C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunday Drive: Turn! Turn! Turn! / Mr. Tambourine Man

A favorite of your Head Trucker's since the first time I heard it on the radio - performed here by the Byrds on the Ed Sullivan Show, December 12, 1965:

The lyrics are, of course, taken from the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, modified slightly for the song:
To everything turn, turn, turn
There is a season turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep . . .


Not my favorite group, but they had a memorable sound that calls to mind the jingle-jangle days of youth, when the endless road of life seemed to lead everywhere but the grave.


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Note to My Truckbuddies

What next?

The last month or so, your Head Trucker has felt a bit listless and unfocused.  Can't seem to get my head around the things I want to post here.  I chalked it up to this godawful heatwave that's afflicting the whole country, maybe the world - but earlier this week, M.P. insisted I go get checked out, and made the phone call over my protests.  I just felt a little dizzy with the heat, that's all.  No need to hit the panic button.

Now your favorite blogger has never been on any kind of daily medication - you know, like all those silly old people in the Geritol ads - and why should I?  I feel fine.  It's just too hot to move around much.  But the doc thought it was time to start me on some daily meds.  Stuff and nonsense, I said - I'm healthy as a horse - just a tired old queen, and your dadblame pills won't change that.  Besides, I've never been a druggie or a pill-taker - it's against my principles. 

But M.P. thought it was a Very Good Idea and pleaded with me to be nice and cooperate with the good doctor.  I was too tired to argue, so to make a long story short, she put me through a little tune-up, and sent me home with a laundry list of high-powered scrips.  A hundred bucks' worth, in fact, and that was at the discount pharmacy - highway robbery - what a racket.

When we got home, M.P., pleased as punch, declared himself Supreme Dispenser and Grand High Caretaker, and told me from now on I would have to do whatever he said.  Hmmph!  We'll see about that - but what the hell, I will let him have fun for now.  And kick his ass later if he goes overboard.  *Grin.*

M.P. has been on daily meds himself since his surgery a few years ago.  I suppose misery loves company.  Now we are both on the same schedule of noon and midnight pills, though not all the same ones.  I can't tell you I feel any peppier yet, but my vision seems slightly more blurry than usual, and I find I am making more the usual number of typos an leaving out words when I try to write an email or a blog post.  The docs never warn you about the side effects, do they?  Just take your pills and STF up about it, says M.P., relishing the moment.

Ah well, another day, another stage of life begins.  Surely all this stuff will even out in due course but in the meantime please forgive me if I dont' sound to postworthy the next few weeks.  Damn keyboard keeps messing me up here.  I hope to keep the men and music and beach cams coming, thought.  Thanks for riding along with me in the Blue Truck.  Y'all take care and stay cool, fellas.  Check you later.


Friday, July 28, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend

Young and hung, having fun in the sun.  Ah, those were the days . . .


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Life Is a Beach, 7/26/23

This cam is at Miramar Beach, Florida, I believe.

About that essay:  Sorry, guys.  Can't do it this week.  The dog ate my homework. 


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Friday, July 21, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend

Got shade?


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Life Is a Beach, 7/19/23

Live cam, Hollywood Beach, Florida:


I'm still meditating on that big essay I mentioned last week.  It's harder to write than I expected; I can't seem to focus on a single, coherent theme out of a large grab-bag of memories, comparisons, and opinions.  M.P. has given me  a good suggestion, though, which I am mulling over.  So maybe next week.  Meanwhile, enjoy the cool breeze on the beach.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sunday Drive: Pretty Woman

Keeping your summer cool and in the groove here at station BTRS with a pretty little tune by the late, great Roy Orbison and friends.


Friday, July 14, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wouldn't a cool shower feel good right now?


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Summer of '73 (Intro)


I have had it in mind for a couple of years now to share some thoughts about the world we live in today by way of memories of the world as it was fifty years ago, when I was young and fancy free - or should have been.  Fifty years ago!  It seems incredible that I can even say that phrase, that I have lived so long.

Fifty years before 1973 was 1923, which seemed almost antediluvian to my generation, as no doubt the seventies do to the current crop of youngsters.  There are college graduates now who never lived in the 20th century, strange to say.

Sorting through a half-century of mental archives is not a simple task, however, and I may have to write this memoir in weekly parts. And to keep the narrative simple and protect my own privacy, I tell my loyal readers up front that I will sometimes obscure and conflate names, dates, places, and situations, while still conveying the real essence of what happened. 

In any case, you must not expect an exciting story; it's more of a psychological one, a slow awakening to liberation and sexuality and adulthood.  Of no real interest or importance to anyone but me, I admit, but it's my blog and that's what I want to write about.  You can always turn the dial if you get bored.

While I get Part I ready to post here, be my guest at the lovely beach seen above, complete with the live sound of breakers rushing to the shore. The drinks are on me - so have a pina colada or two, and just chill until I return.

And for your entertainment, here's Tony Orlando and Dawn singing their smash hit song of 1973. (This lackluster lip-sync does not begin to convey how wildly popular it was.) Tony was the model of fashion at that moment in time - the hair, the stache, the clothes, the high-heeled platform shoes.  That was the look of the day for young men in this pre-disco era - a blow-dryed, high-styled evolution of the rag-tag hippie look, sublimated into the wider culture.  

I was no entertainer and not exactly studly, but I so wanted to look like him, to dress like him, to be in the mode - but though I was old enough to do whatever I wanted, I didn't.  I will tell you why in due course. 

Update:  Sorry, guys, looks like it will be next week before I get my essay written.  Hey, it's hot AF here in Texas and I can't concentrate.  Meanwhile, just chillax and keep cool at the beach.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Sheep will save the planet.  Who knew?


Sunday, July 9, 2023

Sunday Drive: Cool Jerk

Soul music.  Glenn Frey.  Who knew?

And check out the lineup of handsome beards, too.


Friday, July 7, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend

Who wants pineapple?


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy 4th!

Kicking off your July 4th with Little Stevie Wonder's first big hit from 1965, which still brings a crowd to its feet after all these years. And it says something about the American dream, if you listen carefully:

Here's wishing a very happy Independence Day to all my friends and truckbuddies.  Regardless of all the screaming and shouting, ranting and raving, there's still a lot to be thankful for in this country, and we should be proud of how far we Americans have come and of all we have achieved in the last 247 years.  Despite all the flaws, faults, and frailties of human nature, it's a magnificent story, seen in perspective and as a whole; and the long-term trend has always been upward, towards a more perfect union, with liberty and justice for all.  We should keep it going that way.

I'm proud to be an American.  Having done the genealogy work and spent several thousand dollars getting records transcribed, I know for a certain fact that my people have been part of the American story since at least 1688, starting back in Maryland and the Old Dominion.  Generation after generation, as decades passed and families moved westward, they played their part in building up this country:  farmers and planters, lawyers and judges, teachers and preachers, surveyors and soldiers, tavern keepers and taxi drivers, fathers and mothers of many children.  As far as I know, they were all honest, God-fearing, hard-working men and women, whether upright Anglicans or backwoods Baptists.  Some were rich and some were poor; one family attended the same church as General Washington and his lady.

Sign at the site of the home of one of my ancestors, who dined at Mount Vernon on at least one occasion, as recorded by Washington in his diary.

Other families were poor, living in log cabins far back in the woods and swamps, so poor that one boy had only a shirt to wear until he was 12 years old, about the time of the Civil War.  Some made music, some were mathematically inclined . . . and I suspect some made mighty good moonshine.  And there is definitely some Cherokee blood in the mix too, which unfortunately has left no written account but which perhaps can be glimpsed in my profile.  Family stories allege that there was also French and Spanish blood somewhere back in time, though I could find no record of such.  And perhaps there was even a drop of African blood - I learned that, contrary to popular belief, it happened even in the best of families way back there, sometimes.

My roots run deep.  Through my research I was able to find all 32 great-great-grandparents, at least their names and dates, going back to about the year 1800 - and their many descendants, scattered between the Potomac and the Rio Grande.  They were all Southerners, from the British Isles, and Protestants, so far as I know.  I say that merely as a statement of fact.  I would have been just as happy to find some French or Spanish, Catholics or Jews, but they were scarce on the ground when I went hunting.  I found a few lines that stretched further back to the late 1600s, but of course they were only a fraction of the whole.  (Ten generations back from me would include over a thousand ancestors:  do the math yourself and see.)  With the internet, it has become relatively easy - though still tedious - to find names and dates nowadays; but sadly, in most cases that's all there is to be found.  One looks at the lists of names and wonders how many untold stories are there, how many boys and girls grew into men and women, laughed and wept and loved, had their day in the sun, and now sleep the long sleep.

Only a few stories have survived the passage of time; and they are quite interesting.  One direct patriot ancestor, possibly of Swiss descent, was wounded in a North Carolina battle in 1776, several months before the Declaration of Independence was signed.   A collateral uncle was a lieutenant in the War of 1812; and half a century later, a collateral cousin was a Confederate general.  A pair of brothers rode with the celebrated Mosby's Rangers, and lived to tell about it.  A more distant girl cousin was the Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe, who counted both Mosby and J. E. B. Stuart among her admirers.  

Another Virginia cousin, a high-spirited boy of 14, thought it would be great sport to ambush single-handedly a squad of Union soldiers passing by the family homestead en route to the Battle of Manassas.  The result was that the enraged troops promptly went and burned down the house!  The menfolks were all away at the time.  Stupid boy; imagine what his poor mama must have said to him afterwards.  A couple of years later he joined the Confederate Army, lost a leg in some battle, and returned home sadder but wiser.  Eventually, he got an education and in later life was, I think, superintendent of the local schools.

It would have been quite exciting to learn these stories when I was a boy and fascinated with the Civil War, but I knew nothing of all this until I started my genealogical research at the turn of the present century.  And of course, whatever wealth there may have been in the family was swept away by the War; none of it came down to me.  The South lay devastated for a generation afterwards, having paid a very steep and painful price for being on the wrong side of history.  All my grandparents were born in humble circumstances deep in the countryside.  

Let me say clearly here that it was a bloody, futile, senseless war, started for all the wrong reasons, and should never have happened; but once it started, these my kinsmen did what they had to do to defend their homes and families from the Yankee invaders - who often took the opportunity to steal or destroy everything they could, including food supplies, crops, and livestock - the necessities of life.  Civilians suffered greatly.  That's how wars always are; and brave men and women all down through recorded history have done what they needed to do to protect their loved ones and repel the invaders; there is no shame in that.  You would do it too, gentle reader, regardless of the cause.

In the early 20th century, one grandfather delivered the U. S. Mail on horseback through his rural county; the other was a fireman on a steam locomotive.  A generation later, my dad was an Air Force mechanic who was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of the Bulge.  He came through the war without a scratch, however, and went to college on the G.I. Bill, as millions of other veterans did.  There he met my mother - the result being, eventually, me.

My great-great grandfather, drafted into the Confederate Army in 1862, aged about 36.  Probably this picture was taken shortly before he went off to war.  He died in the Battle of Franklin, Tenn., in December 1864, a few months before the war ended, leaving an impoverished wife and four children back in Mississippi.

My gggrandfather's younger cousin, who rode with Mosby's Rangers - notice the horseshoe emblem on his sleeve.  After the war, he got an M. D, and became a highly respected physician in a small Texas town.

A younger brother of the above.  He also rode with Mosby.

Yet another cousin was General Elkanah Greer, CSA, a wealthy planter in East Texas; at the time of his death in 1877, the Memphis newspaper remembered him as "a gallant soldier and an accomplished gentleman."

These are the kind of men your Head Trucker is descended from, Americans all - both before and after the War.  My forefathers were brave, manly men who did the right thing as it seemed to them at that time - which is all anyone can do in any place or time.  I wish I had inherited their toughness, but . . . I was cut from different cloth.  My Texas uncles and cousins more nearly fit the family pattern.  

So you see, I feel that in my veins flows the great mosaic of American life as it was lived, high and low, since the earliest settlements and peoples.  I am the product of all who came before me; but I should be judged on what I have done in my life, not what they did or didn't do.  Which is the only right way to judge anyone.  To do otherwise would be pre-judging:  prejudice.  That is not the American way.

I say there's way too much blather these days about diversity, and not nearly enough talk about UNITY.  Without which, we have nothing.  And anybody who doesn't like it here is free to go live somewhere else.  Good luck finding another country that will suit you better.  Or just go . . . jump in the lake.

Here's some live cams from around the nation to show that life goes on in America, and not too badly, despite everything that upsets and divides us:  just look at the living mosaic of races, sexes, and ages in these scenes.  Everybody gets a chance.  Everybody gets to dance.  Rich or poor, old or young, gay or straight, everyone has a place in the sun.  That's the American dream.  And it's a good thing.

 Fort Lauderdale Beach:


Independence Day Parade in Washington, D. C.:

Fireworks at Disney World: 


Fireworks around the USA:


Sunday, July 2, 2023

Sunday Drive: The In Crowd

A groovy little tune to get the party started on your 4th of July weekend.  Crank it up and enjoy.

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