Too many whites still don’t know blacks bleed red

ATLANTA, GA – MAY 29: Protesters burn a flag outside the CNN Center on May 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES

 

By Dan Bodine

 

What happened this past week, with protests continuing now, with the street execution of George Floyd, an African American — by a white police officer suffocating him to death with his knee on his neck in Minneapolis — cringes me to the core. Execution before trial can be a white imperialist’s gravest sin!

And what is raging across the United States now with all the infernos of protests is wrong, yes.

But still I can’t help but agree with my ol’ El Paso blogging compadre, Jaime Abeytia, who Saturday wrote “No Justice, No Peace…

Or one of my favorite religious professors’ blog:

“…There’s no other way to put it than that George Floyd was murdered. The fact that there are police who murder and get away with it show that the system we currently have to address crime prevention in this country is broken beyond repair.”                      —  JAMES F. MCGRATH, Eight Minutes and Forty-Six Seconds

This public realization has been a long-g-g time coming, yes! Is there an easier answer to it? With the current administration in Washington D.C. and the millions who support it, I doubt we’ll find it anytime soon! So, go figure how this will play out!

Innocent property owners are losing their livelihoods; already stressed taxpayers now have, if not more non-insured damages at least more police-duty costs to pay!

And a minority of yáhoo opportunists are threatening to take over the streets to boot! Or at least it appears. And our white supremacist president just fans more fires with pompous threats!

I don’t know where all these anarchists are coming from — hell, maybe Putin’s sister sent ’em — but I know one thing: In a once-democratic country that’s been replaced by a big, divisive tit called neo-liberalism (that many of ‘ya still are on, on ‘ya hands and knees, suckin’ off of right now), this much inequality can’t stand! End of argument!

The Atlantic‘s already written how America’s Republican politics has already’s become a [must read] “failed state.” Now Europeans are looking at us and more-or-less asking, Gee, how did smart people lose their government like that? (See “…America is Really Screwed)

A corpocracy did it?

Well…Argued that for years with a social minimalism blog and few bit into it.

But now, it’s commonly identified as plutocracy?

Same thing! It’s only [the latter] is a more Northern, aristocratic-targeted word! To this ol’ Texas country boy, it is! (Hell, everybody knows what corpocracy is — the money-baggers all wear black hats!)

But would you believe — the kosher‘ed argument, yes — the Republicans did most of this?

Yep! Here’s how: By minimalizing labor unions! (Yeah, I gotta bone to pick with labor unions, too — one of excess — but not once have I ever demeaned their importance to our economy. Labor negotiations beginning well over a century and a half ago is what put “fair” in fairness!)

“So this is (that) story,” writes Kevin Drum, in November 2019’s Mother Jones magazine. “Spend three or four decades wiping out the power of labor unions, and then you can spend the next three or four decades turning the United States into a plutocracy with no one to effectively fight you about it.”

And where did President Ronald Reagan’s war on labor unions really start? Before he even got to the White House! And in Washington right-wing voters applauded as he continued to destroy union memberships with his own unique war brand.

The actual beginning (for me, personally) began in August of 1980 when Reagan was challenging incumbent Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid as President of the U.S.

It was during the height of the Sunbelt Movement, when millions were fleeing the Northeast. Leaving not just because of rising fuel prices but, remember, this was the decade in the wake of the Supreme Court’s integration order, too.

Escaping? Hard-core, many even wealthy conservatives no way wanted their kids in classrooms with blacks!

The Dallas moment then was a week-long New Right‘s National Affairs Briefing in a new convention center — when Reagan stepped to the podium and told a crowd of thousands of largely evangelical Southern Baptist ministers that “You can’t endorse me, but I can endorse you.”

The pandemonium that erupted upset me greatly. Underlying it, I sensed, was racial hatred and more divisiveness! It, too, was one of those moments you’ll remember forever!

As city editor of a nearby, small daily newspaper — and, too, needing a thesis topic to finish out an “M.A. Political Science” curriculum — I’d gotten permission to cover what was actually this Republican political rally of evangelicals.

It was that pivotal moment that joined religious and political campaigns in our nation’s history.

The New Right, mostly affluent, corporate businessmen, had enlisted the late Rev. Jerry Falwell of Virginia to build a coalition of evangelicals for the Republican nominee. And enlist by the millions (starting with the pastors, yes), is what he did — founding the Moral Majority.

Preachers at the rally I could see coming out of that considered themselves God’s new, front-line attack dogs — going to war against Carter and liberal Democrats on a host of moral issues — with abortion and all its sex-first trappings, of course, big-time!

And, of course, too, they went home and preached it from their pulpits.

But I’m still firmly convinced, even now, that those preachers were unaware they were being duped — e.g., not to be anti-abortion so much as to be pro-segregationists!

I made that convention the focal point of my thesis later. Falwell, it turned out (and I would only learn many years later), had a chip on his shoulder. Thus he lacked standing!

He told friends years later the Carter administration had revoked his tax exemption status he used for corporate mega donations. Teed him off, yes!

Wasn’t Carter, though. It was the previous administration — acting on Roe vs Wade, yes! Falwell had refused to integrate his classrooms at Liberty University! Was getting too much money from it!

Driving home to Cleburne at the end of the Dallas rally I cried some, yes. I knew (could feel) the anguish the country was in for! Civil Rights (…on a dime!) had been shoved aside for white imperialism; greed would replace common decency!

And the road to totalitarianism had just been opened! Novice political buffoons drunk on Shall We Gather at the River-whiskey had just stirred up a naive American electorate and was unleashing it on our Constitution!

Damn, y’all, what’s it going to take before some of you can call a human a human? Skins of yellow, brown, black, or white pigments all bleed humanity’s red! True?

There’s no safe-house for segregationists to hide in anymore, judiciously — not even in fiery, right-wing evangelism! Except, culturally, in certain white nationalists’ modus operandi — which there is still a wink-‘n-nod in many police activities!

So we decry all the accomplishments of racial solidarity for it, generally, in the past hundred years or so… in the old democracy, right? That’s your hunker-down reason for resenting it? The progress?

And throw it all out the window for a new system of government that screws all of us ol’ poor folks — as color-blinded as it will be, yes! That’s the story?

Well, African-Americans, I guess, are somewhat ahead of you, then! For having been kicked off the society bus (how many times?), personally, I feel, they’ve had it!

How many years they’ve taken it? Three hundred? Four?

Abducted from their homelands and brought over here to be slaves! Which the country fought a civil war over once to finally free them! But many ol’ soreheads never accepted!

And 160 or so years later, it’s still this: You ‘n your hold-out buddies, as police officers, can kill one of ’em — by simply pinning him to the ground, stepping on his neck ’til all life’s been squeezed out of him?!! Right? Or. as the good religion professor above says, for “Eight minutes and forty-six seconds”!?

In the name of Justice?!

Well…Let me tell ‘ya what they know already — that you don’t know:

You’re hopeless! No redeeming value for equality, you’ve got!

You’re too far out there in your gotta-blame-Life-on-somebody, white imperialism instincts. to ever be able to welcome African-Americans into your thoughts as decent human beings.

It ain’t happening! Ever!

So…If they are ever gonna live as free beings (on this planet), you can’t see there’s only one option for ’em!?

Only One!

And a short time to do it:

“We love ‘ya, George!”

“… Gimme that torch!”

“…Yeah … Burn that M…..F….. down, Baby, ‘fore they kill us all!!!”

 

— 30 —

Weather changes quickly!

El Paso’s short springs burn gardeners’ dreams

By Dan Bodine

Ok, Christmas is over, yáhoo! So now let’s seed some new plants to put in this year’s new garden! A GOOD GARDEN we’ll have this year, right !??

Hee, hee! The old “Fools rush in…” meme was written especially for certain wild-eyed, yáhoo gardeners in the weather-change region of U.S. Desert Southwest — who grasp packets of plant seeds in early January in their makeshift greenhouses — shiny packets they got at a variety store month or so earlier, foolishly looking at a new, promising garden-year ahead. Oblivious to lessons of this region’s short springs. Continue reading

Looking at 60 years of marriage together. Through thick and thin!

Virus or not, I’m going to see my wife!

 

featured image

“If a guy can’t see his wife after being married to her for most of his life, there’s something wrong with this world! Huh?!” (Courtesy family photo)

 

By Dan Bodine

 

FORT WORTH, TX — All Bill Campbell (ret. USAF) of Fort Worth wanted to do was see his wife, Claudia Campbell, a Fort Worth nursing home resident. Idea seemed simple. But there was this coronavirus lockdown order. No visitors. No outside visiting.

Since Claudia had entered the home primarily for twice-weekly dialysis treatments about a decade ago, Bill’d spent a large amount of every day with her. Every day.

Bill & Claudia seen together earlier this year. (Family photo)

So when the coronavirus began sweeping through the United States a few months ago and the Texas government then ordered a lockout for visitors into (among many other establishments) all state nursing home facilities, it chafed him just a little. Yes.

How did he get around it? Without getting thrown in jail?

Ah, he knew exactly which outside window to look through! So he called Claudia and said, Hey, Honey, look for me! I’m on my way!

And he crossed the outside lawn greens, and stared at her through the window! And the two lovebirds were connected again.

Why all the excitement over this, no doubt he’d wondered?

After all, in early June, even if it’s through the window, they’ll be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary! Hopefully with children Angela, Robin, Greg, and Billy Jr.

And all 20 years of active duty in the Air Force, they’d spent together — including extended stays in Taiwan and Rantoul, IL.

After discharge, they’d returned to White Settlement in Fort Worth, and Bill went to work for General Dynamics for another 17 years. And then, he decided Ah, I still feel healthy, so he spent another decade or so in maintenance with FWISD.

And also, the two have been faithful Baptists all their lives — in marriage, particularly, exemplifying love and devotion to each other, and service to their children and community.

After 60 years together, how’s a little (virus) wall gonna stand in the way, huh?!

 

— 30 —

 

(Author’s note: I’ve a little fondness in writing this story — Bill has been a friend and a wonderful brother-in-law over the years.)

 

Grayhound lays down law on Immigration checks (finally)

NEWS FLASH: Greyhound has stopped Border Patrol/ICE agents from boarding its buses searching for illegal immigrants. American Civil Liberties Union was one of the critics.

By Dan Bodine

This story about immigration checks should be filed under “Let’s celebrate a citizen’s rights win!” Pure and Simple now! If you’re in a vehicle and “The Law” wants to shake you down, they’d better have a PC (probable cause) to approach you or a warrant in their hands one! What they did was illegal!

But for how long — 70-80-more years? — all of us as American citizens have turned blind eyes to these onboard immigration checks!

Why? Does it take the proverbial Act of Congress to tell us as humans, we have inalienable rights — i.e., against unlawful searches? Or is exercising them too much trouble? Living itself is enough trouble! Why stir up more?

I witnessed some of these, yes. As an old beat-up journalist moonlighting as a small border town’s sole judge, I did. Routinely saw it! And sensed it was illegal. But said nothing.

Couple of years into this, as a passenger on this same bus line into and out of Presidio (not Greyhound) — going to Odessa to bring back a pickup, once — I underwent an immigration check myself.

“Are you an American citizen?”

I politely showed the agents my identifications.

But why didn’t I say something about this practice then? If I felt it was illegal?

Who, me?! Pawdnuh, I started this new life I’m in now escaping alcohol, divorce and bankruptcy — all by running off to Presidio TX, my status lower ‘n an ol’ drunk grubworm just wanting to get enough vittles to stay alive.

ME, stir up some dust?!! Uh, uh!

Greyhound, often written Greyhound Bus Lines — the nation’s largest bus lines — forever it seems has allowed federal immigration checks — e.g., customs inspectors in or near border cities to board carriers and check passengers’ identities. Looking for people in the country illegally, of course.

No more though! It’s against the law! It’s demeaning to many innocent citizens! And the bus line finally has caved to pressure from civil liberties groups.

The company announced Friday it was notifying the federal agencies such officers would no longer be able to board buses and do immigration checks without legitimate reason.

No ax to grind here concerning U.S. border patrolmen or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspectors enforcing the laws of our country. Worked with them for almost 20 years in Presidio — and on the whole, they’re respectable, front-line defense personnel for us! Good people.

I’m just glad Grayhound finally bowed its neck and pointed out one old practice they don’t have a right to: You ain’t got a right to board our buses and hassle our innocent passengers without due process! It’s a civil rights violation under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

Hallalujua enough people finally stood up! Constitutional rights are a lot like tax deductions — if not used, some unrestrained presidential administration eventually can take them away.

Resisting our current whack-a-mole political climate, and thus not naming any names. But yes, authoritarians rise in politics. Even in America.

So thank you, Greyhound!

30 —

2 Cleburne boys take on Rattler in a Cactus Dig

By Dan Bodine

If this isn’t a patch of one of those bad-ass, prickly pear cactuses that’ve claimed North Central Texas as mecca of its holy lands, then it’s a sure “kissin’ cousin.” A favorite abode of rattlesnakes, too! (Wiki Commons)

You know how it is when something shocking happens to you in your growing-up years, and the event(s) become seared in your mind? Forever! Decades later recently, reading something on the wonders of Big Bend prickly pear cacti instantly flashed me back to just such an event.

It began with two teenage boys outside of Cleburne, Tx, in early 1960 — who’d been hired by a rancher to clear prickly pear cacti from his pastures one Saturday.

And ended not only with the discovery of the biggest damn rattlesnake surely God ever created, but also the death of a prized cow to boot. Simply because the snake scared all senses out of the two boys! Continue reading

Happy New Year from a “Binational Borderplex”

About one in every six El Paso homeowners say they own residences in both Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, according to a recent survey, Borderzine reports. It makes for interesting times — especially for public school districts and teachers and, too, local realtors! Indeed, sometimes in Life it seems we become like “movable type,” as each of us in different ways writes her or his life story upon the lives of others — all in a new collection of Hope. [Image courtesy of Borderzine]

By Dan Bodine

Whooo! The Year 2019 has come and gone; 2020 is at hand!! And what better way to greet the Decade of the New ’20s than congratulate Mexican parents in Juarez for sending their children across stream, i. e. — the sovereignty of both its shores here slowly becoming part of one international city — to get educated in El Paso public schools! Huh?

Call them all new pioneers, say! And further anger Republicans locked into provincialism.

Ah, these twisting streams of human history along the Rio Grande! How an older but more visually populous one now is binding us to each other — in an emerging, new collective, muscular way of global dependency! In a binational borderplex region!

If you haven’t bitten into this new golden apple yet — lot of it dual citizenship, yes — pardon me for this sudden submersion. All that glitters still ain’t gold, no. But lend me your ear just a bit. And maybe I can find a soothing word or two about it as some kind of salve, anyway.

It’s a heated argument, yes. But through the ages this version’s hung in there with many variations! The one common thread, of course, is all of us go back to someone once who was a migrant!

Now, maybe out of a decades-long, collective “wanting something better” wish — amidst still prejudice, political gridlock, yes — has emerged a possible answer that with clarity we can all agree upon. We not only wish as a collective but we also act as a collective! Families themselves do!

Look at the photo above. I’ve borrowed this from Grecia Sanchez’ recent Borderzine story, a UTEP weekly student publication on border culture here. Her survey says about one in every six El Pasoan homeowners say they own homes in both Ciudad Juarez and El Paso.

That’s a grabber, no?! Have we successfully pushed the envelope on another kind of community investment? That’s binational in nature? Defining these citizens?

House vacancy listings in El Paso rise and fall with the incoming/outgoing tides of Mexican-American families — indeed, many of them with dual citizenships, yes — families either finding homes here for the current school year or vacating ones and returning to Juarez at the end of the current one. With plans to continue the cycle of enrolling children in ISDs the next fall term, yes.

And the trade-outs both ways in these yo-yo lifestyles — economic, culturally, etc. — is a beautiful thing, yes!

(El Paso has high ISD taxes, yes — but so do the rest of the state’s urban districts. So? Republicans in Austin, maybe? Still greedily chewing on those same singular exemplarism bones for community development?)

But, this aside, there are some religious fundamentalist people who have to hate, too! For some reason. And this issue — year after year — is a good flashpoint for them! (Yeah, I’m a desert gringo; I’ve heard a few! But never let these people coach football, I say! It’s too complex for ’em!)

I remember well the anger, i.e., I’d see a few times as a small-town judge in Presidio (downriver from here a couple of hundred miles or so) when some naive, anglo PISD taxpayer — usually it’d be — would see me on a downtown sidewalk somewhere; or in a cafe drinking coffee, perhaps; and simply “unload” his fellow-gringo anger on me.

“Damn it, I’ve seen ’em come across sometimes on a Monday morning, at the Port!” he’d say. “Don’t tell me they’re not doing it!

And I’d jokingly tell him, “Aw, they’ve been off on an R&R for the weekend visiting their grandparents! Or old friends! Calm down some. Trust me, for the most part, they are here, LIVING AMONGST US in the school district! They have to! It’s the LAW! [Plus, in Presidio, the only nightclubs for teens were across in OJ! Where else would they be coming from!?]

But let me add some more to round it out some. First, you know — as I most certainly know — free lunches are out the windows today! We’ve lived in an interdependent world for decades now! Scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours!

Look at trade issues, i.e. Any idea how many local jobs are dependent upon foreign shoppers– say, like in China, Turkey, Tibet…or, Mexico, especially Mexico — purchasing U.S.-made goods?

In varying degrees those people are helping to pay your taxes, bubba! And some of your other amenities that are in your paycheck, too. Which means, ultimately when we team-up with foreignuhs, we both win, right?

Cultural exchanges, i.e., has been part of collegiate life going back maybe a century or more, for generations of U.S. students. (Yeah, who knows yet, ultimately, what effect President Trump clamping down on migrants and Immigration quotas will be admittedly, but just call him a quirk in the liberal-ethos chain! ‘Til next election, at least!)

Migration between countries rises and falls — or it usually has — in the ways of economic or health security fallout throughout history, tied both to national economic concerns or health disasters — and, yes, too, when bad hombres take over a country’s financial engines and attempt to implant their own god-given version of imperialism.

Like rocks along the path, no?! Somehow we as a people — survive them. Those of us left. And closer and closer it’s driving us together, is the overall message, too! In the name of whatever color you want to call this post.

Lemme give ‘ya just two tiny, personal examples of how this new bi-nationalism is working in many neighborhoods across the nation now.

For maybe two months Noemi and I have been looking for an older, inexpensive pickup I can use around the house — e. g., carry off old dishwashers, cabinets, tree limbs I’m almost constantly cutting off some of our faster-growing trees, etc.

This week we finally closed on an on-line 2004 Ford F-150 that the entrepreneurial seller had purchased as a salvage vehicle, at an auto auction –a perfect fit for an ol’ retired judge with landscaping dreams floating in his head!

And the seller? Hee, hee! A high school kid! His father, Jimmy, a builder, mechanic, and heavy-duty equipment maestro, all in one, is in for the holidays. He and his son will be over tomorrow to repair a rear turning-signal lamp on the truck, as promised.

As an aside, I became familiar with these maestro families in Presidio — where a ton of them live when they’re not out working! In short, they literally are building America now — on construction projects in every state in the union probably! El Paso, of course, is loaded with them, too!

In the courthouse annex office back in Presidio often we’d get telephone calls from older, teenage kids in these families — from North Carolina, Florida, California, wherever; calls urged on by their parents, no doubt — advising me “I’ll pay that traffic ticket there with my next paycheck!”

“Ok, son! Thanks for calling. I’ll hold off on ‘ya then.”

The other incident I’d mentioned above concerns a younger worker, too, 10-15 years older, one from Juarez — in the U.S. here on a work visa.

He assisted the maestro who built our rock wall around the front of our home several weeks ago — who Noemi finagled into promising to return sometime to help with some inside tile work.

Well, his next construction project was in Colorado, in Denver. where he hopes to make enough money to buy him a new pickup. And he’s in for the holidays now. Sure enough, as promised, he’s over here now laying new tiles on both of our bathrooms.

Man, it’s cold in Denver! he told me yesterday.

Hee, hee! These crooked, winding streams of humanity, we are. Which is how historians describe the building of the Western World!

My late grandmother, i.e., Clara Casey (her last last name), was born in the Arkansas Ozarks in the late 19th Century.

When I interviewed her for a small-town newspaper in the early ’70s, she remembered clearly her family migrating also — to Texas, it was, in a covered wagon!

She went through Indian Territory, she recalled — which is how Oklahoma was referred to before it became a state. “And we had a little spotted, black and white dog that often ran up ahead of us on the trail.” Her family eventually settled around Quanah, in the Panhandle area.

With the Ozark Mts. in her blood, Clara Casey loved Life, ’til death finally claimed her at 93. “Life can be hard at times, yes!” she’d tell her grandkids — from three different marriages. “But the secret is you must keep goin’ on! Or go around! Life is too good to give up on it!” And yes, She loved Lone Star beer! Exclusively! (Dan Bodine photo)

I don’t know if she’d qualify as a migrant, but her parents certainly were! Maybe she’d come in under an Early American Migrant listing.

And if you’re referring strictly to geography to draw your political lines, an atlas will show you Mexico is part of the great North American continent also, and thus the people there have a right to call themselves Americans. As with Canadians. This term is one depicted with a large umbrella, yes!

Too, the same with Central American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama — No way, e.g., can I remember the number of times angrily I’ve been told: “We’re Americans, too, El Juez!”

And proud, energetic, and ambitious, also, I might add, they all are generally! No idea where the term lazy came from to describe these people coming in from our Southern people, but it’s definitely a myth, though!

Which is what most of us may be fighting. And it’s been elevated to the Nth level in this torrid, political climate we’re all in now.

But let us not forget Christ is the Reason for this Season — the Love and Hope in New Beginnings his arrival meant to the world. And be sure to smile at your neighbor tomorrow!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!! Prayers for all of us!

From Noemi, Kareli and Dan

— 30 —

Isabella doesn't like "to be messed with"!

Can’t a girl (turtle) sunbathe without being ‘bothered’?!

By Dan Bodine

What kind of garden is this!?! Decent girl can’t even find a private place to sunbathe! (Desert Mts. Enterprises photos)

A rare event it was yesterday — I was able to photo one of my two “box” turtles, a young girl! Even tho I had to rough her up a little. Bothered her, I did, bless her heart! Continue reading

As Ornery Jackass, Jenny Won 1st in County Parade

Dan Bodine

That’s Jenny over there, 1950 or ’51, I think. Me on her. We won 1st place (long forgotten the category), Annual Johnson County’s Old Settlers & Reunion Parade in downtown Cleburne, TX, that year. None other like it. Always held 2nd week in August, it seems. So if anyone wants to taste what a county fair is like before the big state fair in Dallas in October, this is your chance!

Crowd excitement helped us get this prize, I guess. I never could figure it quite out!

But the incident reflects back to a period when it seemed everybody was allowed to be somebody — e.g., individuality, even in animals, was respected — and I wanted to add this footnote as a way of saying, even today a half-ass mule still deserves respect!

Jenny got tired at one point back then and just sat down! Middle of the parade; middle of the street! Stopped everything!

I got off and pulled and tugged. She wouldn’t get up. No way no how!

Caused quite a stir! Parade up front had to stop, too.

Got a jackass down in the middle of the street back here!

Some official with a mouthpiece explained it up front a ways to parade participants, ahead of us — as to why they had to stop!

Police and sheriff deputies came a runnin’! Convergin’ from all sides! Shoved me out of the way! Me, a 7(or 8)-yr-old-boy and the only person Jenny’d ever listened to!

The men heaved and tugged, grunted and groaned, big-time! Jenny wouldn’t get up. Went on and on and on!

Finally I stepped back into the melee, politely. And calmly mounted Jenny again, as she laid there.

It was a scene a bit like we’d often done near our home outside of town several miles, along the Godley Highway.

Only she’d never actually set down. She’d just wait for me.

For earlier, just to be ornery on our after-school rides, sometimes she’d take off running lickity split! It was her moment!

The damn Tea-Party Republicans today on a crusade about Liberty don’t have any more of an idea of what this means than a man on the moon drinking Lone Star beer does!

It meant I had to respect her ’cause I couldn’t control her! Not totally.

And eventually in these bouts I’d end up being thrown off onto the ground along the side of the road somewhere — down toward the Hedricks place — with cars and trucks going by, honking and hollering.

Hee, haw! Hee, haw!

When these trips, though, were along the side of the highway — and not somewhere back into the deep pastures somewhere, as they often were, too — Jenny never would leave me alone. But would stop finally, turn around, and wait up ahead.

Then I only had to get back on, lean over into her ol’ floppy left ear, and whisper kinda loud, “You ain’t supposed to do that, Jenny, darn ‘ya! Let’s go!

And she’d go plopping along again, happily. Eventually we’d get up close to the “Y” — where the Godley Hwy. melted into the Fort Worth Hwy., there at the Fix-It Shop — and cross the highway and return home.

At the parade that day, that remounting scene is what came to my mind — and that’s what I finally did. As she laid there blocking the whole damn parade!

Back on her, reins in hand and a tuggin’, l leaned over into that same left ear, and told her in that same Darn it I mean business voice, “We need to go!

Sure enough, she got up — to the cheers of the hundreds who’d lined both sides of the street — and started plopping along again.

And like some giant slithering serpant stalled — because of some small malfunction in its middle section –the whole parade followed suit almost instantly.

The wild outbursts on each side then (that erupted as the parade resumed) — waves of Hurrah!!! crescending up and down the downtown streets — were eternally seared into my young mind. Already I was half way to Heaven!

And, too, Jenny’s ol’ floppy ears perked up, and seconds later proudly were standing tall — as folks on both sides cheered wildly as we moved up the street toward the market square and the courthouse in downtown Cleburne!

“What in the world is this!?” she no doubt was thinking.

I guar-on-tee-‘ya! She never thought that a half-hour or so later she and I would be honored with that first-place award — for her damn contrariness!

— 30 —

Easing into Collecting Cacti

By Dan Bodine

This little cactus produces more flowers than any other in the Casa Verde Gardens. It’s name? Would you believe Pudge? And the encroaching succulent coming in on the left? This could be a hint on my raw naming system. In Mexico folks call this crawler “Chisme” — Spanish for gossip — because of the way it spreads. (Desert Mts Enterprises photos)

By Dan Bodine

Yeah, I have a cactus garden, too — today’s landscaping thing, no? But three years into it hasn’t rattled off a lot to write home about. Maybe posting this will draw enough comments for me to either step it up and expand my thinking somehow, or turn it over — one way or another. Cold turkey!

No doubt my health and advanced age are factors keeping the excitement thermometer down in this new hobby. And some of it could be, indeed, that part about old dogs can’t learn new tricks!

Names of most common landscaping shrubs, flowers and trees in North Central Texas (D-FW area) where I grew up, I learned as a boy, i.e. — by working many years after school in a plant nursery. But were cacti in landscaping plans then? Uh…

Cactus is a plant, too, yes. But 60-65 years ago that region was heavily farm & ranch land — with prickly-pear cactus flaring throughout it like acne on teenagers.

Oh, there was more than one type of cactus then? Few people discussed the topic.

Now cacti and succulents together are the rage of the globe, and learning the names of these strange critters is more than a bit difficult to a flatlander. Thus in the mountainous desert I usually shift to my default naming position — e.g., what does it remind me of? The first thing that jumps in my mind?

I started the cacti collection like this 3-4 years ago now, I think, after attending an El Paso Garden Club sale one weekend.

And then, it turned out, (like thousands and thousands of others, no doubt) I fell victim — e.g., I HAD TO ASK, about an image I saw online somewhere. And thus I gained 3-4 more plants.

Where it ends? Who knows? These things are more serpentine than Mother-In-Law Tongues! (The plant, of course!)

Daughter Maiya Kareli, i.e. (to family, Kareli [goes by middle name, like Noemi and I]; to friends — her 1st name, Maiya) bought me a Cactus of Texas Field Guide last year, and it’s been helpful. But it’s limited to Texas.

So, as I go thru these few photos below of my little collection, be aware my personal naming system is at work. Don’t scream I’m desecrating or belittling in some way.

You want to know the real name of them? Type in “cactus photos of the southwest” in your search engine? And happy hunting for that one, identifying photo!

More-‘n-likely you’ll be hurdlin’ a Latin naming system whose different names on papyrus Cleopatra used to rotate daily with a little clip at the end of her backscratcher. Damn thing burnt out when she was 38 and supposedly she hadn’t even gone thru half of the alphabet yet!

Maybe some glorious day I’ll get more personal with these critters and actually learn what types of cacti they really are! And respect their history, too, etc., etc.! But don’t bet on it. I’d probably have to give up watching Sunday and Monday night football or sumpthin’!

Part of a cactus collection
WHO ELSE BUT ‘SLIM’? Listen, this cactus already has caused Noemi and I a “world of hurt” just protecting it from the wind! Maybe I can get other photos in here to show some other methods of keeping it standing, This is a mop handle, I think, Noemi attached to it. And you can’t propagate it using those blooms either. I actually planted one (It’s a cub, right?), and watched it as it withered away… to dust! Shhh…!

Nobody notices it!
“Y’all come!” Catnabber says. This little cactus gets little attention! But a few times I’ve noticed ornery nighttime cats around here have attempted to pass over it unnoticed, too, until they felt…”Whoops, what is that I’m hung up on?!” Either that or those tiny pieces of fur I’ve found on it just happened to be blowing in the wind and were nabbed by the Catnabber!
PUDGE with FLAPJACK REDS (bottom, supposedly a high-class prickly pear). Duh…?
These, as a group, are the Tres Amigos I got as cubs from a friend online. Of course I’ve lost all information on them. It was my understanding he lived in New Mexico, though. Below, I’ll show you the two on the right again. I just can’t remember the name I gave the little guy on the left. And if not mistaken, the front two will grow 4-6 ft. in height, too!
OK, the two upfront themselves. I’ve got a little Indian blood in me and sometimes I’ll lean on it a little — as in these two names. That’s the great Chief Quanah on the right, and his sidekick, Heapin’ Ugly Stick, on the left beside him.
Naming a cactus the way you see it!
Here’s Slim again, this time sprouting two of those big white blooms. The wind kept messin’ with ol’ Slim here this spring, tilting that brace-pole to various angles; and actually blew this weird-looking cactus loose from its mop stick (above) one night; and uprooted it — putting Slim flat on the ground — and a bare root sticking up in the air. Luckily I got to it the next morning and set it up; and fashioned a new holding system — actually what I think were someone’s wire, lawn cocktail glass holders at one time Noemi brought in from a garage sale. Anyway, they fit around Slim’s trunk sturdily, and then I anchored both to a makeshift fencepost of sorts. And presto Slim was flying high again! (All photos Desert Mts Enterprises)
Strange-looking pair!
Early Cool (l) and Fishhook: Who’re you calling “Fatty,” “Squatty”?

30 —

Holding onto Nature by feeding garden thrashers

By Dan Bodine

A Southwest Curved Bill Thrasher: “What’s Up, Doc?!” (Image by cibomahto on Flickr – Flickr, CC BYSA2.0https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7004389)

First noticed Charlie with his long, curved beak in 2018, in February. I feed birds (maybe 30-40) in my backyard garden every morning. Have been, anyway. For 8-9 years. Not sure how long I’ll continue. As long as they stay clean, I guess. [More below on this] The birds are largely sparrows, pigeons, collar doves, and whitewings. Keep them fresh water, too.

Why?

Donno. Continue reading