Money Isn’t Important If You Got It

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
(Photos and sketches by Monte Dutton unless otherwise noted)
(Photos and sketches by Monte Dutton unless otherwise noted)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 1:15 p.m.

It was an intimate morning. I deleted spam messages on my website, so I monitored such personal messages as:

This makes it a virtuous rootage of straightaway of straightaway sprightliness and an first-class effectuation to retrieve from weariness.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Such profundity. I wonder if it’s written in code.

Then I applied the finishing touches to Chapter 25: Mickey’s Beat, in the first draft of my next novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

img_0417I made arrangements to write about a high school football playoff game Friday night.

Not that I needed any further inspiration, but I half-watched a documentary on America’s great natural wonders to further fire my synapses.

Of course, I checked the social media. That goes without saying. One must keep apprised of the various aspects of life that keep us rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell. Yes, Merle, the good times are really over for good. I miss you, but it was a good time to check out. Rest in peace.

win_20150115_130445Twitter is as addictive as ice cream. Facebook is as aggravating as robocalls. Thank goodness for the stimulating photos of kids, cats and casseroles.

“Every day is a new day” is truer than it was when people actually said it.

The next financial challenge is getting property taxes paid. The holidays are the time for me when money comes in the least and is needed the most. I know I’m not like everyone else with things like salaries and benefits, but most people didn’t decide 30 years ago to go into a business that was as doomed as cowboys and the buffaloes they hunted.

I don’t think this simile occurred to me while I was writing Cowboys Come Home. It’s more hopeful because it’s set in a time before I was born.

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Perhaps it’s too much of a good thing that I can check my Amazon book sales every hour. At the moment, Cowboys Come Home and The Intangibles are surging. Next hour, it might be The Audacity of Dope and Forgive Us Our Trespasses. Crazy of Natural Causes has been selling well because it’s on sale for $.99 all month.

Current Average Customer Review (Scale of 5)

  1. Cowboys Come Home (2016) 5.0
  2. The Audacity of Dope (2011) 4.8
  3. The Intangibles (2013) 4.8
  4. Crazy of Natural Causes (2015) 4.3
  5. Forgive Us Our Trespasses (2016) 3.9

Is there anyone else who reads out there? I mean, more than 140 characters at a time, and in numbers greater than the attendance of your average NASCAR truck race? Reading is good. This has been widely known for a thousand years. Why not try it? You can read Crazy of Natural Causes for the cost of the smallest French fries you can find. If you don’t like it, what have you lost? Your French fries got stale. That’s all.

If you buy my short-story collection, Longer Songs, you can pick and choose between small, contained stories. It’s not available for Kindle (or phones, tablets, laptops, iAnythings) but it’s only $12.95 in print. Last night 10 wings, some fried cheese balls and a Diet Dr. Pepper cost me $16 at Zaxby’s. Had I to do it over, I’d have been waited on at Fatz Café, and that way I could have read a book on my phone while waiting for the salmon Caesar salad I had the last time I went there.

Am I a snob to think reading my fiction ought to be worth as much a small order of fries? You can taste the fries or taste the fiction. The fiction lasts longer, but stick with it and it satisfies more.

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

Ah, rubbish. My novels aren’t for everyone like fries are. They have bad language, crime, sex, drugs, and all sorts of things one never encounters in everyday life, or on the Internet, or on TV.

I really ought to be ashamed of myself. I’m not, though. I think what I’m doing with my life is righteous. Then there’s the matter of not being able to do anything else.

Last night I got a call from a nice fellow raising money for my alma mater. I told him that I couldn’t understand why someone like him always calls at the time of the year when people are spending every dime they can spare on making a kid’s eyes light up on Christmas morning. I told him I’d give some money to Furman next time I had it to spare, but that might be a while.

Going to school there costs about a dozen times as much as when I did. I reckon that fellow needs the money, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Note that my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on Kindle sale at $.99 for the entire month. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

(Design by Steven Novak)
(Design by Steven Novak)

Uh, Don’t Tell Me … I’ve Nothing to Do

Though Clinton wears red and Laurens wears green, this is obviously neither. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Though Clinton wears red and Laurens wears green, this is obviously neither. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10:28 a.m.

I got lots of work done this week, but the last two evenings have been kind of random. After days of mostly writing, I left the house in the afternoon, ran some errands, made no definite plans.

On Thursday night, I headed in the general direction of the Presbyterian College basketball game against Johnson & Wales, which I kept calling Scotland & Wales, but first I decided to eat supper.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I thought about Chinese, and then I pulled into the parking lot of El Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, and then pulled out, and then considered a few other options before going back. A man and woman were playing music in the bar, and the first song I heard was a Charlie Robison tune and I knew I was hooked up. Several friends showed up, as if by magic, and I stayed a while.

The musicians were Harold Senn and Catherine Varner. I know this because Harold gave me his card, which refers to them as A Touch of Gray: Music for Mature Folks. I knew all their songs. I have more than a touch of gray, but I’m not too sure about how mature I am. At times, I feel in suspended adolescence, but most times I just shoot for a few decades shy of my age as measured in years.

I drove by Templeton Center and stopped in the parking lot, where I checked my Twitter to confirm that the Blue Hose were safely ahead at the half. Then I drove on home and failed to watch the NFL game between the Cowboys and Vikings. Harold and Catherine left me in a mood to play, on my guitar, a couple songs they had played, I knew and hadn’t played in a while. I was mildly cognizant of Dallas winning.

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

On Friday night, I did go to the game. This time I had a few errands in Laurens, and, as luck would have it, by the time I got my hair cut, shopped for groceries and had supper in a restaurant we don’t have in Clinton, the timing was just about right to watch the Red Devils and Raiders play boys’ and girls’ basketball at the LDHS gym.

As testimony to all this being unplanned, note that I took no photos.

It was a three-quarter-full gym, the Laurens students were dressed in flannels and the Clinton kids were in “ugly Christmas sweaters” (and man, oh, man, did they take that seriously), and the teams split. The Laurens girls clobbered the Clinton girls, 64-22, and the Red Devil boys trimmed the Raiders, 49-46.

M.K. Kelly, last season. (Monte Dutton photos)
M.K. Kelly, last season. (Monte Dutton photos)

This is not a peak time in the annuals of Clinton girls’ basketball, but I rather enjoy watching them play because I so respect their effort. Girls, I have observed, have more enthusiasm than boys at the high school level. They are undaunted by adversity. I respect that they play hard even if not well. Boys, in similar circumstances, are more prone to sulk. Clinton has one polished player, M.K. Kelly, who looks as if she is playing a game all her own to which her teammates cannot adapt. She is the only player. Others are athletes who are there for volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball or track in the spring. At times, it looks as if the glass backboard might crack from the force of one of their layups, but they do have good athletes and will get better as they become more acclimated to the current sport.

The new head coach, John Gardner, has some work to do.

The boys’ game was not pretty. Clinton barely won a game in which, if you didn’t look at the scoreboard, you’d think it was winning by 20 points. The Red Devils also have a new head coach, Eddie Romines, whom I can attest is obsessed with basketball because I have known him since he played it.

Ben Sinclair
Ben Sinclair

Laurens’ Ben Sinclair entered the season with the barest cupboard I have ever seen. No one who did anything for last year’s 16-6 team is back. The Raiders graduated 10 seniors. Sinclair did a fine job coaching them, and they almost pulled off what would have been a stunning upset.

The Clinton boys have lots of players who have only recently arrived on court from the football field, as the season was lengthened by hurricane recovery and a playoff berth. They sometimes appeared to be still playing football. They played at a dizzying pace, regularly out of control, and that is why a game they played at an 80-point pace ended up producing 49.

Clinton (2-0) could be strong. They aren’t anywhere close yet. Region 3-3A is likely to be strong in most every sport. The first- and second-seeded football teams, Newberry and Chapman, are meeting next week for the upstate football title. Every season is going to be a slog, but it’s the reason they play.

The two schools meet again on Tuesday in Clinton. I might go wandering again.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Note that my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on Kindle sale at $.99 for the entire month. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

(Design by Steven Novak)
(Design by Steven Novak)

The Landslide Election of Tigertown

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Southern Arizona. (Monte Dutton)
Southern Arizona. (Monte Dutton)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, November 28, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

Were I still the diehard Clemson fan of my youth, I’m sure I would have watched every moment of the Tigers’ 56-7 victory over South Carolina.

Who knows? I might even have been there, decked out in purple and orange and singing “hold that Tiger!” even though the last thing a Clemson fan wants is his Tiger held. Really, the opposition should sing “hold that Tiger!” which would really be a unique custom for visitors to Death Valley, South Carolina Version.

I’ve walked inside the one in Louisiana and driven through the one in California. If only it had a football team, the one in California would have a tremendous home-field advantage.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

But I went to college elsewhere, and now, I wish the Tigers well and feel good when they win because it means a lot to my nephew and his wife, both of whom went there. As a matter of fact, Ray Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson and a master’s degree from Alabama, meaning that, football-wise, his imaginary bets are hedged about as well as anyone I know.

Still, I’ve never heard him yell “roll, Tide, roll!” and I’m satisfied that, Saturday night, he spelled out “C-L-E-M-S-O-N-T-I-G-E-RRRRRR-SS!” dozens of times. Meanwhile, back here in town, I’m guessing my mother and sister (Ray’s mother) were having every bit as much difficulty corralling Ray and Jessica’s wild child, Thomas, as the Gamecocks were with the Tigers.

Me? After assuring myself that Clemson was going to win the Palmetto Cup after watching the game’s first five minutes, I spent the rest of the night checking the Tigers’ multiplication tables during the commercials while concentrating on games between Florida and Florida State, Kentucky and Louisville, Utah and Colorado, Notre Dame and Southern Cal, and Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

All of those teams — Vandy has inexplicably found an offense since the Gamecocks edged them in the first game of the season — would have beaten South Carolina on Saturday night, not to mention Western Michigan, Eastern Washington, Northern Illinois and South Florida. Oh, yeah, Northwestern, too. Cary Grant would have dominated them in North by Northwest. Of course, that’s a highly ranked flick.

It’s over, though. South Carolina fans have turned their attention to a men’s basketball team that is thus far undefeated. Will it mean anything if the Gamecocks beat the Tigers, also thus far undefeated, in basketball?

No. The only medicine that matters in this state is a pill shaped like a football.

For the Sabbath, Twitter read almost exactly like the election was back. Fortunately, being amused but disinterested, I read books, played guitars and remained otherwise above the fray by watching surprising entertaining NFL games.

Clemson, I believe, is now the most likely to lose eventually to Alabama.

I’m sure someone has noticed this besides me because, dating back to, oh, I don’t know, Bear Bryant, it has seemed apparent. The Crime Tide has a marvelous winning formula that has been demonstrated hundreds of times by their winning.

Alabama does not care about scoring in the first half. Alabama cares about wearing the opposition the hell out. It’s as if they soften up the defenses with withering artillery bombardments. In the second half, Alabama invades in much the same manner as Mars Attacks!

But I still enjoy watching teams play that are mortal. I hope one of them defeats Alabama. Nothing against the Tide. Monopoly just gets monotonous.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

(Design by Steven Novak)
(Design by Steven Novak)

Football Is a Deep Fade

Darrell Bridges was PC's only reliable offensive threat. (Monte Dutton photos)
Darrell Bridges was PC’s only reliable offensive threat. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, November 26, 2016, 10:14 a.m.

My first thought this morning, upon awakening, was …

… Gee, whiz, I have to use the bathroom. Emphasis on “whiz.”

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

My second thought was, well, football’s over.

Hahahaha. Football is never over. As General Douglas MacArthur would have said had he been a couch potato instead of a military leader, Old football seasons never die. They just fade away.

Football is over locally and in my narrowly defined world. Last night Laurens fell to Spartanburg, 35-17, in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. A week earlier, Clinton fell to Chester, 24-16, in the first round of 3A. The Furman Paladins bowed out 3-8. The Presbyterian Blue Hose ground to a 2-9 halt.

dscf4250But over? Football? Was it over when the Owls bombed Paladin Stadium? It’s not over till we say it is!

Layers of football start peeling off. In college, this is a weekend of “rivalry games.” Next is a weekend of conference championships. Then, for several weeks, bowls will be filled with cereal and milk almost every night of the week.

The Hardee’s Sausage, Egg and Cheese Burrito Bowl, matching Colgate and Palmolive.

The game seemed full of promise right up until when it started. (Monte Dutton photo)
The game seemed full of promise right up until when it started. (Monte Dutton photo)

The Whichever Cell Provider You Don’t Have Bowl, testing how far Tech and State can roam.

The Auld Lang Syne Bowl, matching old coaches their teams are tired of. The Apple-Cheeked Lads Bowl, matching young coaches who don’t know what they’re doing.

The Affordable Care Bowl, which is going out of business. The Trust Me It’ll be Uuge Bowl, which will replace it.

There are lots of them. They start getting relevant after Christmas.

Chad Knaus (right) keeps a close watch on Jimmie Johnson, whose eyes are generally on the prize. (John Clark photo)
Chad Knaus (right) keeps a close watch on Jimmie Johnson, whose eyes are generally on the prize. (John Clark photo)

The pros will take football almost all the way to the Daytona 500, which reminds me: The first thought tomorrow morning – after the call of nature, of course – will be, What time does the race start?

No race? Well, there is the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, which sounds more fictitious than the bowls above. I think I watched The Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on TCM Thursday. It’s a Marx Brothers flick. No, wait. That was A Day at the Races. Or The Crowd Roars. That was with Jimmy Cagney. Or was it Jimmie Cagney? No, that’s Jimmie Johnson. He won the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a Chevrolet. For his record-tying seventh title. Chad Knaus (Kuh-NOWSS) told him to win it for the Gipper. No, that was Knute (Kuh-NOOT) Rockne. George Gipp was Ronald Reagan, not Jimmy Cagney. Or Jimmie Johnson.

To summarize, NASCAR is done till February, except for lame publicity stunts designed to keep the name in the news.

Presbyterian College head coach Harold Nichols stepped down.
Presbyterian College head coach Harold Nichols stepped down.

Football runs down the Energizer Bunny. It exhausts a rocket engine. It does not, however, leave Stephen A. Smith speechless. At this stage, it merely shifts from live to on satellite. I’m making the transition. I’ve attended two basketball games live, and PC won both of them.

Every aspect of life is affected by football. For every Les Miles in Baton Rouge, there is a Harold Nichols here. For every Ed Orgeron, there is a Tommy Spangler. The Coach is dead. Long live the coach. It makes me chuckle to hear that Orgeron is the “permanent” coach at LSU. Permanent doesn’t mean what it used to. It no longer has permanence. Andrew Webb of Clinton High School recently became “permanent.” For two years, he was “interim.”

Clinton High head coach Andrew Webb stepped up.
Clinton High head coach Andrew Webb stepped up.

In a short while, I expect to be permanently watching Michigan play Ohio State, but I’ll be switching to and from Kentucky-Louisville, Rutgers-Maryland, Purdue-Indiana, Virginia-Virginia Tech, Kansas-Kansas State, Central Florida-South Florida, Illinois-Northwestern, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Arkansas State-Louisiana (Lafayette).

Those are just the ones at noon.

Similar bevies of gridiron strife are available throughout the day and night, spilling over into Sunday on the East Coast when Colorado State takes on San Diego State, Wyoming invades New Mexico, and Utah State ventures to Brigham Young.

My nephew and his wife are, even now, closing in on Clemson, where their beloved Tigers are expected to deep-fry the Gamecocks tonight. Ray wanted to be there in time to watch Michigan-Ohio State on TV. He already seemed mildly preoccupied while I helped him dispose of Thanksgiving leftovers late yesterday afternoon.

Hmm. I could watch Charleston Southern-Wofford on my laptop.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

Good Grannies Alive, Pass the Dressing and Gravy

Things don't have to be just alike. (Monte Dutton photo)
Things don’t have to be just alike. (Monte Dutton photo)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 12:13 p.m.

Thanksgiving’s a coming, coming.

It’s my favorite holiday, in no small part due to the fact that I love to eat. Like every other stuffed American who awakens on Friday morning ill equipped for anything save football on TV, I plan to go on a diet. I did that with some success last year. At the moment, I lack motivation, and I expect as soon as this writing exercise is completed, I will probably have a mid-afternoon cup of coffee and a bagel.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Motivation comes Friday, that and, perhaps, a high school football game that night.

My mother and I haven’t had our daily phone conversation. She’s undoubtedly at my nephew’s house, already getting ready for the meal being hosted at Ray and Jessica’s house for the first time.

Betty Dutton’s oyster dressing carries a significance that is almost spiritual in the family. When Ray was a little boy, and I chided him for being sassy with his grandmother by telling him one day she’d be gone and he’d miss her, he stopped, considered those words for a moment, and his voice took on a dreamy aspect.

“Just think,” he said. “We’ll never have that dressing again.”

I also like Thanksgiving because it is peaceful. It doesn’t bring out the pettiness that sometimes accompanies other holidays. It’s not blazing hot like the Fourth of July. It’s not roaring with race cars like Memorial Day weekend. Santa may be a jolly old elf, but he sure requires a lot of support.

Betty Dutton
Betty Dutton

Mom already reminded me not to talk about politics. No matter. I’ll play my guitar. Just old, pleasant songs about a train carrying a girl from Tennessee, she’s long and she’s tall, and she came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball.

Besides, we can talk about sports. Politics has become the same thing, anyway.

I can’t wait to see how Ella’s boys have grown, and how we’ll all fuss over Jessica’s new baby, and Mom whispering that I should make a special point to praise the broccoli casserole because Ginger made that, and to be just about ready to push away from the table, only to have Mom show up with a platter of pecan pie, sweet potato custard, lemon pound cake, and chocolate eclairs.

It’s godly to be stuffed at Thanksgiving and broke at Christmas.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

At the End of the Day, There’s Always Barbecue

dscf4282
Braxton Ivery (5) takes up throwing instead of catching. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Newberry, South Carolina, Saturday, November 19, 2016, 11:56 a.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Years ago, Carson-Newman had just finished defeating Presbyterian in football, and I remember Cally Gault walking through the ranks of the Blue Hose as they filed from the field in Jefferson City to the locker room across a muddy lot from the stadium.

Coach Gault, by then the athletics director, had one message: “You beat Wofford, you beat Newberry, it’s a good year.”

dscf4279So I find myself on a clear, breezy day at Setzler Field at Newberry College, one of the outposts in the extinct rivalry between PC and Newberry. The Bronze Derby now seems like a relic of the Bronze Age.

I haven’t been at Setzler Field in … let me think … when was it? It’s been well over a month.

Okay, I watched Hartsville play Abbeville on this field, which was deemed a high school neutral site. Before that, it had been roughly 20 years. Even while the Blue Hose and (then) Indians were still playing, I was off writing about cars going around and around.

dscf3996What made me think about Coach Gault’s words this morning was the outcome of last night’s Clinton High game. The Red Devils finished 5-6, made the Class 3A playoffs as a No. 3 seed, lost to a 2, Chester, 24-16, in the first round and bowed out brimming with hope for next year.

This is the amended mantra that constitutes the common ground between the Blue Hose and Red Devils. For the high school in Clinton, “You beat Laurens, you beat Woodruff, it’s a good year.”

dscf4253I was in Laurens, watching the Raiders’ gradual, pitiless, 35-7 destruction of Woodmont, a school that went home from the Class 5A playoffs with a 3-8 record. Laurens is 6-5, but the Raiders won their region, 2-5A, and Laurens hasn’t claimed such a distinction in more than 20 years, so, undoubtedly, in the thoughts of those wearing green and gold, winning a region, and advancing to a second-round home game against Spartanburg, will atone for what now seems like the long-ago setback to Clinton.

Having moved from Newberry College to Presbyterian College (whose football team is currently located in Mobile, Alabama, for no good reason) to Clinton High School to Laurens District High School to …

dscf4289… Newberry College (10-1) is advancing toward the Tuskegee University goal in the first drive of the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Golden Tigers (8-2) are from Alabama, about 45 miles from Montgomery, not to mention the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Now, as my consciousness streams, Newberry leads, 3-0.

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, November 20, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

dscf4267Oh, woe is Newberry. Tuskegee edged the (now) Wolves, 35-33, on one of the more beautiful afternoons that ever wound up breaking hearts. After winning 10 consecutive games, coming from behind in four of them, the Wolves failed on two late drives – one with sufficient time, the other without – and Tuskegee will move on to Tigerville next week, there to face another South Carolina school, North Greenville.

My principal task at Newberry was to wrap the game around a feature on a Newberry defensive end named Jaquille Oden, who made a key fourth-down stop that gave the Wolves their last plausible shot at victory.

dscf4284The Newberry quarterback who played most of the game had completed one pass during the regular season. Braxton Ivery caught 54 passes. In fact, he even caught one on Saturday. The Offensive Player of the Year in the South Atlantic Conference, one Raleigh Yeldell, and three less crucial others didn’t get to play because they had run afoul of team rules. Running afoul of “team rules” is the broad term analogous to “actions detrimental to the sport of NASCAR.”

dscf4293The simple response of Newberry College’s football team to its misfortune was impressive. When the horn sounded, and further ambitions evaporated, the players didn’t dissolve in tears. They milled around for a long time, greeting parents and friends and congratulating their Tuskegee counterparts, and the ones invited by the NCAA to the media conferences were proud and stoic. Whatever medicine the suspended players took was shared, in a sense, by all.

Todd Knight, the head coach, has an inspirational bent to him, like many coaches, and the rising tide of his last three seasons – 5-6, 7-5, 10-2 – is testimony to his sincerity.

dscf4277

The outcome notwithstanding, I had a lovely time at tiny Setzler Field, which has changed little if at all in the five decades in which I have attended occasional games there. The 2,382 who paid their way in got a bargain. The company was good in the press box. Only a few small clouds ever drifted by. The trees ringing the grounds were in full fall color, mostly yellow with a few bursts of orange. When I left, it was dark, and I turned out the lights in the press box, walked laterally across the artificial playing surface and peered at all that was left glowing, a wolf howling atop the scoreboard.

dscf4265Then I stopped off on the way back up U.S. 76 at Wise’s Barbecue, another welcome blast from my past. The young girl who kept asking me if I needed any more iced tea apologized that the chicken and ribs had run out before I got there. I told her it was all right, and if I’d eaten as much chicken and ribs as I did chopped pork and hash, she’d have probably had to call 911.

When I got home, nothing on TV came anywhere close to what I’d seen in front of 2,382 paid. Clemson, Oklahoma, Washington and, surprisingly, Vanderbilt, were all mopping up. I spent most of the evening reading a book about men and women going over Niagara Falls in barrels.

dscf4269The Clinton Red Devils and the Newberry Wolves have honorably ended their football seasons. The Furman Paladins and Presbyterian Blue Hose expired in sorrowful wonder over what might have been. The Laurens Raiders move on.

The colleges have already started playing basketball, and the high schools will be at it soon.

Shed no tears for football, though. The nouveau riche who play it professionally will keep on keeping on well into the New Year, only a bit longer than the process that determines which college team will finally lose to Alabama.

It won’t be long until the remaining college football rivalries lead into a state of affairs where a Texas Tech plays a Minnesota in a McCullough Chainsaws Timberrrrr! Bowl in the Lesser Antilles every weekday night and three or four times on Saturdays.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

It’s Been a Sweet Season, All in All

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, November 17, 2016, 11:04 a.m.

In the greater scheme, the football games on Friday night are not compelling. Vladimir Putin isn’t interesting in rigging the outcomes. No one’s up for the Trump Cabinet. No one’s going to be deported. If someone gets hurt, he won’t have to rely on Obamacare.

fb_img_1479301033343904This season, in Laurens County, began with Clinton pulling an upset over Laurens, and now both the Red Devils and the Raiders hope to advance beyond their counties and their regions. Both have 5-5 records. Clinton is the third-seeded team from Region 3-3A, and Laurens is the champion of Region 2-5A. The Red Devils were 3-2 in their region, the Raiders 4-1 in theirs.

Clinton defeated Laurens, Chesnee, Mid-Carolina, Broome and Woodruff, and lost to Greer, Aiken, Abbeville, Chapman and Newberry. Laurens defeated Irmo, Hillcrest, Wade Hampton, Riverside and Greenwood, and lost to Clinton, Chapman, Dorman, Boiling Springs and Mauldin.

dscf3848Laurens is a solid favorite over Woodmont (3-7). Clinton is an underdog to Chester (9-2). Both schools were in the region of their opponents a year ago. Both the Raiders and Red Devils defeated them.

Both teams are better than their break-even records indicate. Clinton played what MaxPreps rates as the toughest schedule in all of Class 3A. Clinton was 2-3 outside its region and 3-2 within it. Laurens was 1-4 and 4-1.

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)

In regard to the Red Devils, before the season, I wrote that if they went 5-5 – and even added 2-3 outside the region and 3-2 in it – it would be a good season. That means I’m more lucky than insightful, and head coach Andrew Webb didn’t come through for me. They came through for themselves. Clinton football, proud home of 10 state championships, is on the way back. They’ve gone from 2-9 in 2014, to 3-7 in 2015, to 5-5.

Laurens could be headed for its third consecutive 6-6 season, but that’s a bit misleading. The Raiders won a region championship that hardly anyone thought possible. It wouldn’t have surprised anyone before the season, but it surprised everyone after the 1-4 start. Perhaps the team’s progress is best accentuated by Ryan Campbell, the capable freshman quarterback, who began the season on the junior varsity team.

DSCF3713After a season racked with injuries, the Raiders are relatively intact as the playoffs beckon. Head coach Chris Liner handled adversity with grace and optimism, and his attitude paid as many dividends as the works and deeds of his players.

Not once this year have I cranked up the truck (or car) and headed off to a ballgame without looking forward to it. I’ve dreaded some writing assignments. I’ve had some miserable days and rotten experienes. Not at a high school football game, though.

It’s been a pleasure, and I expect another one Friday night.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

I Wish You a Normality of Your Very Own

I'm going to Setzler Field Saturday. (Monte Dutton photos)
I’m going to Setzler Field Saturday. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 7:58 p.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Ah, the world goes back to normal. My world, anyway.

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup champion will be determined among four drivers – Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano – at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday unless it rains, and as of a check I just made it’s not going to.

dscf3848On Friday night – it never rains here anymore – both of the county’s public high schools, Laurens and Clinton, open play in the state football playoffs. The Raiders host Woodmont in Class 5A; the Red Devils visit Chester in 3A.

DSCF3709Newberry College, just 25 miles to the southeast, is playing an NCAA Division II playoff game with Tuskegee. The Wolves (once Indians) have won 10 games in a row. If they get past the Golden Tigers, they will likely get a second shot at Florida Tech, the team that beat them in their opener.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, and neither Donald Trump nor white supremacists nor protesters is going to ruin that. The hashtag in our family is #thatdressing in reference to my mother’s.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

My fifth novel, a marked departure from the other four, is on the market. Cowboys Come Home is self-published, which means it won’t get the benefit of Amazon promotion unless it catches its attention via, oh, selling. I’m not overflowing with money at the moment, and it’s the end of the year, when it is righteous to spend every square nickel on others, so I need to spread the word as inexpensively as possible. You can help me with relative ease. Social media “retweets” and “shares” are greatly appreciated.

DSCF3611Not too long ago, someone on Twitter criticized “a grown man who still likes high school football,” and, if that is a criticism, I’m just as guilty of it as I am of being fat and unmarried. I like high school football as much as college football and pro football. I love writing about it because I feel unfettered. Not nearly as many people tell me how to do my job, writing, when I’m running around on the field afterwards asking questions. I haven’t had one kid playing for the Red Devils or the Raiders express concern about protecting his “brand.”

It also fuels my fiction. Over the past few days, a new chapter in what will be my sixth novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (italics when it is published), was a little side trip based on some experiences I had at a couple recent football games. They are by no means what actually happened to me but incidents I imagined while experiencing others.

I’ve written short stories that began with what the guy in the next booth at Fatz Café was saying to his wife. One of the principal characters in Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, began with watching a couple college students drink at a sports bar.

audacity2Cowboys Come Home is set at the end of World War II. The Intangibles is set in 1968. The Audacity of Dope took place in 2008. Postcards from Pit Road, a non-fiction work, was based on the 2002 NASCAR season. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is running concurrently with the present. Trump’s getting elected in the next chapter. He’s not a character. The characters just talk about him, like you and me.

A friend bought a copy of Cowboys Come Home today and told me he was now a novel and a half behind. He hasn’t finished Forgive Us Our Trespasses, which came out in the spring, yet. He asked me if the new one was safe for his son. It is. It’s PG-13, and I think he’s 15 now. I’m fairly sure nothing in it is going to shock him.

I was thinking about recurring themes in my fiction. My heroes are all flawed. Often bad girls turn good. My most unique protagonist was Chance Benford in Crazy of Natural Causes. He becomes fascinated more with the wisdom and goodness of Jesus than the divinity. He reads the Bible, but he’s not completely sure Christ is He and not he. His view is not mine. I let my imagination see through Chance’s eyes when I read the Bible and imagined how a man in his dire straits would react to the Bible.

The reason I think Chance’s story is thought-provoking is that telling it provoked me.

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

The Blahs for a While

This isn't really the presidential race. (Monte Dutton photos)
This wasn’t really the presidential race. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, November 11, 2016, 12 p.m.

Things still aren’t back to normal in these parts.

The election is over, but Facebook is still as mean as a rattlesnake. (My analogy to a rattlesnake may be because True Grit, the original, is on TV right now.)

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I’ve been “unfriending” intermittently all week, mostly because Trump partisans demanded it. They will abide no dissent. Others I dismissed because something they posted was just too harsh for my tastes. I’ve never unfriended anyone because their beliefs differed from mine, but I expect a certain amount of civility, even on social media.

I can’t speak for the nation, but I think one reason people have become so ornery around here is that there’s no high school football tonight. Hurricane Matthew backed up everything for a week, and the Red Devils and the Cyclones, and the Raiders and the Wildcats, don’t open their respective playoffs, 3A and 5A, until November 18.

DSCF3713Presbyterian College’s four home games have expired, and I didn’t see the one they won (over Monmouth) because it was played on a Thursday night and I had a high school game about which to write.

Basketball opens tonight, and, wonder of wonders, my alma mater, Furman, is visiting Templeton Center. The Blue Hose played an exhibition against Belmont Abbey nine days ago, and they won in quadruple-overtime, but it was the night of World Series Game 7 and mainly went unnoticed.

DSCF1771I’ve spent more time this week publicizing my new novel, Cowboys Come Home, than anything else. I’ve also been weighing a few options regarding other writing.

It hasn’t rained in a solid month. The last time I felt rain was a drizzle at Woodruff High School at the end of a junior varsity game. That was two weeks ago, but it didn’t rain here. Wild fires dot the mountains. According to The Weather Channel, there’s a 20 percent chance of rain Sunday and Monday. Oh, wait, I just checked again, and it’s 20 and 10. WeatherNation has it 10 and zero.

My shipment of the new novel arrived yesterday, and now signed copies are available at L&L Office Supply uptown in Clinton. I spent half of yesterday sending media releases to newspapers in the part of Texas where the story is centered. The Clinton Chronicle ran a nice story on Cowboys Come Home, and, I expect, the Laurens County Advertiser, too.

dscf4191NASCAR is in Phoenix. Two more weeks and it will be out of its misery.

The Trump partisans are happy, probably the happiest they’ve ever been. I hope they’re right. I hope the country doesn’t go slap to hell, where it hasn’t been since the Civil War, but hell, too, is in the eye of the beholder, not to mention the beer holder. I haven’t toasted Trump’s victory. I don’t know whether it makes me want to drink more or less.

I’m not moving anywhere, not that it’s an issue. I couldn’t move to the next county right now.

Times change. For every action, there is a reaction. That’s the way it’s going to be right up to the point where time stops.

 

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.

Winning the World Series Will Change Your Lives, Cubs Fans

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, November 3, 2016, 10:22 a.m.

Life will change, Cubs fans, and for the good. This I know.

The reason I have rooted for the Boston Red Sox for my entire life is that my late father’s favorite baseball player was Ted Williams, and my first rich memory of the game was in 1967, when Williams’ successor in left field, Carl Yastrzemski, became my favorite ballplayer.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

My father didn’t live to see the Red Sox win the World Series. Williams didn’t live to see it. Yaz didn’t play long enough but goes to spring training and shows up at Fenway Park from time to time.

Baseball used to be an addiction. The highs were never as high as the lows were low. Now it’s a virtue. It’s more religion than sport. This century has been the New Testament. The angry God became merciful.

I was rooting for the Indians. I am forever grateful to Terry Francona. As long as he manages any team other than the Yankees, I’ll hope he wins every game that isn’t against the Red Sox.

Here’s what winning World Series three times in the past 13 seasons has done for Red Sox fans. Baseball doesn’t take years off our lives anymore. This year the Red Sox had a fine season, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Tribe.

It’s okay. They’ll be good next year, too. It was a damned fine season.

If they had not broken the ice in 2004, I would be devastated. I used to think the Red Sox were God’s personal punishment for all my sins.

In this year’s World Series, both teams had Boston written all over their rosters and management. I’m happy for the Cubs. I’m sorrowful for the Indians. I hope they win it next year, unless, of course, they stand in the way of the Red Sox.

 

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.
Lou Lauer helped me repair my website. He could help you, too.