If Only It Seemed Like Old Times …

As Jerry Jeff Walker sings, "Lots of smiling faces, little children running around ..." (Monte Dutton photos)
As Jerry Jeff Walker sings, “Lots of smiling faces, little children running around …” (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 30, 2016, 11:28 a.m.

I’ve had this small problem this fall. If didn’t watch my alma mater (Furman) and my hometown school (Presbyterian) play football, I might be happier.

But I do. Even if these schools aren’t good, they’re still mine.

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Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I’m not a PC graduate, and it makes a difference, but I have been going to games there for my entire life. The earliest college football game I remember was between Furman and PC at Sirrine Stadium, now the home of the Greenville High Red Raiders. Furman won. It was close. Maybe that’s why I went to Furman, subconsciously. Maybe it made an imprint on my psyche.

dscf4105As I’ve told a thousand people, I went to Furman because I wanted to be close to home but not so close that I’d be available every time the hogs got out at our farm. It’s a joke, but it’s true. Had I gone to PC, there would have been no peace.

Then again, I planned to go to Clemson until my senior year in high school. I visited Furman and loved it. The Paladins pulled off an upset of Appalachian State when I went with my friend Roy Walker on a recruiting visit.

dscf4110Roy went to PC.

It was Homecoming at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Not my homecoming. Clinton is already my home.

Brent Sanders and I went to Furman together. His son Hayden plays for the Blue Hose. At each home game – there are a whole four this year — I join the tailgate party that gets bigger and better every year. My friends are the parents of players. Their sons and some of their teammates stop by after the games. They’ve won two and lost six. I’m keenly aware of their frustrations. I’m frustrated.

dscf4112Here’s the column I wrote in the Greenwood Index-Journal.

Still, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The last home game is next Saturday when Liberty comes to town. The Blue Hose won the game I missed because I had a high school game to describe. I watched them defeat Campbell on my laptop.

Furman, by the way, is 2-6, too.

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My nephew, Ray Phillips, and his wife, Jessica, recently moved back to town from Charlotte. I invited them to our tailgate party because it’s a good place for families and they have a wonderful little boy, Thomas, and a newborn baby girl, Margaret.

I think they had a good time. I had mentioned how convenient it was. The farthest parking location is within 250 yards or so of the stadium gates. Ray and Jessica are Clemson graduates. Ray said to me, “We gotta get you to a Clemson game,” and I said something like, “Uh, maybe so.”

dscf4114It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Tigertown. It was so long ago that, when I covered the Clemson-South Carolina game, neither was any good. Now the Tigers are contenders for the national championship, and the rebuilding Gamecocks upset Tennessee on Saturday.

I enjoyed switching back and forth between the Tigers and Gamecocks on TV once I trudged home from watching the Blue Hose lose again.

I love going to PC and Furman games. I even remember when they won. Etched in my memory is watching the Blue Hose defeat Saginaw Valley State in a long-ago NAIA playoff game. The Paladins have won 13 Southern Conference championships.

But what have they done lately? Not much.

While I breathe, I hope.

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

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)

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.

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.

A Bit Reckless About Kelly

Reckless Kelly: from left, David Abeyta, Cody Braun, Jay Nazz, Willy Braun, Joe Miller. (Monte Dutton photos)
Reckless Kelly: from left, David Abeyta, Cody Braun, Jay Nazz, Willy Braun, Joe Miller. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 23, 2016, 10:33 a.m.

Inexplicably, the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants are playing football in London. Not Ontario. Not Kentucky. England. It happens from time to time. Thanks to the miracle of television, I can have breakfast in London. This is usually the time for Formula One from Bahrain or somewhere. This afternoon F1 is racing in Austin. Football is this week’s Sunday-morning sport.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

This has little to do with the ostensible purpose of this blog, which is an explanation of why Reckless Kelly is my favorite band and has been for more than a decade. The Austin band, probably not because the Grand Prix of the United States invaded and snarled their home base but it sure came in handy, played in Shelby, North Carolina, last night, and I made a day – and a night – of it.

After four hours’ sleep – writing about high school football on deadline always leaves me sleepless, and so I watched a PAC-12 game until 2 a.m. – I stopped at the nearby Pilot for a mug of coffee that was about the size of a 7-Eleven Big Gulp but too hot to do so – and drove to Boiling Springs – not above Spartanburg in South Carolina but above Gaffney across the line in North Carolina – to write about a game between the homestanding Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb and the Owls of Kennesaw State.

The Owls won, 47-39, but, after trailing, 40-21, at halftime, Gardner-Webb ran out of downs twice in the fourth quarter needing a touchdown and a two-point conversion they never got. My story ran this morning in the Marietta (Georgia) Daily Journal.

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

The last time I sat in a Gardner-Webb press box, it was on the other side of Spangler Stadium, which would be difficult to identify now if one was going by a photograph of its earlier incarnation.

There. I’ve frittered away most of five paragraphs without getting back to why Reckless Kelly is so great.

Well, to begin, see for yourself. Watch this YouTube video.

I would be hard-pressed to identify my favorite singer, even if I disqualified the 80 percent or so who are now dead. Most of the singers still singing have bands.

Cody and Willy Brown. The silhouette is Jay Nazz.
Cody and Willy Brown. The silhouette is Jay Nazz.

A small part of my nearly 10-year-old music book, True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed, concerned Reckless Kelly, but it didn’t become my favorite band when I wrote the book. I wrote about Reckless Kelly because it was already my favorite band.

And you say you’ve never heard of this wild, western, windblown band? Reason number one is you, like I, don’t live in Texas. The Lone Star State has its own, lone, brand of music and an accompanying culture. Here’s a Dire Straits cover.

I did a modest favor for the band not too long ago, and the drummer, Jay Nazz, invited me to the Don Gibson Theater to watch and mingle. I mingled quite a while, and I’m acclimated to going to bed at 2 a.m. now.

Everything worked rather perfectly. I had covered the Kennesaw State-Furman game for the Daily Journal about a month ago. On Tuesday, the sports editor wrote me, noted that the Owls were playing at Gardner-Webb and asked if I was available to cover it. I looked at the schedule. Noon start. Perfect. Plenty of time to write. I picked up a gig, man.

According to my trusty phone, it is 9.5 miles from Spangler Stadium in Boiling Springs to Don Gibson Theater in Shelby.

Here’s a video of Reckless Kelly’s marvelous version of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”

I did have time to kill when I got to Shelby. I parked across the street from the theater for a while, listening to Alabama decimate Texas A&M. Fatigue started to set in, and I suppose I could have found a place to sell me another tub of coffee, but, strictly by random, I discovered that a place called Newgrass Brewing Company was located conveniently nearby. A visit there perked me right up and undoubtedly enhanced my enjoyment of the rest of the evening.

Kids, let the record note that I drank no more beer. By the time midnight closed in and I was ready for the trek home, I could have been no more sober had I been to the Newgrass Milkshake Company, and milk would have made me sleepier.

I saw friends there, some I expected and some I didn’t. Two great friends joined me, but they had to leave when the concert ended. I talked a long time with Cody Braun, and it’s still a mystery why I can’t remember the details of the time I spent with him and his brother, Willy, during the time leading up to the publication of True to the Roots. Incredibly, I was able to find a copy of my own book, on the shelf that hides the painting I did when I was 13 years old, on the edge of the living room. The book only has part of a chapter on Reckless Kelly. I quoted Cody and remember the conversation, but I can’t remember where it was that I interviewed them. It’s not in the book, either. It could have been Texas. It could have been Charlotte. I’m guessing that I didn’t get it worked out until the book was almost completed, and that’s why there isn’t a whole chapter on the band. It seems like yesterday and a long time ago at the same time.

What makes Reckless Kelly my favorite band is that everything – everything – resonates. I dig the songs. In some ways, the Braun brothers’ background – traveling around as kids, playing with their cowboy singer father, Muzzie – reminds me of my own boyhood sojourns with my dad, who was an auctioneer. Another reason is that their covers are invariably songs that I really like, too. They seem like songs I would sit down and try to learn how to play.

Willy Braun (center) joins brothers Micky and Gary and the other Motorcars.
Willy Braun (center) joins brothers Micky and Gary and the other Motorcars.

The older Braun brothers, along with Nazz, lead guitarist David Abeyta and bassist Joe Miller, make up Reckless Kelly. The evening began with the younger brothers, Micky and Gary, whose band is called Micky and the Motorcars.

I’m trying to think of a family I might find more entertaining. The Kennedys? The Barrymores? The Carradines? The Brontes? The Louvins? The Everlys? The Avetts? The Boones of baseball? The Mannings of football?

I can’t think of one. I’m not objective. It’s my favorite band, man.

They gave me the brand-new CD, Sunset Motel. I gave them a copy of one of my books. I’ve been listening to it while writing this. It sure beats the Rams and the Giants in London. Sunset Motel got me home last night, barreling through the night in my trusty pickup truck.

 

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

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)

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.

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 Weekend Is Progressing Nicely

Spangler Stadium (Monte Dutton photos)
Spangler Stadium (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

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Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Saturday, October 22, 2016, 11:04 a.m.

It’s brisk and blustery here at Ernest W. Spangler Stadium, which overlooks the artificial surface of Coach Norman Harris Field, glistening as the sun shimmers off it’s Kelly green, and some of this information is derived from the Charlie Harbison Scoreboard, which, to my right, tells me that it’s just under an hour until kickoff for the Big South Conference football game between Kennesaw State and Gardner-Webb.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Yes, the above paragraph reads like it was uttered by Brent Musberger.

I’m amped on a big mug or a small barrel of truck-stop coffee because I wrote about the high school game between Mauldin and Laurens last night, and the hectic nature of Friday nights left me sleepless and watching California defeat Oregon in overtime until 2 a.m.

I rose at about 7:30, put on some pre-truck-stop coffee, fixed my own breakfast, wrote happy birthday to everyone on Facebook, shaved, showered, and headed up the road to Gardner-Webb University, where I last ventured for a Furman game that was delayed by a thunderstorm three years ago.

Lou Lauer kindly fixed this website out of the goodness of his heart and the knowledge that I was completely incapable. Give him some business if need arises.
Lou Lauer kindly fixed this website out of the goodness of his heart and the knowledge that I was completely incapable. Give him some business if need arises.

This is a lovely campus and pleasant place to watch a game. The last time I watched one from the press box was about 25 years ago, when it was on the other side and the surroundings considerably less posh. I remember the old Gardner-Webb press box for two reasons: (1.) it was open-air and frequented by many bees, one of which stung me because the nervous sort sitting next to me insisted on trying to swat one with his rolled-up program; and (2.) it was 4-H Day, which meant halftime consisted of activities such as watching goats walk up and down ramps and having chickens hop through hoops.

It may be my second favorite halftime show of all time, topped only by the Stanford band’s presentation at halftime of a game in Palo Alto against Arizona State.

dscf4032Last night I was at the wrong big game. While Clinton was defeating Broome, 28-21, and further ensnarling Region 3-3A in uncertainty, Laurens, where my considerable bulk was parked, was falling, 29-22, to Mauldin. Good game, but the quotes don’t flow as freely when the local team falls.

Some NASCAR fans will guffaw, but I actually prefer to write pleasant, heartwarming stories, which I can prove with my love of high school contests.

The Raiders (4-5, 3-1 Region 2-5A) are headed to the playoffs, though probably not at home in the first round unless they upset Greenwood next week, and, yes, that is where I’ll be because Clinton’s finale against Woodruff does not occur until November 4.

Clinton head coach Andrew Webb
Clinton head coach Andrew Webb

The Red Devils (4-5, 2-2 Region 3-3A) will clinch a playoff berth if Chapman defeats Broome next week but will have to defeat Woodruff if the Centurions prevail. Newberry is the likely region champ, needing only to defeat 0-4 Mid-Carolina to wrap it up.

Tonight I’m going with friends to see Reckless Kelly, my favorite band, in nearby Shelby. This will undoubtedly pop up in a subsequent blog.

It’s going to be a lovely day and a memorable night, and I think I’m going to have more jam-up football to describe.

 

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

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)

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.

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).

Just Add Water

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. I feel like a rock.
El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. I feel like a rock. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, October 21, 2016, 10:29 a.m.

Sometimes things clump up. All of a sudden, things start breaking, and they occur too fast to get them fixed as they bounce and bumble their way into our lives.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

Until this morning, this website was down for about a week. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the assistance of Lou Lauer, who fixed it. I tried halfheartedly from time to time.

My career has spanned a wide, technological change. When I started out writing, I used a typewriter. I wrote headlines (on typewriters) and shipped them to composing rooms through pneumatic tubes. I oversaw the paste-up. Later on, I pasted up the pages myself.

Here’s a dated joke. A colleague and I were rooming together at a NASCAR race. We started reminiscing, and he mentioned a time when he worked as a desk man and how occasionally someone would bring a Shoney’s strawberry pie back from dinner for everyone to share.

“Care to guess how we cut it?” my friend asked.

I didn’t hesitate. “Pica pole,” I said.

Did I mention it was dated? Did I mention I wanted to boost the business of Google?

Tell Lou I sent you.
Tell Lou I sent you.

Now people use algorithms, whatever they are, to determine content. It’s an extraordinary replacement for human judgment. Now newspapers and websites are concerned about their “brands.” We had a brand when I was growing up. It was electric. We used it on cattle. They were branded. Just like this website. Its brand will undoubtedly be enhanced by the fact that it works again.

DSCF3717This has been an efficient week by my standards, perhaps, in part, because I haven’t been fiddling with this blog and my other one, www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com. On Monday, I wrote about NASCAR for Bleacher Report and assembled information about the upcoming football games involving the county’s high schools. On Tuesday, I wrote advances on the Broome-Clinton and Mauldin-Laurens games, as well as two NASCAR columns. This is the first time all season that both Clinton and Laurens are playing at home. It’s also the first time in three weeks that there aren’t games on both Thursday and Friday nights. The hurricane, Matthew, mostly left us alone, but it affected the sports schedules. Clinton will skip next Friday and face Woodruff on November 4. Mathew is gone, but the effect lingers. I guess it is still trickling down.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I worked on my next novel, tentatively titled Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the first draft is well over 40,000 words now. The only time I feel better than when I’ve finished a chapter is when I’ve finished a book.

Tomorrow, well, that’s quite a story.

Reckless Kelly
Reckless Kelly

A while back, a mutual friend wrote me. He had spent some time with my favorite band, a Texas-based bunch known as Reckless Kelly, and discovered that they were displeased with their official biography. He asked me to rework it. I did. They liked it and invited me to come see them this Saturday night in Shelby, North Carolina. I wrote a chapter about the band in my last non-fiction book, True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed.

Several weeks ago, the editor of the newspaper in Marietta, Georgia, hired me to cover the football game between Kennesaw State and Furman. You may have heard me refer in the past to the difference between a good game and a good story. This may have been my best example ever. The Owls defeated the Paladins, 52-42. What a story. The problem was that I am a Furman graduate. Through my jaded eyes, it was a baaaaaaad game.

On Monday, the sports editor in Marietta, John Bednarowski, sent another email, noting that Kennesaw State is visiting Gardner-Webb and asking if I’d like to write about that game, too.

Well, yes. I would. Gardner-Webb is located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, which is only a few miles from Shelby, site of the Reckless Kelly concert. The Kennesaw State vs. Gardner-Webb game begins at noon, leaving me plenty of time to write a fine story and wander over to Shelby at my leisure. Two friends are meeting me there.

As an early mentor of mine, Donny Wilder, used to say at such times, “Just add water.”

 

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

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)

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.

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).

 

On the Road and in the TV

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

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 9, 2016, 10:19 a.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Clinton High School scored 45 points on Thursday night. Laurens District High School put up 48 on Friday night. Both are 3-4 and rising, or so it seems now, because a winning team always looks better after winning than vice-versa. Everyone overreacts every week, but erring on the side of optimism is less stressful.

This was the first time both of Laurens County’s public schools won on the same week. Due to the accident of weather, I was able to write about both games – Clinton over Mid-Carolina, 45-7, and Laurens over Wade Hampton, 48-28 – without ever being more than drizzled upon.

Herewith, Clinton, story and video.

Herewith, Laurens, story.

Herewith, Laurens, video.

En route to these stories and videos, I made some other observations along the way:

A team lined up for first-and-goal at the one. On the ensuing play, a penalty was called on the opposing team. That made it first-and-goal at the three. If that ruling was right, then the rule was wrong.

T'is a blur.
‘Tis a blur.

A visit as far away as Wade Hampton High School requires one to file a story from near the site in order to meet the newspaper deadline. My first duty upon arriving was to discern the location of the nearest McDonald’s because it is open until midnight and its wi-fi reliable. One was located on Wade Hampton Boulevard at the foot of a hill where perched the high school. I went inside to make sure that, even though the weekend’s first rains were approaching, it would follow regular working hours. Several kids were having milk shakes, sundaes and the like. I correctly surmised that they were on the cross country team. (“Do you ever, like, write about cross country?”) Later on, in the press box, I discovered that one was also in the chorus.

In a few years, I may be an expert on the location of all Upstate McDonald’ses. Perhaps I will write a song to the tune of “King of the Road”: I know every McDonald’s in every town / All of those children / Hangin’ around / Every item on the dollar menu / All located near the high school venue.

Hey, everybody sing!

Why must a chorus, there to sing the national anthem, wear its rather formal outfits – tasteful, I concede – while performing the song from the press box? I liked it, but I was in the press box, where people do not normally dress for my benefit. In the grandstand below, people were facing the Stars and Stripes, as well they should.

I was quartered, along with a similarly free-lancing friend, in a room with a view through windows that were prone to fog. My friend told me briefly about what Donald Trump had said. I dismissed it, figuring that what Trump had said probably wasn’t much different from what he says or tweets every day. I’ve heard “oh, this time Trump really went and did it” many times. I had grown inured to his pomposity. When I got home from Wade Hampton (Greenville), sleepless and watching TV with a mug of coffee that was counterproductive, the news channels were steaming along like locomotives.

This would have been a happy weekend had I not watched the Furman and Presbyterian games on my laptop Saturday. The Boston Red Sox also lost, on Thursday and Friday, while I was watching high school games. Because I was occupied, it didn’t hurt as badly.

The stock car race was supposed to have been last night, but mean old Matthew took care of that, and now I’m getting ready to watch the Bank of America 500, which is to take the green flag at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday, as God (literally) intended. Strangely, an undercard is afterward. Rain also washed an Xfinity race away until, uh, late this afternoon, after the Masters of the Universe compete.

I haven’t really caught up, but it’s my suspicion that National (“buh-buh-buh-BUH!”) Football is in the offing today, not to mention, Major Baseball, and, apparently, a presidential debate. I doubt I’ll spend much time today checking to see if a good movie’s on, or what’s up with the weather. If Matthew circles back around, I’ll never see him coming.

 

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

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)

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.

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).

It’s Got to Come from Somewhere

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

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, October 7, 2016, 10:24 a.m.

It’s still tranquil here. The rain will be coming along directly. It seems like a Saturday because last night seemed like a Friday, and that was because I wrote about a high school football game in which Clinton High defeated Mid-Carolina, 45-7, on homecoming at Wilder Stadium.

Here’s my story and video.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Have no fear. By tonight, it will seem like Friday again because I’ll be watching Laurens play at Wade Hampton. Bad weather brings with it postponements – hmm, what was Clinton’s homecoming, a preponement? – and an opportunity to write about a “regularly scheduled game,” which the Raiders and Generals will apparently play.

Last night was lovely. Wilder Stadium is only a couple miles from my house. I haven’t been to Wade Hampton High School in a while. As best I recall, it’s behind Wade Hampton Boulevard. The last time I was there was more than 30 years ago. We have phones to take care of these things now.

dscf3914Because of the schedule change, it was a 2-for-1 homecoming. Clinton’s junior varsity played Mid-Carolina at 5, before the varsity, and the Red Devils won that one, too. I sat in the stands and impersonated any other fan.

Gracie Waldron, whose father Chuck was a CHS classmate of mine, was homecoming queen. Gracie is the No. 1 singles player on the tennis team – her father was once a state champion – and I’ve known her father and uncle all my life. I wrote a story on the academic accomplishments of her first cousin, Abby, less than a year ago and a story on the playoff prospects of Gracie’s team early this week.

Gracie Waldron, Miss CHS, and her father, Chuck, Class of '76.
Gracie Waldron, Miss CHS, and her father, Chuck, Class of ’76.

During the J.V. game, I sat two rows behind Congressman Jeff Duncan and his wife, Melody, whose son Parker plays on the team and whose son J.P. was an important part of this year’s highly successful baseball team. Congressman Duncan and I agree on little as far as politics is concerned, but he’s a nice fellow. I don’t have to agree with his politics to like him personally. I admire him for being a regular guy when he’s home from Washington. We happened to walk down the steps together at the end of the game. I asked him what J.P. was doing and mentioned that I’d developed quite an attachment to that baseball team.

Going to a local football game is democratic with a little “d.”

dscf3927As crazy as this may seem, I’m looking forward to the game tonight in Greenville. I’m interested to see how it goes. Maybe it will rain a lot. Maybe it won’t be too bad. Something will happen there that is worthy of remembering. Maybe it’ll be utter misery, as in the case of a Clinton playoff game at Seneca three years back. I’ll remember something that somebody said, or something somebody said will give me the impetus for something that shows up in a short story or a novel.

I try to inspire or amuse while I’m sitting behind this laptop, but no inspiration or amusement actually occurs here.

 

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

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)

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.

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).

A Fierce Flock of Owls

Twilight nears as the last flickering hopes dwindle away. (Monte Dutton photos)
Twilight nears as the last flickering hopes dwindle away. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 2, 2016, 12:05 p.m.

My home state is mostly ecstatic. Even the Gamecocks grudgingly acknowledge another great Clemson triumph. I saw about five-eighths of the Tigers’ marvelously exciting resistance of the Louisville invaders.

But I’m a Furman man. I took a Furman stand. For decades, it was grand. Even now, it isn’t bland. They just can’t seem to win on demand. Their feet are churning in the sand.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I was in school at Furman the last time the football team lost its first five games. The final record was 5-6, Dick Sheridan’s only losing season as head coach. I spent four years attending Furman and five more working there. I was in Greenville for nine years in a span of 10.

Was it only yesterday or 30 years ago? It used to seem like yesterday. On days like Saturday, it grew distant.

Professionally, it was opportune. The Marietta Daily Journal asked me to cover its local school, Kennesaw State University, against Furman. I saw the Owls play Presbyterian late last year. In fact, it was one of the Blue Hose’ two victories. I once walked the Kennesaw Mountain battlefield with a sportswriting colleague a few days before an Atlanta stock car race. I knew the Owls wore black and yellow.

Before the game, I did what lawyers call due diligence, which is, I studied the statistical and promotional material disseminated in the team’s behalf by sports information director Mike DeGeorge. I quickly discerned that Kennesaw State University, of Kennesaw, Georgia, had won two of its three games, losing narrowly to East Tennessee State, like Furman, a Southern Conference member. The Owls are in the Big South, which is also home to Presbyterian College.

They are in their second year playing football in the lower rung (FCS) of Division I. Furman began playing football in 1889.

I told a friend in the press box that I would be writing about the game from a Kennesaw State perspective, so I hoped it would be a good game to write such a story, and he replied that he thought I would get my wish.

In terms of having a story to write, my friend was right. In terms of it being a good game, he was wrong.

Roughly as distorted as the game played there.
Roughly as distorted as the game played there.

At halftime, Kennesaw State led the Paladins, 49-14. Forty-nine to 14. In a half. The right side of the Paladin defense appeared as sparsely populated as Wyoming. The grandstands, too.

Sirrine Stadium, home of the Paladins through 1980.
Sirrine Stadium, home of the Paladins through 1980.

That Fighting Paladin spirit kicked in a bit in the second half. The final score was 52-42, but that was the closest Furman got in the final 53 minutes and 30 seconds. I hear a lot about that Fighting Blue Hose Spirit, too. It occurred to me this morning that the more fighting spirits are invoked, the more likely it is the spirited are losing.

My thoughts went back to 1979, when the Paladins won a 63-55 victory at Davidson in what was then the highest scoring game in history. It was sheepish, but it was a “W.” It reminded of Saturday, only the guys in purple won. Actually, that game was at Davidson. They were in white.

Furman then played home games in Sirrine Stadium, now the red-slathered home of the Greenville High Red Raiders. At halftime, end-zone stables housed the teams. Sometimes I drove the team bus from the Furman campus, well north of town, to Sirrine. The bus was an unreliable monstrosity that required its driver’s constant attention to the pressure gauge of the air brakes.

Paladin Stadium
Paladin Stadium

Paladin Stadium, whose home side faces Paris Mountain, is a lovely edifice. Saturday was a perfect fall afternoon, though relatively few of the leaves have yet changed.

It’s all relative, though. Everywhere is revamped and modernized. PC has a new Bailey Memorial Stadium. The old one is the home of lacrosse. About the only place that hasn’t changed drastically for the good is Newberry College’s Setzler Field, where I had written about a high school game on Friday night. It was a good story to write, too.

Good stories I got.

 

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

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)

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.

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).