Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oklahoma Burning - continued

My step-daughter Kate started college this month at Redland's Community College in El Reno, Oklahoma. Tonight, she called, worried about Marilyn and me.
"You're in the path of a flash fire," she said.
She wasn't quite right. The fire burning acres of red cedar trees, dried grass and many homes and farms is still east of us, on the other side of I-35.
Wednesday night is my night out with the boys. We all end up at my place where Marilyn, a wonderful cook, always has something wonderful for us to eat. On the way home, I couldn't help but see the thick plume of smoke just east of my house.
Marilyn cooked gumbo tonight to the raves of everyone present. When everyone left, she suggested we turn on our sprinkler. I hardily concurred.
Today is the last day of August and the Oklahoman says it marks the hottest summer for any state in the Union, ever. 107d today. Yes, it's hotter than the hubs of holy hell here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oklahoma Burning

Saw the smoke billowing on the horizon this morning after leaving the dentist’s office. I could still smell it tonight when I went for my walk. This is the driest summer I can remember and it’s surely the hottest. Today marks the 57th day of triple-digit temperature in OKC. Several towns in Oklahoma are approaching 90 days.

Grass Fires Claim 12 Homes in OKC


Monday, August 29, 2011

Pond Scum and Summer Heat

Attack of the Green Creature

Dave's new truck and Airstream
My friend Dave Beatty, who lives in Livingston, Louisiana, sent me a couple of pictures lately. His pond was almost empty when it finally rained. It didn't take long for a green scum to form once the sun came back out. Fed up with the heat, he bought a new pickup and Airstream trailer.

"I'm spending next summer in the mountains of Colorado."

I don't want to hear it, Dave. It was 108 in OKC yesterday. We don't even have ponds to have green scum on anymore. They all evaporated.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mama's Steamed Oysters - a weekend recipe

Mama has a PhD in English literature, but when it comes to sports, she isn’t a typical academic. A track star at the University of South Carolina, she participated in world-class sprints and relays. Her sleek body still attests to her former athletic prowess.

Another dirty little secret, Mama likes professional football and loves the New Orleans Saints. She attends every home game, at least when someone else is treating, that is. A recalcitrant cheapskate, she refuses to pay what she considers an exorbitant price for tickets. When she can’t see her beloved Saints playing in person, she often hosts a game party, serving steamed oysters, a New Orleans favorite.


• 4 dozen oysters, shucked
• Salt and pepper to taste
• A dash of cayenne


In a steamer, steam the oysters in a mixture of water and beer for about 5 minutes. Combine with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne. Serve on crackers with drawn butter and, or Tabasco sauce.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Excerpt from Morning Mist of Blood

The weight of the heavy cat hammered him into the mud. Jaws would have clamped his jugular, holding him in place with two large paws until his last breath escaped from his body, but Buck had ducked and pivoted, the beast’s claws raking only his back. Having no other weapon, he grabbed a double handful of mud, thrusting it into the panther’s eyes.

Some primeval instinct guided his hands, the panther howling in outrage when struck in the face with the globs of sticky mud. The ruse worked for only a moment, but long enough for him to dive down the ledge to the creek. The fall should have knocked him silly, except he landed in shallow water. Plowing ahead, his heart beat double-time as his mind raced for answers, knowing the panther would be on him in a flash. The water wasn’t deep, but flowing rapidly and he let the current carry him forward.

He couldn’t hear the big cat but somehow knew it was bounding after him. When he reached solid ground, he sprang to his feet and began running toward light, maybe from the moon, in the roof of the arboreal tunnel. He didn’t make it very far.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Edmond, Oklahoma Marks 25th Anniversary of Post Office Massacre

Mystery and controversy still shrouds the brutal mass killing that occurred in Edmond, Oklahoma twenty-five years ago, and many deep wounds remain unhealed.
Edmond Post Office Massacre


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweet-toothed Cat

Butter Cup
There was a stale chocolate doughnut in our kitchen that Marilyn decided to feed to the birds or squirrels outside. She threw it under the bird feeder, returning a few minutes later to find Butter Cup polishing it off. I knew she was a finicky eater but didn't know she liked doughnuts. Guess I know now what to give her for treats.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Revised and Enhanced Prairie Sunset

Coming soon! Newly revised with an extra 10,000 words. Everyone loves Prairie Sunset but many say I ended it too soon, not telling the whole story. Well, check out the revised version (director's cut). Hopefully, all your questions will be answered. If you're sixty, or over, I think you'll like this book.


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Mama Mulate's Chilled Mango-Melon Soup - a weekend recipe

Mama Mulate’s backyard is a tropical maze of garden pathways, stone masonry, fountains and birdbaths. Flowering vines grow up trellises and the back fence. Ferns, flower baskets and wind chimes hang from the eaves of her large covered deck where tropical ceiling fans provide a steady flow of air when you’re lounging in her porch swing, or comfortable rattan furniture.

Mama also has a garden where she grows peppers, okra, melons, and many other vegetables. What she doesn’t grow in her own backyard, she buys fresh at the French Market, a destination she likes to visit early in the morning.

Summers are always hot and humid in the Big Easy. The City’s residents—at least those that don’t have a mountain retreat—have found ways to stay cool and healthy. Mama loves making chilled soups and then serving them on her covered deck to the slow whirring of overhead fans, dripping of water in the fountains, and sounds of crickets and tree frogs. For a wonderful summer respite, try Mama’s chilled mango-melon soup.


1 large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 limes, juiced
½ Tbsp. cinnamon, ground


Puree melon and mango chunks in a blender, until smooth, with lime juice and cinnamon. Pour into a large bowl, stirring well. Chill for at least 3 hours. Pour into glass bowls, garnish with strawberry slices and sliced almonds. Serve and enjoy.