Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are ya crazy or what!

  How many of you have ever been coon hunting? Well I was fortunate enough to have been many times when I was younger. I happened to be neighbors with ole Bill Back, and friends with Brandon, one of his sons. So when they went hunting Brandon would ask me to go along with them. Some of the best times, and memories I have as a kid was running up and down the creek banks in the dark, listening, and following the bays of Duke and Luke as they tracked a raccoon. Duke and Luke were Bill's coon dogs. They were blood hounds that Bill had trained to smell, and track the coons. They would chase one many miles if they had to until they would finally run the raccoon up a tree, and then they would stay at the base of that tree and bark and howl so that the coon would stay up in the tree, until we got there.

  Those were the only two coon dogs I have ever been around, but to me ole Duke had to be one of the best ever, that dog lived to hunt, and nothing else. After going hunting with them as many times as I got to you got where you knew the difference between  their barks, and it always seemed that Duke would get on the trail first. There was several times when we would get to where they had the coon up a tree, and Duke would be climbing the tree trying to get the coon. Now, your probably saying, that's ridiculous dogs can't climb trees, but I'm tellin ya that this one could! I remember one night Duke and Luke had a coon up a tree, and when we got there Duke started climbing  the tree, and then he walked out on the branch that the coon was on. Duke approached the coon, and got him around the neck, when he grabbed the coon they both fell out of the tree, and into the creek below. After what seemed like several minutes Duke's head finally broke the surface of the water, and he still had that coon in his mouth. Ole Duke swam to the bank and layed that coon down at Bill's feet. Now I don't know who looked more proud ole Bill, who looked like a proud father who's son had just scored the winning touchdown, or Duke who had just scored the touchdown. Like I said the best coon dog I have ever seen.

  Anyway, one evening Brandon came down to the house and asked if I could go hunting with them that night, and after getting permission we went up to his house, and Bill told us to load the dogs. I don't know how they knew, but those dogs knew we were going hunting. They were jumping around, and barking, I don't think I ever even got that excited Christmas morning! So we loaded Duke and Luke into their boxes, and waited. Finally Bill told us it would be a few minutes before we left because we were waiting on someone else to get there. In a few minutes a car pulled up, and a man that neither Brandon or I recognized got out and came over to where we were. Bill introduced us, but time and age doesn't help me remember his name. However, I do remember he was a new preacher in town. I'm pretty sure he was the new Lutheran, or Baptist preacher.

  Bill had decided that the best spot to find our quarry was along the creek South of town, so off we went on our little adventure. When we got to the place that Bill wanted to start the hunt, we unloaded the dogs and started off. I do remember the preacher telling us his life story as we walked along the creek while Duke and Luke searched for a scent. I know he told us that he grew up in a city, and had never really participated in  a lot of outdoor activities growing up. Brandon and I just looked at each other and smiled. About that time the dogs picked up a trail, Bill took them off their leashes, and off into the darkness they went. We all knew that this city preachers education to the country was about to begin!

  I know dogs can run awfully fast, and after just a few minutes those dogs sounded like they were a couple of miles down that creek already. Typically when the dogs get after a coon the coon will do one of two things. They will either run to the first good tree they find and climb it to get out of trouble, which makes chasing them pretty easy because you don't have far to chase them, or they will try and outrun the dogs, which of course leads to a longer chase. Bill, Brandon, and I knew from the bays and barks of the dogs that this one was gonna be a runner, it might be a long night. Every so often Bill would stop, turn off his flashlight, and listen for the dogs to see if they had changed direction, and to see if we were getting any closer. From the sounds they were still chasing the coon, and moving away from us, so on into the night we went.

  After a couple of hours the preacher started asking questions like how far had we come, and how much longer till we caught up with the dogs. So we knew he was getting tired, Brandon and I knew that if he couldn't go on that one of us was gonna have to stay with him and take him back to the pickup, and then we would miss out on catching the coon, and neither one of us wanted that. It didn't matter how far you had gone, or how much farther you had to go, once the dogs were on the trail you stayed out there until you got the coon, or until it got away. There wasn't no going to the house resting, and then coming back out in the morning. After awhile Bill told the preacher that he could tell that the dogs had the coon in a tree just from the different sound in their bays. I'm not positive but to this day I'm pretty sure I heard the preacher saying a prayer of thanks. So after what seemed like a couple more miles of walking we got to where the dogs had a big ole coon up in the top of a cottonwood tree.

  We all stood there looking up into this tree wondering how in the world we were gonna get this coon outta that tree, and listening to the preacher gasping for air. We knew that there was no way Duke could climb that tree. It was way to far up for us to shake the branch and knock it off. Brandon and me started looking for rocks that we could throw up at the coon to try and knock it off the branch it was on, but before we could start throwing any rocks Bill said to wait a minute, he had an idea. Now ole Bill pointed his flashlight up into the tree at that coon, and asked the preacher if he wanted to get a stick, climb up the beam of light up there, and knock that coon out of the tree. Well, that preacher looked at the coon,  then  looked up at that beam of light, and then he looked at Bill and said "Do you think I'm crazy or what?  I'll get half way up there and you'll turn that durned light off!"



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pucker up hot lips!

  I bet if you think hard enough you can remember your first kiss, and if you think just a little bit more you can remember the first kiss that you got from that special person in your life. I know I can, cause mine came with a little pain! No, she didn't bite me,  hit me, or nothing like that. Oh, OK I'll tell y'all the story.

  This is a story about the first kiss I got from the beautiful girl that would eventually become my wife.If memory serves me correctly we were about 13 or 14 years old. We had started seeing each other at basketball games when we played Booker, and whenever her family came to functions in Darrouzett. We would talk, maybe hold hands if nobody was looking, but we hadn't had a kiss yet. So one evening I had saved up some dimes and called her on the telephone. She told me her parents had gone somewhere, and her brothers were off doing something, and she sure wished I could come out and see her. Man my brain went into hi gear. There had to be a way to get the 6 miles it was from Darrouzett out to her house.

  I might could hop on the train that went past her house, but the train only came through 1 or 2 times a week, and it sure wasn't due right now, plus how the heck would I get back home. I could walk, but by the time I did that her parents would probably be home. Then I remembered, Barney had a Honda Trail 50 minibike, maybe I could borrow it, ride out to see Lori, get a kiss, and then ride back to town! Man that sounded like a fool proof plan to me, what could go wrong! So off I went to find Barney, and borrow the scooter. After a little looking I found him and told him my plan, and asked if I could borrow his scooter. He told me that I could, but it needed some gas, which wasn't a problem, and I needed to be back before dark, cause the headlight didn't work, again shouldn't be a problem. So with the scooter full of gas, it was off on the back road I went. As I was leaving town I was sure a hoping everything was still OK to come out, because after I put gas in the mini bike I didn't have any money left to call Lori and tell her that I had acquired transportation to her place of residence.

  As I pulled into the yard I didn't see any vehicles around, well so far so good. As I was getting off the scooter Lori came out the door. She seemed surprised and happy to see me anyway. I asked her if her parents, or brothers were still gone. She informed me that they were and so we went into the house to listen to the radio. As we sat and talked about really important stuff, like who was going with whom, and how much we hated school, and which school had the toughest teachers, the time began to slip away, and along with it my courage to kiss her.

  As we were sitting on the couch and I was trying to gather up enough courage to plant a kiss on her, she musta got tired of waiting on me, and the next thing I know I'm gettin the smooch that I had came after. When she finished kissing me my head was swimming, but I needed to get started back to town. It seems I had taken so long trying to get my courage up that it was now dark outside. We walked out on the steps and I told Lori goodbye, and of course got me one more smooch for the road. I hopped on the minibike, fired it up, and off I went.

  The first part of the ride to town went pretty good. The road is fairly straight, and the white caliche road stands out real good, but further down the caliche runs out, and the road has some long curves, and I was rapidly approaching the longest one on the entire road. So far I had been staying on the road by dragging my feet along the road, and when I felt the surface change I would simply steer the opposite direction slightly so that I would get back to the middle of the road, but in the middle of this curve I didn't feel the the road change until I couldn't feel the road anymore because I had driven right off of the road, and I was soaring over the bar ditch. Well if any of ya'll have ever jumped a bicycle or a motorcycle over anything then you know that when you leave the end of the ramp you pull up on the handle bars. I knew this; however, when you don't know your at the end of the ramp, and you don't pull up, then you crash into the side of the bar ditch, and then you fly over the handle bars, and then when you don't let go of the handle bars the minibike comes with you, and when the minibike comes with you you end up rolling through the ditch with a minibike, and you don't want to roll through the ditch with a minibike!

  I'm sure a whole bunch of thoughts went through my head as I lied there looking up at the stars. Like OK, I'm still alive, and can I move my arms and legs, is the minibike broken, will it start so I can get back to town? Yep, I'm sure all of those passed by my mind, but the only one that I can remember is. I got a kiss tonight!


Friday, March 15, 2013


  As ya'll know when I write one of these stories, I usually change the names to protect the guilty, or innocent whichever the case may be, however, I couldn't figure out a way to tell this one without using the correct names. Hopefully none of the guys takes offense, so here goes.

  When I was a Junior in High School, Brad came to me and said that we needed to get a golf team together and go play golf. I told him that I had no idea how the heck to play golf. Wheat said "don't worry about it, I'll teach ya." I asked him why I should learn to play golf, and he told me well we get out of school to go play in tournaments! That's all the persuasion I needed. So Wheat went to recruit the rest of the team. We didn't do that good that year. Now don't get me wrong we didn't completely suck, but getting good at golf takes some time.

  So my Senior year rolls around, and here comes Brad again wanting to know if I was gonna play golf this year. I told him I really didn't want to get embarrassed again. Now ya'll probably know that Bradley is a golf pro down in Cabo San Lucas, but if he hadn't done good playing golf, he sure coulda been a used car salesman cause he talked me into it again. This year he had conned Randy, Jerry, and Brandon into playing on the team, and so off on the tournament trail we went.

  It was amazing the progress we had made since last year, and we seemed to be playing better each week. I think we played 3 or 4 tournaments before District came around. The district tournament was held at Clarendon that year. Unlike most of the other tournaments, District was just a one day deal instead of two days. At the end of the day ole Darrouzett High had done well enough to post  a score that put us in second place behind Booker, but second was good enough to earn a trip to the Regional Tournament in Lubbock, which brings me to the point of this here story.

  The actual tournament was held in Levelland, but we got to stay in Lubbock. Yep, the country kids had finally got to the big city! We got checked into our hotel, I don't recall what the name of the place was, but we were on the third floor, so it was like a skyscraper to us! After supper we were all trying to decide what to do the rest of the evening. Randy, Jerry, and I thought heck, we would go swimming in the indoor pool, and so after changing into the proper attire, off we went to get our swim on. When we got down there they had one end of the pool area roped off where nobody could get in. Seems they were having a wedding supper, rehearsal, or something going on over there. We figured that they shouldn't bother us, as long as they didn't get too rowdy. 

  After a few minutes we started hearing little splashes down in the deep end of the pool. We looked up at the roof to see if it was leaking, and it wasn't. So what the heck was making those splashes! After a few more splashes we figured it out. Brandon, and Wheat were up in the room, they had the room door open, and Wheat was chipping golf balls from back of the room by the bathroom, out the door, three floors down, and into the swimming pool. We went down to the deep end, and started diving down to get the golf balls from the bottom of the pool. It took some skill to dive down, get a ball, and then surface without getting beaned by another incoming ball. It woulda been pretty tough explaining to coach how come we couldn't play the next day cause we had a golf ball concussion!

  After Wheat had hit all of the golf balls into the pool we were still gathering them up when we all heard some commotion in the shrubs. Now if you ever stayed at one of them fancy hotels that have an indoor pools then you remember that they had all them trees, shrubs, and plants around one end of the pool, well that was where the racket was coming from. After a couple of minutes we could hear Wheat laughing, then we heard Brandon start screaming something, and here he comes a runnin out of them bushes Now Brandon did have his swimming trunks with him, except he was carrying them in stead of wearing them. Seems that Wheat had dared Brandon to run jump in the pool without his trunks, and of course Brandon couldn't pass on a dare.

  Only one thing was wrong with their plan. Yep. the bushes and stuff was down at the deep end of the pool. So when Brandon jumped in he couldn't touch bottom to put his shorts back on, and he began bobbing up and down trying to get those shorts on. He would get a gulp of air and then sink to the bottom trying to get them shorts on. Then when he got to the bottom, he would push back up to get another breath of air, and the process would start all over again. Of course we were all laughing so hard I guess we never even thought about helping him, but after a little bit he did manage to get them back on, and made it back to the shallow end where we figured we had better go on back to our rooms. You know, to this day I don't think anyone at the wedding party saw what happened, because the manager never knocked on our door and asked us to leave the hotel. Oh, by the way we did go on to win the Regional tournament, and earn a trip to the State tournament in Austin, but that's another story for another time.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Scout's honor!

  To me one of the best things about growing up in a small town was the limited amount of choices of activities that we had available to us. What, your saying, that's right, unlike the kids in the big cities where the choices of things to do was probably unlimited. In our town it was choose to participate, or stay home and do more chores. One of the best activities to me was Boy Scouts! Getting to go hiking, camping, cooking your own food, and especially not having to take a bath every night! I mean how much better could it get? Well, it did, the night at Scout meeting when our Scout leaders told us that we were gonna get to go to Scout camp that summer.

  I think that was the longest school year on record. Time just drug by. Nothing seemed to speed it up, and the worst was at the meetings when they would tell us about everything that we could choose to do down there. It seemed like the whole world awaited us just a few miles South at Camp MK Brown. Fishing, canoeing, rifle shooting, bow and arrow shooting just to name a few. It seemed worse than waiting on Christmas to get here, but finally the day arrived. We all met at the Scout Hut and loaded all of our gear into the pickups and trailers and headed off to Mobeetie, TX. and our week at camp!

  We arrived and got assigned our camping area. We spent the rest of the afternoon pitching tents and setting up our camp. It was a decent site, we had a bathroom close down the trail, but the chow hall was kinda far away, oh well I guess you can't have everything. We would get up in the mornings and head off to participate in the activities that were being offered. I remember talking Calvin into going canoeing, which wasn't an easy task since he couldn't swim. He threatened me to within an inch of my life, that if I tipped the canoe over and he lived, I would live to regret it. Needless to say I didn't tip it over and we both lived. Then I found the shooting range. Talk about being in heaven. This is where I learned to shoot something bigger than a BB gun.

  As the week went on and we began making friends with other kids from other towns, word started getting around and we started hearing stories about a right of passage that occurred on the last day of camp. An activity that if not participated in made the whole week just a waste of time. Might as well have stayed home, something that every troop in the entire camp took part in, and since we was one of the smallest troops there would take considerable effort on our part just to survive it. However, to a person we knew we would be more than up to the challenge of the great gourd fight of Scout camp!

  A troop meeting was called for that night, we had to start making our plans now if we were going to show these bigger towns what we were made of. Towns with familiar names like Pampa, Borger, Dumas, and some towns that we had never heard of. All we knew was that at the chow hall when we looked at their troops, there were only about 15 of us, and what seemed like a hundred of them. First we found a few aluminum trash cans. We emptied them out and hid them at strategic spots along the trails where only we knew where they were. Then whenever we found some gourds, we picked them, put them in our pockets, and then put them into the cans when we went by one of them. We came up with a password so that if someone started throwing gourds at you, you could holler out Kiabow, and if whoever was throwing at you was one of our guys then they were supposed to stop throwing at you.

  Finally the big night was here. Everyone ate their supper quickly so that when they dismissed us we would be ready for battle. As night approached we finalized our plans, and set out to show everyone that we were the troop to beat. A few minutes after it got dark Calvin and I were sitting in our spot along the trail when we heard footsteps coming down the trail, then all of a sudden we heard some yelling. The guys up the trail had begun throwing gourds at some guys that had been trying to sneak up on our camp. We started laughing because we knew they probably wouldn't try that again! After a few more minutes we once again heard someone coming, but from the other direction this time. As they got right in front of us we started throwing gourds at them just as fast as we could, and I knew we were hitting them because of all the yelling that was coming from the trail. Then I saw Calvin rare back and unleash a gourd towards one of the guys that had been running. Now I can still see that gourd heading towards that guy because it was in slow motion. In the moonlight I recognized him from some of the activities I had seen him at. We called him Whitey, not really sure why, maybe it was because of his blonde hair, but this kid was definitely different. The best way I can describe Whitey is if you remember the cartoon character of Ichabod Crane in The Headless Horseman. He was tall and skinny with an Adams Apple that stuck out at least 2 inches from his neck, and a hooked nose. When he ran arms, legs, elbows, and knees went in all different directions at the same time. I never could figure out how he got enough of himself headed in one direction to get any place, but he did. I saw the gourd that Calvin threw explode as it hit him in the side of the head. The impact knocked him off of his feet, of course I think he only weighed about 50 pounds, and he hit the ground with a thud. He layed there for a few moments before he began to spit and sputter trying to get the gourd fragments out of his mouth, eyes, and ears. As Calvin and I took off running up the trail to get more gourds we could hear him babbling something to the effect of he was gonna get whoever it was that got him.

  When we got back to the camp Calvin and I began laughing about the Whitey incident, and deep down I think we were happy that we hadn't hurt him. Calvin headed towards the bathroom. About the time Calvin got his pants down some of the guys that saw someone go in began throwing gourds at the bathroom. Now, whether or not the guys knew it was Calvin that went into the restroom they never did say, but suddenly you could hear Calvin yelling at the top of his lungs, kiabow, kiabow, kiabow. Finally the barrage ended. One of the older guys told us we needed to go down the trail to the shed where the lawn equipment was so we could help guard the prisoners.  I was thinking, what prisoners, and when we got their, our leaders had decided that they would help us out, and whenever someone would run by they would run out and throw a blanket over their heads and carry them back to the shed. They had done pretty good too, there was 4 or 5 kids in there!

  Sometime during the night, and all outta gourds, arms sore, and feet tired, the great gourd war came to a end, and we all went to bed with the knowledge that we took on the big towns and had held our own. Breakfast call came awfully early that morning, but we were all still pretty pumped up about the nights battle. At breakfast one of the camp councilors came over to our table. I remember him asking us "What was going on over there on the South side of the camp. I thought I was going to have to send out a riot squad!" We all just laughed and told him we didn't know what he was talking about.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's time for your medicine.

  I wanted to tell y'all a little different story today. As most of you probably know I am a Paramedic. I have been practicing this trade for quite a few years now. I have seen a lot of pain and suffering, along with some funny things over the years. I have always said there is no telling what your going to see when you go into someones house at 3:00 am! One of my favorite parts of Medic class was the first class day after the weekend. The first half hour or so was spent telling and listening to every one's stories about the clinical experiences that they had. These stories usually ranged from tragic to comical, but when the person telling the story lit up while they were relaying something they had seen, or had done to the rest of us was what made this time so enjoyable. Anyway, in order to get your Medic patch you have to go through lots of hours of classroom learning, and many more hours of clinical training, and this is a story of one of those clinical training experiences.

  Most of our clinical time that was required we spent in Amarillo, either at AMS riding on the ambulances, or at Northwest hospital in the Emergency Room, ICU, CCU, or the Pediatric ICU. Because of the long drive involved we would usually schedule 16 hour shifts , and in order to do that we usually left Darrouzett around 4:00 am, this day was no different.

  This particular day there were 4 or 5 us that had ventured down to Northwest to knock out a few more of the required  hours. With this many of us there at once it was decided that we would rotate through different areas so that we weren't stuck in one place for the entire 16 hours, 8 hours in ER then 8 hours in PICU, which is what I had decided to do that day. After 8 hours in the ER working with all of the different types of illnesses, and injuries that came through there doors I was a little concerned that 8 hours in the Pediatric ICU might be pretty boring, boy was I wrong!

  I walked into the PICU that afternoon wearing my white shirt, black pants, black shoes, and enough identification badges to get into a nuclear reactor sight without any questions asked. I also had all of my books, papers, and forms that would have to be signed and verified so I would get credit for my time. I approached the Nurses station and introduced myself as Mark Potter a Paramedic student that was scheduled for an 8 hour shift with their department. "Put your stuff done over there, are you comfortable with administering drugs?" the Charge Nurse asked me. Well we had been told in class when confronted with this question if you wanted to be able to do anything other than just follow a nurse around the entire time you had better say, yes, I am comfortable with administering drugs!

  So, "Yes I am comfortable with administering drugs" was what I told her. "Great, we have an 18 month old that crawled into a swimming pool about a week ago. He is recovering fine, but he is being chemically paralyzed so that his body can recover, plus he has an endotracheal tube in that is breathing for him, but he has been running a low grade fever, so we have been giving him Tylenol suppositories to help keep his fever down. Do you want to give him his medicine?" "Sure" was my reply. While I found a place to put my stuff the nurses placed a suppository in a small medicine cup, and handed it to me. Then one of the nurses took a tube of KY Jelly and squirted the cup about half full, and I started out the door towards his room. "Also the family is very protective, they will watch your every move while your there. So act very professional, explain to them who you are, and what your going to do!"

  So, I knock on the door, go in, introduce myself, and explain that I am there to give the boy his Tylenol suppository. After I remove the child's diaper, I lift the child's legs and reach into the medicine cup and grab the suppository. Now you remember I told you earlier that one of the nurses had squirted a bunch of KY Jelly into the cup. Well as I was bringing the suppository towards his butt, you guessed it. It shot out of my fingers like a bullet leaving the barrel, and it landed over by the edge of the bed where the parents were standing, causing them to put their hands up quickly to keep it from going off onto the floor. I reached over and grabbed it again, this time it squirts back towards the middle of the bed. Well so much for professionalism. After a few more times of this enough of the slick jelly has come off that I can at least hold it between my fingers. So I once again start towards my ultimate goal of getting this suppository inserted into the proper orifice for the medication to take effect.

  I am not sure how many of you know exactly what, and how paralytics work on the human body, but in a simple explanation the drug works by paralyzing the muscles so a patient cannot move around. Well, unfortunately it don't work on the muscles of the sphincter  So when I get the suppository to the young lad's rectum he clamps it shut tighter than a bear trap, and he is not going to let anything go in there! As I attempt to push this medicine into his body, he is fighting me just as hard to keep it out. Of course I still have the entire family standing all around the bed with their hands up, looking like hockey goalies just in case the suppository shoots toward the edge again, and they were, well I wouldn't exactly call it giving me support, but at least they at hadn't started cursing me yet. By now I am soaking wet from sweat, so I think they were maybe feeling a little sorry for me. Finally I had the suppository melted down to about the size of a Tic-Tac from all the handling of it, and it slips neatly into the place it was designed to go into. I apologized one last time, and thanked the family for their patience, and I head back to the nurses station.

  When I walk into the room all of the nurses are setting around a desk and laughing uncontrollably. You see they all had the same experience with this patient, and they had been watching me on the closed circuit TV that are in these rooms to monitor patients without having to actually be in there. They all told me that I had done good, and that I had passed my initiation. Man I couldn't wait till class next week, did I ever have a story for them!