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Stories Archives for 2018-09

Sticky Hands


 

 

 


When I was pre school age, a trip to Nacogdoches was always an adventure.  If I was with my mother we always stopped by the large Perry Brothers Five & Dime store on Main Street in Nacogdoches where I would purchase a small sack of warm cashew nuts.  These are my favorite nuts, but they have always been rather expensive.

 

On occasion I would ride with my Dad to Nacogdoches for various reasons and he would always stop at a store on East Main that was an ice house that also sold ice cream cones.  So I reasoned that if I did not get my warm cashew nuts, perhaps I would get a cold ice cream cone out of the deal.

 

My grandfather, Felix, loved to ride over to Nacogdoches as well.  I never recall “Big Daddy” driving a car so I assume he could not drive.  On this occasion the three of us motored to Nacogdoches for a bit of shopping.  After our business was done we pointed Dad’s 1941 Chevrolet east toward San Augustine.  I asked Dad if he intended to stop by the ice house and buy three cones.  My grandfather always called ice cream cones “say-so’s” - I never knew why and never asked.  So we decided to purchase two cones and one “say-so”.

We pulled up to the entrance of the ice house and a black gentleman met us, “What can I get for you today?” he queried.  My Dad ordered three ice cream cones and also asked what flavors they had today.  The man always gave the same answer, “We have chocolate, strawberry, and plain panilla”.

 

Holding our cold delights like small treasures, we began our trip home.  Cars were not air conditioned in those days so one had to eat the ice cream rapidly before it melted.  My grandfather managed to get melted ice cream all over his hand. That created a problem as he would be described today as a “cleanie”.  “Cecil, I can’t stand these sticky fingers.”  Dad looked irritated as he stared straight ahead, “Well, daddy, we will be home pretty quick and you can wash your hands then” my father replied.

We made it about half way home with grandfather fussing all the time about the sticky ice cream residue on his fingers.  Finally, I suppose Dad had heard enough and stopped the car on the shoulder of the road near a creek.  “Go wash your hands in the creek - we’ll wait”, Dad suggested.  (note - when one addresses his father one should always “suggest” rather than order).

 

Soon Big Daddy had clean hands which he held out the car window to dry in the hot air.  But our trip was not without additional interruption.  Several miles later we came over a hill to see several buzzards feasting on something that had not crossed the road fast enough.  All the buzzards flew away except for one that seemed to have trouble getting airborne.  We drove directly under the bird who then upchucked all over the front of our car.  The smell was terrible.

Luckily there was another creek nearby which provided enough water to wash the stinky mess off our Chevrolet.  We were able to get back home without further incident.

 

The Perry Brothers store has been gone for a long time, but the store that sold “say-so’s” to us is still there, but no longer an ice house.  Every time I drive by it I expect to see an old gentleman standing there to ask me if I want a “plain panilla” ice cream cone. But he has never appeared again.

 

 


“STICKY  HANDS”

BY: NEAL MURPHY

P.O. BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com


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Law and Order


 

 
 
Way back when I was in high school I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer.  My dad, Cecil, was good friends with James Doherty, the county attorney in San Augustine at the time, and I had several conversations with him about law school.  He encouraged me to go to law school but warned me about the tremendous amount of research and reading required of law students.  So, I enrolled in Baylor University in 1956 as a “pre-law” student. 
 
After my first three semesters in college I decided not to work toward a law degree so I changed to a business degree.  Over the years since then, I have seen lawyers come and go, some very nice and some not so nice.  In fact, attorneys have managed to make the list of hated professions, whether deserved or not, as evidenced by the following stories:
 
A lawyer in Charlotte, NC purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against loss by fire or theft.  Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of his fancy cigars, the lawyer filed a claim with his insurance company.   In his claim, he stated that the cigars were lost in a “series of small fires”. The insurance company refused to pay citing the obvious reason – the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.  The lawyer sued, and won!  In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous.  The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what it considered to be “friendly fire or unfriendly fire”, and was obligated to pay the claim.  Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss in the “fires”.
 
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!  With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in   jail and a $24,000 fine. 
 
A man walked into a post office one day to see a middle aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing “Love” stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them.  He then took out a perfume bottle and sprayed all over them.  His curiosity getting the best of him, he walked up to the man and asked him what he is doing.  The man said, “I’m sending out one thousand Valentine cards signed, “Guess Who?”   “But why?” asked the man.  “I’m a divorce lawyer,” the man replied.
 
A sharp young attorney was cross-examining an elderly witness to an accident. “You say you were about 40 feet from the scene of the accident?  Let me remind you that you’re 86 years old.  Just how far can you see clearly?”  The old man responded, “Well, when I wake up I see the sun and they tell me that’s about 93 million miles away.”
 
In another case, the defense attorney asked the witness to tell the court how far he was from the spot where the shooting occurred.  “I was exactly fourteen feet, three and one-half inches,” replied the witness.  “How can you be so sure of the exact distance?” asked the lawyer.  “I measured it because I was sure that sooner or later some fool lawyer would ask me that question.”
 
The district attorney was questioning an elderly woman from the jury pool.  He asked her, “Mrs. Smith, I am John Brown, the district attorney.  Do you know me?”  “Why yes,” she replied.  I have known you since you were knee high to a duck.  And I must say that I am totally disappointed at how you turned out.  You are lazy, married to your third wife, and you are known to run around on her.  Yes, I know you.”  Stunned, the lawyer stammered, “Well, Mrs. Smith, do you know the defense counsel, Bob Jones, sitting over there?”  She eyed the other lawyer for a few seconds, “Yes, I know Mr. Jones.  He is a low-down scoundrel who has a gambling problem, and from what I hear, has a drinking problem as well.  Yes, I know him.”  There was a pregnant pause, then the judge hit his gavel and says, “Counselors, both of you come to the bench!”  The judge whispered to them, “If either of you two clowns asks her if she knows me I’m going to put you under the jail for contempt!”
 
A woman called to the stand was handsome but no longer young.  The judge gallantly instructed, “Let the witness state her age, after which she may be sworn.”
 
Finally, in summary, someone asked a man what profession his son was going to select.  “I’m going to educate him to be a lawyer.  He’s naturally argumentative, and bent on mixing into other people’s troubles, and he might just as well get paid for his time.”
 
 
“LAW  AND  ORDER”
 
BY: NEAL MURPHY
 
PO BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com
 
861 words
 

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SAY IT WITH FEELING


 

 
When growing up in East Texas in the 1940’s and 1950’s, my mother made sure that I had all kinds of lessons….piano, choir, and one that I remember quite fondly – “Expression”.   Now, you younger readers probably never heard of such a thing, but it was a very important matter in my early days of development which has stood me well over the years.
 
“Expression” was a term used for the studying and practice of reading, memorization, and stage presence -  sort of like an early version of the Dale Carnegie course.  Many of my friends studied along with me in 1944 and later.
 
After my mother died a number of years ago, I was going through some old photo albums and scrap books of hers, and , lo and behold, what to my wandering eyes should appear but copies of programs of all kinds in which I had been involved as a kid.  I began to think back to those days and memories began to flood back into my mind of these instructive programs.
 
Among the things I found was a “statement” from the teacher for my November and December lessons in 1944.  The bill was for $5.00 for those two months.  The $5.00 covered a total of eight lessons – one each week.
 
Another item caught my eye….it was one of my poems that I had to memorize and perform before an audience.  It was entitled, “Take A Tater An’ Wait”.  For those readers anxious to find out about this poem, it is copied below:
 
“Take A Tater An’ Wait”
 
When I’se a little feller – littlest one at home,
I used to always have to wait, whenever the Preacher would come.
“Now sit right down Bro. Johnson, and pass your plate.”
Then Ma would look at me an’  say,
“You take a tater, an’ wait!”
 
Then when they were through, tho it took them powerful long,
They started in with praying and ended with a song.
I felt like bouncing a rock on Bro. Johnson’s bald pate,
When he’d look at me an’ say,
“You take a tater and wait.”
 
When I get up grown, and have children of my own,
I’ll ask the preacher Johnson to come and carve the bone.
Then I’ll say, “Children, sit right down,
This dinner looks first rate.
Bro. Johnson’s old, he’ll take a tater an’ wait.”
 
 
Though I do not actually remember presenting this little poem to an audience, apparently I did.  
 
I think it sad that kids now days are not being instructed in “Expression”.  They need to learn how to memorize material, how to properly communicate it to others, perfect their diction, and then overcome their stage fright at an early age.  Instead, most of them get to eat first, and make the adults “take a tater and wait.”
 
 
 
 
“SAY IT WITH FEELING”
 
BY:  NEAL MURPHY
107 Hemlock Street
PO Box 511
San Augustine, Texas 75972
Phone: 936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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