Friday, April 11, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 7............... Is this Real?............by Diane Ogden

The limo ride was quiet.  Formal.  Governor Connally asked me a few polite questions but I knew he had security do one hell of a background check on me and my family before ever allowing me to step one foot into that limo much less be escorted to the function.  I answered each of his questions as politely as he had asked them.  Then in an off the cuff tone, Governor Connally made a statement that nearly caused me to faint.  I had been to the"fainting in a limo rodeo" before and darned if I was going to ride that one out again.  His near death experience off the cuff comment was directed toward his wife and Grandson. But there was no doubt it was specifically spoken for me.  He said, "Nellie, Bill, I'm not sure you are aware of the fact our good friends Joseph and Auggie Justice are attending the gala this evening." 

Here I was all decked out and about to have a cow in the back of the Governor of Texas's limo. All I wanted to do was flee the scene.  But considering that was not an option, I decided not to lose my cool.  Was that comment meant for me personally or was this an out of the ballpark coincidence?  Hang lose Julianna.  You been through worse.  And so I did.  I did not utter even an inkling of a noise nor was there any show of emotion about my being.  I got that gift from my Grandad thank God.

We arrived a short time after the announcement telling me I might run into Daddy J Bar J rich britches.  God help me if they had dragged Roger along.  I might have another cow or two.  I mean for real?  What are the odds! I had to get hold of myself and fast.  We were about to be announced. Oh great, if the Justice's were already there they would get a front row viewing of lets sock it to Julianna!  How could this have happened.  I knew it was because I had accidentally run into the rich Grandson of the Governor of Texas.  Now I had to deal with this, and I would dang it.   I recall so wishing my Granddaddy were there to tell me what to do.  He was so good at this sort of thing.

And then I heard the words.  "The Grand State of Texas announces the arrival of our esteemed Governor John Connally, his wife Nellie, and their honored guests, Julianna Rowe escorted by William J. Connally.  

I was radiant in my perfect pink satin gown.  It's tight bodice gave reference to my body's perfect curves.  34-24-34.  Sleeveless and tight to the waistline with a matching satin wide belt with one large pink fabric rose toward the side.  The skirt was long, lean, and straight to the floor.  Sleek. Elegant. Not to forget the size seven and a half matching pink satin pumps.  My hair was pulled up in an elegant French twist with a large blond wave swaying to the side.  My gloves were formal arms length with tiny covered buttons on the underside, over the wrists. I was breathtaking and I knew it.  All eyes were on me, including Mr. Joseph Justice's.  I commanded the room.  God I wished my Granddaddy could have seen me.  I wished I could have seen me. 

We were led to our large round table adorned with the most stunning centerpieces I had ever seen.  I recall pinching myself to see if I were dreaming.  Sterling silver pedestals held bouquets of roses while above the tables chandeliers were covered with hundreds of flowers.  Among the hundreds of flowers ten crystal teardrops dangled as they enhanced each of six glowing lights, making that a grand total of sixty glimmering pieces of glass that sparkled almost as much as my dream of the big city lights. Or almost as much as the fairy dust I dreamed was real as a young child.

My secret visions came to a screeching halt as Billy nudged me with a nudge that said earth to Julianna, come in please.  I giggled a girly giggle as he pulled the chair out for me to be seated.  I had been gone so long on my little private mental journey I hadn't noticed the others surrounding me at our table. There they were, sitting directly across from Billy and I.  Mr. and Mrs. J B J rich cattle and oil ranchers. My rat fink hitchhiker Roger's parents.  Thank God and all his angels Roger was not there.  Or was he?  I found myself looking all around the room to the obvious notice of Billy who said.

"What are you looking for, may I help you?" 

I told him no I was just taking in all the elaborate decorations and stunning gowns. That is when he told me I was the most beautiful in the room.  That no one or nothing could compare. 

Jesus Crisis!  Yes this was a crisis and I was being sucked under.  But was it clean water or canal water?  These rich folk from the south scared me.  These southern men liked secret control of their women.  I was a free spirit.  A hippie sort of.  I wasn't sure I was ready for this sort of life.  I might end up like Nellie, the Gov's wife.  Or like Auggie, the cattle and oilman's wife.  Wait a minute, what was so bad about that? I was decked out to the max and loving it if I could just shut the noise in my head off.  And just as I was trying to shut that noise off, I wondered what was happening back at the ranch.  The ranch near Tulsa.  Who cares, I said to myself.  Let it go.  Why are you drudging up the past.  Yeah right, the past of only eight days or so.  That was the mental conversation I had going on while sitting at the round table.  I deducted that I was still angry at Roger's father for putting me through so much.  He could have stopped all the horrible things I went through with the drop of a pen, or one phone call.  But he didn't.  And there I was, and there they were once again sitting at a table across from each other, but this time a formal dinner party at the opening of the biggest covered convention center in all the south. Why they can have rodeos inside this place.  And baseball games and so on.   This is a big deal.

The limo dropped me off at my Grandparents home on Bradwood Road.  The Governor and Nellie expressed their appreciation of my attendance and of course offered compliments on my attire and dignified manners during the event.  Before leaving the limo I extended my elegant long white gloved arm toward Nellie, squeezing her hand, smiling graciously as I thanked her for the lovely evening.  Then extending the same gracious hand to Governor Connally, gently squeezing while thanking him also. Billy moved outside the limousine and turned to extend to me his hand.  I stepped out and we walked to the front door of my Grandparents home. It was then we heard Duke barking.  Oh lord, it is late and he is going to wake the dead.  Billy and I threw the formal aside and ran to the door for Duke, like normal kids in jeans.  We were too late.  Grandad was standing there in his robe with a slight frown going on.  I apologized as we removed Duke to the yard for his relieving himself session.  As we waited for Duke to finish, the Governor got out of the limo and came over to Duke.  He got down on one knee and by gollie he and that dog bonded like for real.  No way! I thought. Come on!  You people are digging me a rich ditch I am not sure I can get out of.  Stop already.....  But they didn't. 

I was inside the house.  The limo was pulling away.  I stood there with no thoughts other than....
the fact I was so cool and proud of my ass.  I had overcome the unimaginable. 

(Grandad found a photo in the Society section of the Austin Herald Newspaper showing one of the tables  from the gala.  I cut it out and decided this was a good time to start a scrapbook of my trip.) (Photo from www.mywedding.com)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 6....PartyTime...........by Diane Ogden

The smell of Nana cooking up some fresh bacon spurned Duke to lickin' my face like I was the frying pan itself.  Stop I told him, but then I too caught the amazing odor floating down the hall and into my princess room like it had its own magic carpet ride directly to my and Duke's noses.  I rolled out of bed, threw some clothes on, and scampered to the kitchen and out the door with Duke so he could relieve himself.   Funny thing was I went so fast I did not notice there was a guest sitting at the table with Grandad.   I stopped dead in my tracks, mussed hair and dog licked face and all!  There sat Billy Connally shooting the shit with my Grandfather.  

"Ah, hey, whoa, Billy."  I said in a mumbled manner whilst trying to pretty much hide my unkempt self.   Duke, he was all over Billy.  And Grandad not really being all that excited about an animal being in his house, not to mention in his kitchen getting nearer and nearer his china eating plate.  Adding to the fact, said animal was alive.  The only animals allowed in Granddaddy's house were the ones mounted on the walls with the glass eyes.  But he maintained his cool.  I think he liked Billy which accounted for his patience with Duke.  Me, I was feeling notsomuch for Billy at that moment.  I would have appreciated a phone call.  And how did he find us anyway?  I didn't recall giving him the phone number, or had I in a weak moment?

"Might I excuse myself to get cleaned up Grandfather?"   I said.

He responded with, "Oh come on over and have a sit down darlin.  You were born beautiful and still are.  This young man has traveled a ways to make your acquaintance, now have a seat."

I said, 'Ah, Granddaddy, he traveled maybe three miles for real." 

Just then Nana came walking to the table with a platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, sliced oranges, and another platter of her home made sweet whole wheat toast.  Oh, and grits on the side.  Duke was dying over in the corner.  He just knew he's better hang lose until he was given what was left at the end of the meal.  Somehow Granddaddy just had a way of sending out a very clear message to even a dog. 

And so it was.  We all sat at the table eating with silver utensils, china plates, and drinking from the finest glassware.  Not that Billy wasn't used to the same.  Heck it was me that wasn't used to any of the nifty things big money could buy.  But I faked it well.  My beautiful pink Cadillac and my looks saved me many a time.  This had been one of those times. 

It took a bit, but I finally got up the nerve and said, "So Billy, what brings you here so early today."

I about fell off my beautiful chair when he responded to my less than subtle comment by saying.....

"Julianna Rowe, I was not going to take even one chance you might leave the city before meeting my parents and doing the sights of Austin with Duke and I.  It will be my life's goal to make sure you never leave my side again." 

After I gathered myself enough to close my open mouth, I shot a look at Grandad who was grinning ear to ear, and then back to Nana whose head was down pretending she was eating, yet I could see a slight grin, and then to Billy who had a look of pure pride on his face that also said, "Look what I just did, I am so damn on top of this one!  But little did he know, he was not! 

I did not wish to be rude, but where I came from that was rude.  He was brown nosing my Grands like a dog lapping up gravy.  Calling them Sir and Ma'am and all I wanted to do was flee the scene.
Why?  I just felt Billy overstepped his boundaries with me.   He was there before I even showered or had time to truly wake up.  He was basically saying he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I think.  I just wanted to grab Duke and do a long run up to the shopping center and down and around by the church and back.  Not that my adrenalin wasn't already pumping.  And then there was poor Duke who could always tell when I was upset.  His head was turning all over the place.  Looking at Grandad, and then me, then Billy, then me and so on.  He was going to need a Dramamine if this didn't stop pretty soon.  I remained calm on the outside and for the sake of my Grandfather who  held manners to the utmost degree, I stayed seated and quiet.  I ignored Billy's bold statement and managed to even make a few jokes.  When Nana stood up to clear the table I was Johnnie on the spot to play getaway and help her do the dishes. That is when she said in her strong southern drawl.

"Oh honey, you just sit on back down and enjoy your guest." 

Wrong answer Nana.  But it was what it was and I sat back down and visited politely for another hour. That is when Grandad invited Billy out to his ranch.  A guy thing that had worked out very well for me I thought until Billy piped in with, " I'll be back for you, beautiful at 7:30.  I mean to escort you to the Grand opening of the new convention center here in Austin.  My parents are the guests of honor as we will also be. Formal attire.  If you need me to take you shopping, no sweat. Oh I know, Julie, stuffy stuffy."

Just then Granddaddy popped in saying no need to take her shopping, Pat and I will handle that. To which Billy tipped his perfect off white cowboy hat in appreciation.  God these southern gentlemen were eating me alive.

And then Billy added regarding the stuffy comment, "But I promise not too much of that stuffy stuffins pretty lady!"

Okay, my brain was rockin.  It was dyin'.  It was screamin' Billy stop with stuffy stuffins." But I refrained my inner voice from loosing its cool. 

Then he added, "I have taken the liberty of renting a mo-ped for us to take into the hills and all around Lake Travis tomorrow.  I hope to show you a wonderful day." 

My dander was up now.  My Wisconsin woman was oozing out every pore in my body.  I wanted to jump that boy and tell him what was what, but I couldn't and I think he knew it.  He had sold my Granddaddy lock, stock, and barrel.  The ranch was all but his even though he didn't need it. Me, he done forgot to sell me.  Oh there is no question I was taken by the cowboy no doubt.... but his little show that day had killed a bit of my love Billy at first sight.

He and Granddaddy spent a while at the ranch and then it was shopping time.  Nana and I had time to ready ourselves for this next adventure.  Nana was used to the finer stores about town.   In fact she taught me all about the finest face creams at $35.00 for a mere small jar.  I about had a cow at those prices.  I didn't need those sorts of creams yet.  Why I was just barely out of life's teenager phase or so.

Sometimes at night when it was quiet I would wonder if Harper ever thought about me.  And if the school principle ever remembered the nights he snuck across the backyards with his dang shoes off into my house for some extra marital sex.  Did I ever feel guilty. No not back then because it wasn't my problem.  "It" was my solution.  I needed love and even if it was wrong, it felt right.  Oh Lord, that sounds like a good ole country song.  Okay stop with the thinking.  And thank God or my dead father . Just then I heard Nana summon me as they were ready for the shopping trip.

I took Duke out, gave him some fresh water, a treat, and closed the door to the living room so he couldn't even think about relieving himself in there.  He wouldn't anyway, I didn't think.  

We hit Dillards with a force.  Granddaddy instructed the sales ladies regarding the event I was attending  and they all scattered like cockroaches when the lights come on.  The Grand Opening of the such and such with the Governor.  That'd to it! 

I chose the most beautiful pale pink gown I ever even dared dream I would touch in my life.  I felt like Grace Kelly the day she married Prince Ranier.  When I was a child I dreamed of being a princess like most little girls.  But this day I really was.  Maybe Billy had sold me after all. 

Granddaddy gave me a few pointers before the limo arrived.  This sure was a far cry from the last limo ride I took with Roger's father outside Tulsa.  Actually I had to stop thinking about that or I would have started laughing until the tears ruined all the makeup Nana paid a zip zillion dollars for.  I silently told myself to shut my face, no shut my mind off and now!  I always had to be careful not to ruin a good moment.  My sense of humor sometimes got in between high society and fun.  Oh I wouldn't do anything like streaking, but I did like a laugh and sometimes I couldn't determine when to and when not to.  Oh God stop me please..... here comes the limo.  And it's the Governor of Texas Julianna.  You can dig it. Your cool.  Think big.  Hang Lose.  Play the part for today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 5 Matching up the Grands..............property of Diane Ogden

So Cowboy Billy ended up being the Grandson of the Governor of Texas at that time.  As I recall while sitting in the driveway of the Governors Mansion staring at Billy and he back at me, I was thinking how unthinkable a surprise this turned out to be.  And now what?  Then again why had anything really changed.   That is when Billy walked around my beautiful Pink Cadillac to the drivers side window and said.

'Gosh maam, does this mean you don't want to see me again?"

Duke had jumped into the front seat to take over shotgun when Billy came to the window with  determined question that could change my life plans.  Duke started barking as if to answer for me.  I tried to hush up Duke who was having no part of it considering  some unspeakable determination to keep Billy and I together.  My answer to Billy was that I would see him again as long as I was still in Austin. 

Billy sternly asked.  "And how long might the Pink Lady be visiting the city?"

I responded that I was not 100% sure on that just yet. 

Billy asked me for my Grandparents phone number and I obliged.  He then wrote his Grandparents number down for me also, but I declined saying I didn't feel it would be proper for me to be calling the Governors Mansion.  Billy told me this was their private line and it would be perfectly fine.  In fact he would be pleased to hear from me anytime of the day or night.  Well anytime of the day at least.  And then he leaned down and into the window to give the gentlest kiss I believe I had ever had.  Duke watched and then put his head down on the seat and covered his eyes.  Just like I'd seen a dog do in the movies.   Billy and I both busted out laughing.   He told me he would be calling on me very soon.  And I drove away toward the Expressway to my Grandparents home.

On the way I must say my brain felt like an octopus.  The thoughts were wondering about in eight different directions which I believe is called confusion.  Would I ever see Route 66 again? Yes I had become suddenly confused, scared and getting way ahead of myself.   That is when I hit the exit to Bradford Road. 

My Grandparents were elated to see me as usual.  Granddaddy was his handsome self.  He looked like Rhett Butler with much less hair on top, a thin mustache, and a handsome tan.  I never saw my Grandad in jeans even once in my life.  Nope, he always dressed up in slacks, a white shirt with a western bolo tie and special made to order Cowboy boots.  Nor did he ever leave the house without his grey Stetson hat.

And Nana, she was a high quality lady.  Born and bred in Texas, engaged to Gene Autry until she met Pops.  Nana wore the finest furs and jewels. Her nails were always painted in copper colors to match her hair and skin.  She could out ride and out shoot most men.  She was a school teacher by trade but gave it up do to the stress kids put on teachers.  She was a bit frail in that area.  Nerves that is.  I heard she had a nervous breakdown way back which led to her giving up the profession.  When I was young I recall her saying to me, 'I love you honey but you make me so nervous."  I suspect I didn't make her nervous now that I was full growed as they say in those parts. 

We had a lovely dinner out.   Grandad took us to The Night Hawk Restaurant for steak and lobster.  Duke was not happy about being left at the house but then the Grandparents were not totally happy about that either saying he might have an accident in their carpeted kitchen..  I assured them Duke was not accident prone.  

They were quite fussy about their home and furnishings.  Grandad had purchased all the furniture in their home in Dallas at a whopping pricetage of over $5,000.00.   The bedroom set was French Provincial hand carved Pecan wood twin beds which I never understood but didn't need to.  The living room was also of the French theme.  The sofa had been special ordered due to the exquisite brocade fabric.  The side chairs were covered in a thick deep mauve tapestry fabric and the dark cherry tables all topped in marble.  Ahead of the fireplace lay the huge bear rug Nana shot herself. during one of their annual Wyoming hunting trips.  The formal dining room was a French Provincial with matching buffet and glass curio cabinet.  The curio was overfilled with a collection of glass, wood, leather, and ceramic, shoes from every country around the world.  It was one of the most amazing collections I had ever seen.  My Godmother collected salt and pepper shakers but nothing matched the class my Nana's little shoes carried. 

My Grandparents always maintained a bedroom at the house for my personal use my when I was younger and later for visits.  Twin four poster hand carved rice beds with salmon colored satin bedspreads that would make anyone feel like an actual princess.  My dresser was a make up desk slash table.  The pulls on the side drawers were hand carved to appear like leaves.  Outside my bedroom window was a sitting porch.  On that porch was a bamboo sofa and chair with matching bamboo end tables and coffee table, all with glass tops.  On each end table was a lamp made from an elk leg killed on one of their hunting trips out west.  The hoof rested on a black marble base, where the leg extended up and under the lampshade which was made from the hide and thinned to a place where a photograph was instilled into it.  There were four pictures, one on each side.  Each unit of the lampshade was laced together with rope made from hide. When the lamp was turned on the pictures became like a slide show, as well as projecting onto the adjacent wall.   Grandfather didn't like wasting any of an animal after a kill.   He had deerskin coats made for his family along with matching gloves and boots.  As you can tell from his lifestyle,  he loved nature.  Fact is he took more photos of nature than any of us. 

Grandad was a lover of the Indian Nations, slash tribes.  I traveled the Western United States with Nana and him when I was fifteen. years old.  We stopped at numerous Indian Reservations where he handed out gum and money to the children. who would jump for joy.  He was an honorary Indian Chief of one of the tribes but I forget which one.  At one time I had his very large feather headdress.  I am sure I have it stored in a safe container.

On the opposite side of Grandfather's professionalism with the Indians was his fondness for the drink.  Canadian Club to be exact.  A large bottle sat on the front seat between he and Nana through every state in the Western part of this U.S.A.  I can attest to that.  And every time he got stopped for speeding which was a few times indeed, he fancy talked his way out of each one.  He would get back in their brand new Oldsmobile 98 or whichever one it was that year and laugh a hearty deep Texas laugh that he won the game with Johnny Law. And on nights at the house when family or dear friends came over for dinner and always drinks, he would do his Indian song and dance.  That man could do the song and war dance while using his pretend language of the Indians and drumming on any wall that was handy. He was a happy man for the most part. Especially when under the influence.

Grandad had his very own office slash cave called "The Summer House" which was separate from but next to the utility room just off the main house. Inside that man cave was every sort of deer, elk, bear, ram, and moose head hanging high up over his amazing gun collection, pool table, antique books on shelves, National Geographic collection, sitting areas, and a large table with an authentic but small teepee.  Through the teepee ran an intricate H2o train set with all the trimmings.  Little houses in little neighborhoods, train stations,  grain elevators, stop lights, and various other road signals along with grass and asphalt roads. A lot of fun for visitors and Grandchildren.

Aside the Summer House and between the house and carport to the right was the utility room.  Two or three huge freezers full of meat from the Wyoming hunting trips.  I learned early on how to eat moose, elk, and venison, as Grandad was an exemplary cook in the army.  Course he said he rode with Poncho Via too so who really knows.  Also in the Utility room was an extra refrigerator.  Most people didn't have but one refrigerator in their kitchen unless you were the Governor or course.  After all that was the utility room therefore the washer and dryer called this room home also. As an added effect there was a toilet sitting all by itself in a cubby section between the wash tubs and the tall cupboards. There was no door, just a toilet. That was more for us kids when we were swimming in the cement pool out back Grandad built himself.  The shelves in the utility room went to the ceiling in  and I recall as a child wondering why they had so much toilet paper, paper towels, saran wrap, aluminum foil, and Kleenex stacked to the ceilings.  Maybe he just liked to be prepared.  One time Nana told me he came running into the house hollering for his gun.  She said, "What is the hell is going on L.C.?"  He didn't answer, he just ran back outside with his loaded gun in hand.  That is when she heard a shot, a loud shot.  She ran out the door shouting his name and found him in the utility room.  She said he was so proud of himself.  He had shot a mouse and the lone toilet behind the mouse.  Nana said she laughed til she about peed herself. 
 

There are a lot more stories to tell about my Nana and Grandad but the one that really counts and what Mr. Cowboy Connally doesn't know is that my Grandparents were close friends with close friends of Lyndon Baines Johnson, current President of the United States.  My Grands were invited to stay on the LBJ Ranch outside Austin during hunting season for the annual expedition.  President Johnson's personal valet tended to Grandad during their stay.  His name was Amos and he took very good care of Grandad.  He took Grandad's shoes off,  rubbed his feet, laid his clothes out,  and just about anything else valet's do.  I know it wasn't as important as Billy's deal.  His Grandfather was the Governor of the great State of Texas and I am sure the Mansion was much more elegant than my Grandparents home. In my mind that strayed away at times like this, I was at least happy mine didn't live in a trailer park and they had friends that knew the Pres. 

Duke was having the time of his life barking at the dead critters hanging on the wall in that Summer house.  He would sit down, look up at them, turn his head sideways as if puzzled, and then start barking.  When he didn't get any reaction from the monsters on the wall he would sit back down and start the process all over.

Sleep that night hadn't come as easily as it used to when I visited the old Princess bedroom at my Grandparents home.  My mind was divided.  Route 66 or Bill Connally?  Was there even a choice?
Stop.  Stop thinking.  Just then Duke jumped up onto the beautiful satin bedding nestling himself  close to me.  That's all I needed for now.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 4 Connolly or Connally?...............................property of Diane Ogden

Chapter 4  "Connolly or Connally?"

I had placed my pink cowboy boots in good sight for all to see next to Duke and all my other worldly possessions in the back seat of my beautiful Pink Cadillac.  I was in Texas so I was not sure why I thought anyone would be unusually interested in my pink boots considering 90 % of the population had boots of one color or another.  I guess my Wisconsin mind had not totally transferred area codes yet.   Therefore my pink pride carried on.

As we traveled the highway about an hour outside Houston I had forgotten how much I wanted to stop in Huntsville.  Huntsville, Texas was 69 miles North of Houston on county roads but I didn't care.  I had that Huntsville stop as a dream in my pocket since I decided to head South off  Route 66 after the Roger ruckus. Somehow my dream got sidetracked by a handsome cowboy named Billy Connolly.  It was at that moment in my conscious mind  I realized I had hardly thought of Harper.  The man I was going to marry didn't hold so much as a spec of thought.  Harper was a mere piece of sand in the hourglass of my lifetime. But then Roger and his daddy dollars had pretty much preoccupied my entire being for the total first portion of my journey through Illinois, Missouri, a corner of Kansas, and Oklahoma.  Not to mention the bridges of water, the storms, the ghost of the Outer Edge who was REAL, and my time in the pokey!  I decided not to push my luck with a turning back toward Huntsville. 

Billy asked me why I was suddenly so quiet.  I told him about Huntsville and my wanting to go back there.

He said, "Do you mean now?  Go back there from here?"

I said, "No, go back there because I have been there before back in 1958 with my parents and my little brother."

Billy asked me why I would want to go back to such a small town nothingsville anyway.  Unless I had family, there wasn't much to see. Populations around 9,300.  No main Interstates going in or out.  A few schools, a big bad Federal Prison, and a bus stop.

It was then that I told Billy Connolly my Huntsville story.  Not that it was anything newsworthy at all.  Just some memories.  My family had taken a road trip from the Upper Boundary Waters in Wisconsin to Austin, Texas to visit my Grandparents.  The same trip where my father almost drove us off the edge of the draw bridge over the Mississippi River. 

Billy said, "WHAT?" 

At which time I explained to Billy the muddy Mississippi River "plunge to our deaths" story I had told Roger back in St. Louis.  After that I continued back to the Huntsville story and the family road trip. 

Billy said,  "Okay, okay, so why did your family go to Huntsville if you have no family there?"

I told him I was getting to that.  Because there was a Prison Rodeo there and my Dad wanted to see it.
Dad said the men from the prison didn't care if they lived or died which made it more dangerous to watch. Sort of a sick way of thinking I thought.   Like they weren't human or didn't matter.  It also reminded me of the Roman Gladiators from my High School History books.  They would fight to the death with a huge audience cheering the death on.  I told Billy there were good parts of the rodeo that I recalled. On the opposite side from where we sat in the stands were the prisoners all dressed in white. Must have been hundreds of them getting to feel free for the first time all year or for many years. No wonder they were willing to put themselves in danger from a crazed bull or a bucking bronc.  The only savior they had out there were the clowns. I was always overly sensitive to other peoples feelings.  Oh, I almost forgot.  Dale Robertson came galloping out into the arena carrying the American or maybe it was the Texas flag I didn't recall.  He put on an excellent show with his band in the center arena.   And Billy, guess who sat right in front of us in the grandstand? 

Billy said, "Who?"

I said,  "Marty Robbins for real!" 

Billy said,  "No way, shut your face!" 

I said, "Ya way!"

Billy then told me he hoped it made me feel better knowing there wouldn't have been anything to see if we had driven back to Huntsville.  Nothing but a small dusty East Texas town and an empty Rodeo Arena.  I agreed and we drove on but only after reminding him of Sam Houston, who served as Governor of the State of Texas,  U.S. Senator, and he led the Texas Army in the Battle of San Jacinto.   And located in Huntsville are two of Houston's homes, his grave, and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Billy just stared at me with a how did you know all that expression.  I told him I remembered it from Texas State History, Junior High. And then it was quiet for a long time.

Sometimes silence is golden.  Even Duke seemed to notice the peace that had entered the Cadi.  There was no rhyme or reason for this queer sensation I felt. It just was there.  The rays of the sun were warming our world.  Silly, but I suddenly felt like I could stop the car and dance.  I recalled a quote I learned in English Literature from Helen Keller, "Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”  It was almost erie how perfect a moment in time had just happened.  And then I started giggling after peering out my window at the huge white puffed up clouds that reminded me of a new commercial on television where the little white fat fluffy cloudlike Pillsbury Dough Boy comes out and giggles, while saying his name was Poppin Fresh.  That is what I was feeling. Not fat, but like something really wonderful was just up ahead.   I was born with a sixth sense....sometimes I sensed things that were to come.  This time  I had no idea what it was,  I just knew it was something good.  The Universe was giving me a sneak peak as to what lived just around the corner.  Almost literally.

We made good tracks into Austin hanging lose to "I'm a Believer," by the Monkee's, booming on the Cadi radio.  Duke was sitting up and then back down and then up and back down.  I told Billy Duke had to relieve himself.  Billy told me we were almost to his Grandparents home.  Just a few more minutes.  To Exit Congress Avenue just up ahead.   And so I did.

"Now what."  I said.  Because he wasn't forthcoming with any further directions. 

He said, "I guess I should have clued you in before this, but now its too late."

"Tell me what?"  I said.

"Take the next left.  My Grandparents live at 1010 Colorado Street.  Wait, Julianna, slow down, right there."  He said.

And that is when I almost had another fainting spell but not from a jailhouse concussion, rather from absolute shock.  My mouth was hanging open with no words coming out.  Billy opened the car door, called Duke out and allowed him to relieve himself on the lawn at the Governor of Texas mansion.  I was counting the humongous six white pillars holding up the front of the most prestigious home in Austin, when I finally closed my mouth and reopened it to say. 

"Connally? You are Governor John Connally's Grandson?"




Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
Helen Keller

Wikipedia: Sam Huston


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter Three cont.... "Cowboy Billy".................property of Diane Ogden

During our drive to Pamela's I recall not much was said.  Inside my head I figured cowboy Billy had probably had it with this little Yankee girl, her dog and her various other antics.  Upon returning to reality from one of my daylight daydreaming sessions, we had stopped at a red light where it seemed like no one else existed but Cowboy, Duke, and I.  I wasn't sure why it seemed that way but it did.  Like one of those deja vu moments.   Billy broke my trance when he asked what I was going to say to my inconsiderate friend who had abandoned her house guest, me, at a night club in a strange city. I responded with the fact I was not sure just yet.  That I might have to wait until its "afore" me.  I had been in Texas long enough to start picking up some of its southern slang.  And just as I finished answering cowboy we pulled into the apartment parking lot, in a Houston suburb, where Pamela lived and I was the visitor. 

I knocked on the door of Apartment 10. All the while preparing myself for what I wasn't sure.  Pamela answered the door and was immediately all smiles and giddy laughter.  God, that sent me into an immediate mental angry tailspin. What the Texas Sam hell was so danged funny I thought.  Pamela proceeded to tell me she hoped she hadn't worried me by leaving the club early with her man.  She said she could see by the way we were dancing that I was going to be busy all the rest of the night and she wanted to give me some privacy.  I am pretty sure my mouth was hanging open in disbelief.  She actually thought I would be worried about her.  I turned toward Cowboy Billy in some faint thought he might be thinking the same thing I was but instead he started to laugh.  I turned back to Pamela and she was laughing also.  And so it was, I joined the laughing duo.  She was as dumb as a Texas rock and didn't even know it, or at least why she was laughing. Guess that is where the term ignorance is bliss originated.  Right there in her Houston, Texas living room is where.  It was almost as if  there was a small cartoon cloud with little circles coming from her brain saying, 'I gulped air at a slumber party when I was thirteen and now I have a serious case of the dumbass."  No wonder Cowboy was laughing which in turn had become contagious and jumped onto me and pulled me out of a big old anger bush. Even Duke started barking.  I had wanted to strangle that girl but instead I pitied her.  She did make some fine jewelry but she sure didn't have much wits about her. 

She invited us inside, fixed us a gin and tonic, and then without a moments hesitation moved in on Cowboy Billy taking him by the arm and walking him on a tour of her apartment and jewelry collection.  I must say I noticed the man was duly impressed.  In fact when looking back on the situation and recalling her giggles as well as her taking Billy's arm in hers, I guess she was moving in on my man before I had a chance to give him that title myself.  Just like back at the grade school playground.  Danged if she hadn't come up with a new fainting trick to steal Cowboy.  But he hadn't fallen for it.  He wasn't the type to fall for blonde giggles and wiggles.  No, Billy Connolly was a professional man that carried some, no, a lot of class in all areas of his life. I had noticed it but wasn't completely sure considering I only met the man  twenty four hours ago.   But I came to find out exactly who he was as the days passed on.  I already knew he was a gentleman, it was the rest of the story that eventually took my breath away.

We had listened to Pamela for what seemed like hours when finally her date arrived and thankfully took her out and away into the bright city lights for dinner and God knows what else. All I knew is I was so glad the" me-I-tis" self chatter had stopped.  Billy and I just sat in her living room in total silence for several minutes.  Then he said, "How do you know that woman?"  And then we both started laughing again.  When we settled down Billy told me he would like to get to know me better because so far all he knew wasn't very much. And then he added that he hoped I would stay in Houston.  He reiterated Houston had big city lights referencing a comment I had made regarding my journey from upper boundary waters of Northern Wisconsin to find the big city lights.  I stared at him and he at me for what seemed like a long time.  It was then that I told Bill Connolly that I had no plans of staying in Houston.  That I would be leaving in the morning for Austin to visit my Grandparents before heading west on Route 66 to the West Coast.  He finished my sentence for me by saying,  "In your beautiful pink Cadillac."   And then, we laughed again. 

There was a chemistry between us, no question about that, but I had no time for petty little affairs like Pamela did.  Yet something about Billy seemed other than petty.  Billy interrupted my thoughts and boldly told me he was coming to Austin with me.

"Oh really." I said.

"Yes really, Miss Julianna."

I gave him a slight frown and then told him I would pick him up at his house in the morning around nine in my beautiful pink Cadillac.  He laughed.

When Billy drove away from Pamela's that evening I felt a loss of some kind.  It wasn't readily explainable in words or even in my own private thoughts.  Even Duke looked a little sad like he wasn't sure if we would ever see Cowboy Billy again.  As far as Duke knew Billy had saved him from a prison that kept him from me for longer than his dog understanding could decipher.

I decided to have another Gin and tonic at which time I forgot about the mind wanderings regarding Cowboy Billy. Who was that masked man anyway?  I guess he really wasn't trying to hide anything like spoiled Roger did.  No comparison in those two men for sure.

I packed up my belongings that evening, left Pamela an abandonment thank you note and Duke and I drove back to the little motel on Westheimer to relax and gather back the peace we had lost the past twenty four hours.  When I left home my goal was to travel Route 66 South to Oklahoma, then all the way to the West Coast,  meeting every different type person that came before me and giving back to each one my genuine joy, peace, and love.  So far on  my journey to the big city lights out west, I had met with nothing close to joy, peace, and love.... but I wasn't one to ever give up. 

My visit with my Nana in Austin always provided me something good for my life.  And this time was no different.

And so it was, Cowboy Billy, who I found out also had family in Austin, left Houston with me the following morning.   It  gave us some extra time to continue what we did best, talking and laughing.  Something we seemed to do quite often the past thirty six hours or so.  But before we left the city limits there was one more stop to be made.  That was RJ's Boot Company.  Pamela had recommended this particular store saying they would have the Pink Cowgirl boots I insisted upon.  In fact she told me they special made Dolly Parton's boots.  And indeed I did find a beautiful pair of  light pink western boots to match my suit, purse, and my Cadillac.  I was the happiest girl in the whole USA.  Duke could tell I was happy too.  He was licking my face and jumping all around the car.  He was happy to see me happy again and so was I. 

We hit the highway tooling.  We were making really good time while enjoying each others joking and funny storytelling. Although at one point during our three hour trip Billy got rather quiet. I could tell he was in deep thought regarding something.  And when he finally did speak his demeanor became even more serious. Then there it was, out of his mouth he asked me not to discuss the police situation with his parents as it might not be as funny to them.  That is when I informed him it was in no way shape or form funny to me either and what did he mean that I not discuss such with his parents.  What made him think I would be meeting his parents? But before I could respond, my mind had already moved on to ask him how he could just take off work and go to Austin.  He told me it was no sweat,  not to worry about it, that he just could. I also inquired as to how he would get back home to Houston.  He laughed again, said not to worry he had ways.  And so it was. I let it all go because Duke and I were almost on our way out west, and it wouldn't matter anyway.  Cowboy Billy would go down in history as one of the good guys I met on my journey West.  Or so I thought.
 






















Thursday, March 6, 2014

REDONE: Part II Chapter Three....................property of Diane Ogden

I insisted Billy drop me off at a little motel a couple miles down from the Club.  And Billy insisted he either come in or he would sleep in his truck outside my motel room door for he wouldn't be having me deserted twice in one night.  He concurred that in the morning he would take me to get Duke and then drive me back to Pamela's pad.  Even summer nights can get real chilly on the coastal side of Texas.  Having said that, Billy whoever he was slept in his truck.  After all half the night had already passed.  I did throw him a pillow and blanket from the second story balcony.  I felt a tad bit badly about not letting him into my room, but shucks, I didn't even know that man's last name.  I mean, he appeared to be a well spoken young man, but again, who ever really knows a stranger.  Not me!  Billy could have been an ax murderer and chopped me up into a million little pieces and threw my little pieces into the ocean with heavy rocks surrounding me in his self made for me body bag. 

Sometimes my imagination took off like a Texas Jack Rabbit running from a lightning bolt. The wandering thoughts usually happened when I was bored, or really just about anytime now that I think about it.

I was having trouble falling asleep knowing that Billy was outside sleeping in his truck.  Adding to that fact, I was worried that Pamela could be in trouble somehow somewhere.  Added to that, I was also hoping Duke was doing alright and not missing me or frightened. And to top all that off, I began imagining someone might break into my room and chop me up. That is when I fell into a deep exhausted sleep.  Next thing I heard was a pounding on my door so loud my dead great aunt was surely awoken from the dirt she was laid to rest in.  I leaped from the covers and carefully peeled back a corner of the insulated drapes so as to not let whoever was doing such a bang up deal outside my door, see me!  Surprise Surprise!  It was Billy whoever he was.  And behind him was the Texas sun bearing down brightly upon my crack in the curtains.  What time was it.  I shouted to Billy to stop with the banging alright already.  Jeez Louise.  I checked my watch and I was late to pick up Duke.  Those insulated motel curtains allowed me an extra couple hours sleep.  There was no time to shower, brush my teeth, or anything.  I threw my clothes on, grabbed my purse and out the door I flew, at which time Billy said someone had turned him in as a loiterer.  Turned out the owners called the police who came and told him to get up and get on his way.  That is when he came pounding on my door like a jackhammer doing serious business to a cement curb! 

We arrived at the Allen's where Duke had spent the night.   I could hear him barking but I couldn't make out where the sounds were coming from.  Oh God I hope they didn't leave him in the basement alone.  Or maybe they put him in the garage, or tied to a tree, alone and outside all night.  Or, or..... and there I went again.   Extreme imagination off the charts Julianna.   I rang the doorbell all the while mentally preparing my so sorry for being late speech.   No answer.  I rang again.  No answer.
Duke was barking!  I needed to get my dog and he needed me also.   Billy looked at me and I looked at Billy and then again.  He asked me what I felt I should do now.  I said I didn't have a dang clue and by the way what is your last name Billy Boy?  He informed me he hated the name Billy Boy and please don't refer to him as that ever again.  And then told me his last name was Connolly.  William Boyd Connolly.  I was impressed. Not only was he polite, he exercised chivalry.  He could dance, he was handsome, and he drove an out of sight truck.  I recall felling my next inquiry should have been as to what his job in life was.  Or maybe not.  I would be leaving very soon for other parts of the country so Billy Boy would be just another person I had met in my journey to Los Angeles.

Bill and I decided to check around the back yard which entailed climbing one short gate that led through the carport and then a more serious shimmy up a very tall fence line.   For some reason Billy's chivalry went over and above fence lines.  He hollered back to me that Duke was there but then I knew that considering Dukes continuous barking.   That is when the guttural sounds from man and dog hit the airwaves of my consciousness to a stage of danger sounds.  I shouted, "What is going on?"  Just then Billy came flying over the top of that fence with the rear end of his nice looking western slacks torn and hanging about his hot bum.  Wow, I commented.  But wait, Duke wouldn't ever do anything like that I didn't think, but then again I wasn't totally sure.  Billy informed me there was another very large and unkind animal guarding Duke who was passively laying by the back door.  In other words that wasn't Duke barking after all.  Now what, I thought.  But no words would come out of my mouth.  I just wanted my dog, my pink Cadillac and my money.  Seemed to be a continuing issue with me lately.

Billy found me a piece of paper to write the Allen's a note.  I left it in the mailbox as I figured they would not be entering their home through the front door. More likely the carport door behind the locked gate.  I was climbing into the Chevy when I noticed a car pull into the Allen's driveway, and behind that car were two Houston City Police cruisers.   I had about enough of the Johnny Law this past month.   I began searching for my brown paper bag considering I was gulping air.  That same danged air I gulped crossing the Mississippi and the same danged air I gulped through the last tornadic storm.  Billy asked me what in the world I was doing?   Just then the fuzz opened his drivers side door, yanked him out, exposed his hot bum and threw him on the ground.  I was next!!  I opened my passenger side door and screamed, "WAIT!"   That is when all at the same time I was thrown onto the ground, while Mr. Allen was also screaming, "WAIT! WAIT, I know her, I have her dog!"
Somehow at that moment those pigs weren't into listening. 

Turns out the neighbors called Mr. Allen at work, who in turn called the local Lawmen who in turn felt them needed to manhandle two young people.  My Lord those policemen each must have weighed near 300 pounds each.  At least one of the four knees between them had punctured my rear side.  Finally after some minutes of tussling and handcuffing Billy and I, the two hee-men pigs stopped long enough to listen.  Mr. Allen was apologizing up one side and down Billy's backside.  Yet after a few minutes of that nonsense, he got real serious and asked us why the hell we climbed his secure fence line.  I told him I had overslept at a motel because my friend deserted me over at the Fools Gold Night Club on Westheimer.  I didn't have your address with me so this kind young man drove me to my motel, slept outside in his truck, drove me here this morning to get Duke only to find no one home.  So we decided to climb the fence and get Duke and leave you a note.  But.....
Mr. Allen said, "But you got a surprise, right?  I see by the looks of your friends britches my guard dog Nitro had introduced himself."  

"Yes Sir." I said.

The officers unlocked the cuffs on Billy and I at which time the pig that was in charge of my personal being extended his hand to shake.  I swear by the light of day here we go again.  Throw me down, beat me up, put your knee in my buttock, handcuff me too tightly, and then want to be my best friendly acquaintance.  Just brought back Daddy J Bar J Oil and Cattleman to the front and center of my minds eye.  This time I did shake Johnny Law's hand because it was the smart thing to do considering my recent run of luck.  One never knows when one might need the fuzz, even a very large fuzz man. 

As the officers drove out of sight, Mr. Allen retrieved Duke for me.  And at that same moment I noticed Billy staring at me like I was, "Mirror mirror on the wall, whose the baddest of them all? Me!"  He said not one word.  Just stood there staring with his plaid boxers exposed behind the torn once hot western pants.  I started to say, "I'm so sorr......"  when Duke leaped up onto me licking and crying like an abandoned child at his first day of kindergarten!  I sat down on the grass and held Duke with love and adoration until he calmed down.  I assured him I would not leave him for a very long ever again.  Or at least until we had a more secure life. 

Okay, Okay Billy said.  I get it now!   That is some terrific dog you got there Missy.  I agreed as Duke leaped into the truck, sat down and waited for us to follow. Next up we headed for Pamela's pad.  I had forgotten that was still to be dealt with.  Billy made a pit stop at his house for a quick shower and a change of clothing.  Duke made himself comfortable on the very large studded leather sofa while I admired the artwork and other various unique items everywhere the eyes looked.  Whoa Cowboy, what and where do you come from I thought.  Just then Billy who know looked more like a Bill came trotting down the stairs ready to roll.  And so we did without so much as a word from me regarding the near mansion we just drove away from.  I was afraid to ask for fear he might say he was an oil and cattle man.  I had been to that rodeo before and wasn't ready for another one like the last one, if ever....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II; Chapter 2 Fools Gold ..........property of Diane Ogden

We pulled into Fool's Gold at the corner of Chimney Rock and Westheimer, Houston, Texas.
There we were, two gorgeous young chicadee's parked at the valet station waiting for two hunkie honkey tonkers to open the doors of Pamela's fancy red and white Mercedes-Benz 230 SL convertible.
And come and get it they did.  We were surrounded by the most gorgeous men I had ever seen in my life.  I thought I should never leave this oasis of men on earth.  I had a cowboy on each arm escorting me into what appeared to be a huge theatre but in fact was the biggest honkey tonk dance hall I had ever seen.  There were no establishments such as this where I had come from.

And so it was, dance we did.  I danced with so many cowboys I lost count, not that I was counting of course.  I also had lost Pamela.  Where the heck fire did that girl go?  We all knew she was a little on the kookier side.  An extremely pretty girl for sure, but coo coo no less.   That is when another one of those old forgotten memories came scooting back into my mind.  It was about the time we girls had a big sleepover at Londa's house on Larkspur Drive, one street over from my house and two streets over from Pamela parents home. We were just kids.  I would guess around eleven years old.  Back then there was a fad going around and Pamela wanted to try it.  I said no but she was always game for anything.  That could be why she got pregnant at age thirteen.  The game of the day was to stand up and start taking in as many big breaths as you could stand and then squat down real fast.  Obviously that was going to cause a person to hyperventilate but at eleven years old we had no idea what it meant to hyperventilate.  So as Pamela began to gulp air as fast as she could over and over for what seemed like an hour, the five of us stood there watching, at which point she squatted down on her haunches and, passed out cold!  Out cold is putting it very mildly.   Londa's parents summoned an ambulance who whisked her away.  I do recall we girls sat up that night for a long time wondering if she died from gulping too much air.  We didn't hear anything regarding her well being that night until the following evening.  Back then we were considered children and were to be seen and not heard.  We sure made a lot of peculiar noise that night for all those southern hush your mouth parents.  As it turned out, Pamela had robbed her brain of oxygen for an extended period of time which caused her never to be quite the same again.  She remained a beautiful specimen of the female human race but somewhat coo coo.  A serious memory that was beginning to frighten me considering I could not find coo coo girl anywhere.  Not to mention the terror within myself that I was afraid to sense just in case she really had abandoned me in a strange city at a bar full of drunken cowboys with no means of transportation home.  What home?  And what of Duke?  At least I had the phone number where Duke was I hope being cared for.  I decided to check with the hunkie valet's to see if and when she left.  I was told indeed she had left with one of their guy friends about forty five minutes back. God she was loose as a goose when it came to men.  She always did look out for herself first.  I guess that is why she ended up with so much more than I had in terms of cash flow, an amazing car, fancy furniture, and her own business.  I was not feeling sorry for myself, rather I was beginning to feel the frights.  At that precise moment in time the prettiest man I'd ever seen walked over to me and said in a deep southern voice, "Hay perdy laydie, ya wonna daince?" 

I wanted to do just about anything other than think.  But thinking wouldn't leave me alone.  I thought about calling a cab but I had left Pamela's address back in my car.  I thought about finding a phone book to see if she was listed, but where does one find a phonebook in a honkey tonk dance hall?  After several dances with "Billy,"  I decided to chance it and tell him my dilemma.  He was more than happy to saunter me across the dance floor to a pay phone where a phone book sat clearly on a ledge nearby.  I carefully, as though if I hadn't done it carefully I wouldn't find her address which was nothing more than a too much thinking moment.  I did find it and sure enough, it said her name and after her name were the unbelievable words UNLISTED.  I thought I should faint.  But instead I remembered Duke.  I could call Pamela's friends where Duke was spending the night.  They would know her address.  I took out my coin, deposited it in the payphone, dialed up the number and waited.  One ring, two rings, three rings..... five, no answer.  Dear God they must be sleeping.

 Okay, onto plan C.  I would get a motel room.  I could ask Billy to drop me off at the nearest motel.  Was I completely stupid?  A strange cowboy with a some happy whiskey feelings going on and I am going to ask him to drop me at a motel.  Good God Governor what was I going to do besides kill Pamela.  There I was again.  Stuck.  All I wanted was my dog and my beautiful pink Cadillac, (hog), and the money I had left hidden at Pam's fancy coo coo palace.  I guess a person doesn't have to be real smart to solder some silver together to make rings and things. I guess I had given her way too much credit which would not be happening again. I was not having the kindest of thoughts but so what! She had left me alone in downtown Houston with a myriad of drunks and sailors without so much as a word or set of keys.  Dang her sorry oxygen reduced brain cells anyway. 

It was then "bartime."  That is the term used when its time for all the dancing fools and drunks to go home or wherever they go and sleep it off.  Me, as I recall I had gone into total panic mode.  Billy told me he would walk me to my car.  Oh geez louise.  Then, from shear stress I simply blurted it all out. 

"Billy, I have no car, here anyway. I came with an old friend who rudely left with some fellow.  She left  without a word and I do not know what to do."  He grinned a grin I was not completely sure of and then sweetly offered to take me home.  There I was again. No home, no address.  I stuttered and stammered for so long a time Billy raised one eyebrow, closed one eye, tipped his hat and said, "What."   I just stared at him like I was the one that had gulped too much air and robbed my brain of half its productive cells.  I told him I had left her address back at her address never dreaming I would need it and when I looked it up in the phone book it stated she was unlisted.  He actually started to laugh so hard it got me to laughing and feeling much more at ease than I had been.  But, he was in fact still a stranger who had offered me the great opportunity of spending the night with him.  Oh sweet Jesus!  Maybe all I had left was prayer and considering I had blasphemed the word not to long ago I could be in some serious sorts of  old testament troubles.

We walked to the valet area out front of the Fools Gold dance hall.  I  watched Billy hand the valet a ticket and a cash tip.  He was a handsome man for sure.  Billy that is.  But then so was the valet.   Out of the back and up onto the platform shaped like a horseshoe was Billy's truck.  The prettiest 1966 Chevy C10 pickup.  Billy told me it had been completely framed off and was powered by a 402BB. I didn't understand the BB part at all but that truck was definitely a real head turner. Not to mention the double stacked gun rack holding two long shotguns or rifles, I really didn't know what they were called.  I just knew back home this was not so common a sight.   I climbed up and onto the soft leather seats.  As we drove away from The Fools Gold dance hall and night club, the radio was playing "Waitin In Your Welfare Line" by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos.  I thought how ironic it was Pamela ditched me at an establishment named FOOLS GOLD.  I was the fool whose golden night had turned into a mess.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Cardboard Box: PART TWO, Chapter One.........Houston property of Diane Ogden

After I drove away from the J Bar J Oil and Cattle Ranch, and after settling Duke in the back seat of my beautiful pink Cadillac, I drove without seeing the road due to mental exhaustion from Daddy Oil and Cattle person back at the Roger Ranch near Tulsa.  Time always healed and this Roger rodeo healing started about twenty miles outside his golden gates.  My senses and peace had started to return.  Man it had been a long trip and not what I had expected.  But then, seems life doesn't always give us what we expect contrary to the belief of some.  Especially in the Bible Belt.  Those folks say to claim it and call it in!  Believe and ye shall receive.  I didn't want to say hogwash, so I just said to myself that it seemed to happen more in the area of hit or miss in my life book.   Those same folks would tell you it did not happen very well for you or me because we had done something wrong. Spoke wrong, prayed wrong, or moved too fast. That's right.  Guilt.  But wait, there is no guilt with God.  And at that precise moment I saw a sign that said, HOUSTON - 476 miles.  In that split second, with no forethought or prayer, I hit my blinker lever and made tracks for Houston. I figured on looking up my best friend from grade school.  Might sound silly but Duke and I had no particular place to hang so Houston it was.  And I needed a for real rest from the Roger ordeal.

 I had stopped at a Big Boy Restaurant and got Duke and I a burger and fries along with a large Dr. Pepper. Water for Duke of course.  Although somehow I had a feeling he could go for a cold one considering his life with big old Uncle Biggs.   Stopping for the burgers also gave me some time to ask the locals exactly which highways would get me to big city Houston considering the only map I had was Route 66 to Los Angeles.  Plus I needed to let Duke relieve himself once more before we began tooling the highways.  It would be at least ten hours before we hit Houston.  And so it was,
the Indian Nation Turnpike at 75 mph between I-40, US62, and US75 near Henryetta and US 69 south of McAlester then onto I-45 toward Dallas.  I was on my way. 

It was then I realized my impulsiveness had left the horse in the barn and I was the cart who jumped the gun leaving myself all alone on a Texas highway in the middle of nowheresville.  And in the midst of my minnie mental breakdown due to the rotten Roger ordeal I hadn't even thought to call my friend in Houston.  What if she were out of town?  What if she didn't wish to have a large dog along with an old friend deposit themselves on her doorstep. Or vice a versa.  God I was so lame!

Duke and I had driven about five hours when I decided to stop for the night.  We had come to a small town in Northeast Texas called Longview. I pulled into a small motel and instructed Duke to lay low in the back seat while I registered us a room far in the back so I could sneak Duker in and out considering no dogs were allowed.  This time I got us a nicer motel with a built on restaurant.  Must have been privately owned as I did not recognize the name "Antlers" as any chain I had ever heard of back in Wisconsin.  Not like a Motel 6 for sure.  No one met me at the door to carry my luggage or my dog.  Abd as for names the strange names of cities and streets I had noticed the past few hours, besides "The Antlers," there was Checotah, Eufaula, Okmulgee, and so on.  I was in Indian Territory indeed. Actually the names were rather interesting.  And if I hadn't mentioned it, my mother was born in Tulsa.  That is all that need be said on that subject.

I was told by the motel owner from behind his secluded little window where I could see they lived as well as ran the business, that I was to park in the designated spot marked Room 11 at which time I was handed the keys to my room.  I figured I would wait until after dark to take Duke for a run.  In the meantime he frolicked off and on the bed like a pup while I showered.
We ran for a long ways that night.  I believe the running was another way of clearing out the old spoiled Roger from my mind.  Man, that was like a bad movie that I needed to forget.  Yet as I ran I remembered there had been good that came out of it.  Duke! While on that run where the adrenalin replaced anger  I began to realize Mr. J. B. daddy oilpants only did what he was used to doing.  Taking over everyone around him.  That is when I suddenly knew why and how Roger must have been raised and why he could never look me in the eye.  And why he seemed afraid all the time.  And maybe why he ran away.  Maybe I was in the right place at the right time back on that Highway in Illinois when I picked up that "thumber" heading south.  Maybe all this pain helped bring that family back to some reasonable senses.  And at that precise moment in time the term, "Meanwhile back at the ranch," fit right in.  I guess Duke was a fair exchange in the end after all.   Back at the motel Duke and I watched some television and then we slept like we didn't have a care in the world.  I guess we didn't.

When I awoke the following morning I made a phone call to my old friend Pamela Wilkinson.  She was pleased to hear from me and offered her home for a couple nights.  I felt a "let me clue you in" warning twinge of impending do not overstay your welcome.    That was big, but I told Duke not to worry, we had only driven ten hours out of our way to see her.  That is when a memory from the old days flashed back to me that she was the one in gradeschool who told me to dress up in cowboy clothes for the next school day.  She said she was going to also, that we would be twins.  Girls that age loved dressing alike.  When the next day came she was wearing a pretty new outfit and I was decked to the mountaintops in hat, boots, snapbuttoned plaid western shirt, an authentic long horned steer bolo tie that belonged to my Granddaddy, a fringed skirt, and to top that all off my little brothers double pearl handed six guns belted around my waist.  I could not have stood out more if I had rode a bull into class. Or came in singing Davy Davy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier!  I hated her.

We arrived at her apartment complex later that day.  She greeted us politely as she showed me around her nifty unit.  Then she excused herself saying she had to go meet a friend.  That she might be back later and then again might not.  She gave me a sweet southern hug and left the building.  There I was again, in a dang selfmade cardboard box. Not to mention I thought I saw fringes on my shirt.  And if I had those pearly white six guns hanging on my hips I might have conked her with one of them.  What a rude crude hot dog she turned out to be.  Now what?  At least that was what the noise in my head was saying.

At that point I wandered around her gloriously decorated apartment with my mouth hanging open.  She had antiques everywhere.  Silk ferns adorned the top of her 19th century hand carved wardrobe. Another room appeared to be a work room where she made jewelry.  Very exquisite silver and brass rings and collage necklaces. She informed me people from other lands sent her stones, gems, and various other treasures she incorporated into her line.  The following day several woman came to purchase items from her collection.  Her necklaces sold for $250.00 each not to mention the rings.  Okay so maybe Duke and I were out of our league.  

Pamela had become pregnant and quit school at a very young age.  She had given her child to her in-laws and moved on to have another child with a very wealthy man who retained custody of her second child.  They divorced, hence the furnishings and fine jewelry collection.  Me. In my background I just had Harper and a couple of crumby parents, one being dead.  Oh yeah, and the real estate boss, and the town surgeon, and one of the school principals I had affairs with. I called that looking for love in all the wrong places. Those were best left behind anyway.  I did have Duke, my pink hog and a pocket full of enough money for a few travels yet.  I had decided to hang lose a couple days at Pamela's and after that I wasn't sure. I still hated her.  She was so pretty.  Another memory flash came to my mind after our initial meeting the day before.  In the old days of grade school her and I would have fainting contests at recess.  After we fainted we laid still on the ground waiting to see how many boys would run to help us.  You got it!  They would all run to Pamela carefully picking her up just like when Roy Rogers would pick up Dale Evans every time she got hurt. Me, I just laid there in the dirt all by myself with one eye open checking to see if anyone was coming.  She had the long beautiful blonde hair and I had the fuzzy short hair because my mother wanted me to look like Shirley Temple.  Another memory socking it to me!

Later that day Pamela informed me a good friend of hers had offered to take Duke for the evening if I wanted to check out some clubs in Houston.  For instance, Mickey Gilley's Club. Or maybe I would like to try the mechanical bullriding which was a big deal at just about any club in the city.  She then  dropped a major bomb on my brain by asking me if I had any western clothes along.  I almost had a fainting spell. No no, I mean, I about had a cow.  Between the cowboy clothes and the thought of fainting memories I nearly lost all my whereabouts.  After gathering my senses and hoping she could not see the pictures directly inside my brain of all the boys running to her long blonde hair while I laid in the dirt with one eye open.....I told her I did not have such attire with me.  But I did have appropriate dance hall clothes.  She took me to her closet and showed me her collection of western boots of various colors, also shirts, rodeo suits, and so on.  I was aghast.  If I knew anything at all it was that I would get me a pair of pink cowgirl boots by weeks end.  After all those thoughts and after all was said, we dropped Duke off and headed for the hottest country dancehall in Houston..... Fool's Gold























Monday, February 17, 2014

The Cardboard Box ....Chapter 11.............property of Diane Ogden

The door to my room had been left open.  My senses had returned almost to normal since the fight with whoever the nasty man in the backseat of the limo was.  It was then I made the conscious decision not to physically fight with anyone anymore because every time I did I passed out.  And even more on the forefront of my mind was, as I recall, getting out that open door, finding my dog, my Pink Cadillac, oh, and my money.  Jeez Louise where was my money.  I found my bag, showered in the most glamorous bathroom I had seen in my lifetime.  Shower heads coming from every direction. I loved looking through Fancy home magazines but had never seen the likes of those nifty sprayers. I recall the imaginary sensation of me standing under a beautiful pale blue soft flowing waterfall somewhere in Hawaii.  Or like a flower on a gentle rainy afternoon.  And then it was back to my senses.  I was not in Hawaii, rather I was not sure where I was. 

I found the courage to make my way to the door where I entered the hallway. Holy Cows it was like a museum.  Pillars, velvet wallpaper, paintings extraordinaire, and carpet so thick I was sinking like quicksand.  I had everything with me including a couple ashtrays with the name J-Bar-J Oil and Cattle Company inscribed on each in gold no less.  Oh, and a couple other little items. Sort of like when you leave a motel and you take the shampoo, little soaps, and maybe a washrag.   I figured they wouldn't miss a couple items.  It wasn't like I stole a painting or the TV.   I passed room after room each decorated like what I would imagine the inside of a castle looked like.  Those cows must be real money makers, I thought.  I knew the oil was.  I had watched the Beverly Hillbillies enough to know what bubbling black, Texas tea meant.  But why me?  What did they want with me?  Just then a very pretty middle aged woman stepped out of one of the rooms as I passed. 

She said, "May I help you, young lady?" 

I said, "No thank you, I will be on my way as soon as I find my dog Duke and my Pink Cadillac. Do you happen to know where they are ma'am?"

She informed me she did know and told me to follow her downstairs where she got my keys and was about to show me where Duke was when in the door came a tall rather big man with a large white cowboy hat on.  He also had a large band aide across his nose and some fading scratches on the side of his face.  Guess there was no wondering who that was.  Although I figured a name to go with that face and body might help me figure out the rest of the story.  Or not.   I just stood there like a deer facing headlights.  That is when the man sauntered directly towards me and held out his hand to shake mine.  I took a step back.  He dropped his right hand and said in a deep southern drawl. 

"My name is Joseph Benjamin Justice, and this is my wife Augusta Justice.  Roger is my son.  Please have a seat and allow me to explain why the past week has been a bit difficult for you."

I replied rather unkindly to Mr. J-Bar-J!  In fact I said, "I really do not care what your name is or who you are married to and especially who your son is.  Do forgive my boldness but you see sir, all I did was offer your son a ride to somewhere outside Tulsa.   He wasn't with me but a half a day when he disappeared after stealing my boom box.  Then some trucker named Becker offered to help me find him in a men's bathroom.  Then I was subdued by a ghost somewhere north of Springfield, Illinois.  Then the trucker Becker shows up again and offers to float me between he and another trucker for safety factors, imagine that Mr. J-Bar-J?  That is when I saw Roger being held at what I thought was captive.  Kidnapped by the truckers.  So I went into save Roger mode which has caused me nothing but trouble.  In the meantime I found a dog, got arrested, put in the pokey with a bunch of hookers, fell on a cement floor and sustained a concussion, spent the night in a hospital, stood before a Judge who informed me I had interfered with the transport of a Federal prisoner.  Roger?  My prize possession was towed away and my dog taken to a pound.  I believe that is when I was kidnapped by you.  Now where is my dog and my car and my money.  I am so done with all of you.  If I do have to go to prison at least you and Roger wont be there.  And let me add, I do not know what those cows are about but they certainly have given you the right to take advantage of innocent people.  I guess because you are rich you think this is all okay.  Well it is not.  I thank you for causing my concussion and then for nursing me back to health which you should have done. It is the least you owe me sir. "

"Are you finished young lady?"

I just stood there staring at he and his wife.

He said, "Now sit down and let me finish explaining."

And so I reluctantly sat back down. I figured he wasn't going to give me any keys or dog if I didn't.  And so he sat down at the kitchen table across from me while Augusta made us some iced tea. 

Joseph told me I would not be going to prison.  He knew the Judge and wanted to get that off my mind before he went any further in his explanation.  The way the story went is that Roger, being from a very well to do Southern family had the means and time to take a road trip to Minnesota with a couple college buddies.  The trip was supposed to last a couple weeks but extended out to a few months.  Joseph then quoted me a Bible verse, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."  And he added the boys had been idle in Minnesota too dang long. As his story went on I realized he meant their idle time with no productive job or life had gotten them into some trouble.  And I was right as the story continued, apparently one evening while out and about at a local bar, one of the boys put a drug of some sort in a girls drink.  They left the bar and she was found dead the following week after an intense search and then investigation.  Roger and the other fellow were implicated due to simply knowing the guilty party.  After a few months the Judge gave Roger permission to leave the state.  But only with family.   But Roger, being spoiled, (notice the word oil in spoiled)  left anyway of his own accord going against the Judges orders, not waiting for family to retrieve him.  That is when I came across Roger hitchhiking and picked him up.  In the meantime Mr. J-Bar-J had hired a private investigator to track Roger which they did due to following his use of credit cards.  At that point in the story I found out Daddy Justice sent out Uncle Judd Biggs and his half -brother Jarrett Becker to follow the trail the investigators were pursuing.  That is when Becker found me at the rest area.  A Pink Cadillac isn't the hardest to find or easiest to hide.  As well as the team of investigators had pinpointed where I had last cashed a travelers check for gas and such.   

Suddenly Daddy Justice interrupted his Roger tale with, "Oh by the way, Augusta, would you get Julianna's money from the safe please."   

One down, one to go....was my immediate thought.  Just my dog left and I shall flee the scene.  I really didn't want to hear the rest of the story.  Now that I knew I wouldn't be going to a desert prison, I wanted to hit the road.  Even though an immense fear of it had entered my emotions and brain.  I was really scared.  I suppose that was normal from all I had been through in a mere week or so.  I had actually lost track of what day it was.  Somewhere near Sunday as I recalled Roger rat fink watching Bonanza in my room at the ranch the day before or maybe it was the day before that. It didn't matter, it was almost over.

Regardless of my disinterest Mr. J-Bar-J oilman continued his story anyway.  He recognized my impassivity and stopped his excusing Roger story by asking me if I had ever been to Oklahoma before.  I responded that I had.  That I was raised in Austin, Texas and my Grandfather still had a ranch there.  He was the first to ever own a Buffalo ranch outside Austin.  And he married his second wife who was previously engaged to Gene Autry.  I think I stunned Mr. fancy Justice.  I had some money blood pulsing through my southern bred veins too.  I didn't have to tell him Granddaddy was originally from the north.  I could tell he was a confederate through and through and Yankee's gave him an bad itch.  In the end I told him I also knew Oklahoma to be the sooner state.  And the sooner he was finished the sooner I could get back on the road around nice people for a change. People that don't tie up their kinfolk. 

Mr. Justice responded with, "I guess I had that coming young lady."

My name is Julianna Rowe, not young lady.  I feel like you consider me nothing more than a young heifer at a rodeo for your family to hog tie, hold your hands in the air as the winner, and walk away.
Good rodeo's are hard to find.  And this one you call family I hope to never come into contact with again.  Pardon me if that sounds disrespectful but you hold the card on that.  Not I. 

And once again he said, "Allow me to finish please."  And the saga continued.  Roger had refused to come back with Uncle Biggs.  Possibly it was his upbringing in a wealthy family that caused him disrespect toward the law where as he believed he could just walk away from a Judges orders. Daddy J-Bar-J actually told me he thought they may have spoiled him.  That is when my ice tea nearly slipped from my hand onto the pretty fancy floor. Roger, spoiled?  Joke of the year.  Of course those were my private hidden thoughts.

The story continued.... "Even you realized you might go to prison for leaving the area after the Judge ordered you not to.  But Roger did not.  If Uncle Biggs had not hogtied Roger he could have been implicated further in the murder of that poor young woman and gone to prison for most of his life.  I couldn't allow that to happen. That is when you helped him escape from his family.  Becker and Biggs were told not to follow you but there was an unmarked private investigator on your tail the entire time." 

It was at that moment I realized Duke was not my dog afterall.  That Duke belonged to Becker.  I started to cry.  Daddy Justice went all soft and asked me what was the matter?   I told him I had just realized Duke really belonged to Becker.  I had gotten so attached to him and he to me.  But that I realized a big dog isn't the best fit for the big city and a single working woman.  I wiped my face and asked if I could go now.  He said not quite yet.  I let out a boring sigh and snatched another pecan praline.

And so the tall man with the extreme southern drawl went on.  He informed me the investigative service he hired also worked with the police on occasion and this was one of those occasions.  That is why I had gotten stopped and arrested.  He then apologized after hearing the officer wasn't one of the most gentle towards me.

I piped up.  "Gentle? The damn pig was a downright skuzz ball.  That was the worst thing that has ever happened to me Daddy Justice and I wont forgive you for a long long time."

He asked me what my Dad was like.  I rolled my eyes and replied I did not wish to go to Psyche class 101 with him.  My Dad was dead.   Enough said.  And any further discussion regarding it was set aside.

Daddy Justice told me if it made any difference and he hoped it would, that he had hired Bambi to watch over me while I spent that night in jail.

Once again all respect went out the kitchen window.  I informed him that is where I received the concussion that caused two or three more fainting spells which needed more medical treatment. 

I added vehemently, "So Miss Bambi didn't do her job very well sir.  Are we done yet?   And why do you feel it so important to tell me how I got ambushed by a rich Oklahoma Rancher whose kid is spoiled and doesn't respect the law."

Before he could answer my thoughts took over and went to:  Seemed to me like I got the ass end of this deal which reminded me of the old Julianna saying, "I must have eyes in my ass, cause I cant see anything until its passed." 

And so he continued.  And I sighed.

He told me I hadn't done anything wrong.  The judge was an old friend from College who played along until we could get Roger's case resolved and keep me safe and from any involvement in the Minnesota case. That is when he picked me up in the limo and that is why he had Duke and Roger with him.  He added the comment I was quite a feisty little thing.   I noticed Augusta snickering after that statement.  I wondered how many times she might have wanted to jump on the old fellow like a duck on a june bug and mess him up some. 

Then, when I thought he was finally done.  He hesitated just long enough to give my mouth permission to start again.

I was not thinking as fast as my mouth was going so I slowed it down some. I told him I sensed he felt I owed him an apology for being so harsh on he and Roger.  And how that was not going to happen.  Somehow I believed there was an easier was to handle this than had been done.  I informed him I felt he was not the greatest Father figure.  That money couldn't solve everything although I agreed it did help. And if I had my druthers I would chose to have it verses not.  I informed he and his wife that during the short time I had spent with Roger it seemed very hard for Roger to communicate.  I suspected that was because he was never told he did anything well enough.  I noticed Mr. Justice's eyebrows raise in distaste but that didn't stop me from the truth.  I told them Roger couldn't even tell me what was going on. He would turn his face from me and stare out the opposite side window.  It was like Roger wasn't full growed yet he was. 

Mr. Daddy J-Bar-J interrupted me.  He said,  "I would like to give you a million dollars Julianna Rowe."  And just then Becker and Duke walked through the door.  Duke was all over me licking my face and crying like a baby that just found his lost Mama. And tears were rolling down my face I was so happy to see my best friend ever.  I was also about to faint again, but this time from shock not a concussion.

Becker said,  "Miss Julianna, Duke is yours if you'll have him.  He hasn't been the same since he got back here.  He loves you and he needs you.  I aint never seen him this happy.

I stood up, I thanked Becker, told both men I needed some air and walked out the door with Duke, my money, and my keys.  


                                                     The End


    























 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Cardboard Box.... Chapter Ten............property of Diane Ogden

I woke up in the back seat of what I figured was a Mafia owned limousine.  Just thinking that was beyond frightening as well as a definite understatement. 

Hey wait a minute, what about the judge?  What about aiding and abetting a federal prisoner?  What about bonds money?  Something was very fishy I was thinking to myself.  Due to the abduction I knew I would certainly be put into federal prison for leaving town before my hearing.  Someone once again had broken the law for me without my permission.  I felt like a boat with no motor headed for a large massive waterfall.  This was definitely not the standard "cardboard box" I usually found myself in.  No those were self made by acting before thinking.  The combo of my personal emotions and intelligence always left me in the wake without a good life preserver.  Okay so I am exaggerating on the life death thing a bit, until I met Roger that is.  And lets not forget Becker and Biggs.  Duke has been the only good thing so far to came out of my trip to see and live near the big city lights. 

By any good guess I figured the Fed's would probably lock me up in a prison somewhere in the desert.  The only lights I would ever see are those search lights waving back and forth looking for escapee's.  Use to be I would tell myself to stop thinking but I decided what the hell harry?  I had no place to go at that moment in time.  And it looked like not much to look forward to either.




So, there we were.  Cruisin' down the highway in fancy wheels with an authentic colored driver who wore dark tortoise framed sunglasses, a small blue limousine drivers hat right out of the movies  and a perfect little blue blazer jacket with some sort of gold emblem on the pocket. His reflection had bounced off the speedometer glass and onto the glass partition between the large man with the deep voice and Duke and me.  Probably some Italian Family Crest of major importance that I could have cared less about.  Not to mention lame ratfink Roger who appeared to be grooving to music of some sort in the front seat.  No sweat Mr. Nifty Roger!  And then the hacked off set in on me once again.  If I was going to prison I might as well sock it to the Mafia too. 

And so it was on that sunny day outside Tulsa, Oklahoma. I lifted my bag and began hitting fat man big boy boss next to me.  Duke had gone and turned into a barking wild maniac.  I supposed he might have wondered where his next meal was going to come from after my rampage off the wall thinking I could beat up the big guy.  I had known I could not do enough damage to escape, but danged if I was going down the river without a fight.  And fight I had.  I messed that old boys hair up bad.  I kicked him, put my knee into his fat squishy private area, scratched his face and poked him in the nose for real.  And as hard as I fought, I fell.  Once again the lights had gone out on Julianna. 

My eyes were open, but as I recall I was surely seeing heaven.  I was dead!  I had done it this time.  The good book had been right about golden buildings and beautiful colors. They were reflecting throughout the room as rays of pure colored sunshine like I had never seen on my earth.  There were no golden streets but then I hadn't gotten that far yet.  I was lying on a cloud waiting for my deceased father to come help me and hoping he wasn't the same jerk he used to be on earth.  Just as I had that thought, there he came walking through the door toward me and with him was the prettiest all in white Angel I had ever seen.  But then I had never seen one until now.  So far being dead wasn't so bad.   The beautiful Angel circled around the right side of my cloud to lean in nearer me.  She told me everything was going to be fine, to just relax and rest.  Then she put something cold on my arm at which time I felt a slight pinch.  Humm, I guess we can feel things after we die.  That is the last I recalled of my Father and the Angel that day or even the next. 

What amazing dreams I was having.  I could hear familiar music playing in my head.  Then I heard voices.

"Little Joe, you get on back to the ranch and let Paw know Hoss and I are okay, we got the mine secured."  Then I heard the theme music from a show I used to watch every Sunday night called Bonanza.  At that point I opened my eyes in hopes of seeing my Angel and maybe some golden streets today.  But all I saw was Roger sitting in a chair watching the real Bonanza. 

I sat square up.  Looked him right in the back of his clueless head and spoke. 

"I suspect I am not dead. I suspect you need to make tracks off my cloud right now you flake."

Roger stood up, never looked back, walked calmly out of the room.  Almost at that exact moment a woman dressed in all white with a small folded white cap on over her long tousled red hair sauntered over to my cloud which obviously I am realizing was a bed made of real earthly wood and she was a nurse dressed in whites.   She explained to me how I had exacerbated my concussion and had been medically sustained for several days for healing purposes.  She then removed the IV fluids tube from my arm along with a couple other ones of a very private nature, and wished me well.  I asked her to wait a minute ma'am.  Where am I?  I thought I was dead and that I had gone to heaven.  She explained to me those thoughts were from the medications.  I was a little hacked off 'cause I wanted to see my dad decent at least once in my lifetime.  Even if he was just a decent vapor.  My head became fuzzy again so I missed any further inquiries of the pretty red haired nurse.  But as the minutes passed my normal senses continued coming back.  Where was Duke?  Who was the man I thought was my Dad that came into my room with the Angel nurse?  Why was Roger watching Bonanza in my room?  My room?  Where the heck was I?  Calm down, at least you are not in prison in the desert.  That is when a young girl entered my room with a tray of food.  It smelled like heaven.  I told myself not to use that term again for a while as I was confused enough.   I asked the young girl where I was.  She gave me a look of bewilderment.  I said, "I mean, I had a concussion and these people were kind enough to care for me back to good health, but I cant remember what city this beautiful home is in.  Of course someone had told me but due to the brain injury I forgot things."

The young girl spoke, "Why girl you are at the J-Bar-J Oil and Cattle Company Ranch of all Ranches."

"Is it a Mafia Ranch?" I asked.



The young house maid left the room laughing so hard she wasn't able to speak.  Me, I was dumbstruck.  And just plain confused.  I recall finding, or I should say staggering my way to the window. Yet after being down and out for so long I nearly lost my balance more than once.  That is when I saw it. Out the window I saw it.  It was a sea of oil rigs.  And cattle as far as my eyes could adjust.  Brahmer Cattle.  I had to stretch my brain but I was darn sure those were the ones with the hump on their back like they were half camel.  We didn't have those type cattle in upper Wisconsn. And I saw more than one truck whose sign read;  Angus and Charolais.  I had no clue whether that was a cow or a horse brand.  I discovered I had been nursed back to health at the J-Bar-J Oil and Cattle gold mine.  Every glass, cup, plate, napkin, pillowcase and so on bore the name J-Bar-J Ranch in gold lettering.

But, who was Roger, where was my Pink Cadillac, and I wanted to see my dog Duke right then. And did this mean I was or was not going back to court and onto prison in the desert?