Category Archives: Essays

Car Rides With In-Laws

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
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(Author’s Note: This essay is several years old and refers to my very patient and forgiving ex-wife and her relatives. Enjoy.)

THE OCCASION WAS AUSPICIOUS. My wife and I were to sojourn to the Great State of Arkansas, (the Natural State) spend 24 hours with her sister and said sister’s spouse. After that, we would all travel in one vehicle North, until we had reached Missouri (The Show Me State), whereupon we would spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s Father, his wife, and her 2 children. I was making efforts to try to remember the current family tree, while my spouse was determined that I would know the history of the tree as well. In addition, I had been given clear instruction not to mock or ridicule things that seemed peculiar to the region. I planned to ignore this advice, but I did not say so at the time, for I was not in the mood to defend my right to be sarcastic and ignorant as I chose.

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Beat Your Face

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
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HAVING SERVED PROUDLY in the US Army, I find myself often asked about basic training – that initial period of indoctrination into the military. For myself, it was eight weeks at Fort Jackson, SC (The Palmetto State).

Of course, one does not simply go from being a slack-jawed yokel to hard-bitten soldier. There are many steps required to get a person trained. Logistics take up the first week or so. They train about 300 troops per ‘cycle’, so you have to wait until that critical number of people arrive in one place. This ‘Reception Battalion’ is a kind of rest stop for people joining the Army. You fill out paperwork, get your head shaved (mostly), get gear, boots, etc. You are introduced to the military in a very simple, non-threatening manner. Then the buses come.

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The Snake Charmer

Image: Snake
Coluber constrictor - The Black Racer

(Author’s Note: I am re-publishing all of my past writings here on the new Komejo.com. This essay is several years old and refers to my very patient and forgiving ex-wife. Enjoy.)

THERE ARE MANY CHORES that befall a man when he owns a house. Lawn care is traditional in this regard; there are few men who pass up the chance to wander the yard in the company of the lawnmower. In the summer, this task must be performed every two weeks or thereabouts, and it adds still more order to an otherwise well regimented existence. All men know the true meaning of a quietly rhetorical question about the state of the lawn. It means you need to hop to it, man!

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The Feral Chicken of Clayton

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
Cover Art by Eric Maynard

IT WAS IN THE SPRING, while upon my daily commute, that I began to notice a peculiar sort of atmospheric disturbance. It seemed to be snow, but the time of year and region (North Carolina – the Tar Heel State) dictated that this could not be. Onward I drove, and the ‘snow’ seemed to increase, until at last I seemed in a veritable blizzard. Only then did I realize my error – I was driving behind a chicken truck!

I had been steadily gaining on the truck for some time, but had been so absorbed by the odd situation that I could not properly adjust my frame of reference. Now, however, I had ample opportunity to observe. It was a normal sized semi tractor trailer – an ’18 wheeler’. The bed of the truck was flat and consisted of several very large palettes, each of which contained many small cages, stacked very high, with about a dozen chickens per cage. They (the chickens) were white, and decidedly fat. They were undoubtedly bound for the dinner table. Adding insult to injury, they were being buffeted by the winds on the freeway. I resolved to be more circumspect the next time I ate poultry.

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The Dishwasher Incident

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
Available on Lulu.com for a mere $9.95

(Author’s Note: I am re-publishing all of my past writings here on the new Komejo.com. This essay is several years old and refers to my very patient and forgiving ex-wife. Enjoy.)

I CLEARLY REMEMBER the first episode in my marriage that caused dissent between my wife and myself. It was in the spring, perhaps a month or two after our blessed union, that we were in the process of cleaning the kitchen after an evening meal. I was clearing and cleaning, my beloved was rinsing and loading. After a few minutes, I began to notice certain difficulties with my wife’s method of loading the dishwasher. It became apparent to me that the entirety of the night’s dishes would not be accommodated by the limited space afforded.

Somewhere, floating in the dark recesses of my mind, is a list. This list contains the many things that I find slightly annoying, mildly irritating, and extremely bothersome. I became suddenly aware that the inefficient loading of a dishwasher was on the ‘slightly annoying’ part of the list. Being the wise and thoughtful fellow that I am, I waited until my wife had completed her activities, then made my way over to the dishwasher, and calmly analyzed the situation. Continue reading The Dishwasher Incident