It’s a freezing cold night, with the brisk cold air leaking from every crack and seems of both the windows and the floor. The wood furnace cranked up so hot, that the wood stove itself is red hot, and will take the skin right off of you, if touched. But that stove is several rooms away, and although 80 degrees in that room, it’s only 40 in your bedroom. The only thing keeping you from freezing, is being sunk down about 2 feet in a feather bed, with three grandma made quilts on top of you. But that’s when it hits you! All that ice tea that was sweetened with 5 scoops of sugar, is now weighing hard on the old bladder and you need to visit the John, Mrs. Jones, Privy, Outhouse, or for you younger kids… the bathroom or toilet! Now, I’m only 49, but both of my grandparents had an outhouse when I was younger, barely old enough to remember, but I do remember them. You know how hard it is to get up from underneath those warm blankets in the winter now and walk a few feet to a inside, heated bathroom, just think when there was very little heat and the bathroom was outside and a mile away! Okay, maybe not a mile, but it seemed like it. First you would have to determine whether or not you could hold it until the morning, but if not, then you would have determine whether or not you were able to climb out of a mountain of a feather bed around you. Once you have worn yourself out lifting the 100 pounds of quilts off, and climbing over the feather bed, putting all your clothes on, grabbing a flashlight and head out the back door for the long trek to the shack. My grandparents lived in the country, so the night was as dark as you can get, so before entering the shack, you would peak in with your light making sure that there isn’t any wild critters such as raccoons, possums, snakes or wasp (in the summer), rats and spiders or other crawly creatures. Once determined all is clear, you would go in with hopes that all goes well, and you’re out of there quickly. Now, my grandparents were rich… because they had toilet paper awaiting, instead of the Sears catalog or news paper, sorry, not everyone can be so privileged. Now that “the deed is done” as we would say, you would sprint back as fast as possible because of the fear from all the noises that you heard around you while sitting there, and the freezing cold. Running in, throwing your clothes back off and diving back under those wonderfully thick heavy quilts and on top of that wonderfully sinking down two foot deep feather bed! Those were the GOOD OL’DAYS!
or option 2: Use the large metal pot with a lid underneath the bed! Gross!
This is a 10″ x 10″ watercolor that I painted while waiting in a hotel room in West Virginia. My brother and I visited Gettysburg and other battle fields and I hope to post some paintings of those sites later this week or next. Have a safe fourth of July! And thank you all that is fighting now, in the future, and in the past for our freedom!
So many near death events in my life… you laugh, but it’s true! How does a kid make it through so many years of stupidity and bad judgement. The unfinished stream above looks fun, cool and wet, but one similar to this one almost killed me, and my grandfather. Well, I decided to list a few, and feel free to list some of yours in a comment.
Here we go!
1. It brings fear back into my mind just to relive this in words. It was a beautiful summer day at Spring Mill Park in Indiana. The heat was beaming down, the humidity was so bad, fish could live out of water, and of course I was barefoot and shirtless. My family was gathered around the stream picnicking, the streams temperature was so cold it would make your feet numb if you stayed in it to long. That’s when this shirtless, shoeless kid decides that the moss, slime covered rocks would be a blast to play on in the stream… Bad Idea! Being about 6 or 7 years old (I think) I started across this death stream with balance and agility, so I thought, with in seconds my feet were in the air above my shoulders, my butt following my feet, and my head and shoulders were where my feet had begun the journey. Bam! Whack! (a little batman lingo) I hit the rocks right between my shoulder blades! Air shot out of my body like a gun, both lungs collapsed, ribs cracking, and death was near! Actually the wind just got knocked out of me, and the embarrassment did more damage than the fall. BUT I COULD HAVE DIED! You ask how this nearly killed my granddad? His air left his body as fast as mine, although he wasn’t in the stream or hit any rocks… it was from laughing so hard! That’s right, my granddad nearly laughed himself to death that day and everyday after that when he often reminded me of that day.
2. Another time, was when I thought that I was Evil Kenevil and decided that it would be a good idea to make a home-made bike ramp… wrong! Back in my days (sounds like my dad) we didn’t have these fancy BMX bikes, we had sting rays, with crouch killing banana seats! And whose idea was it to make the boys bikes with the cross-bar… a woman! I think it was women that decided to pay back men by designing a bike with the man killing bar across the middle. But it wasn’t the bar that got me… at least not this time, it was the amazing, blistering speed that I reached while flying down what seem like a mountain, hit the ramp, and of course just when leaving the ramp, you pull up hard and spring your legs to get more altitude. Sounds cool! But if done just right, your bike leaves the ramp and continues on a circular motion. Now days the pros do this on purpose and continues into a flip… I WASN’T a pro and continue into a flip anyway, and proceeded to once again land on the back of my neck and head… I COULD HAVE DIED! But I didn’t, after my lungs decided to work again, and oxygen was once again reaching vital organs, I sprung up and looked around in fear of someone seeing just how stupid I was.
3. The mini bike, that’s right, a mini bike. These were small motorcycles with a pull string starter and a frame made for war. They weren’t like the pansy scooters now days, these were death traps waiting to happen… and I had one. The seat was a crappy piece of foam with about eight layers of tape wrapped around it for a custom upholstery look. Foolishly we decided to load this mean machine up and take it to my Uncles… bad decision once again. My uncle standing in his front yard, cranked the string and roared the engine and said Ryan jump on and take it for a ride. Now remember as I’m telling the story, that I had already rode it a few times before. I jumped on like the manly, 60 pound, Harley Dude that I was, cranked the accelerator and off I went. Oooooh @#$%! my mind panicked, my brain shut down, and everything that I knew to stop, went blank. Zoom around the house I went… to the side… to the back… to the side… and back to the front yard! My uncle laughing and standing in a defensive basketball stance, ready to grab me as I slowed down. The problem is… I didn’t slow down, I sped up! My eyes were as big as baseballs and my uncle’s got just as big once he realized that there was no stopping me. I flew towards him, he dives out-of-the-way like a stuntman in an action movie, and past him I zoomed. About half way through his corn field, my brain clicked in, and I released the throttle and pulled the brake… that’s all it took! BUT I COULD HAVE DIED! And then there was the Spark Plug from this machine of death zipping past my and my brothers forehead at terminal velocity… Nearly killing us… but that’s another story!
The watercolor and ink above isn’t finished yet but I wanted to post something today. I hope to finish it next monday. Have a great weekend!
I know, when you heard the words Oldie Moldy, you thought this blog post was going to be about me… Yes Oldie, but not moldy, I just took a shower last month! Nope, this is an acrylic painting 24″ x 36″ that I had started a few months ago, but just getting back to finishing it last night, almost finished, a few more rust holes and mold on the fender and headlight. This truck was covered by some kind of mold looking fungus, that belonged more on and old slice of bread, not a truck, but the hood and fenders were covered with it. My love for these old trucks rate up there with my love for hunting, fishing, art . . . Oh, and let’s not forget my wife! Wow, that was a close one! I’m hoping someday when we get our kids thru college, I will own two things, a jeep wrangler again, and a 1940′s ford or chevy truck. I don’t want a little sports car, Harley Davidson or a Escalade, nope, just a wrangler and a old pickup. I guess this confirms there is a little redneck in me yet.
How do you know you’re a redneck from Indiana:
1. You know for sure, somewhere in the Bible, it mentions Bobby Knight!
2. If you have more than one sticker on the back car window, that has a kid pissing on something! (If your from Indiana, you’ll know what I’m talking about)
3. If the only time you have ever entered a Library in your life, and it’s because your art is hanging there… hey wait a minute, that’s me!
4. If you say you’ve read three books this week, and those three books are… Bowhunters, Nascar and Playboy magazine!
5. If you refer to where Leslies and Linda lives, as the Big Cities!
6. If every other painting you do, is of a damn barn!
7. If you refer to your church clothes as your, Sunday-Go-Meet’n outfit… your just OLD!
8. If you think taking your wife to one of those fancy places… and you take her to Olive Garden!
9. If you take a shower, once every month… you’re just a fancy pants wuss, you can go at least two months!
10. If you use deer hunting scent killer spray, instead of showering… now your talk’n!
Well it’s off to the beach for my family, and I just can’t wait. We will be leaving tomorrow and staying a week. There will be fishing, sand sculpting, painting and tanning, what else could a man want in life. I have so many memories of vacationing at the beach as a young boy and recent.
My first, although I don’t remember it because I was to young, but it makes a great story, is of course about my brother. As the story is told, we were at the Florida beach, I was 1-2 my brother 5-6, wading waste deep in the shark infested waters (O.K. maybe they were just guppies) when out of no where it happened… Oh my God the horror, the blood, the screaming, that’s right, a crab got a hold of his toe. Most beach goers thought it was the returning of our Lord, why you ask, because my brother walked on water, and only one other time in history, did that happened. O.K. now close your eyes, picture a kid that looked like Ernie on the old t.v. show My Three Sons, wading in the waters and shooting straight up in the air completely out of the water, never to sink below the water level again, and yet making it back to shore by running. That was my brother, not the returning of the Lord, although sometimes he likes to think of himself as God like.
The second funny memory was the vacation to Daytona, where you can drive and park on the beach. I was a young teenager, my mom and stepdad driving an extended 1978 truck decided to park on the beach. O.K. that’s normal, but being my stepdad, he wanted the best parking spot on the beach so he drove up and parked in front of everyone else, placing us close to the beach. All good right… wrong, you see there are these things called tides, they go out and yes you guessed it, they eventually come back in, to make a long story short, a heavy truck, in sand, on high tide, yep a wrecker was called to pull us out. We won’t even mention the trip back, inolving a policeman, my stepdad and jail.
Now, remember the walking on water earlier in this blog, well I’m guilty of it too. My wife and I was at Sanibel Island on our honeymoon. Yes, we went swimming on our honeymoon! Anyway, we were about waist to shoulder deep with this young girl that we didn’t swimming around us, and then it happened, like the scene from Jaws, which we had just seen a few years earlier, a fin broke the top of the water near us. The thoughts rushed thru my head… do I SCREAM like a girl? Do I dive in front of this man eating machine to save my wife? Do I pick this young girl up that we don’t know and toss her in front of the shark, giving my wife and I time to make it to shore? Or count on my 4 years of high school swim team talent and out swim both, leaving my wife and this young child as the distraction? Thank goodness before I had to make such decisions, the little girl, being a Florida native starts swimming towards it, knowing it was a dolphin instead of a shark. O.K. other than screaming like a little girl with a high pitch voice, I looked pretty manly!
So, I hope to bring more stories and memories home with me this week and see ya’ll soon!
The painting is a 4″ x 8″ watercolor on hotpress board, that I’m giving it away while in Florida, not sure who, just someone on the beach or poolside probably.
Have you ever been so scared that you tried to run from something and even though your legs and feet were going a hundred miles an hour, you went no where? It’s like the old cartoon, where they were running so fast and not moving, that smoke started lifting from their feet. Well some us have seen it… not mentioning any names (brother), but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. We were in my basement with a drop ceiling, where we suspected a mouse or rat had gotten in. We never had one before, so this was a new experience. So, I decided to put poison above the ceiling tile where we thought it was living. Now, not mentioning any names (brother) we ventured down the stairs, as I slowly lifted the ceiling, I saw a piece of ceiling insulation falling out. Being the teaser that I am, as it fell to where my brother (oops) could see it, I yelled loudly, THERE IT GOES! Catching a glance of something leaping from the tile, the man (my brother) started running like an Olympic sprinter, the only difference was, he ran in place practically burning a hole in the carpet. What he envisioned was this giant, man-eating, rat, pictured above, diving for his juggler. This was horribly mean of me, but I’m telling you, if you were there, you to would have laughed your head off. Oh, by the way we were both over the age of 35, not kids.
O.k. now that I’m going to catch hell from (my brother), I’ll tell one on myself. We were TPing (throwing Toilet Paper into the trees) at a friend’s house for Halloween. Iwas about 14 years old, 130 lbs, and apparently not very smart. I was with several older kids, some boys and girls. Anyway, in the process of TPing the dad of the person getting TPed comes busting out of the front door with a shotgun… acting like he was out to kill someone. He pointed the gun in the air and shucked a shell (we thought) into the chamber. Anyone who has hunted, knows the sound of a pump shotgun being loaded, and knows what a shotgun can do to you. Needless to say, I became an Olympic runner just like my older brother, only I was moving, when running. First of all, you can’t out run a shotgun, second of all, it was dark, Third and most important, when running in the dark at full speed, you have to watch for CLOTHES LINES! You guess it, at full speed, I ran my head and neck right into a clothes line and went instantly from an Olympic runner, to an Olympic gymnast, doing a triple flip, in pike position, right onto the ground (scoring all 10′s). All I could hear in the background was the shotgun bearing crazy man, laughing his head off, knowing he scared the CRAP out of me. Now, for the good news, after picking myself up in shame, still running, I leaped into the back of a pickup truck. No, that’s not the good news, the good news was, that a very attractive high school girl was leaping in after me and landing on top of me, Oh, did I mention that she was a high schooler, and I was in junior high.
There’s a couple of examples, now give me your moments, that you were scared the crap out of.
The content to this blog may be to graphic for the weak hearted or elderly… wait a minute that’s me! O.K., it’s a graphic, just a graphic, nothing scary, nothing gross, well at least not much, and kinda hot, but not obscene. I thought that I would do something a little different in style for the halloween theme, and go with a graphic style vampire . I enjoy halloween because it allows us to be a little crazy, creative, and it’s the only holiday that you’re supposed to be ugly, which is easy for us that are already ugly.
My family and I just spent the weekend at a halloween themed campground. The entire campground of more than 350 lots, decorate and create halloween scenes at each lot. The campground also has dances for the teens, pumpkin carving, ghost stories around a giant fire, and much more. Adults dress up and become kids for the weekend and enjoy each others company and food. Food, lots of food, to much food and guess what, I ate it all, I’m so ashamed. The campground is called Lake Rudolph in Santa Claus, Indiana, the web is lakerudolph.com. They started with 1 weekend and now due to popularity have grown to 6 weekends. They have 200 rentable campers that have a queen size bed, kitchen, dining room table, living area and a bedroom with 4 bunk beds, with heat, air, and kitchen appliances. I know what you’re thinking… that’s not camping, but as long as you have a huge campfire marshmallows and chocolate, that’s camping. Check it out and try to find a local campground and encourage them to due the same. They make a fortune off of it, and it’s great fun for family and friends.
Whether a trick or treat, leave me a comment!