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James R. Stout

Blog posts : "General"

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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Graffiti On The Road of Life - Happy New Year!

            I believe that one of the things we feel as we grow older is that time seems to fly by. When we were kids, it seemed like birthdays and Christmas and other special days took forever to arrive. But as we age, we start to perceive the passage of time as speeding up. Perhaps its partly beca…

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But Wait! There's More!!

            I must be some kind of ugly. At least, it appears that cable advertisers must think so. I’m supposed to get about 150 stations. The vast majority of them are selling products via those infernal “infomercials”. I woke up about 4 a.m. today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I turned on t…

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Why I Don't Have A Cat In The House

            I have a cat. Well, perhaps he has me. The jury is still out on that one. His name is Moe. I named him after one of the 3 Stooges. He is strictly an outside cat. He appeared on my front porch one day and hasn’t seen fit to leave. I could tell you all the reasons why I don’t or can’t have…

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Today Is Yesterday's Future

P            I believe that most of us are fascinated when we see a movie set in the “near future” (let’s say, less than 50 years). Most of the time we can imagine still being alive when that fictional future is supposed to come to pass. I know for a fact that I won’t still be living this life in th…

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The Greatest Gift Ever For Christmas

            During the last couple of weeks, I have shared many Christmas memories with you via several blog entries. Most of them were told as memories of different Christmas’s and through the eyes of whatever age that I was during the specific Christmas. I’ve talked a lot about gifts given and rec…

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The Christmas Remodel

            In October of 1975 my parents decided to have some major remodeling done to our house. The existing kitchen was tiny, but typical for a house built in the 1950’s. There had been some remodeling done several years before when my aunt and uncle owned the house. Originally, the kitchen had …

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Growing Up In Spring Branch and the KILT Top 40 Survey

            By the time the summer of 1968 rolled around I was hooked. No, not on drugs or any kind of substance. After all, I was only 12 at the time. No, I was hooked on an event that happened every Wednesday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It was a radio show hosted by Rick Shaw on KILT 610 – AM.…

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Our Mortal Storm

            Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s one of the TV channels out of Houston broadcast old movies every weekday afternoon from 3-5 p.m. One day in the late 70’s I was home from work battling the flu. As I recall, I was having a hard time breathing when laying down in bed. I felt miserable and cou…

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Christmas Vacation 1966

            Christmas vacation when I was a kid was almost as much about being out of school as Christmas. Well, maybe. But Mom was always trying to find things for us to do that would keep us out of her hair. 1966 was no different. One of my favorite things about the week leading up to Christmas th…

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Christmas Memories - 1983, 1986, and 1990

            1983 – It got very cold that year. Down to 8 degrees at the farm. I felt like a roast on a rotisserie. I would stand in front of the old wood stove with my back to it and then turn around with my front to it until my previously warm backside got cold again. Then repeat. We had…

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Christmas Memories - Part 3 - 1980 - The Love Between a Father and a Son

            1980 – About a year prior to the Christmas of 1980 I accepted an offer to go to work for a company located in Dallas. The job went fairly well for about 6 months, but there were rumblings that the owner was in trouble and the company in jeopardy. By June of 1980 things had got…

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