Jan’s TOP TEN Books 2017

JAN'S TOP TENBOOK LIST20171 (1)

#1

For_You_To_See_The_Stars   PURCHASE LINK

Hands down, this book easily takes the #1 spot this year. This is Foster’s first print publication. It is classic storytelling at its best. Foster writes with an uncommon depth of emotion, humor, empathy, and clarity.  Adding another dimension to this collection of short stories, Foster, a seasoned songwriter/musician, recorded a music CD which accompanies the book. Together, they make an unforgettable read/listen!

#2 

Heart_Of_A_Texas_CowboyMarryTexasOutlaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURCHASE LINK Heart of a Texas Cowboy

PURCHASE LINK To Marry a Texas Outlaw

Yes, I know there are two books sitting in this spot, but I couldn’t find a way to separate them. This “Men of Legend” series was amazing from beginning to end, and it just happens that parts two and three were both released this year. “Some Legends are born and some are made” describes this series perfectly about a father, Stoker Legend and three sons, Sam, Houston, and Luke. Houston struggles to deal with the death of his bride-to-be in “The Heart of a Texas Cowboy.” I won’t tell you what happens, but a woman and baby girl manage to melt the ice that froze his heart. In “To Marry a Texas Outlaw,” Luke Weston is determined to clear the murder pinned on him and finally be able to step up and claim his birthright, the Legend name. But, he didn’t bargain for the spirited woman who would set his plans awry. In each book of this series, you’ll find lots of old west action, honor, and romance.

#3

Empty Chairs    PURCHASE LINK

This true story from Stacey Danson (aka Suzanne Burke) touched me on such a deep level. It is a tale of horrific child abuse and how one young girl took matters into her own hands and hit the streets of Sydney, Austrailia. The dangers that lurked on the streets were less frightening than what she faced at home, or as she referred to it in the book, “hell central.” This book has 390 reviews on Amazon. That alone is a testimony to the power of this deeply personal story.

#4

May_Lilacs   PURCHASE LINK

The number four is an Angel number and nothing could be more appropriate for this amazing book. The author worked for many years as a psychic detective, assisting with some of the most gruesome cases you can imagine. But, her “near-death” experience as she relates it in this book is extraordinary. I can promise that this book WILL change the way you view death.

#5 

Love The Beat Goes On  PURCHASE LINK

I have read a lot of new-age books over the years and got something good from each of them, but this book by Lynda Filler is extraordinary. Her honesty about the journey from receiving a death sentence for an incurable disease to healing in a rainstorm while a Shaman beat on his drum is not just compelling, but astounding. I loved every fragment of this story.

#6

Circumstances of Childhood final front  PURCHASE LINK

There seems to be a somewhat common thread running through my book selections this year. This story from John W. Howell incorporates a ghost as one of the main characters, and he weaves it all together perfectly. The ending of the story is done in true Howell fashion with an unpredictable and “thriller” conclusion.

#7

letting_go_into_perfect_love    PURCHASE LINK

 

This was the first book I read in 2017 and the uplifting story never left me. The author shares deep personal accounts of heartbreak, discovery, and inspiration. How she chose to rise above the many years of abuse to find self-love is encouraging as well as empowering.

#8

Slivers_Of_Life  PURCHASE LINK

Slivers of Life could not be a more appropriate title for this compilation of short stories from Author, Beem Weeks. Each is like a slice of pie from the whole or pages ripped from someone’s book. I thought I had found my favorite story with “Medal Detector,” but the next chapter, “Forget Me (Not Fade Away)” had me in tears. Emotion drips from the exquisite way Beem weaves his words together to create the stories, and he is a master at ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ If you are a lover of emotionally driven ‘too-human’ stories, this book is for you. It’s easy to read, but the stories linger long after you’ve turned the last page.

#9

Sweet Temptation  PURCHASE LINK

I have read all the books in Sarah Stuart’s Royal Command Series, and until I read Sweet Temptation, my favorite of the series was the first book, Dangerous Liaisons.
Michael Marsh, the Diamond Superstar has millions of fans across the globe, but he’s lonely. When his wife, Lizzie, was murdered in front of him, his world shattered. He didn’t believe he could ever love again. That is until detective Evie Taylor, walked into his office. The author weaves a tangled web of deceit, powerful illusions, and cyberstalkers. Action from start to finish.

#10

This Second Chance eBook Cover  PURCHASE LINK

Again, this story stays with the paranormal thread from my year’s reading. Rachael finally has a chance at happiness with a man who adores her, but strange phenomena continue to occur. Little does she know there is an Angel, the ghost of her ex-husband and an evildwel that are hard at work in the background. The author takes the reader on quite a journey as it all unfolds.

BONUS STORY:

Tempest In Texas  PURCHASE LINK

You read the title correctly. This is a Screenplay by Larry Landgraf adapted from his novel, Into Autumn, A Story of Survival, and it deserves to be on the big screen! We all hear apocalyptic stories – about what could happen if and when our social and economic infrastructures collapse, but Larry Landgraf takes us inside that “what if” world with real people, in what could be real life circumstances.

Trust me when I say it was difficult choosing from so many great books to create this TOP TEN. A lot of the authors listed here are members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, a place where authors are supported, promoted and lifted up. 

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Stories From the Road #15

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

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.

Since we are entering a New Year, I thought I’d take a step back and show the vast difference in the economy between the 1960s and now.  I found these interesting.

I couldn’t find the exact date on this, but do know it was somewhere around 1965 or 1966.

Mayan_Ranch

Mayan_Ranch_Rhythm+Rebels
Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels with Mayan Ranch Owners

The following are entries from a 1967 Yearbook in which Rick noted every gig played and what clothes he wore. That was important to him. He never wanted to duplicate the costume at a venue.

Journal_Entries_Rick_Sikes

Journal_Sikes_Ferlin_Husky

 

Journal_1967_Rick_Sikes
New Year’s Eve was the golden night as far as pay went.

 

 

Journal_1967_Rick_Sikes_Year_end
So, there you have it. The totals for the entire year. 

Now, to put it into perspective:

The average price of gas in 1967 was Thirty cents per gallon.

The average price of a new car in 1967 was $2,750.00

Average rent was $125 per month

Average income was around $7,000

So, you can see from these journal entries, that playing music for a living wasn’t exactly lucrative. But, Rick managed to support a family, a girlfriend and keep the band members paid. He did pay the band members less than he paid himself. After all, he did all of the bookings, advertising, choosing songs, providing costumes, and transportation.

So, I’ll end on this note because I can’t say it any better.

Guitar_Design_Rick

 

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

Magic – A Holiday Story #4

Cabin_Snow

Little by little, Frank Pyburn has learned the child’s name is Jasper and that he has no parents. And, it seems the child is determined to keep with family tradition and bring a tree home on Christmas Eve. He needs the luck. And he’s invited Frank to Christmas dinner.

“Well, now that you mention it, I just might.” Frank finished the coffee and leaned forward. “It gets a mite lonely here from time to time. But, I’d have to ask Aunt Nellie first.”

“Oh, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. She’s nice.”

“That’s good to hear, Jasper. I’m glad she treats you well.” Frank pushed to his feet. “Let’s get you bundled up and we’ll go get the truck.”

He gruffly buttoned the top button on the kid’s worn coat and pulled the wool cap down over his small ears. A lump caught in his throat. He grabbed his coat and opened the door.

He choked back tears that threatened to fall. He’d make sure that Jasper Doolin and Aunt Nellie got their Christmas luck. He could use a big dose of it himself, and a good deed on Christmas never hurt anyone.

They traipsed across the yard to the 1921 GMC pickup parked under a shed.

Young Jasper let out a whistle. “This is a beauty, Mr. Frank.”

“It serves the purpose. My daughter insisted I get it after Emma died.”

Jasper scrunched up his nose. “I’m sorry you lost your Miss Emma.”

“Me too,” Frank growled. “Me too. Now, let’s get you a tree. I know exactly where to find the perfect one, and I’ve got an ax behind the seat.”

Frank cranked the engine. It protested before it finally sprang to life.

The headlights reflected off the snow as Frank eased down a country lane. After a few minutes, he stopped and pulled on the brake. He left the headlights on and they cast a warm glow that allowed Jasper to choose a small tree. Then, with the sharp ax, Frank cut it down and tossed it into the bed of the truck.

They hopped inside, and Frank turned back toward the house. Halfway home, he glanced over at the boy to see him sound asleep with his head laying on the door.

His heart melted. This boy reminded him of himself when he was his age. But, it was evident that life had tossed Jasper Doolin a hard road to walk.

Visions of Emma in the lavender dress he loved so much swam before his eyes. Oh, how he missed her bustling around their small house baking pies and stringing garland. Painful loneliness gnawed at his gut. Emma would want him to help Jasper.

When they reached the ranch house, he gently woke Jasper. “We’re back at my house, Jasper. But, we need to get you on home.”

Jasper sat up, yawned big, and rubbed his eyes. “Okay, Mister Frank. I sure do appreciate you helping me.”

“It’s nothing. But, I’ve got another idea. How about you run inside and get your stuff, and I’ll drive you back to Aunt Nellie’s. Then tomorrow, we can get Magic.”

“Okay.” Jasper opened the door, dashed inside and returned with his saddlebags.

Frank drove while Jasper told him what road Aunt Nellie lived on. He was surprised at how far Jasper had ridden on Magic. No wonder he fell asleep on the horse.

Thirty minutes later, he pulled up in front of a small wood-framed house. Candlelight flickered through the windows and Frank could only guess that Aunt Nellie was worried sick about young Jasper. He didn’t miss small eyes peeking around the edge of a curtain when they walked up to the door dragging the tree.

Jasper knocked. “Aunt Nellie, it’s me, Jasper. Unlock the door.”

A bolt slid across, and a scrawny woman flung the door wide. “Jasper!” She hugged the boy. “You had me worried sick.”

Frank removed his hat. “I found him over by my place. He’d fallen off Magic and hit his head.”

“But, I’m okay now, Aunt Nellie. And look, Mister Frank helped me get us a tree. We can have good luck now and maybe you won’t have to cry so much.”

The woman eyed Frank. “Well, the both of you come on in out of the cold.” She shooed the children back and stepped aside.

Frank lifted the tree over the threshold and followed Jasper. Once inside, he faced the woman and stuck out his hand. “I’m Frank Pyburn, ma’am. I live over on the other side of the creek.”

She shook his hand. “I can’t thank you enough for helping Jasper. He didn’t tell me where he was going, and I just knew something had happened to him.”

Jasper stood beside her and three smaller children huddled close, never taking their eyes off the tree resting against the wall. “I told you, Aunt Nellie, I had to get us a tree, so we would have good luck like Pa always said.”

Her eyes misted. “Can I offer you something hot to drink, Mr. Pyburn?”

“No. I’ve gotta be getting back. But, if it’s okay with you, tomorrow I’ll pick up Jasper and take him to get Magic and see them both home safely.”

“Of course, it’s okay. But, only on one condition. If you don’t have any other plans, I’d be pleased to have you join us for Christmas dinner. It’s the least I can do to repay you for looking out after Jasper.”

Frank’s gaze swept the simple dwelling. While the furnishings were sparse, the floors sparkled, clean, and there wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere. He’d be back tomorrow. But, when he came, he’d have his arms full.

He couldn’t stop a grin that spread across his face. Just like Santa Claus.

The idea that he could bring Christmas cheer to this kind woman and children brought him great joy.

Already, he was thinking about the venison in his freezer and the canned vegetables that Emma had left behind. Maybe he could even scrounge up some gifts for the children.

He’d found a purpose for enjoying Christmas again.

With a light heart, he said his goodbyes and drove the faithful old truck back to his empty home. But, somehow, it didn’t seem nearly as lonely or empty as it had a few hours ago.

When he parked under the shed and headed inside, he could almost smell Emma’s wonderful cherry pies and hear her sweet laughter drifting across the snow-covered ground.

He looked up at the black velvet star-filled sky. “You’re one lucky man, Frank Pyburn,” he said.

A whinny from the barn confirmed Magic agreed with him and that was one smart horse. “Christmas Magic,” thought Frank. That should be the horse’s new name for that is what he’d brought…A boy and his pony on one starry Christmas Eve.

THE END

Old Pickup_Tree

 

 

Richard J. Dobson – A Tribute

Once in a great while, in life, someone walks into it that leaves such a large footprint you are forever touched. And so it was with Richard J. Dobson (aka Don Ricardo).

Roxy Gordon was an American Indian activist, a poet, and storyteller. And, he was a friend and spirit brother to Rick and myself. It was he and his wife, Judy, who introduced Rick and myself to Ricardo in December 1999.  He and his bride-to-be, Edith, had come to Coleman to visit Roxy and Judy and to get married in the Coleman County Courthouse. I didn’t get to attend the actual wedding ceremony because I had to work, but this picture was taken in our music room the night before.

Ricardo_Edith_Dec99

The first song I heard Ricardo play and sing in our home, was “Piece of Wood and Steel.”

There was a little controversy that arose when David Alan Coe released it on an album and listed himself as the writer. That eventually got straightened out.

“Richard is a huge, gentle bear of a man with a rollicking, roll-with-the-punches attitude toward show business success or lack of same,” Robert Oermann wrote in The Tennessean in 1983. He added, “He’s a man-child who has retained the wide-eyed wonder of youth as he has become a godfather to the new generation of struggling pickers.”

That description fits the man perfectly. He made more than twenty albums and had songs recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash and Guy Clark. He is mentioned in Rodney Crowell’s song “Nashville 1972” as a poet. Another apt description.

But on a deeply personal level, Ricardo’s music touched me in a way that only “truth” and “real” can do.

Anytime life gets tough for me, I have one go-to as far as soothing music for my soul. It is none other than “Rockin’ To The Rhythm of the World.” It always puts me back in sync.

And there is another that I carry the lyrics to in my wallet and have for well over fifteen years called “Useful Girl.” I was that useful girl and it spoke to me in ways I can’t explain. The song was written from a true story (as many of Richard’s songs were). He loved history and loved, even more, expressing it in the poetry of song.

When the news came that Richard J. Dobson had passed away, my heart broke into a million pieces. I know that death is as much a part of life as is birth, but it doesn’t lessen the blow or the grief. I want everyone to know what an amazing artist and person Richard J. Dobson was. He was a true friend to Rick and myself and continued to be to me, after Rick’s passing.

This picture was taken at our music store a year or so before Rick passed away.

Rick,Jan,Ricardo,Edith
L-R Rick Sikes, Jan Sikes, Richard Dobson, Edith Dobson

Ricardo wrote a song telling Rick’s story, “The Old Rhythm Rebel.” I am happy that he wrote and recorded it while Rick was still alive to hear it and be able to appreciate and acknowledge the honor he felt.

This post is longer than I normally make, but there isn’t any way to make it shorter and express what’s in my heart. I loved Ricardo like a brother. I was thrilled for him when I received his email telling me that his work was being archived in the Woodson Research Center at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Well, there simply isn’t enough room in this post to list all of his accomplishments including a film debut in “Heartworn Highways.”

Besides all of the music, Ricardo also wrote and published three memoirs, “The Gulf Coast Boys,” “Pleasures of the High Rhine,” and “The Years The Wind Blew Away.” 

His most recent CD release was a collaboration with Texas author, W.C. Jameson, “Plenty Good People.” It, along with most of Ricardo’s music, can be found on Amazon.

 

Ricardo & Jan_1
Richard Dobson and Jan Sikes at a Llano Music Festival 2011

 

 

Jan_Ricardo_Kay (2017_03_11 18_36_10 UTC)
Myself, Richard Dobson and Kay Perot in Austin 2015

To say there is a gaping hole in my heart is putting it mildly. I just know Rick, Roxy, and Ricardo are having a reunion in the other world. I can only imagine the conversations.

RIP Richard J. Dobson 3-11-42 to 12-16-17.

A life well-lived – a story well-told…

 

20171223_101257
My own personal collection of Richard Dobson music

 

 

Stories From the Road #14

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

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.

THE CHRISTMAS SHIRT

by Rick Sikes

“This is one of those “too-human” stories that took place in Houston in the late sixties. We had played Christmas Eve at Dancetown USA the night before. And, we were playing in Victoria on Christmas night. So, we drug ourselves out of bed and finally found a scroungy looking cafe to grab breakfast. The plan was to eat breakfast around 10 am, get to Victoria and set up at Schroeder Hall. Then we’d get a bit of supper before the gig.

But, back to the story. Being Christmas morning, there were just not any restaurants open except this one little dump. We go in and sit down. Right behind us comes in a hillbilly guy with two backwoods gals. He was puttin’ on the dog for the ol’ gals, and they were giggling and carrying on.

One of the guys in the band said, “Hey, y’all check out the Christmas shirt.”

It was one of those embroidered wagon wheel Yankee cowboy shirts with the folds from being in the package still there. He had on a pair of short-topped Sears & Roebuck boots, a small brimmed Roy Rogers type hat and some kind of cheap blue jeans. He looked at us and asked, “Y’all like my shirt?”

Everyone nodded and someone said, “Yeah man, that’s a cool shirt. Did you get it for Christmas?”

“Yep, shore did, podnuh.” He leaned back in his chair and hooked his thumbs in his belt.

Well, one of the ol’ gals with him was terribly cross-eyed and she started flirting with us…blinking and winking as only a cross-eyed gal can do. It just all came to a head at once. We were all looking at each other, then at them all grinnin’ and carrying on. The ol’ boy told the girls some jokes or riddles or something. The cross-eyed girl got tickled at one of ’em and laughed until tears rolled down both cheeks.

Being the damned fool I am, I looked over there; the ol’ boy doing all sorts of “monkey-shines,” and the gals laughing so hard, and I busted into one of my “rare” moments when I get so tickled that I laughed until my sides hurt and tears streamed down. Often I’d get down on the floor because I laughed so hard. Well, this was one of those times of great mirth. I made an ass out of myself rolling around on the floor laughing. It was just too damned human.

A poor ol’ hillbilly boy dressed to the aces charming two lovely backwoods ladies, plus entertaining a band and the people who worked in the place was just “too human.” He saw his good looks, charm and being well- dressed and dashing for these ladies pay off. And, we got to see a first class show that would have done Tennessee Williams and Erskine Caldwell proud, and supposedly “cool” musicians becoming a fool.”

I hope this brought a chuckle, as that was all Rick intended by telling the story.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Rick_Rhythm_Rebels

Rhythm_Rebels1

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

 

 

Magic – A Holiday Story #3

Cabin_Snow

Frank Pyburn now knows he has rescued a young boy. But, why would such a young child be out by himself in this weather on Christmas Eve? But even more puzzling, what was that smell? 

 

“What in tarnation do you think you’re doing?” Frank gasped at the sight of the boy trying to light a crooked pipe. He jerked the contraption from the child. “You are way too young to be smoking, kid, and besides that, I don’t allow it in my house.”

Jasper’s bottom lip quivered. “I’m almost eleven, and that was my granddaddy’s pipe, Mister Frank. I just figured since I am all grown up now I needed to start learning how to smoke it like he did.”

Frank chuckled. “There’s plenty of time for that if you are damned and determined to do it, but now is not that time.” He clapped a hand on the boys shoulder, then emptied the contents of the pipe into the fireplace. “You hungry?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll get you a nice bowl of stew, and then you’re going to tell me what you’re doing out on a night like this and where your family is.”

Jasper looked away. “Ain’t got no ma or pa anymore.”

Frank swallowed hard. “Just rest. I’ll be right back.”

Before he returned, Frank refilled his coffee cup and doused it good with bourbon. He set a tray on the floor beside the boy with stew, crackers, and milk, then plopped down in his easy chair.

Silence swirled around the old man and boy like gentle snowflakes. While curiosity nagged at him, Frank could be patient.

Finally, Jasper scooped up the last bite of stew and drank the milk. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and got to his feet. “You’ve been awful nice, Mr. Frank, but I have to get going. Maybe if you could just point me toward Hamilton Road, I won’t get lost again.”

Frank motioned for Jasper to sit. “You’re not going anywhere until you tell me everything.” He set his jaw. “And, I want every detail.”

Jasper sank onto the sofa. “Well, you see, Aunt Nellie tries her best, but she just can’t do it all. Me being the oldest, it seemed that I needed to be the one to make sure we got our Christmas luck.”

“Christmas luck?” Frank sipped his coffee.

“Sure.” Jasper ran a small hand through his red hair. “Don’t you know the story about the Christmas tree and good luck for the whole year?”

“Don’t reckon I do. Tell me.”

“Well, my pa always told me that for us to have good luck for the whole year, we had to cut down a sapling on Christmas Eve and bring it in the house. But, Ma and Pa are gone. They got killed last summer in an accident. I live with Aunt Nellie and her kids. And, we need a tree. So, I headed out after I finished my chores and got lost.”

Frank squinted. “I’m sorry about your ma and pa, Jasper. How did you fall off Magic?”

Jasper shrugged. “Don’t know exactly. I was so tired, and maybe I fell asleep. The next thing I know, I was here with you.”

“How did Magic get so smart?”

Jasper grinned. “My pa taught him to be a trick horse. You ought to see all the stuff he can do. He can shake hands and dance.”

“And,” Frank interrupted him, “Damned near talk.”

“That too. He’s a good horse. And, he’s the only thing I’ve got left.” His small voice trailed away.

“Where does Aunt Nellie live?” Frank asked.

“Over in Grover Valley.”

“I’m sure she’s worried to death about you. We need to let her know you’re okay.”

Frank reached for the black phone on a table.

“Won’t do no good to use that thing, Mr. Frank. We ain’t got one.” Jasper shuffled his feet on the rug. “I have to get our tree and get home. We need a whole lot of luck.”

Frank’s heart broke for the boy. Here was a child that should be warm and safe on Christmas eve, not out traipsing through the woods looking for a tree to bring much-needed good luck.

“Tell you what. Let me finish my coffee, and I’ll pull the old truck pulled around. We’ll get you a tree. But, then I’m taking you home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Frank.” Jasper’s eyes danced. “Thank you!”

“Want any more stew?”

“No, sir. I’m okay,” Jasper looked around the room. “Don’t you have any kids, Mr. Frank?”

“Yeah, sure. But, they’re all grown and living in the big city. I’ve got grandkids older than you. My wife, Emma, died three years ago, and now it’s just me.” He remembered how hard his daughters tried to convince him to leave the ranch and move to the city after Emma’s death. But, this was home and he wasn’t budging. They’d installed the phone for him and called now and then. But, they’re much too busy to mess with an old man. Most times, he only had the voices in his head to keep him company…that and the characters in Zane Grey’s books.

“You want to spend Christmas with us?” Jasper squinted one eye.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

boy and tree

 

Stories From the Road – #13

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

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, it wasn’t good enough just to be able to play great music. You had to look like a band and you had to have a little something different or extra that the next guy didn’t. So, we came up with different skits that we’d perform along with certain songs.  My brother, Bobby was always game for acting a fool.

We created this one skit for “Please Mister Custer.” I helped Bobby make a Yankee Calvary uniform he’d slip into that had a wooden block with three holes in it, in the seat of the britches. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and would be saying, “Please Mister Custer, I just don’t want to go. Those people are savages,” and so on until the end of the song. Then, while he was singing, I’d be slipping arrow shafts into the wood block so it looked like he was shot in the rear. At the end, he’d do a stumbling, falling act (Bobby was double-jointed and very agile.) He would fall off the stage and do a dying ritual out on the dance floor.  At the end, he’d lay completely still on the floor with these arrows sticking out of his butt. Then the band would play “Taps” while I pulled the arrows out.

One night we were doing this act and he fell off the stage, wiggling and squirming around like an inchworm with his butt in the air. I  go down, like normal, and start to pull the arrows out while the band plays “Taps.” This lady ran up from out of nowhere, knocked the hell out of me and said, “Get away from him, you son-of-a-bitch. You done hurt him enough already.”

That was one of the skits. We had another little gig we did that was a version of “Hello Walls #2,” that Ben Colder recorded (the old drunk). Bobby would act like he was throwing up. He’d take his hat off and pretend he was throwing up in his hat. One night he was doing that act and he deliberately fell off the edge of the stage and stumbled around on the dance floor until he fell down.

Some drunk lady came running up to him with a wet bar towel trying to wipe his face. She said, “Here, honey. Maybe this will help. I know just how you feel. I’ve been there myself.”

Bobby said, “Dammit lady, get away. Get away. You’re ruining my act.”

She didn’t give up. She said, “I’m gonna help you feel better. I know how it is. I’ve been drunk too.”

We never meant any harm doing these skits. We just wanted to entertain and do more than stand up there and plunk on guitars. It helped earn us a reputation and kept people coming back just to see what we were going to do next.

That was before laser shows and all the fancy electronics they have nowadays. We had to invent our own.”

I searched through tons of pictures looking for one of the “Please Mister Custer” act, and couldn’t find one. But, did find one of Bobby doing “Hello Walls #2.”

Bobby_Drunk_Act
Bobby Sikes doing “Hello Walls #2”

And I found another one of their popular skits where they dressed like Hippies and played rock ‘n roll.

Hippie_Rhythm_Rebels

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

 

Magic – A Holiday Story #2

Cabin_Snow

MAGIC

JAN SIKES

Last week an old rancher, Frank Pyburn, found an insistent horse clomping on his porch. The horse seemed determined to take him to someone or something. Let’s join them.

“I hope you know where you’re going,” Frank let the reins fall loose in his hands. The horse came to a halt near the fence line.

Frank eased off the horse, gun cocked and scoured the ground. A small lump covered with a light layer of snow groaned and moved.

“Hey,” Frank knelt beside the small form. He brushed the snow away to find a young boy with a nasty bump on his head. “Can you hear me?”

A groan escaped the boy’s frozen lips.

Frank leaned his rifle against a fencepost and picked up the limp boy. He glanced at the horse. “I suppose this is your owner.”

The horse snorted.

“Well, it’s a good thing you came and got me. He wouldn’t have lasted long out here.” He found a blanket rolled up behind the saddle and wrapped it tight around the boy.

How on earth would he be able to get back on the horse holding the boy?

As if reading his mind, the horse kneeled in the snow.

“I’ll be damned. If you ain’t somethin’.”

Frank reached for his rifle and stuck it between the saddle and leather strap. Then holding the boy, he straddled the horse. As soon as he gained his balance, the horse stood and trotted back toward the ranch house.

When they reached the porch, he slid from the horse and retrieved his rifle. “I’ll be back to tend to you shortly,” he said.

The horse snuffed and tossed his head.

Frank lost no time getting the boy inside and laid him on a rug in front of the fireplace. After a closer look at the bump, it didn’t appear to be as bad as he’d first thought. The boy was lucky.

He grunted when he pushed himself up. “You’re gettin’ too old for this kind of stuff, old man,” he muttered, as he slipped out of his coat and gloves.

The boy suddenly sat up with wide terror-filled eyes and cried out.

Frank knelt beside him. “I’m not gonna hurt you, boy. I’m just tryin’ to help.”

The boy’s eyes shot around the room. “Where am I? Who are you?” Where’s Magic?”

“Whoa there, stud. One question at a time. I’m Frank Pyburn, and this is my ranch house. I’m guessin’ Magic’s your horse. That horse saved your life tonight. I brought you back here to keep you from freezing to death. What in tarnation are you doing out on a joy ride on a night like this?”

The boy’s bottom lip trembled, and he jutted his chin out. “Wasn’t no joy ride, mister.”

He rubbed his head and groaned.

“Well, whatever it was, you can tell me all about it later. Right now, we need to get you into some dry clothes.”

The boy tried to stand and wobbled. “I need to get going.”

“You’re not going anywhere kiddo. Settle down and let’s get this all figured out. You got a name?”

“Jasper.” The boy stuck out his hand. “Jasper Doolin.”

Frank shook the small hand. “Well, then, Jasper Doolin, do you have any dry clothes in your saddlebags?”

Jasper nodded. “Got any coffee, Mister Frank?”

Frank grinned. “I reckon I do at that. Sit here by the fire, and I’ll fetch it, then I’ll get your saddlebags.”

He returned to find the boy leaning against the threadbare sofa.

“Here you go.” He pressed the cup into his small hands. “I’ll be right back.”

As he shrugged back into his coat, a million questions swarmed around him. What on earth was a young boy doing out by himself on a night like this? Something told him the answer would be unsettling.

Rather than taking time to look through the saddlebags out in the cold, Frank draped them over his shoulder and darted back inside.

He found Jasper pulling off scuffed boots and wiggling his toes close to the fire. Frank guessed him to be around ten years of age and in better condition than he’d first thought.

“Here are your saddlebags, son. Why don’t you get into dry clothes while I tend to Magic?”

Jasper nodded and once more, Frank trudged back out into the cold.

Frank talked to the horse while he led him into the barn and took the saddle and blanket off his back. The horse snuffled and whinnied, almost as if could understand every word Frank uttered. In under half an hour, he had Magic settled with fresh water and hay comfortable in the shelter of the barn.

When he opened the door to the house, his nose twitched. He shut the door and hurried into the living room.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…….

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I ran across this – Reflection

I ran across this nugget today.

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And it prompted these thoughts…

For everything that we did wrong…

For everything that we got right…

For all that we should have done…

For all that we did do…

For all the struggles…

For all the victories…

Through it all – We loved.

We dared to love with all our hearts

All our souls…

AND, we managed to have some fun along the way.

Funny how the holiday season brings nostalgia.

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Catch a ride on the Holiday Train! #RRBC

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The RRBC Holiday Train Book Trailer Block Party keeps right on rolling, but it’s making a pit stop here at my blog today!

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All you have to do is follow the link to my brand new Book Trailer Video on YouTube, leave a comment, like and share to be entered in a giveaway!

YOUTUBE LINK

Prizes up for grabs:

$10.00 Amazon Gift Card

eBook version of DISCOVERY – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes.

So, grab a cup of coffee and a Christmas cookie and take a look! coffee and gingerbread house

And don’t forget to follow the tour each day for great trailers and more chances to win fantastic prizes. Just click HERE to follow the tour!