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James R. Stout

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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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Reading

            I have often mentioned my love for reading. It’s been a lifelong love affair. I remember reading “Little Golden” books from about the age of 4 or 5. Big words sometimes got in the way and my mother repeated something to me from an early age that she did until the last year of her life. I…

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A Moment In Eternal Time

            Sometime in the mid-30’s my grandparents added on to their house a bedroom that became known as “the sleeping porch”. It was a real bedroom, but three of the walls were mostly windows. I have some of the old windows now with plans to mate them with my photography. The bedroom was shared …

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I'll Be Hornswoggled

            I do not recall when certain rules around our house were first imparted to me when I was a kid. However, I most certainly recall the consequences of breaking those rules. One of the rules that had no room for interpretation or movement was related to the language that we used. Under no c…

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Wild Thang and The Buick

            The neighborhood that I grew up in had some interesting characters. But hands, no, make that paws, down the most interesting character in the neighborhood was an orange tabby cat that was strapped with the name, “Wild Thang”. Let me tell you, that cat was indeed wild. He had little to no…

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The Parable of the Millennial

            A 24-year-old man walked into a game store to look for a new game system that he was interested in buying. He knew something was amiss immediately. There was a table set-up in the front of the store with an old man standing behind it. On the table sat a plastic container like the kind th…

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Vroom! Vroom! 4+6=2

            Most likely there will always be cars that are intentionally loud. When it comes to the cars of today, things have changed since I was a kid. They were definitely louder when I was a kid. Not obsessively so, but the design of exhaust systems and engines was completely different. I rememb…

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The Way I See It

            To those of you read my blog on a regular basis you probably have noticed that for the past three months I haven’t made as many entries as I typically have in the past. I don’t need to tell you that its been nuts lately. There was the pandemic and all that goes with that, but more recent…

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High School Harry Graduates

            On Friday May 29, 2020, it will be the 46th anniversary of my graduation from high school. So much has been said via the TV news, Facebook, Yahoo and Google news, and other places how terrible it is that most of the high school graduations this year have either been canceled o…

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Ripples

            On part of our family property there is a fairly large pond or tank that is fed by an artesian well. The artesian spring was first discovered in 1964 when an oil company was doing some sounding and up through the ground came a bubbling crude. Clear and clean artesian water that is. My gr…

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My Top 10 War Movies In Honor of Memorial Day

            Although the past few months have at times seemed to drag by, the truth is when you’re retired time seems to go by faster each day. At least, it has for me. Frankly, I’m amazed that it’s already Memorial Day weekend. It seems like yesterday that we were just starting the whole pandemic n…

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Eddie Haskell, The Panther, and The Timex Man

            Let’s face it. We’ve all done something like this. Made a joke about getting old. Perhaps we’ll use a phrase like, “Getting old isn’t for sissies”. The truth is we don’t pay it much attention until we get to a certain point. Oh, I remember thinking that I was “getting old” when I turned …

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Jack and Raymond: Back to Back

              Raymond was an “old” nine-year-old. “Old” meaning he was wise for his young years. To his younger brother Jack, he was not only wise, but also a fierce protector of his younger brother. Jack was just six-years-old at the time and looked up to his big brother for wisdom and guidance. He…

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Cows and Baths

            I’ve been around cows much of my life. I’m not a “cowboy” and I wouldn’t want to wrangle the critters for a living. But I couldn’t help but notice some things about cows. As big as they are and as fat as they are, they can go places that you just wouldn’t think it would be possible. I’ve…

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Play It Again Sam

            I’ve had a lot of younger people ask me how I learned to play the guitar. When I say younger, I’m talking about people under 40. The first thing I tell them is that I didn’t start out playing guitar. I started on the piano. I grew-up in a family where everyone played the piano. I took pi…

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The Great Airwick Caper

              Friday nights in early 1973 were very special for me. A typical Friday night would perhaps start with me going over to my girlfriend’s house (Terry) and sitting in her parlor (how quaint). Her parents still didn’t allow her to go out on single dates, so we would just spend time togethe…

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Whirleybirds, Training Wheels, and Being Stuck Like a Pig

            From the time that I was born until I was 11 years old, we lived in 8 houses. It wasn’t because my father was moved around in the military or jobs. There were several reasons for the moves, but mostly they had to do with a growing family or other issues. For instance, my parents bought t…

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Bo-Bo's Mom: Keeper of the Flame

            It was late 1964 and we had been living in our house for just over a year. We had become acquainted with the neighbors and the neighborhood cliques. On our street there were two families that were related. The fathers of each family were brothers. One of the fathers was an ambitious man,…

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