West Texas Chuck
Since Dec 9, 2005
I am West Texas Chuck, aka SquirrelCutter. If you have a problem with me it is your problem. My forefathers and true friends have my back, so go soak your head in the Red River. But if you understand my words, I'll happily pour a Dogfish 60 on ya sometime, or cook us some of the best BBQ ribs your tongue ever wrassled with. What'll it be pilgrim? Perhaps ... ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ? I'm good with that.
I never really cared much about politics until one night our President sat there in front of the TV camera and waggled his big bony finger at me and told me “I never had sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky, not even once.” I thought, you better not be lying you bastid. Well, we all know how that turned out. Then, one Tuesday morning in early September, I sat on the parking deck at work in my truck and listened to 3000 of my countrymen be murdered by these monsters who had taken over some airliners. That changed my life forever. It was never my honor to serve but I love our military. God Bless them one and all and please bring them all home safe to their families and loved ones.
I had people die on both sides of the Stars and Bars back during the War for States Rights, the War of Northern Aggression, what y'all prolly call the Civil War. One side of my kin fought for state's rights, the other fought to preserve the Union. My family is all Okies and Arkies but I was born in Illinois when my USAF dad was stationed at some remote radar site up in Michigan. He and I butted heads a thousand times but finally found a mutual respect before he passed. The man was a hard core country music fan, Hank Sr., JR Cash, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Buck Owens, Roy Clark, all the old favorites, but he also lurved him some Elvis Presley. He thought Willie and Waylon were hippies. I wish he was alive to hear what I listen to now, he would laugh his ass off. I like stuff my dad would have considered hillbilly. Old bluegrass from the 50s and 60s, stuff like Louvin Brothers, Stanley Brothers, Monroe Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Blue Sky Boys, you name it.
One of my grandfathers was a deacon in the First Southern Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK, a real Christian missionary, from a family of missionaries. All his people were in South America or the Phillipines but his mission was to minister to the old poor broke down Indians in Oklahoma. I was there, he took me everywhere with him. He fixed their houses, carried them to church services, bought them food, I'll never be a match for that Man. I remember living with him while my dad was overseas. He taught me to shoot a .22 rifle and pick up pecans. He tried to learn me to drive his car at age 3 or 4 but I put it in a ditch along some old dirt road out there in Pottawatomie County somewhere. He just laughed and gave me a big hug. I remember sitting in the pew on Sunday mornings, he would sing along with all the hymns but the people around us always poked him in the arm and put their fingers to their lips, he was a terrible singer. I got that from him, among other things. I miss you Grandpa, Otho Orville Oliver, you left us way too young. I remember at his funeral in the late 60s, Shawnee OK, there must have been 700 or 800 people there, crying and screaming "Daddy, don't leave us." At age 11, that had a real impact on my view of the world.
The other was a mean roughneck welder from Arkansas who died before I was born, and I am fairly certain he was a KKK guy, from what my old granny told me. It was pretty common back then.
I will always be a Southern white boy but I am not racist, I judge a man on how much of his underwear is visible above his belt. I'll give you an inch but six inches just looks ridiculous and trashy. I also pay particular attention to how he treats his woman and offspring, not the color of his skin. I wasn't raised like that, thankfully. I have friends of all ethnicities, what your complexion is don't mean squat to me if you have sand. Skin color is a stupid thing to focus on. I'm all about what is in yer heart.
After living in OK until age 12, my old daddy moved us to Texas, the Panhandle, what they call the Llano Estacado or "Staked Plains." Man, you have never seen land as flat as it is up there. At night from just outside our town you could see flashing traffic lights in another small town about 15 miles away. And the wind, you have no idea. Opening a car door or the door to a building can be a dangerous event when you are surrounded by 70-80 mph winds. I seem to recall hearing on the radio once that the wind at Amarillo airport peaked at 112 mph one time. When I was in High School one of my classmates and her mom were killed when a semi truck blew over on top of their car on the highway. When I went to school in Austin I remember a headline in the Daily Texan that said "38 MPH Gale-force Winds Hit UT Campus." Wut? You people are sissies. I was glad to get out of there and move to Dallas, but it still feels like home somehow when I drive through there. There is a reason Mac Davis wrote a song about "Lubbock in my rearview mirror." Oh yeah, and when it was January and there was more snow than I ever saw before my best friend's momma would tell us that "The only thing between Amarillo and the Canadian border is a barbed-wire fence, and the top two strands are down."
I am a hardcore cyclist, pretty much, I own 8 bicycles. Nowdays I mostly ride off-road but I have been a commuter for most of the 35 years or so I have lived in the Dallas area. I've ridden to every job I ever had at least a couple of times. Most of my bikes are old steel, but I have a nice aluminum Ibis soft-tail and a Matt Chester Ti singlespeed that have both seen some serious duty in the dirt; north Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert, all over the mountain bike trails in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. I like bikes. Being in the woods on your bike is like being an 8-year-old again, I love it.
I am an American Conservative first, a proud Texan second, and a political republican third. I live in the general Metromess area of north Texas with my long-time girlfriend Susan (well, I actually just married her Sept. 29, 2012. YAY, she deserves a husband like me), one stoopid dog, two cats (one fat house cat and one skinny stray) and four goofy water turtles. Hey, I was never a pets guy until I hooked up with this half-Japanese woman. The Warden, aka She Who Must Be Obeyed, loves animals. I'm good with that. Our faith is Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism. No, we don't worship Buddha, but we do believe in certain spiritual tenets that are part of this philosophical world view. It explains so much about our lives, IMHO. Yours and ours. All that said, I have no problem with Christians, I have a family full of them. I'll fight and die with you Christians in defense of our beautiful country. In a second. I don't fear for my mortal body, I have an immortal soul.
There is no such thing as good Karma, we are what we have made in our lives.
Check this out, stole it from ansel12: Don't be a sheep, be a sheepdog
I used to be heavy off into photography. This may be the absolute most beautiful photograph I ever took. Susan and I, before she was She Who Must Be Obeyed. I mean look at that shot, it looks like it was done in a studio with lighting and a backdrop, but no. My Canon Elan 2e and a camera mounted flash. I love it. She looks so happy. 'Course, that was before we got married ;)
You can see a long damn way from up yonder, but you can't see my couch. One year before I did this hike, I was laying on my couch with an Ilizarov External Fixator screwed into that left leg in 6 places. And an additional 8 points where the support wires went into and out of my skin. Such a Hell, I would not wish that misery on anybody. I broke my tibia and shattered the fibula in a freak bike accident, going maybe 2mph. Thank God for modern medical technology. 100 years ago they would have just chopped my leg off.
Yeah, it is only 4 miles up, but it is kickass. I'll wear boots next time, the coming down part wrecked my feet that trip. The delta from my beach shot is around 8700' and I am proud of that. That is prolly the toughest hike in Texas. Four miles sounds easy, it did to me, but that four miles is brutal and you will earn your beans going up there. But the climb to that view is a worthy use of liesure time. Make sure you have the right footwear and be ready for the fight to make it to the top of Texas. The weather usually sucks, I had it easy that day, a little windy but glorious. I am already planning my next assault.
That place will make your spine tingle. Sign the book when you get up there. It's under those rocks yonder.
“Do right, and risk the consequences.”
-- Old Sam Houston
“You can all go to hell, I’ll go to Texas”
"Texas is the most beautiful place I ever saw"
and the ever popular
"Congress allows lemonade to the members and has it charged under the head of stationery-I move also that whiskey be allowed under the item of fuel. For bitters I can suck away at a noggin of aquafortis, sweetened with brimstone, stirred with a lightning rod, and skimmed with a hurricane. Ive soaked my head and shoulders in Salt River, so much that Im always corned. I can walk like an ox, run like a fox, swim like an eel, yell like an Indian, fight like a devil, spout like an earthquake, make love like a mad bull, and swallow a Mexican whole without choking if you butter his head and pin his ears back."
-- Col. David Crockett (I don't know about y'all, but that sounds like a fun guy to me)
“If I owned hell and Texas, I’d rent out Texas and live in hell.”
-- That carpetbagger Phil Sheridan, I hope the SOB got his wish
COMMANDANCY OF BEXAR, 3 o'clock p.m.: The enemy in large force are in sight. We want men and provisions. Send them to us. We have 150 men and are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance.
P.S. Send an express to San Felipe with news night
COMMANDANCY OF BEXAR: We have removed all the men to the Alamo where we make such resistance as is due our honor, and that of a country, until we can get assistance from you, which we expect you to forward immediately. In this extremity, we hope you will send us all the men you can spare promptly. We have one hundred and forty six men, who are determined never to retreat. We have but little provisions, but enough to serve us till you and your men arrive. We deem it unnecessary to repeat to a brave officer, who knows his duty, that we call on him for assistance.
Fellow citizens & compatriots --
I am beseiged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country --
VICTORY OR DEATH
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.
P.S. The Lord is on our side -- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn -- We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves --
HEADQUARTERS, FORT OF THE ALAMO: Sir; On the 23rd of Feb., the enemy in large force entered the city of Bexar, which could not be prevented, as I had not sufficient force to occupy both positions. Col. Bartes, the Adjutant-Major of the President-General Santa Anna, demanded a surrender at discretion, calling us foreign rebels. I answered them with a cannon shot, upon which the enemy commenced a bombardment with a five inch howitzer, which together with a heavy cannonade, has been kept up incessantly ever since. I instantly sent express to Col. Fannin, at Goliad, and to the people of Gonzales and San Felipe. Today at 10 o'clock a.m. some two or three hundred Mexicans crossed the river below and came up under cover of the houses until they arrived within virtual point blank shot, when we opened a heavy discharge of grape and canister on them, together with a well directed fire from small arms which forced them to halt and take shelter in the houses about 90 or 100 yards from our batteries. The action continued to rage about two hours, when the enemy retreated in confusion, dragging many of their dead and wounded.
During the action, the enemy kept up a constant bombardment and discharge of balls, grape, and canister. We know from actual observation that many of the enemy were wounded -- while we, on our part, have not lost a man. Two or three of our men have been slightly scratched by pieces of rock, but have not been disabled. I take great pleasure in stating that both officers and men conducted themselves with firmness and bravery. Lieutenant Simmons of cavalry acting as infantry, and Captains Carey, Dickinson and Blair of the artillery, rendered essential service, and Charles Despallier and Robert Brown gallantly sallied out and set fire to houses which afforded the enemy shelter, in the face of enemy fire. Indeed, the whole of the men who were brought into action conducted themselves with such heroism that it would be injustice to discriminate. The Hon. David Crockett was seen at all points, animating the men to do their duty. Our numbers are few and the enemy still continues to approximate his works to ours. I have every reason to apprehend an attack from his whole force very soon; but I shall hold out to the last extremity, hoping to secure reinforcements in a day or two. Do hasten on aid to me as rapidly as possible, as from the superior number of the enemy, it will be impossible for us to keep them out much longer. If they overpower us, we fall a sacrifice at the shrine of our country, and we hope prosperity and our country will do our memory justice. Give me help, oh my country! Victory or Death!
W. Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Com
COMMANDANCY OF THE ALAMO, BEJAR: In the present confusion of the political authorities of the country, and in the absence of the commander-in-chief, I beg leave to communicate to you the situation of this garrison. You have doubtless already seen my official report of the action of the 25th ult. made on that day to General Sam Houston, together with the various communications heretofore sent by express. I shall, therefore, confine myself to what has transpired since that date.
From the 25th to the present date, the enemy have kept up a bombardment from two howitzers (one a five and a half inch, and the other an eight inch) and a heavy cannonade from two long nine-pounders, mounted on a battery on the opposite side of the river, at a distance of four hundred yards from our walls. During this period the enemy has been busily employed in encircling us with entrenchments on all sides, at the following distance, to wit -- in Bexar, four hundred yards west; in Lavilleta, three hundred yards south; at the powder-house, one thousand yards east by south; on the ditch, eight hundred yards north. Notwithstanding all this, a company of thirty-two men from Gonzales, made their way into us on the morning of the 1st inst, at three o'clock, and Col. J.B. Bonham (a courier from Gonzales) got in this morning at eleven o'clock without molestation. I have so fortified this place, that the walls are generally proof against cannon-balls; and I shall continue to entrench on the inside, and strengthen the walls by throwing up dirt. At least two hundred shells have fallen inside our works without having injured a single man; indeed, we have been so fortunate as not to lose a man from any cause, and we have killed many of the enemy. The spirits of my men are still high, although they have had much to depress them. We have contended for ten days against an enemy whose numbers are variously estimated at from fifteen hundred to six thousand, with Gen. Ramirez Sesma and Col. Bartres, the aid-de-camp of Santa Anna, at their head. A report was circulated that Santa Anna himself was with the enemy, but I think it was false. A reinforcement of one thousand men is now entering Bexar from the west, and I think it more than probable that Santa Anna is now in town, from the rejoicing we hear. Col. Fannin is said to be on the march to this place with reinforcements; but I fear it is not true, as I have repeatedly sent to him for aid without receiving any. Col. Bonham, my special messenger, arrived at Labahia fourteen days ago, with a request for aid; and on the arrival of the enemy in Bexar ten days ago, I sent an express to Col. F. which arrived at Goliad on the next day, urging him to send us reinforcements -- none have arrived. I look to the colonies alone for aid; unless it arrives soon, I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms. I will, however, do the best I can under the circumstances, and I feel confident that the determined valour and desperate courage, heretofore evinced by my men, will not fail them in the last struggle, and although they may be sacrifieced to the vengeance of a Gothic enemy, the victory will cost the enemy so dear, that it will be worse for him than a defeat. I hope your honorable body will hasten on reinforcements, ammunition, and provisions to our aid, as soon as possible. We have provisions for twenty days for the men we have; our supply of ammunition is limited. At least five hundred pounds of cannon powder, and two hundred rounds of six, nine, twelve, and eighteen pound balls -- ten kegs of rifle powder, and a supply of lead, should be sent to this place without delay, under a sufficient guard.
If these things are promptly sent, and large reinforcements are hastened to this frontier, this neighborhood will be the great and decisive battle ground. The power of Santa Anna is to be met here or in the colonies; we had better meet them here, than to suffer a war of desolation to rage our settlements. A blood-red banner waves from the church of Bexar, and in the camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance against rebels; they have declared us as such, and demanded that we should surrender at discretion or this garrison should be put to the sword. Their threats have had no influence on me or my men, but to make all fight with desperation, and that high-souled courage which characterizes the patriot, who is willing to die in defense of his country's liberty and his own honour.
The citizens of this municipality are all our enemies except those who have joined us heretofore; we have but three Mexicans now in the fort; those who have not joined us in this extremity, should be declared public enemies, and their property should aid in paying the expenses of the war.
The bearer of this will give you your honorable body, a statement more in detail, should he escape through the enemy's lines. God and Texas! --
Victory or Death!!
P.S. The enemy's troops are still arriving, and the reinforcements will probably amount to two or three thousand.
Do me the favor to send the enclosed to its proper destination instantly. I am still here, in fine spirits and well to do, with 145 men. I have held this place for ten days against a force variously estimated from 1,500 to 6,000, and shall continue to hold it till I get relief from my country or I will perish in its defense. We have had a shower of bombs and cannon balls continually falling among us the whole time, yet none of us has fallen. We have been miraculously preserved. You have no doubt seen my official report of the action of the 24th ult. in which we repulsed the enemy with considerable loss; on the night of the 25th they made another attempt to charge us in the rear of the fort, but we received them gallantly by a discharge of grape shot and musquertry, and they took to their scrapers immediately. They are now encamped in entrenchments on all sides of us.
All our couriers have gotten out without being caught and a company of 32 men from Gonzales got in two nights ago, and Colonel Bonham got in today by coming between the powder house and the enemy's upper encampment....Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command. But under the flag of independence, we are ready to peril our lives a hundred times a day, and to drive away the monster who is fighting us under a blood-red flag, threatening to murder all prisoners and make Texas a waste desert. I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, yet I am ready to do it, and if my countrymen do not rally to my relief, I am determined to perish in the defense of this place, and my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect. With 500 men more, I will drive Sesma beyond the Rio Grande, and I will visit vengeance on the enemy fighting against us. Let the government declare them public enemies, otherwise she is acting a suicidal part. I shall treat them as such, unless I have superior orders to the contrary.
My respects to all friends, confusion to all enemies. God Bless you.
Take care of my little boy. If the country should be saved, I may make for him a splendid fortune; but if the country be lost and I should perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country.
The letter to David Ayers is the last known letter written by Travis before the fall of the Alamo on the morning of March 6, 1836.
William Barret Travis died at his post on the cannon platform at the northeast corner of the fortress.
He was 26 years old.
When I was in the eighth grade we had to memorize and then recite Travis' letter to "All Americans in the World." I moved here from Oklahoma, but that day in Texas History class was when I became a Texan. At the time I didn't understand the tears in my eyes. I was 14 years old and it embarassed me. I understand now as a mature Man. I went to the Alamo one time. I stood inside the chapel and pondered them Mexicans blowing the doors in with their cannon. Ask my woman, I cried like a child, it touched my soul because I know the history and the glory and the sacrifice. I understand it inside my being and my heart. I hope I am worthy of such heavy responsibility, but I am thankful to have my eyes opened to bearing the mantel of such a painfully beautiful legacy.
When my time is done, there is a little cemetery out toward the Panhandle, just south of a town called Quitaque. There is a marker there that says "Unknown Cowboy." Y'all can plant me right next to that cat, mark mine "Known Cowboy."
Remember the Alamo, but also remember Gonzales and San Jacinto.
God Bless Texas, and God Bless America. I will put the Lone Star and Old Glory out tomorrow morning and I will bring them in at dusk. There are some things a man just has to do if he truly respects dignity.
That right there is the Gonzales flag. There is a whole story behind that. The Mexicans gave a cannon to the town of Gonzales to protect the citizens from the Indians, but when it was clear Texas and Mexico were about to fight over this land, them damn Mexicans wanted their cannon back. It weren't happening, the Women of Gonzales made this flag. They didn't get our damn cannon, the peoples of Gonzales sent them packing. People in Texas don't take a lot of crap from tyrants.
I think it says all I have to say about where we were then, and where we are today.
That right there my friends is a hero, if he was still alive I couldn't stand to stare into his eyes. If I ever get up to Arlington, I will lay some flowers on his grave. It will be my honor.
We have many MoH recipients in Texas. I will research them and post up some more pix to honor them as time goes on.
I went to the Memorial Day celebration of our heroes at Fair Park. They had the Moving Wall there. I found a few names I know to look for. People I have heard of, I never found the names of guys I knew. Maybe they made it back. I cried, as usual for me. I will focus on documenting them and post up after the tears are out of my eyes.
Men like Alfredo Gonzales, Roy Benavidez, guys I have heard of. I'll work on that, I promise.
There is another Texan I have tall respect for. He never had the MoH, but he was a true hero. His name was Christopher Scott Kyle and I went to his memorial service over there in Cowpie Stadium. It was awesome, speakers who knew him and his lifelong friends. Randy Travis popped out from behind the stage and sang a song. Then Kyle's wife stood up there, she said "I am now a broken woman" and there weren't a dry eye anywhere around me.
A good man, a deadly enemy and a true Texan. God Bless my heroes, this one and all of them. He and Chad Littlefield were murdered by one of his fellow vets who was all freaked out from PTSD apparently. On the line at the shooting range. There is some weird irony in that, but it is what it is. CPO Kyle was the most feared and most successful sniper in US history. That is about as hard a row as a Man can choose to hoe.
The enemy, our enemy, called him the Devil of Ramadi. His wife called him a loving father and husband. I can respect that, he was a good Man.
Here in my very late middle-age I sit sometimes and listen to various dead musical stars. There are a few that were alive in my day that I still cling to. One that often shows up on my playlists is a fellow Texan, young woman from Port Arthur. Her life rode her hard and put her up wet too many times I guess.
That gal had the most expressive and soulful voice I can think of. She wasn't good looking, and she wasn't nothing like stable, but she had sand. I always loved Janis, she was a tortured soul but man that chick could sing. She left us too young.
There have been a few dates in my life I will never forget. One was May 1, 1994. I had been out of town that weekend for a mountain bike race, taped the San Marino Grand Prix, but hadn't seen it yet. Monday morning, the day after the GP, I woke up to the clock radio next to my bed with the news guy saying Ayrton Senna da Silva had been killed at Imola, Italy. I sat straight up in bed and then ran to my VHS machine to make sure I had the race on tape. It was a long day at work, but when I got home that evening I sat down and watched the end of one of my heroes. Three-time WC, our King was dead. Long live the King.
On Friday, in practice, Rubens Barrichello went off hard and destroyed his car in an horrific crash. Saturday, during qualifying, Roland Ratzenberger was killed in a crash. Sunday, at the start, there was a huge crash when Pedro Lamy rammed into a stalled J.J. Lehto on the grid, sending debris into the stands and injuring several spectators. F1 threw the yellow flag and the racers lined up behind the safety car. It was then, after the restart, I watched from a camera on Michael Schumacher's car as Senna set fast lap, and then went off the track at 140 mph going into the Tamburello curve, smashed into the barriers and died. A piece of the suspension, still attached to the right front wheel, penetrated his yellow helmet and punched a hole the size of a quarter in his forehead just above his right eye and plunged deep into his brain, finishing him. Then I watched the coverage of him sitting in what was left of his car, his head twitched once, but he was gone. This time F1 threw the red flag and eventually the grid was reformed, to start the race yet again. Ten laps from the finish Michele Alboreto lost a rear wheel while leaving the pits and sent four mechanics to the hospital.
To date, Senna is the last man to die in a Formula One race. Team Williams was tried in Italian courts for a bad weld on the steering shaft in his car. The track was rough that year, and the weld failed. Don't much matter, the Rain King was dead. Hardly anybody in America follows F1 so most of you have never seen him drive. The man was a wizard, in the wet and in the dry. Ask Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Michael Schumacher, Ron Dennis or Frank Williams.
I was a huge F1 fan, for like 20 years, but my heart was broken when Senna died and I don't watch it anymore. If any of this interests you, I urge you to watch the recent film "Senna" and see what you think.
I always thought I hated that Brazilian, but it was then I realized I loved the bastard. It changed my life. I will always be on Senna's wing, going into Tamburello, back in '94.
The states I have been in:
visited 38 states (76%)
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