Ghost Ranger
A long haired, rednecked Indian Cowboy

Jun
30

With all that’s going on in the world today, I have been avoiding writing because I tend to get political. I forced myself to back out of politics in order to be able to sleep and to lower my blood pressure.
I have spent the last few days binge-watching What’s My Line. I remember watching this show as a youth and now as an old man, I still find it entertaining but for different reasons. I enjoy looking at the clothes, the tuxedos, the ladies’ gloves, the cursive handwriting, and the manners. I was always a fan of Bennett Cerf and followed his column in the local paper, perhaps that is where my love of puns developed. I still enjoy the repartee between Cerf and John Charles Daly.
I get weepy over the Hollywood stars that are no longer with us. I enjoy hearing the stories about Bennett’s travels, the little glimpses into the everyday life of people from around the country.
I know this country has changed over the decades but not all changes have been for the better. I cry over what we have lost. I’ll leave it up to the readers to determine what those things are, but I hardily urge you to spend some time with the old shows. It is amazing what we can learn from television about our history.

Jun
30

He’d led a life that many would envy. He’d traveled the world, served his Country, all to prove himself worthy of being loved. Over the years he’d built up an image of his lover in his mind, this image had kept him going. He had been with many women hoping to find one the one he had lost through his own stupidity so many years before, but these liaisons all failed. Gradually over the years he became hardened to emotions preferring the fantasy in his mind to the reality.
Late in life he suffered some physical problems and was forced to quit his adrenaline filled way of life. He became more isolated and introspective, but he was always dreaming of that special lady. Over the years he became acquainted with a few possibilities but they were committed to someone else. He lived by a strict code of conduct and part of that code was never to come between a husband and a wife. He wasn’t content alone but he was at peace. By isolating himself from the world at large he was able to continue his existence. He built his walls tall and strong, believing that they would never crumble or be penetrated.
He’d known her for almost two decades but she’d been one of those that even though he was interested he had labeled her off limits due to her marital status. He’d found her easy to talk to and they had a lot in common, but he also knew she was way out of his class. She was one of those classic beauties who turned men’s heads where ever she went. They had infrequently run into each other over the years and she had always taken his breath away, but he had always suppressed his feelings and remained outwardly stolid.
He had prepared himself to quietly depart this mortal coil alone, leaving behind no progeny, a few friends, and some family. He was in no hurry to die for he was still hopeful that one day he might discover true love. Then they ran into each other again, but this time was different; she was no longer in a committed relationship. His heart lept, but he still kept his stolid composure. She had become his paradigm of the ideal woman. Gradually over the months and years, she helped him open up his walls until they had finally freed him to speak openly about his feelings. She acknowledged that the feelings were reciprocated. They made plans, both had a lot of baggage that needed to be cast aside.
He became addicted to her. He could sit for hours just listening, and watching her. Then she disappeared leaving a cryptic message, “I could no longer be your friend. I love you”.
He sat there staring at the message unable to fathom life without her. Ten words destroyed his world, demolished his dreams, and took away his hope. He no longer could see a purpose in life. He knew he would continue to exist, but there would be no joy. His only hope was that she was happy.
He existed for love, but in the end, it always eluded him.

May
08

Soundly asleep in my room
Awaken by a very large boom
It was a loud clap of thunder
And then another and another

Bright white light flashes in the room
Telling me that sleep wouldn’t resume
The entire house shuddered and shook
As I stumbled to the door to take a look

Zeus continued unleashing his wrath
It appeared that he was on the warpath
The cascades of rain fell to the Earth
The water of life-giving new birth

Jan
21
Toxic masculinity is very much in the news right now but what is it? Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how I have changed over the years and how some things have remained the same. I don’t believe that I am alone in some of my viewpoints, nor do I believe I am alone in some of my past personal actions.
I will be the first to admit I am a flirt and I have been for a long time, but flirting, in my opinion, is not necessarily wrong or toxic. Complimenting ladies is part of my nature; I don’t do it for any reason other than to make them smile, for there is nothing more beautiful than a lady’s genuine smile. The glint in their eyes, the crinkle of their nose and sometimes a little coy laugh, warms my heart. I enjoy seeing ladies smile from six years old to their final days, ladies are special.
I honestly do not ever remember cat-calling any lady. My Southern mother raised me to respect ladies. She never had to box my ears, but that cast-iron skillet did land alongside my head on a couple of occasions. I was in a profession that meant sometimes I had to physically restrain or use force against a woman. At first, this was difficult for me, but with the help of my Mom, I managed. She told me that when a lady starts acting like a man she gives up being a lady. This statement is not as simplistic as it seems. It also outlined my responsibility as a man. I learned that there were ladies and gentlemen, and they were different than males and females.
A gentleman’s mission was to protect the weak, the women, the children, and other men. This is not to say the women were weak because in many things they are much stronger than men. Women are the glue that holds families together. Gentlemen have manners and use them. This does not mean they follow the guidelines of Emily Post, just that they treat people with respect. Gentlemen do not need to be refined and cultured; they need only to be empathetic and caring. Real men don’t just father children; they are fathers to their children. They teach them, they love them, they guide them and they support them physically, financially, psychologically and morally.
I have been cussed at for saying ma’am and for holding doors open. I have been lectured ad infinitum by females because of manners that my mother taught me. I have learned to respond that just because they don’t desire to act like a lady, I was raised properly and will act like a gentleman. I believe I have veered off-course about where I was going with this.
I was raised thinking that real men didn’t cry. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think this was ever said out loud, just something I observed. Thinking back I can remember seeing my Dad cry, but when I caught him, he quickly swallowed and wiped away his tears. I don’t think I ever saw either of my grandfathers cry, but I know that they did take solitary walks or lock themselves away at times. I did cry as a child and I was, like many of my generation, told to hush or I would be given something to cry about. As a man, I learned to hide my tears. I learned via observing life that tears were seen as a sign of weakness for a man but that it was permissible for women.
As I get older I seem to cry more, a word a phrase, a written story, a well-acted incident on a TV show or a news broadcast. It used to be only after a death or a broken heart, but now it seems I cry at the drop of a hat. Am I less masculine? Or am I more empathetic? Perhaps it is all the tears I have held back over the years are overflowing and now have to come out. I still try to hide my tears, but that is becoming harder with each passing day.
Were you aware that there are three types of tears? And no it is not happy and sad tears. There are the basal tears. These are the ones that moisten our corneas and clean off the irritants. Then there are the Reflex Tears, which are a response to sudden external stimuli. These are actually just a sudden increase in Basal Tears. Then there are Emotional Tears. These occur during what some people have called “ugly crying” and are accompanied by body spasms and interrupted breathing patterns. Emotional Tears actually have a different chemical make-up. They are higher in proteins; some researchers have said that this type of tears excretes hormones which cause us to feel calmer and less emotional afterward.
So next time you see an old man crying, don’t scoff or look down on him, know that he is finally able to release those pent up tears amassed over a lifetime of being masculine, of being strong for those he loved and loves. He can now cry openly without shame
Nov
05
Veteran’s Day, a US Public Holiday, but what do you know about it? It is known in Britain as Armistice Day. It is also known as Remembrance Day. They are all celebrated on 11 November but celebrated differently. In the US it is to commemorate living veterans, in other countries to remember the end of the war and to remember the fallen. I had the privilege to be in England one November when Armistice Day was celebrated. I witnessed as families visited the departed family heroes who had undergone such great hardship during the First World War. Real and paper poppies were on display everywhere. I was schooled in the proper wearing of the poppy. I heard the poem “In Flanders Field” for the first time. The following year I went to Belgium to participate in the celebration there. I was not a man who easily showed emotions, but that experience evoked something inside this warrior, a greater meaning of the word freedom, a respect for those who had fought democracy’s enemy before me. As I watched the families paying their respects in front of the white headstones, I realized that it wasn’t just respect they were making, it was teaching each generation what the cost of freedom was and is.
US Veterans can get a little bronze flat plaque placed on their grave from the VA (or a flat granite and marble marker, or an upright marble or granite). It is simple, Name, Rank, Branch, War, date of birth, date of death, and a short inscription. You need only read to read the inscriptions to see that they meant something to someone. The inscriptions in Flanders’ Field are the same, limited number of characters, limited number of lines, just a brief note about often brief lives. Take your family to the nearest Veteran’s Cemetery, or visit the graves of your veteran ancestors. Show the next generation what price we have paid for freedom.
Too many today are scared to stand up for freedom, but too many are lying in their graves for defending it. War is a bad thing but tyranny is worse. Every soldier hates war but they do it so that others may live free. Soldiers don’t go looking for war; it is thrust upon them by despots and political systems that are the antithesis of freedom. Communism, socialism, islam, globalism all want to reduce individualism to the lowest common denominator, but invariably an elitist group will take control and all under their rule will become slaves of the State.
Election Day is before Veteran’s day. I would suggest it be moved to after Remembrance Day so that the voters can be reminded just how vital their votes are and remember that their vote is either for freedom or servitude.
In Flanders Fields
BY John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
May
04

Pavlov’s most famous experiment was done with dogs, food, and bells. Today we find many bells in our lives. There is the telephone, the e-mail notification, the school bell, the seat belt bell, the open door warning, the social media message bell and many others. Their purpose is to notify us but before that, it seems we had to be trained. We now appear to be spending a lot of our lives waiting on bells.

Listening for bells or alarms have become a part of our lives, but not all bells are auditory. There are a lot of visual bells; brake lights, turn signals, crossing signals, the news. We have been trained to react to bells, trained to the point where some people have been over-saturated with bells and now they ignore them. Are you inured to the warnings? Do you actually answer phone calls? Do you actually listen to the news? Do you listen?

After becoming a recluse, I thought I had refused to rejoin the realm of electronic umbilical cords. For most of my working life, I was tied to my job via walkie-talkies, pagers, mobile phones, two-way radios, and landlines. The problem is there are (or were) select people that I enjoy communicating with.  That problem is compounded when I really have a need to communicate. I have a tendency to overthink problems when communication is cut off; I tend to think the worst. When I anticipate some message or update on a situation, I tend to obsess about it.  I constantly check for messages. I start hearing that bell in my sleep.

As John Donne, said “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main…. Any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Any therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” I used to think I understood this, but as I approach the end I realize that when the bell tolls for me, it is one bell that I will never hear.

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