Truth Leads to Fiction

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 11:41 a.m.

Football time’s a-comin’ comin’.

Rain, too, unfortunately. I’m scheduled to write about a “jamboree” (a heap of teams show up and match up against one another as planned for either a quarter or a half) in Woodruff on Thursday and here in Clinton on Friday.

By Monte Dutton

Both the Red Devils and the Laurens Raiders are at Woodruff, but they won’t play each other until August 25. Clinton is playing Blue Ridge, a school that inexplicably wears red, in the opening “half” (there are actually three) beginning at 6 p.m. Then Chapman faces Spartanburg, and the final “half” is Laurens vs. host Woodruff. The halves are thirds, but that’s just too complicated to explain over and over.

It’s a handy grouping. Woodruff and Chapman are, like Clinton, in Region 3-3A, and Laurens hosts

Greenwood Index-Journal. I took notes and photos of Clinton-Blue Ridge, then drove to a nearby Burger King to file while Chapman and Spartanburg were playing. I drove back, took notes and snapped photos of what was left of Laurens-Woodruff, then dictated a few paragraphs while sitting in my car in the parking lot.

This time I’ll be able to drive back home to file, and Billy Dunlap, my free-lance employer at the GoLaurens/GoClinton website, is shooting photos.

In other words, a decent story is theoretically possible.

It’ll be nice to tune up my football-writing skills – mostly my note-and-stat-keeping skills – with an athletic contest that is as unofficial for me as it is for the teams. I may look for a new, better stat form here in a few minutes. Last year’s didn’t provide as much room as I needed. I’ll probably find a form I can print, but, being somewhat set in my ways, it’s possible I will draw up my own.

Possible, but unlikely. The Internet offers many options.

The summer has been dedicated to writing fiction. The sequel to my stock car racing novel, Lightning in a Bottle, is in the works. The manuscript is ready. The cover should be completed by month’s end, provided my designer and I see eye to eye (and we did on the two before this one). The new novel will be called Life Gets Complicated.

Believe it or not, writing free-lance stories about high school and college kids is an important part of my fiction.

Several readers of Lightning in a Bottle are convinced that Barrie Jarman is based on a real race driver. More than one have suggested Barrie is a latter-day, teen-aged Tim Richmond, but that never occurred to me once when I was creating him. If truth be known, Barrie, who was 16 when the novel began, is more derived from a high school football player than a race driver I never knew. There isn’t any one, but, when writing about a character 40 years younger, it helps to pay attention to what the kids of today are like.

Most of my books can be purchased here.

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Likes and Dislikes, and Balls and Strikes

(Photos by Monte Dutton)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, April 21, 2017, 11:48 a.m.

Back in my day …

Ethan Jones homered for the Raiders in the first inning.

Things were different. They’ll be different in the next day, too. And the one after. Times change. I don’t believe my day was any better than this one. For some reason, at some point in age, varying from person to person, it stops being “my day.” This must be intuitive, or else people wouldn’t admit it by saying “back in my day.”

Make sense? Of course not. Don’t tell me, here in the 21st century, that anything is supposed to make sense. Today is about being technologically advanced, not knowledgeable.

By Monte Dutton

The kids don’t know history. They don’t know the history of America, or baseball, or music, or their families. No one who lived before they could watch him or her on TV counts.

John Havlicek? I could say he founded the AFL-CIO.

Willie Mays? He was a great first baseman — okay, I did see a game in which both Willie Mays and Hank Aaron played first base — but the hall of famer who played it for the Giants was Willie McCovey.

Oh, how could I have enjoyed baseball without seeing Mays play center field? Or basketball without knowledge of Oscar Robertson! Hockey without appreciating the wonder of Bobby Orr? Racing without David Pearson?

Does anyone read books about sports? (Oh, boy. I hope so.) The first one I read was about Mel Ott. He raised his front foot like Sadaharu Oh while batting. Don’t know Oh, huh? He was a Giant. A Yomiuri Giant.

That could be a clean alternative to cursing. You don’t know oh! Oh, oh! Oh on that! Why, you oh-ass! I do not give an oh what you think!

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In the press box of Clinton High School’s new baseball stadium on Thursday night, I expressed a radical opinion. The Red Devils were en route to defeat against Laurens, so, naturally, thoughts turned to that eternal debate. What’s better? DirecTV or Dish? I said DirecTV was better, but Dish was cheaper. I said this, of course, because I have DirecTV, and, in fact, John Wayne in Brannigan is on right now. The same debate could have been conducted over PC or Mac, iPhone or Galaxy, Colbert or Fallon, Zaxby’s vs. Chick-Fil-A, or, most notably around here, Clemson or South Carolina.

The Voice of the Red Devils, Buddy Bridges, and Zack Wofford (right).

Discussions like this are why Zack Wofford gets distracted, and it’s why the Voice of the Red Devils, Buddy Bridges, lights into Zack about the balls and strikes being off. Buddy probably leaves me alone because I’m older than he is, and keeping balls and strikes is not my job.

Zack, who spends a lot of time at the high school keeping scoreboards and publicly addressing when the Voice is elsewhere, said something about how it was easier to tape six or eight shows on Dish, and I said it made no difference to me.

“I don’t tape anything.”

A senior who will be missed at the fields, courts and diamonds of Clinton High School, Zack looked at me as if I were, at worst, mentally deficient, and, at best, entering the early stages of dementia.

“You don’t tape anything?” It had the same intonation as, “You lost your car keys?”

“OK,” I said, “I believe it’s important to protect yourself from technology.”

“What’s the count?” asked the Voice.

“Two and one,” said Zack.

“I believe it’s two and two.”

“I’ve got a lot to do, and I don’t need to be wasting any more time than I already do on social media, texting, and watching sports,” I said. “The last thing I need is to come home from a trip and have six or eight shows saved to watch. If I don’t see it live, I don’t see it. Most things get rerun. If I wait long enough, and I want to see them, I usually find another showing. It’s just my modest personal regulation on myself.”

Zack would have thought I sounded like Archie Bunker if Zack knew who Archie Bunker was.

One would think a young person would be well aware that the central theme of modern life is protecting oneself from … oneself.

To Zack’s great credit, he pays close attention to what is happening now. He knows his current affairs.

We’re great friends — Zack, the Voice, and I — and I haven’t been around as much this spring, owing to fewer free-lance opportunities and this novel I wrote in three months while chained in the darkened corridors of my home, illuminated only by a lamp and the aforementioned DirecTV.

The reason for our presence, the Red Devils and Raiders of nearby Laurens, was growing farther apart as a result of LDHS’s superior pitching and Clinton’s board of directors who took turns on the mound. Laurens’ playoff position — runner-up in Region 2-5A with an overall record of 17-6 and a region mark of 7-3 — was secure. Clinton (6-11, 5-4 Region 3-3A) is going to play next week, but when and where (not Clinton) depended on the outcome of its game at home Friday against Chapman and two other contests.

The Raiders pitched Jared Cvetko, their ace. Clinton paraded four hurlers out there, saving the best for Chapman. Laurens, a better team anyway, won, 6-2.

A year ago, the best Clinton team in more than two decades advanced to the upstate final (four-team) round and finished 24-3. That memorable, cohesive unit graduated many of its best players. This year’s team is young, and it’s been competitive after a slow start, which is just as it should have been.

The Red Devils have a brand-new baseball and softball complex, designed cleverly with a concession stand and restrooms located in between, and it has something this town’s high school has never seen before: lush grass infields.

A year ago, the Voice, Zack and I sat at a folding table behind the plate of The Sponge, as the previous sandlot was lovingly dubbed. The approach of storm clouds could be testy. On Thursday, the Voice and I allowed as how we miss that view from right behind the plate but not the thunderstorms.

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).

Misty, Water-Colored Memories of the Way We Were

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, March 31, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

I know Laurens County fairly well, having lived here almost all my life. The first banquet of the Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame was right down my alley, having put in many a day’s touch-typing on the subject of Laurens County sports.

By Monte Dutton

Of the eight inductees, the only one I had never met was Chrissy Floyd, the Laurens basketball player who performed most of her magic while I was away trying in vain to keep up with cars going around and around. I talked to her on the phone over a month ago. She was gracious. Everyone was gracious. It’s probably hard not to be gracious when home folks realize officially how great one is.

Take a close look at every day, and something unique occurs. On Thursday night, my unique experience was listening to my words being used as narration by another voice. The stories I’d written for the program were used for introductory greetings of each inductee. I’m sure the words sounded better than if I’d said them, but it just felt slightly weird, sitting out in the audience, finding myself tempted to lip-synch. Maybe it was like an actor who can’t carry a tune, having to have his voice replaced in the musical numbers. Maybe this happened to me before, but I can’t remember it.

King Dixon

With one exception, I knew these people.

My mother told me tales of King Dixon, who played for the old Laurens Tigers (now Raiders) when my father was a Clinton Red Devil. Dixon and his mates whipped Clinton five years in a row – yes, he played in the eighth grade – and my father never talked much about it. Sixty years ago, and a man who starred in football and life still attaches great significance to never losing to Clinton. This, of course, led a couple of Clinton’s finest to allow as how, son of a gun, they never lost to Laurens.

Chick Galloway’s granddaughter represented him.

Chick Galloway died when I was 11. Cally Gault, another PC man – male graduates of Presbyterian College are prone to espouse that synonym of virtue, “the PC man” – recalled Galloway, hitting him grounders while Gault was playing baseball at PC.

That was in 1948.

What I remember of Galloway is that he was a stately man, who commonly wore bowties and who shook my little hand while my father told me he had been “one of the best shortstops there ever was.” Galloway’s big-league career ended prematurely in 1928, when, standing near the cage, a wild pitch in batting practice hit him in the head, ending his career.

Cally Gault

Coach Gault almost spans my life. He moved back here when I was five. Occasionally, I was a ball boy but mostly I watched the Blue Hose play from the area behind the wooden stands in the Johnson Field end zone where kids were allowed to wad up paper cups and pretend they were footballs. It’s funny. When I was 10, he was “Cally.” I can see him now, stalking the sidelines, wearing a blue pullover with “PRESBYTERIAN” in embroidered garnet, similar to what Ara Parseghian wore on Notre Dame sidelines at the time, giving the zebras a hard time. Cally coached the Blue Hose, but he was a bulldog.

Kevin Long

When I first met Kevin Long, he was working for my dad. I was in the ninth grade when Kevin was a senior, and long before the television show, Clinton High School had SNL: (Robert) Scott, (Charles) Norman and (Kevin Long). In Clinton, they might as well be Tinker to Evers to Chance.

J.D. Fuller

J.D. Fuller starred at noseguard for two Red Devil state champions, and my brother Brack was his teammate on one of them. Like Long, Fuller starred for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Noseguards have roared out of Clinton like BMWs out of Greer, but Fuller was the first one chosen as a county hall of famer. Cross Hill is a small place, but the people there ought to hire J.D. as goodwill ambassador.

Chrissy Floyd

Three Red Devils: Long, Fuller and their coach (and mine), Keith Richardson. Two Raiders and a Tiger from Laurens: Barry Atkinson, Dixon and Floyd. Three Gamecocks: Long, Fuller and Dixon. One (Clemson) Tiger: Floyd. Three Blue Hose: Galloway, Gault and Richardson. One woman: Floyd. Five played and coached football: Dixon, Gault, Fuller, Long and Richardson. One baseball player: Galloway. One basketball player: Floyd. One who treated them all: Atkinson.

Barry Atkinson at what he does best.

“Coach” Atkinson mainly fixes. He’s been the Laurens District High School athletic trainer since the budget mainly consisted of ice, tape and “atomic balm.” If there were a Mount Rushmore for memory, Barry would be on it. He can recite most of the Gospel According to Yogi Berra and sprinkle it with a one-liner from General Douglas MacArthur, all while assessing the range of motion in a bum left ankle.

Keith Richardson

At the end, by virtue of the alphabet, was Richardson, whose high school coaching prowess is as legendary in Clinton as Vince Lombardi’s in Green Bay. Hardly anyone who played for him ever calls him Keith, least of all I. In my many travels, I called Earnhardt Dale, Gant Harry (pronounced “hurry”), Waltrip D.W. and Tony Stewart things that I deign not to disclose here. I once called Bob Knight “Bobby” and actually survived.

Richardson? He’s “Coach.” He wouldn’t mind it if I called him Keith, but I probably wouldn’t be able to go to sleep that night.

“How you doing?” ask at least three quarters of all the people one encounters. Most reply “fine.” A few say, “It’s all good.”

John Avery

That’s what the banquet was: all good. No one felt slighted. No one thought anyone went on too long. Most of the jokes got laughs and all of them chuckles. John Avery mastered the ceremonies. The slides flashing across the screen behind the honorees were nostalgic and compelling.

I’m not a big banquet fan. I dreaded dress shoes and didn’t wear a tie. I wore a sweater to hide the wrinkles in my shirt.

I didn’t want to leave when this one was over, though. Here’s what I wrote last night before bedtime.

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.

(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).

The Weather Will Get Warmer

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, March 16, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

Spring sports begin early. They begin cold. Traditionally, I’m prone to underrate the chill of March. Wednesday night was a rare exception. I wore a coat to Laurens District High School that I hadn’t put on all winter. I can’t take too much credit. On Tuesday night, the hoodie I wore to a soccer match was woefully unsufficient to meet my needs.

By Monte Dutton

Heck, I could’ve done without the jacket. Ed Prescott Field has a genuine, bona fide press box. The only time I was out in the elements was to take pictures and talk briefly with the Raiders’ head coach, Tori Patterson, afterwards, and the latter wasn’t much of a chore because of the details of the game. I got a solid 23 seconds from the Laurens coach, and he and I both thought it ample.

Laurens defeated Clinton, 13-0. It ended via a 10-run rule. The Red Devils committed six errors. Of the 13 runs, only five, allowed by four Clinton pitchers, were earned. That was my estimation. I got a headache trying to figure it.

In short, the Clinton team was significantly more weather-impaired than I.

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

No sport is more conducive to sudden shifts than baseball. In their 2004 American League Championship Series comeback against the New York Yankees, the Boston Red lost Game 3, 19-8. I remember it distinctly. I was on assignment at a (then) Busch Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which may have been Lowe’s then. As the Yankees clobbered the Red Sox, a New York partisan ragged me, as in some quarters I am well known for my love of the Bostons. I have only seen that gentleman one time in all the years since. I doubt he’s looking for me.

In case you were assigned to military duty in the Aleutian Islands, or engaged in a solitary experiment in Antarctica, or were unborn, you may have an inkling that the Red Sox won four straight games, eight if you count the Word Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, and a movie called Fever Pitch.

Just last night, the former head coach of the Raiders, Dale Nelson, and I were reminiscing about a game we both saw. He was the 21-year-old coach of the Laurens American Legion team, and I was writing about said team on a regular basis for the Laurens County Advertiser. It was roughly 25 years ago.

Laurens was playing Easley on the same high school field in use Wednesday night. Easley scored 18 runs in the top of the first inning. Laurens wound up winning, 26-24. By game’s end, even most of the parents were gone. Maybe 10 fans, two teams and their coaches, an operator of a scoreboard incapable of registering a 26-24 score, and I saw the whole game. Was it worth it? Now it is. At the time, I was rooting for whichever team held bats in its hands.

How this came up in a 13-0 high school game, I can’t imagine.

In football, teams don’t play more than once, except in rare instances. Last year, in basketball, I saw a girls team lose a game by 31 points and then defeat the same team by 18 two weeks later, but I don’t think that happens as much in sports other than baseball.

In baseball, a pitcher in his groove or a batter with a hot bat can alone wreak havoc on the opposition. Sometimes nothing goes right. The next time nothing goes wrong. Contrary to prevailing medical science, errors really can be contagious. I’ve seen teams decimated by a “called third strike” virus. Sometimes umpires even get infected.

So play ball. Clinton does so again tonight.

(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).

 

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

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

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

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

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

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Sinclair
Ben Sinclair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dscf4277

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Been a Sweet Season, All in All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Wish You a Normality of Your Very Own

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

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

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

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

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

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

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

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

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

 

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).