Friday, June 15, 2018

darling jackass

“The pulse of the neighborhood”

            OUT BACK – Give me a second and I’ll be right with you. I’m trying to find my pulse. I’ve been at it for three minutes. Nothing. If I were the Coroner, I’d have to declare me dead at 7:52 p.m.

            Beg your pardon? Oh, I was watching one of those cop shows where a guy squatted down next to a man lying in the street. The officer felt of the guy’s wrist for about three seconds before saying, “He’s dead.” I decided to see how long it would take me to determine if I was alive. It’s been three minutes and I’m still dead.

            Seems to me the best way to determine if I’m dead would be to stick a pin in my arm, or tickle the roof of my mouth with my toothbrush, or, heaven forbid, have someone sing Captain and Tennille's “Muskrat Love.” Any of those would get a pretty quick reaction from a live me.

            Speaking of 7:52 in the p.m., have you noticed how long the days are getting? Well you need to start. Each day will be little longer than the last up until June 21. No, Matt, that’s not the Fourth of July. That’s the first day of summer, at which point each day begins to get a little shorter until December 21. No, Thelma, that’s not Christmas… unless you live in Canada. (I made that up.)  That’s the first day of winter, after which the days start getting longer.

            By the way, Monday is Victoria Day in Canada. I believe that’s when you can go to the mall and sit on the lap of an old lady who looks like Queen Victoria, and tell her what you wish you had gotten for Christmas the previous year. O’ Canada.

            What’s that? No, it’s not the rifle range. Well, some of it is, but most of the pops are coming from nail guns being used on the houses on the next road over. This subdivision is booming… and popping. The nail gun is considered, by most carpenters, to be the best invention since the hammer-holder on overalls. Before that, they had to stick the claws of their hammers on their bibs. Faris Hayter was a carpenter for a good while, so I know stuff. – Beg pardon? Well, yes, he had a good sense of humor. What does that have to do with anything?

            Hold it a second, Kay’s coming out. – Hi, darling! No, I’m just working on a grocery list. – She’s out here to check her flower garden. Right now, she’s headed for our blackberry bushes. You’d think they were planted in an Arizona rock garden. Just something else I have to mow around.  – Excuse me a second.  -- Sweatpea, I need to show you something! It’s important.”—Here she is. Sober up.

            “Guess what? I just found one red berry.” – “We must have Virginia and Freeman over to share our bounty! Here, have a seat.” – “Why? What are you going to do to me?” – “It’s just an experiment, Sugarplum. I need to find proof that you’re alive.” – “If you had pulled weird stunts like this when were dating, you would’ve ended up married to that girl with the dimples. What was her name?” – “Sugar Smacks, when you walked into my life, I forgot all others. Now sit down and hand me your wrist.”

M: “As I expected, you’re dead. Wait a minute, I feel a song coming on. ‘Muskrat Suzie, Muskrat Sam, Do the jitterbug at a Muskrat Land.’” Hmm, no, you're dead all right. --  
K:  “Captain and Tennille? Really? You’re feeling in the wrong place. Feel right here.”  
M: “Sweetie, it is impossible for the dead person to help the guy who’s looking for a pulse. But, if you insist, I will try your neck using with both my hands.” –  
K: Okay, my darling jack ass, that's about enough of this."  
M: “Well, I can't just leave you dead!” – 
K:  “Have you been taking your pills, Jaw Man?” –  
M: “Well, I did miss an antibiotic.” – 
K: “I’ll go get you one.”

            Once she realizes she has no pulse, she’s gonna hit the floor. Oh, about Jaw Man? Last Friday I had some dental work done as a result of losing my bridge on the way to Waco... which, incidentally, is the title of a new song sung by Kenny Chesney.

            Turns out the dentist couldn’t make a mold for my new bridge because the two teeth the old bridge set on were decayed. One of ‘em had to be pulled. The root on that tooth must’ve been wrapped around one of my ribs. When the dentist has to get leverage by propping his knee on your chest, you’re in trouble. I don’t know how many times he had to grab the inside of my cheek and give me a shot into my gums. The right side of my jaw is still numb. I won’t be able to whistle until Christmas... in Canada.

            Wow, those nail guns are really getting after it, aren’t they. Fortunately, our house is so well insulated that it stifles most outside noises. Unfortunately, the music the guy a few houses down plays every weekend is horrible. Why do people do that? Don’t they know that there are others on this planet? By the way, I don't know if you've noticed, but some rap songs have really bad language in 'em.

            Well, I guess it could be worse. We could be living across the street from a volcano. And that, my friend, is one of the chief reasons Kay married me. Regardless of the circumstances, I choose to focus on the positive.  – Beg pardon? Of course, I’m joking.


Mark can be contacted at An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at

Avengers review

“Avengers Get Raked”

            I took a short survey last week to see how many people could remember the last movie they went to see. When I asked Big Al, he said, “The War Wagon.” My kid brother was 11 when the movie came out, so I took his answer to be sarcasm. Al is the bi-lingual brother. 

            Jill had trouble remembering the last movie she saw because she goes to the movie a lot. She has one of those $10 a month cards that allows her to see all the movies she wants. Jill goes to the movies no less than eight times a month, for a savings around $60. Her visits to the concession stand cost her about $267. More or less.

            My survey ended with Jill, because she started telling everybody about one of her favorite movies of the year– “Avengers: Infinity War.” Jill said it had some funny parts and a lot of action. She said she wants to see it again. I swallowed Jill’s movie review like a fist full of popcorn.

            The day after Jill’s review, suggested Kay and I take my niece and nephew, Rhonda and Curt, to Market Street, The Woodlands to see the Avengers. Unbeknownst to me, the Market Street theatre has been revamped with those big lounge chairs with enough leg-room to make it impossible to trip the people trying to get by.

            I believe it was Archimedes who proved that bigger seats and more leg-room lessen the number of sitting places available in a room. With fewer places to sit, theatres have turned to a system whereby seats can be reserved on-line. I knew something like this was going to happen, I just hoped I would be dead when it did. I can’t win for losing.

            Not to worry, I figured out how to pick out seats from a chart and pay for ‘em on line. It took several tries to get it right, so I ended up getting eight tickets instead of four. Several minutes later, I learned how to cancel four of eight tickets, proving that the program is geared for the technologically challenged.

            So, we were off to the movie where I presented a kid a weird coded square that I had printed off from the theatre’s website. I paid for Rhonda and Curt’s tickets because they didn’t care enough to see the movie to get the tickets themselves. Once at the theatre, I refused to buy their popcorn and drinks. I’m wise as an ostrich.

            In the remaining time we have together, I’m going give you my review of “Avengers: Infinity War.” Let me begin by saying that superhero stories are much easier to write than other action dramas, because you can kill off characters, blow up planets, turn the good guy into a blood thirsty monster, and then come up with a magic rock, ring or rhyme that will turn everything back to the way it was. That being said, the writer(s) of the Avengers screenplay took me beyond my ability to give a hoot.

            Which brings me to a SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen the movie, and you don’t want to know the ending, skip down till you see a sentence at the end of a paragraph that reads “...half of all life in the universe turns to ashes.” Pick up reading at the next paragraph. I’ll give you a few seconds to bail. – Okay, I’m assuming the rest of you have either seen the movie or don’t intend to. So, let’s cut to the quick.

            Am I right in thinking that the villain, Josh Brolin -- I mean Thanos -- wants to destroy half of the life in the universe because he doesn’t think there are enough resources to maintain all of the “beings” in the universe? Was that his reason for going all ballistic?

            I may be wrong here, because I missed some of the talking scenes. When I see 20 minutes of non-stop action followed by five minutes of dialog, I tend to nap. Kay had to wake me up three times during the talking scenes. I think she would’ve graciously let me sleep had I not been snoring.

            I may be over thinking this, but when Thorax, I mean Thanos, kills off half of the Avengers and half of all life in the universe, that makes everything that happened before that, moot. And that, my friend, makes for the worst ending of any movie I’ve ever seen. And, I saw “No Country for Old Men!”

            Not to fear, in “Infinity War II” everything is going to be made right by some magic rock, ring or rhyme. Or perhaps Superman will visit from DC Comics and turn back time by making all of the galaxies in the universe turn in the opposite direction so Thor can go back and hit Thorax in the face instead of the chest with his magic axe.

            It matters not to me, because, unless my sense of reality leaves and fails to return, I’ll not be watching Infinity II. I’d come closer to watching “Titanic II: The Infinity Ship.”   

You can purchase Mark's new e-book -- "The Summer of 1976" at Amazon Books.  Only $2.99! I'm not kidding!
Mark can be contacted at An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at

Monday, June 4, 2018

Curt and Rhonda Texanized

“Chip and Jo: The New Waco”

Chip and Jo's Silos

            I made the decision for our first excursion. I’d tell you about it, but I think it’s best I not bring it up while Rhonda and Curt are still here. Their words were pleasant, but their eyes said, “Uncle Mark is such a moron.”

            The girls got to choose the second outing of our niece and nephew’s visit from Washington. As was suggested by several of you, they chose Chip and Joanna Gaines Waco haven, known as Magnolia Market at the Silos. Curt and I were over the moon about the decision.

            Sensing that I owed our visitors something as a result of the previous day’s debacle, I treated everyone to breakfast at Whataburger before we left town. On the first bite of my Breakfast on a Bun with bacon, I bit into something metallic. I immediately deduced that I was chewing on my bridge that had come loose from my molars. Either that or I had ordered my B o B with metal shards.

            After extracting the fascinating piece of dental work, I wrapped it in a napkin. And, so as not to lose it, I put it in my shirt pocket and ended up throwing it in a garbage can at one of our stops between Conroe and Waco.  According to the dentist’s office, it was a $3000 mistake on my part. Thank you, Chip and Jo. – Well, I’m not saying the couple lost my bridge. I’m just saying that had Chip and Jo not decided to create a fabulous shopping-eating-fun area in Waco I wouldn’t have mistakenly tossed my dental work. In other words, they’re 80 percent responsible.

            We entered Waco shortly before noon, and couldn’t help noticing that there was very little traffic in the city. When we reached our destination, we discovered why. Half the city had decided to eat lunch at The Magnolia Table. That’s the site of a landmark café that the Gaines redesigned and hired hundreds of local builders to help them construct. Just one more reason to rename Waco -- “Chip ‘n Jo.”  

            We ended up eating at Rudy’s BBQ located a short distance from Magnolia Table. The barbecue was great, and we still get to tell people that we once went to lunch at the Magnolia Table. You can “go to lunch” at a place and not actually eat there. I think that’s mentioned somewhere in Leviticus.

            Magnolia Market at the Silos, was not quite as crowed as the restaurant, probably because it was lunch time and two thirds of the city were eating at the place we just came from. I must say, the Silos is a great place to shop, eat and play with some big wooden toys. Watching all the kids and parents playing on a huge open area of carpet grass, I was tempted to go out amongst them, but realized that Curt is way too competitive.

            Speaking of Curt, after following Kay around in the shops for a good while, I went outside and saw Curt sitting at a picnic table under a huge roof that shaded a bunch of picnic tables. He had texted Rhonda telling her where he was and assuring her that she could take her time shopping. What an idiot.

            A couple from California joined us at the table. The man had ordered one of the $9 hotdogs. I generally draw the line at $3 hotdogs, but after seeing the massive piece of work that guy unwrapped, I would’ve definitely let Curt buy me one, had he caught my hint. While ogling the hotdog, I asked the man’s wife if they had seen Chip and Jo's Fixer Upper show in California. They looked at me as if I were dumb enough to throw my bridgework away. Of course, they had seen Fixer Upper! Watched every episode.

            After the girls finished their shopping, I suggested we walk over to the garden area. (That's a lie. They dragged my buns over there.) While Rhonda and Kay inspected each plant and every item in the garden store, Curt and I stood under an awning, where I listened to Curt talk about building barns and houses, and he listened to me talk about the trouble I was having with my garage door opener.

            We ended our visit with a stop at Silos Baking Co. It’s where they sell cupcakes, cookies and to-die-for cinnamon rolls.  We stood in a line that stretched around the corner. When it started raining, I almost made a break for it. It was Kay’s tight grip that kept me planted.

             Girls eventually came out and handed everyone a card with a list of all the cakes and cookies, so you could put a check by what you wanted. I checked “Silo Cookie”, because I had not yet seen what the cinnamon rolls looked like. Curt got two cupcakes, Strawberries ‘n Cream and Ship-lap. The girls chose sissy looking cupcakes.

            While I don’t think the trip was worth $3000, it worked out all right, because Curt not only shared his Shiplap with me, but he bought my cookie.  

            Tomorrow we’re going to stay a little closer to home. We’re going to visit Billy R. Duncan at Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery. He’s going to give us a tour of some of the “oldest remaining structures within Texas.” Curt, a builder of houses, barns and goat pens and a repairer of garage door openers, suggested the visit. We’ve still got a couple of trips left. I will not be the one choosing among the places that so many of you recommended. You were so kind to do that. --  Next time.

Mark can be contacted at An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at

Washingtonians to visit

The grandkids were a riot!

Washington is arriving

            Do any of you remember what all Kay and I did during our stay in the great Northwest? Remember the week in Oregon? In the house on the beach?

      Yes! Curt and I ran down the mountainous sand dune. A couple of you saw the photos. And, before you say it, sand dunes always look smaller in photos.  From where I was standing, it was as if I was planted on Mt. Rainer.

            In the fall we picked apples, Concord grapes, cherries and peaches. We had a family       gathering where everyone helped make apple cider. Kay and I made our own grape juice with grapes that we picked. It tastes better that way. We also got to watch hops being harvest and actually got to ride on a grape picker during a nighttime harvest. – No, Lamar, the picker wasn’t an actual person. It was a monster machine. Always the clown. 

            What else? We saw the Spruce Goose and witnessed a 95 percent eclipse of the sun. And, that’s just a few of the hundreds of things we got to see and do in Washington thanks to our Washingtonian kinfolk. And now, Curt and Rhonda Still are flying down here to see what all Kay and I do here in Texas. Do you see the dilemma? Our area does not lack for things to do. I just don’t do enough of ‘em. And, the things I do do are not all that exciting. (Yes, Jill, I said “do do.” You are so juvenile.)

            Before I go any further, I’ve got say that I really will be glad to see Curt and Rhonda. When you’ve chased goats together, sat hours out on a remote road on a cold night to see the northern lights that never showed; when you’ve walked through a corn maze in the late evening after jamming your knee coming down the giant tube slide, well, you form some bonds. And, we few; we happy few; we band of relatives did some serious bond forming.

            All of that aside, what on earth can Kay and I do so that Curt and Rhonda will form memories of a wonderfully fun week… short of me going away for a week. Oh, I forgot to tell you. They’re only staying the week… which actually creates a massive amount of concern for the hosts. That’s me. Kay doesn’t care. Well, let me rephrase that. Kay is not worried. If you ask me, that is the same as not caring, Any responsible person would be worried about this.

            When we arrived in Washington, my sister Sue and Colonel Don put cute notes and cartoons  on the refrigerator about where things were and what to look out for. Susan is not going to be here, be here this trip, but she and the colonel set a mood. Cute notes? It’s all I can do to find both my shoes at any given time of the day.

            So, now you know what we’re up against? Any suggestions? What? Yes, we could take them to one of the Super Kroger’s. They’ve never even heard of a Kroger. I could introduce them em to Martha, our pharmacist. She’s so sweet.  – What else? -- We could even get them a Whataburger. They don’t have Whataburgers in Washington. They don’t have a Vernon’s, either. Market Street at The Woodlands would impress them. We could eat out and go see Avengers: Infinity War, but I’m not sure Rhonda could sit through Infinity. Curt is the one who likes action movies. Rhonda likes movies where there is talking.

            I know that, because when we were in Washington Friday was movie night. Curt created a  theatre in the basement. We’d pick something from their dvd library or rent something from Redbox. Curt would project the movie on a big white wall, painted with special movie paint. I might have imagined that. Anyway, I got to sit in a loveseat with Kay and eat pizza. One night we had a double feature of two action movies. The girls were forced to leave the theatre.

            Kay suggested we take them to Waco to see Chip and Joanna Gaines, the “Fixer upper” couple. They’ve refurbished a landmark café in Waco and turned it into a huge, classy-looking restaurant. In another area, the couple has the Magnolia Market with shopping, entertainment, eating places, and a couple of silos. Yes, silos. I guess there were no cotton gins available. Kay and Rhonda are all gaga over the Gaines.

            What? Right, some of the other Hayters could get involved. I guess I could take Rhonda and Curt to Pasadena to watch Larry play softball during the heat of the day. Dennis would be playing, but he separated his collar bone from his shoulder during a fall while rounding third. His brain quit communicating with his legs for a second, and that’s all it took. If that hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s going to. A weird sensation.  

            I’m about at the end of space here, so what I’d like you to do is e-mail me some places nearby that you could recommend we visit. By the time you read this our company should have arrived. So please send ideas. No goats, though. Even if they beg me, I’m not taking them to see goats. I don’t even care to joke about it.
(NOTE: By the time you read this, Curt and Rhonda will have come and gone. A great time was had by all. Some of what we did is in the article just above this one.)


Mark can be contacted at An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at