The Night Before Thanksgiving, aka Wednesday


I’m sitting here typing this, mostly forcing myself to get something down, and It will be shorter than the others. I just have a haunted feeling engulfing my mind after reading through the previous 4 installments. Sitting back with last year’s installment knowing had I made that journey I would have had at least one more night with a good friend who took his life over the summer. That is hard to reconcile. I’m not thinking that the one night would have changed anything. There were a number of other friends at the get together, but selfishly it would have been a night where stories would have been shared. Memories rekindled and shared. …..A moment that is gone, that never was…. kinda reminds me of the Springsteen line:

 Again,hard to reconcile and process. 

Oh and those Jonathan Tropper quotes still ring true:

Below the “keep reading” are the previous installments. 


thoughtsthatstray: Written 11/27/13

The night before Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite nights of the year. Back in my hometown, it was a night when friends would gather at one of the few watering holes where said friends could share some adult beverages.

We’d usually start off at one place with dinner and beers. Note there was an s on the end of the word beer, but then we’d cross the street to a new place that had karaoke, more BEER, and more old friends. Well, truth be told a few old enemies would pop in here and there.

We’d share some memories, stretch some truths, tell some lies, and it was fun seeing old friends. Of course it was fun seeing old flames too. We’d have a ball, signing each other up for the previously mentioned karaoke and trying to find the most fucked up song or funniest song for them to sing. Oh how I wish it were modern day where every cell phone had a video, because watching an ole ball coach singing “Funky Cold Medina” or “Brickhouse” as his long hair swayed and his hairy little nubby feet attempted a bit of a drunken dance. Oh I’d pay good money to have footage of that, but of course if that were modern day, seeing a coach/teacher slightly intoxicated on youtube or some other form of social media would be grounds for his dismissal which is bullshit, since he was simply an adult having some fun with other adults. Like I said I would pay good money (if I had good money) to see that footage once again.

You’d see faces pop in of people you hadn’t seen since high school, or hadn’t seen in quite some time You’d see a bombshell walk through the door and you are like well I could always see some cuteness in that awkward teen from years ago. Of course at the end of the night you’d have the same two or three guys trying to sneak out on a bar bill. At times you’d have a group of them trying to bribe someone into trying to get on top of the bull in the corral. Yes, an actual bull in an actual corral out in front of the steakhouse. He wasn’t there long, but he was there.

An ex would walk up and whisper in your ear, “I’ve got something to show you”, and you simply respond what’s that? While she says come out here and you walk to the back side of the building and she takes your hand and slides it down her pants and you feel her freshly shaved pussy, which was definitely new. You make plans for Black Friday to spend the day fucking like you used to.

As I said, you hear some old stories, that 55 yard touchdown was up to about 63. You argue about beating a rival 43-34 when some former teammate is swearing on his Momma that it was 43-30. You simply say, look, I know what it was. That is my pin # and has been ever since. You flag down another teammate and he confirms that it was 43-34, and then he gives the other guy a hard time for forgetting it.

At this point you are 15-20 beers into the night and you know you could very well drink another dozen or so if the bar wasn’t closing. You crawl into a minivan which was basically a shuttle service. You drop the old ball coach off at his miniature mansion and tell him to cut his hair. He flips the group off with that stumpy middle finger and then he waves.

You come home, crawl into bed and think about the night. You think about the memories, you think about that freshly shaved pussy.

Oh I sure miss those days.


thoughtsthatstray: Written 11/26/2014

It’s still one of the things I miss about my hometown. I don’t miss much, but I miss my friends, the old haunts, the stories that stretch the truth from time to time.  Someone bringing up a time at party and someone trying to deny it ever happened.   As I said in the original post it was a time for friends to see friends. That is/was one of the beauties about a small town. A part of it you didn’t really respect or understand completely when you were there.

I no longer have ties to my home town other than a few friends, with my parents being gone, and having moved away quite some time ago. A small part of me regrets leaving, but the majority of me is glad that I did.

Memories don’t die, but they sure can fade away.


thoughtsthatstray: Written 11/25/2015

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, I’d call it just not in the mood to reminisce. With that said, I’ll give it a shot, since this become some annual ritual. I do know I’ll be tracking down the Ron Green(former Charlotte Observer columnist) annual Thanksgiving article tomorrow.

Earlier tonight on the back deck while grilling some burgers I thought of some old friends, some old times. That  made me remember that I have really neglected my YD&B side blog, but that happens.

Thoughts drift back 18-20-22 years. Thoughts drift to better times, happier times. Maybe it was being more carefree, not fully understanding responsibilities. Then it reminded me of a quote from a book I read this year year. “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, it was made into a movie which was decent, but the book was better as books often are.  I know I shared the quote, but here it is again.

“It’s just hard to see people from your past when your present is so cataclysmically fucked.”

The last time I saw most of my old friends was the summer of 2014 at the funeral of one their father’s. While I sit here typing this, half thankful that I’m not there at the moment, I know it would be like that July night. Wouldn’t miss a beat and it would be like old times. Telling stories, sharing memories, laughing till you are about to choke on a beer. So I’m torn. Part of me wishes I was there instead of typing this, but another part is glad that I’m not.  The dreadfully sad part of it is that is one a handful of times that I’ve actually enjoyed myself.  Past > Present, with the future yet to be in the equation. Really sucks.

It really sucks knowing that the next time I’ll likely see most of them will be at another funeral. But that is how the cookie crumbles at times.  


Thoughtsofstray: Written 11/23/2016

This is the 4th time I’ve sat here on Thanksgiving Eve slapping these keys trying to make sense. 2013, 2014, and 2015 can be found below.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to go back to my home town and hang out with some old friends, but I had to pass. I didn’t trust my car to drive the 30-35 minutes to Statesville to ride the rest of the way with another friend. I don’t trust it to go much further than the short trips that I generally take. It has two issues on it’s to-fix-list. One was quoted out at about 1k(and hopefully will be addressed shortly) the other yet to be determined. I’ve already thrown about 400 at that particular problem and that didn’t fix it. It’s frustrating. But, to be brutally honest, I could have had a 2017 whatever with 17 miles sitting in the drive way and I can’t promise that I would have gone. Well, maybe I wouldn’t be in the same mindset if the 2017 whatever was sitting outside.

This is where I could easily insert that Jonathan Tropper quote. Maybe it should just be my mantra, but it fits. If I didn’t mention it last year, I would quote it again, but if you read this whole jumbled cluster of letters you’ll see it, or you can click here.

It would have been nice to see them. In this little snippet from last year, I also wrote about the last time I saw them. I could quote that again since that hasn’t changed either. But it would have been nice to sit around with a cold beer or four and catch up, and spend some time with them.

Maybe I’ll wake up one day soon and shake myself out of this funk. I’m picturing a 75lb puppy coming out of a river and drying himself off. Maybe that would work.

I guess when I finish this I’ll sit down and read back through the previous 3 entries and I wish I could say I feel like I’m in a better place, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc, but that would be spitting lies.  

I think at one point I made a post about being thankful for having an imagination but in the end, it might be negative thing. Hard to tell.

The night before Thanksgiving used to be a part of the Holiday festivities. Now it’s just a Wednesday.


Stray thoughts: 10/18/2017

I had an odd nightmare last night. It was a bit all over the place, but that’s par for the course. 

It felt like I was in my hometown, on a dead end street where a friend used to live. It was night, the only real light was from a street light but that seemed brighter than normal. I wasn’t in my friend’s yard but was in his next door neighbor’s drive way, right under the street light.

I was bending down with a rubber dustpan and a hand held garden rake/cultivator type deal and was trying to sweep up what looked like broken light bulbs. A useless endeavor considering the tools that I had. 

The wind picked up and I heard the low moan of a fire truck off in the distance. I looked up the street and I saw a ghostly figure walking. It looked a bit like a human/adult male form of “Pig pen” from the Charlie Brown cartoons with dirt, leaves, stuff swirling around him. I went back to “sweeping”, and I looked up the road again and the figure was closer. It started to resemble Paul McCartney in a trench coat and hat with a tooth pick, looking a bit like Val Kilmer as  ‘Doc Holiday’ from “Tombstone”. The figure, he/it,  was still full of ghostly gray and white hues. 

I looked back over my shoulder to where my friend’s house should have been. Now I haven’t been in that house since probably around 1983/84, but to my knowledge it’s still there.  The house that was in it’s place was completely different. It was like a mash of up of Modern architecture blended with a bit of a Craftsman Bungalow. The front was rectangle with a dark brown wooden design, it had a built in alcove for the door. Minimal windows on the front, and the house was lined with a rich thicket of shrubs on each side of a stone walk way.  At the top, above the wooden wall there were rectangle windows that lined the front right below the roof, and the roof sloped backwards.It had a big “tiny house” with a twist of California vibe to it.

Inside the windows, there were flickering flames and at that point the siren that was off in the distance was moaning louder. It didn’t seem like it was my house, but I knew it, and I panicked and just ran right through the thick wooden front door knocking it down. Flames littered the interior and that was the point that I woke up, not knowing the end. I didn’t want to know the end. I got out of bed and had to occupy my mind. I remembered it was trash day so I filled the bag under the kitchen counter with all that I could and took it and the trash can out to the curb where the crisp morning air helped wake me up even more. Some dreams you don’t want to revisit. 

The first song this morning was a live version of Robert Earl Keen’s “Feeling Good Again”. 

It reminds me of my hometown, even though there wasn’t really a place to go for live music.

Favorite line:

I wanted you to see ‘em all
I wished that you were there
I looked across the room
And saw you standin’ on the stair
And when I caught your eye
I saw you break into a grin
It feels so good feelin’ good again

The first song for this Tuesday morning is John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Small Town”.

Mellencamp is one of the guys that I go back and forth on about which song I like the most. Sometimes it’s “Small Town”, others it’s “Pink House”, or that old ditty ‘bout “Jack and Diane”. 

Fitting lyric

But I’ve seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town

This morning I took the trash bin out to the curb, but the second I stepped outside I smelled this amazing smell. I guess something around the house is blooming, but the smell reminded me of being on a beach with 100′s of bodies covered in suntan lotion and the wind sweeping that into the air. It was nice. 

Stray thoughts

My brain was
active last night. I can recall parts of three dreams. Maybe that’s why I feel
sluggish and am in need of more coffee.

Old Friends
and Good Times

This is the one that I
feel like I recall the least part of, which is unfortunate since it seemed like
the best of the triple feature. It seemed like modern day at an old watering
hole(that is no longer in doing business as the same place). I’m not even sure
what it’s like on the inside of the building at this point but it’s still

We were just sitting
around watching a game, drinking some cold beer and I guess simply being around
each other. Nothing substantial came from it.


This is the odd one. It
was as if I was living in my parents old house and it was like I forgot that I had
two dogs(which would never happen), and I needed to feed them. I couldn’t place the dogs, but when I went
up to where they were, which was in the “sitting room”(I didn’t name
it), off of my parents bedroom which connected their bedroom to their master bath.

When I got up there it was the two dogs I previously had who unfortunately are
only in my memories. I asked them what they wanted to eat, and it’s not like
they responded, but they were happy it was dinner time. For whatever strange
reason I put a small pizza down for the smaller dog, a pug and then the bigger
one more of a mix(American Bulldog/Some form of Mastiff) came over and wanted
some and aggressively was taking it away from him and I woke up scared to
death. Just a fucked up dream. The two pups never knew each other, and the bigger
one was never around another animal, but I can’t imagine him acting that way.
Just a fucked up dream that I hate even typing it out. 

At that point I felt around for the remote and put it back on “Parks and Recreation”  and grabbed my tablet to read some more “Raylan”.  

Get Out Of My
GD Head

While dream
two goes down as the nightmare because it involved animals I loved, this one
goes down as more similar to  my repetitive Crash Davis dream starring someone else. Someone equally bad to dream about.  This one is the one that
pissed me off and I guess forced me to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. 

I won’t go
into details, but I really wish I would stop having them. Wish I could serve an
eviction notice to that part of my brain. Maybe all I need is some clippers, a mirror,
a scalpel, a drill and  wood burning kit.
I’m set right? That should do the trick. 

At  times when you hear a song, it can take you back to the moment that you first heard it, or at times an event that is happening while the song is playing.

Don’t worry this isn’t some sordid tale of me losing my virginity, but the song “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne always takes me back to watching “Fast TImes at Ridgemont High”.  Each and every time.

It takes me to that scene in the movie where Ron Johnson, Audio Consultant, seduces Staci Hamilton, 15 year old high school girl, in all fairness to Ron the 26 year old douche she did lie to him and say she was 19.

It’s just weird how the mind works. You hear a song and you go back to watching a movie for the first time, for the 15th time. You smell fresh cut grass and you go back to the start of football practice. That smell gives me goose bumps each and every time. Maybe if I were a landscaper, that would have dulled over time, but for me it is still my thermometer for football season(and baseball to an extent) with apologies to Vin Scully.


I guess all of that is partially what makes the song “I Go Back”, by Mini-Kenny Chesney so good. It hits home, because i can close my eyes and “taste the salt on a Carolina shore”. 

That movie has given me a few things over the years. I’m fairly certain that it was the first time I noticed Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers when “American Girl” blared out on the first day of school. I was extremely disappointed when it wasn’t included on the soundtrack.  It introduced to a handful of actors that I’ve liked over the years(Reinhold, Penn, Whitaker). It gave me a different way of looking at baseball dugouts. 

It is simply one of my favorite movies of all time and last but not least, it introduced me to the breathtaking Phoebe Cates .