The Dickens Guide to Preparing for Show Day

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a lovely day wherever you may be. My latest magazine article came out recently, and I’m going to share it with you today. This article isn’t one of my usual stories from my seedy past. Instead, I decided to take another shot at being somewhat educational. I, of course, failed miserably at this, but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

The Dickens Guide to Preparing for Show Day

Ah February, the slimmest and sexiest month of the year. For most folks this month means Valentine’s Day flowers, chocolates, and romance. But for junior cattlemen in Mississippi February holds a much more important event, The Dixie National Livestock Show. Every year hundreds of junior cattlemen descend upon Jackson looking to distinguish themselves in the show ring. However, before they can even make it to that ring, they must first be prepared, and once again I have taken it upon myself to educate our youthful exhibitors. So come children, drink from the fountain of knowledge, and let Uncle Chase teach you how to prepare for show day.

Step One: Getting an Early Start

The morning of the show can be a hectic time. With hundreds of calves in the barn and a limited amount of wash rack space, it’s nice to get a head start by beginning your day bright and early. Unfortunately, my father’s definition of “bright and early” was what most people would describe as “dark and late,” better known as the middle of the night. I believe he reveled in the sight of sleep deprived children. However, I can honestly say that I was never once late for a show, even if I did have to rise at an hour when the only rational people awake were still drinking in bars.

Step Two: Washing the Calves

Once you’ve cleared your bleary eyes and properly cursed your father’s name, it’s time to wash the calves. Washing is pretty straightforward. There are a myriad of different soaps, brushes, and combs you can use, but I won’t get into that any of that right now because it’s boring and I simply cannot imagine a world where I write about soap. Unless of course you’re reading this and happen to own a magazine about soap, in which case, hit me up. I’m very hungry. Anyway, just make sure your calf is thoroughly clean and free of any dirt and manure.

However, you can use this opportunity to exact a little revenge on your early rising father with a well-placed squirt of the water hose. When he gets mad blame your calf for fidgeting. Calves are cool and won’t snitch on you. If he starts yelling about you getting him wet in the middle of February, try pointing out the fact that he’d probably dry a lot faster if the sun was actually out.

Step Three: Cleaning the Beds

Now that the calves are washed and tied up, it’s time to grab the pooper-scooper and clean the bed. Once again this is another pretty straightforward step. It doesn’t exactly take a PhD to scoop poo, and if you really need me to explain the intricacies of the process you might want to reconsider handling large animals as a hobby, or any sharp objects for that matter.

However, if you have a unobservant sibling with you and want to save yourself a little time, you can attempt a little covert poo relocation. When he suspiciously points out that his calf appears to have defecated a midsize sedan, tell him that it’s not a contest and that he shouldn’t brag about his calf’s pooing prowess.

Step Four, Part I: Taunt the Long Haired Cattle Exhibitors

Those of you showing short haired cattle breeds may get a little break in the preparations at this point. If you happen to be bored I suggest using this extra time to point and laugh at your long haired exhibitor friends because while you’re basically finished they still have to give their calf a perm, frost its tips, or whatever it is those guys do all day. I wouldn’t know. I showed Brahmans, and even with the extra mass in the humpular area they were a breeze to clean.

Exert from The Dickens Family Dictionary

Humpular Area – a term referring to the humped region of a Brahman’s back and is totally a word no matter what spellcheck says.

Remember that the joking is all in good fun. The trick is to be just mocking enough to illicit a few sneers and groans but no so much that you get stabbed in the face with a fitting comb.

Step Four, Part II: Retaliate Against Short Haired Cattle Exhibitors

Don’t think I forgot about you long haired cattle folks. You guys may not have as much free time, but those fabulously fluffy calves don’t happen by accident. And sure, the mocking from your short haired friends may ruffle your hackles in a way that no amount of brushing can comb flat, but don’t get mad. Get even!

You simply have to wait until your friend is leading their short haired calf on the way to the show ring and then fire up that industrial sized blow dryer of yours. Being unaccustomed to any type of loud drying apparatuses, the calf can only assume that it’s just encountered some type of terrifying snakelike creature that wields all the mighty power of the wind. As your friend’s calf inevitably drags them away, feel free to shout something biting like, “Good luck! I sure hope I didn’t… blow… your chances at the show!”

Laughing manically afterwards is option but highly suggested. However, once their panicked screams for help fade into the distance, you probably need to get back to being your calf’s makeup artist, or a Cowsmetician if you may.

(Author’s Note: Two puns in one entry? I’m going to have to rename my column, Pun Like the Dickens. Boom! Bonus pun!)

Step Five: You Got This

With all the other preparations complete it’s just a matter of adjusting your hat, listening to the obligatory talk from your (still damp) father about how real men never let go of the rope, and then leading your calf towards the arena. Just remember, you got this. Sure you’re only an eighty pound kid in an oversized cowboy hat leading a half ton of beef by a three foot leather strap, but you totally got this.

The End

I hope you enjoyed the article today. If you’re new to my blog feel free to peruse through some of my older work in the archive section. If you’d like to get in touch with me for any reason you can shoot me an email or contact me on my Facebook page. Both links are in the top menu. Go ahead and like the page while you’re there. And hey, if you want to do me a huge favor you can share this article with all your Facebook friends or social media thingy of your choice, I would greatly appreciate. We writers subsist solely on caffeine and attention, and I’ve already had coffee today. Now, I just need you to share.



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Attack of the Killer Donkey

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season wherever you may be. Sorry I’ve been a little bit silent the last few weeks on Facebook and the blog, but I’m back from my holiday break to share my latest magazine article with you. So without further ado, here is a lovely little story about my dear father and a much less dear donkey.


Attack of the Killer Donkey

“Yes sir, that there’s the finest ass I’ve ever raised,” said the lying donkey farmer.

Dad turned from the overall clad farmer to examine the animal on the trailer. The old, graying donkey was squat and homely. It looked a little like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. That is if Eeyore had a pack-a-day habit and Christopher Robin had beaten him with a logging chain. Its left eye was milked over, and one ear was notched and torn. Dad leaned in closer to the trailer, and the donkey pulled back its ears, a low rumble reverberating from its chest.

Dad took a slow step back and asked, “Did that thing just growl at me? You don’t often hear that from donkeys.”

“Naw, he’s really an ole softy,” the farmer said. “He’s just purring at ya, kinda like a sweet baby kitten. I call him Fluffy.”

Dad glanced back and forth from the grizzled donkey to the farmer wearing a too wide smile. He only needed the animal to keep coyotes out of the field, not for a petting zoo. Plus, the price was fair. So, with a shrug Dad paid the man and got into the truck to haul Fluffy to his new home.

Making a loop in the cow pasture, Dad put the truck in park and walked around the trailer. Fluffy was making that weird “purring” sound even louder now, so Dad very cautious opened the gate and quickly got out of the way. The little gray donkey bolted out of the trailer and into the pasture, bucking and hee-hawing in what no sane person would describe as sweet baby kitten behavior.

Fluffy eventually spotted the cows grazing just a few yards away and broke into a full gallop heading straight for the herd. At first Dad thought this was a good thing. We’d had donkeys in the past that tended to shirk their duties and stay far away from the cows they were meant to protect.

However, just as he entered the herd Fluffy let out another sharp “Hee-haw!” and kicked the ever-loving snot out of the nearest cow. Dad barely had time to gape in surprise when the donkey charged a week old calf, bit down on the back of its neck, and began violently slinging the poor baby back and forth.

Perhaps, the Fluffy had gone blind and senile in his old age and honestly thought he was doing everyone favor by taking out what he thought was herd of coyotes in the field. Or perhaps Fluffy simply was what he was, a crazy old jackass. Regardless, Dad found himself shouting, “That’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do, Fluffy!”

Picking up a stout stick, Dad took off at a full sprint to save the calf from the sadistic donkey. When he was only a few steps away, Fluffy dropped the unfortunate calf, turned, and charged at what he probably thought was a man-shaped coyote wielding a stick. Dad let out a squeak and, hurling the stick at Fluffy, turned tail and ran. The insane animal chased him several yards to the hay barn where Dad flipped over the gate to safety.

Dad had barely hit the ground when Fluffy turned and galloped back to the herd to continue his crusade against the calves. He kick and bit at any calf that would get within his reach. Dad had no idea what to do. He didn’t have a gun in his truck, and a stick clearly didn’t intimidate the hell-beast in the least. He glanced frantically around, looking for anything at all that could be used as a weapon. His eyes stopped on the big blue New Holland tractor and the nice and pointy, three-pronged hayfork protruding from its front. Dad smiled a terrible smile.

The tractor’s engine roared as it ramped a terrace row, and Dad hit the oddly high pitched horn with a sharp, BEEEEEP! He of course did not want to skewer a donkey with a hayfork. Just the thought of that made him queasy. He’d try to run him off first. However, those calves were his responsibility and livelihood, and Fluffy the insane donkey might not leave him with any other choice.

Dad shifted to a higher gear and sped towards the herd. Fluffy paused in his attempt massacre when he spotted the tractor with a man hanging out of the door shouting, “Who’s the big man now, Fluffy!?!” BEEP! BEEP! BEEEEP!!!

Showing an impressive amount of agility for a gamey little creature, Fluffy darted to the side just in time to dodge the tractor. Dad turned in his seat, and to his disbelief the possibly possessed donkey had immediately ran to the next calf and continued trying to bite and stomp it to death.

Dad jerked on the wheel, spinning the tractor around and gunning it towards the donkey. Say what you will about Fluffy, but that little jack wasn’t scared anything. Instead of running or even dodging, Fluffy kicked back with both feet at the front tire of the moving tractor. This, predictably, did not go well for Fluffy, and the little donkey was sent skidding forward and tumbled face first into the mud.

Apparently Fluffy’s fall made him lose his appetite for murder, because the donkey leapt up from the mud and took off galloping across the field away from the calves and the madman on the tractor. Dad threw the tractor back into gear to give chase, leaning out of the door and shouting, “Yeah! Looks like someone brought hooves to a tractor fight!”

After going on a merry chase across the field and all around the farm, Fluffy eventually ran himself right into the catch pen. After closing the gate and making a lot of rather crude celebratory gestures at the Fluffy, Dad checked on the calves. Except for a few scrapes and some possible PTSD, all of the calves made it out just fine. As for Fluffy, he went straight back home to live with the lying donkey farmer’s family. I assume none of them survived.

The End


I hope you enjoyed the story today. If you happen to be affiliated with some sort of publication and would like to publish some of my work, feel free to send me an email or contact me on Facebook. The links to both are in the main menu of this blog. If you read the story and decided that I’m a pretty swell guy, maybe you could do me a huge favor and share it on Facebook or whatever social media thingy you use. I’d greatly appreciate it. If you are apprehensive about sharing a story with the word “ass” in it, just remember that Jesus also said “ass” like a lot, so I’m pretty sure you should feel bad for judging me and share my story as an apology.



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The Christmas Lights Calamity

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a while since I last posted on here, but I hope you’ve been having an enchanting winter wherever you may be. The last few months have had a lot of ups and downs for me, and I just haven’t been getting as much writing done as I need to. Hopefully, I can make up for it just a little bit today by sharing my latest magazine article with you. With the holidays right around the corner I’m going to once again jump on the bandwagon, run right over Thanksgiving, and tell you a Christmas story.

The Christmas Lights Calamity

“Does that look straight to y’all’? Dad called down from the roof of the house, holding up a string of Christmas lights.

“Maybe a bit higher,” Corey answered from the yard.

It was an exciting day at the Dickens household. Every year my brothers and I would beg our parents to hang Christmas lights, and every year they’d yell “Bah humbug!” and crush the dreams of their innocent children. However, all of our pestering had finally worn the Scrooges down, and at long last our twinkling Christmas dream was coming true.

Leaning an old wooden ladder against the house, Mom and Dad had climbed to the roof. Being a man of profound wisdom, Dad had concocted a masterful plan to safely hang the lights. Taking a length of rope, he’d tied one end around his waist and the other end around Mom’s. The plan was that they’d stay on opposite sides of the roof’s peak and act as counter weights to each other in case one of them slipped.

Dad tacked down the cord and walked carefully across the roof to retrieve another string of lights. Reaching into a box labeled, Tina’s Christmas Junk, he grabbed a cord and pulled, and all the lights came out in a tangled mess. After muttering something probably unsavory under his breath he said, “I don’t know why we’re hanging lights on a house a mile off the main road.”

“So Santa Claus can see where to land,” I called up to him excitedly.

Jerking on the giant ball of lights Dad replied, “Naw, it’s so Santa’s chunky, old butt can just do a fly by and drop a ton of coal for you boys. It’s sorta like a Naughty List Air Strike.”

I turned to my oldest brother, BJ, and asked, “Why’s Santa bring coal for naughty kids”?

BJ furrowed his brow in contemplation for a moment then answered, “Parents use the coal to burn their youngest child as a warning to their other kids.”

“BJ! Stop lying to your brother!” Mom shouted. Then she bared her teeth in a wicked smile and continued, “Everyone knows you burn the oldest. They’re the instigators.”

My brothers and I cackled with laughter while Dad was still angrily yanking on cords. The lights were wrapped around his arms and dangling around his legs in a knotted mess.

“Y’all stop goofing around,” Dad ranted. “I’m trying to be festive and spread some stupid cheer here!”

Losing all patience he started jerking harder on the snarled cables and cursing through gritted teeth, “Stupid piece of humpty…”

His rants were cut off with a sharp yelp as he tripped over the dangling Christmas lights. He stumbled a few steps before losing his balance. He hit the roof hard and immediately began sliding down the slope. His safety rope jerked taut, but unfortunately for Dad, physics were not on his side. During his planning he’d forgotten to take this simple equation into account:

1 Tina Dickens = roughly ½ Jeff Dickens

As the rope snapped taut Mom was wrenched forward. Her feet shot out from under her, and she half rolled, half ramped over the peak of the roof. Dad’s slide was slowed but not stopped as he skidded down the incline in a screaming mass of flailing limbs and tangled lights. He flew feet-first off the edge of the roof but somehow managed to drop directly onto the ladder.

His feet crashed straight through the top step, and the old wooden ladder sounded like it was being run through a wood chipper as Dad’s weight propelled him downward, shattering every step along the way. He slammed into the ground amongst a storm of dust and falling splinters and laid sprawled out on his back, silent and still. After the space of a long breath, the two side of the broken ladder slid slowly from the ledge and fell to either side of him.

A lot of panicking and yelling ensued. Mom had managed to catch herself before following her husband off the roof, and after seeing Dad lying unconscious in the yard she quickly ordered BJ to call Pawpaw for help while Corey and I to fetched her an undestroyed ladder.
By the time we got Mom safely down from the roof Dad was just beginning to stir awake, and we all squatted around him as he blinked dazedly at the sky.

“Jeff, are you okay? Can you move everything”? Mom asked fear tinging her voice.

Dad wiggled his feet and gave a small, pained nod of his head. Our relief was almost palpable, and most of the tension drained from all of us. Leaning over Dad, I brushed some splinters out of his hair and gave him a toothy grin, “I guess this means no Christmas lights again.”

Dad stared blankly at me for a long moment before turning slowly to look up at Mom. He placed a trembling hand on her arm and in a soft, shaky voice said, “Tina, if I don’t make it, burn the boy. Burn him with coal.”

The End

Well, I hope you enjoyed the story today. If you are new to my stuff feel free to peruse the archives of the blog to checkout some of my older stories. You can also like me on Facebook by following the link in the top menu of this page. And hey, do you want to do me a big favor? Go share this story on Facebook or other social media site for all your friends to see. If enough of you share I might become rich and famous one day and maybe like get to play tennis with Oprah or something else pointlessly impressive like that. I could so take her. So go share!



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The Dickens Guide to Surviving a Cow Attack

As a whole cows are pretty docile animals, but don’t let the fact that they look like brisket-filled beanbag chairs fool you. As any cattleman can attest, a small percentage of cows can be quite dangerous. Did you know that cows kill more people every year than sharks do?

That’s a pretty scary statistic, but to be fair cows have much more opportunities for mayhem. How many people a year do you think are killed trying to milk a shark? Probably two, no more than three tops. Besides, cows don’t have to worry about giving themselves away with a dorsal fin protruding from their back.

Author’s Note: The humped Brahman, of course, being the exception to this rule. They’re the Great White Sharks of the bovine world.

The majority of these cattle related fatalities are probably accidents and not the result of vicious attacks. However, there are exceptions. I’ve personally met several cows who’d be more comfortable fighting in a barbarian horde than grazing on a peaceful farm. The danger is out there, yet the Discovery Channel firmly refuses to change Shark Week to Cow Week, no matter how many scathing letters I write.

Who then will teach people how to survive when they find themselves face to face with Bovine the Destroyer, the barbarian cow? The snooty lawyers at the Discovery Channel have asked me to stop sending my letters, even the ones masterfully illustrated with my crayon doodles of axe-wielding cows. So, I suppose this dire responsibility has fallen to me. Therefore, I give you my guide to surviving a cow attack.

The Dickens Guide to Surviving a Cow Attack

Step One: Be Wary
Cows can strike viciously and without warning. However, if you remain vigilant and watch for signs of impending doom, you might be able to avoid the attack altogether. Keep a wary eye on any cow with its head held high and ears pulled back. This is usually a sign of nervousness. Unfortunately, figuring out whether they’re nervously about to flee or nervously considering murder-killing you to death in a storm of hooves can be a little tricky to determine. Either way they probably don’t want you go walk up and pet them.

However, the most dangerous thing to watch for is a cow with a calf. Momma cows can smell and, probably, even taste your fear. Avoid them at all cost, and turn your back to them at your own peril.

Step Two: Evasive Maneuvers
Even with my sage advice you may find yourself unable to avoid an attack. Natural speed and athleticism will play a significant factor in your effectiveness at evading Bovine the Destroyer and her mission to eradicate the human race. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to survive.

First and foremost, always have an escape plan. Try to remain within safe running distance of a fence, vehicle, or even a particularly easy to climb tree. I also suggest practicing your fence climbing maneuvers. Whether it’s flipping over the fence like a graceful acrobat or flopping to the ground and rolling under, you never know which technique could save your life.

If you’re unable to escape but happen to have a sibling close by, you can always use them as a handy distraction. Cows, being much like lions, usually seek out the weakest prey. And in my experience few things appear weaker than a recently tripped and abandoned brother.

Author’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure I only had enough helpful information for two steps, and both of those were pretty much commonsense already. However, I need to reach a certain word count for this article. Otherwise my editor, LeAnne, will keep me locked in The Writer Cage until I’ve written enough jokes. It’s kind of cramped in here, and there’s no wifi. So, if it’s alright with you folks I’m just going to make up a bunch of nonsense from here on, which is basically what I do most of the time anyways.
So, if evasive maneuvers don’t work, I don’t know… Maybe, scream like really loud?
Hey! That’ll work. I can totally write about that!

Step Three: Scream Like Really Loud
Loud noises can be both distracting and discombobulating. This is why soldiers use flashbangs during ambushes, and why babies use ear-piercing cries to distract their parents from their evil and nefarious baby schemes. If you find yourself the victim of a cow attack, try screaming really loud. Do your best to emulate what you’d imagine a Pterodactyl stepping on a Lego block would sound like.

Due to their floppy, elongated ears cows possess a keen sense of hearing. Because of this they’re very sensitive to the screams of short, red-bearded farmers making shrill dinosaur noises. You can turn one of their strengths against them to make your escape.

Author’s Note: I’m not entirely sure if that’s how ears work… Or babies for that matter.

Step Four: Establish Dominance
Even if you escape the initial attack from the bloodthirsty bovine, in all likelihood you’re going to have to deal with the hell-beast again. However, if you can establish yourself as the Alpha of the herd, you might be able to avoid all the running and screaming in the future. Unfortunately, there’s not exactly a surefire way to exert dominance over a creature that’s roughly the size of a Ford Focus. But I’m still several hundred words short of an article, so here are a couple of sound ideas that I just made up.

You could challenge the troubling cow to a gentlemanly bout of fisticuffs for the right to rule the farm. However, just because the cow lacks both fists and cuffs does not guaranty victory, but that doesn’t mean you should be too afraid to try. Cows will never be cowed by a cowering coward.

Author’s Note: You have no idea how long I tried to fit the word “cowl” into that last sentence.

You could also try taking a page from the popular book and film franchise, The Hunger Games. In case you haven’t read them, the books are about an evil government that every year takes a couple dozen kids from their respective homes then forces them to fight to the death in a needlessly elaborate arena while the entire country watches. The government does this to set an example and prove that they have absolute power over the people.

I think the book was supposed to be a metaphor about the dangers of too much government power or something, but all I learned was that it’s alright to plagiarize your book as long as you’re only ripping off a Japanese movie that nobody’s ever heard of. However, you could easily employing the same methods to establish dominance over your herd. You simple wrangle up several calves and force them to fight inside your barn. The watching cows would certainly learn who’s in charge then.

Besides the obvious ethical and moral dilemmas with this method, you may have a difficult time getting the calves to properly fight each other. Even if you manage it, the battle would probably be aggressively boring since their stupid little hooves make it nearly impossible to shoot a bow or even hold a sword.

Author’s Note: This would still make a better book than The Hunger Games.

Step Five: Surrender
If all these steps fail to stop Bovine the Destroyer, you really only have one option left. Surrender. You could try ceding her territory and hope she remains in her pasture. However, sooner or later her lust for power will have to be sated. She’ll eventually conquer each field until she is the sovereign ruler of the farm. All you can do then is throw yourself at her hooves and pledge your undying loyalty to her. Her honor demands that she spare your life and accept you as a servant. And she shall be crowned Queen of the Cows.

All hail Bovine the Destroyer, Queen of the Cows.

Author’s Note: I’ll admit this article spiraled out of control and crash landed somewhere in the realm of strange. However, I’ve finally reached my word count, and I can see LeAnne heading this way with the key to The Writer Cage. It seems I’ve finally earned my freedom. At least, until next month…

The End

I hope everyone enjoyed the article today. It is certainly one of the weirder ones that I’ve written over the years. If you’re new to my blog feel free to peruse through the archives to read some of my older stuff. If you haven’t done so yet, you can like my Facebook page by following the link in the top menu of this page. Also, it’s a little known fact that if you don’t share this article on Facebook or other social media, Bovine the Destroyer will find you and destroy you. So go share this article, not for me but for your safety.



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The Flowerpot Caper

Hi everyone, I hope all is well wherever you may be. You might have been wondering where I’ve been for the last few months. I sort of took an unintended break from writing when I missed the deadline for the magazine because I apparently forgot how calendars. But I am still here, and I have a lovely story for you today. So let’s get to it.

The Flowerpot Caper

Uncle Chris parked his truck in his parents’ drive and opened the door just as his father, “Pawpaw” Bobby Dickens, came storming out of the house. He was holding a 2×4 the length of a baseball bat, and if the furious scowl he wore was any indication, he wasn’t intending to do any carpentry.

Chris heard his mother call from the house, “Dickens! Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m gunna go find them!” Pawpaw yelled back to his wife and headed for his truck but paused when he saw Uncle Chris standing in the driveway.

“Good. You’re here. I probably won’t need this then,” Pawpaw said holding up his makeshift club. “Get in the truck.”

Uncle Chris jogged to the truck and jumped into the cab just as his father started the engine.

“Dad, what’s…”

His question was cut short as his father threw the truck in reverse. The tires squealed, and Uncle Chris slammed into the dash. The truck pealed out onto the gravel driveway, and Uncle Chris flew back into his seat as they lurched forward speeding down the road.

“Dad!” Uncle Chris finally managed to get out, “What’s going on?”

The truck fishtailed around a curve slinging a spray of gravel. Pawpaw yanked the wheel straightening the vehicle and accelerated as he explained, “Some fella and his daughter came by the house asking for directions a few minutes ago. Your momma went outside after they left and noticed that they’d stole one of her flowerpots.”

Uncle Chris gaped in surprise. “Wait, this is about a pot? You’re acting we’re chasing down a murderer to dole out some good old fashion, wild west justice. But just a flowerpot?”

“Not just a flowerpot,” Pawpaw replied, his knuckles white on the steering wheel, “Mrs. Dickens’s flowerpot.”

“And the 2×4?” Uncle Chris asked pointing to the board laying across the center console.

“Gotta do whatcha gotta do when you get my age. Got a problem with it?”

Uncle Chris held his hands out in conciliatory gesture, “No sir. No problem.” He patted the 2X4, “Completely on board.”

Pawpaw’s scowl blossomed into a wild grin, an expression that was really just a pointier, more terrifying version of his scowl. Uncle Chris’s adrenaline surged as the truck ramped onto the highway, and he found himself returning his father’s crazy smile as the tires screeched onto the blacktop road. They flew down the road for less than a mile when they saw a rusty, beat up car parked in the neighbor’s driveway.

“There they are,” Pawpaw said.

He slammed on the brakes and cut the wheel hard to the right. The truck slid into ditch, ramped up the culvert, and slung up a cloud of dust as it skidded to a stop behind the car. Uncle Chris leapt out and strode over to the car. A man with graying hair sat behind the wheel smoking a cigarette, and a thin, younger woman sat in the seat beside him. The man wore a belligerent expression as he rolled down the window and shouted, “Have you lost your mind?”

The man’s eyes grew wide as Pawpaw rounded the front of the truck wielding his 2×4, “Gimme back my flowerpot”

The man cursed under his breath and said, “I ain’t got your pot.”

Uncle Chris glanced into the backseat where a pot of colorful flowers sat in plain sight. He leaned down until he was eye to eye with the apparent master criminal and in a cold, hard voice said, “Either you or those flowers are about to come through this window. I don’t particularly care which.”

The man paled and shrunk away from the window, but the woman started screaming and cussing at Uncle Chris. She suggested some rather uncouth and anatomically impossible things that he could do with those pretty flowers and finished her tirade by shouting, “We were heading to put them on my mother’s grave!”

Pawpaw shoved passed his son and pointed a stern finger at the woman, “I don’t care if you’re Mary Magdalene heading to Jesus’s tomb. I would’ve gave it to you if you’d just asked.”

“It’s just a flowerpot!” She wailed.

“No, it’s Mrs. Dickens’s flowerpot!” Pawpaw wailed louder.

Keeping an eye on the man, Uncle Chris watched in horror as the gray haired thief scrambled to pull a knife from his belt. Without thinking, he lunged forward pushing Pawpaw out of the way and grabbed the man by the head. Not on the back of the head, he seized the man directly by the face like he was palming a basketball. Unfortunately for Uncle Chris, the man still had a cigarette hanging from his lips.

Uncle Chris howled in pain as the cigarette burned his palm but managed keep his grip. And being a man of his word, he tried his ever-loving best to pull the thief through the window by his face. The woman let out a blood curdling shriek and grabbed the back of the man’s pants trying to pull him back into the car. The man probably would’ve joined in on all the screaming, but he was a little busy choking on his cigarette.

While everyone else was distracted playing a game of tug-of-war with a knife wielding thief, Pawpaw had kept his eye on the prize. Moving quickly around the car he set down his 2×4 and opened the backdoor, but just as he was reaching for the stolen flowerpot the woman somehow managed to shift the car into gear and hit the gas.

Pawpaw snatched the flowerpot from the backseat as the car lurched forward causing Uncle Chris to lose his grip and fall sprawling to the ground. The car ramped the ditch onto the highway, and they both watched as the two unfortunate thieves sped away with the backdoor swinging open and the terrified man still hanging halfway out of the window.

Uncle Chris sat in the dirt examining his burned hand and trying to figure out how his afternoon had taken such a turn for the insane. He climbed to his feet as Pawpaw strolled over with the flowerpot cradled in one arm and his 2×4 in the other.

“Well, that went better than I imagined it would,” He said with a wide smile.

Uncle Chris snorted, “In the last ten minutes I had to fight a man trying to stab me, was burned with a lit cigarette, and almost got run over by a car.”

Pawpaw seemed to ponder that for a moment then handed the 2×4 to his son. Uncle Chris stared at the board then back at his father questioningly. Pawpaw flashed his wild grin again, “Next time bring a board to a knife fight.” And Uncle Chris listened to his laugh all the way home.

The End

I hope you all enjoyed this story from my family’s crazy past. If you were particularly fond of it you should do me a favor and share the link on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media of your choice. You can also go like my page on Facebook if you haven’t done so already. The link is in the top menu of this page. Hope everyone has a great week. Thanks for reading.



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The (Odd) Lessons I Learned Growing Up On a Farm

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having an enchanting Monday wherever you may be. If your day has been less than enchanting maybe I can at least amuse you for a little while. My latest magazine article came out recently, and I’m going to share it with you today. Why don’t you take a break from your usual Monday grind and read about some of the stranger things I learned growing up on a farm.

The (Odd) Lessons I Learned Growing Up On a Farm

Over the years I’ve read dozens of articles describing the profound life lessons that you learn growing up on a farm. Most of these seem to touch on similar ideals. They tend to say things like, “Life on a farm taught me the value of hard work” or “Farming instilled in me a love for animals.”

I enjoy reading these articles. Being raised on a farm taught me many wonderful life lessons. However, it also taught me a vast array of bizarre things along the way, and I feel like those more offbeat lessons are often overlooked. So, here are just a few of the odder things that I learned growing up on a farm:

The Ability Identify Types of Manure by Smell Alone

My family raises mostly cattle. However, we’ve owned a wide variety of different farm animals at one time or another, and at some point in my life I realized something strange. I’d developed a keen sense of smell for animal droppings.

Go ahead. Laugh if you want. I’ve spoken to several other farmers about this very subject, and after getting over the initial weirdness of a guy asking about the smell of manure, they admitted that they too could tell the difference. I’m fully convinced that you could kidnap me off the street and dump me blindfolded into a random animal pen, and I’d be able to identify what type of animal you’ve imprisoned me with using only the power of my nose.

(Author’s Note: Please do not test this theory.)

I know this is a weird subject to write about, but you’ve got to admit that’s some pretty impressive nose-work. It’s kind of like a superpower, albeit a pretty lame one. Although, I doubt the Justice League will be inviting me to join the team anytime soon. However, Superman, if you happens to read this article just know that The Manure Marvel is always willing to lend his unique abilities to assist you with fighting evil.

(Author’s Note: The Manure Marvel is only my tentative superhero name. I’m also considering Professor Poop and Doctor Dung.)

How to Hypnotize a Chicken

For some reason people rarely believe me when I tell them that I can hypnotize a chicken. I assume it’s because they’re picturing this stubby red-bearded writer chasing a chicken around the yard with a pocket watch while yelling, “BACOCK! You’re feeling sleepy, very sleepy!”

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. I don’t remember exactly who taught me this cool little trick, but I’m going to share the secret with you folks. All you have to do is catch a chicken, gently push its head down until its beak is resting flat on the ground, and starting at its beak draw a line in the dirt with your finger. The chicken should stare ahead unmoving until you touch it. That’s it! You now know how to hypnotize a chicken, or some chickens at least. It doesn’t always work on the more rambunctious fowls.

You’re probably asking right now, “How could hypnotizing a chicken ever possibly be of any use to me? Out of all the lessons you learned on the farm you share this one, Chase? You’re awful at writing and should run away and go live in a hole.”

Firstly, that’s pretty hurtful, Hypothetical Person I just made up. Secondly, these are the “odd” lessons I learned on a farm, not necessarily the most useful.

However, this lesson did serve me well once when I started taking bets at a petting zoo that I could hypnotize the chickens. I managed to swindle a few dollars from some gullible kids before the owner kindly asked me to stop hustling his customers.

Never Stand on a Gate

This particular lesson probably seems less odd and more like commonsense. When you stand on a gate you risk bending the hinges, stripping the bolts, or warping the entire gate. However, while the lesson itself may not be particularly odd, how I actually learned it can certainly be considered unorthodox.

To my recollection I’ve stood on a gate a grand total of twice in my life. The first time I was around ten years old. My Uncle Chris and I were working cows at the barn, and during a lull in the work I climbed onto a gate and started bouncing on it like a trampoline. I was just considering doing an epic, backflip dismount when Uncle Chris smacked me on the back of the head and said, “Boy, never stand on a gate. That’s strike one.”

The second and last time I ever stood on a gate was approximately fifteen minutes later. Being a distractible child with the attention span of a drunk fruit fly, I’d forgotten about the first warning and climbed back onto the exact same gate. My feet had barely left the dirt when Uncle Chris spoke from behind me, “Strike two. You’re out.”

I was about to tell my uncle that I didn’t think he fully grasped the intricacies of the three strike system of baseball. However, before I could turn around a slight buzz sounded behind me. Suddenly, the back of my leg felt like it was being stabbed by a sword forged entirely from the stingers of a thousand irate bubble bees.

With a high pitched squeal I leapt off the gate and spun to face Uncle Chris. He pointed the dangerous end of the hotshot at me and pressed button again sending blue sparks dancing across the metal prongs. He flashed me a roguish smile and said, “I bet you never climb a gate again.”

I cherish all of the profound lessons growing up on a farm taught me about life. I learned the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. I learned to respect the land and the animals under my care. However, you better believe that I’d quit my job and burn down the farm before I so much as prop my foot on a gate again. Some lessons in life don’t have to be profound to really stick with you.

The End

I hope you enjoyed the article this month. If you’d like to read more of my mindless ramblings feel free to check out some of my older works in the archives section of the blog or follow me all the time by liking my Facebook page. The link is in the top menu of the blog. If you want to be just an all-around awesome human being you can share this article on your Facebook page or other social media thingy. Just click on the little share button below, and you’ll be my hero for the day.



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A Day in the Life of Tina Dickens

Hi everyone, I hope all is going well wherever you may be. Sorry I haven’t updated the blog in a while, but now I’m back to share my latest magazine article with all of you. Today, I’m going to give you a brief glimpse at some of the hijinks my mom went through raising her three hellions.

A Day in the Life of Tina Dickens

7:30 AM:
Tina Dickens stood in her kitchen enjoying the peaceful morning. She breathed in the quiet, savoring the silence of a world half asleep. Unfortunately, the silence was trampled by the patter of tiny running feet.

Her youngest son, Chase, flew through the kitchen wearing a floppy, pirate hat and black eyepatch. Without slowing he whacked his mother with a plastic sword yelling, “Avast!”

Tina grabbed for him, but he was already out the other side of the kitchen giggling as he ran. Shaking her head she turned back and continued preparing breakfast until Corey walked in a few moments later. Always her mild mannered middle child, he took a seat at the table and said, “Morning Mom.”

“Morning,” she replied. “BJ up yet?”

As if on cue her eldest son shuffled in looking bleary eyed. He made a few indistinct grunting noises that Tina always liked to pretend meant, “Good Morning Mother. Don’t you look lovely on this fine day.”

Before she could reply Chase ran back through the kitchen swinging his sword above his head. This time Tina snatched him up and sat him at the table saying, “You better watch out. Pirating is a hanging offense.”

Chase smiled up at her then he turned to BJ and said excitedly, “Ahoy!”

BJ stared blankly at his little brother for a few seconds before asking, “Why’re you dressed like a pirate?”

“Because I can’t find my ninja stars.” Chase replied as if it was the most obvious answer in the world.

Corey laughed, and BJ rolled his eyes. Tina set out their breakfast and smiled, wondering if anyone else had a child that lived every day as if it were Halloween. The boys scarfed down the food and ran off to play in the woods, and Tina got ready to do some yardwork.

11:14 PM:
After working in the flowerbed all morning, Tina was trying to catch some reading time when the boys came back in. BJ seemed to have the makings of a black eye. Corey’s knee was scraped, and Chase wore the sinister grin of one proudly guilty. Tina stared suspiciously over her book, “Do I want to know what happened?”

Their eyes darted back and forth from each other, each seeming to calculate the severity of the beating the one who tattled would receive. The math apparently didn’t work too well because BJ finally spoke up, “Umm, probably not.”

Tina shrugged, “Fair enough. BJ, put some ice on that eye if it keeps swelling. Corey, put a Band-Aid on your knee. And Chase, uh, just stop grinning like that and don’t do whatever you did that made you grin like that in the first place.”

Once her boys ran off to doctor themselves and stop grinning, Tina turned back to her book and continued reading.

2:45 PM:
The sewing machine hummed as Tina’s hands deftly followed the intricate pattern of the quilt. She concentrated on the blurring needle and didn’t hear Chase enter the room until he asked, “Where’s my football helmet?”

“I think it’s on your dresser,” she said without looking up.

He ran from the room then yelled, “Where’s my thick jacket?”

“Hall closet,” she called back. “Why? Its ninety degrees outside.”

“Corey told me to find body armor. I’m gunna prove I CAN catch an arrow.”

“Okay,” Tina muttered distractedly continuing to sew.

After a few moments she looked up from her work. The sewing machine fell silent, and her brow furrowed as she replayed Chase’s words in her mind. Leaping from her chair she shouted, “Boys!”

5:12 PM:
I wonder if I can check myself into a mental institution? Tina thought to herself. Not for long. I just need a break, like a weekend off sort of thing. What if they decide I’m actually crazy? They might not let me leave.

Her train of thought was broken by the sound of shattering glass in the kitchen. Everything fell silent then a small voice echoed from outside, “We weren’t shooting at each other!”

She sighed, I might not want to leave.

5:13 PM:
Tina stared angrily at a broken window.

5:14 PM:
Tina continued to stare angrily at a broken window.

6:25 PM:
With the window patched, bow confiscated, and supper finished Tina began slipping on her boots as she called for the boys, “Food’s ready.”

The three boys came out of the bathroom carrying cleaning supplies. Tina stood and said, “Go ahead and eat. I’m going to the barn to feed. I’ll be back in just a few minutes.”

BJ pulled off a pair of rubber gloves muttering, “I hate cleaning the toilet.”

“Well, that’s the new punishment for murdering my windows, William Tell.” Tina said walking out of the house.

7:00 PM:
Screams greeted Tina as she opened the front door. She looked up at the second story banister and saw BJ and Corey crouched behind the railing holding a rope, and at the bottom of the rope a red faced and screaming Chase dangled upside down by his ankles.

“What’re y’all doing? Let him down!” Tina shouted.

Lowering his brother to the floor Corey spoke quickly, “We were just teaching him to not throw temper tantrums.”

“Yeah,” BJ chimed in. “He got mad while we were playing. Out of nowhere he yelled, ‘Avast!’ and hit me in the head with his stupid sword.”

Tina pointed at the ground, her voice cold, “Come down here right now.”

After untying Chase Tina sat all three boys on the stairs. She stood glowering down at them but didn’t speak for a long moment. However, Tina Dickens had a talent of saying absolutely nothing while somehow managing to seem louder than the angriest shout. It was like being punched in the eardrum with a fist full of silence.

Her boys almost seemed relieved when she finally said, “Well, what do y’all have to say for yourselves?”

They cowered under her glare, but eventually Corey spoke up, “It was kinda your idea.”

“My idea?!” She asked, anger bleeding into her voice.

Corey nodded, “Yes ma’am, you said this morning that pirating is a hanging offense.”

Tina opened her mouth to speak but found no words. She didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry.

9:15 PM:

Tina Dickens was nodding off while reading a book in bed when her husband, Jeff, came in the room drying his hair with a towel. Crawling into bed he whispered, “Sorry I’m late. Got bogged down at work.”

She nodded sleepily in reply and laid her book on the nightstand. Jeff leaned over, kissed her on the forehead and asked, “How was your day?”

Switching off the lamp, Tina snuggled her head into the pillow and answered, “Just the usual day here in paradise.”

The End

(Authors note: This story is of course dedicated to the one and only Tina Dickens. Love you, Mom. Sorry for all the gray hair.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing the world through my mother’s eyes for a little while. Even if you didn’t maybe you can find a little solace in the fact that you didn’t have to raise me and my brothers. But if you enjoyed the story and want to be the coolest kid ever, why don’t you share it with all your friends on Facebook? Just scroll down and hit the share button below.



P.S. You didn’t hit the share button did you? Don’t lie to me. I’m watching you…

P.S.S. No, seriously, I’m watching you and what you’re doing is really weird. Now, go share.

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