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Biskits & Quackers

“Man, you ain’t ever had a black-bottom biskit?”  That was the response I got when I asked Blake Burrus, of Ole South Outfitters  (VIDEO),what he was talking about in the duck blind.  “No, not that I know of Blake. You have to tell me what that is because I am a biskit fan and I am not sure that I am picturing what you are saying just right.”  I replied.Ducks

Blake’s long white beard seemed to grow as he dropped his head and slowly shook it back and forth.  “Dang boy, that’s just sad!  Ain’t one honest to goodness Southerner don’t know what a black bottom biskit is.”  With that, I realized that what I “thought” it “might” be, had been right, but the opportunity to connect with the old duck master had faded like the sun on cold January evening.  My heart sank a little, but it was great to know that biskits were still in style with what I call the “Ole Guard”.biscuits

Mike McGhie has become a friend of mine over the last sixteen years or so and he invited me to go along with him on a “real” duck hunt.  I jumped at the chance to go but was not prepared for what a real duck hunter has to do in order to be successful.  As you may remember if you read “Ribbit Rambo” I consider myself a good shot and a relatively knowledgeable hunter; however, I had never been confident enough to  tackle the art of duck hunting although many people including my son Austin have been encouraging me to do so for years.

Mike’s childhood friends Blake and Julie Burrus started “Ole South Outfitters” in Arkansas years ago and Mike was excited to see them again and hunt ducks.  I was excited to see what all the hubbub of duck hunting was about and let me tell you, I found out.  I am likely hooked for life, although what I call a successful hunt and what the “Ole Guard” would call a successful hunt are possibly two different things.  Let me just say that it is work, pure and simple.  The amount of preparation and effort it takes to see even one duck is enough to keep the light weights like me at bay.  I never understood why it was so expensive to get “into a good blind” but now I know it is worth every single penny AND a big tip.  It is just impressive how these guys operate and what it takes to make it all work.

We were slated for two days on the blinds. That means we were going to be in the woods and on the water for two days.  When Mike and I met up on Thursday evening, he had his gear in the back seat of his Tundra.  I needed the other half of the back seat, his tool box and the bed of his truck.  He must have choked a little when he saw all the stuff I pulled out to load, most of which had no value to duck hunting whatsoever.  He gave me a look as if to ask, “Are you serious?”, but as a southern gentlemen uttered no words.  We loaded up and headed for Arkansas like two kids on Christmas Eve.  Mike spent the time on the road to educate me on duck hunting etiquette and by the time we arrived I felt confident that I wouldn’t embarrass myself.  I was wrong, just to be honest.

My son, Austin, had warned me not to pull out my duck calls unless I was absolutely sure I could keep up with the big boys.  Mike had echoed that to me as had my friend Gerald Flouhouse of Charlotte, NC  only a few weeks ago.   Gerald added some extra advice as he told me of a novice hunter that had his prize call “tuned up” by a veteran caller.  “Tuned up” means the veteran asks you to look at your nifty little expensive duck call that he is super impressed with, then when you hand it over proudly, he chunks it in the deepest part of the river!  I wasn’t going to lose my calls so I kept them close, and quiet.

Over the two days I learned why someone like me doesn’t need to try to impress real duck hunters with my calling abilities.  I sat in amazement as time after time Blake, Mike, and Blakes’s team of professionals called ducks into the blind area when it was obvious the ducks did not want to be there.  These guys could turn them, read their patterns, make them sit down right in front of you even though there was a big ole goofy looking guy (me) standing there with reflective glasses and a shiny bald spot just glowing like a ray of sunshine.   Yep, for the first day or so I was just standing there as happy as a lark, thinking all was great and smiling like a Cheshire cat with every volley of shots, until finally Blake was comfortable enough to share with me tactfully that I needed to be a little less obvious and gently coaxed me back into the cover of the blind with the kind, soft spoken, yet thoughtful statement, “Ken! Get you’re  A** back in the blind and cover them dadgum glasses!  Ain’t no duck gonna fly in here with you flashin ‘em like a ambulance!  Dang, boy!”

I was touched, heart-warmed, and encouraged.  Then I sat my butt down and watched what I was doing for the rest of the trip.  Funny thing was, we started seeing lots more ducks after that.  Strange.  Blake may know what he is talking about.  Just maybe.  I looked over at Mike and could tell he wanted to laugh but he, again the southern gentleman, didn’t.

Early on the final morning we were all treated to a breakfast in the blind and some “black bottom biskits” as the sun came up slowly and the chill was still in the air.  As the morning fog crept over the frigid waters, I sat quietly listening to the stories between Blake and Mike from their younger days as we waited on the first flight of ducks to break over the horizon.  I hugged my coffee mug as the stories continued  and sat amazed as they gingerly laughed about the time the two of them were nearly attacked by a bunch of street thugs in Memphis as they were pumping gas one night as young men.

The two had just gotten back into town after having been on a deer hunt.  They stopped to fuel up and grab a quick snack.  Mike pumped the gas while Blake went inside.  As Blake walked back out to the truck, the two were approached and threatened by a group of local young men that were by no means asking the two to join their church youth group.  The group of thugs may have reconsidered had they known that Mike was not only a master of the BBQ, but was also a master of a gas hose nozzle and Blake was a black belt in “Arrow Jitsu”.  As the thugs attempted to rob the two, Mike threatened  to spray them if they didn’t leave them alone.  As they considered the idea of becoming soaked in gasoline and possibly ignited like a torch, Blake grabbed an arrow out of his quiver and demonstrated to the young miscreants that an arrow has the potential to do some serious damage with only a little effort.  Thankfully the group decided to make a run for it.  Blake and Mike drove home laughing but happy to have avoided a major problem.  I would have just peed on myself, but these two thought it to be hilarious and apparently wasn’t “skeered” a bit.

The two told the stories as if they were no big deal and always left you wondering what else they had gotten into over the years.  I considered myself lucky to be in their company and equally as lucky to not have been part of some of their early adventures because it seemed to me that these two had no fear of danger and likely would have had to leave me in a river bottom somewhere if I had been with them.

The entire trip was filled with great stories, great black bottom biskits, great men, and great numbers of ducks.  On the final day it was heart-stopping to watch what I understand is called a “duck-nado” materialize out of the atmosphere and onto a body of water.  It was if God himself ordered every duck in the air to start a downward descent to our blind.  I watched a genuine work of art as Blake and his team of men and dogs worked that flight of ducks to the blind.  I would have been happy to have never pulled the trigger, but I did, and we had plenty of duck meat when all was said and done.  I won’t say whether I actually hit a duck or not and you can’t prove I didn’t so we will leave it at that.

When the trip was over and Mike and I headed back home to north Mississippi, I quietly considered the weekend hunt and smiled.  I thought to myself as Mike listened to some really good 80’s music, “Man, this is a trip of a lifetime.  I can never write it all down, but I will have to share a bit of it if I can.  No matter what, it is a memory I will always appreciate.”

So the next time you hear a down to earth man or woman talking about how exciMike & Blaketed they are to go duck hunting, maybe this story will help you to understand why they are so happy to be out there.  I know I will always look back fondly on the 2016 trip and hope to do it again.  If I don’t get to do so, it will be okay, so long as I have my memories of a few cold mornings with good friends, a few quackers, and some hot black bottom biskits.  Life can’t get much better than that.

Ken Dulaney, May 2016

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Bonus video from the hunt:  CLICK HERE

 

The Kitty Cat Kurse

When I was seven years old or so, I remember getting the bright idea from cute_kitty-300x300some boys in my class at school that it was hilarious to put paper bags on the feet of cats.  Living on a tiny farm and having a few cats that I didn’t particularly like because they kept tearing up the screen doors of our old house, I figured it would be great to try that idea.

In my mind, since my mother complained often of the damage the cats were doing to her screen doors, and if I, a young hero of seven years, could “protect” my mother and get a laugh out of it then, why not?.

I set out to catch the barn cat that day after school. I was successful, I was proud, and I was up to no good. The cat was kind to me at the beginning, but things took a turn for the worse rather quickly. As I held him with one hand, I reached for the paper bags with the other, then, I learned 10 valuable lessons in the span of about 3 seconds.

  1. Cats don’t mind being caught as long as there is food and petting involved.
  2. Cats are extremely fast.
  3. Cats do not like to be startled, especially by the rattling of a paper bag.
  4. Cats are “armed” on both ends.
  5. Cats will make you wish you hadn’t listened to other seven year old boys.
  6. Cats can make you bleed fast and are happy to help you acquire many battle wounds.
  7. Cats don’t care how bad you scream.
  8. Cats will give you a “snotty” and “smug” look as they walk away from you as if they had no part to play in your pain.
  9. Cats blab to their friends and family and haunt you forever.
  10. Cats laugh at you as you limp away wounded.

To make matters worse, my mom’s response to my little experiment was, “That’s what you get!   Now, go get the alcohol and a cotton ball.” Have you ever had alcohol on a fresh cat scratch? That will get your attention right quick!

Now, it seems that the cats of my youth were able to not only pass the story of my original sin against them along to the cats in my house today, but the word has gotten all the way to my son Austin’s house in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Keep in mind, when Ms. Toni and I got married over twenty five years ago, I put my foot down. I told her that I could put up with a lot, would meet her halfway on about anything, but under no circumstances, ever, and I mean never, would I put up with a cat in my house. We have four at last count, all shedding on my clothes, hacking up hairballs in my shoes, and generally terrorizing me and our great Labrador, Mack.

My son, Austin, called me a while back to share with me his own story of woe and despair related to feline menaces. Ms. Allee, his wonderful wife, has much in common with Ms. Toni in her love of hell’s little fuzzballs. I believe they have at least two cats and pray for Austin and Roper, their dog, regularly due to that fact. As they say in the south, “Bless his heart”.

Apparently, Austin climbed up into the attic to do “man stuff” and fix an apparent leak. As he sweated and toiled to complete the job in a cramped space he began to feel the pride of a job well done. His mom, Terri Lucero, had dropped by to watch little Corbin Ray while Austin fixed the problem.

As he tells it, “I was just beginning to catch my breath, feeling pretty proud of myself for being such an awesome husband and dad, when I heard a noise behind me. The cat had climbed up the ladder and squeezed himself into the space behind me very quietly. When he made a noise it startled me which then caused me to shift my weight a little too quickly. That was bad.”

He further explained “Dad, the next thing I knew I was in the floor of the hallway having crashed through the drywall ceiling! Once the dust settled, I looked up on one side to see mom standing there asking if I was okay, and one the other side, up the ladder, was the cat looking at me like he had nothing to do with it! It is a conspiracy I tell you!”

I agree with Austin and obviously the “curse of the cats” knows no bounds or borders. I assume the curse will be long lasting and no matter how many kitties I feed, pet, or let scratch me, I suppose the debt can never be paid. I am convinced that they hold a grudge for all time, but the last laugh may be mine as Ms. Toni is a big believer in having the critters “fixed”.

As the villains in all the old black and white movies would say, “BooAhaaa Haa Haa!”  I win!

Wait a minute, she had me neutered too!

Help!

Ken Dulaney

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A Deer, A Skunk, & A Dork

My best friend Gale Storey and I started a “manly tradition” yeScared Hunterars ago in Illinois where he and his family live. We have been friends since basic training in the Air Force where we met over 30 years ago and each year we try to meet at deer camp to hunt.

Whenever I am blessed enough to make the trip to Illinois to spend time with Gale and his family, he is always faithful to work himself too hard to set everything up at the camp, scout the deer, set up stands, and all the other things necessary to insure a successful event. I have said many times that no other person on the planet can do what he does as well, and I always enjoy the trip. It has become one of the things I most look forward to each year.

On this particular trip I had been feeling particularly manly because I had overcome my fear of heights to a degree. Gale set up a tree stand that was so secure that there was no way one could fall but that didn’t ease my nerves much. Once I convinced myself to just do it and got up the tree, all was well, just as he told me it would be.

Even though I was strapped to the tree and on a solid frame, I somehow found a way to lose my balance at just the right time to scare away three deer that had come up right in front of me. I think Gale nearly fell out of his tree as well but only because he was laughing so hard at me. I think I am a constant source of humor for him and Ms. Penny while I am in town. They are so kind that they rarely laugh “at” me but usually “with” me although they are well within the bounds of good taste if they were to laugh me out of the state in most cases. They are simply “good” people and great friends.

One afternoon late in this particular trip I decided that I had been in the tree enough and asked Gale if it would be a good idea to walk out across from the camp and ground hunt that evening. He made the necessary calls and got approval and before long I was geared up and on my way across the massive field to “stalk” my prey in a very manly fashion. I was all decked out in camo, had my trusty bow and arrows ready, my new knife on my hip and plenty of jerky in my pocket. I was ready for an extended test of my ability to survive in the wild, heart pounding, proud, and ready for battle. Well, at least for a couple of hours. It was a little cold so no need to press things right? But hey, in my mind, I was Bear Grylls on a frozen tundra a million miles from civilization. It was a great feeling.

I had missed a couple of shots at deer earlier in the trip but Gale, being a gentleman, didn’t berate me about it. He was supportive and kept me focused on the future hunts. I was intent on putting “meat on the ground” on this day to support my self-image and help me to face Ms. Toni when I got home. Gale had even solved my issue with my bow sights being off earlier that day. My bow was dead on now. We won’t talk about how he did it, but let me just say that he pointed out that nothing was wrong with my bow, but I needed to shoot without my glasses. He is a genius. Pure genius!

On to the hunt. I had sat in a large brush pile on the edge of a fence line for about an hour. I was tucked in nicely and well camouflaged with tree branches. I had my knife out and ready, my jerky was within arm’s reach and my water bottle was at my side. I was a “real man”, ready for everything. I was stealthy with every movement. I had every avenue of approach covered and had gone over every possible shot in my mind a dozen times. I WAS READY!

As the sun began to set and as I was chewing a particularly tough piece of jerky and trying not to choke, I looked up to see seven deer coming across the field directly at me. I swallowed hard and grabbed my binoculars. Yes, they were deer. All does, but deer, and they were headed toward me at a trot from about four hundred yards away. Then the choking began.

I had forgotten to swig down some water to wash down the tough beef jerky, (I like the teriyaki kind), and suddenly realized that I was in a pickle. Choking and hacking I quickly dropped my binoculars and grabbed my water bottle. Yes folks, the wild can be challenging, but I was in this to win so I remained undeterred. As I carefully turned up the bottle of water, tears running down my face, I saw him.

Not twenty yards away stood the largest buck I had ever seen in person. He had run out ahead of the does and I had missed him completely. Now he was standing in front of me trying to figure out what all the gagging was about. I admit it. I panicked a little.

Shaking and choking I put down the water bottle and reached for my bow. I masterfully “knocked” an arrow and took aim. “This big boy is going on the wall!” I thought, as I released the arrow, knowing it was an easy shot. Heck, I could taste the deer jerky already! “Oh wait, I need some more water.”

To my surprise the deer didn’t move as the arrow whizzed through the air. “Man! I am so good he didn’t even know I shot him!” I thought. He continued to stare at me as I began to wonder how this miracle could happen. “How is he still standing with an arrow through him?” I wondered. Then I saw the arrow in the ground under him. It missed by at least a foot. “Stupid crooked arrow!” I thought.

The deer was kind enough to stay still while I fumbled for another arrow and finally got it loaded and drawn. I released it with just a little less confidence but still sure that he was going down and I would be bragging for years over this kill. To my amazement he didn’t move a muscle much less fall to the ground. Through my tears I noticed a puff of dust off in the distance and realized that the shot was high, very high. I believe Mr. Buck was not only confused but was also somewhat concerned about what kind of idiot was sitting in a brush pile choking on jerky and shooting ineffective arrows at him. Apparently he was curious enough to hang around because he gave me time to shoot my final arrow which missed again. Hey, it was getting dark and I was choking. Give me a break on the aiming okay?

I exhaled as the last arrow flew off into oblivion, embarrassed and not knowing how I would explain such a massive failure of manhood. But Mr. Buck was kind as he tipped his ear, flagged his white tail at me and trotted off confidently to meet the does just a few yards away now. One of them huffed at me and the group scampered away joyfully, seemingly laughing at me as they pranced off into the sunset.

Frustrated and deflated, I threw on my backpack, grabbed my gear and bow and started walking through the dusky dark back to camp. “No one has to know.” I thought. “I still look cool in my camo and boots and still have my new knife.” “I will just say I didn’t’ have any luck.”

As I walked and pondered how much fun the hunt was even though I missed, I began to feel better. A slight smile came across my face as I hiked along with the heavy gear on my back. I knew that it was going to be a great day no matter what so I relaxed and headed back in peace. That is, until I saw the little dark image walking towards me.

Before I could think twice I realized in terror that I had walked blissfully upon a mother skunk and she was not too happy to see me. In panic I staggered backwards dropping my bow and losing my balance. I landed on my back tangled in weeds and my backpack. As I drove my heels furiously into the frozen ground trying to get traction to scoot way, the skunk raised her tail and charged me!

Seemingly a million thoughts went through my mind as I fell and attempted to get up, first and foremost was the thought “Toni isn’t going to let me in the house!” Then I thought, “Gale is going to laugh at this one.” and “Oh man, my tahoe is going to stink for weeks!”, just to name a few.

Somehow I managed to get to my feet and run. I had covered somewhere close to fifty yards or so and thought I was at a safe distance when I began to slow. I glanced over my shoulder only to see the little stink bomb still on my heels! “Are you serious?!!!” I uttered out loud. I took off across the field and sprinted as long as my lungs would allow and finally lost the monster of all monsters just as I approached the road. I crossed it and the ditch to safety.

As I dragged myself into camp and explained to Gale how my day had gone I wondered internally how manly I really am. Truthfully, I don’t care. I had a great time with my best friend and made it home to my great family without any real harm. That is a successful trip in my book. But, I cannot help but think that the deer and the skunk were in on it together and that they still laugh over the water hole at me. I just hope they found my new knife because I lost it on top of everything else in my run for the hills.

At the end of the day, we have to look at the fiasco’s in our life and try to find some humor in it. As it turns out, I have an easier time finding that than I do wild game. Oh well, there is always next year.

(To my friend Gale and to his wife Penny and the girls.  Thank you for being there to help me find the comedy over the years. God blessed me with you as friends and I am eternally thankful for all that you do.)

Ken Dulaney
December 2015

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I would like to dedicate this true story to two of the giants in this world that I had the great fortune to meet and know, Mr. John & Mrs. Louise Storey of Enfield, IL., Gale’s mom and dad. They passed away recently and we will miss them terribly. They were truly two of the best examples of what it means to be a good human being I have ever met. They will always be giants in my eyes and the world is better because of the examples they set and who they were. Rest easy friends, and Mrs. Storey, I hope to go fetch the paper for you in heaven someday. I know Ms. Toni and Ms. Penny will laugh at me there right along with you.

Cooperate with the Inevitable to Combat Worry

A recent quote I read stated, “No one living has enough emotion and vigor to fight the inevitable anDont Worry Be Happy Picd, at the same time, enough left over to create a new life. Choose one or the other. You can either bend with the inevitable sleetstorms of life or you can resist them and break!” Dale Carnegie

If you are facing something that worries you and it is distracting you from operating at your full potential, you owe it to yourself and to those around you to apply the quote above to your life or situation. Four things that I use from Mr. Carnegie’s book to remind myself of this and help me to apply it to my life are:

  1. Determine what the worst possible outcome is in the current worry/situation.
  2. Determine what you are prepared to do as a result of that outcome.
  3. Begin to work from that point and build positive ground from there.
  4. Anything other than the worst possible outcome becomes a bonus and less work/worry for you.

Once you answer “What is the absolute worst that can happen?” you begin to realize what you can realistically do about it. If there is nothing to be done, then put it to the side in your mind and go on with your life. “Co-operate with the inevitable” as the author puts it.

Even in the simplest worrisome situations, this will greatly reduce your stress and help you to become more effective and efficient. But, you have to practice!

If you haven’t read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, I recommend it.

Ken Dulaney

10-31-2015

 

When Irish “Lies” Are Smiling? That can’t be right can it?

I say this tongue in cheek and of course with a sense of humor and love for the people of Ireland. They are good, courteous, warm people and the country is very beautiful. Toni and I learned, however, that they will tell you a lie in a heartbeat, a very specific lie. We know of no other lies told to us during our trip, but this very specific lie is apparently a nationally adopted lie as we were told from coast to coast the very same lie, over and over again.Irish Eyes Are Smiling

What is the lie? “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

That was the words we heard over and over again. From Dublin to Kilkenney, from Cork to Killarney, from Sleigh Head to Nag’s Head , on to Ennis, and from Galway to Tara, the hill of the Kings, on back to Dublin, every person we asked “Where is the best local coffee shop or restaurant?” The answer was almost the same every time.

I have developed a pretty solid Irish accent for when I tell the story in person. Since that won’t translate here, just try to imagine a leprechaun with a southern accent, that should give you a good idea of how it sounds.

Day 1: Land in Dublin. Ask taxi driver where food was. “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant! Tis ov’r by the Guiness factory. Easy walk, no problem , no problem.” 50 minutes later, we find that the hotel restaurant is the best bet.

Day 2: Drive to Kilkenny. Check in at Bed and Breakfast (B&B), find out the lady that owns it was a Delaney. “Lovely people. Just lovely.” She says. We ask where the food is. She says ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!” “Walk toward downtown, you will be there in no time. No problem, no problem.”

45 minutes later, Toni is looking over her shoulder at me like I am a dork for listening to another Delaney. We find the café and she gets hooked on coffee with brown sugar made from sugar beets.

Day 3: Still in Kilkenny.   Ask the same lady for a pub with good food. Same response. “No problem, no problem, 20 minutes brisk walk. Lovely and brilliant.”

40 minutes later, still walking. Toni curses under her breath and asks what Guiness is, then decides she wants two of them.

Day 4: Leaving for Killarney and it is getting cold. Find, along the way, Delaney’s Pub out in the country. Drink coffee and get directions from Mr. Delaney, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a twenty minute drive, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

5 hours later, after being lost in the mountains in central Ireland and having seen no leprechans or fairies, we finally find a café to eat not far from Killarney. After eating we asked the waitress how far to Killarney, you guessed it. “No problem, maybe a 20 minute drive. It’s lovely, just lovely.”

2 hours later we call the B&B and limp into the parking lot.   It was just before dark and he states “You have to get up to the top of the hill over there before sundown to see the most beautiful place in Ireland, just off the Ring of Kerry.” How far is it?”  I asked, exhausted from the drive and white knuckle roads (on the left side no less).   “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

I swear that is what he said. Ask Toni if you don’t believe me.

45 minutes later, we reach the top of the hill. It was breathtaking, no doubt. But here is the problem… I don’t care how pretty it is up there. If Toni is tired, achy, and hungry, there better be a coffee shop up there in one of those trees or someone is getting smacked. Since I was the only one with her, I kept my distance. Once we made the hike back down the hill, she was considering adding a Guiness to her diet. I tended to agree that it would be a good idea. Oh, by the way, we did eat at 8:00 pm, and yes, it was only a brisk 20 minute walk that only took us an hour. We decided to call a cab. Best idea of the trip.

Day 5. Drove to west coast. Amazing scenery. Toni attempts to push me over the cliffs of Moher because they have no coffee. Irish man playing music on the street said the café was only 20 minutes away if you walk briskly. I don’t remember if we ate or not. She slapped me into three days from then.

Day 6: Arrive at B&B in Ennis. Hear a great story from the Innkeeper and his wife on Irish history and the revolution. Asked them both where the oldest café/pub was to feed Toni Guiness AND coffee. His answer, no kidding, “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

Toni nearly pushed me into the river at minute 40 and stated that if she didn’t’ get coffee and chunky chips soon she would drown me herself. I learned to walk faster but still 45 minutes to eat.   Did hear wonderful music from local students and ate like little Irish oinkers.

Day 7: Drove all day in amazement of the West Coast. Arrived in Galway Bay. Knowing what the answer would be, we asked the Innkeeper anyway, “Where is the closest restaurant, and DON”T tell us it is a 20 minute brisk walk! We know better.” He replies, “Oh, well, truly, it is only a 20 minute brisk walk down the boardwalk.” We thought, “LIES!!!” lol.

We sat out walking and it was twenty minutes or so down to the water’s edge, yes, but we had to turn left and walk from there. Ten minutes into that walk we met a man of around 90 years of age walking with his 60 year old daughter. He was on a cane. Ten minutes after that, he caught us walking back the same way. He strikes up a conversation with us, tells us of how he is retired and now drinks Guiness and chases women, to which his daughter agreed.  Fifteen minutes later we came to the end of that sidewalk. I asked him, “Can you tell us how far it is to the downtown area and the café’s?” Knowing full well what his answer was likely to be. He looked at us with an Irish smile and confidently exclaimed, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

Day 8 and 9: Much of the same, great food, great people and great long walks, all over twenty minutes, but after a while, we realized that we were just slow walkers.

Day 10: Arrive in Atlanta airport and then in Memphis. We out-walked everyone on every concourse. I think we were even faster than the train! No problem, no problem. Brilliant and lovely! Toni looks everywhere for a brown sugar coffee and a Guiness. Her limit is 14 at this point but at least she misses me more when she slaps at my head.

So, the Irish lies were wonderful and so were the smiles. I recommend a trip there anytime!

Thank you to all that made the trip possible. It was a blessing from God  and our wonderful girls, Tiffoni, Micala, and Monique, and we loved every single minute of it and will never forget it.   Lovely and brilliant!

Ken Dulaney

September, 2015

Time is short.  Do you hear that calling in your heart?  Jesus is calling.  Please hear Him.  He loves you and will never let you down, ever.  He can help with any problem you might have, no problem, no problem.  And He is always brilliant and lovely.  Just call on Him and be amazed.

Some Kind of Stupid

I can’t blame this one on Ambien but Ms. Toni tells me the result is the same. Please don’t judge me… well, okay, you can judge me a little.

Having raised three daughters I am very protective. I have preached (unlicensed) for years to theHitchhiker picm and Toni not to trust strangers and for goodness sake, don’t be so dense as to pick up hitch hikers. It is just too dangerous.

A few weeks ago I was headed home from Jackson on a Friday afternoon. It was one of those unseasonably warm days and as I left town on I-55, I noticed a man walking north on the side of the road. He had on a long sleeved blue shirt, newer looking jeans and fairly new shoes. I noticed him because he was walking very fast but had nothing in his hands at all, no backpack, nothing. I was in the passing lane so I couldn’t stop. I went on up the road thinking, “I hope he wasn’t having problems.”

I pulled over in Canton, Miss. to get gas which took about ten minutes, got back on I-55 north and headed out. About five miles down the road I see the same guy, still “bookin” it. Again, I thought to at least stop and ask him if he was okay but I was in the passing lane again and was blocked by traffic and couldn’t have gotten over safely. I thought, “That is peculiar. He has made amazing time.” I said a short prayer for him and felt bad that I didn’t stop. I didn’t know why I felt bad, but something was nagging at me.

I travelled for a while and decided to stop near Kosciusko for a soft drink. When I got back out onto the highway, almost at the onramp, I saw the same guy again! “This is too weird,” I thought. I almost pulled over but for whatever reason, I chickened out. I prayed again, “God, I don’t know if you are trying to teach me something or not, but this is freaking me out a little. I am past the guy now and in a hurry but if I see him again, I will stop and ask if I can help.” With that, and a sizable dose of guilt, I jetted onward to Greenwood for my appointment.

Two hours later, I pass by the Grenada exit. Who do you think I see?  Yes, you guessed it, the same guy. So I pulled over.

The gentleman approached my car and I asked, “Where you headed?”  “Chicago” he says. “Do you have any weapons on you?” I ask. “No sir!” he states as he empties his pockets as if I were an officer of the law.

“I never do this, but come on in, I can get you as far as Batesville,” I said. He eagerly hopped into the car and I handed him a bottle of water. “Man it is too warm to be out here walking. Drink this water.” I said. He gladly took it. That was the last calm thought I had for thirty five miles.

“I have been living under a bridge for years down in Louisiana,” he volunteered. “Been hiding out from the CIA and the FBI!”. “Now I am headed up to Chicago to catch a submarine under my old high school. They are taking me to an underwater island in the Atlantic where all the past Miss America’s are. That’s where I am going to be working for them from now on. Did you know that when they take them to that island, they stay young forever? I can’t wait to see them all.”

Pause… Yep. That’s what I thought too. No joke. That is exactly what he said.

I was speechless. It was too late to pass him again because he is in my car now. I thought to myself, “Holy smokes what have I gotten myself into?” Then thought, “Maybe I can just jump out and run… I can replace the car!” But I decided the best thing to do was to make sure I don’t say anything to set him off and get him to Batesville as fast as possible.

I spent the next thirty minutes or so trying to get caught by the highway patrol. I was running around 85 intentionally, but wouldn’t you know it, none were sight. Other than that I just tried to agree with him and tell him how awesome he must be. I did slip in a little word or so about God protecting him but to be honest, it must have been pretty insignificant.

When I let him out at Batesville I pulled over and said “Man I hate it, but here is my turn.” “You be safe.”

He got out and thanked me for the ride. “I have to get to the bottom of the stairwell at my school. The principal is going to meet me there to take me down to the sub. Maybe I will make it there by the weekend.” With that he closed the door. I headed for home on highway 6, breathing a sigh of relief that I had not provoked a serious problem.

I called my wife to confess my mistake. As you can imagine, she was furious. “Of all the hair-brained, stupid, goofy, idiotic antics that you have graced this planet with, Ken, this one takes the cake!” I agreed and still do. In my defense, I had to do what I said I would do. I made a promise to God, but I am still unsure of the lesson I was to learn but I do know this…

I don’t care how fast you are walking, I am not picking anyone else up unless an angel is sitting on my hood telling me to do so. (Don’t you dare say it… If he shows up, I ain’t admitting it.) Besides, I would rather take a beating than have to see Ms. Toni that upset with me again.

I promise, this is exactly what happened. “You can’t make up this kind of stupid, Ken!” Direct quote from Toni. I hope you get a laugh and a lesson of some kind out of this story. Let me know when you figure out what the lesson is, please.

Thought:  There is no way you can surprise God

Ken Dulaney

May, 2014

P.S.  If you think you can’t bring the silly things you have done in your life to Jesus and be forgiven, then consider how much goofy stuff He has heard from guys like me.  He will forgive anything if you bring it to Him in honest repentance.  He promises in His word.  He loves you.  No problem is too big for Him.  Trust Him.

Bengay Burns!

My honey-do list has gotten pretty long since summer time has arrived. Between the garden, the grass, and the critters, I have plenty to keep me busy just about every weekend.

A few weeks ago I finished the weekend very proud of myself. After having mowed and trimmed the entire lawn I had found some extra energy and decided to venture out into the edge of the woods to trim up some underbrush that had taken over that particular area. When I finished, I was covered from head to toe with “weed guts”, that the weed eater had scattered all over me, Braveheart picbut I was very proud of my accomplishment and it looked pretty good.

A few hours later I began to feel a burning sensation on my arms and on my neck but especially troublesome was the itch in the soft part of my underarm.   As the evening progressed, the itch got worse and I soon realized that I the “weed guts” that had been thrown onto me was actually a chemical weapon used by an aggressive attacker called poison ivy.

In my usual panicked and frustrated state I complained just before bedtime and as usual, Toni came to the rescue. “I have some ointment that might help,” she said. After a short time of shuffling medicines she emerged from the medicine cabinet with a tube of goo that was to help me get some relief. I applied it to the itchy areas and laid down for the night.

After Toni went to sleep the itch seemed to grow more intense as every moment passed. I lay in bed trying to be strong and a tough it out but the menace got the best of me so I decided, because I am so wise, to get up and put a double dose of that gooey stuff on my now spreading rash. It was particularly bad under my arms so that was the target for the moment.

I wandered into the bathroom afraid to turn on the light, because I didn’t want to wake Toni, and felt around for the ointment. The tube I found seemed a little different but I really didn’t pay attention.

That is… until the burning started.

By now, I am sure you know what happened. I had reached into the cabinet and pulled out the tube of Bengay instead of the soothing goo I had hoped for. I thought to myself in a split second “I don’t even use Bengay!” DANGIT! But it was too late. I frantically rubbed the area with a towel but I couldn’t get it to come off.

Complete panic set in as I felt the heat get progressively worse and worse. “What do I do?” I thought. “I know, I will put water on it!” Want to guess how that ended? Nope, didn’t work!   The heat continued to rise and so did my tone of voice. Finally Toni heard me scrambling around and woke up asking “Ken, WHAT are you doing now?!” I didn’t want to tell her. “Ummmm, nuthin..” I said sheepishly through my tears.

Suddenly the light came on. There she stood with that look on her face. You know the one right? The “kinda sorry for you, kinda think you’re a stupid idiot” look? By this time the pain and the heat had gotten so bad that I was beginning to wiggle around and dance a little jig of sorts standing right there in my underwear. “That’s what you get you bonehead!” she laughed. “If you would have told me, I could have stopped you!”

Here is how you stop the burn. You DON”T! I had to wait for it to either wear off or until my nerve endings were just too exhausted to feel anything. I think the latter was the case but it took way too long. The only good thing that came out of it was that at least Toni got another laugh at my expense. I tell you, I am not doing myself any favors in the area of “respect from my wife”.

Is that where I am in my life? Do I have to have her to guide my every move? I suppose it is the case to an extent. One thing is for sure. .. The label on the back of the Bengay tube is no joke. Take it from me. It burns really bad applied to the wrong area. I just hope I never need that Preparation H stuff.

Don’t get burned by your bad decisions because you walk in the dark.  Jesus Christ is the light, and He will forgive your every mistake so that burn never gets you.  He is God and He loves you.  That’s all there is to it.

Ken Dulaney

July, 2014

“Spend just 5 minutes in prayer for Israel and Christians being tormented in the Middle East.”