Jonah Part 3

Last week, Jonah had managed to make a stew out of some of his dried buffalo. The books still lay untouched, the message on the note ignored. He has an unlikely visitor who has shown up. Let’s go see what he can find out about this strange boy.

Jonah gripped the boy’s arm so tight he cried out.

“Ouch. You’re hurting me,” he complained.

“If I let go, you better not run. I promise I can hurt you more than you can imagine.” He loosened his grip but maintained contact.

They reached the hut and Jonah pushed the boy inside. He landed on his backside and Jonah followed.

Inside the tiny shelter, Jonah suddenly felt suffocated. What was it with this kid? He wasn’t normal.

“Okay, boy. I need some answers.” He sucked in a breath between his teeth. “Where did you come from?”

“The caves,” replied the boy.

“What caves?”

“I can show you, but you have to promise not to hurt me.”

“What is wrong with your eyes and hands?” Jonah prodded

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Who are you?”

The visitor lifted his chin. “I am Tidus, son of Drake and Jade.”

Jonah sat on his haunches. “That tells me nothing. Are you from the mainland?”

Tidus pointed toward the outline of the giant city over the horizon. “You mean there?”

Jonah nodded.

“No. I tell you, I came through the caves. I was tired of being alone. Tired of the deafening silence, so I went exploring and found you.”

Puzzled, Jonah drew circles in the dirt floor. “Are you an Enchanter?”

“Don’t guess I know what that is.” He shifted and spread his webbed hands in front of him. “Let me show you the caves. It is beautiful on the other side.”

“Fair enough, but don’t try anything funny or it will be the last thing you do. Show me the other side” He brandished the dagger.

They exited the hut and Jonah followed close behind the boy as he moved effortlessly through the brambles and stinging nettles. It almost appeared as if they moved out the boy’s way, but then quickly closed back and Jonah’s skin stung everywhere they touched.

Brambles

After a mile, the boy stopped short. “This is far as I can take you. They won’t let you go any farther.”

Jonah exploded. “They who?”

The boy disappeared into a slim crevice in the earth.

Crevice

Jonah hurried to follow only to find a legion of green slimy snakes blocking the way. He turned to flee and found more curled up and ready to strike in every direction. He screamed. “Tidus! Where are you?”

He was answered by hisses and slithering.

Green Snake

He swung his dagger, turning in a circle, faster and faster. Oblivious to the poisonous thorns and brambles, he vaulted over the snakes and ran as fast as his legs could carry him back to safety.

Breath came in ragged gasps and he didn’t stop running until he was chest deep in the gray muddy water that surrounded his prison. He pounded the water with angry fists and let out a string of curses.

 

 

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Stories From the Road #21

http-www.ricksikes.com

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a bus full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“Back in the sixties, marketing yourself was quite different than today. There was a company out of Missouri I used to order these rainbow posters. It was my trademark. They would look exactly like this, only, of course, would say, “Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels” and advertise where and when we were playing. I’d give anything to find one of these posters.

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I’d usually give my bass player, Red, a stack and I’d take a stack and we’d canvas the area where we were going to be playing. We’d tack them up on telephone poles, tape them to windows and anywhere folks would let us put one.

I recorded several little 45 rpm records back then and as soon as I’d have a new one in hand, would start hitting every little radio station across the state. That was a time when you’d walk in, meet the DJ, hand him a couple of records and visit with him. Nowadays, you have to have a record promoter to even get in the door of a radio station, but we did it all in those days.

I recorded a song, “Hundred Miles of River,” that was a true story about a Confederate gunboat that was purposefully sunk in the Sabine River during the civil war. I pushed that song hard. I had these cards printed up and got some newspaper coverage on it.

Hundred Miles of River

Then when the DJ’s played my songs, I always thanked them.

I had business cards that I left with every club owner across the five-state area.

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I booked my band through Wilson Talent Agency out of Fort Worth, Texas  for a while and they wrote up this nice little promo for us.

Wilson Talent Agency

But, sometimes publicity attempts backfired on me.

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I had this crazy idea to do some promo pictures at the train tracks outside Brownwood, Texas and make us all look like outlaws about to rob a train. Little did I know that these two pictures would be used against me in the trials for bank robbery. They were submitted as evidence. So, what seemed like fun at the time, turned into a bad deal.

It was a very hands-on time for marketing and promoting yourself and your art. Without internet, social media or even faxes, it required leg-work and one-on-one connections. And, I was pretty good at it, if I do say so. I kept us booked solid and for the times, drew good pay. So, maybe there is something to be said for old-fashioned communication…”

What do you think would be the best way to market yourself and your books without all the instant internet avenues we have today? 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

Fabulous Disconnect

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The view from our back door!

As most of you already know, I recently gifted myself a vacation to beautiful Angel Fire, New Mexico. The picture above is the view from the back door of the three-bedroom-two- bath Airbnb house we rented.

At only $90 per night, you’d have to wonder why this amazing place was so cheap. Two reasons. No TV and NO Internet.

Talk about an attitude adjustment. I’d never miss TV, but I felt crippled without the Internet. Needless to say, it took an entire day to decompress and stop worrying about everything I was missing – the wonderful blogs I follow, the constant emails that flood my inbox and everything going on in RRBC and RWISA land. But, after a day I let go and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to disconnect.

And guess what? The world did not stop turning.

My best friend of over thirty years and I drove to my sister’s house in Amarillo and our other traveling partner, Cactus Mike, owner of Cactustown, Texas USA, met us there.

We drove on up from Amarillo and I’ll share a few pictures of paradise.

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Can you imagine the Golden Leaves on the Aspens in the fall? 

 

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My Traveling partners hitting the slopes! 

 

 

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The Ski Trails with heavy snow coming down. 

These are a couple of the unbelievable houses in Angel Fire

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A herd of Elk just outside of Eagle’s Nest

 

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Entering Cimarron Canyon

 

The pictures do not do it justice. The peacefulness of being out in nature, looking for rocks to bring back home, or exploring off-road trails is equal to nothing else.

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We spent one day exploring Taos, New Mexico, one whole day skiing (although I don’t ski, I enjoyed watching!), we had lunch in Red River and hiked the Jasper Agate trail looking for treasures.

And, I even returned home with a new pair of Tony Lamas to take dancing.

 

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Dancing Boots! 

It was a phenomenal get-away in every aspect. The weather could not have been more picture-perfect and the scenery breathtaking.

I’m happy to be back home and back to business with renewed energy and purpose.

I hope you enjoyed taking this mini-journey with me through part of The Enchanted Circle in New Mexico. 

 

Jonah Part 3

In the first episode, we met a young man, Jonah, exiled to a deserted island to pay for his crimes. But, this is no ordinary island. It’s inhabited by wild mythical creatures with long red fangs and claws like an Eagle, venomous flowers and stinging nettles and brambles. In the last episode, a drop had occurred. The burlap bag contained some dried buffalo, hygiene items, a note, and two books, The Four Agreements, along with a blank journal. The note informed Jonah the only way he would ever get to leave the island was to examine himself and face his demons. Jonah dismissed the books with a snort. Let’s see what’s going on with him now that a few more days have passed.

Thankful that he’d been given one pot to cook in, Jonah hunched over the small fire and drew the savory smell in through his nostrils. The dried buffalo would make a hearty soup and his stomach growled at the thought. He stirred the mushrooms and Burdock root to a slow boil, then added pieces of the meat.

Campfire

The crackling of leaves brought him to his feet and he reached for the ever-present dagger. He turned in a full circle and saw nothing. It must have been an animal. After all, the Master had been very specific in warning him he would be the only human inhabitant on the island.

He sat back on his heels and stirred the boiling stew.

There it was again. That time, there was no mistaking the sound of footsteps. Was he going mad? He yelled. “Who’s there?”

Silence answered him.

He ran his hands through his thick black hair and returned to his stew. Once he was satisfied that it was thoroughly cooked, he pulled the container from the fire and disappeared into his hut to enjoy the fare.

His nostrils flared, and eyes closed as the delectable aroma arose. Within minutes, he devoured the tasty concoction.

Just as he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, he heard it again. Footsteps approached from the east. He got to his haunches ready to spring and held his breath. They stopped just short of his hut.

He let out a loud cry and lunged from the hut, dagger drawn. To his surprise, a young boy stood wide-eyed. He stopped short.

Jonah had difficulty finding his voice but managed a weak, “Hello.”

The boy simply nodded.

“Who are you? Where did you come from?” Jonah fired the questions. “How did you get here? Are you from the mainland?” Jonah quickly deducted this was no ordinary boy. His eyes glowed with luminescent light and webbing grew between his long fingers. 

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The boy turned and ran.

Jonah gave chase and pulled him to the ground. He turned him over. “I demand some answers. Did the Master send you?”

The boy shook his head. “I didn’t know you were here, mister.”

“You’ve got some explaining to do, kid.” Jonah helped the boy to his feet and pushed him toward his camp.

Who could this mysterious visitor be and what sort of magic does he carry? Tune in again next week and we will find out more.

 

No Story From the Road

http-www.ricksikes.com

Hey, everyone, there will be no story from the road this week. I am away for a few days in the mountains of New Mexico and have extremely limited internet. I wouldn’t be able to answer your comments and I simply am not okay with that.

So, I’ll be back next week with another “Story From the Road.”

I love bringing these stories to you. Thank you ALL for your continued interest in this blog segment.

Jonah Part 2

A young man named Jonah has been exiled to an island for reasons we do not yet know. It’s not your typical island as it is covered with stinging nettles, venomous flowers and mythical fanged creatures. He’s been there a few weeks already but he watches daily for the boat that will come and take him back to the mainland. What does he have to do to be rescued? Let’s go see.

Jonah awoke with a start. His hand flew his dagger when he heard a loud thud.  Warily, he peeked out of his crude shelter expecting the worst.

A burlap package lay a few feet from his hut.

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He turned in a full circle and did not see another living soul or source from where the package could have come. He dashed out, grabbed the bag and ducked back inside his shelter. His heart raced! He wasn’t forgotten.

He opened the bag as eager as a child on Christmas morning. The first item he discovered was a sealed package of dried buffalo. Without looking any farther, he tore into it and groaned aloud as he savored the flavor of the meat. Anything was better than the muddy fish he’d been forced to eat to stay alive.

He sat back on his haunches and explored the remaining items in his mysterious package.

A bar of soap, toothbrush, and hairbrush fell out on the floor of his hut. How had he made it this long without them? He set them aside and continued exploring.

In the bottom of the bag lay two books and a pencil, along with a handwritten note.  He unfolded the parchment note.

There is only one way off this island. You must examine yourself, face your truths and make peace with your demons.

Jonah folded the note, lay it next to the bag, bit off another piece of jerky, then carefully resealed the bag and opened the first book, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Four Agreements

The first sentence on the inside flap, “Be impeccable with your word,” brought a snort. He tossed the book into the corner of the hut. He didn’t need any philosophy BS, he just needed to get home.

He reached into the bottom of the bag, hoping for more food and found another book and a pencil. He opened it to find only blank pages.  He tossed it into the corner along with the other book.

He’d heard the psychological and philosophical jargon his entire life and none of it had helped him survive on the streets. None of it had helped when his father was beating him across the back with a leather strap. And none of it put food in his belly when he was starving.

No. He’d made his way with his own strength and that wasn’t about to change now.

He pulled his hair back and ducked out of the shelter into the early morning dawn. The most important thing he could do was keep his body strong and ready to fight. After all, it was what he did best. He stretched his taut muscles and began a series of Tai Chi maneuvers. He twirled and kicked, landing in fighting stance. Yes, this was what worked for him, not religion or philosophy.

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A scurrying sound drew his attention and he glanced toward the hut in time to see a furry rodent dashing inside. The jerky! He lunged forward and reached the critter at the same time the critter reached the bag. With a precise throw, his dagger landed in the varmint’s neck. He tossed the invader into the murky water and grabbed his precious staple. After he dug a hole inside the hut, he buried the meat and covered it. Then he placed both books on top.

There. That should protect it. He’d gather the mushrooms and edible roots he’d discovered and make a stew later. No, he didn’t need self-examination. He needed sustenance and most of all he needed to get back to the mainland and back to living, back to ruling his kingdom.

He pondered the words on the note. What was he going to be forced to do?

 

Stories From the Road #20 WINNER!!

http-www.ricksikes.com

Aaaaaannnnnddddd we have a winner!

Veronica Durnell is the winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Certificate!

Veronica, please send me your email, so I can forward your prize and THANK YOU, everyone, for visiting these stories and leaving comments!!

BIG HUGS!!

 

Stories From the Road #20

http-www.ricksikes.com

TO CELEBRATE #20 OF “STORIES FROM THE ROAD,” I’M GIVING AWAY A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD. ANSWER THE QUESTION AT THE END OF THE POST CORRECTLY TO BE ENTERED TO WIN!! 

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a bus full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

RICK:

Jimmy C. Newman was a Cajun from Louisiana. He was the real deal and spoke with a heavy accent. He was quite colorful and always wore the sequined Nudie suits. He was a big hit on the Louisiana Hayride and that’s where I first met him along with a fiddler named Rufus Thibodeaux. Rufus was one of those guys that could literally make the fiddle talk. I mean, form words. He was amazing. I tried for years to get Rufus to come and play for me, but he barely spoke English and wouldn’t stray out of his comfort zone. Anyway, I had booked Jimmy C. quite a few times and he and Rufus were a lot of fun.

One time Jimmy C. came in from Nashville and Tom T. Hall had driven him down. Tom T. was trying to get into the music business. He was writing then for Jimmy Key at New Keys Talent. I knew Jimmy and Scotty Key back when they were here in Texas booking high school auditorium shows. Anyway,  Jimmy was booking single at the time and asked if we would let Tom T. sit in, sing a few songs and play guitar. No one had ever heard of him yet, but we let him sit in. I thought he was okay and that he might just make it. Little did I know he would become a much bigger entertainer and songwriter than we could imagine with eleven number one hits and twenty-six more that reached the Top Ten.

He wrote, “Harper Valley PTA,” that was a huge hit for Jeannie C. Riley. At the time, she was a  secretary at New Keys Talent. If I remember the story correctly, they got her to record a demo of the song and they decided she was good enough they wanted to release it. I don’t know exactly how it went down, but that’s the way her uncle, Johnny Moore, from Anson Texas told the story. Well, of course, it took off from there and launched her career.

Johnny Moore had a song called, “15 Acres of Peanut Land.” He and I were good friends. He didn’t like to play honkytonks (he was pretty religious) so if he got a gig he didn’t want, he’d pass it off to me. I’d do the same for him with rodeos and school dances. Anyway, he used to bring Jeanie C. around with him when she was sixteen and ask different bands to let her sit in. Her last name wasn’t Riley then. I don’t remember what it was. She sat in with us a time or two and I didn’t really think she had anything going for her. But, I’d do it as a favor to Johnny.

Anyway, after I went to prison, I kept hearing this song, “Harper Valley PTA,” by this gal from Anson, Texas, Jeannie C. Riley. I wasn’t putting it all together. After all, it couldn’t be the same little Plain Jane Jeannie that had sat in with us. And, then I saw her on TV, and my God, she had changed immensely. She as “doin’ it” then, and was incredibly beautiful as well. But, it was her. It just goes to show how sometimes the whole key to success is being in the right place at the right time.

Later on, after I got out of prison, Johnny Moore and another performer I always thought a lot of, Frankie Miller, came to Brady to play at a little Opry house and I heard it advertised on the radio. So, Jan and I drove over to the radio station where they were doing an interview and we renewed our friendship. It was so great to see both those guys still out there doin’ it.

In 2001, Johnny invited me to be a guest at the annual Johnny Moore day in Anson. It was only the second time I’d been on stage in over thirty years. It was a great honor. Johnny remained a good friend and visited every time he came down from Nashville.

If I could do things over again, I would certainly make different choices and I would have stayed more serious about the music in spite of the dirty deals, swindlers and crooks out to steal your hard work.”

Rufus Tibedeaux, Rick and Jimmy C. Newman
L-R Rufus Thibodeaux, Rick Sikes, Jimmy C. Newman
Rick,Johnny Moore,Frankie Miller
L-R Rick Sikes, Johnny Moore, Frankie Miller
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Rick onstage in Anson, Texas 2001

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

CAN YOU NAME RICK’S ONLY NUMBER ONE SONG? PUT IT IN YOUR COMMENTS TO BE ENTERED FOR A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD! 

Jonah – Part 1

Jonah

Jonah stood on the sturdy wooden dock and scanned the horizon. He could make out the outline of the mainland. He’d attempted to swim it more than once only to be forced to turn back or die. Would today be the day the boat would arrive? Brown murky water lapped at the timbers and a scaled water lizard trolled for a morning snack.

A low guttural growl turned him around. The feral creatures on this island were like none he’d ever encountered. Half animal and half-mythical, he discovered their weakness quite by accident and out of desperation.

He strode down the dock, stopping to scoop up the golden dagger he’d left lying in the sand. He ran toward the creature screaming, dagger aimed at its heart.

Perhaps it was the glint of the sun off the metal blade. Jonah didn’t know, but it worked every time.

It now seemed like a lifetime ago that he was dropped in this godforsaken place. Had it been the right choice? He questioned himself every day. Maybe prison wouldn’t have been so bad.

He scanned the horizon a final time before kneeling to light a fire. If he’d only known when the option had been given, he might have chosen differently. But, at the time, anything sounded better than being locked in a cement box buried in the ground.

Sure, they’d given him the dagger and a few supplies. Everything else, he had to get on his own. And, it didn’t help that the island was covered with thickly tangled nettles that stung the skin when touched, flowers filled with deadly venom and blackbirds that swooped down without warning and pecked at his head. But, the creatures were the worst of all. He’d never forget the first time they showed themselves. Fangs that glowed red when they growled and claws like that of Eagles had sent him climbing the nearest tree despite the stinging nettles and prickly thorns. But, their claws allowed them to easily climb and he was left with no option but to run. It wasn’t until exhausted and unable to run anymore, he finally turned and drew his saber. He prepared to die. But instead, they backed down.

With welts covering his body from the stinging nettles and sweat dripping down his face, he’d waded into the murky, muddy water. Strangely enough, the mud lessened the pain and he’d left his body covered with it for two days.

Driven to construct some sort of shelter, he used his saber to cut branches and brush.

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That was the first day. He’d improved the shelter over the many days that followed.

He kept track of time with marks on a piece of driftwood. It was now covered with thirty marks and he was still alive.

But, for how long?

mythical creature

Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed meeting Jonah. Will he survive long enough for the boat to arrive? What did he do to get exiled to this horrible and dangerous island? Join me on Sunday to find out more about him and this strange arrangement.

Hugs!!

The Convict and the Rose

Author, Lynda Filler has shared her review of The Convict and the Rose!

Lynda Filler-Author, Freelance Writer, Soc Media Lover

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The Convict and the Rose  On Amazon or through Jan’s website at the bottom of the page.

Imagine an existence behind bars in Leavenworth Prison, and turning your life around so that you are able to create art and a musical legacy. This is an extremely personal, beautiful, sometimes very sad and yet uplifting memoir that reads like an edgy, intriguing novel. I wasn’t aware of what I was reading when I began the journey into the lives of a Convict(Rick Sikes) and his Rose(Jan Sikes.) I hadn’t read much about the book, all I knew was the reviews were all 5 stars! And everyone raved about the talented Jan Sikes, and that says it all. I can tell you that it’s not easy putting yourself out there in a memoir–imagine someone critiquing your life! But Jan has done it in this fascinating series.

I first met Jan…

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