Tuesday, October 9, 2018

First Texas-born Hayter

Larry, Lynda, Susan, Baby Mark, Dennis (stuck behind the bumper.
 “The First Texas-born"
I was supposed to be born in Oklahoma. Not sure you knew that. The first four Hayter kids were born in Oklahoma. I do believe it was Faris and Elsie’s intent that each of their kids graduate Purple Pirates from Bristow High. None of us had much say in the matter. What kids do?

            Truth be told, I don’t think there were supposed to be more than three of us. Dennis was the fourth Hayter child, and what a surprise he was. When you can’t afford the three kids you have, how can news of a fourth bring anything but an argument over blame?

            Fortunately, Dennis turned out to be worth the cost and effort. He was smart, athletic, didn’t eat all that much, and he could juggle. Oh, and he was the last Okie. At no time did Dad have an epiphany that he should up and move the family to Pasadena. It was one of his friends who got him to thinking about the idea. Isn’t it weird how one person or event can steer another along a new path in life? I’m fairly sure I wrote about that recently.

            Today, I saw a story on the news about a young man who decided to get his pilot’s license after being encouraged by a stranger. We all have stories of how a friend or stranger was responsible for one of our directions in life. In the case of my father, it was a drunken friend who put him on the road to Texas.

             Some of you will remember the story of “Three Ninety”, an oil well servicing company in Bristow, Oklahoma, owned by Dad and one of his friends. They started the company shortly after WWII when rationing had ended and American factories could start building cars instead of tanks and planes. The advent of more automobiles created local demand for oil and gasoline.

            With oil wells being planted in old cotton fields all across Oklahoma, “Three Ninety” took off at a run. By the way, the company was named after Dad’s phone number – 390. Just as quaint and helpful a name as could be. Bottom line, for the first and only time in his life, my daddy was his own boss. Life was gooduntil it wasn’t.

               One hot, steamy afternoon, Dad’s friend and business partner drove up to the rig-site way late and somewhat inebriated. It was the last of many times that Zeke (not his real name) had refused to carry his share of the load in the company. After a brief argument, initiated by my dad, the two men sat down at the base of the oil rig and both agreed on a parting of ways. It was to be a very good parting… for one of them.

            You see, neither Dad nor Zeke could afford to buy the other out. If one of them left, the company would have to be sold to an outsider in order to pay off the departing partner. Neither wanted that. After less than careful thought, Dad suggested that the best way to end the partnership was with the toss a coin. Heads, Dad would sign over the business to Zeke. Tails, Zeke would be the one hitting the road.  

            After the toss, my daddy said his goodbyes’ to his workmen, picked up his lunch-kit and thumbed a ride back home to Bristow. In a matter of days, Dad moved the family down to Pasadena, Texas. Lynda was about 10 years-old, Larry eight, Susan five, and Dennis about two. I was to show up a little later as the first of the Hayter family to be born in Texas.

            In Texas, Dad had little trouble getting a job on another oil rig. He later got a job helping to build row upon row of houses that became the suburbs of Pasadena. Dad would eventually get a job working in one of the refineries along the Ship Channel. It was there that he worked until the age of 61, when he had to take early retirement due to a heart problem. He had been retired for one year when he died of a heart attack. 

            Last week, Lynda’s grandson found some old family photos that Lynda had stored away. At the time the photos were taken, our family was living in an old, wooden shack along a dirt road that would come to be known as Spencer Highway.

            One photo shows Dad kneeling in the dirt with a cigar in his hand. Lynda has one arm wrapped around Daddy’s neck and her arm on his shoulder with her hand supporting her face. Larry and Susan are huddled-up on the other side of Daddy, and he has his arm around the both of ‘em. Everyone is smiling big… except for Susan. The girl was born with issues. However, the photo immediately became my favorite picture of Dad. He looks as happy as I’ve ever seen him. And, Lynda, Larry and Susan are just precious.

            Mom was probably feeding me or changing my diaper, because neither of us is in the picture. And Dennis? Well, he was about three-years-old at the time, so he was likely taking the picture. A talented kid, my big brother. Taught me to juggle.    
Mark can be contacted at hayter.mark@gmail.com. An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at http://markhayterscolumn.blogspot.com

Foreign movie fan

“Big on Subtitles”

Last night I watched a four-episode Russian drama series about an incident in WWII. I never intended to watch the entire series; I just got caught up in it. Which is strange, because I don’t even know Russian. Not sure I even know a Russian.

The movie was subtitled, not dubbed. The Chinese always dub their movies for Americans. I would actually rather hear the real actor’s voice say words I don’t understand, than to have someone else read the script in English. 

I think it was Japanese actor Haruo Nakajima (he played the giant bird Rodan in the movie “Rodan”) who said, “An actor is only as good as the person who speaks for him.” I thought it an astute observation from someone who had no lines in “Rodan.” Makes one wonder if Nakajima actually authored that saying, or someone just made it up for him.

But, let’s get past the Japanese and the Chinese for awhile and return to Russia. The first Russian movie I ever saw was a war movie set in the Middle Ages. Must’ve been Cossacks fighting the Eastern Slavs. Those people never could get along. The movie was made when Russia was still a communist country. The CCCP, or as we called it, the “USSR.” The Russians changed their alphabet so they’d be hard to understand. 

The movie was dubbed, and the quality was laughable… except for the fighting scenes. They must’ve recruited stuntmen from the Siberian gulags. In one scene they had thousands of soldiers on the prairie somewhere. The general wanted to know where the enemy was, so he pointed to a spot and said, “Mountain!” Instantly, soldiers drop their spears and ran to the place where the general pointed. They jumped on the ground and formed a mountain of men. The general then rode his horse to the top of the men, so he can get a better view of what was ahead.

Do you have any idea how hard it would be to fight for a leader who wouldn’t even go to the trouble of dismounting before walking over up your back? I don’t know the name of the movie, or where I was, or when it was that I saw it. I don’t know the name of the actors, or the people represented in the storyline. But, I doubt I’ll ever forget that scene.

I like to think that the scene was in some way fabricated. I would also like to think that no horses were killed in the shooting of the battles, however, I tend to believe they lost at least one out of every three.  

That Russian movie was memorable because of its battle scenes. The Russian series I watched last night was memorable because of the acting, the storyline and the characters. The series was called “The Dawns Here are Quiet.” The literal translation is “Quiet here Dawns they be.” The Russian language is somewhat like “Yoda-speak.”  In fact, most non-English languages are. From what I can gather, Yoda-speak is a literal translation of Spanish to English. Don’t quote me on that. I mean, “Quote me not that on.” 

In the “Dawns” movie, I knew the actors to be good, because the movie was subtitled. I had to read the whole thing. I was able to follow it because the Russians don’t talk all that fast. They use so few vowels, that they have to stop and think about pronunciation. 

One of about eight things that are beginning to worry me, about me, is the fact that I’ve started watching more and more foreign movies with subtitles. French is the best. Listening to Celine Dion sing in French is captivating. I think she’s even pretty good singing in English.

After bragging about sub-titles, I’ve got to tell you that a few actors are better when someone else speaks for them. Take me for example. A few of the B movies I was in were marketed in some East European countries. They seem to like American Westerns. In a majority of the Westerns, I played characters that were mentally challenged. Turns out, I’m a much better actor when speaking Romanian. There is apparently a Romanian dubber who sounds crazier than I do. I’m tempted to visit Eastern Europe, but I’d hate to disappoint my fan base. 

Oh, and “The Dawns here are Quiet” series? That thing ended at 2:30 in the a.m. I really wanted to tell Kay about it, but figured I’d wait till later in the morning when she was somewhat lucid. Kay may seem sweet, but I’ve got to tell you, when that girl is startled awake, she’s all elbows and feet… which I think is a line from one of Garth Brooks’ songs. When translated into Russian, the last few lyrics come out “feet, elbows be she all.”

Mark can be contacted at hayter.mark@gmail.com.

Marriage seminar

“Marriage Seminar”

            Kay and I agreed to be facilitators at a marriage seminar that was sponsored by our church. The good thing about being a facilitator is that you don’t need to be all that qualified.

            My job was to tell each individual in our group when it was his or her turn to answer a question from a booklet. It was Kay’s job to tell speakers when their two minutes were up. There are some women, uh, spouses who can talk the sheetrock off a wall. With five couples in a group, there’s no time for that. The time-keepers husband would come unglued.

            One major rule about each session had to do with saying only positive things about your spouse. And, you could only talk about “yourself” in relation to your spouse. If anyone said anything negative about her husband or his girlfriend, it was my job to put a stop to it. And when each person finished responding to a question, everyone in the group had to say “Thank you,” to make the person feel good about what was said.

            With these strict rules, you can surmise that the seminar was not geared toward marriages that were on their last leg. Facilitators are not qualified to handle stuff like that. Even if it’s their marriage that’s in a nosedive. The goal of this program was to make spouses more aware of their mates’ feelings. The way it was put to us is that we were encouraging “acceptance” of one another.

            Turns out, our speaker, Dr. Jon Anderson, said that you can’t change your mate. – Did you know that? If you try to change your spouse, the effort will result in both of you liking one another less. Apparently, you can’t shame or nag a person into changing. With enough firepower you can alter their behavior, but it will cost the both of you love for one another.

            Take Kay, for example. Before we married I never noticed that she had a problem putting things away. Perhaps, before marriage, she was trying to hide her aggravating behavior from me. Once we married, I began noticing things about her that would  register on my Peeve Meter. She could not put away her cereal bowl. It would end up on a coffee table, kitchen counter, or the hood of the car.

            The girl could not reseal a loaf of bread. It would end up opened on the counter. When I reminded her of it, she’d say, “I’ll take care of it later.” That was a bit off-putting, because Kay’s definition of “later” is “whenever.” My nagging didn’t help. It usually just made her cry. Kay and I never argued. We couldn’t because it made her cry. I can’t bear the thought that I made a sweet person cry. That’s why I would’ve made a horrible Daddy.

            Over the years, I accepted Kay’s propensity for leaving stuff out. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. Eventually, I accepted it without feeling bad about it. It was just something Kay did, and I loved her too much to let it bother me. That’s called “acceptance.” And, yes, there is spousal behavior that a person should never accept. Leaving a cereal bowl on the countertop is not one of ‘em… which is fortunate, because Kay has continued to do stuff like that over a 46-year period. .

            There may be things about me that Kay has learned to tolerate. It’s unlikely, but possible. She didn’t mention anything to the group, because we couldn’t say anything negative about one another. It was an event where each spouse had to come up with things she could do to improve the marriage. I mean, “he or she” could do.

            The only way one’s marriage can grow is through the “acceptance” each mate has for the other. The only way that can happen is if, after every decision, they believe that the both of them were winners.  True, that happens only on the planet Nirvana. However, here on Earth, we should each try to move in that direction.

            By the way, in the seminar we were assigned homework on the first night. That was not mentioned when I signed-on to facilitate. The assignment involved a list of 11 questions concerning your mate that you had answer.  For example: Who is her favorite relative? What does she most like about me? What does she fear most in life? – That kind of stuff. We each graded the other. The highest score possible was 33. Kay scored 29 and I got a 26. Dr. Anderson later told us that the spouse with the lower score was the winner, because he or she graded the other more leniently. Boy, was that ever the truth. Kay cut me no slack.

            What I learned from our experience is that it’s best Kay and I not over-think our marriage. Right now we’re in a good place, and if we start trying to come up with ideas to make things better, we’ll get self-conscious about stuff and end up having to take the next course titled “Nine Essentials of Lifelong Love.” If I have to try to concentrate on nine of anything, I’ll end up in cuffs.

            As is, there is nothing Kay does that upsets me. And, she could say the same thing. -- There’s nothing she does that upsets me.

Mark can be contacted at hayter.mark@gmail.com. An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at http://markhayterscolumn.blogspot.com


“News that didn’t make the cut”
            And, now let’s go to ‘News That Didn’t Make the Cut,” with Mark Hayter!’ -- Good morning, welcome to NDMC. I’m Mark Hayter.

KAY: Does that I mean I can leave now?

MARK: Sure, but don’t go far. Where was I? Oh--

            The first lab-grown hamburger was recently purchased for $330,000. The near-meat was grown in a round, high-lipped Petri dish so it would come out looking like a genuine beef patty without anyone having to pat it out. No telling what this thing can do.         

            The red-spongy mass was made up of a wad of mystery plants and a tad of genetically modified yeast, meant to give it a meaty taste. According to scientists, the yeast was created from “cow parts.” The alt-meat fried up just like a real burger patty, with the added distinction of being able to glow in the dark. Possibly.

            The burger cost so much because it took three years to figure out how to engineer the substance. Then it took only three weeks to get it to where a rat would eat it, and two years after that to find a rat that could survive the meal. When asked about the taste of the genetic plant-meat burger, billionaire Reginald Potsworth, III said, “Tastes a lot like chicken weed.”

            A 14-foot giant squid washed up just off the coast of Wellington, New Zealand. Scientists referred to it as a “behemoth”, “gigantic” and a “monster.”  Considering a tentacle from the “gargantuan” creature could barely reach around a keg of beer, this reporter calls it a “humongous” misuse of the word “giant.” The thing couldn’t even wrap itself around the periscope of Captain Nemo’s sub. -- By the way, it’s a near-fact that all squid and octopi are left-handed.

            Drunken kangaroos are causing a lot of trouble for farmers in southeastern Australia. The condition of the roos is known as the “staggers.” The drunken behavior is believed to be linked to an imported variety of “canary grass” that is pretty well taking over the region.

            This particular strain of canary grass also intoxicates sheep and cows. Fortunately, sheep and cows are good drunks. Kangaroos go wacko. Sober kangaroos are nothing to play with, but drunken kangaroos jump higher than they even thought possible, kick harder and turn their necks a complete 180 degrees, making them near impossible to sneak up on.

            Though the condition is weird to the point of being laughable, it can be deadly to a kangaroo. Australian outdoorsman, Dingo Devers, said, “It’s so rare for something odd to be associated with Australia.” Dingo made the comment while chewing on canary weed.  

            Lightning bugs do not turn on their tail lights in an attempt to attract a mate. After a near century of being left in the dark, scientists have now decided to let us in on the secret. Lightning bugs don’t need a light to find a mate. They need a light to keep predators from eating them. Turns out, lightning bugs taste absolutely horrid. Some of you may have already found that out. Yet, they flit around so slowly that they’re an easy catch for bats and other night-fliers. A bat would never intentionally grab a lightning bug, but they don’t know what they’ve got until they’ve chewed on it.

            So as a favor to the bats and other enemies of the firefly, the vulnerable bugs were given the gift of glow. Without the warning-light, predators would not know what they had in their mouths until was too late. Yes, it’s true that we’ve been told bats can’t see, so how do they recognize a light? Scientists are not going to reveal the blind-as-a-bat myth until there’s a slow news day. Regardless, without their flashing light, lightning bugs would likely be extinct. – Wait a minute, they are near-extinct. Their light apparently does not ward off pesticides.   

            Russian cosmonauts have a tradition of peeing inside the bus that takes them to the launch pad. The crude behavior began with Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel into space… and survive the experience. On April 12, 1961, while on his way to the launch pad, Gagarin had to buskaveke (urinate), so he did it on the floor of the trakeskpa (bus). Since Gagarin’s mission was a success, all subsequent cosmonauts decided to take leak on the floor of the bus while heading to the launch pad. Back in the U.S., presidential staff have managed to keep this information away from POTUS. “You never know what the guy is liable to do,” said a high White House horse. Uh, source.

            Linguists have now determined why Brits’ talk funny. A couple of centuries ago, the elite of Britain wanted their speech to be different from that of the commoners, so someone came up with the idea that they drop the “r” sound. “Park the cart” became “pauk tha caut.” It’s called “rhotic replacement,” or, in the States, “Elmer Fudd Disease.”

            Over time, Brits decided to make other changes like losing the “the” before “hospital” and “university.” As in, “Oh, so you attended univahcity?”  Over the years, different regions in Great Britain did other silly things just so they would each sound peculiar to one another. I mean “special”.

            What? Pardon me a second, please. My earplug is giving me fits. – Yes, sugarplum? You’re joking! Really?” –  Uh, I just got word from the director in the booth, that I’m required to let you know that while the main idea in each of these stories is true, some of the details have been necessarily invented due to the failure of those involved returning my calls. True, crapulent-reporting is pretty much accepted nowadays, but Kay just won’t have it.

            Now she’s telling me that we’re out of time so I need to wrap things up. Her words were “Quit it right now!” – So on that note, this is Mark Hayter with “NDMC,” saying— Did she cut me off? Tell me she didn’t cut me off!    


Jill visits

“A Jill Visit”

            Going into last weekend, I was feeling out of touch.  How about you? – Okay, enough about you, let’s get back to me. – I felt stifled. And the crazy thing is, “stifled” is a verb and I seldom feel like a verb.. That’s the kind of mood I was in.

            So, I invited my kid sister, Jill, up for the weekend, ‘cause she’s good at rejuvenating my thinking thing. Brain. That’s what it is, my brain. Jill gladly agreed to spend a chunk of her three day weekend with us. She and I have completely different taste in things, be they food, books, movies and TV shows. – With respect to food, Jill does not like rotisserie chicken because it tastes too wet. I’m just going to let that sit there.

            With regard to movies and TV shows, my sister really likes reality TV. She knows the names of people on Big Brother and Survivor. She likes zombies. “The Walking Dead” is probably her favorite show. I haven’t told her this, but I think she sometimes wishes the situation was real. Like it might take a zombie attack to get this country on the right track. People are always looking for simple solutions.

            Movies? Jill likes scary movies. She seems to enjoy being frightened. She watched the trailer to the new movie “The Nun” and screamed each time at the split second appearance of a black clad figure. The first scream was from surprise, the next two screams were caused by… who can possibly know?

            Considering all the above, is it any wonder why I sought my sister’s help in pulling me out of  my ‘bout with constipation—I mean remoteness? That’s what I had, remoteness.

            Late Sunday night, after talking about grand kids, the job, experiences with rude people, I suggested I locate a movie on Amazon Prime. After about 30 minutes, I settled on “Bushwick.” It’s an action movie, with a hint of scary. Something for everyone.

            I wasn’t expecting much, but ended up really enjoying the movie. It was well produced and well acted. One of the lead actors was Dave Bautista, the muscular tattooed guy in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” A girl named Brittany Snow had the female lead. Those two people acted the daylights out of that movie. I don’t know where they got the rest of the cast, but they, too, were exceptional.

            Had it not been for Jill, I seriously doubt I would’ve picked the action-packed movie about a contemporary civil war in the US. Some of you will be pleased to know that, in the movie, Texas was the first state to secede. I wouldn’t have given that away had it not been mentioned in the previews. 

            After the movie, Jill suggested I find YouTube on the TV, and key in “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly music.” I’ve only seen “The G, B and U” about eight times, but I bought the movie soundtrack and listened to each of Ennio Morricone’s compositions over a hundred times. Jill told me to stop my search at the Danish (as in Denmark) National Symphony Orchestra’s symphony on Morricone’s music. I was going to go for the Bulgarian rendition, but Jill insisted on the Danes.

            The G,B, and U theme song has melodic screaming in it; lyrics that come across more as a succession of  hoots than words. It’s got instruments that make bizarre sounds, one of which is a pair of clapping wooden slats. Small, carved wooden flutes are periodically used. Violins, cellos, horns of every denomination, a couple of choirs... It’s one thing to hear the unusual music, another to see it being performed. As a favor, please visit YouTube and watch and listen to the Danish Orchestra’s performance. Not now! Sometime before bedtime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkM71JPHfjk
            After about an hour of watching and listening to the Danish Orchestra, Jill told be to key in “Sound of Silence Disturbed.” I know the “Sound of Silence.” It’s anything but disturbing. It’s one of the most poignantly beautiful songs ever performed. No one should sing that song but Simon and Garfunkel..

            Turns out “Disturbed” is a heavy metal band whose lead singer, a guy named David Draiman, has two huge loose-leaf notebook binder rings stuck on his chin. I immediately told Jill that I was not interested in hearing him butcher “Sound of Silence.” She told me to just listen.

            When Draiman started his version of Sound of Silence, I told Jill that his voice was okay, but not nearly as captivating as Simon and Garfunkel. But, as the song progressed, the ringed-chin, heavy-metal singer became more emotional, and his voice turned the least bit raspy. When he got to the part “And, the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made!” He was really projecting. I didn’t know a voice that powerful could sound so beautiful. You now have two things to see sometime between now and bedtime.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk7RVw3I8eg

            Jill and I viewed a few other YouTube videos before calling it a night. Kay called it a night at the beginning of  “Bushwick.” Before heading to the guest room, my kid sister kissed me goodnight and told me how much she needed the visit. I assured her I did too.

            I don’t know how it works, but after Jill’s visit I felt so much better about things. Maybe it has to do with taking time to talk about and view things you generally don’t. Gives one a sense of connectiveness. -- Connectiveness may not be a real word, but if it were it’d be a noun, not a verb. I seldom feel like a verb.

Mark can be contacted at hayter.mark@gmail.com. Visit Amazon Books to order Hayter's novel, “The Summer of 1976.”