Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving Day to All blog post #525

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For the second week in a row, I’m going to post something unusual for me. Not a story… but a greeting to all on this national holiday of Thanksgiving. And a reminder we do not all view this holiday in the same manner.




Ever since President Abraham Lincoln in 1863—for political reasons of his own—declared the last Thursday of November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving, most of our citizens have blithely observed this holiday with a vision of a three-day feast by Pilgrims and Native Americans (namely the Wampanog) in celebration of a good harvest and the burgeoning friendship between the two peoples. As usual, it is history as written by the victors. In my opinion the story is pure myth.

       ·       In the first place, the pilgrims gave thanks by fasting and praying.

·       In the second place, the Wampanog were likely rethinking their welcoming of the strangers who came to their land aboard ships with great sales.

·       In all likelihood, the Pilgrims were dependent upon the Natives for survival in the early years, so it is unlikely they had much to contribute to a feast.

 It appears to me that celebrants of this particular holiday fall into three general categories:

         ·     Those who genuinely address the holiday as a day of thanksgiving for their prosperity with an                  air of spiritual gratitude.

·        Others who consider it merely as a paid day off from work, usually enriched by turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes (or creamed potatoes), cranberry sauce, a green vegetable, buttered buns… and likely a pie for dessert. FYI, this is likely where I fall.

·        And those who consider this not as a day of thanksgiving, but as a day of mourning over the theft of billions of acres of land, a sustained and continuing assault on their culture, of genocide by murder, warfare, and the introduction of devastating diseases. For many years, some of our indigenous tribes have celebrated this as a Day of Mourning, not a Day of Thanksgiving.

In honor of the latter group, I would like to present a poem by my friend Mark Wildyr, who has written five books exploring how the attitude of certain tribes who honored Two-Spirits as people who could see from both the eyes of a man and the eyes of a woman changed over the years after the coming of the white men. He calls his poem, “Echoes of the Flute,” the name of the third book in his Cut Hand series. I hope you enjoy his thoughts:



                                                                    With curious hearts,

we greet whey-faced strangers

on canoes with great white sails,

honor them with booming drums

and welcoming songs of the flute.


Still they come.

 Blue seas turn ghostly with blossoms of gray canvas.

Dismayed, we withdraw to lodges.

Thrumming drums become wary.

Warbling flutes grow drear.


Bearded men cast cold eyes upon lands our fathers left us.

“Now it is ours,” they claim.

The beat of drums turns angry.

Beaded flutes go shrill.


Timbers fall to ringing axes, game to booming sticks.

Hunger drives us from ancestral homes.

Tribal drums go hollow.

Flutes pipe in despair.


Invaders overwhelm us.

We fall to thundering guns, flee west across broad rivers.

Beating drums become frantic.

Flutes give voice to fear.


They seduce with bright beads and iron hatchets, then trade

blankets of spotted death.

Drums throb in mourning.

Flutes proclaim our loss.


Rails and wires despoil vast prairies.

Buffalo, once flowing like rivers, now piles of sun-bleached bone.

Drums pulse in anger, and flutes call out for war.


We wither like weeds before fire.

Conquerors herd us to far, fallow patches of unwanted land.

Drums fall silent in misery.

Flutes become forlorn.


“Be civilized and prosper.”

Warriors put into trousers, called by alien names.

Yet fortune never smiles.

Only wretched pain.

Drums remind of yesteryear, and flutes lament what was.


Children exiled to distant schools, familiar tongues forbidden.

They weep for faraway fathers.

Drums lie rotting in corners.

Flutes are cast away.


Long, dark decades we languish, mere shadows of a paler people.

Where are our silent drums?

Our sad, broken flutes?


Hah! Our hearts swell in pride as young ones dance anew.

We are yet alive and always will be.

Drums lift up our spirits, and we hear echoes of the flute.



 The reference to smallpox infected trade blankets in verse six, is likely yet another myth, although it is one widely told. But who knows the real truth?

 I’ll attempt to get back to story-telling next week. Thank you for indulging me for the last two posts.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.



sts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Travers blog post #524

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Good morning, readers. Today, I give you something totally different from what you usually receive from me. I hope you enjoy it.



The man eyed the approaching horsemen warily as he stepped out of his crude tollhouse into the middle of the road. Normans—from the look of them. Oh, how he longed for the days when Harold still sat on the English throne. But William the Bastard had done him in right proper at the Battle of Hastings not yet three years arrears. And now it was the Frenchies who ruled the land.

“Nay,” his prior always cautioned. “Not Frenchies but Normans.”

“Bah. Show me the difference,” he always retorted, holy man or not—and when you came to the nub of the truth, he suspected not.

“Embroidery called lace yet be embroidery,” his old mum of blessed memory had oft reminded him. Where she got those high-fallutin’ ideas, he’d never know. She’d never cast eyes on a single scrap of lace, he’d wager.

Despite his internal grumblings, he tugged his cap and gave a bow of deference to the stout man weighing down the saddle of a splendid gray, careful to include the mistress riding sidesaddle in her fine gown and the pimply heir aboard a black that looked too much horse for the lad.

“Greetings, Milord, Milady. A beggin’ yer pardon, but this is a toll crossing o’er the river.”

The haughty man tossed a coin in the dust. “Aye, we know, traverser. Now get out of my way.”

Leaving him to scramble for safety, the Norman dug spurs and sent his steed across the bridge. Milady’s mare trampled the coin into the dirt, and for good measure, dumped dung apples atop it.

The traverser cursed softly as he retrieved the toll coin, cleaned it off, and added it to his purse. The dozenth crossing of the day, and it twern’t yet high sun. His Lordship would be pleased.


That traverser might well have been a distant ancestor of mine. “Traverser,” is the French Norman term for toll (tax) collectors at crossings or bridges. Most agree it means to cross over. Many in the trade took the surname of Travers, something common in England where family names often described the bearer’s livelihood. Cooper, Smith, and Taylor readily spring to mind. In time, some with the family name of Travers came to be known as Travis. Why? Who knows?

Strip any name to its root, and you’ll find various spellings. Some grew out of erroneous spelling on formal documents that carried forward for that branch of the line. Others were likely changed deliberately because it sounded better or to differentiate one branch of the family from another. If you happen to recall guest posts of my fellow Okie Donald T. Morgan’s novel Miasma, you know the heroine’s family name started out as Elder. But one of her ancestors married a woman named berry, and thereafter the family was Elderberry.

In common usage, especially in the United States, Travis can be either a surname or a Christian name (family name or first name—or a second or middle name). As a given name, it is usually male, but in a few instances, I’m told it is borne by a female—although I could not find an example.

Likely the most famous Travis I could find was Col. William Travis, who died at the Alamo at the hands of the despicable General Santa Ana. I say despicable despite the fact the Texicans were trying to swipe a sizeable portion of Mexico from the Mexicans. And, of course, they were ultimately successful. Nobody I know in the family has ever claimed kinship to the famous martyr, but then I don’t believe anyone’s ever dug into our ancestry. Probably afraid of that they’d learn. I certainly haven’t… except for this little bit of nonsense, and that was a search for a name, not a lineage.

Even so, researching the meaning of names can be interesting. You might try it for your own name if you haven’t done so already.


 If you stuck with me this far, you might be wondering why such an odd post. So I’ll confess. On Wednesday of this past week, my younger son suffered a heart attack. The surgeons removed a blood clot and installed a stint. An impatient man, he discharged himself from the hospital against the doctors’ wishes, and I was tasked with the unwelcome chore of taking him to his home—far too early in my opinion. Since then, I’ve either been busy or exhausted or not of a mind to create. After all, it was only January of this same year that I lost his older brother, an event which was at least partially because of a heart condition.

 The above piece of nonsense it the result. Forgive me.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.



New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Uncle Evan blog post #523

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Well, I received no offers of help with my followit problem, so will have to wing it alone.


Today, I’d like to go a little tongue-in-cheek flash fiction. Dark humor, I’d call it. Tell me what you think.





There is no Uncle Evan—at least in my life. I’m a seventeen-year-old named Marty Evans who made him up out of whole cloth and posted on Twitter @UncleEvan. After all, who pays attention to a high schooler?

Everyone tells me I’m smart as a whip, but I quibble with that because while a whip can smart, it’s nothing but an inanimate object. But I stray—one of my faults, they tell me. They who? Well, my mom and dad and my teachers, and….

There I go again. Anyway, I wanted to be heard, so I dreamed up this older, wiser—but probably not smarter—dude and started Twittering. Wow, was it easy! I started giving opinions on things and prompted some responses. First thing I knew, I had a thousand followers. So I started giving opinions on bigger things… like, for instance, what the hell are we doing with American troops in Germany. Haven’t we occupied them for long enough?

The next morning after that post, I’m eating my oatmeal and turkey bacon when my ears perk up at something on a newscast. Big Pudgy just announced he was withdrawing troops from Germany. Crap, I never knew the man and I never saw eye to eye with him on a single issue. Personally, I consider him a buffoon, but he was still the Buffoon in Charge. Made me wonder if he read my tweet. Nah. Impossible.

Right after breakfast, I sat down at the desk in my bedroom and booted up the computer. Not much else to do because we were all locked down by this virus crap. It’s a bunch of hooey in my opinion, and I said as much in a twitter.

The next morning… you guessed it. The Chubby Blond said it aloud in his daily news briefing on the pandemic. Now he’s said many times, the virus was a hoax. But he’d never said it was “hooey and a hoax” like he did today. Holy crap! Was the guy reading my tweets and quoting me?

Life suddenly became more interesting. And like a typical teenager, I went nuts over my discovery. I tweeted about the wall, and he said virtually the same thing. I expressed an opinion on the Ukraine, and it became his opinion. I said the COVID-19 virus would magically disappear, and his response to that one sent a chill down my back.

The Big Cheese stood at a podium, his fat fingers clenching the sides as if holding himself up and looked around the room with those eyes that don’t seem to have much behind them.

“One of these days,” he declared, “the virus will disappear. Like magic. Poof… and it’s gone. That’s what they say, you know. That’s what Uncle Evan says. You know him? He’s a wise man. A good man.”

My heart about exploded. Suspicions confirmed! He quoted me. As his source. Wise man that I was, I snickered and reached for my cell. I’d not told anyone about @UncleEvan, but this was too big to keep to myself. I called my best bud Jamie Hughes, and he flatly refused to believe me until he checked out the site for himself.

“Damn,” Jamie exclaimed over the phone. “What are you, his Secretary of Twitter?”

“Might as well be.”

Jamie frowned, and some of the exhilaration of the moment evaporated. “Maybe you oughta be more careful about what you say.”

“Like what?”

“Well, like about the virus, maybe. It’s not hooey, you know.”

Impatient with common sense, I dismissed his caution. “He’d already said that a hundred times.”

“Yeah, but he’s quoting you as a source.”

“You’re just jealous ‘cause he’s not quoting you.”

“Yeah, right.”


Two days later, as I sat watching the evening news with my father, the reporter broke in with “breaking news.” That one always got to me. How did news break? It happened, and when it’s finished breaking, it’s still there whole and undamaged.

But I stray. The Talking Head said that four American troops had been killed in an ambush over in the Middle East by Iranian-backed militias. My dad turned red in the face and let out an oath that brought my mother running from the kitchen. She managed to get him calmed down, but although I didn’t say much at the time, I was impressed with the depth of his feeling about the attack. You see, he was a veteran of the Iraq War.

As I prepared to go to bed that night, I paused before shutting off my computer. Recalling my father’s reaction, I opened Uncle Evan’s twitter account and entered two words. “Nuke ‘em.” I paused for a moment before hitting the button to send the tweet. Big Buttercup would probably see it, but even he wasn’t crazy enough to take Uncle Evan seriously about that.

My cell went off at eight the next morning, long before I was ready to get out of bed and face another boring day.

“Marty, you idiot, what have you done now?”

“Whadda ya mean?” I asked through a cloud of sleep.

“Turn on the news!”

I did, and my heart about failed.

Never leave the future of the world in the hands of a teenager.



 Well, that’s my tragic little tale today. Anyone want to comment?

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.



 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Bringing Out the Artist in Me blog post #522

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First, I want to bitch a little. A month or so ago, I got a notice that Google was no longer supporting our blogs and suggesting I try Being a total klutz about things electronic, it took me weeks to even figure out what was happening. What was happening was that my blog dropped from 10,000 to 15,000 hits a month to like 5,000. I got hold of followit, but they spoke computerese—which I neither speak nor comprehend. Anyway, I want my readers back, but can’t figure out how to do it. I’m lousy at self-promotion.

 Anyway, got some nice comments on “Petey.” After I wrote this week’s flash fiction piece, I realized I was hung up on college roommates and on unrealized gay longings. I guess that long ago roommate I told you about in the comments on “Petey,” were stronger than I realized. At any rate, here the new story. Hope you enjoy it.





I walked into my roommate's bedroom intending to ask if he was going to the ball game this afternoon. Johnny was a dedicated jock who wasn’t a jock—meaning he liked organized sports but only participated in the sandlot type—so I knew the answer, but I hadn’t heard him stirring even though it was approaching noon on a great October day. Just past the threshold, I came do a dead stop, although my heart went racing. Still abed and sleeping soundly, he had thrown off the covers and lay exposed. I gulped. He slept naked.

Unsure why my mouth went dry, frustrating whatever smart-ass remark I had intended to throw his way, I knew one thing for certain. This sleeping Adonis aroused the artist in me. On his side, facing me, the line of his hip was perfect, masculine. The rest of him? The epitome of the male form… rounded where he needed to be rounded, flat where he needed to be flat, and bulging where he needed to bulge. Unable to resist. I crept out of the room, collected my tablet and pencils, and eased back inside. Settling in a chair across from him, I preceded to sketch. Working soundlessly, I had virtually completed the drawing before his eyes fluttered open. He stretched, rolled over on his back, and gave a yawn before asking what the hell I was doing.

“I came in to ask if you were going to the ball game this afternoon, but when I found you asleep, I couldn't resist sketching you.”

“Piss-hard and all?”

“Well, you didn't have one when I first came in.”

He glanced down at himself, “Do now. Gotta go take care of it.”

He bounded out of bed, a movement of pure macho grace, and strolled past me on the way to the bathroom. I had seen Johnny naked a hundred times during our two years of rooming together at Elmore college, but never had it affected me this way. We’d always snapped one another’s butts with a towel or joked about this part of the anatomy or the other. But as I sat in his room filling in details of the sketch, shading here erasing there, as needed, I felt a reaction of a different sort. Like Adam eyeing the forbidden apple or a man seeking to grasp the Aurora Borealis.

He was gone for quite a while but eventually returned, still is bare as the day he was born. I took notice of his backside and decided it deserved a sketch of its own. What would he say if I asked him to pose?

Johnny scratched his chin—he’d taken time to shave and clean up. “To answer your question, I’m going to the game. You wanna come along?” He knew I wasn’t as sports oriented as he was.

“Yeah, I’ll go with you. But I'd like to do something first.”


“I want you to pose for me.”

“Naked, I presume. I thought I just did.”

“I want you to stand with your back to me. Will you do that?”

“You already have a full frontal, so I don't see why not.” He spread his feet, put his weight on one foot, and looked down and to the left. He looked so manly, I clearly and unequivocally experienced arousal of a different kind. Nonetheless, I turned to a new sheet in the pad and began drawing. Surprised to find sketching the curve of his buttocks gave me an erection, I felt like Pan lusting after Echo—okay, that doesn’t work because Echo was female. But the object of my heretofore unrecognized hunger sure wasn’t of the feminine kind. I found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the sketch. Nonetheless, by the time he started twitching with impatience, I was virtually finished.

“Okay,” I croaked in a hoarse voice. “Done.”

As he turned and started toward me. I couldn’t help but notice he was a little tumescent. Avoiding looking at him, I concentrated on putting finishing touches to the sketch. He reached my side and stood so close I could feel the heat of his body. I found myself wanting to touch him. But I didn't know how. Johnny tended to overreact sometimes, and I didn’t want to be on the wrong end of that.

“Not bad,” he said. “Now let me see the first one.”

I flipped the sheet and turn the sketchpad sideways to show him the drawing I had made while he slept. Would he object to the amount of detail I’d included?

“Geez, not bad. I can even tell it's me.”

I forced a laugh through my bone-dry throat. “I hope so. I wouldn’t be much of an artist if you couldn’t.”

He turned toward me as I spoke, placing his crotch so close and yet so far. I had never wanted to touch a male before, but I had to grit my teeth to avoid reaching out to him. It was like the call of Excalibur to be plucked from its stone.  I didn't think I visibly reacted, but his next words told me he read me perfectly.

“Go ahead, Brad, I know you want to. I've seen it in your eyes before and wondered why we wasted so much time.”

I swallowed hard and ventured to wrap my arm around his leg. The strength I sensed beneath my touch sent shivers up my back. “If that's so, why didn't you make the first move?”

“Dunno. Wasn't sure I was reading you right. You can be awfully straightlaced sometimes, you know.”

“Who, me?”

He shifted a little so that he was closer. He was reacting to my nearness, just as I had to his. Suddenly tired of playing games, I reached out and pulled him to me.

That day… at that time, Johnny brought out something other than just the artist in me. Neither of us spoke. It was all by intuition. Johnny had always been a generous guy, and he was certainly magnanimous to me that day. So much so, I was in no shape to go to the stadium that afternoon. Neither of us was. We’d found our own field of play and romped to the point of exhaustion.

But Johnny was right about one thing. Why had we wasted so much time?



I asked for comments on "Petey" about stalking and got a couple who said they’d never been stalked, nor had they stalked. I really question that response. At some time during a guy’s life, he’s been the object of someone else’s unstated adoration, meaning someone had kept silent, but found a way to stay close to him. Even to the extent of following him once or twice.

 And I likewise think everyone’s been sated with another human to the point that he or she found ways to be present whenever the object of desire showed up. I recall in high school when I was bewitched by a younger jock named Roger. I contrived to be where he was whenever possible, but always remained afar and never spoke to him. I doubt to this day he recognizes that he was stalked. More to the point, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing at the time.

As to Johnny and Brad, tell me what you think.

Tell me what you think.

Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.



New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

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