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Spinning a Yarn with TrailBoss

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    Spinning a Yarn with TrailBoss

    John Shelly, TexasBowhunter's own TrailBoss, has always entertained us with his tales. This thread has guaranteed laughs below.

    Christmas at Mama's

    John Shelley

    Christmas is one of those holidays that always seem to be steeped in tradition. It can be different for everyone, but most families have their own way of doing it. No one seems to know why we do it this way or that way, we just know this is the way we do it.

    As children grow up and go their separate ways, it adds challenges to maintaining the ritual but for my family, we always seem to find a way to have Christmas at Mama’s. Of course Dad is there too, but let there be no mistake about it – Mama runs Christmas!

    No one in my family makes plans for Christmas until they check with Mama. Mama sets the date and December 25th really doesn’t have anything to do with it if it ain’t convenient for Mama! Mama sets the time for Christmas dinner too. 12:00 is only a mark on the clock and really doesn’t have a thing to do with when dinner will be served. The determining factor for that is whenever the turkey gets done!

    On the appointed day (usually sometime in late December), the family starts to gather at Mama’s for Christmas. A whole array of excuses is used by everyone every year as to why they are so late. Truth is, we put it off as long as we can. Our family is scattered all about Texas but my brother, who lives only 4 blocks away, always seems to be the last to arrive. That’s because he hogs up all the good excuses!

    No matter how I try not to be, I’m usually the first to arrive. That means I get to be the first to hear of all Mama’s new ailments. Not only do I get to hear about them first, I get to hear about them again and again as more family arrives. And it gets worse as the day goes on. What starts out as a runny nose in the morning, turns into full fledged pneumonia by the time the last relative arrives. My brother thinks she is dying!

    Time has taken its toll and there aren’t as many aunts and uncles as there used to be, but I always enjoy seeing those who make it to dinner. Sometimes they get into the house without me seeing them and I am only made aware of their arrival by what I see on the dinner table. I can tell you each and every person in the house by the dishes on the table. They always bring the same stuff every year.

    Each person is charged with bringing a specific dish but nobody better get any ideas about bringing any turkey and dressing or egg custard pies! That’s Mama’s department. Even with her body ravaged by pneumonia, Mama always prepares those dishes.

    And Mama has pets at her house too. Lots of pets! No one knows exactly how many cats Mama has, but only a few dozen of them live in the house. Mama also has a fat dog with lots of hair, so much hair in fact, that we can only tell which end is which by the direction the dog happens to be moving.

    As you might expect, some of this dog and cat hair inevitably finds its way into the food and onto the furniture. You might have to endure a couple of helpings of dog hair dressing and cat hair pie, but everyone that comes to Mama’s for Christmas leaves with a new fur coat. Especially if they’re wearing black!

    The tradition of the saying of grace seems to always fall to me. I’m not sure why that has become my job? Maybe it’s because I am the oldest child? Maybe it’s because I know some big Bible words? Personally, I think it’s because I don’t go to church as often as Mama believes I should and she thinks that if I am the one to say grace, God will remember my name and let me into heaven!

    Once dinner is finished and we all cough up the hairballs, we move into the over crowded living room to exchange gifts and get our new fur coats. One of Mama’s traditions is to give money for our main Christmas gift. Now, I like that tradition just fine. It’s always the right color, always the right size and never needs to be returned or exchanged. But just as we can always count on getting money as our main gift, we can also always count on getting some sort of worthless trinket! I still haven’t found a practical use for the wrist watch walkie-talkies or the little monkey made from socks, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

    I guess Mama will be gone one of these days and Christmas won’t be the same, and then it’ll be my job to carry on the Christmas traditions at my own home, with my own family. Hey kids, have I told you about this pain in my back? And pass me another helping of that dog hair dressing!


      Freckles the Free Bird Dog

      John Shelley

      A few weeks ago, my wife and I decided to give in and get my daughter a dog. She had wanted her own for ages. So, off to the local animal shelter we go and pick out Freckles the free bird dog. Wow, what a deal – a free bird dog! Well, not exactly. $62 for neutering and vaccinations and then we get the free dog. But before we go home, we have to stop by Wal-Mart and get a new collar, leash, food bowl and dog house - $150! But the daughter is so happy.

      After a few days in his new home, Freckles starts this digging out thing. He and our other dog flew the coop a few times but we or the neighbors managed to find them and bring them home. So, to solve the problem, I dig a trench around the entire perimeter of the yard and bury hog wire to keep them from digging out. $150! But the daughter is so happy.

      Problem solved, right? Wrong – now he starts to climb over the 6 foot privacy fence! This dog is getting on my nerves! So, off to Wal-Mart I go again to get a harness and a dog run cable. $25! But he’s a good dog and the daughter is so happy.

      Okay, surely this will solve the problem! Wrong again! Two days later he chews his harness off. I actually figured it was the other dog that chewed it off him to try and spring him. So, off to Wal-Mart one more time for another harness! $9!

      Two days later – he’s chewed it off again! Now, I ain’t got time for this! I gotta get to the deer lease for the weekend. So, I built a makeshift harness from some dog chain and put it on him and headed off for the weekend. But at least the daughter is happy.

      When I got back home on Sunday, the kids said they thought Freckles was sick. Said he was just laying around and not playing. This is very unusual as he is normally a live wire! So, I went out back to check him out and found about a foot of string hanging out of his – ummmmm – “vent”! I tried to pull it out, but he would have no part of that!

      Next morning, I load him up and take him to the vet. Well, one surgery and $647 later, Freckles the free bird dog is back home recovering nicely. And what did the vet find in his stomach? The remains of a $9 harness!

      Don’t let anyone give you a free bird dog. They’re much too expensive.

      But at least the daughter is happy!
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        How I got a New Router

        John Shelley

        When we built our home about 10 years ago, we put faux wood blinds in the den. Over the years they have yellowed in the harsh west sun and needed some attention. Those things aren’t cheap, so I figured I could just repaint them rather than replace them. Bad idea!

        I took them apart and painted each individual slat. All 188 of them! Both sides. Whew – what a chore!

        While I was in the backyard working on this fun project, wifey comes out and says “Hey Honey – I have an idea”. (I knew right then I was in for some more work) “I’m about tired of those deer antler curtain holder thingys – why don’t we take those down and put up some of that nice wood molding around the windows?”

        Just in case you ever thought I had any say-so in what goes into decorating our home – you can get that idea out of your head right now! “Sure honey – sounds like a great idea”.

        So, off to Home Depot to get the supplies and materials. Don’t ask me how we got off into the laminate flooring area, but about an hour later we finally got back to the house with the goods.

        In between the exciting work of painting the slats and watching them dry, I started cutting and installing the new molding around the windows. Of course that was after I finished the chore of cleaning the window panes inside and out at wifey’s request!

        Just as I thought I was making some headway on the job, wifey comes out again. “You know honey, those newly painted blinds and new paint on the window molding is gonna make the rest of the room look dingy. I think we should paint the rest of the room while we’re at it.” I just love the way she says “we” when she comes up with these good ideas!

        So – back to Home Depot for paint and supplies. This time a detour through the kitchen cabinet area, and we finally get back home with the goods.

        “We” decided the room should be a different color this time, so that meant masking off all the trim work and painting it before starting on the wall. I started this simple little project to paint the blinds at 7AM on Saturday morning and at 1AM on Sunday morning the loud snoring coming from the bedroom alerted me that I was in this job by myself! Don’t ya just love family projects!

        So, I guess you’re probably wondering how a new router figures into this story? Well you see – when I put the molding around the windows, that meant I had to build wider window sills and they would need the edges rounded.

        And there ya have it! Wifey had to let me get a new router at Home Depot!

        Women are so easy!


          Blowed Up Snakes

          John Shelley

          Many years ago, I used to bass fish a lot and a co-worker at the Katy Railroad and I fished a lot of tournaments together.

          One day in early spring we were fishing a tournament on Lake Whitney when, while trolling along side a big rock bluff, I thought I noticed something unusual laying in one of the crevices in the rocks. I mentioned it to my partner and we circled back by the spot and noticed several snakes denned up in the crevice.

          Until that day, I didn’t know copperheads and rattlesnakes would den together, but sure enough, there were several of each in the den.

          Well, being the good citizens that we were, we just couldn’t let this go without making some effort to kill the snakes. It was just the right thing to do you know!

          So we set out discussing just how we were gonna do it. Now, this was back in the days when most boats didn’t have built in gas tanks, but rather used the 6 gallon portable type that required you to mix oil with the gasoline.

          Being employees of the railroad, we had access to plenty of signal flares that we used to stop trains when an emergency arose and I generally kept a few in the boat in case the situation ever called for me to stop a train out on the lake you see.

          Well, we got the bright idea that we’d cut the top out of a Coke can and pour up some gas from the fuel tank. I’d put the trolling motor on high speed and as we trolled by the snake den, I’d dash the gasoline up there on the pile of snakes and my buddy would strike the flare and pitch it up there and we’d just burn up this pile of snakes! Sounds like a good plan don’t it?

          I cranked the trolling motor over on high speed and away we went – pitched the gasoline up on the snakes and all hell broke loose! Snakes went to rattling, squirming, and trying to crawl out of the den. As my buddy, who was in the back of the boat came by the den, tried to scratch the lighter on the flare, it misfired and didn’t light! Oh brother! Now snakes are going every which way! Must have been 2 dozen in there!

          So, I turned the boat around and went back for another pass. By this time, my buddy had the flare lit and chunked it up in the den where all the gasoline fumes had now filled the crevice and covered the snakes. KABOOOOM!!!!!

          Blowed rocks and dirt and flaming snakes everywhere! Some blew out in the lake, some hit the boat, some crawled off up the bluff ablaze and set the pasture on fire! Some just blew up!

          We cranked up the big motor and got the heck outta Dodge!

          Back at the weigh-in site, a whole line of fishermen were talking about all the fire trucks across the lake and were wondering what was burning?

          We just said, “Ah who knows? Probably just somebody trying to smoke out a snake den!”


            Flyin' Ain't For Me

            John Shelley

            I’m as scared of an airplane as I am a grizzly bear! I there ain’t a LOT of water between me and where I’m going – I drive!

            It all started on April 10, 1979. I was new in the insurance business and used to get all hyped up over the company contests and qualified for a “convention” in Hawaii. Neither I nor my wife had ever flown. I learned that I had won the trip in January that year and the trip didn’t take place until April. Well, it took me those 4 months to convince my wife to come along. “Aw baby – don’t sweat it. We’ll be on a 747 and it’ll be just like sittin’ right here in the living room. You’ll like it!”

            So the day finally arrives and although she was still very apprehensive, wifey and I head out to the airport. We found our way to the gate and unloaded the luggage and took off for the ticket counter. We were half-way to California when I realized that in my rush to get our baggage checked and get our boarding passes, I had left the van sitting right where we unloaded it – doors open and motor running! But that’s another story.

            So, we boarded the plane and headed down the runway. Good gosh – what a rush! Man oh man what an awesome feeling when that thing went screaming down the runway 200 mph pushing you back against the seat! I’m thinking – whoa baby; I gotta have one of these! It was great! Until – the wheels came off the ground! Right there is where I quit liking it!

            Now some of you may not be old enough to remember this, but April 10, 1979 is the day that Wichita Falls blew away in a huge tornado! Yep – you guessed it – we flew right through that storm front! Holy Cow – that plane went to pitchin’ and buckin’ and doin’ all kinds of crazy stuff! The wings were flappin’ like a bird! I got scared! Real bad! You couldn’t have drove a needle up my *** with a sledge hammer!

            My manager was sitting about 4 or 5 rows ahead of us. Now this guy was a pilot in the Air Force in his younger days, so I looked up toward him hoping to get some reassurance that all this was gonna be okay. About the time I looked up, he looked back and just shook his head. Oh My God – we’re all gonna die!

            And all this time – wifey is sitting there like she doesn’t’ have a care in the world. She’s eatin’ her lunch, eatin’ my lunch, and what ever she can snatch off the serving cart as it rolls up and down the aisle!

            Folks, I’m here to tell ya – Billy Graham ain’t got nuthin’ on me! He ain’t never prayed for 8 hours straight!

            When we finally landed in Hawaii – the first thing I did was try to find out how I could catch a boat back to Texas! My wife thought I was crazy, but I was serious! “What in the world is the matter with you?” she said. “What if that boat sinks out there in the middle of the ocean? You can’t swim back to Texas?”

            “Well, maybe not – but I can swim a helluva lot further than I can fly!”


              Valentine Disaster

              John Shelley

              It seemed like such a romantic plan at the time - how could things go so wrong!

              Valentine’s Day fell on Saturday this year and I had worked all the week to get things in place for a romantic evening with my little bride. Now, generally I’m not your romantical type of fellow, but I sort of had a weak moment and just knew this plan would be something special for me and my sweetie, something she’d remember for years to come. Well, I was right about part of it - she ain’t forgot it yet and hasn’t let me forget it either.

              The plan was to load up the little wife in the bass boat and motor across Lake Whitney to big island with a sandy beach. I had just the spot in mind since I’d seen it many times while white bass fishing near the island. I planned on taking a picnic basket with a meal I would prepare ahead of time along with a bottle of wine, a portable cassette tape player, a folding card table and chairs, some candles and a blanket to lay on the sand.

              Getting her in the boat in the first place would be the hard part. The rest would be easy. As I have noted before - the Outdoors is NOT her friend! I was gonna have to come up with a real doozey of a story to ever pull this off. After spending most of the morning racking my brain for the right lie to get the job done, I was no closer to an answer. So, I did what any man who wears the pants in his family does - I resorted to begging!

              After several hours of whining and whimpering, I finally talked her into going along on this wonderful romantic candlelight dinner by the sea - okay, by the lake - same thing! We drove to the lake, loaded all the goodies in the boat and launched it. Wifey and all the goodies were in the boat when I pushed it off the trailer. So far so good. Then I dropped the rope and the boat started to drift away - wifey and all! “No honey - sit down! Stop screaming and jumping around like that. You’re gonna tip the boat over!”

              “Okay - calm down now - just lower the trolling motor and drive the boat back over here.” “Of course you know what it is - it’s the thing on the front of the boat with the wires on it!” “Just tip it over the front and turn on the switch!” “Yeah, that’s it - good job - now just steer it this way.” “You’re doing great.”

              “Whoa, whoa - stop! Look out for the tow rope!” “Oh crap - too late!” “Okay, okay, it’s gonna be okay - but you gotta stop screaming and jumping around like that. You’re gonna tip the boat over!”
              “Okay now - dig the paddle out from under the seat and start paddling this way.” “Of course you do - it’s the long wooden thing with a handle on it!”

              Well several minutes and one irate wife later, I got her back to the bank and secured the boat to the dock while I went and parked the trailer. Finally talked her back into the boat and away we go across the lake. All is well now - this is gonna be so romantic.

              “Isn’t this nice baby? The lake is so calm and deserted. We’ll have the whole island all to ourselves.” “What do you mean your feet are getting wet?” “Oh crap! I forgot to put the plug in!” “No, wait - stop screaming and sit down - you’re gonna tip the boat over!” This just wasn’t going like I had planned!

              I managed to get the plug in and we motored on over to the island. Okay, I think it’s gonna be okay now. So, I pull the boat up on the sand and start to unload the slightly damp picnic basket and other goodies. I sat the table up by the edge of the water and put the chairs in place. Laid the blanket on the sand and gathered some wood and started a fire.

              The sun was just starting to set and I placed the food on the table and poured the wine. Soggy candles are a little difficult to light but if you hold them over a campfire long enough, they’ll finally catch. At this point, I’m still not sure if sweetie is having a good time or not, but she had finally quit trying to wring water out of her socks.

              “Ain’t this nice baby? Just look at that beautiful sunset.” “How’s your hotdog?” “You want some more chili on that?” “Yeah, the table does seem to be leaning a little but it’ll be okay.” “I’m just so happy to be here with you. See, things turned out okay didn’t they?”

              “I’m not sure what that smell is either, but it smells like something burning.” “Oh crap, the blanket is on fire!” “Hang on - I’ll get it.” I jumped up from the table and stomped out the fire on the blanket. It wasn’t too hard to do with soggy tennis shoes on. “Its okay baby - see, the hole isn’t that big!”

              So, I sat back down to finish our romantic dinner by the sea - okay, lake - whatever! I’m trying so hard to set the mood, but I’m beginning to have my doubts about getting lucky now!

              Well, I thought it was about time to make my move. So I put my arm on the table to lean across and give wifey a big kiss. With my weight on the table the leg sank into the sand and the table tilted a little more. Here comes everything my way! Including two burning candles!

              A torrent of hot candle wax poured across the table and into my lap scalding big Jim and the twins! “Oh crap, that burns!” I dove into the lake in an effort to cool the boiling wax! Of course when I hit the water, the wax set up solid! Now I have a whole new appreciation for women who have the guts to get a bikini wax!

              Okay, so how come when wifey gets her feet a little wet, she starts screaming and jumping up and down but when I get permanently branded, she is laughing hysterically? It’s hard to get romantical about a woman who is blowing wine out her nose! I’m ready to go home!

              From now on, it’s a trip to Wal-Mart for chocolates and a card. You guys can have this romance! Who ever came up with this Valentines Day stuff anyway?


                I've Been Shot!

                John Shelley

                One summer between college years when I was about 21 years old, I got a wild hair to build a street rod. I have no idea what possessed me to want such a thing but I had a powerful hankering come upon me and that’s what I thought I needed.

                So, after a little swapping and bargaining I came up with a 1939 4-door Chevy Sedan. Not really what you’d call the ideal car to turn into a street rod, but it’s all I could come up with for $40! I mean-mouthed my brother into going with me and towing it back to my Dad’s service station since it didn’t have a transmission. Or a motor. Or seats. It didn’t have any brakes either but I didn’t discover that right away! We finally got it back to the station with a few new dings in the front fenders (it didn’t have a bumper either).

                There she was. A thing of beauty! No motor, no transmission, no seats or bumpers, but she did have all 4 doors and all the windows. And some rust. Lots of rust! I got started right away sanding and scraping and trying to get rid of the rust. Well after about 30 minutes of intense labor with a wire brush and sandpaper and I was completely cured of my hankering for a street rod! This is for the birds!

                A few days later, a friend of mine came by the station and I caught him cuttin’ his eyes toward the rust bucket a couple of times and the wheels started turning in my head. I could see he was workin’ up a hankering of his own! I put my salesmanship skills to work and had the boy all in a lather in a matter of minutes! He just had to have it.

                Now I knew this boy didn’t have no $40 so we started the negotiations. We finally settled on a trade when he offered me $20 and a .22 pistol. It wasn’t even a good .22, but at least it didn’t have no rust on it! The deal was done and I had 20 bucks in my pocket and a semi-shiny .22 pistol. I couldn’t wait to shoot it. It had to be more fun than scraping rust!

                That afternoon when I got off work, I stopped by Mrs. Spivey’s grocery store and picked up a box of .22 shorts and me and the new pistol headed for the country. When I got to the pasture I scrounged a couple of tin cans from the ditch and set them up on a nearby log. Before long I was plinkin’ the cans on nearly every shot. I needed a new challenge!

                So, I got the bright idea to do a little quick draw shooting. Bad idea! Actually things were going pretty good at first. I was getting quicker on the draw and closer to the can with every shot. In an effort to get even faster, I started cocking the hammer on the way out of the holster. Another bad idea!

                I drew and cocked the hammer at the same time but this time I pulled the trigger before I cleared leather! I heard the shot, but I didn’t see any dirt fly anywhere even near the can! I looked down at my leg and saw the gun still in the holster. This can’t be good! I didn’t have any pain what-so-ever, but I had a bit of a “heavy” feeling in my leg. I searched my pant leg and found a small hole just at the bottom of the holster and confirmed what I pretty much already knew. I been shot! “Whaaaaaaaaw!!!!!”

                The bullet had entered my thigh midway between my hip and my knee and stopped just before breaking the skin just behind my knee. Amazingly, there was almost no blood. I drove myself back to town and went by the station to tell my mom what had happened and then go on up to the doctor’s office.

                Now you’d just have to know my mom to appreciate this part. When I pulled into the station she came out to the car and I said, “Hey get in the car and go with me up to the clinic. I shot myself in the leg with that pistol”. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!! Oh my God! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!!

                She screamed at my dad “Lewis, Johnny’s been shot! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!” She jumped in the car and off we went to the clinic. Now, my poor old dad can’t hear it thunder and he thought she said my brother Ronnie had been shot. He had no idea where we were going or what was going on so he about flipped out too!

                When we got to the clinic I parked the car and my mama took off for the front door. She didn’t know it but I was only a couple of steps behind her when she opened front door of the clinic. “Somebody help me, my son’s been shot! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!!” Man, I wanted to shoot myself in the head right about then!

                The doctor snipped the skin and popped the bullet right out without even deadening my leg, but said he thought it would be best if I spent the night in the hospital just for observation. Once we got settled in the room my mom finally thought to call my dad and get him down off the rafters and tell him what had happened.

                Next she called my fiancée. She called her from my hospital room. Poor girl – she didn’t know my mother very well and had no idea how melodramatic she could be. “Kimla, this is Lola. We’re at the hospital at Olney. Johnny just shot himself!”

                “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!!! What did he do that for? If he didn’t wanna marry me, he coulda just said so. He didn’t have to shoot himself!” It took me a while to calm the girl down and convince her it wasn’t a suicide attempt and she finally stopped bawling! Women get worked up over the least little things!

                Needless to say, I got rid of the pistol after all that. Never had much of a hankering to quick draw anymore. Sure wish I had that old car back though.


                  My Wife Don't Hunt

                  John Shelley

                  My wife is a wonderful and beautiful woman but you couldn’t beat her with a stick and make her go hunting! The woman just ain’t gonna do it! She tolerates my obsession very well, but the woman just ain’t gonna do it!

                  It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time when she’d actually come along with me. Seems that women are more tolerant in the early years. But sadly, those days are long gone.

                  It all started before we were married. One evening, in one of those moments when women start dreaming of the future, and how they are gonna mold their man into the perfect husband, she started to plant the seed. “Honey, when we get married, you won’t go off hunting and leave me at home alone will you?” Being the astute person I am, I saw right through her little scheme! “Oh no baby, I’d never do that!” See, I was plantin’ some seeds of my own.

                  Funny isn’t it, how a simple little statement can have two entirely different meanings? She took that to mean, I would never go hunting. I took it to mean she’d always come with me!

                  Well the wedding day came – August 19th and me and the little woman entered into a life of wedded bliss. Life was good. Then September 1st rolled around and dove season opened! “Okay baby – I’m gonna go shoot some birds – see you after dark!” That was the first time I ever got “the look”! But she was still working on molding me, so she said “Well wait, I want to go too”. See, I told you women were more tolerant in the early years!

                  So, I scratched around in the closet and found some old camo clothes that would work for her and off we went to shoot some birds. We found a nice big sunflower patch and threw down a couple of folding stools and settled in to wait for the birds. Now if you’re from Texas, you already know how hot it can get even in early September. I sorta got “the look” again when the sweat from her head made her mascara start dripping off her chin! She was beginning to become a little less tolerant I think. But she’s a trooper and hung in there throughout the evening.

                  About here I guess I should mention that since she didn’t have any hunting boots, she wore flip flops to the dove hunt. That’ll be significant as the story unfolds.

                  A couple of times during the afternoon I noticed her squirming a little and scratching her feet and ankles. I passed it off to boredom and didn’t think much more about it. When I finally finished off the 2nd box of shells it was getting close to dark, so I picked up my two birds and we headed back to the house. The squirming and scratching intensified a little on the way home, but still I didn’t think much about it. Guys can be a little slow sometimes!

                  Back at the house, I told her to go ahead and get her bath and relax while I fixed us a delicious dinner with the two dove. By the time she got out of the tub, I had dinner ready and the table set with the only two plates we had that matched. It was lovely. Grilled dove breast wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a jalapeño, wild rice, and corn on the cob. She was impressed. She even commented on how good the rice was. I ate my dove. She bit down on a # 9 birdshot and spit hers out! I sorta got “the look” again! She was beginning to get less tolerant!

                  After dinner, we retired from the dinning room to the den (which was the other end of the same room). In fact, the whole house was the other end of the same room! It was an 8X40 trailer house, but it was home and we were happy. I turned on the TV and adjusted the foil on the rabbit ears a little until we could sorta make out the picture and we cuddled up on the inflatable couch. Life was good.

                  I had a hard time concentrating on the movie though ‘cause the woman kept squirming and scratching her dang feet and legs! But I’m a tolerant person and I put up with it ‘cause I was still trying to mold her. Apparently the itching was getting pretty bad because she sat up and turned on the lamp.

                  She screamed out like a panther! “Oh my God look at my legs! What’s wrong with me?” And she gave me “the look” again!

                  “Uh oh, CHIGGERS!” She had them solid from her waist to her knees and from her knees to her toes they were stacked on top of each other! Chiggers eatin’ chiggers! It was an awful sight! She gave me “the look” again. She gave it to me real hard!

                  So, my wife don’t hunt no more! But at least she’s still tolerant – well sorta!


                    The House Is On Fire

                    John Shelley

                    When it comes to wives, I have a real gem. If she doesn’t run me off first, my sweet little bride and I will soon be married 33 years. She has put up with a lot from me and looking back, I wonder how our marriage even survived the first week!

                    When I asked this sweet little girl to marry me, I didn’t even have a job. But I had just graduated from Hill Jr. College and was pretty sure I could get one. I mean, come on - I got a diploma here, how hard could it be?
                    We planned the wedding for mid August and set about getting ready to establish this new household. Without a job, it was necessary that we be very frugal and so we cut corners wherever we could. My uncle started us out by giving us this lovely 8 X 40 trailer house. This thing was built before they called them mobile homes.

                    We spent most of the summer getting it ready to move in to. New paint inside and out. New ceilings. New carpet (okay - new/used carpet). A used swamp cooler and some of the finest dishes and cookware that a body could expect to find at a garage sale.

                    Before the summer was out, I had secured a position in my new career as a service station attendant for my uncle in Hillsboro, TX and was able to buy a brand spanking new set of blow up furniture from Montgomery Ward! Anyone remember Montgomery Ward? We moved the trailer into a park behind a U-Haul trailer rental and were ready to set up housekeeping.

                    So, the wedding day came and we said our vows. After a 2-day honeymoon trip to romantic Denton, TX we moved into our new home in Hillsboro and I started my new job pumping gas. It was a good job. They furnished me with those nice uniforms and I even had my own pocket protector and red grease rag. I felt so official!

                    Then the trials and tribulations started. The first night in our new home, the swamp cooler died! But hey, it’s August - 3 more months and we won’t even need a swamp cooler! Then my aunt came over to visit and plopped down on the new blow up chair. The chair had a blow out and dumped her out in the floor! We couldn’t get her up, so we just sorta had to roll her out the door and send her home!

                    Then the biggie! I had just gotten to work one morning and rolled all the stuff out onto the driveway and was ready to open up when the phone rang. It was my wife. She was frantic! Bawling her eyes out and screaming - “The house is on fire - The house is on fire”! I still don’t know why she called me instead of the fire department, but I threw everything back in the station and locked the door and made a mad dash back to the house.

                    We didn’t have a phone, so my wife had to run over to the U-Haul place to use the phone and call me. When I wheeled into the trailer park, there stood my little bride - half naked and dripping wet! And there was water running out of the front door of the house! And I’m thinking “how the hell is the house on fire when there’s water running out the door?”

                    Well, sometime in this trailer’s past life, it had a water line freeze and burst. It was where the line passed under the bed in the middle room on it’s way back to the bathroom. Now, in my younger days, I was not the man of intelligence that I am today, so in my haste to get my new home ready, I just cut out the bad spot in the line and patched it with a piece of garden hose and a couple of hose clamps. Looked good to me!

                    Anyway, wifey is in the tub taking her morning bath after I left and the hot water began to swell the “patch”. Until it busted! Now, steam starts shooting out from under the bed and she thought it was smoke and was just sure the house is on fire! So she grabs part of a dress or something and throws it on and heads out the door to safety. She went to the U-Haul place and called me to come to her rescue.

                    Except for the fire shooting out her nostrils, she looked kinda sexy standing there half neckid and wet!

                    Don’t know what it is about women though. She just didn’t see the humor in it that I did! What’s up with that?


                      The Day The Cat Blew Away

                      John Shelley

                      Several years back I was pretty caught up in competition pistol shooting. Long range metallic silhouette shooting to be exact. That probably has something to do with not having any money or hearing today, but it was fun at the time.

                      Every weekend usually found me competing in a match somewhere and I did it enough that I got good enough to participate in some matches on the state level. My next door neighbors, Delbert and Big Sally (names changed to protect me) got interested in it too and we often traveled together to some of the meets.

                      In 1986 we qualified to shoot in the state match and I traveled with Delbert and Big Sally to Sweetwater, TX to participate in the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Assoc. state tournament. Competition consisted of several individual classes as well as team competition. My brother and I as well as Delbert and Big Sally made up our team.

                      My brother and I made reservations at one of the local motels in Sweetwater for the weekend, but Delbert had a brand new pop-up camper trailer and was dying to try it out, so he and Big Sally elected to stay in an RV park next door to our motel. Big Sally had an old cat that had just had kittens and nothing would do but to take the cat and the kittens along!

                      Now Big Sally was a sweet gal but let’s just say she was a little on the large size. Maybe about a pound or two lighter than a baby elephant! No way would there be room in the trailer for Delbert, Big Sally, the two kids and the cats – so Sally went out and bought a small 2-man dome tent to house the cats on the trip. She set the tent right beside the trailer and put the cats in there with water, food, and a litter box. Life was good if you were one of Big Sally’s cats.

                      On the second day of the tournament, we took a little break at lunch time and went back to the motel for eats and a nap. Delbert and Big Sally fixed lunch in the trailer and checked on the cats. The cats were fine. They had all they needed to eat and drink and a house of their own. Sally loved those cats.

                      Well, about the time we finished lunch, one of those frequent West Texas thunderstorms rolled in. Lots of lightening, loud thunder, and gusty winds. No big deal – unless you’re a cat in a tent that someone forgot to stake down!

                      You guessed it. The tent took off – cats and all! That thing was rollin’ down through the RV park like a big tumbleweed. With the cats inside! And right behind it was Big Sally. She was waddling down through there like a big ole fat duck, waving her arms in the air and squalling like she was beat! “Heeeeelp! Somebody help me!”

                      She chased the thing about a hundred yards ‘til it finally got hung up in a barbed wire fence and stopped. Big Sally caught up with it and flipped it right side up and unzipped the door. There was cats, and cat food, and cat litter, and cat crap all over the inside of that tent! The cats were flippin’ out! They was all fluffed up like a Richard Pryor afro, hissin’ and spittin’ and carrying on like wildcats. Some was even stuck to the ceiling!

                      Big Sally finally gathered up all the cats and Delbert and I drug what was left of the tent back up to the trailer and staked it down.

                      In spite of the near tragedy, it turned out to be a pretty good weekend. Our team won 3rd place in the shooting competition and Big Sally won 1st in the 100 yard dash!