The Leaning Cow

Our musings . . . Our emoos

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Johnny Cash – what I didn’t know

January 29th, 2017 · 2 Comments

There are, I’m certain, a lot of things I don’t know about Johnny Cash. But last week, there were a lot more. That changed because I came into the living room, sat down and realized: Oh, my gosh, the remotes are here-not misplaced. So, I turned the TV on and there was the beginning of Walk the Line; I have seen this listed many times and it was in the movie theaters in 2005, but I never watched it.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Johnny Cash. I don’t know why I avoided it, but I did. Then, well, there it was, right in my face and I decided Joaquin Phoenix actually looked like Johnny Cash . . . and I was open to an excuse not to do anything else.

Very early in the movie, I learned that Johnny Cash’s worshiped older brother Jack was killed in a sawmill accident and that his father laid a lot of blame on him. Jack was 15; Johnny (then known as J.R. was 12). I watched the entire movie, but that first part haunted me and so I researched.

Not believing everything I read, but pulling together a reasonable summary of the story: Yes, Johnny’s father expressed the idea that it should have been Johnny who died, that Jack was the good son, the one determined to be a preacher and so forth. I suspect that Johnny would have got that idea in his young head by himself, but I think his father’s judgement forced that feeling of guilt into his heart.

Of course, that young boy should have been led to realize there was sorrow in Jack’s death, but not guilt. He wouldn’t have fully believed it, of course, but he might have understood that life and death and accidents are often like the flip of a coin. I know I feel guilt for what have might have come from mistakes I made that, for some reason, missed disaster by a second, a fraction of an inch. It is unnerving when you think of life not in turns of what might have happened good, but in terms of what might have happened bad – what you might have had to live until the grave. If you really think about it, a shrug and a brief thought of “close call” should be replaced with gut-wrenching, nightmare terror. A nightmare that didn’t happen, not because you woke up, but because you got for no good reason – lucky.

It wasn’t even a mistake Johnny Cash made; it was just the way the day played out. In fact, Jack didn’t do Johnny any favors when he said, Go ahead and go fishing, J.R.; he didn’t say he knew it was not save for one person to be alone with a big old saw. In fact, Jack was 15, the good one, the one who was supposed to show his 12 year old brother the responsible way to do something. Oh, and J.R. was going fishing to try and get some food for the extremely poor family.

I don’t know what the pain and hurt and guilt and the accusations of his father did to J.R.’s mind and heart, but I suspect there was cultivated an anguish that became unbearable at times. And I won’t make any judgement because he stumbled on something that eased his pain and he had a hell of a time fighting it.

Maybe the reason he always started each performance with Hello, I’m Johnny Cash is because he was never going to let people think he was some man hiding who he was and what his pat included.

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Kingman, Indiana: A chair from Byron Grismore’s barbershop

January 25th, 2017 · No Comments

My grandfather wandered around a bit in the beginning, visiting the Chicago Exposition and helping to dig the locks between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron; he then went and stayed with an uncle in St. Louis and went to barber college. He spent oh, lots and lots of years running the shop in Kingman, Indiana and it was where the “menfolk” all gathered and discussed just about everything. My cousin, Glenda, says she never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He sang in the real barbershop quartet.

After he had died and my grandmother had gone to a nursing home, which really wasn’t necessary and she did complain about there “being only old folks here” to my dad, her sister-in-law Maude Drake outright insisted my father load one of the chairs from the shop in the back of his car and bring it home.

Aunt Maude was a classy lady and when my mother told me, “Maude made your dad take it,” I knew that meant he had absolutely no choice.

A rather crude way to put it would be that most of the male butts in Kingman and the surrounding area, along with traveling salesmen sat in that chair at one time or another. Farmers, merchants, doctors, lawyers, judges and the old-timers my dad said used to tell tales of fighting Indians in the Old West. Many an election was discussed, many a basketball or baseball game, many the news of the wars, both One and Two and Korea.

I don’t believe there were any real established hours; the lights burned as long a men were willing to sit and talk. Sometimes I stare at it and imagine the flow of men who sat there as the country went along for half a century; their faces pass in front of me and I can almost hear the conversation, the greetings called out as someone new came in. It was a place where everyone knew your name.

I’m just about the only one who sits in it now, but somehow I never feel alone.

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Be yourself

January 21st, 2017 · 1 Comment

I think this commonly given advice needs to be re-evaluated. I think it’s closely related to thine own self be true, but there is a dangerous twist in equating them. Look, I’m feisty and sometimes nasty and we all know that; now, it would be good for me to be aware of this and try to work around it. However, when someone throws caution to the wind and says, “Be yourself”, it’s likely they are going to come to the conclusion I am rubbing them the wrong way.

I am certain that I have known all along that I am judgemental, but lately I have really come to see it more clearly. And when I get on a judgemental roll, I can keep going even when an incline would slow a stone. It is a scientific anomaly, probably. I think it feeds on itself; one clever, but snide aside can help to clear the path for many more. It just happens. Oddly enough, most of the time, I really have no interest in the object of my mocking intolerance.

Pausing here, it occurs to me that it’s not a matter of not tolerating; it is stumbling on something fun to mock and then letting loose. I know mocking is not supposed to be a sport, that it is considered unkind, cruel, plain old bad . . . and yet something will serve as a trigger and there I go.

I am pleading an unfortunate deal in the card game of genetics. I think I need to be shuffled. Or muffled. I’m back at my old argument that some people are born nice and some people not and it ain’t fair when the natural nicies think I’m going out of my way to be obnoxious.

I sometimes actually fantasize about being a naturally nice person; it would be, well, nice. As it is, I’m afraid I may go into withdrawal now that Joe Biden has Amtraked his way to Delaware. Well, a word oF advice to the state: BEWARE.

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Cows and Skittles Trump Trump in our news

January 20th, 2017 · No Comments

Yes, we watched the Inauguration of Donald Trump and listened to all the opinions about this and that and his speech, which I will admit, took me somewhat aback. I remembered that I always liked and respected Bob Schieffer a great deal. I rolled my eyes at some of the commentators. I thought I should be doing something, but didn’t persuade myself.

Then I got a text from Der Bingle, who told me to look at The Drudge Report, second item from the bottom of the second column. I clicked on the link and found myself so amazed by the first paragraph, he had to nudge me to read the last one.

The roadkill in Wisconsin got our leaning cow standing straight up; she is not contented to be in Indiana. So . . . we ordered some Gummy Worms and I’ll probably be at the trough as well. Kind of envy the four stomachs when this stuff is involved.

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Isabella Selmes Ferguson Greenway

January 19th, 2017 · No Comments

I had to look up this lady’s name because only once did I run across an account of her decades ago in a book about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. I really should have looked more into her life; I should have realized that an short anecdotal reference in a book does not normally stay with you for several weeks, then months, then years, then decades without it being very meaningful.

The nutshell gist – and that’s getting pretty basic – of the reference is that Isabella and Eleanor were girlhood friends and, in fact, Isabella’s first husband, Robert Furguson, was at one time a suitor of Eleanor’s. Her brother Hall confided later to a friend that he had been rooting for Robert, rather than Franklin.

Well, in the early years of both marriages, Robert was diagnosed with tuberculosis and he and Isabella moved to Arizona for his health. Apparently Isabella managed to blend the architecture and style of the Southwest with the familiar furnishings of the quite upper class lifestyle of far away New York society. Eleanor visited at one time and wrote in a letter to a friend that Isabella had made such a pleasant home, both in comfort and good cheer that she said it almost made one wish they had a husband who had tuberculosis and had to go to Arizona.

I do not have that type of personality; I wish I did. However, if the best I can do is recognize the gift Isabella had and shared, then I am at least glad that for a few minutes every now and then I can see what I should have had the good sense to strive for.

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Supervolcano coming next

January 17th, 2017 · No Comments

I decided I’d rest today – on a sofa, in front of a TV; I should have planned a series of DVD’s, either a binge or a bit of this and that of favorite movies. I threw myself to the fate of cable TV, however, and have watched several dark shows, thinking, “Oh, how dark can it be? At least it’s not a brainless comedy.”

Leaning toward the educational side, I switched over to a show on Pompeii, a topic that has fascinated me for years. It is not a bad show, but I’ve seen it before and I find the “fragile and rare finds not seen before . . .” artifacts not really exciting. A lady with the long white hair – down past her shoulders long – tried to blow on an conch, once eaten my Romans and then recycled as a trumpet for the theater. It made me think of Woodstock 45+ years later.

Just now, I have again visited the graffiti left on a brothel wall and listened as another docent translated it, using humming noises when the four letter words were used. Mostly, I simply feel like complaining and criticizing today. I am sitting here talking to the TV on how I want the show to be organized. A documentary on Yellowstone is coming up; there’s fodder for some AJ eruptions.

Of course, I could go to the ID channel and learn all the mistakes criminals make so I’ll have a list of what not to do.

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Estee Lauder and I

December 5th, 2016 · 1 Comment

For over four decades I have been using Estee Lauder products on my face. That’s saying it formally; casually speaking, I’ve been using the stuff that comes in a light blue box on my face for a long, long time. It has always been some shade of blue – the box, not the stuff itself. But this morning, I washed my face with a foaming cleanser that came in a maroon box. It made my skin tingle and, to be quite honest, actually feel soft and clean. So it seems to function pretty much like the foaming cleanser I’ve been using for four decades. Still, it was a maroon box. I don’t do change well.

The website has this insider tip:

When using this as a mask, place a towel on your pillow, lay back and take the two minutes to relax and meditate.

I am obviously an outsider because I like to move around a lot to get my face hot and let the stuff foam up, mix with sweat, sink down into my pours and sometimes . . . drip. Yes, it ain’t real classy, but it has worked for me. I have preached this method to others with no converts and I am not surprised – dripping is not all that attractive. But for me it has paid off.

Now, if you really want to see results, apply the cleanser and go mow the lawn . . . and I suppose it would be a good idea to just stop typing now.

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December 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

Yes, I knew I said I was going to be in and out and I knew I wasn’t outright lying; I just didn’t know if I really had the gumption to do more than take the padlock off the door. But, here I am. Unfortunately, this place is a MESS and a lot of folks know how I feel about housework. Time to consider Tom Sawyer’s fence painting? Maybe.

We have a Christmas tree; it is in an outbuilding. I think it may be too tall for our ceiling here and we will need to push a couple of tables out of the way. I believe this could get interesting, hopefully not so much so that the police come to check on the chaos. I may take pictures, but I’m not certain if they could become evidence to be used in court at my commitment hearing. I need a fairy godmother of Christmas trees; Oh, right, I used that service before and they said NEVER CALL US AGAIN.

I am a clumsy elf.


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Gone so long

December 1st, 2016 · 1 Comment

I came here, looked at the leaves on the porch and the dark windows and found I had forgotten my password. But I fumbled with my cyber key ring and found this old brass thing . . . and it worked. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, coming and going that is. However, the place has a comforting feel: Well, hi there AmeliaJake. You really didn’t need that key; we left the backdoor open for you.

So, shall we have a go at it again?

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Icebat Batman

September 17th, 2016 · 1 Comment


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