Winning Would Be Indescribably Delicious

The Citadel exercised many options. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, September 10, 2017, 1:38 p.m.

I can’t imagine a better place to watch a football game than Presbyterian College, that is, if you don’t mind it if the Blue Hose lose.

By Monte Dutton

It’s early yet. Yes, Presbyterian has been been outscored 99-13, but Wake Forest and The Citadel are stiff competition for a liberal-arts school of 1,300 students playing in the lower subdivision of NCAA Division I.

A year ago, Presbyterian hosted four games at beautiful Bailey Memorial Stadium. This year, thanks to the threat of a storm leading The Citadel up to Clinton, eight games will be played here. Campbell visits next week and Cumberland the week after.

It’s almost impossible to park more than 200 yards away. Lovely shade trees abound in the green lots. It’s tailgate-friendly, kids-friendly, and, unfortunately, visiting teams-friendly.

The Citadel is ranked 13th in the nation, Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and the state’s military college wore their “Duty” uniforms, which meant lead-gray jerseys and pants and white helmets. The Bulldogs wear white helmets every week, but the jerseys vary from gray to navy to light blue to white. College football has gotten awfully complicated. One cannot reliably walk through the gates of a stadium anymore and be sure he or she can tell which team is which. Some teams wear camouflage jerseys, the ostensible point being they couldn’t be identified at all.

Life Gets Complicated, Lightning in a Bottle and Cowboys Come Home are available at Emma Jane’s and L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton.

Presbyterian does not play on the road again until November 4. I kid you not. I hope the Blue Hose get better and have a decent year, which the past two were not. On Saturday, they had their moments. At one time, it was only 14-7. The Citadel (2-0) only outgained the Blue Hose by 310 yards.

The Blue Hose beat their next opponent, Campbell, last year. I don’t know anything about Cumberland other than Georgia Tech beating a Cumberland, 222-0, but that was in 1916, and, presumably, the Phoenix have risen from the ashes of that. I’m familiar with Lebanon, Tennessee, having met a friend for dinner there on at least two occasions.

All else being equal, I’m guardedly optimistic about the Campbell and Cumberland games.

I wrote a free-lance story on The Citadel’s unexpected visit, and because of the professionalism that journalism requires, I enjoyed no frosty beverages until the story was safely written and my friends, Presbyterian football variety, commiserating the setback across the street.

Libations are marvelously useful in the aftermath of victory or defeat.

As I drove home, knowing that a stock car race from Richmond, and football games from Clemson, Columbia (Mo.), South Bend, and Los Angeles would soon be on at the same time, I hummed the theme from Green Acres.

Keep Manhattan / Just give me that countryside.

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Life Gets Complicated, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise). Or, just drop me a line and you can pay through PayPal.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written seven novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

(Gabe Whisnant photo)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

Life Gets Complicated follows Barrie Jarman as he moves up to FASCAR’s premier series. He and Angela Hughston face discrimination for their interracial love affair, and Barrie has to surmount unexpected obstacles that test his resolve.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Write me at hutdut@duttonm@bellsouth.net or “message” me through social media.

 

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I’d Batten Down the Hatches if I Had Any

Charleston, the Holy City. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, September 7, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

A week ago, a large chunk of Texas, which itself is a large chunk, caught the largest amount of rain ever recorded on the continent.

By Monte Dutton

Now the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever is curving toward, eventually, here.

How many “once-in-a-thousand-years storms” are going to have to hit this decade before we figure out that the climate just might be changing?

Maybe that’s the silver lining that glistens on the edge of swirling clouds that are 420 miles across. If only that silver could be mined … the electricity would still go out.

Life Gets Complicated, Lightning in a Bottle and Cowboys Come Home are available at Emma Jane’s and L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton.

Here in the Carolina foothills, we have been fortunate. The hurricanes that have recently hit our coast have generally bored inland and curved to the right at about Columbia and headed for Charlotte. Gulf hurricanes are considerably weakened by the time they blow through. We’ve gotten wind and rain but no direct hits.

This time all bets are off. Not just in weather, now that I think about it.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I thought about all my friends in Florida. I thought about the Keys, where I’ve spent some time during and after stock car races in Homestead. I thought about the maddening Miami airport, and the Everglades, and Lake Okeechobee. I thought about Daytona Beach, and Orlando, and Jacksonville. I thought about how my home isn’t going to flood but is a decent target for an unruly tornado. I thought about drinking water and how I need to go to the grocery stores, where I wouldn’t be surprised if the bread and eggs are gone already. I thought about Aunt Linda, who just lost Uncle Maxie last week. I thought about Ella, my niece, and here three beautiful little boys near Columbia, and Ray, my nephew, and Jessica, with their three-year-old boy and one-year-old girl and another whose arrival date is next February. And Vince, at whom I fussed unnecessarily yesterday, and Jake, living near Lake Greenwood.

I thought about how glorious the eclipse was here in town, and miracles never cease, but some miracles are wondrous in their fury instead of their peace.

The Citadel and Presbyterian College have moved the Saturday football game here, and it seems like such a good idea to stroll over to PC and have a good party because, two days later, all hell is liable to break loose another way.

Eat, drink, and be merry!

I prayed an inordinate amount because I awakened an inordinate number of times, and I asked for forgiveness because I can’t help but hope all that wreckage in the Caribbean takes the starch out of that monster before it gets here.

Irma. What an inoffensive name for a monster. It ought to be named Butch. Irma La Douce was a beautiful Parisian prostitute, played by Shirley MacLaine, opposite Jack Lemmon, in the movies. Erma Bombeck was a humor columnist. Laurens is playing Irmo High School Friday night.

The view from here. (Monte Dutton photo)

This morning the local weather gurus seemed less hysterical than they usually are when wind, rain, heat, cold, sleet and/or grandly exaggerated hail approaches. Maybe they’ll come around and tell me about the bowling-ball-sized hail that was spotted in Pacolet.

Finally, I thought of the inspiring words of the late Jerry Reed, who sang, “If I’m not out of gas in a pouring rain, I’m changing a flat in a hurricane. Lord, Mr. Ford, what have you done?”

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Life Gets Complicated, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise). Or, just drop me a line and you can pay through PayPal.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written seven novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

Life Gets Complicated follows Barrie Jarman as he moves up to FASCAR’s premier series. He and Angela Hughston face discrimination for their interracial love affair, and Barrie has to surmount unexpected obstacles that test his resolve.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Write me at hutdut@duttonm@bellsouth.net or “message” me through social media.

 

 

A Sheer Microcosm

 

(Monte Dutton sketch)

I haven’t had time to write short stories recently. With a seventh novel on the way to publication, and an eighth in an ongoing state of repair, I’ve been excising episodes from the latter manuscript. It’s hard to remove items that are amusing but unnecessary. It occurred to me that I could turn them into short stories. This short exercise in trivial description is the first.

On Monday, the eighteenth day of July, Mickey Statler thought his biggest problem was underwear. Underwear was, however, just a foreshadowing of what was to come because it involved his balls, and his ass was hard to keep clean.

By Monte Dutton

The older a man gets, the more he appreciates reliability, and underwear must be the most reliable of his garments. Mickey, like most men, tended to wear underwear right up until the dryer started sucking up the lint to the point where the briefs began to disintegrate. Then he kept them a while because, well, they were clean, if no longer wearable. Indecent underwear – and not just drawers but also tee shirts – turned into one-use wash cloths for filthy messes. Mickey had adapted to some modern developments in underwear design. He’d come to love the modern compromise, the boxer brief, which was built like briefs, only boxier. They were longer briefs, or, perhaps, briefer longs. Mickey had reached the progressive point where he wore all “boxer briefs” except when they were all dirty, at which point Mickey reluctantly turned to the briefs he kept in reserve. These he was wearing when he decided it was time for reinforcements and drove to Costco. In addition to a ridiculous amount of Sweet ‘n’ Low for his coffee and a half-gallon container of shampoo – with a convenient pump! – Mickey bought nine pairs of boxer briefs, each in packs of three, and took a leap of faith that they would be made up of the same reliable cotton he had come to know and love.

 

The next morning, when Mickey put these cutting-edge facilitators of support and efficient waste disposal on, they were not what he expected. Three of them had no “doors” in the front for his “release.” All nine were made of a sheer, elastic material, undoubtedly a synthetic with an origin derived somewhere in oil.

They were slick. They were slippery. Mickey felt like he was wearing panties. He had invested nearly thirty dollars in these sappers of manhood, and that was sufficient an investment for him to realize his manhood was in jeopardy. He would just have to adapt to the unfrilled panties, because, by the next time he purchased any underwear, they would undoubtedly be standard, universal, and, quite possibly, decorated in marijuana leaves. He would die in a car wreck, and an autopsy would be conducted to analyze his coagulating blood solely because of the underwear he was wearing. Perhaps he would live long enough for cannabis to be legal and everyone’s clothes would be decorated with sly green leaves, not just the ones bought in surfside beach outlets.

 

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

 

 

 

Mass Communications, or Lack Thereof …

Mixed messages. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, August 4, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

Let’s say I want to get in touch with you. The options are endless. It doesn’t mean any of them work.

By Monte Dutton

I could send you an email. You would likely do what I often do: um, delete, delete, delete, save, delete, delete, delete …

Then I might – maybe, if I’m bored – read the one I saved.

When I send out information about my novels, I’m painfully aware that most get deleted without a glance. I try to write a slug that will draw attention.

A sequel! In the works!

Perhaps I should write it in all caps.

A SEQUEL! IN THE WORKS!

After all, many people around President Trump were apparently non-plussed by an email with the slug: “Re: Russia and Clinton – Private and Confidential.”

Ah. Nothing to see there.

I could leave you a message. If it’s on your office or home phone, on obsolete “land lines,” you’ll probably listen to it by the weekend. When I see you, maybe you’ll say, “I didn’t have your number.”

The one I left in the message. My home number’s “in the book.”

The book? What book?

A hurricane stole the “I.” Hurricane Donald. (Monte Dutton photo)

The phone book. The one you apparently go through at the even more obsolete mailbox. Throw away, throw away, keep, throwaway, keep …

I leave a message on your cell, too, or would, except that the mailbox is full because the last time you checked the messages, the Easter Bunny was hop, hop, hopping along, or imaginarily, the actual bunny being made of chocolate.

I could text. That’s the most reliable way. The down side is that you may well want to converse via text, which is aggravating. I’ll probably have to decipher acronyms I don’t understand.

His PLX is thru roof. PLX-adj. more killer. Nowumsayin?

No. I don’t nowumsayin. It’s probably best just to type LOL. Or LMAO. Or, on special occasions, ROFLMAO.

As all skilled texters know, ROFLMAO stands for “flounder on roll, extra mayonnaise.”

You may be lit. Or turnt. You may think my idea is chill. You may send a fashionable redundancy.

Mike Trout is good at baseball.

So many are the methods of communication that they are all used sparingly. Endless options are eschewed endlessly.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Post on your Facebook page? Oops. Who knew? We aren’t “friends” on Facebook, even though we have been “friends” (old definition) since grammar school. I send a “friend request.” It is approved almost instantly. I send “a direct message.” Three days pass. I write an actual Facebook post.

I really need to talk to you. I sent you a direct message earlier.

Huh. Thought I sent message back. Must not’ve hit send.

Must not’ve. A likely story.

If we communicate anymore, there won’t be any communication at all. I can remember when the way to avoid someone was to push the shopping cart – or as we used to say, the “buggy” – around to the next aisle.

Go to the book section. You’ll never be detected there.

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Lacking Motivation

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 1:08 p.m.

Some days are diamonds. Some days are stones.

Etc.

By Monte Dutton

Yesterday morning, I awakened, and Keith Jackson could have been announcing the occasion. Whoa, Nellie! He came to the living room ready to write! Get some coffee in him, and it’s Katie, bar the door!

Keith was always good with the women.

I was clicking. Why people click in such moments, I have no idea.

I wrote the seventeenth chapter of an upcoming fiction project that is to be called Life Gets Complicated. That’s because it does. I then added layers of detail to my outline, and that is penance for the sarcasm I have just unleashed on an unsuspecting, and only mildly interested, future readership.

The world has too many writers who begin consecutive paragraphs with “I.” I am duly embarrassed. Not enough to rewrite one.

I also wrote a NASCAR column for a website. Then I went to Dollar Tree and spent the money.

The Red Sox won. Jon Ossoff lost. The Sox play the rubber game in Kansas City in less than an hour. That’s another reason I’m not getting much done today.

I have, however, watched an exciting episode of Columbo, and, recently, between YouTube videos and looking up Gene Kelly on Wikipedia, witnessed English horse racing from Royal Ascot.

I proofread and edited a chapter of another project called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s going to be the shining star of today’s firmament.

I forgot to change channels, and now some fishermen are pulling sting rays out of water. This is the sixth paragraph beginning with “I” in the past eight. The others started with “The.” I know its definition exactly as well as Bill Clinton does “is,” which is well indeed.

By the time Mookie Betts leads off, I should have this posted.

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

I’ve Still Got My Guitar and the Red Sox Going for Me

My favorite guitar, under construction. (Vince Pawless photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8:54 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Middle of the week.

Last night traded one kind of music for another. A trip to Charlotte to see my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, fell through, but I visited my nephew’s lovely children – held them, made faces, sound effects, tossed the older lightly in the air, anything to make him giggle – and then, on a lark, stopped by David Bagwell’s rustic horse barn, where folks are prone to sit around and play songs on Tuesday nights.

(Monte Dutton photo)

It filled the need of getting my mind off politics. I wish I’d thought to sing “Moaning the Blues.”

Where else could I sing harmony? Not here in the living room with Boston Red Sox Baseball on NESN on.

Now I’m writing a blog with All in the Family on. But soon I shall be working on a novel, once this – yes, this – gets me in the proper mood.

I got back in time to see the Red Sox break up a tie game in Saint Louis.

Here’s what’s changed this baseball season. During commercials, I used to switch to other games. Now I switch to see what’s the latest on our president. After Red Sox games ended, I used to switch to games on the West Coast. Now I check on Trump. Vin Scully’s retirement may have had a little to do with it.

Watching the news gets me down, so I watch the late-night talk shows to hear the hosts and guests joke … about the news. The upshot of all this is I seldom forget to say my prayers, even as I tumble to sleep with my eyes closed, listening to Seth Meyers.

Perhaps there is cleansing in this. It’s been a while since the country has been this passionate about politics and government. Perhaps some sense of reason will emerge from the unreasonable. Perhaps the middle ground will grow. At the moment, both sides say mainly to the other, “I’m smart. You’re not.”

On the other hand, I got to sing and strum.

And the Red Sox won.

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

 

 

The Old Snow Days Just Ain’t What They Used to Be

img_0233Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, January 7, 2017, 10:28 a.m.

The snow hasn’t completely covered the grass I probably should have cut one more time before it stopped growing. It fell in hits and misses, and here it mainly swung and missed.

It’s fallen in greater amounts most everywhere else, and TV tells me that one or two more bands – the Allman Brothers; Earth, Wind and Fire – are en route.

This morning I awakened to find snow falling, but the heavy stuff was on local TV, where two anchors and a weatherman left the WSPA-TV 7 studio to take turns sledding down a five-yard hill, and, out in the wild, a pretty young reporter rode around and around in circles in a golf cart. What could have made it even better were a dozen dwarves skipping and singing, in high-pitched voices, “Follow the snowy white road!”

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

WYFF-TV 4, recently returned to DirecTV after “an impasse,” offered more sober and sensitive coverage. Or, perhaps, that was based on the skewed perspective of what I saw.

Enough of this frivolity. Black Ice, which seems as sinister as the Black Plague, based on fervent admonitions from those advising us to stay inside and off the deadly roads, is bound to descend upon the asphalt-coated thoroughfares. Meanwhile, I consider making it to the mailbox without busting my ass.

An interesting term, “busting my ass.”

The rare snows of my youth were greeted with more reckless abandon. I wonder what would happen if, today, I hitched the tractor (I’d have to have a tractor, okay) to the upside-down hood of 1949 Dodge, and drug a load of my friends all over town, swinging it out wide so that my friends would tumble into ditches, and, and then, one of them would insist on taking my place on the tractor, so that I could be the recipient of The Big Payback.

Not only would we all be thrown in jail, but I would be committed to an asylum. I’m 58 years old. It would be justifiable.

No one ever got hurt back in the old days. We were limber youths. And the usual driver was my father, who’d had a little something “to knock the chill off.” Later, I learned that a man can sip brandy in the snow for hours without feeling the slightest bit impaired, then walk inside, sit down in front of the fire, and pass out in 30 seconds.

As I once told my mother, “They’d throw you in jail now,” and as my mother replied, looking at me over her reading glasses, “They throwed you in jail back then.

“But not your daddy.”

Rest in peace, Jimmy Dutton.

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If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on sale all January as a Kindle download at amazon.com.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

 

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).