Saturday, December 8, 2007


This is something in my family's cedar chest, written on the back of a coal miner's union memo dated 1957. I wanted to post this while it's still the 50th year of when my granddad Robert Ellis had some fun at the expense of a famous radio preacher:

Dear Rev. Roberts,

Once I was so puny I had to be led out to water, like a horse. I could not sleep or work at a position I like best, "Baking Sweet Bread". But one morning after a hard night I was listening to your healing broadcast over a local radio station and laying my hands on the radio I began to feel like a new person. I started to jump and my wife clenched me for fear that I had lost my buttons (as some people call crazy). I continued to jump, sway, and roll. However, after a spell of silence, I raised up and led my wife out to water.

I cannot thank you enough Rev. Roberts for your wonderful healing methods.

Your pal,

E. Pluribus Unum

Saturday, July 21, 2007

priorities (pt II)

From there, things kinda get predictable, although not necessarily conventional. Thing is, what confounds me more is not that my thoughts and feelings went there, but, that I never took that step. She was freakin' wide open, far as I could tell. No competition. Sure, probably hung out with guys in the neighborhood, but, socially, looked like clear air space. Kinda like when I was in 7th grade and spent a whole semester chatting up little blue-eyed Beth in science class and then not calling her at all that summer between watching old sitcom reruns and fixing up my bike. Priorities…

So, I never made the move. Not sure it was out of complacency, fear of the unknown, or respect for her as a person…I'd like to claim the third one but let's not be hasty. Seems there were a lot of other little questions out on the horizon of my conscience back then; ones that only maturity could articulate and to which nothing save a caring nature would attempt to seek answers…do you know your father? Who do you really need in your life? Are you frightened, threatened…are you lonely…incomplete? God, have mercy.

About a year after high school, another gal I knew was going for a certificate at the local voc school and ended up in the same class as Nellie. She said your name sounds familiar…oh, remember Billy Suchandsuch, used to hang around with Kenny? They're together now…yah, and she's…pregnant. Hmmm. Sounds like someone finally pitched a stake in that fallow ground.

Last time I saw Nellie was about that time, and under rather strange circumstances. My family was having a garage sale. One of many cars pulled into the driveway, parked, and out she came. I think I said hi to her. Then Billy gets out of the car to come up. Wassup, we exchange. Seems he hovers around her for a couple minutes, and they murmur amongst themselves until he alone goes back to the car. Dad and I were in the garage for those awkward moments as she stood over my nephew's table of baseball cards…and seemed to start crying.

At some point, she finally walked toward the car and they drove off. It appeared to us as though some of the cards may be missing, as though, perhaps, she were waiting for us to look away so she could obey her man and get it over with. But, neither my dad nor I are ones to get upset about these kinds of things, so we brushed it off and, well, we never spoke of it again.

Friday, July 13, 2007


In my second year of high school algebra, I can name two female students who were in the room. There was Tracy, the petite blond who at any time of year seemed to have tan legs to show off. Back in the late 1980s just one - any one - of those blue denim skirts you had bopping around simply shrouded a thousand mysteries. Tracy was not what you'd call "popular" but she definitely had the look, bright and noticeable, yet, probably too much grit to be part of a "crowd" per se. She didn't make a big deal about who she was dating, and she didn't hesitate to join in conversations with anyone else. But, she got the dudes' attention in those skirts nonetheless…overall: cool and hot; what's there not to like?

Then the other babe was Nellie. I'm not sure what it was that made me notice her. Most guys naturally go for the little firecracker blonde and that's that, and the side remarks shared among us dudes backed that up. But, Nellie was not Tracy. She's not petite. Actually, Nellie's tall for a girl, with legs from there to you-know-where. You'd never really know whether she's got a tan or not since you usually see her in jeans and t-shirts, or maybe a basic "top" as they say. Not much regard for color; then again, maybe there wasn't much need for it either. The important thing was her jeans fit her like a second skin forming a daily must-see. She's got a simply lovely face, warm smile, happy eyes, perky cheeks with some freckles and long light-brown hair to complete the package. She's a mild, unassuming, subtle – yet beautiful and charming - presence.

Over the course of the school year I pick up on a few things. She lives with her mom in a house trailer with their pit bull whose breed she defends vehemently. Pit bulls get a bad rap in her view, and hers is sweet as plum. Big-time Broncos fan and especially into John Elway (who was still tearing it up yet ten years later, btw). Heh, the way she talked sports almost made her one of the guys. But, there's a lot I never do pick up on. She's kind of, well, a dead zone. She doesn't project much emotion; there's no vibe or force field like with other chicks. And, so many questions… what do you think about as you fall asleep at night? Where do you see yourself in five years? What's your phone number? Of course, I never got around to that third one…

(to be continued)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ministry Opportunity

Local congregation comprised mainly of ages 50 and up with traditional values and very sane political outlook.

Requirements for pastor:

Preferably a mature married male but with no young children that would disrupt services. Sermons should comfort congregants in their inherent perfection plus grant assurance that God will smoke everyone else for their sinfulness. Weddings are rare but we average 15-20 memorial services per year. The Church would like to maintain present activities without introducing any new ones whatsoever, and outreach is strongly discouraged as it would only bring smelly communist hippies into the Church. Furthermore, pastor's wife must be willing to patiently listen to concerns of patrons on a 24/7 basis, lead worship from the piano, and dutifully organize all social activities. She will answer to the unofficial Church Ladies' Committee, chaired by Mrs. Helen Earth.

Applicants should send resume and blood type to First Blessed Church of Curmudgeons, 666 Nowhere Road.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

the bowl

The other day as I awoke it seems as though I were standing in a place I knew well as a small child. It's a shinesunny day and there I am at the most notable part of the private campground where we spent many a weekend back in the day. It's a flat clearing of mowed grass with a ridge to one side and the edge of forest around the rest of it. The ground is rather concave and so we call it the bowl. Not only is it surrounded by nature, the campground itself is amidst country homes and farm fields; it doesn't get any more peaceful. In the bowl you are free to chase butterflies or even try to catch a rabbit, or, if you dare, examine your conscience. Right about now as I look toward the ridge there's a nice shady spot that tempts relief from the sun. But, as my eyes examine the underbrush a little closer it seems…well…blending in with the sod and leaf-covered trees…hello there…it's an enormous grasshopper leg. The rear leg; just like when it's attached to a grasshopper except, hmm, there's just the leg. So...well, I don't think I'm gonna get too close to that. This is kinda different. What if that's the only part of grasshopper that I can see? This is so far fetched that by now anything's possible. I mean, if that leg alone is covering 20 feet of ground then…yeesh maneesh. Umm…aren't they vegetarian? Can't remember. Wonder if I should get in a safe place and throw a stick at it. I dunno. Aye…well I could just take a walk in the woods for now…'cept, that would be a just a lil creepy at this point. Howbout if I just get one of the other campers to take a look at it? Shoot, Carl and Bob would probly just haul it to the fire pit for supper. I don't think I would want any cuz it probably smells like, I dunno, moth balls or KMart ladies.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

morning prayer

O Lord, in your infinite power and wisdom, grant thy servant thy strong arm of protection from harm, thy grace to withstand temptation and trial yet humility that wouldst glorify thy name. Then above all, grant thy quickening that wouldst enable thy servant to kicketh copious amounts of "thou knowest what."

Amen; and, amen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Duke Fabulous Reporting

You jest won't believe this. Shoot I don't believe this an' here I am a tellin' it. Tha' other day Duke flew down to Hot Lanta – that's in Georgia, y'all – and met up with THE finest peach they ever plucked from one a 'em there groves. She and I go back a ways, and come to find out she went thru a rough patch in the past couple-ten years with a feller she never could pin down. Guess she finally called it quits an' moved on, glad to say she's doin' fine and dandy for it all now. So we sit down for some a those root beer floats and talk about it. Guess it got messy cuz they'd moved in and all, same bank account, you name it. After a while I had to ask, now, darlin', is this dude still a wearin' his entrails or did ya get those in bronze? She looks me in the eye and says, I reckon, right there on my night stand. Well I took a sip right then an' pretty near gave this gal a sarsaparilla shower, the way she turned it around like 'at. All the same it got me to thinkin' how some boys like to play with toys rather than girls, some just wanna play with as many girls as they can, and others, well, they just don' play at all. She'll put up with it for a while but then watch out. Hear what the Duke says. Seems the Lord had it right with that there Love thy neighbor. A feller's gotta ask for him self, is she, I say, is SHE my neighbor? Duke out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

nyet mookah

I had just lay down for a rest when I realized that I had company. The kind of company that buzzes around the room. And this was no ordinary fly. Newww...this one seems to be equipped with an extra loud buzzer, the kind you can hear three rooms away. I found this out after trying to zone in on it with a swatter, only to realize that, at times, I was at the opposite end of the house. Then I see it going into the bedroom so I go in there and shut the door. Silence. After about a minute I resign to the probability that it had not actually come into the bedroom and that I had merely trapped myself away from the fly. So, I exit bedroom, closing door behind me, and proceed to corner it in living room. It was then that I realized the silliness of the situation: how God's created order allows for a being one thousandth my size to so easily evade my wrath. My eyes are not strong enough to track its path and my reflexes no where near quick enough to swat it in mid air and my energy is no where near what it takes to pursue it for long. So, I give up. Once again, I am humbled; this time, by a comparably insignificant creature. Eventually, however, I killed it. Just had to remember that flies are suckers for a slightly-open window pane, even if there's a screen waiting to trap them in once it's shut...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

*thought attack*

if I can't see the good in someone...


what good am I?

Friday, April 20, 2007


no way man, not fair
just when i've endured it all
someone comes along
makes me feel like fourteen
when the world was huge
and i didn't even know
my butt from an anthill

her name starts with d
we met in late spring
sunday school picnic
we chased little kids around
she cursed my nephew
which made me kinda grin
my mind had forgotten her

but i'm starting to wonder
did she color that next year?
girls are shy at first
then they get annoying
but most of the time
i'm just the opposite
flirted like a mad man

till that fall, at least

the perks of eighth grade
oldest class in the building
plenty of distraction
i must have buried it deep
so, yah, i had feelings
but after a while
my fickle wonder turned

then i got a second look
by then she was married
expecting a wee one
i was happy for her
as much as i could be
of her i was still critical
bugs were still biting

years and years go by
in a different setting now
here a new face haunts me
with angelic grace to match
took a lifetime to realize
she had unlocked the vault
the other shoe had fallen

toilet paper in hand
i go out to the anthill
till i wake from a sleepwalk
just glad the Good Lord
still teaches me things
even tho it hurts
and makes for long days

it's so fair, it's so right


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


cookouts...warm evenings

Monday, March 19, 2007


i'll be the first to admit
i'm not very flexible
others have said it
and i have to agree

today it was different
it rained some outside
and it stormed some inside
for me and the world it seems

it's good to vent
to someone who listens
but when it only scraches surface
there's more dealin-with-it to do

so we shut down for a while
somewhat by choice
somewhat by necessity
and got down to it

god is the friend
of a contrite heart
when you reach rock bottom
nowhere to go but up

and when a rock hits the pond
it makes a splash
and there are waves
how big is your paper boat?

so it all comes down
to the heart of the matter
what's the matter with the heart
pray your head understands it

even tho we're hangin on
and living on phenylephrine
tomorrow is just around the bend
and i can't wait to see what it brings

Thursday, March 8, 2007

*thought attack*

Why is it that we have a drink of coke but we never have an eat of ice cream?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

for my lil

times like this
i wish i were closer
so we could take a walk
get a sandwich
laugh a while
whatever it takes
to get you back in your groove
i hate to see you like this
torn and betrayed
i can type *hug*
and make you laugh
but it's not enough

so i hope these words
can help you heal
to find *more* of God's grace
and start a new thing
whatever it is
to forget the hurt
with a joy
that comes with it
whatever *it* is


so with a prayer
and hope for great things
just remember hon
it's right over the horizon
that shinesunny morning
a new reason to play
especially an H
loud and proud
nomatter what

even so...


and know

i'm here to listen

from your big

Monday, January 29, 2007

the recluse

A recluse lies beneath the stars and ponders.

He surmises, "so if I understand this correctly...for the most part...a woman is fulfilled by relationships...and togetherness...being a sincere man she really admires...who can make her feel secure and loved. She likes pretty things and laughing with friends and probably wants children...someday."

He figures, "well, I try to at least listen to her."

He continues, "but she's not really into machines and what they can accomplish...nor how fast nor how efficiently they can accomplish it...nor the feeling of rocking out with a magnitude that could instantaneously consume a small forest...and she really only sees these things as even marginally worthwhile when they happen to meet her immediate needs."

He adds, "however, more often than not she seems to be eager to listen."

He lies there for a while longer, just gazing into the vast and twinkling heavens.

He winces, and thinks, "and even if she were into all these things...would I even then appreciate her?"

He concludes, "what a sad, lonely world in which we live."

Then the recluse goes to sleep.

Friday, January 12, 2007

in a word...ehh

It's raining. Been raining since the wee hours of the morning the news said and so we came to the library. I didn't really want to come but Mom and Dad got my little brother all excited about picking out colorful bookies and so he finds the need to run and remind me every two minutes as I'm getting ready. Kids. But I guess I never really got into reading except when they had me do a book report at school. I found a couple good stories about race car drivers and then there were a couple about space travel. Actually one of those told about some futuristic colony on the moon where people lived under a big glass dome like when they cook a duck real fancy. But these two boys find a way to this hidden cave and there's a giant plant in there that produces food and plays music. They were complaining cuz it played jazz and they preferred classical. But there was this guy who had stumbled into the cave like 100 years before and the plant kept him alive but wouldn't let him leave. Kinda like when I have to stay at the neighbors when Mom and Dad leave town. Anyway I'm just sitting here in the reading room cuz I have nothing to do. Dad is over there with the newspaper rack looking up how much his old coins are worth. And I'm sure Mom's chasing my brother around as he goes spasoid over all the bookies. Isn't there some kind of shot they can give that little freak? At any rate I'm looking out the window at the rock garden. There's a plaque on the opposite side telling which local billionaire paid for it all. But it looks really neat on a gray day with the rain beating against the trees and bushes. Makes the evergreens look all the greener, deep deep green. It's sad in a way but makes me happy too; makes me think of neat things I wouldn't have otherwise. I guess. Makes me long for that kind of music that fits a rainy day where the guy plays the piano - but not like at church - and the drummer uses brushes with the pssh-pssh tsssss sound. I could go check out records downstairs but it might take me weeks to find the sound since I don't know what I'm looking for. Oh well, I'd rather just sit here some more and try to figure it out for the next five years till we go home. Or, maybe I just don't feel like getting up.

by MLS May 31 2005