ agin. He’s an old cowboy, but Herb knowed is tractors. So, we loaded trash till both front tires went flat on the bottom. They was so dry and cracked, you could see the air inside, what was left. Another day to get new tires put on an back to work. Only a week behind in five days. Life in rural Texas don’t alway’s run like a pocket watch. More like a three-legged jackrabbit.

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The Vermin Speaks

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Glad to be back in Texas again. This feels like home, where the Northwest only felt familiar. The people here are friendly and willing to do anything for you, like nowhere else I’ve ever been. They have very high morals and very proud of who they are, and I’m happy to be among such folk. Crime here is among the lowest in the country, the economy is booming and the sun shines most of the time.

Now don’t go rushing down here, ’cause we also got fire ants, scorpions and shotguns, but come for a visit and I’ll take you to the school behind the old school and the rock museum.

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The Life and Death of Heater, Texas

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This here is Heater, Texas, as we found it in the summer of 1843.

The Lost Legend of Heater, Texas

It was so hot that the sun felt like you might could reach up an touch it. There was no cool drink of water nowhere, an even if they was, it was hot. It was hot and dusty, and not much else. But they was no Injins, an not cause it twernt too hot for ‘em, but too hot for the game, sept’n rattlesnakes. Nothing to kill. Nothing to eat. Nothing to drink. And there we was, in the high plains of the west Texas Territory in the summer of 1843. I’s about 19 years old then when we moved west from St. Louis.

My name is Friedrich Klein. My older brother Clem and my baby sister, Marcella both got the pemonya an died last winter. Pa an ma come from the old country unt sprict Deutch, but I learnt Amercin from the other kids in Pennsylvania an Atlanna before we come west.

As the sun burnt down on everthin around, an the horses were given signs ah wantin water, the surrounding landscape did not look welcomin. The steady sound of the wagon wheels and the regular hoofbeats of the horses was suddenly interrupted by a snapping sound as a wagon wheel force-follered a split rock what twisted the wheel and busted it. Pa could make or fix most anything on the farm, but on the road, they ain’t no fixing no wagon wheel what had gone over a thousand miles of dirt road or no road at all. It had give up.

You gots to send that wheel to the Amish in Pennsylvania an have em fix it or make you a new one, or buy a new one from Kansas City, but we’s in the high plains desert of the Texas Territory in 1843. Pa got out the front wagon an walked back an looked at that wheel, then turned and walked back to Ma an said, “Sugarfoot, we can’t go on with a busted wheel, so, welcome to Heater, Texas, our new home.” It was really more like, “Liepchin, es kaput! Wilkomin nach Heizung.” An the town of Heater, Texas was founded at that moment. I later told Pa how to spell Heizung in American. An there we was, with two wagons, four horses an four barrels of whisky, an a dog named Fritz. I called him, Pard.

Heater,Texas existed on the west Texas plains and thrived for more than thirty years, as American pioneers moved west. Svenn Vogal showed up right soon after we settled and opened a blacksmith shop across from the Heater Saloon. Svenn unt his wife, Helga only spoke Swedish, but we all figgered it out. Together, Pa an Svenn dug a well, and we had everything a pioneer needed, septin a whore house, an that come next.

The first stage line come through Heater about 1855 an the transformation was immediate. From a saloon an blacksmith shop, water well an the overnight station for travelers, then popped up Nelson’s dry goods an firearms. Then come Elmer’s Tradin’ Post an Outfitters. An then come Lovejoy’s Millinery, an Miss Sally Mae Lovejoy, one real cool drink o’ water.

Well sir, Miss Sally Mae could charm the devil and talk the birds out of the trees. She had charm an grace an a whole lot of other stuff, an come from Atlanna, Georgia. She made the men stutter an the wimmin kick they husbins in the shin for what they was thinkin. Miss Sally Mae opened the Heater Hotel, ‘cause she coon’t call it the Lovejoy Hotel, but when some wimmins come on the stage from St. Louis, the Heater Hotel was popler with travelers an locals alike an was a hotbed of rumor, controversy an corruption. They was morn several dozen gunfights, ambushes, shootin in the back an just plain killin ‘cause a man needed killin.

When the railroad come through, bout ten miles to the north, it bypassed the town, an ol’ Heater dried up an died in less than three years. When the stage quit, everything quit. Miss Sally Mae Lovejoy, what moved on to San Fransisco, took with her, all the money an gold, what come from her an them Wimmins from back east, an them back rooms o’ that hotel.

Now, I don’t think I could find where Heater used to be, but such history an so many stories that will never be told. I hope to preserve some of the heroic stories of our early pioneers.

I come to be known as Dakota Fritz, or Dakota Slim. As I collect stories from the unknown  and forgotten pioneers, I’ll post ’em here for your perusal, a Victorian word we seldom use any more.

Foller this blog an learn what happens next.

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Dakota Slim Returns to Fritztown

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The Vermin returns to Fredericksburg, AKA Dakota Slim, AKA Dakota Fritz, AKA Indian Pete, AKA Peyote Pete, John Smallberries, John Yaya, John Bigbootie and rattlesnake Red.Wanted for using harsh language, farting in church and irregular bathing. Do not try to apprehend. Contact local Gillespie County authorities.

Whereabouts of this creature are unknown, but local authorities are offering a seven dollar reward for his fumigation and release into the wild.

Except for all the Wanted posters and blood stains, my return to Fredericksburg has gone well. As a disguise, I shaved my head. No one I know can recognize me now. Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of, “The Vermin Speaks.”

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West of Odessa and the High Plains Drifter

I lost an hour somewhere. Between crossing time zones, switching from daylight savings time and the aliens, I’m not sure what happened. I am no longer west of the Pecos. I went through Pecos today and now I am west of Odessa at the Motel 6, y’all.

It’s like another planet if you’ve never been where there was nothing on the horizon, just an edge, as the earth curves beyond your view. It makes you feel small. It makes you feel humble. It makes you feel like, “I hope I don’t break down here, because, holy crap! There ain’t nothin but nothin as far as I can see.”

This planet is big. We are little. We should shut up, put our heads down and get back to work.We live in an unreal world that is becoming more unreal every day. Drive through the southwest for two thousand miles and humble your soul.

Photos to follow shortly.

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