Ghost Ranger
A long haired, rednecked Indian Cowboy


I think I finally understand why so many people in their later years seem grumpy. For years my job required me to be stoic, unemotional, but as my body fails and I race towards my finish line, I have regrets. These regrets have caused me to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I seem to create saline rain at the drop of a hat. My grumpiness is to cover the fact I am mad at myself both for things I’ve done in the past and for things I failed to do.

I’ve packed a lot of living into my years, but there are some things I still would like to do except now my body is failing. I wasted a couple of fuzzy decades hiding my pain in a bottle. I’m sure there were pleasant times during this period but those are not the memories that seem to pop-up.  I closed my heart to outsiders. I built walls to protect it. Those walls still exist.  The mind is still sharp, at least for a couple of minutes at a time.

Friends from school are fewer now. It seems there is another funeral every month. Other friends and acquaintances from school seem to have successfully joined the witness protection program.  My friend’s children are now dying. Technology is rapidly moving ahead while I seem to be losing ground. I was using a computer long before they became household items, but smart phones, tablets, buttons, smart homes, smart cars; they are beyond my scope. The first “mobile” phone I had weighed about eight pounds and was the size of two large dictionaries. I grew up and worked on cars that were actually fun to drive, today the cars seem to require a degree just to start. I dislike front wheel drives because they require a whole new set of rules for controlling; no braking in a turn or you’ll tear the CV joints up, don’t brake hard when low on gas or you damage the fuel injectors, too many new rules. How do you drift a front wheel car and why can’t they slide through a hairpin turn?

My Doctor’s no longer mails me reminders for my appointments. Actually they switched to email and then quit reminding me at all, something about them saying they weren’t sure I would be alive to get the messages. It so encouraging going to a doctor whom I have known since they got out of medical school and hear them say, “What? Are you still alive?” Last time I said, “No, I am coming to you from beyond the grave to tell you what a bang up job you’re doing and that you need to improve your bedside manner.”

My feet swell, my joints hurt (too many hard landings), my head aches frequently (too many blows to the head), my eyes get tired, I have developed allergies, every medication has side effects, things that used to work no longer do, my kidneys work over time for a bladder that has gotten smaller, my hair has gotten thinner, my ears are growing hairs and this list keeps getting longer. The only good thing about irregular sleep is that it prevents people from throwing too much dirt on my face before I wake up to those exuberant cheers of “It’s alive! It’s alive!” These would be good reasons to be grumpy but I keep misplacing my glasses so I don’t notice as much.

Dating has become fun, especially when dates ask you to sign a waiver and check your health insurance card before the intimate stuff, like asking you, “Are you sure you’re up for this?” I haven’t been “up” in years and if I was I couldn’t see to verify that fact since my waist blocks my view of everything. I need a suitcase for a sleep over just for the meds and the medical test gear. Luckily I have one on wheels, or I did have, not sure where I left it. Oh never mind my toe found it  on my way to the bathroom.

I really don’t like to find my teeth in the refrigerator or my ice water in the microwave. I’m forever misplacing something. Darn it! Now if I could just remember what my original purpose in writing this was.


Lately I have finally been able to focus a little better and even managed to write some.  What I’ve written can’t even be called short stories, they are more snippets.  Miss Girlie doesn’t seem to mind my typing here, but she really objects to Facebook for some reason. She has crawled up along side me in the chair and settled in. Please tell me what you think.

Can True Love Die?

Like most people his heart has been broken many times, no that’s not true, his heart was only broken one and later his pride damaged many times. After her he stumbled through life from one affair to another seeking what he had lost.  His thoughts kept returning to her and that little strawberry girl child. That thought brought him both pain and pleasure. It provided the impetus for all his actions. It propelled him through his career. It gave him the courage to face enemies head on, to face death. It gave him some peace but also drove him a bit crazy. He tried to dull the memories with a bottle. For many years his primary goal was to get to the bottom of the bottle. It enabled him to slumber dreamless. His personal code prevented him from doing what so many others had done to him to him marriage was sacred. He stayed away from her; often taking far away missions to avoid being anywhere near her.  To escape the memories of those days, but the memories often creeped back…a song, the smell of Windsong, an old car, a green-eyed blonde…they caused the rain to start within his head and often it seeped out his hazel eyes. To the world he was stoic but the battle raged within for his sanity. As his life ebbed away his thoughts once again turned to that little girl child. Maybe he’d never know about her paternity while he lived but he would know in eternity.
Some people would say he was crazy, some would say he was strange but they all said he stopped loving her today.  I disagreed.

And a new poem.


Music is the sound track of lives
Notes and lyrics that take us back
Songs that stir those old archives
Our prior lives appear via flashback
Smiles mixed with tears oft appear
Sometimes regrets come flooding back
Countless what ifs cause us to fear
No answers come with the soundtrack
Paper Tiger comes to my mind
A memory which I suppress
Love is not to be I’m resigned
Poetic words can never express
The chaotic  thoughts of past times
When I hear Town without Pity
And the sound of Whispering Pines
Or any song by Conway Twitty


Today I was notified that a friend died. At my age it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last I get this type depressing news.. When I heard the news it was like a kick in the gut.  I have worked with many men around the world and almost all could be described as good men to ride the river with, but this man was special. I was a military brat when I met him. He was the son of a barber. I had lived in many places and went to many schools. He was born and raised locally. I really didn’t fit in in school. I worked after school and then roamed the street, that’s where I got to know him. In the 60’s, in Texas kids our age listened to rock ‘n roll or country. I did but I also listened to jazz and blues. I hung out at all night cafes and pool halls. We kept running into each other. I stayed in school, he dropped out but we still ran the streets at night together. Being a bit wild one of us often would get into a situation that was physically precarious, but we had each other’s backs. He with his trusty cutthroat razor and I with my collection of pocket pistols managed to survive. Unlike many others he didn’t judge me or I him. We were both a bit wild and naïve but way ahead of our peer group. Eventually I left the area to make my way in the world. Later I was to come home and we reconnected. He would call me up late at night, (early morning to most people) and we would talk about guitar pickers, music, and whatever else was on our minds. We didn’t get together much but we stayed in touch. He had become quite the hair stylist. Neither of us lost our appreciation for good music, or pretty ladies. We always knew that the other was only a phone call away. Today I feel empty. Today I feel pissed. He left way too soon. Sure I have other friends but without him there is a huge hole in my heart. He never got to cut my pony tail. He loved life. He loved people. He was a trusted and loyal friend.
RIP Jackie Don Duggins Sr., 12 Feb 1947 – 23 Jul 2016


I was once asked, why I have so many dictionaries. The reason is simple because they are different. New words are coined; out of use words are deleted from most dictionaries. Only one dictionary understands that words are forever, that the etymology of words is important. Over the years some words have even changed their definition, but without old dictionaries (or a complete set of the 23 volume Oxford English Dictionary with supplements at a cost of over $1000) we would never know.
There is a book I highly recommend for any lover of words and that is Simon Winchester’s The Meaning of Everything. It is the story of the Oxford English Dictionary, [ISBN 9780198611868] but it is also a story about how a few men’s foresight and determination gave the world a gift of great knowledge. The book is eminently readable for a scholarly tome.

The American education system has been reduced to a mathematical algorithm based on Common Core. American students are not how to learn. They are not taught critical thinking . They are taught to take tests. Words have become shortened and pronunciations butchered; asked has become “axed”, this and that has become “dis” and “dat”. The spelling of the word dowery has become dowry, but the shortened word hides that the root word is dower (a widow’s portion) thereby obscuring the actual history of a marriage dowery. History of words is fascinating and when a word is used properly they give us insight into the past.

The use of big words has gone out of style. I used to love to listen to William F. Buckley Jr. with a dictionary in my hands. He was a remarkable sesquipedalian.

Writer’s write to be read, but we also write to convey ideas and to educate. Using simple words may get a point across but does little to challenge the reader. I do not advocate the over use of long words but next time you write think about using a Thesaurus, or even Norman W. Schur’s book, 2000 Most Challenging and Obscure Words (ISBN 0883658488).


I don’t sleep well. I never have. I’m not one for taking sleep medications due to an addictive personality. I have tried to control my busy mind with mental exercises when I lay down to sleep with some success but this often leads to some very weird dreams. I often write in my head or as one poet put it “on the black board of my mind”. As I get older my focus seems distracted as if I’m ADD. I have been told that I have some tendencies along those lines.
Normally when I abruptly aware it’s from a PTSD related nightmare, this morning it wasn’t. I was dreaming that I was listening to the radio and they were playing a song that has rolled around in my head for the last several days. It was Paul Simon’s Mother and Child Reunion. The song ended and the announcer came on announcing a contest for the weirdest facts. I woke up and went to the computer to log on and enter the contest with my fact. It was when I sat down at my desk I realized there was no radio on, there was no contest. My fact was that female kangaroos have two uteruses and are perpetually pregnant.
I’m not much on dream analysis and wonder what Jung would say about my dream, Perhaps people are correct in their analysis that writers are a bit crazy.

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away

Happy Birthday to Kris Kristofferson, a poet, a picker and an inspiration.


Why do we write? I would suppose that there are many answers to this question. I admit is nice to have things published, but is it ego or pride. Over the years I have had some poems published in various media, newspapers, periodicals and anthologies. My novel was self-published after several dozen rejections. I would have appreciated more sales not for the money but just to get my writing out there and to have it appreciated.
There are probably only a few people in my life at this point whose opinions really matter to me. Some have read my work, some haven’t. I periodically place something I write on-line but rarely do my pieces garner many comments. Criticism, positive or negative, is important to a writer; without it how can we hone our craft. I have tried a few writer’s groups but I was not impressed because it seemed that egos overcame common sense. It was like watching people beat their chests and declare themselves the best writer ever. The criticisms were subjective and often delivered in a demeaning manner.
Due to my physical problems and my weird sleep patterns it is easier and far healthier for me to stay at home. I tried a couple of on-line groups but they too lacked any personality. At one time I had a friend who was, whether they realized it, also a mentor. Sadly we drifted away from each other. They advised me on tools that helped me, Fowler’s Modern English Usage became one of my most used tools.
I have the need to write, but these days lack the focus. I wonder if there is a pill for that, after all I take so many pills now to improve my life why not one that improves my living. I outline and edit my story lines on my two novels in my head. They were on my computer before it gave up the ghost and I was not able to recover anything from the hard drives. During moments of contemplation I ask myself why I bother to write. Do people actually want to hear what I have to say? Do people even read today? Is poetry dead?
Next time you read something, please think about the author. A little comment or helpful criticism goes a long way in making the process of writing worthwhile for the writer.

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