Memories and Statistics

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 11:15 a.m.

Oh, baseball.

By Monte Dutton

Last night, Mitch Moreland struck out in the bottom of the ninth with two out and the Boston Red Sox trailing, 10-9. It was a wild pitch. The Cleveland catcher couldn’t handle it. Moreland reached first. Christian Vazquez hit a three-run homer, and the Red Sox won, 12-10.

Five of baseball’s better pitchers – both starters, Andrew Miller, both closers – failed.

Joe Garagiola wrote the book, and I read it. Baseball is a Funny Game.

A Red Sox-Yankees pennant race is on, and it’s August. Vazquez walked off – actually, he trotted around the bases, so, technically, a homer isn’t “walk off” – and Boston took a ½-game lead.

I had a wonderful time watching Stephen Colbert.

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All the football teams are practicing. Old football players watch and live vicariously. Practice fields. Old times there are not forgotten. Men who can’t run around anymore, who have to be careful when they walk, remember from a distance of four decades what it feels like.

They squint, lying on their backs, looking through a facemask, a scowling coach creating his own eclipse of the red-hot sun. They relive what it feels like to do what they no longer can. Now that they are men, they remember what it was like to become one. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the smell. Maybe it’s the sweat. Maybe it’s the heat of the smell of the sweat.

Sports used to be about sensations. Now it is about statistics. On social media, people bombard the public with instantaneous numbers. Last night, when a homer won a game after a dropped third strike with two out, it was the first time since 1960. Someone tweeted that almost instantly.

Modern problem. Too much information.

 

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

Ever since I started writing fiction, fans have asked me to write a novel about stock car racing. I kept it a secret while I was working on it. Now it’s out. Lightning in a Bottle is the story of the next big thing, 18-year-old Barrie Jarman.

(Steven Novak cover design)

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. They’re all signed and reasonably priced. Lightning in a Bottle will be in stock shortly.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are also available at Emma Jane’s, 105 East Main Street on the Square, Clinton.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(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.

(Joe Font cover design)

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 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).

I Don’t Never Have Fun Like That No More

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 10:55 a.m.

In the early 1970s, the banks of the Little River overflowed in Laurens. A photo on the front page of a newspaper is etched in my mind. A rowboat was making its way through a parking lot, with Edwards department store in the background. I don’t remember if Edwards ever reopened, but if it did, it didn’t stay around for long.

By Monte Dutton

Laurens is the county seat. I live in Clinton, eight miles away. On Monday night, I took in the Laurens Riverfront Freedom Festival at an amphitheater situated along the banks of the Little River, which has an apt name 99 percent of the time. Levees have been constructed along the banks. A few other floods have occurred over the years, but no one’s had to row around a shopping center.

The flood, well over 40 years ago now, is indirectly responsible for the existence of Little River Park, Laurens Amphitheater and the Laurens Riverfront Freedom Festival. Laurens Sings, a competition whose finals took place, would probably be held in an auditorium or a sports facility now. On the eve of The Fourth, families brought their kids and tried in vain to keep them under control. The members of a triumphant Little League baseball team scurried around collecting contributions to pay for the state tournament. A rising Laurens District High School senior, Malashia Cain, was judged the singingest singer in the county and earned a gigantic $1,000 check for kicks and a normal one she plans to use for a downpayment on a 2009 Malibu. She sang a song, “Summertime,” from Porgy and Bess.

I haven’t seen that kind of joy since a kid won a go-kart at the Easter Egg Hunt at Cavalier Ballpark in Clinton. That was even longer ago than the Little River flood. Besides, I couldn’t enjoy it because I wanted that go-kart.

When I was in college, others used to ask me what there was to do back home. I said, well, sometimes we’ll get a lot of beer, and we’ll go park in the edge of the woods, and we’ll put some music in the tape deck, and sit out in the moonlight on the tailgate or hood of my daddy’s pickup truck, and we’ll sing along with the music, and drink the beer, and talk about life.

My friends would say, “My God.”

And I’d say the funny thing is I don’t ever do anything I enjoy that much anymore.

In a small town, little things mean a lot. Even a Little River.

I watched little girls who were much more adept at raising money than their brothers on the ball team, who basically wanted to wear their uniforms and let everybody know they were district champions. Other little girls wanted to teeter and totter along the little granite walls that separated the terraces in the viewing area. One daddy came over and said, “Nikki, git! You git back over there where me and your mama are a-settin’.” To which Nikki replied, “Noooooo!” She pointed. “You git! You git back over yonder. Me and Britney’s having fun.”

Somehow, Daddy didn’t tan her little hide. Fifteen minutes later, Nikki was hugging him, and they were both trying to convince the other than each loved the other better than vice-versa.

The names have been changed partly to protect the innocent but mainly because I don’t know them. It was sweet. And funny. And wholesome. And small-town American.

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There wasn’t any drinking. If people wanted to smoke, they could go over to the bridge, where, according to the master of ceremonies, sand had been “put out,” apparently so cigarettes could be put out.

They had food trucks just outside the gates, and snow cones next to the inside concession stand, which was only barely farther away than the gates. I watched the main show, by a local classic-rock band named Outshyne, from behind the crowd, and then I bought myself a smoothie, which cost a dollar less because I didn’t want anything uber-healthy like kale in it. Just regular healthy things were fine.

It all ended with a fireworks display, but I slipped out early to beat the traffic. The adventure was figuring out a way to get out of the parking lot, which was something of a maze. The best move was going left instead of right, and driving up the hill past Smith Chevrolet, which used to be Smith Brothers long ago when a fellow could buy something called a Pontiac. That way I didn’t have to interrupt the folks smoking on the bridge.

Then I processed some pictures, and wrote a story about the evening, and it took as long for email to move my photos as it did to write the story, and the Red Sox won in 11 innings in Texas, and Dustin Pedroia made an amazing, wildly unusual play in a moment of Boston need, and I ended up going to bed earlier than usual because the late-night talk shows were all reruns, and until now, I haven’t done much today other than look at social media and fix breakfast.

Which is fine.

 

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

Ever since I started writing fiction, fans have asked me to write a novel about stock car racing. I kept it a secret while I was working on it. Now it’s out. Lightning in a Bottle is the story of the next big thing, 18-year-old Barrie Jarman.

(Steven Novak cover design)

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. They’re all signed and reasonably priced. Lightning in a Bottle will be in stock shortly.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are also available at Emma Jane’s, 105 East Main Street on the Square, Clinton.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(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.

(Joe Font cover design)

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 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 Grind Gets Better

Into the Smokies on the way home. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:58 a.m.

Let’s see. Today is the last day of the month, which means a download of my fourth novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, will no longer be 99 cents. Good news and bad news. I won’t sell as many in February, but I’ll make more money on the ones I do. The idea behind Amazon’s 99 cents specials is that they give the book a boost. It’s already sold the most of my five novels. I should probably write another like it.

By Monte Dutton

Maybe I am. It’s not finished.

Tonight Newberry is visiting Clinton for a big night of high school basketball, and I’ll be on hand to write about it and take a few pictures. The Red Devils clobbered Mid-Carolina while I was away. Newberry is only 25 miles away. The two schools played in most every sport even before they were both aligned in Region 3-3A. They split earlier games, both in Newberry, but the overtime loss was in a holiday tournament, and Clinton won the one that counted. Tonight’s will, too. The Red Devils have an undefeated region record on the line.

Mike Reynolds

I’m just getting reacclimated with the world. I spent most of four days avoiding all that was going on around me. I checked the Twitter feed occasionally. I watched the second half of Kansas-Kentucky on a TV in a Kentucky bar where I couldn’t find anyone who didn’t hate Louisville. The Jayhawks won, and that probably increased sales while the Mike Reynolds Band rocked the night away.

I don’t party much anymore. As best I can tell, I came out of it relatively intact.

The trip: (a.) increased my interest in writing songs and drawing sketches; (b.) lessened my sense of disappointent; (c.) provided me with sustenance and inspiration; (d.) got me out of town; (e.) satisfied a growing wanderlust; and (f.) gave me a chance to play a lot of music and listen to a lot more.

I’m sure I could think of several more, but this blog isn’t for money, and I’ve got to get to some things that are.

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This week is the Super Bowl. I assume, sometime recently, there has been a Pro Bowl. I watched a little of the Rolex 24 over the weekend, mostly with the sound off, and I tried for a while to find the ending, but I am not adept at surfing the program guide of Dish Network, so I watched Virginia-Villanova, again with the sound off.

The Falcons are playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The only other time the Falcons reached the Super Bowl, I watched in a condo in Ormond Beach, Florida. All I remember is that it wasn’t much of a game. One year while I was in Florida early for Speedweeks, the Patriots played the Eagles in Jacksonville, so, when I went to see some friends play music in St. Augustine Beach, the bar was full of NFL fans. I wore a Red Sox cap because, well, I wear one a lot. When I got in there, it seemed as if everyone knew me. Some people were slapping me on the back; others just looked at me with scorn and derision. It hadn’t occurred me that a Boston cap would get me lumped in with the Patriots.

This shouldn’t have been so hard to figure out.

I’ve rooted for the Red Sox since I was seven years old, but it all started with Carl Yastrzemski, not Boston. For that particular Super Bowl, which the Patriots won, I just wanted to see a good game.

That’s about the way I feel about this one.

(Steven Novak cover design)

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. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(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.

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 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 Gin, Not a Rummy

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

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, September 25, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

Now things are back to normal. It’s Sunday and there’s a NASCAR race in New Hampshire and, and by extension, my living room. In a way, the whole world is here. Demonstrations in Charlotte. News of a bright young pitcher’s death in a Florida boating accident. The final CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Ten wins in a row by the Boston Red Sox.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

But the world of the living room isn’t real. It’s 72 degrees all the time, regardless of whether my television is taking me to Juneau or Tucson. I neither shiver nor sweat.

I venture out into the great beyond, which is almost infinitesimally smaller in scope and getting smaller because the whole world can be found inside.

Saturday was rare. I got to be a fan. It wasn’t pretty. Florida Tech, which I didn’t know existed but suspected because it stood to reason a state such as Florida would have a Tech, defeated the local college, the Presbyterian one, 28-7. Usually, when I’m sitting in grandstands, I’m watching the Clinton High School junior varsity. Most of the games I watch, I watch closely and take notes, because it is my job to write about them. The preparation is usually scanning some assemblage of material that is introductory and applicable to the game. The preparation on Saturday was boiling peanuts in a slow cooker overnight.

dscf3848On Friday night, I wrote about Dorman beating Laurens, 52-21, in tackle football. On Saturday morning, I produced a video about it. Then I tried in vain to find a noon game that was worth watching. Wisconsin was drubbing Michigan State. Ole Miss was clobbering Georgia. By mid-afternoon, I was watching Iowa at Rutgers.

Then to far PC, which is, oh, maybe five minutes from my house. Florida Tech was very accommodating because the Panthers arrived from, oh, eight hours from my house. Unfortunately, it was worth the trip.

The game was a major downer that I managed to withstand because of good, old-fashioned human interaction, fine barbecue, and just the right amount of gins and their accompanying tonics. Gin is like liver. People either like it or they don’t. People develop tastes for beer and scotch. I like gin. Did the first time I tried it. Don’t try it much anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a gin and tonic in, oh, five years before Saturday.

I tried my best to catch up. I had several before the game. I had one at halftime. I had several after the game, which began at seven, and ended at around 10:30 for the players and most of the fans, but not my friends, who lingered on to dissect the loss as if it were an unfortunate frog in a biology lab.

Gin is a versatile liquid, though hardly the only one being imbibed across a traffic circle from the lovely entryway of Bailey Memorial Stadium. It can be used to celebrate a victory or commiserate a defeat. Some people think various incarnations of alcohol have different effects on people. Tom T. Hall, in communicating why he likes beer (“It makes me a jolly good fellow”), also wrote and sang, “Whisky’s too rough, champagne costs too much, and vodka puts my mouth in gear.”

I have heard gin’s detractors say it tastes like drinking a pine tree, or Pine-Sol disinfectant cleaner, and that always makes wonder how they know what disinfectant cleaner tastes like.

“Hey, you like gin?”

“I don’t know. Never had it. What’s it taste like?”

“Oh, Pine-Sol.”

It’s quite possible that some people who claim to hate gin have never tried it because they didn’t want to find out what Pine-Sol tastes like. I like gin. And tonic. And a squeeze of lime juice. If that’s what Pine-Sol tastes like, well, I’ll take your word for it.

A friend offered a snort of this special bourbon whose name now eludes me – the bourbon, not the friend – and said, “It’s real smooth, but it’ll sneak up on you.”

Having just watched the Blue Hose fall ignominiously, I said, “Well, it can’t sneak up on me too soon,” but I didn’t try the bourbon. Its charms would have been lost on me.

 

(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 either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(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).

 

Spanning the Globe for the Constant Variety of TV Sports

Sonoma comes next, but that's another week. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sonoma comes next, but that’s another week. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

L&LComplete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

Wow. I’m a bit overwhelmed.

I can’t come close to quantifying all that happened in my living room. By extension, it was, oh, from Oakland, Plum (Pennsylvania), Newton (Iowa), Omaha, Boston, Le Mans (France) …

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

The grass didn’t need mowing (later this week, I expect). I had clean clothes, though I seldom wore them (the clean ones). My guitar(s) could use new strings.

I had just completed the first draft of a manuscript for my next novel. I was in need of relaxation. Damn it. I’d been passionate all week. I needed to unwind.

Forget about your cares / It is time to relax / At the Junction.Theme from Petticoat Junction

Apparently, it was hot outside. I suspect it might have been. I went through a drive-through.

Dustin Johnson, the big galoot, won the United States Open. He’s a South Carolinian, born in Columbia, college at Coastal Carolina, now lives occasionally and officially in Myrtle Beach. He has heretofore been noted for superhuman skills and a frail psyche in the major championships of golf. On Sunday, Johnson kept his wits while, all about him, other golfers were losing theirs. He played against type. For the past few years, I’ve been rooting for him against type. He kicked some type ass.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Then there was the basketball game. Game Seven of the NBA Playoffs. A stereotypical battle between the bruising East (Cleveland Cavaliers) and the graceful West (Golden State Warriors), descended from Lakers against Celtics. None of the first six games had been close. The seventh was. The fiercely aggressive Cavs from the long-derided Rust Belt city came from two down to win three straight for the title. So was the great LeBron James defined forever.

Other Kings besides Le Bron. (John Clark photo)
Other Kings besides Le Bron. (John Clark photo)

It’s sort of rewarding to watch a great sporting event without a heavy rooting interest. Often it takes a rooting interest to watch passionately, but watching dispassionately, caring about the outcome but not obsessed by it, can be just as enjoyable and more relaxing.

The difference might be whether one curses at the TV or not. I sounded more like Jed Clampett. I be dogged. Hoo, doggie. No exclamation points. Oil. Black gold. Texas tea.

(I wrote the words above with the full knowledge that those old enough to remember The Beverly Hillbillies are outnumbered by those who don’t. On the other hand, there’s TV Land.)

Do you remember having a mistaken opinion about what a word means when you were a kid? For some reason, I once thought Chanticleer had something to do with Christmas. The reason I learned what it means was probably the existence of it as a nickname at Coastal Carolina University, which, as a fellow state school, synonymized (spontaneous word invention) Gamecock.

Whatever. One Chanticleer won the U.S. Open, and a coop full of them won its first game at the College World Series. Admittedly, I only saw the final inning of CCU’s 2-1 victory over Florida. My schedule proved too crowded. If I’d had two more sports, college baseball and hemispherical soccer, to switch back and forth from, I’d have a splint on my right thumb now.

Big Papi in Atlanta a few years back. (Monte Dutton photo)
Big Papi in Atlanta a few years back. (Monte Dutton photo)

For passion, I had a pair of Red Sox victories over the Seattle Mariners at Fenway on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, the night they lost, David Ortiz hit his 521st home run, tying him not only with the wondrous Ted Williams but also with Willie McCovey (another favorite of mine) and Frank Thomas. Ted was my dad’s greatest hero, him and Johnny U. I doubt Jimmy Dutton turned over in his grave, but he definitely noticed. I never saw Williams play, but he’s the reason I’m a Boston fan in baseball. My dad handed him down to me, and I adopted his successor, Carl Yastrzemski, in left field.

The Colts left Baltimore, and Unitas died too young, but Fenway Park is still a constant, better than ever. Yaz was even in the TV booth for an inning not too long ago.

(Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing)
(Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing)

Le Mans. I’ve never been within an ocean of the race, but I have a story that relates to it. The late Chris Economaki was the greatest all-around authority on auto racing I’ve ever known. I don’t think Chris would make a strenuous objection to the notion that he was not without an ego.

One day in Daytona Beach, Ken Willis, the irreverent and wisecracking scribe of the local daily there, and I were trading irreverences, when, all of a sudden, he asked me if I knew what year Fireball Roberts ran the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I said that I thought maybe it was 1962 but pointed to Economaki and said, “Ask Chris. He’ll know.”

Willis said, “Hey, Chris, what year did Fireball run Le Mans?” Willis pronounced it with the “s” on the end.

Apparently, Chris didn’t know the answer, which he could not possibly admit, so he stood up out of his chair, said, very loudly, “It’s le-MAH!” and walked swiftly out of the room.

Miraculously, by the way, 1962 was indeed the year Daytona Beach’s own Fireball Roberts competed at Le Mans.

Sam Hornish Jr. and son celebrate in Iowa. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. and son celebrate in Iowa. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

I miss Chris. He watched me play music twice in the Poconos, offering his acerbic reviews between songs.

Anyway, a Toyota dominated the race and broke down with three minutes remaining. It was sort of the most dramatic ending since the one Hollywood and Steve McQueen staged 46 years ago for the movie Le Mans. Porsche won. The new Ford GT won its class. Most of my time watching the race was spent in reverie, fascinated at the spectacle of all those magnificent machines roaring around and occasionally sending up roostertails that had nothing to do with Chanticleers or Christmas.

A substitute teacher won the Xfinity Series race in Iowa, where, of course, if you build it, they will come. Okay. Sam Hornish Jr. is also an Indianapolis 500 winner, but his NASCAR career never hit the heights and eventually tumbled into the skids, and winning the race might not really make much difference at this point in his career, other than being laudable and, as people always say when they’re trying to get you to do something, “it looks good on your resume.” Sam Hornish and I have approximately the same need for a resume at this stage in our lives.

So, yeah, I’m glad he won.

William Byron stands atop the NASCAR Truck world. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
William Byron stands atop the NASCAR Truck world. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

On Friday night, I also watched the Trucks race at the Track of Dreams. In summary, this kid William Byron is really something. He’s the hottest Roman candle out there below the high-dollar fireworks of the Sprint Cup Series.

The poor Atlanta Braves. They swept the New York Mets on a weekend when I didn’t even notice.

What do I do for an encore? Oh, work on some fiction. Go see some high school players pitching and catching. Catch a little Legion ball.

Write these.

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

My new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is a crime thriller.

Set in the hills of Kentucky, Crazy of Natural Causes is a fable of life’s absurdity, seen through the unique perspective of ruined coach Chance Benford.

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

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories, all of which are derived from songs I wrote.

All three of these books, already autographed, are available at L&L Office Supply, 114 N. Main St., Clinton.

Most of my books are available here.

It Happens Every Spring

Thanks to the Crusaders, I've got one game left. (Monte Dutton photos)
Thanks to the Crusaders, I’ve got one game left. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 10:13 a.m.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

It’s a strange sensation for this time of year. I mourn the loss of baseball.

Oh, the Boston Red Sox are playing a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals this very day. Late last night, I switched back and forth between a baseball game and election results. The television season is young.

I’ve written about high school baseball and softball since the weather started warming. Mostly baseball. Clinton, Laurens and Laurens Academy all had successful season. The Crusaders are still having theirs. They play in Lexington Thursday for the SCISA (South Carolina Independent Schools Association) Class A state championship against the Holly Hill Academy Raiders. Last night I watched LA force a third game by defeating Holly Hill, 6-5.

Shortstop Nick Johnson
Shortstop Nick Johnson

It’s been whittled down to a nub, though. I’m going to miss the ping of the bat.

I like TV. I’ve grown adept at reading while it’s on, not to mention writing this. It’s no comparison to being there. TV does not provide enough stimulation to the senses.

On TV, I do not sit in a press box on the roof of the visiting dugout, trying to figure out of whom the burly man bellowing below reminds me.

DSCF3128
Ryan Sneed

Eureka! It’s Robert Duvall in The Great Santini!

Even with high definition, I don’t bother to trace the slow degradation of game-tattered uniforms, partly because major-league uniforms are seldom tattered and soon replaced. By season’s end, the white trousers of Clinton’s Brayden Gibbs were sliced open across the right leg, and the red pinstripe down the side was disconnected and hanging at the top. The Red Devils were winning. Gibbs wasn’t about to complain about an old set of togs.

Josh Urwick
Josh Urwick

I arrive home and follow a standard routine. Put some coffee on. Fire up the Surface. Hook up the camera. Download the photos. Get the coffee. Edit and crop the photos. Send the best ones in. Make sure the scorebook adds up. Write the story, transcribing in quotations on the fly. Proofread. Send in the story. Wait for it to pop up online while watching late-night baseball or talk shows. Writing, and perhaps the coffee, leaves me unready for sleep. I read to relax and work my way slowly toward a mindset conducive to sleep.

Holly Hill's Jem Mott makes a pitching change.
Holly Hill’s Jem Mott makes a pitching change.

I’m going to miss the reaction of kids being interviewed who aren’t accustomed to it. Some are wonderfully spontaneous. Some are wonderfully scared. Sometimes I yell or motion to a player that I’d like for him to hang around for a while so that I can talk to him, while at the same time recording what his coach has to say.

This warning gives him a short period to think about what he’s going to say. He might think of how much he wants to credit his teammates even for deeds he performed alone.

Will Price
Will Price

“What were you thinking as you waited for the pitch you hit to the opposite field for the game-winning double?”

“I was thinking about my teammates who supported me.”

Really. I thought you might be thinking about how you should stay back and wait for a fastball on the outer half. Perhaps I should try another question.

Price went 2-for-4.
Price went 2-for-4.

Sometimes I feel stupid listening to the harried questions I asked as I transcribe the tape. I listen to my mumbling questions, wondering how anyone could possibly understand them and realize why the kid tried to turn the attention to the team, because there’s no “me” in team even though there is an “m” and an “e.”

Next year Clinton High will open a new baseball field, one with a grass infield and a press box. Obviously, this will prevent being rained on because, in every season, some rain must fall, but I’m going to miss sitting at a folding table directly behind the plate of The Sponge, trading remarks with scoreboard operator Zack Wofford, public-address announcer Buddy Bridges and assorted others, primarily because it offered such a great view of the pitches. I learned more about the Red Devil pitching staff than I ever would have from a higher vantage.

Hanks Avinger hit a three-run homer but also took the loss.
Hanks Avinger hit a three-run homer but also took the loss.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to sit down there at the new place. Even a shabby home is a home, though. I’ll miss the interaction with the fans and watching them sometimes as much as the game.

At LDHS, I’ll miss the conversations with athletics director Mark Freeze about anything and everything. Almost all of it was off the record by assumed agreement. Besides, my baseball stories have no convenient place for ruminations about bluegrass music and stock car racing. Except this one.

DSCF3102I probably won’t miss music blaring from speakers almost painfully nearby. I’ve grown accustomed to it, though.

I’ll miss the experience of watching a kid win the game while his father is announcing it on the P.A. I’ll miss watching the flight of a long fly ball to right field, with the bases loaded and the outcome riding on whether or not a streaking kid can intersect it. I’ll miss the cries of fright and then relief when he can.

Baseball on TV is slightly artificial. The heart of baseball is in its roots.

TrespassesCoverMy new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is a story of politics, corruption, drugs, mistakes of young and old and crime.

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

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

Crazy of Natural Causes is set in the hills of Kentucky. Chance Benford is a football coach who has to reinvent himself in the aftermath of disaster. It’s a fable of coping with the absurdity of life.

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

The Intangibles is a story of the South, high school football, civil rights and desegregation, set mostly in the late 1960s.

The Audacity of Dope is the story of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking singer-songwriter who accidentally becomes a national hero and is thus forced to act like one.

Some Time a Ball Team’s All a Man’s Got

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, April 9, 2016, 7:20 p.m.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

When I look back on my 58th birthday and its aftermath, all I can make at this point is what, all too often in my life, one I’ve been unable to make.

Thank goodness for the Boston Red Sox, who came from five runs down last night to win and then backed it up with another victory over the reigning American League champion Toronto Blue Jays today.

They'll be here Monday.
They’ll be here Monday.

Now it’s a matter of seeing if the Red Sox can come up with more pitching at the start of each game. David Price? So far, so great. Clay Buchholz? Lord, have mercy. Joe Kelly? Uhhhh. Rick Porcello? Not bad.

John Farrell is nothing if not a player’s manager. He rested several cogs in the lineup and still won comfortably this afternoon. He’s seeing immediate results with the position players and bullpen.

All right. It’s early. You’re probably not that interested in the above, but wait till you see where this blog goes from here. You don’t care about my problems. I just feel as if it might be therapeutic to get it off my chest right now. It is an anvil, and I need this to settle me down.

I can’t remember the last time I failed to complete a writing assignment. I’m sure there’s another example, but I can’t recall it now. Life’s just too short. This day is one where lots of tiny frustrations have boiled over. I’m not even going to mention them all (believe it or not!).

Bailey Memorial Stadium
Bailey Memorial Stadium

I went to the Presbyterian College spring football game and enjoyed spending time with friends I haven’t seen since the last game of last season, but I had to leave long before it was over to work on a story about a local athlete who’s trying to make it big. He told me to text him at 12:30, which I did, and he replied that he’d text me back as soon as he checked into his hotel.

I waited. And waited. And texted, Long trip? Then a longer what’s the deal? text.

Five hours after we were supposed to talk, he wrote back that things came up, and he hadn’t had any time, and maybe we could do it Sunday night. I texted back that his time was too pricey for me, and I was sure someone else would be assigned to the story, and that I was sorry he hadn’t had time to text “can’t make it” so that I could have done something important like mow the lawn.

I had spent the time watching the Red Sox, reading a book, setting up a giveaway of my new collection of short stories, tweeting, posting, drinking coffee, getting hungry and mad.

Here’s a link to the giveaway.

I finally left for the McDonald’s drive-through, the better to drop everything to talk with the athlete because, at that point, I hadn’t gotten to the “hell with it” stage. At McDonald’s I ordered a salad, and the metallic voice in the speakers, which grew less metallic at the former window because she was live and in person, asked me what kind of dressing I wanted, and I said “blue cheese,” and “ranch” popped up on the screen, and I drove around, and I asked the lady if they didn’t offer blue cheese, and she said that was right, so I said, “I’ll take Southwest then,” and she said, “That’s what I gave you,” and I told her the message said she was giving me ranch, and she said, “Oh.”

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. I feel like a rock.
El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. I feel like a rock.

I picked up the bag at the latter window, and then, halfway home, I discovered that the bag didn’t contain the wrap for which I also had paid, and so I turned right back around, marched inside, and a fellow looked up and asked, “You the one who got the wrap?” and I said, “Not no more.”

It took a while to get my money refunded, because they said there wasn’t enough money ($10) “in the drawer,” and I came close to saying keep the money and ram the food … well, you get the picture. I thought about it, but Mama raised me slightly better, so I just started over and went to a nearby sit-down restaurant, where the salad (blackened chicken Caesar) was much better but the service only slightly. I needed to sit there a while, though, and calm down, so I commenced to reading so that now I’m no longer furious, just neurotic.

I calmed my murderous outlook enough to leave a tip that was modest where it had been tiny.

The NASCAR race is about to start, except, of course, it’s a bit delayed, so I decided to write this to put out the fuses that lead to the bombs in my brain.

I feel better now. I need to wipe the slate clean and start over. Can I be 57 again? Just for a day?

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

It’s out. $3.49. You can’t afford not to!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses fell eight months and eight days after the release of Crazy of Natural Causes. Eight is my lucky number, and this is pure luck. Apparently, my speed is about eight months. It’s a good pace I’m setting. You can order Trespasses here.

Longer_Songs_Cover_for_KindleI have a new volume of short stories, Longer Songs, which you may examine and preferably purchase here.

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

Crazy of Natural Causes has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or four of them a read. If you’ve never watched an R-rated film, then I wouldn’t recommend my novels. If you have, I expect you’ll love them. Soon a print version of Crazy will be released for those of you who eschew the Kindle, and a Trespasses edition is on the way soon, too.

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

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here.

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50.

Raiders See Red

Unfortunately, no one was laughing afterwards. (Monte Dutton photos)
Unfortunately, no one was smiling afterwards. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 9:02 a.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

By late afternoon, I was in a marvelous mood.

The morning’s first eureka arrived in the form of email, informing me that my collection of short stories, Longer Songs, would soon be published. It is, in fact, available now at something called the CreateSpace e-store. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Longer-Songs-Collection-Short-Stories/dp/1530857627/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459950716&sr=1-1&keywords=Longer+Songs+Monte+Dutton

DSCF2481By the way … it’s in print! Paper. Not digital, virtual, e-hyphenated stardust. I like stardust. I have lots of it in my electronic devices. It’s not for everyone, though, but this volume of short stories now is. Two e-novels are en route to pulpwood now. They’re just waiting for pulp to turn to paper.

Then the Red Sox enjoyed a pleasant opener in Cleveland, to the extent, that is, that an afternoon game in the thirties can please. My living room had no such encroachments on comfort, and new, comfortably appointed and lavishly paid lefty David Price, whom I once watched pitch for Vanderbilt against Alabama, struck out 10 would-be Native Americans in six innings.

Jalen Bragg
Jalen Bragg

David Ortiz and Mookie Betts, who made a leaping catch in right field, homered. Koji Uehara, who is so ancient he ought to be a Mariner, retired the Tribe in order in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel took over the ninth with dispatch.

I digress, just as many baseball fans do when their favorite teams win on Opening Day. The point is, I haven’t felt as cheery in a long time as when I showed up at Ed Prescott Field on Tuesday evening to watch Laurens play Greenville. I stood at the gate during the JV game, trading witty anecdotes with LDHS athletic director Mark Freeze and trainer Barry Atkinson.

Thomas Jones scored the only Laurens run.
Thomas Jones scored the only Laurens run.

Key trivia answer: Black Jack Pershing. I almost got it but not quite (Pershing was my third choice, and it wasn’t a best-of-three series). This is common when Barry and I converse. Freeze and I talked about several Raider athletes, Hank Aaron, Del McCoury Band, Bobby Dews and Roy Williams. Those are the ones I remember.

Nothing in this near-euphoric day prepared me for the baseball game I was about to cover.

In the first inning, the Raiders scored one run and almost three, “almost” being defined by a line drive that landed just wide of the right-field chalk. The game leveled off through four innings and then deteriorated, at least from the LDHS perspective. It didn’t deteriorate from the overall Raider perspective because Greenville wears that moniker, too, with Red added.

FIrst baseman Graydon Hamby was the only LDHS player with two hits.
FIrst baseman Graydon Hamby was the only LDHS player with two hits.

Hobnobbing with the partisans, I thought Greenville had an inordinate number of Pittsburgh fans until I realized the Greenville Red Raider looks like the Pittsburgh Pirate.

Greenville tied the game in the fifth inning, pulled ahead with two unearned runs in the sixth, and one of the two runs in the seventh was unearned, too. An outfielder dropped a fly ball, maybe because he closed his glove before the ball was in it, and the unfortunate pitcher bounced a throw to first that the first baseman could not rescue.

DSCF2507The Red Raiders outhit the ones wearing yellow tops, 11-6. The timing of Greenville’s two errors was much better than that of Laurens’ two, though the home team’s run was unearned, too.

My surprise would not have been greater had Presbyterian College upset the 1927 New York Yankees. That would have had to occur in the form of a delightful dream.

Pennies from heaven?
Pennies from heaven?

LDHS, heretofore jetting along at the top of Region I-4A, now guards a one-game edge, 6-2 to 5-3, over Greenville entering a road rematch on Friday. Overall, the Raiders are 13-4; the Red Raiders, 9-9.

Joe Garagiola, meanwhile, is no longer around to remind us that baseball is a funny game.

To paraphrase an old song — and what is one of my blogs without it? — some gotta win. Some gotta lose. Sometimes even Goodtime Charlies gets the blues.

Here’s my story on the game at GoLaurens.com: http://www.golaurens.com/sports/item/23368

 

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

It’s out. $3.49. You can’t afford not to!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses falls eight months and eight days after the release of Crazy of Natural Causes. Eight is my lucky number, and this is pure luck. Apparently, my speed is about eight months. It’s a good pace I’m setting. You can order Trespasses here: http://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Our-Trespasses-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B0192I3Q1K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458316129&sr=1-1&keywords=forgive+us+our+trespasses

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

Crazy of Natural Causes has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or four of them a read. If you’ve never watched an R-rated film, then I wouldn’t recommend my novels. If you have, I expect you’ll love them. Soon a print version of Crazy will be released for those of you who eschew the Kindle, and a Trespasses edition is on the way soon, too.

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

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

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

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs …

Business is booming at the Slander Resort. (Monte Dutton photo)
Business is booming at the Slander Resort. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, October 30, 2015, 11:48 a.m.

No, it was not I. I've never even driven a Lexus.
Monte Dutton (John Clark photo).

I haven’t felt the urge to blog lately. I’ve been working on a novel called Cowboys Come Home, trying to sell one called Forgive Us Our Trespasses, and trying to get you to buy one called Crazy of Natural Causes (and also consider The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles).

I’ve been reading, watching the World Series and football games, playing guitar, watching old movies, and attending the Thursday night middle-school and junior varsity games at the high school.

While doing all these other things, I figured out a subplot in Cowboys Come Home, well outside the outline, and I’m about to start writing it.

 

The reigning champion still advances, by hook or crook. (Christa L. Thomas/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)
The reigning champion still advances, by hook or crook. (Christa L. Thomas/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

All week long, I’ve been reading stories about the latest NASCAR debris left over from Talladega, and I’ve been pondering. Not passing judgment. Just pondering. Pondering is something most people do too little and I do too much.

 

I watched more of the Republican Debate than I did the World Series because I thought it was more of a ballgame. Politics is too important to be a ballgame, but that’s what it is. Each side has fans, and they hate each other.

I guess it’s gotten to where it’s all we know.

 

I try to resist being drowned by my generation. I pay attention to people of other ages. I write a lot about young people in my novels.

But this year has been a crusher.

I miss David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Don Orsillo, Bob Schieffer, Jon Stewart, Don Imus, and several others. None has died. They just moved out of my view. I fear for the health of John Farrell, Vin Scully and Jimmy Carter.

I scare myself. The other night I was listening to the theme song of Late Night with Stephen Colbert, and I couldn’t think of the Letterman theme. I kept drifting into the theme of Boston Red Sox Baseball on NESN. Orsillo! Remdawg! Damn it!

 

(Monte Dutton photo)
(Monte Dutton photo)

Football blues.

I’m getting more understanding. A side of me hates this.

Furman’s football season is currently going downhill, though still salvageable. Presbyterian’s year has been miserable. Clinton High has won three games.

Yet I’m having a wonderful time going to the games and writing about them.

Something is definitely wrong.

(Graphic courtesy of Meredieth Pritchard)
(Graphic courtesy of Meredieth Pritchard)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Thanks for keeping my sales high during the entire month Crazy of Natural Causes has been on sale for $1.99. If you’d still like to buy it for that rate, time is running out. Then you’re going to have to make me rich and pay $3.49 again. http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

My crime novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is up for consideration in the KindleScout program. Take a look at it, sample the text, and if you like what you see, you can nominate it for publication. It takes two clicks. Here’s the first: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/A20FEF33PZP1

 

Fashion Cents

So long, A-Rod. Ya whiner. (Monte Dutton photo)
So long, A-Rod. Ya whiner. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 10:04 p.m.

Over the years, it’s been my observation that most fans think their favorite (driver, athlete, politician, etc.) is the only guy who tells it like it is, and their least favorite (driver, etc.) is a whiner.

I miss the hoodie.  (Alex Howard photo)
I miss the hoodie. (Alex Howard photo)

I really think it’s terribly unfair for the first round of the baseball playoffs to be winner-take-all, but I didn’t burn as righteously last night when the New York Yankees were being eliminated.

They’re just whiners.

At the moment, on my high-def screen, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates are massing at home plate in an anticlimactic scrum precipitated by a Buc plunking the Cubbies’ ace, Jake Arrieta.

As my late father was fond of saying, “Chaps love to play.”

With the 2015 Red Sox already a memory, and not a particular fond one at that, I am a bit of a disinterested observer. I’m wearing my standard baseball-watching gear — sweats and a tee shirt — and the top of the stack this night was a UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs gray that is exactly like what John Travolta wore in Pulp Fiction, only I bought it in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District before the movie came out, which was in 1994.

I watched it in February 1995, with Mike Hembree, at a cineplex near Daytona International Speedway. Seeing Vincent (Travolta) wearing my tee shirt was one big surprise. The other was when Vincent plunged the needle into Mia’s (Uma Thurman) heart, which may have been the last time I jumped and left the ground.

And I was sitting.

I have lots of really old clothes. This occurred to me when I looked at myself in the mirror with the UC Santa Cruz tee shirt on.

Damn, this thing is more than 20 years old!

I’ve got a Fairmont State shirt I bought when I was at that West Virginia college broadcasting a football game more than 25 years ago. It was white with glow-in-the-dark orange lettering. Now it has a slight cream tinge to it because I unwisely wore it to a dirt track once.

I have caps that are easily that old. The Watkins Glen Senecas cap is going to disintegrate any time now. I’ve started to upgrade a bit. The age of the cap I was wearing at a high-school scrimmage actually became a topic of discussion in the stands. It’s black with “Clinton” in script on the front in red and white. It’s from sometime in the 1980s. I have a red cap with CHS across the front that is from the ’90s. About a month ago, I bought a new cap that is gray with a red bill and a red block C on the front. It might well be the last one I’ll ever own. Clinton one, anyway.

Just yesterday I bought a new hoodie because from now until next spring, it will be my most commonly worn item of the clothing that isn’t on my feet. Hoodies don’t last long. I always leave them somewhere. When I left my beloved Red Sox pullover at a rained-out Presbyterian College baseball game, well, I hope whichever PC student picked it up is actually a Boston fan.

Yes. I still have a couple of my old football jerseys in the closet.

Some people love their pets.

 

(Design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

The tee shirts come in handy when I’m writing fiction, too. My latest, Crazy of Natural Causes, is a KindleScout winner that is on sale for $1.99 right now. You say you don’t read books on your phones? What’s $1.99? Give it a try. http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes