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James R. Stout

Blog posts : "General"

The Contraption

            If you’ve been reading my recent blog entries, then you are aware that I am moving. One of the things that has taken a great deal of time in preparing to move has been packing boxes with all my worldly goods. I must admit that I learned quickly that I have been something of a pack rat ov…

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Snoopy Vs. The Wicked Witch of the West

            In February of 1967, our family moved into the house that I would do the remainder of my growing up. I was 11-years-old at the time. I moved out of that house in September of 1976, but my parents stayed there until 1979. When I was growing up, I mostly had good teachers. Some were better…

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A Gravel Road

            Our family moved into a small neighborhood in Bryan, Texas in October of 1963. Each street had roughly 4 or 5 houses on each side of the street. Not all of the streets were filled with houses. There were vacant lots spread out among the streets. Our street had 5 such lots. Our street had…

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The Haunted Elevator

            We were expecting our second child, my daughter Hayley, and things were tight financially speaking. Our son was about 7 months old at the time. The job that I had went away with the downturn of the construction industry in Houston during the mid-80’s. It was a good job with excellent pay…

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The Blue Hydrangea

            As the story goes, my great-grandmother would go and visit her two daughters from time to time. She was a widow of five years when she made one of these visits. My grandmother and grandfather drove her over to one of her daughter’s homes about 75 miles away. This was likely quite an inte…

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My Final Commision?

            I know some people who believe that you should never look back on your life and that you should only look forward. While that sounds like a positive thing, the truth is that if you’re lucky you’ll get to an age where the majority of your life has been lived. I’m 65-years-old (well, I wil…

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Take A Sad Song

            7th grade began for me on September 3, 1968. I turned 13-years-old six days later. I was initially excited about the new school year because I would no longer be in the lowest class in junior high. However, the year turned bad quickly and it was a year that I prefer not to think about. B…

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It's Never Too Late To Dream

             My grandmother used to tell us about her walking to the one-room schoolhouse in the rural community where she grew up. The same area where I have lived for the past 11 years and have been coming to since I was two months old. The name of the community was known as Prairie Point and the …

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It's Never Too Late To Dream

             My grandmother used to tell us about her walking to the one-room schoolhouse in the rural community where she grew up. The same area where I have lived for the past 11 years and have been coming to since I was two months old. The name of the community was known as Prairie Point and the …

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Changes - Part 4 . . .

            It was August of 1967 and things had recently changed a great deal in our family. My grandfather had died suddenly from a heart attack on April 22. It’s amazing how the loss of one person can change the lives of so many. The first realization after the funeral was that there was just no …

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Changes - Part 3

            This getting ready to move is like Eddie Haskell giving me the biz. I have lived here for a little over 11 years and it’s amazing the stuff that you can accumulate. I got the spare bedroom packed and ready to go. It took me a week and a half to do that one room. After packing several box…

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By the sweat of your brow . . .

            My grandparents were married in July of 1921. My great-grandparents owned about 300 acres of land that they farmed with the aid of their son, my grandfather. As a wedding gift, they gave my grandparents 100 acres of their farm. My mother always said it was my great-grandmother’s way of k…

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A Piece of Heaven

            I’ve been reflecting on the years that I have lived in the country. It was always a dream of mine to one day live on my grandparent’s farm. However, it didn’t seem like it was ever going to be possible. In 2007 my mother and her siblings finally divided the 360 acres that had been inheri…

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The Treasure Chest

            It was early September of 1963. I had just turned 8 years old and my older sister promised me something special for my birthday. Our family was living in an old wood frame house in Bryan, Texas awaiting my parents to find a permanent home after moving to Bryan in May of that year. The ho…

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Barbara, Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde

            Barbara, my oldest sister, was born on December 8, 1949. She was not only my parent’s first child; she was my grandparent’s first grandchild. So, she got quite a bit of attention in her first couple of years. Then starting in 1952, my parent’s and my aunt and uncle got busy giving my gra…

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The Best and Worst of Times

            The following is a quote from the beginning of the classic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”.

            It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoc…

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Instrumentals

            I have always liked instrumentals. The fifties had quite a few great ones including songs like “Pour People of Paris”, “Tequila”, and “Sleepwalk”. But in my opinion the golden age of instrumentals was during the sixties. The decade started with an instrumental reigning the number 1 spot …

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One of Life's Mysteries

            Life is filled with mysteries. Some of them are fascinating and thrilling to ponder, while others leave a burden, no matter how small, for us to consider for decades. It’s one of the latter that I will tell you about today. Maybe you’ve had something similar in your life and you can enli…

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The What If Game

            Have you ever played the “what if” game? Of course, you have. I think that everybody has played that game at some point in their life. I know some people who claim to have absolutely no regrets in their life. While that would be nice, I just don’t think it’s possible to not have a few re…

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NOT The Deer Hunter

            It was November of 1969 and I was 14-years-old. I had never been deer hunting before and I went with my father, uncle, and two cousins to my grandparent’s farm on opening day of deer season. A cold front came through the day before, so we were prepared for a brisk first day. My father an…

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