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James R. Stout

Blog posts January 2020

The Allegory of The Man and The Snake

            A man was walking through a vast forest. He came upon a deep gorge. He had brought with him a backpack filled with trail mix, camp cooking utensils, a small pot for coffee, a bag of coffee, and other items that he thought he might need if he decided to spend the night in the forest. He a…

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The Train Will Leave The Station

            It was the summer of 1975. I had just begun dating the girl that I would eventually be married to for 27 years. Her parents owned a weekend place near Lake Somerville in central Texas and most weekends they, along with their daughter, spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon at that p…

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The File Cabinet and Letting Go

            I’ve been putting it off for nearly two years. What, you ask? Going through my mother’s file cabinet. I have quite literally two garbage bags full of files that will be burned. I always knew my mother was very meticulous about their records, but I had no idea to what extent until this re…

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The Leaning Sofa

            From the time I can remember we always had the latest issue of the Sears catalog. To be honest with you, I don’t believe that my mother bought anything via the catalog from home. However, it allowed her to see what was available and she would just go to the store and purchase it. She mig…

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Ed, Ed, Eddie, Eddie, Ed

            What’s in a name? Jim Croce sang “I Got A Name” back in 1973. Your name means something. Not the meaning that you look up on Wikipedia that shows the origin of your name, but the meaning of who you are in other people’s eyes. People start to think of your name for not only who you are, b…

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The Bee's Knees

            In 1972 it was the bee’s knees. Every family wanted to own one like it. It was a Plymouth Satellite Station Wagon. By 1982 the bee’s knees were getting old and were wearing out. We had been a two-car couple, but our old vehicle had died a horrible death out on Slow Ham Road. Naw, just ki…

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Collective Cataracts

            A small town in far west Texas was doing well. It was the 1950’s and the area was in the middle of an oil boom. Before long a few hearty souls moved in and started some businesses. There was a small bank, a pharmacy, a general store, a feed store for the cattlemen of the area, two gas st…

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Clint Was Right

            Clint Eastwood once said, “A man has got to know his limitations.” I agree with that 100%. I know mine. The truth is our limitations change over time given our experiences and the aging process. I once could work on my car doing maintenance and repairs. That was when shade tree mechanics…

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Go With Your Gut

            In 1967 my sister entered a contest and won a week’s stay at a new resort in Arkansas. She was underage, so my parents had to make the arrangements. In the first week of August we all piled into the car and went on our first vacation in 5 years. At the time, my mother was 37, Dad was 44,…

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Watch The Rose

            I wrote my first song when I was 14-years-old. It was not my best work, but it was a start. I wrote that song, “Lock and Key” in the summer of 1970. In the nearly 50 years since then I have written approximately 600 songs. I would be disingenuous if I didn’t admit that a great many of th…

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Piggy

            When I was about 8-years-old I was given a glass piggy bank. I’ve attached pictures below of a bank like the one that I had. These little banks were very common during that time. Mine had a tint to it that was somewhere between pink and amber. You were able to see your saved pennies, nic…

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The Smoking Pregnant Wife and The Fix

            I was a long way from home. No, not like hundreds of miles, but my work had carried me about 60 miles away that day. It was late July in 1985. We didn’t have cell phones then. I carried a couple of dollars in quarters with me all the time. There used to be these things called “pay phones…

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The Twirl

            It was a Saturday night and I had just gotten my two kids bathed. Matt was 4 and Hayley was 3. We lived in a two-story townhouse with all of the bedrooms upstairs along with two baths. The downstairs had a dining room, kitchen, living room and a half bath. I always gave the kids a bath i…

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Eye Didn't See It Coming

            I received a notification in the mail from my optometrist that I am overdue for a check-up. It seems that I’m past the once every two-year examination period. Getting this notification caused me to think back a quarter of a century ago. But first, let me tell you about my current pair of…

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Priming The Pump and A Rat

            About 1962 my grandfather installed an electric pump on their water well. From time to time you would hear it start up after someone ran a bath or shower. Prior to the electric pump they had a windmill. That pump was a big step up for them. But it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The switch…

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