The King’s English

 

 

You’ll find a bonus story here and there through The King of Highbanks Road manuscript. One such bonus is a list of my dad’s favorite sayings. Several are toned down in color. Ha.

Are any of these tossed about in your family?

•She’s as nervous as a sinner in church. (as nervous as it gets)

•Never get in a fight with a pig in the mud. You get dirty, and the pig loves it. (some things just aren’t worth it.)

•He’s choppin’ in tall cotton. (acknowledging a nice accomplishment)

•Don’t know about you, but I’m wore plum out. (more than just tired – very tired)

•How’s your mom and them? (greeting between families close in friendship)

•You beat all I’ve ever seen. (hard to believe)

•Colder than a well digger’s @$#. (very cold)

•He’s gettin’ way too big for his britches. (braggart)

•Slow as molasses in winter. (usually reserved to describe an adolescent male)

•I’m full as a tick. (what you say after every meal in the South)

•Look to the West. It’s comin’ up a storm. (rain and wind will be here in twenty minutes)

•I’ll swan. (my, oh, my)

•Yes, sir, that (rain) was a toad strangler. (rain that leaves water standing in row middles)

•Tight as a banjo string. (a cheap old man, or a nut on a bolt that won’t budge)

•I swear to my time. (personal exasperation, disbelief)

•He doesn’t know his @$# from a hole in the ground. (downright dumb)

•He’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’. (luck is about to run out)

Surveying Our Junk Drawer

Our primary junk drawer in all its glory.

Our primary junk drawer in all its glory.

It looks innocent enough, its facade identical to all the others, appearing perfect in both form and function. Few, very few, know its secrets, for they are dark. Hopelessly futile.

It’s the bastard stepchild of all cabinetry.

Wherever I’ve lived, there’s always been a junk drawer.

We have a couple in the house where we now live. Our primary junk drawer is in the kitchen, which is exactly where a primary junk drawer should be. It’s the general catch-all for everything, especially when company’s coming, or when I just don’t feel like putting something where it otherwise belongs. And this makes total sense, because if something’s not where it’s supposed to be, it’s probably, well, you know, in the junk drawer.

Then there’s our secondary junk drawer in the master bath. It’s on the other side of the house, and you need one there for stuff like loose pills, broken shower curtain rings, dull razors and dried up toothpaste containers. Without a secondary junk drawer, there wouldn’t be any place to put this stuff.

Several months back we began the task of appointing another home we have in Ecuador, and I remember laughing at myself when in a newly constructed home on a really nice beach, the very first thing I created was a junk drawer. It was instinctive. Within 15 minutes, I sought out the deepest, longest kitchen drawer I could find, tossed all my loose stuff in it and self-proclaimed it as the junk drawer. It made the place feel like home.

Fortunately, our primary junk drawer is much more accessible than it was only a few weeks ago. More than 50 percent of the time now, we can open it without fighting it.

For many years it was the primary place of safekeeping for the most dysfunctional corkscrew I’ve ever seen. It was Dana’s corkscrew as I’m more of a pop top or screw top kind of guy. It was a big, three-legged contraption that looked more like a small tripod than a corkscrew, and it was for some strange reason called, The Rabbit.

The Rabbit never worked. Never. But we never threw it way, because I suppose we thought it might work one day. And because The Rabbit was multi-dimensional, there was no good place for it – except in the junk drawer.  When you tried to open the junk drawer, you couldn’t, because The Rabbit would hang up. But finally, if you pulled in and out, hard,  seven or eight times, The Rabbit would shift around and the junk drawer would open.

On the same day, Dana threw away The Rabbit and a several-years-old phone book we had in the junk drawer. It was tattered and torn and the pages were curled up because when The Rabbit didn’t hang up when you tried to open the junk drawer, the phone book did.

I hated the phone book, and The Rabbit, because they really screwed up the junk drawer. And I haven’t used a phone book, in you know, like five years.

A further survey of our primary junk drawer …

-Three electrical charging cords to any number of unknown devices.

-Two checkbooks with checks to accounts we no longer have.

-A 12-inch wooden ruler like I used in the first grade. Seriously, a foot-long ruler.

-An old flip phone.

-Three dispensers of “Scotch” tape. The tape to each of them has slipped off the dispenser and back on to the roll. When this happens, it’s almost impossible to get it started again. Probably why we have three, and why they are in the junk drawer.

-A very small, streamlined and simple cork screw. I’m assuming this one took the place of The Rabbit.

-Three pieces of old chewing gum still in their wrappers. It appears they may have gone through the washing machine before retiring to the junk drawer.

-Three flashlights, in case the electricity goes out. None of them appears to work.

-Dozens of loose nails, about 20 or so batteries, several screw drivers, curtain rod parts, Kleenex, a few of which may have been slightly used, various coupons for things we never buy and about a hundred return address labels for the three pieces of mail we send each year.

I love the junk drawer so much, I started a junk bowl on the cabinet just above.

What are the secrets of your junk drawer?

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Road Signs of Ecuador

It’s a 20-mile drive from our home to the nearest “major town” in the Manabi province. And from our back door to Jipijapa we go from sea level to 2,500 feet in just a few miles.

I recently took note of the various road signs on this drive and how interesting they are. It’s an interesting commute….

Yes, the inclines are this steep.

Yes, the inclines are this steep.

Puerto Cayo Ecuador

Not to worry, but falling rocks or a mudslide could kill you on this drive.

Not to worry, but falling rocks or a mudslide could kill you on this drive.

For all my associates with the National Rifle Association: Please refrain from shooting the monkeys.

For all my associates with the National Rifle Association: Please refrain from shooting the monkeys.

Puerto Cayo Ecuador

Very typical.

Very typical.

Honestly, I have no idea what this means.

Honestly, I have no idea what this means.

See photo below.

See photo below.

See photo above.

See photo above.

Not a top had, but a speed bump - they are everywhere.

Not a top hat, but a speed bump – they are everywhere.

After a day like we've had, this is precisely where I should be spending my time.

After a day like we’ve had, this is precisely where I should be spending my time.

DSC_0209

Take precaution against the heavy mist. (you are driving through the jungle)

Take precaution against the heavy mist. (you are driving through the jungle)

DSC_0195

How to be the Most Popular Guy at Nawi Fest

Dana fits in just about anywhere, even her first Nawi Fest.

Dana fits in just about anywhere, even her first Nawi Fest.

How does a fair-skinned, blue-eyed gringo at his first Nawi Fest become the most popular guy on the Malecon?

Mostly, he just acts himself, and walks the streets full of several thousand partying Ecuadorians, carrying a high-powered Nikon camera. The rest takes care of itself.

Nawi Fest comes to Pto. Cayo, Ecuador once a year. What is Nawi Fest? Well, it’s the opening of a bar – and not a particularly extraordinary bar. It’s bamboo construction just like all the others on the beach, but for some reason when Nawi Bar opens each January, time stands still in Ecuador.

Nawi Bar opens around the third weekend of January each year, and remains open for six weeks, not necessarily every day, or even Monday through Friday, but it’s open sometimes, all the time, during that six weeks, and yes, it’s a big deal.

More precisely, this is what Nawi Bar is:

Beer, sun, beer, food, beer, dancing, beer, hard liquor, beer and more beer.

In my 47 years I’ve been to a Jimmy Buffet concert on the beach, Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium. I’ve even toured a Coors distillery in Denver and Anheiser-Busch in St. Louis, and I’ve never seen the quantity of beer that Nawi brings to Pto. Cayo on opening day.

A few photos from our first Nawi Fest…

This is about 1/100th of the total number of cops in Puerto Cayo on Saturday. When you see this happening eight hours before things ever get rolling, you know you're in for quite a party.

This is about 1/100th of the total number of cops in Puerto Cayo on Saturday. When you see this happening eight hours before things ever get rolling, you know you’re in for quite a party.

I thought it was necessary to contribute to the local economy by having at least one cold Pilsener.

I thought it was necessary to contribute to the local economy by having at least one cold Pilsener.

Nawi Fest in Ecuador

When there is so much beer on hand, you might as well go ahead and construct your tienda from beer. A house of beer, if you will.

When there is so much beer on hand, you might as well go ahead and construct your tienda from beer. A house of beer, if you will.

Did I mention there was beer on hand?

Did I mention there was beer on hand?

Nawi Fest in Ecuador

Ten minutes after we arrived, this young scholar offered me a joint. His special blend, I presume. I respectfully declined, but to commemorate the moment, we posed for this impromptu Polaroid.

Ten minutes after we arrived, this young scholar offered me a joint. His special blend, I presume. I respectfully declined, but to commemorate the moment, we posed for this impromptu Polaroid.

What's in the bag, God only knows.

What’s in the bag, God only knows.

Entry to the beach dance.

Entry to the beach dance.

The Red Cross was on hand, in case things got rowdy, and a natural disaster ensued.

The Red Cross was on hand, in case things got rowdy, and a natural disaster ensued.

My take on the cops. Most of them were there to pick up chicks. Actually, they did a great job of keeping things manageable.

My take on the cops. Most of them were there to pick up chicks. Actually, they did a great job of keeping things manageable.

The shirt says it all.

The shirt says it all.

Mr. Bean is pretty big in Ecuador.

Mr. Bean is pretty big in Ecuador.

No power for your street-side tienda? No problemo! Just run a few copper wires up to the city lines, and "borrow" some juice, and your in business. Perfecto!!!

No power for your street-side tienda? No problemo! Just run a few copper wires up to the city lines, and “borrow” some juice, and you’re in business. Perfecto!!!

These molecules of toilet paper cost Dana 30 cents. She didn't have a square to spare.

These molecules of toilet paper cost Dana 30 cents. She didn’t have a square to spare.

nawi fest in ecuador

I'm pretty sure I got gringo-taxed on this ear of corn.

I’m pretty sure I got gringo-taxed on this ear of corn.

You don't even want to know.

You don’t even want to know.

A hammock rental for $1 around 7 p.m. was a great investment, and the views weren't bad either.

A hammock rental for $1 around 7 p.m. was a great investment, and the views weren’t bad either.

Nawi Fest inEcuador

Our last photo of the night, Dana snapped this photo when she saw these guys pouring cologne all over their bodies. The gentleman on the left offered to pull down his pantalones for the photo, but Dana told him it would not be necessary.

Our last photo of the night, Dana snapped this photo when she saw these guys pouring cologne all over their bodies. The gentleman on the left offered to pull down his pantalones for the photo, but Dana told him it would not be necessary.


Thrilla in Manila II: But It’s Two White Guys on a Golf Course in Arkansas

Cornish v. Watkins - Thrilla in Manila

***

“One of the greatest qualities in a friendship is two guys who compete against one another, almost to the death, yet cheer one another on every single minute.” ~ me

DATELINE: NOVEMBER 16, 2012 – MANILA, ARKANSAS

By Brent Musburger, Lewis Grizzard Clod Dinglehopper:

thrilla in manila

BACKGROUND: In an epic and ongoing rivalry, these two fierce competitors play most frequently as companions and team mates taking on all two-man scramble challenges across the globe Northeast Arkansas. The team is complemented by Cornish’s long drives and mid-iron skills, and Watkins’ trusty putter, dangerous anywhere inside 40 feet. Best pals since 1977, Cornish, a high school state medalist, took Watkins under his wing as golf coach mentor in 1983. In their occasional epic mono-e-mono battles over the last 30 years, the protoge’ has yet to beat a stubborn Cornish who refuses to admit it could one day happen, but knows in the back of his mind, it will. Today begins a new day, in a new competitive era, and it’s on like donkey kong.golfing partners

VENUE: The Pristigious Big Lake Country Club, Manila, Arkansas.

TEE TIME: 10 a.m. CST

FORECAST: From our sponsors at The Weather Channel – Sunny with a high of 60°, light northeasterly wind at 9 mph. Humidity 49%.

COURSE CONDITIONS: Lightning fast greens, tough pin placements on undulating greens and leaves everywhere (it’s Fall in Arkansas).

RULES AND SPECIAL ALLOWANCES FOR THE DAY: One mulligan off the first tee, and then one mulligan per nine on 18 holes.

steven watkins blog jonesboro arTHE PURSE: It’s complicated with all kinds of action and side action. Cornish is down a dozen golf balls and a steak dinner for four at  Texas de Brazil from a recent presidential election double-wager that hangs over his head like a thunder cloud. At “steak” today – double or nothing bet on the dozen golf balls PLUS: this is the first day of an ongoing 365-day wager specifying $500 to the winner of a bet where Watkins says he’ll beat Cornish straight up at least once in the next year. Side action on the side action – and if Watkins beats Cornish, said Cornish has agreed to write a guest blog post on this site with detailed color commentary about how it all went down.

VEGAS LINE: Cornish comes in as an 8-1 favorite, but the prognosticators are keeping a keen eye on the Watkins surge.

best friends

Our favorite picture together, taken earlier this year in Mountain View, Arkansas honoring two favorite movie characters from Lonesome Dove: Texas Rangers Capt. Augustus McRae and Capt. Woodrow F. Call.

KEYS TO VICTORY:

  1. CORNISH – Must concentrate on a full backswing and follow-through, head down, and he MUST guard against over confidence going into the match.
  2. WATKINS – With new momentum coming off his first golf lesson from someone who actually knows what they’re doing, he must bring his wrist through the ball for consistent distance and direction, settle down on his wedge shots, and ignore Cornish’s inevitable mind games.

FULL COVERAGE AND RESULTS: Check Saturday’s listings on CBS  Sports and ESPN this blog tomorrow.

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The Greatest Golf Column Ever Written by Lewis Grizzard

(Blogger’s Note: The great Lewis Grizzard always has been, always will be, my favorite writer. Nobody tops Grizzard, long-time sports editor and columnist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. And this column, published Monday, Nov. 20, 1989, is my favorite all-time column. I’m re-printing it, word-for-word. It’s his work. Not mine. And I dedicate it to my best buddy and golfing pal and partner, Brady Cornish, a.k.a., “The Fonz,” when we’re on the links. He and I share many good times, and often quote Grizzard’s description of the tee shot so memorably written in this column. Thanks, Lewis, for all the reading joy you’ve given me over the years. You’re still the best.)

***

Golfing Foursome

From left: Cody Smith, Danny Smith, me, Brady Cornish

By Lewis Grizzard

St. Simons Island, GA – I made a hole-in-one.

Honest, I did. This isn’t some sort of make-believe column like I often write. For instance, I recently wrote a make-believe column about Jim Bakker meeting his new cellmate, Mad Dog.

But this isn’t anything like that.

I mean that I hit the golf ball on a par 3 and it went in the hole for a “1.”

Do you know the thrill of writing a “1” on a golf scorecard next to your name?

lewis grizzard

Lewis Grizzard

I’ve had my thrills in sports before. Playing for dear old Newnan High School back in ’63, I hit a jump shot at the buzzer to defeat the top-seeded team in the regional tournament.

That got my name and picture in the paper. (I wanted a kiss from a certain red-headed cheerleader, but she remarked how she detested kissing anybody covered in sweat.)

I also pitched a no-hitter in Pony League, finished second in a tennis tournament, hit a hard-way six on a crap table in Vegas, made back-to-back net eagles playing with Greg Norman in a pro-am tournament in Hilton Head and once had dinner with the girl who used to say, “Take it off. Take it all off,” in the old shaving cream commercial.

(I realize having dinner with a girl who made a shaving cream commercial has nothing to do with sports, but she made the commercial with Joe Namath, so there.)

But none of that compares with my hole-in-one.

Get the picture:

I’m on the par- three 12th hole at the lovely Island Club here in coastal Georgia. I admit No. 12 isn’t that long a hole, but I didn’t design the course, so it’s not my fault.

The hole is 128 yards over a small pond.

It was Saturday morning, November 4. I was playing in a threesome, comprised of myself, Tim Jarvis and Mike Matthews, two players of lesser talent with whom I often hang out.

It was a lovely morning, having warmed to the low 70s as I approached the tee. I was wearing an orange golf shirt, pair of Duckhead khaki slacks and my black and white golf shoes, the ones my dogs have not chewed up yet.

I was first on the tee.

“What are you going to hit?” asked Matthews.

“None of your business,” I said.

We were playing for a lot of money.

O.K., so we weren’t playing for a lot of money, but you never tell your opponent what club you’re hitting.

“Tell us,” said Jarvis, “or we’ll tell everybody how you move the ball in the rough when nobody’s looking.”

“Nine-iron,” I said.

The green sloped to the right. I said to myself, “Keep the ball to the left of the hole.”

(Actually I said, “Please, God, let me get this thing over the water.”)

I hit a high, arching shot. The ball cut through the still morning air, a white missile against the azure sky. (That’s the way Dan Jenkins or Herbert Warren Wind would have described it.”

The ball hit eight feet left of the pin. It hopped once. It hopped again. It was rolling directly toward the hole.

An eternity passed.

It has a chance to go in, I thought. But that’s not going to happen, of course, because I’m terribly unlucky and I’ve done some lousy things in my life and I don’t deserve it to go into the hole.

It went into the hole.

A “1.”

It was a joyous moment when my first hole-in-one fell snugly into the hole. But the best moment came at the next tee, the par four, 13th.

For those non-golfers, the person with the lowest score on the previous hole gets to hit first on the next hole.

I strode to the tee with my driver, teed up my ball and then said to my opponents, “I think I’m up, but did anybody have a zero?”

Jarvis and Matthews were good friends. I shall miss them.

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Romney Axes Ryan: New VP Contenders Surface

This just in:

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan got off to a great start three weeks ago when he lied about his marathon finishing time, but Ryan, in the succeeding weeks has not been cold-hearted enough to justify his continued position on the ballot with Mitt Romney, officials close to the campaign said today.

Romney’s new list of candidates and their qualifications:

The Queen of Mean’s intentions to leave $4 million to her dog is a perfect offset to that nasty story about the Romneys strapping their pet to the top of the station wagon during family vacation … but the new campaign slogan she brings is perfect: “ONLY THE LITTLE PEOPLE PAY TAXES!”

scrooge

EBENEEZER SCROOGE: (On his provision for the poor:) “Are there no prisons, no workhouses?”

pontius pilate sentencing jesus

PONTIUS PILATE: His willingness to sacrifice the savior of the world brings him in as a top contender.

grinch who stole christmas

THE GRINCH: With a heart 2 sizes too small, anyone who is willing to steal from the children of WhoVille makes the cut.

john edwards reilly hunter

JOHN EDWARDS: Willing to become a Republican for the promise of getting back into politics, Edwards is ready for service.

seinfeld soup nazi

THE SOUP NAZI: Brings the perfect disposition for the campaign’s theme moving forward.

bernie madoff ponzi scheme

BERNIE MADOFF: Protecting the wealth of the rich at any cost and crushing the dreams of middle America Madoff sees a new future as Romney’s sidekick.

benedict arnold

BENEDICT ARNOLD: Romney loves that he will say anything to anybody. Tell me who the crowd is and I’ll say what they want to hear, Arnold says. Great fundraising possibilities here.

lindsay lohan smoking

LINDSAY LOHAN: Proved her worth just yesterday running down a pedestrian and fleeing the scene.

tightwad usa

EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN THIS TOWN

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