Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts)
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George’s Story

October 15, 2017 5:53pm Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 24 Comments

Lone star flag

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Stories On A Sunday!

I met George last year in Texas at a cowboy wedding. We spoke for a while and he told me that he loved watching all those English shows like ‘Doc Martin’ for example. A few days later I visited him and his wife Carleen at their ranch where I went shooting. Afterwards, we sat in the kitchen drinking ice tea and George told me he could sit and listen to me talking all day long. Not likely because I had anything of worth to say but because he liked the English accent. When I got home I received a lovely handwritten letter from George and I sent him one back with a postcard of Sherwood Forest as his ancestors were from there. He wasn’t too impressed by the picture as he expected it to be much wilder!

Just before my visit back here George fell ill. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to go and say hello to him again he passed away. Carleen told me that he wanted to visit England so badly that they put a map and directions on how to get there in his casket.

Yesterday I attended his wake and came across his story laying on the table. I found this tale so moving and interesting that I asked his son’s permission to post it on here. Even if you didn’t know George it’s a beautiful insight to a boy growing up in old America and I post it here, in his words, in memory of a wonderful man.

George Griffith Harris Sr. (1936 – 2017)

It was cool that morning when Dr R.M Burgess came to the house where my being started on a Monday morning at 7:05 am on August 17, 1936. I was born in the southeast part of Fort Worth, just east of the Masonic home. My father was John Amos Harris born at Cottondale in Parker County, Texas and my mother was Margueritte Marie (Lindsey) Harris born in Decatur in Wise County, Texas. Mother’s aunt Jewell and Uncle Clarence Ferguson (Better known as uncle Frog) lived across the street from us.

When I was two years old my father and mother bought a house in the Poly area of Fort Worth. It was the old farmhouse of a dairy and farm where the Poly addition was constructed. When I was about six, daddy remodelled the house making it into a duplex and adding a second storey with three bedrooms and a bathroom. Daddy was a teacher for the Fort Worth public schools and at that time he had the summers off. Daddy, grandpa Harris and daddy’s brother Emmett worked on the remodelling. I can remember pulling my wagon around with the scrap lumber.

I started school on September 8, 1942, at D. McRay Elementary school only a block and a half away from the house. At this same intersection was Cullep’s grocery catty-cornered across from the school. On the other was Chambers drugstore that had a soda fountain and I stopped in when I had a nickel and got a double-dip strawberry ice-cream cone, that wasn’t very often.

 

Mother would send me to the store to get groceries for that day. Most of the time that was the way we bought groceries – in those days we didn’t have supermarkets. After WW11 started they began to ration everything, meat, sugar, and many other things and we were issued stamps and tokens to purchase items at the store. Meat was hard to get and if you weren’t at the store when it came in you probably wouldn’t get any until the next time it was delivered. We had a charge account at the store and daddy would pay it once a month when he got paid.

We also had an ice box on the back porch and the iceman would deliver 100 pound block of ice at a time to keep things cool. The milkman would deliver milk in one-quart glass bottles and place them on the ice to keep it cold, and then he would pick up the empty bottles.

Also during the war daddy got some chickens and rabbits to keep our family in meat, he also sold to our renters and other people on the block. He had about ninety rabbits in rabbit hutches with about twenty-four chickens running under the hutches. We had eggs and rabbit with almost every meal and chicken on a Sundays.

After the war daddy and I went to the courthouse to get a permit to build a three-car garage with an apartment above. They wouldn’t let us have the permit but the man in line behind us wanted a permit to build a servant quarters and they issued the permit. Daddy and I went into the hall and waited until that clerk went to lunch. We went back in and asked for a permit to build a servant quarters and this clerk issued us the permit.
That summer daddy and uncle M, daddy’s uncle, started laying out the foundation. We had a neighbor that was a contractor and daddy and he had to do everything over that uncle M had done. Uncle M wasn’t a good carpenter. I got to help the contractor by carrying concrete blocks in a wheelbarrow about three at a time, boy that was fun at the time.

 

When we moved to Ave. M. there was a family that lived across the street by the name of Russell. They had a boy that was a year older than me by the name of William Joy Crosby Russell. We became good friends and played and went places together on our bicycles. There were quite a few children in the neighborhood and we played a baseball game called ‘scrub’ and played in the street. We had to watch for cars in during the rush hour, all two of them, daddy and Mr. Cherry. All the other people took the bus to and from work. We played football on church grounds around the corner on Little Street. There was a vacant lot across the street from us where we played basketball until the Cottons had a house built. Then we had to go up the alley and play on a vacant lot on Ave. N. There was no little league sports when I was growing up – just make-up games to entertain ourselves when we weren’t getting homework or in the summertime.

I can remember someone gave me an old pair of skates that I made a scooter from 2X4’s and old wooden apple crates. I took one skate apart and mounted it on 2X4 put it on for the wheels. We could ride it only on the sidewalk or in the street. We decorated them with pop bottles caps and other things. William also made a scooter and we went up and down the block.

At that time we listened to the radio, every night and I would sit by the radio and listen to the Lone Ranger at 6:30 pm. There were a lot of radio shows, The Green Hornet, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly and more. You had to have a lot of imagination to understand these shows.

By the way, there was no TV on our block until we got one when I was in ninth grade. That was my last year at junior high school. The stations did not come on the air until 6 pm in the evening when the news came on and went off the air at 12 midnight at night. Sometimes we would sit and stare at a test pattern before the TV shows came on. The only thing on Saturday was wrestling and all the kids in the neighborhood would come to our house to watch. Mother would pop popcorn and make kool-aid for us kids and most of the time would keep popping popcorn until about 10.pm. This was a lot of fun – at times we tried to help the wrestlers.

When I went to Technical High School I took wood shop and we had three hour classes. This High School was designed for boys and girls that couldn’t afford to go to college but would have a trade after graduation. After school we would go to one of the high schools and repair the typewriters in the classrooms that were not working or broken by the students, where they didn’t have to learn to type. At times it would be 10:30 pm before we would get home and eat and for me to get my school homework. In the summer we would clean and make repairs to one half of the Fort Worth ISD, classroom and the administration typewriters, mimeographs and business machines.

In 1952 we bought 252 acres of land at Burleson and started a cattle ranch. It had an old house and barn. The house was one long large long room with an additional lean-to room used for a kitchen. We had coal oil lamps for us to use at night for light; we had no electricity. There was no electricity for a year. Daddy kept going to the electric Coop to get them to put a line to our house. When we finally got electricity, so did all the neighbors.

There was an old wood stove in the lean-to that we tore down and we moved it outside and we used it to cook on. I had to get the firewood and get the stove going for mother ; those were the best meals. There was also a porch all across the front of the house that we ate on when it was warm.

We had to run an electric line to the well for the pump, before that we had to draw water by hand from the water well. This was the only water on the place for us and the cattle. Keeping water drawn for the cattle was a chore. Later that summer of 1953 we put in nine hundred feet of water line so we could have water at the house. Daddy had the water tested and we couldn’t drink it, but we could use it for washing dishes and in the bathroom. We had to haul water from Burleson to drink.

In the winter daddy would send mother and I to feed the cattle on the weekends. I put out hay for the week and moved the hay where mother could get to it when she would go out on Wednesdays to check on the cattle and put more out if needed.

Mr. Wilkinson told daddy that if he could get an old Farmall tractor started we could use it. This was a real old tractor, it had a hand crank to get it started and had lug type wheels. Daddy got it started and got it to the house along with 5’ cycle mower and a disk plow. It was my job to cut part of the pasture and to plow about 25 acres where we could plant a hayfield. It took me about five days to plow this field.

I graduated from High School in June 1954, which was a good year. I went to Arlington to register for college and standing in line I thought to myself, ‘I have had all the schooling that I wanted ‘ and turned around and walked out. Later on in life I found out this was a mistake.

Lowell Morris a neighbor boy that lived up the road asked me to go with him to a Saturday get together at the Methodist church for the youth of the area, so I went. This was the best day of my life; I met a young lady named Carleen. On the way home I asked Lowell if he would see if she would go on a date with me. Lowell asked later that week if she would go that coming weekend and she said that she would if it was a double date with him and Betty Sue. We went out that weekend and after this date I knew that she was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with; it was love at first sight.

We dated the rest of the year and January 15, 1955 we were married. I was 18 and she was 19, we were married in Weatherford, Texas. It was one week before we told our parents. We moved into a furnished apartment in south Fort Worth. I worked for Kyle Machine Shop making $1.00 an hour.

The next great day was when Griff was born in 1956. Daddy asked us if we would move to the farm and take care of the cattle and mow the pastures, he would not charge rent and would pay the utilities. In 1960 daddy gave me 25 acres and we bought a small house that took three years to build. In those days I was paid once a week and on the way home I would stop at Hurne Wrecking and buy lumber for that week, sometimes several weeks.

Another good day was when the adoption agency called us to come and pick up our daughter, Tina in Houston. She was only 4 days old.

In the fall of 1966 we bought a Ford station wagon and the next summer we took a vacation. This was the first vacation I had ever taken. Daddy didn’t believe in vacations, this was the way I was raised so I didn’t either. But after our first we took a vacation every year after. We went to Ruidoso, New Mexico and camped in the mountains just outside of the town. We had a piece of foam rubber that we put down after letting the back seat down. We also had a tent that fit over the back of the station wagon and we slept in the car. Carleen, Tina and I slept on the foam rubber and Griff slept in the front seat. While there we had to carry water to wash dishes and to take a bath. Taking a bath was something, I made a shelter from tree limbs and then wrapped a tarp around so we could take a bath. Carleen, Griff and Tina got their baths but when I took mine the makeshift bath fell on top of me. Had to hold the thing up and try to get the soap rinsed off was quite a task.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And This Is Why I Drive A Range Rover…

September 25, 2017 7:01pm Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 16 Comments

Range Rover

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Muppetry On A Monday…

 

Because life isn’t already hard enough, this kind of engineering and construction foresight waits to throw you a curveball.

Really?

One Way Street

Solution?  Jump the kerb, go through the hedgerow, and wave to the ‘jobsworth parking attendant Nazi’ through your rearview mirror whilst stepping the beast up to full revs and away before he has time to jot down your licence plate number.

Not.In.The.Mood. Loser.

That is all.

Amazonian to Amazon

September 11, 2017 2:37pm Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 22 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Prolific ‘Off Piste’ Posting!

Look – there are things on my mind and if I don’t get them off my chest *looks at chest – can’t see things – what a weird saying. I digress…* then I can’t concentrate on the million and seventy-seven proper things I’m supposed to be doing. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your Whimsy On A Wednesday – I already have it prepared. THAT’S how good this week has been already…

So, let’s roll.

Back At Ya, Jules!

I hurt my back. Viciously. It happened on Thursday evening. Thus, my whole weekend has been totally ruined by disability and has caused me to fester and over analyse everything in the world. I have answers to every single problem on the planet – Go on – ask me!

On Saturday morning, after realising that paracetamol, rhubarb gin, my heated car seats and walking like a supermodel and yelling at everyone wasn’t working, I made an appointment with Physio The Rapist. Oh yeah.

Out strolled a gigantic, Amazonian woman. Brilliant. She isn’t gonna take any prisoners, is she?

“Juliette,” she snipped. “My room.”

Whoa…steady on chickadee. I ain’t down for those kinds of games…

“How have you hurt your back?” No small talk.

“Dunno. I wouldn’t mind if I’d fallen off an ‘oss or a pub stool or danced myself dizzy in a den of iniquity, but no.  Didn’t do a thing.”

“You must have done something. Explain to me the day it happened.”

Sheesh…strict!

“Well, I sat bleeding at a computer as usual. Not at my normal desk though. And I wasn’t on my normal, spinny, I look like a bossman chair, no. I had to sit on a hard dining chair at an angle cos I couldn’t get my laptop on the desk properly.”

She took a sharp intake of breath and shook her head.

“And then I walked for 45 minutes to meet my pal at the pub in ill fitting cowboy boots. Well, they’re not so much ill fitting but they aren’t trainers. Still, they’re the only ones I can get my Texan blade tucked into should I want to peel an apple.”

“It’s the desk. Sitting awkwardly will have caused serious spasms.” I wasn’t going to argue with her because she looked the sort that was well up on spasms. Besides, that meant walking in cowboy boots is OK. Like.

Protects Boots, Nearly Pukes And Leaves

“And the boots. This is still stupid.”

“Err, hold on a minute, love. Nobody calls my boots stupid. They are a work of art with shot pound coins and all manner of memory trinkets.”

“Walking for this length of time in bad footwear will bring you problems.”

GASP! How very dare she call my bewwwts, bad footwear! I nearly strode out but didn’t have a stride in me. Walking at a snail’s pace was effort enough.”

“Lie down. On front.”

“K…”

“This very bad. Whole of left side is locked. You will need at least four sessions before OK.”

Oh yeah…This equates to ‘I need at least a ton twenty in cash to make it worth my while,’ therapist talk.

“Look, just go for it and let’s see how we go. You can’t hurt me, I like it hard.”

Dear Lord! Pain? I nearly puked through the face hole in the bed onto her gigantic feet.

She made it worse. Evil Dark Queen. Now I really do have to have four goes on the medieval punishment rack in case I break.

Talking of break…

The Kindle Swindle

It took me a long time to embrace the virtues of a Kindle. I’m very much a paper person. I like proper books and refused to be modernised. But then, with all the travelling I am forced to do, sigh, I realised that too many books were taking up essential shoe space in my luggage. Hmm.. I conceded and asked for one for Christmas. If you don’t buy it yourself, it doesn’t count against your principles. Of which I have many, obviously.

I didn’t use the bloody thing for four months. I didn’t like the feel of it. If you’ve got one, you’ll know what I mean. It feels like rough toilet paper. Or something. I ignored it. This resulted in the person who bought it for me, taking it away! Rude!

“Gimme my Kindle.”

“Why? You don’t use it so I am.”

“D’ya want a fight? Fine. I’ll use it. Give it back now before I feed it to you. ” I downloaded 36 books in the space of an hour to make a point. Then I got the usefulness of this funny little tablet.

So, what does it do? It goes and breaks. Well, I’m not sure if it was really the fault of the product or the fact I couldn’t remember which charger ( of the gazillion wires I have in my study) went into it. Having forced a few contenders, it ended up with the real one not going in. Bugger. Broke the port hole.

Amazon – Your Friendly Online Store

I’ve had a few run ins with this place because of the following:

*They once made me pay some Prime membership that I never asked for.
*They once sent me a gavel (oh yes, it’s true) instead of sending me a  Zen singing alarm clock.
*They delivered a whole pile of my books to the mad old bint down the road with the three legged dog and an aversion to strangers wanting their books back.
*Getting hold of them is the most painful experience ever.

Still, they’re the only ones who can mend the Kindle. Well, apart from some dodgy bloke just outside Gatwick airport who reckons he can sort it out but I didn’t like his ballsy tone and the way he dropped his H’s.

The Online Chat.

Amazon Kindle

Thankfully, not the chess chump sort but just as irritating.

After several wasted minutes trying to rip through the site and actually find someone to speak to, I got the chat line. For Kindle.

‘Hi- Kindle’s broke. Can you mend it?’

……. Vehesteen is typing………………………………………………………………………………………………..

…………. Bloody Hell, Vehesteen, have you only got one sodding finger? Crack on!

………………. No Joke. Siri has learnt new curse words because of me. Well, because of Vehesteen.

‘Hello. My name is Vehesteen and I am here to help.’

I KNOW. I CAN READ.

‘Cool. So, my problem – can you sort it?’

…………………. Really?

‘It is very nice to meet you, Jules’

I’d like to say the same but FFS……

‘Right. My Kindle, V, it’s bollocksed.”

‘Would this be the Jules Kindle?’

No – it’s Harold’s – what do you think?

‘Yes, V. That will be the one.”

“Let me just check. Two minutes.

………………LIES…..ZZZZZZ…..LOSING WILL TO LIVE HERE………FEEL ONSET OF STRESS INDUCED HEART ATTACK…………..I COULD HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK BY NOW…….

‘Hello, I’m back.’

Hello. I’m pissed off.

‘Great.’

‘You have to go to the UK centre we are in US.’

‘But I WAS on the UK site! Why would I come to American Amazon? Besides, I don’t know what bloody time zone you’re in but it’s night – night time there!’

‘The link automatically brings you here, but here is the UK link.”

So help me God.

I had to go through it ALL. AGAIN. This time with Marihinsia who, I believe, didn’t actually have any fingers and probably types with a carrot.

‘Can you give me the Kindle serial number.’

‘Where’s that? Can’t find it.’

‘On the box.’

‘Not got the box. Why would I keep the box?’

‘Go into settings on Kindle and into device info. It will be there. ‘

‘Right….’

Kindle battery low. Yeah, yeah I know. That’s cos I can’t charge you because you went and broke. I found it and started to type it in the chat box to Marihinsia.

‘G190 …….’ Sudden Kindle death. Kaput. Fin. ‘Err.. my Kindle just died.’

‘I need this to verify product.’

‘No. No, you don’t, M. I can’t give it to you. Just fix it. You’ll know it’s mine when you get it. I wouldn’t send Harold’s back and pay to get it mended, would I now? I cannot stress enough how close to the edge of violent frustration I am right now. I may self-combust.  Go and get a supervisor or the Kindle man, whatevs, but get me someone who is going to sort this out.’

‘I will be back shortly…………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………..Maybe in twelve years…….before one of us dies………..or the ice age begins……….and Bruce Jenner is President…………………

I got so annoyed that I stood up very quickly in utter frustration, pulled my already pulled back, dropped my laptop and lost the chat connection.

I never wanted a blasted, stupid, horrible Kindle in the first place.

 

The Jules Project

September 10, 2017 10:21am Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 27 Comments

Jules Project

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Serious Biz On A Sunday!

In the early hours of this fine Sunday morning, it was brought to my attention (by members of the JS (B)Admin team) that I am in fact being spied on and possibly cloned. I knew it. This has been going on ever since I started blogging and I may have to change tack just to throw them off.

They’re Onto Me

JULES science meetings usually take place over two days, with delegates arriving for lunch on the first day and leaving after lunch on the last day. There is also usually an evening dinner for participants (not included in the conference fee). Very biz savvy – make ‘em pay. No such thing as a free lunch in JULES world.

Our Vision For The JULES System

JULES is available to anyone for non-commercial use, free of charge. Errr… hold on a minute, pal….

This has led to a large and diverse community from across the globe using JULES to study on a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales. The JULES community has regular meetings where researchers using JULES can present results and discuss issues with their peers over a glass of wine. <~~~ Classy. Like.

The development of JULES is governed by a community process and is presided over by committees comprised of representatives from organisations providing significant resources for the ongoing development of JULES.

Archive Tutorials

These are still worth going through to pick up tips, but n.b. they do not refer to (and therefore cannot help with) the latest versions of JULES. <~~~ Correct.
JULES does not have a ‘known errors’ page for any of its versions: Tick 🙂 If you are aware of any defect in the model, or have ideas for an enhancement, Pffft! Whatevs… then please help the community  ( no – don’t ) by raising a ticket about it. For larger issues, you might want to start up a working group.
Some small changes have been made to tidy up some of the boundary layer code -this is mostly removing unused variables and tidying up subroutine argument lists. Won’t work, I don’t have boundaries.
JULES takes advantage. Duh…Information on how to build and run JULES can be found in the JULES User Guide. Note that although this development has proven stable during testing,  hehehe, lull before the storm.. it is still experimental and is considered to be for advanced users only.

If you can’t get hold of any paper via institutional subscriptions, please email the JULES help list (am sure the request will be well-received because we know many don’t have easy access and someone will almost certainly have it).

http://jules.jchmr.org

Rumour has it that I am being smuggled out of the country for a few days next week by the JS team in order to come up with a battle plan. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, keep your head down, stay locked and loaded and if anyone asks you about the JULES, deny everything, make counter allegations, blame someone else and start talking in Russian.

Over and out.

Before I Leave This Quirky Little Island…

August 27, 2017 4:48pm Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 22 Comments

Rule Britannia

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You a Bonus Amuse Bouche!

 

I’m just about to go, but before I do, I thought I’d leave you with this:

Yesterday, when out shopping for totally necessary holiday stuff like strawberry lip balm and Euros that are worth about as much as soiled toilet paper, I noticed some bizarre goings on in my town. It made me wonder if I actually should be leaving. I mean, what if when I get to the Mediterranean I get bored? I might miss the nutty life that tips me over the edge here. Who knows? I impulsively went in search of moral guidance by popping into establishments and asking people I know for their wisdomous advice.

Blighty’s Finest

UK

I found a couple of people (who are responsible for my moral guidance when I’m out in this area or otherwise) what they thought.

We have: 

Paul the pond man and intellectual philosopher.

Anniesu, the psychologist and cleverest person I’ve ever met ( she has more qualifications than I’ve had margaritas. Right…)

Andy the framer – an outstanding pillar of the community and an even bigger cynic than me.

And…Matt the most logical creator ever to exist and picker upper of yours truly when she goes off on one.

Synopsis

Turns out that so long as you aren’t a wet fingered pudding stealer you’ll go far in life. You may as well go away and enjoy yourself ( despite being surrounded by sweaty faced chip eaters) because if you don’t you’ll be stressed out by demanding people, plied with free drinks and end up doing the two step in the weirdest places.

Rule Britannia: Full of nutters. Anyway, I have a plane to catch so I’ll leave you with this video evidence.

The Malocchio Of Bodie ~ A Western By Jules Smith

April 30, 2017 8:28am Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 10 Comments

The Malocchio of Bodie

 

The Blurb

The Evil Eye “Malocchio” seems to circle Alonzo Augusta, especially when he arrives back in the town of Bodie to capture the heart of Estelle Winburne. But the girl he is sweet on is protected by the big men in town who are hell bent on having the broody ‘Eye-Tallion’ put in the ground. Under suspicion for the gold robbery on Dutch Schmidt, Augusta finds his real friends come in the form of a black magicker, a dry goods sourpuss and a Mormon blessed by God. But can the unlikely underdogs win the day and save the girl when it comes to a shoot out along the gold road?

 

What’s in it for you?

This isn’t just any western, this is a Jules Smith western which means this: 
A gripping, page-turning story filled with crazy adventure that will whisk you away to the freedom of the wild west and ravage you with romance, danger, duplicity, gun slingin’ and consequence!

 

What to do next

Buy it.  Available in paperback and kindle from an Amazon retailer near you.

Y’all just press that link below, now – Go Git ‘Er Done!

For UK here.

For US here. 

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