Sunday, November 15, 2009

And then there was this dude named Benedict

It’s been quite a while since I felt moved to write down my thoughts. When I try to look back and determine what has unmotivated me, I can find nothing tangible to blame it on. It sort’a seemed that life was at a standstill, nothing happening that I wanted to share. There really have been some serious issues but frankly they had me so down I didn’t want to even think about putting them on paper.

Seems that I remember just before I turned fifty that I went thru a spell like this…thinking that I was clearly entering the twilight years. Now as I find myself mere weeks away from seventy I find its harder than ever to get “up”. Up from the bed, up from the chair, up from any kind of kneeling position….any kind of physical “up” seems to really elude me or cause me pain. And then there is the emotional side of things. You seem to reflect more on the past as you age and if you, like I, stumbled a lot as you walked thru life then those remembrances become the focus of your reflection. You start to imagine all sorts of miseries that are about to beset you simply because of shortcomings from your past. You develop a tendency to caution others not to make the mistakes you made, especially those you love.

It’s times like these that I am so glad that 7-8 years ago I got involved with a church. Unlike some, I don’t feel born again, or saved, or washed in the blood or any of those clich├ęs. I happen to go to a Presbyterian church but it really would not matter if it were Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Catholic, Free Will or anything except communist (I ain’t real big on them commies). What I somehow found by attending church was a rule to live by. Most of my early life had a strong military influence so I was no stranger to rules. But military rules were to obey not to live by and that is a major difference. My previous detachment with the church and religion, was my difficulty in identifying which of their rules to focus on and obey, and what compounded it even more was that there were so many of them.

Then one day I heard my good friend and pastor, Paul, talking about this dude named Benedict. Seemed that he was a saint or guru or grand dragon type character that folks listened to. Kind’ a like Jerry Clower and all the rednecks. Anyway brother Benedict was into simplicity….so he threw out all the rule books and made one basic rule. My modified version of his simple rule is even briefer than his since I left out all the parts I didn’t understand and dwelled on the truly simple stuff. In the last six months our adult Sunday school class, taught by the pastor, had started at the beginning of the Bible and is slowly working thru the whole thing hoping to give those in attendance a better understanding of what it says. I had cut a deal with the preacher that he would go with me to Barnes & Noble and help me buy a Bible, since I at that time did not have one. The only condition was that it had to be a “simple one”. I got to tell you that this is indeed a bible written in lay terms. For instance David didn’t “slay the giant with a rock”…. he busted a cap in his ass with a .40 caliber Glock”. The beauty of this is that almost every Sunday as we get to the part where God is trying to tell whoever it is to behave and do right, I can raise my hand and say “see….it’s the simple rule all over again. At that point all in attendance sigh and say “there goes Dick rattling on again about his one simple rule”. Hey…-it is what it is///if it ain’t broke don’t fix it///if it burns your hand, turn it loose///if it feels good in your heart, do it some more. K.I.S.S.

For those of you who are wondering if I’m writing this after beer thirty I want you to know I’m stone sober and its not yet 7AM. I just woke up this morning feeling thankful . You see two people I love were having what I’ll call a pissing contest. Somehow over the weekend, hopefully influenced by my urging they sorted things out and all is better. They both got a free pass and once again doing it simple and right won out. Thank you Benedict for giving me the wisdom to say those words.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

* * *D E S P E R A D O* * *

About once in a lifetime if a man’s lucky he will meet his soul mate and enjoy years of matrimonial bliss. If he’s real lucky he may find his soul buddy and experience a bond of a lifetime. Many men never experience this, so this post is directed to those that have.

My soul buddy was a guy I knew as the Desperado. As far as I know he was not a real outlaw but now that I think of it he was wanted by some jilted husbands, broken hearted boyfriends and a few small town sheriffs‘. He rode the highways and bypasses of eastern North Carolina in the early seventies and his CB handle was…you guessed it “The Desperado”. At the time this was a popular song by the Eagles and was played to death by all the DJ’s. I met the Desperado at a time in my life when I had no more direction than a .39 cent compass. I had somehow landed a job in a textile mill in Rocky Mount, N.C. and had convinced the management that I could run the maintenance department after the previous boss was made a permanent guest of the Federal Penal System. To say that I was in a position that I was not qualified for is a gross understatement. Keep in mind that there were 800 looms in this plant and until 6 weeks prior I had never seen one. But….I could talk some shit and I needed a job so here I was doing things I knew nothing about. I had a desk and my own office in the back storage room of the plant and there was about 300 women right outside in the weave room and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. One day a couple of months after my “take over” this strange looking character came limping into my office (closet) and introduced himself to me as a representative of the Certified Chemical Company. Now while I did know a little about mechanic-ing, I did not know jack shit about chemicals. This dude went on to tell me that I should be concerned about the water treatment system on the roof of the building. Made sense to me so we climbed up on the roof and sure enough there was an impressive looking apparatus with water running in and out and mist going up in the air and I learned all about the water treatment system in about 15 minutes. While he was educating me about the system he convinced me that we needed about $2000.00 worth of chemicals to treat it. I had not made any big purchases in my maintenance career at this time and I decided that this should be my first. After I got him a signed purchase order he said “Meet me at the Holiday Inn tonight and I’ll buy the cold beer and some cow. Like I said life was good. We soon became good friends and learned among other things that we shared the same birthday. He was intrigued by my law enforcement background and when he learned I had shared a bunk with Chuck Norris while stationed in Korea he promptly proclaimed my CB handle should be Texas Ranger. About a year later, the textile mill had closed and I found myself in a lesser position with a local Masonite plant. One day while at work a major fire broke out. While myself and others were trying to put it out I became trapped and found myself pulling a 65 day hitch at the Duke University burn center. The Desperado all but moved to Durham and watched over me night and day. These were the hardest times in my life and he propped me up every day. All the staff at the burn center assumed he was my brother and in many ways he was. When it was clear I would not make a big company cookout he came to Duke, set up a portable grill on the top tier of the parking garage, cooked me a fine slab of cow and snuck that and a cold 6 pack into my room. Only your soul buddy would pull a stunt like that. When I finally was able to come home he threw me a big party and while I was hard to look at nobody seemed to care and I have never felt so loved. My hands and face were badly burned and he was the first to give me the new nickname “Crookedpaw”. Our friendship endured another 20 years until the Desperado finally bit the dust about 3 years ago. Until the day he died there was nothing as sincere as our friendship. There is little doubt in my mind that as we speak he has St Peter backed up at the gate and is trying to sell him some chemicals. In my eyes the Desperado cast a long, l..o..n..g shadow. We will both be 70 this year and I will miss him forever.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Francesca Dimarco - If that ain’t an eyetalian name, I’ll hush. Last Friday I met this pretty young lady at a local eatery for a lunch I shall long remember. She is a possible client and we were discussing the details of a major renovation project. But I gotta tell you it’s hard to keep your mind on business when sitting across the table from this vibrant package of energy. Turns out the owner of the pizzeria was a friend and fellow eyetalian and knew her well. Believe me this speaks well of his choice of friends. The two of them would break out in Italian leaving me with no choice during these periods but to stare at the sparkling brown eyes of this beauty. I have no idea what the Italian word for fox is but I’m sure there is a picture of Francesca beside it in the dictionary.

If I were not a worn out old Goat and did not already have a pretty bride and was about 40 years younger you can bet your boots I’d get me some fox hounds and be hot on her trail.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Latest on the Incarceration of Crookedpaw

In his element
As mentioned several posts back the famous outlaw known as “Crookedpaw” was captured and detained this past Thursday. In his own words here is the tale of his fall from fame to failure. The high sheriff had sent word to Crookedpaw that if he put up a struggle no mercy would be shown and after counting his ammo and looking over his rag tag bunch of fellow felons he made a decision to turn himself in and plead for the mercy of the court. That turned out to be a wise decision. When brought before the judge he was quick to notice that the judge was all woman with a pretty set of lips and also two other outstanding points. In a word this judge did great things to a robe. She had no time for the likes of this aged outlaw and promptly set his bail at $3000.00, had him fingerprinted, his mug shot taken and dumped him in the calaboose. The cell was large and contained rows of tables where other felons sat trying to contact their friends and secure their release. I quickly noticed several other bailiffs of the female persuasion circulating through the prisoners and keeping order. I want to point out that these were some fine looking deputies. One in particular did more for a bulletproof vest than anyone I have ever seen. There were no flies on this gal, she would make a rabbit slap a hound, a bulldog break his chain; she might even make a country boy slap his mama. Oh well, I’m getting distracted.

Seeing no chance for escape and hearing a rumor that lunch would soon be served I decided to start wearing out my cell phone trying to talk some friends into helping with my bail. At the end of the first hour I had scratched up about $600.00 and was feeling kinda desperate. About this time two of what I hoped would be some of my main donors were brought in in cuffs. Apparently their wild ways had caught up with them as well since they were soon seated alongside me pleading on their phones for some help. I called friends, family, business associates and customers until I had gone from A to Z in my contact list. When the smoke cleared I had a blistering $1670.00 with many promises of “I’ll put a check in the mail” or…“go ahead dude, put me down for $25.00, you know I’m good for it“. All this probably means I’ll be re-arrested at a later date. I was finally released late in the afternoon and told I could have another ten days to meet my goal. If any part of this sad tale touches your heart look back at the older posts for an address you can send your checks or money orders to. Send no cash, green stamps, wampum, beads or fat hens, as they will quickly be traded for whiskey and loose women. Make your checks out to Muscular Dystrophy Association or MDA, it’s a great cause and Jerry’s kids could use some help. Crookedpaw

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Saddest Words I’ve Heard

Last night while I was enjoying my nightly bowl of “Bear Claw” ice cream there was a program on the Animal Channel about convicts and dogs. I knew that there were programs in some prisons that paired life term prisoners with dogs from shelters. All of the dogs are for what ever reason scheduled for euthanatizion since they are deemed un-adoptable. The idea is, that the prisoners by working with these dogs, somehow rehabilitate them with love and affection and render them adoptable, therefore saving their lives. Animal rescue, animal welfare and humane treatment are all hot buttons of mine and I have been known to get pretty heated up with any kind of violations of this sort. I have a wonderful life mate in the form of a Border collie named Maggie who keeps me sane and showers me with love that is totally unconditional. There have always been animals in my life and I find it hard to imagine existing without them. I fully believe that God charges us with protecting these creatures and gives us skills they don’t have simply so we can do this. Part of the program I was watching was an interview with one of the prisoners who had been successful in this endeavor. He was a lifer, who in the opening part of his interview made a simple comment that stuck in my mind and has stayed there every since. All day today, no matter what I was busy with, that single 12 word statement kept coming back in my mind and I found myself trying to imagine living with this restriction. His statement was very simple - he was talking about his life when he first began with this project. He said: “At this time I had not seen a dog in fifteen years”…………

Can you even imagine that?? Stop and think about the smile that comes to your face and the increase in your heart rate that comes from watching two puppies frolic ; or the joy that comes when your dog welcomes you home with some wet kisses and a wagging tail that seems to be super charged; or the amusement and awe that comes when you watch those fleet footed Border Collies catch the Frisbees no matter how they are thrown. Then…think of life without those moments. It kinda staggered me and made me recommit myself personally to all the animal improvement efforts I am involved in. I wrote this post in hopes that by bringing these thoughts to your mind you would make a similar decision. If you do….know that Maggie and Crookedpaw thank you…from the bottom of our furry hearts.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

W A N T E D ***W A N T E D ***W A N T E D
TO: Friends of the old goat

FROM: Dick Carney, aka: Old Goat/Crookedpaw

RE: Save the planet and the global beer industry and help some needy folks

The high sheriff of Pitt County, N.C. has incarcerated one Dick Carney. He is being held in the Muscular Dystrophy Lockup with no coldbeer or vittles. He is described as an old coot, long in the tooth, stoop backed, gray bearded, heavily armed, lecherous Caucasian male.
Make no mistake about his charming personality….he will steal your women and sell your offspring to the gypsies. He usually travels in the company of a gray timber wolf disguised as as mild mannered Border Collie. These two should be approached with utmost caution…..keep your money secure and watch your sheep!

The Judge (we suspect he was drunk at the time) has set his bond at $3000.00 payable before February 19 by cash, good check or credit card. If you are one of those deranged people that think the world is OK with this type scoundrel on the loose, please fill in the necessary information shown below or enclose your check made out to: Muscular Dystrophy(MDA)

I wish to donate:$100.00___$50.00___$25.00___ $_____




Your 100 percent tax-deductible donation will help MDA continue research into the causes and cures for 43 neuromuscular diseases. Your support of the MDA Lock-Up will also help MDA provide wheelchairs, clinic visits and summer camp for people in our local area

You can mail all your donations to me : DICK CARNEY, 1432 PINERIDGE DR. GREENVILLE, NC 27834 Make checks payable to MDA

Points of interest: In the 48 hours the Old Goat was held in custody a glut in the world beer supply drove Miller High Life stock prices to an all time low. 31 Damsels in Distress went unsaved. 7 Riots were unquelled and Presbyterians worldwide formed 97 new committees

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Buddy Buck

I have a friend named Joe who goes by the nickname “Buck”. Buck has worked with me for about 5 years and is the single reason why I have stayed in this type business. Without his assistance and unending knowledge of how to fix or assemble things I would have pulled the plug on my business long ago. Buck is a Yankee boy but I have long ago forgiven him for that. Somewhere along the line he figured out that this is God’s country where we live and settled here for good. As I know it he grew up in a family where his father and his uncles all were in the trades. One was a framer, another a mason and tiller but all were in the construction business in one way or another. Buck grew up as an apprentice working in the family’s various businesses and became well versed in all phases of construction work. There is practically no type of project I’m asked to consider that Buck doesn’t have a good working knowledge about. Of late we have had lots of tile jobs and he is an artist in that area. He can cut arches and angles with a wet saw that most people can’t cut with a jig saw….and he still has all his fingers. Like me he really enjoys working with treated pine lumber, building gazebos, arbors, pergolas, decks and fences of all types. I have one particular client that loves all things that lean toward outdoor partying and we have built about everything there is in his yard. At the moment we are starting a big project building some library shelving for a large church. About 5 years ago we turned an empty room into a church library complete with solid oak shelving. This new job is an extension to it. If it will warm up soon we have a big tile job started that we had to leave due to the temperature and rain.

Buck is a large economy size dood, dressing out at about 225 I would guess and stands well over 6 feet tall. His most impressive physical attribute are his massive shoulders that make it seem like he is always wearing shoulder pads when he ain’t. If you could look up the phrase “strong as a bull” in the dictionary I’m sure there would be a picture of Buck. I’m pretty long in the tooth and frequently it taxes my old goat ass to tote my end of what ever he has grabbed up and started off with. It brings to mind one job where we were installing some chain link fence. We had all the posts set and the fence fabric laid out along them and I was thinking that I would rig up some way to use my pickup to stretch the chain link tight and fasten it to the posts. Before I realized what he was doing Buck planted his big feet, grabbed a steel bar and laced it thought the end of the fence, reared back and pulled this fence so tight you could pluck it like a banjo string.

Buck and I share a common love and sense of communication with animals. I’ve never seen him shy away from what ever runs up to the other side of the fence and I notice that almost always they become subdued and get friendly as he locks eyes with them. I think he might be a “dog whisperer” from another life. My border collie “Maggie” works with us most days and she absolutely loves to see Buck come ambling across the yards towards her. Her tail goes into high gear and she has a way of bending in the middle as she hurries toward him.

Surprisingly, Buck who is a real rough and tough character has himself a pretty pert British bird for a bride. I think maybe one time in the past she was pretty “proper” but hanging around Buck and I has taken care of that and now she fits right in with all our redneck friends. She’s a hard working, talented, piece of work and ain’t hard on the eyes either. Still not sure how she and Buck hooked up but I think it had something to do with eight ball pool and cold beer.

As I wrap up my thoughts about Buck I realize I have left out one significant part of his story. You see my buddy Buck is d-e-a-f. That’s as in--never heard it thunder or been able to hear music or any of nature’s wonderful sounds while he sits in the woods, type deaf. Deaf from birth. Until I met Buck it had never dawned on me what life with this handicap would be like. As I have grown to know, admire and love this big galoot it has given me a sense of how blessed those of us that hear really are…and yet Buck deals with it like it might be a small birthmark on his leg. He does everything he wants to do, somehow stays current on whats going on in the world and reminds me frequently of what the weatherman said about tomorrow’s conditions. One time 3-4 years ago I was talking to the Big Guy about a heavy load he had placed on me. This load would be much easier to carry if I somehow spoke Spanish. I was trying to cut a deal with God by telling him I would accept this load he was placing on me if he would let me wake up the next day speaking Spanish and about the time I was ready for the Amen part it dawned on me that maybe I should throw in knowing ASL (Buck’s language) as well. I regret to tell you that the Big Guy turned me down flat so Buck and I are still writing notes. This can sometimes be a pain in the ass to do but with a buddy like Buck it’s no big deal. Crookedpaw