Oh To Crawl In A Hole

This piece was a writing assignment from my Little Egypt Writer’s Society group. Our assignment was to recall an event when we wished we could hide in a hole. You’ve probably been there – done that also.

THE URGE TO CRAWL IN A HOLE hole-ground-home-wild-animal-57149387.png
@2017 Bill Murphy

I too have had my moments when I wished for vanishing dust, or a handy, empty hole. Two of these embarrassing events stand out above all others, both similar in nature.

In 1954 our Methodist church received a new pastor, with THREE daughters. I was all starry eyed over the youngest. We were 13 at the time.

Sunday afternoons we had MYF – Methodist Youth Fellowship – which was just what the name implied, a time when the young folks of our Methodist church fellowshipped together with sports, games, snacks, and a short spiritual message. Several of us were gathered on the front steps of the Fellowship Hall. Myself and two other boys were seated on the top step. The object of my affection was standing with a few girls rather close to the steps. We each had large glasses of iced tea. Glass. Clear, transparent glass.

I have no idea what caused ‘the event.’ I had no allergies, no sniffles, no congestion. (You see what’s coming.)

I was about to sip my tea, or perhaps just had. My glass was at about chest height, fortunately far from my nose. Then it happened. The sneeze was like a sudden spasm,  unexpected, and with force. Just the sneeze would have been ok, for the tea stayed in the glass.

Amid that sudden blast of air, from my nostrils was ejected an exceedingly huge mass of what may well have been fully grown jellyfish – right into my iced tea. I was relieved to see that my tea was the only victim of this terrible assault. But here I sat with a large, transparent glass of tea with ice, sugar, lemon, and – yuck! Oh the horror.

While looking for a hole, I held my glass in my trembling hands. Looking all the world like a sun-burned indian. I hoped no one would notice why I was no longer drinking my tea. At 13, this was a catastrophic, thoroughly mortifying event.

Fast forward around 15 years. I was successfully employed as a commercial artist. As in most fields, there’s usually room for advancement with other companies. The Yellow Pages was looking for new commercial artist. I met with the Ad Director at a downtown restaurant for an interview over coffee. This time I had my beverage much, much closer to my lips/nose.

There was no ‘jellyfish‘ involved this time, but the prospective boss was thoroughly sprayed with a blast of coffee, well laced with both cream and sugar. Sadly, the floors were solid in the restaurant, with no holes in sight. Likewise, there was also no follow-up call for a second interview.

 

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An Animal That Could Rule The World

This was a writing assignment for my Little Egypt Writer’s Society. Enjoy. Crown

AN ANIMAL THAT COULD RULE THE WORLD

by Bill Murphy ©2017

I’ll go one farther – how about an animal that no doubt WILL rule the world?

Actually, I don’t believe this, for the simple reason that I’m one of those ‘Bible Thumpers’ who believe – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) Maybe my choice for ruler will be ruling before that event!

My choice for World Ruler has been around for (non-creationists scientists say) 320 million years – before the dinosaurs. That’s got to count for something – like EXPERIENCE. And, my Ruler-choice is hardy, hardy, hardy – capable of living in MINUS 188 degrees Fahrenheit. He makes his own anti-freeze! (Industrious) Furthermore his resistance to nuclear radiation is up to 15 times greater than yours and mine. So, he’ll be long around after ‘The Big One.’

My choice would make a good President also, with an inbred talent for crossing, no – merging – Democratic and Republican lines – with his group-based decision making abilities. Unlike us, his concept of cooperation and competition are in complete BALANCE! We need him in Washington now!

Did I mention that he can still breathe with his head removed?

My Ruler’s reproductive abilities far exceed even that of my dear wife and our 4 daughters. How about an astounding 300 to 400 kiddies a year? That’s what I call being fruitful and multiplying!

Considering that this Ruler could do better at the polls than one of late… my queen (at least some of her distant cousins) are said to produce milk that is the most nutritious on earth!

She has a famous ancestor named ‘NADEZHDA,’ who flew in space with the Russian Foton-M tests, and became the very first terrestrial (earthling) to give birth in space!

So – who or what is this most amazing animal? I believe that Madonna (the singer) summed it up perfectly. She said, “I am a survivor. I am a cockroach,  you just can’t get rid of me.”

 

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All This And No Money Either

Elvis Wolfe copy.jpg

FPC, JCM, NMMC © 2017 Bill Murphy

When you have a large family, lived a long life, visited so many exotic places and done so many amazing things, you don’t have an excuse for not writing. Your problem is – writing about ‘WHAT?’ Sadly, things fall through the cracks. This morning, an unexpected Facebook post shook a basket of nuts from the tree.

Bishop Wallace, from my days with Jitney Jungle, was fond of saying, “All this and money too.” But FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t pay. They did however, claim that the retirement was out of this world.

All of my adult life I’ve worked with my eyes, hands, and imagination. I’m an artist, and paid for my keep through working as a commercial artist. I joking call that prostituting my talent. Basically – I sold pork chops for Jitney Jungle.

FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t sell anything, they offered a pathway to salvation.

FPC stands for First Pentecostal Church. Our family was faithful ‘dues paying’ members for 25 years + or – 1 or 2. Naturally, I volunteered my ‘gifting and abilities’ to the work of God. Shortly after our union with FPC, the church took over a struggling Bible School from Tupelo, bringing it to Jackson and renaming it JCM – Jackson College of Ministries. Only last week I ran across a proof copy of the very first JCM Catalog, which I helped layout and typeset. Soon came the monthly newspaper, conference displays, etc., etc., etc.

And then, FPC/JCM acquired a new Music Minister and Dean of Music – Lanny Wolfe. FPC and JCM were famous for their joint effort in the creation of the NMMC, The Nation Music Ministry Conference – a week long yearly event designed to educate, inspire, and showcase musicians from across the national United Pentecostal fellowship.

That was when the fun really began!

The annual NMMC was a big deal. It brought in hundreds of musicians and guests from across the nation. It was claimed that FPC would sit 1,000 – but this proved to be an exaggeration by a couple of hundred. The architects lied. Chairs in the aisles did little to help. The venue was moved to the Municipal Auditorium. The NMMC made no small economic impact on the city of Jackson either.

The NMMC was never a simple dog and pony show. No way. The days were filled with seminars from everything from fiddling to copyrights. And the night events were marathons of choirs, soloists, and dramas. My ears still ring.

And everything had it’s advertising, paperwork, forms, signage, banners, brochures, etc., etc., etc. Bill was a busy boy – for several months prior and until after the home stretch. At the time, I was probably singing to myself – If this is the days my friend, when will they ever end?

I still have a couple of old notebooks with ‘to do’ lists. I’m amazed at the length of those lists! But, I was younger then.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was doing. I felt honored to be a part of such a huge undertaking. But I also loved to grip and complain. Don’t we all?

All those fun-filled and heady days of FPC, JCM, and NMMC came roaring back this morning in the form of the drawing above of Elvis Wolfe, which Lanny posted on Facebook. I guess he must have recently run across it. The original Lanny Wolfe drawing was done for an NMMC project, and in a spare moment of madness, I took the time I couldn’t spare to create that little tension-releaser.

Thanks Lanny for sharing it with me – after all these years. As before, it brought a big smile to my face.

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BC, AD, and BAC

Fanning copy

©2017 Bill Murphy

We’re familiar with the terms BC and AD. From the Julian calendar: BC (Before Christ) and AD, (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord.) For the purpose of this post, I suggest a 3rd – BAC. BEFORE AIR CONDITIONING.

The past is nothing more than HISTORY, and because I lived it, I believe I can speak FOR it. Heaven knows my grandchildren are baffled by it! In spinning these yarns about the good ole days, I consider myself simply ADDING to their education!

That said, I well remember BAC. The first A/C school that I attended was COLLEGE! Our old home on Evergreen had no A/C. And we really didn’t think we needed it.

The windows in our house were made in two sections, upper and lower. The lower section was RAISED 12” to 18” upward, and the upper section LOWERED by this same amount. Because warm RISES, warm air near the ceiling was allowed to flow OUT of the upper opened section and cooler (outside) air could flow INSIDE through the opened lower section to replace the hot air. On days when it was not HOT, we didn’t need the attic fan. Adjusting the windows to the above configuration sufficed. The windows in George Elementary School, Enochs Jr, Hi and Central Hi all worked this way. But on days when the house got HOT inside, we had our large attic fan.

This 36″ fan was located in the attic over the small hallway in the front of the house. It lay HORIZONTALLY, blowing UPWARD into the attic. When turned on, all the INSIDE hot air was sucked up into the attic and expelled through vents to the outside. Outside air was sucked INTO the house, to replace the air expelled OUTSIDE. Hey, it WORKED! Or at least we thought it did. (It also sucked in dust and pollen!) But honestly, I can’t remember being miserable.

Yes I do. I remember that 2 or 3 times, CHS was dismissed around Noon or 1 PM because of excessive heat. But we survived. My great-grand-kids cannot relate to living through that.

A/C came to merchants long before it came to Evergreen. And those businesses who ‘bit the bullet’ and paid for that huge ‘extra’ expense was duly proud of their outlay – and flaunted it! Plastered across the front entrances they proudly proclaimed, “We Have Air Conditioning,” written in blue lettering with snow on top of each letter and icicles hanging below! Dad’s old store, Jitney No. 2 on Gallatin didn’t have A/C, but when Jitney No. 19 was built in Mart 51, it did.

We never had central air on Evergreen. Later we had window units.

And my first personal window unit (during college) was not a true A/C. It had no compressor, and no coils, and of course, no REFRIGERANT. It was basically a metal rectangular box, with a deep ‘pan‘ at the bottom. It had a fan which pulled air through a thick screen of something resembling MOSS. A garden hose was attached at the top (outside) and water was allowed to ‘trickle‘ through this moss as air was sucked through it and blown into the room. A pump brought water up from the pan and back down through the moss. The garden hose was to re-supply water that evaporated. Yes, it did cool – slightly. But the air it expelled was also very HUMID!

Our last vehicle without A/C was a ’55 Chrysler, which we took across country to Vancouver and San Francisco. Dad purchased a new-fangled automobile ‘window unit’ just for that trip. It was nothing more than a 9″ metal cylinder about 18″ long, with a trap door on top. It attached to the window, and held in place when the window was raised. When filled with ICE, air entered the front air scoop, over the ice, and out through a vent that opened to the inside the car. It was rendered useless by the deserts out west.

I believe it was ’67 before I lived in a house with CENTRAL A/C. And yes, I really do appreciate the BLESSING of A/C. When you’ve lived WITHOUT something of value like A/C, you don’t take it for granted.

I suppose that’s my ‘lesson‘ in the post.

 

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Ole Bill Writes A Country Song

Guitar

OUR SECOND TIME AROUND ©2017 Bill Murphy

 

She got herself a lawyer, And I got me one too.

We divided up the furniture, And a memory or two.

Then she gathered up our children, And hit the dusty trail.

Her final words in parting was… “Sweetheart, You can go to-

Well – she actually was leaving, Oh the bitter fruits of sin,

Oh how could a love so wonderful, Come to such a shameful end?

Now God looked down from heaven, And it grieved Him to the bone,

To see the mess that we had made, Of our once, happy home.

Those precious little children, Need a mommy and a dad,

So I think I’ll work a miracle, And give ‘em back the love they had.

He knew our love still lived somewhere, For can love really die?

Only fools will lose a treasure, But the fools can’t tell you why.

God found our star of love still bright, Out in the Milky Way.

That one star in the billions… Was the love we’d thrown away.

Our story is a miracle, Our lost love has been found,

With God’s help we’ll do better, This second time around.

 

Hee Haw!  

 

~~~

An Old Man

Arm 1

©2017 Bill Murphy

As Sgt. Joe Friday said on Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

And the facts are that Ole Bill has ‘suddenly’ become Old Bill.

My birth certificate and today’s calendar hanging on or frig verify that I’m chronologically 76 years plus a few weeks old. The clock on the wall downstairs appears to agree with this much earlier each night, as does the radio/alarm beside the bed each morning. They’re conspiring against me.

No – ‘against me’ is far from the correct term! The alternative would be, well, you know.

Two things happened within the past 12 hours to bring me to the staggering conclusion that I’m aging. And both shed some fresh light as to why.

Last night was reclined of the sofa downstairs watching The Voice with Carol. I happened to raise my right arm and noticed how ‘loose’ the skin had become, especially on the inner area near the elbow. It was as loose and wrinkled as I remember my grandfather’s arms had been.

Then it hit me – I AM a grandfather. Correction: I am a GREAT-grandfather. Ergo: I have grand-father, great-grand-father skin. When did this happen?

Then this morning Carol was enjoying her usual early morning phone chat with her sister Mary Ellen. Carol was relaying her unusual dream of last night, and how vivid and detailed it was. That got the two sister’s talking about dreams.

I interjected that I dream EVERY NIGHT – and that most of those dreams are busy, active, work-filled dreams of past high-pressure jobs and projects – like ad deadlines at Jitney Jungle and whole notebooks of things to do for Lanny Wolfe’s Music Ministry Conferences. Mary Ellen then replied that I was actually LIVING TWO LIVES, one by day, the other by night!

So THAT too explains my aging process, and the visual effects thereof. I’m not 76 – I’m 76 x 2. I’m actually 152! No wonder I’m looking and acting old.

I feel much better about it now, for in truth, I’m not doing bad at all for a man of 152!

 

““`

Coffee Please

folgers

©2017 Bill Murphy

Coffee is one of those strange brews. (Pardon the pun.) It goes beyond take it or leave it – bordering on either can’t stand the stuff, or can’t live without it. I fall in the later category. I once told a pastor that if he ever started preaching against coffee – I would find a new church.

Coffee and I go way back, almost 74 years to be exact. My grandmother, whom I was blessed to have live next door, started me on coffee as soon as I was old enough to walk next door to her house. Mom said I walked at 18 months.

Grandma Fairchild drank Folger’s. It came in squatty round tin cans, that came with a ‘key’ (much like a sardine can) which you turned to unfasten the lid from the can. I remember these details because as a boy of 10 or so, I put a firecracker under one of those Folger’s cans with the intent of shooting it into the clouds. Mama Fairchild, probably no more than 20 feet away, was bending over pruning her flowers. The can didn’t go up – it went straight into Grandma’s butt. Oh well. She still loved me afterwards.

Carol and I have a married granddaughter, Whitney, who as a child traveled a lot with her Grammie and Pop Pop. At restaurants, Carol and I would have coffee mornings, noon, and night. When Whitney was no more than 2, I started her on coffee, served just as it was served to me as a child, with a liberal lacing of sugar and cream. Whitney enjoyed drinking hers from those tiny little plastic creamer cups. I felt not the slightest sense of remorse for giving that baby that ole devil-brew.

Every so often you hear of some government study which proves coffee causes everything from dandruff to multiple births. Then a few months later they claim it cures everything from ED to toe fungus. Those claims are like my old neck-ties – keep ‘em around long enough and they’ll be back in style. I’ll drink to that! Coffee – please.