July is almost over, so I probably won’t be posting too many more Christmas in July pictures. But yet again, I find this image to be very romantic and inspirational. I picture a couple standing on that doorstep kissing each other goodnight, and they’re so much in love. They cannot stop kissing each other either, so the affection goes on and on, despite the cold. I am not he owner of this picture, just so you know…
I cannot get over how Christmas time is so romantic and inspirational to my writing. I could write a story about how any one of these houses has a young couple inside, cuddling by the fireplace…I do not own this picture though…
Just so we’re all clear, I am not the owner of the image featured on this page. I must needs to give credit whereupon credit is due and I downloaded this image from Streamlight’s website.
I had discovered Streamlight’s flashlights some time in my teens and first saw one in real life in December of 2005 when I was 18 going on 19.
A Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s deputy showed me his Streamlight Twin Task and I thought it was cool.
I almost bought an incandescent Streamlight JR in January of 2006 and now can kick myself for not doing so.
I bought my first Streamlight flashlights in 2009 and 2010 but gave them to friends.
The first time I had considered EDCing a Streamlight flashlight was in early 2018.
So respectively in January and March of 2018, I purchased a Streamlight ProTac 2AAA.
On both of them, the pocket clamp popped off and they were forever misplaced.
So, in May of 2018, I had moved into my current place after leaving my now ex-wife and was wanting another tactical flashlight not only for illumination purposes but also for personal protection. I did not want another 2AAA ProTac because of the faulty pocket clamp, but I wanted something like it, ergo, I decided to buy its bigger brother the 2AA ProTac. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what this piece will be a review thereof.
I was indeed going through a divorce in May of 2018 and I didn’t know whether or not my soon-to-be ex-in-laws would try to cause me harm. So, I felt the need to protect myself and I knew a tactical flashlight was the way to go for me.
Because they can be legally carried where other true weapons cannot be carried.
I know how to deploy a tactical flashlight as a self-defense instrument.
At least it would give me somewhat of an advantage.
Praise God, to this date, none of my ex-in-laws or my ex-wife has made any sort of trouble with me.
I, however, know that Louisiana is unfortunately very crime-ridden and I feel the need to carry at least some sort of protection, when out and about, should anyone decide to make trouble with me.
So, at the time, the Streamlight ProTac 2AA fit the bill perfectly.
When my money was deposited on May 3, 2018, I drove to Tri-Parish Police Supply in hopes to purchase this flashlight.
Sadly they had just sold their last one before I came in the store.
So, I drove a few blocks to my local Batteries+Bulbs and saw they were selling one for the same price.
It was ~$50+tax.
That was a little high, especially for me being on a disability pension, but at the time I felt the need to carry some sort of protection.
So, instantly, I purchased it, then drove home and registered the serial number to my name.
Subsequently, I installed the 2 AA Alkaline batteries in the flashlight and turned it on.
I was amazed by the punch of brightness that this flashlight packed.
Also, the tactical strobe which was deployed by two quick presses of the switch seemed to be a winner.
And the other selling point the jagged, scalloped strike bezel also was perfect for turning a defensive weapon into a potentially offensive one.
A strike to the right place with this flashlight could be lethal.
I do remember one time I was at a church that I formerly attended and the power went out. I quickly deployed that flashlight.
One person referred to me as “Quick Draw McGraw” and, then, subsequently, “Captain Flashlight.”
Well, before that I had decided upon using “Mister Flashlight” as my CB handle, so I got a pretty good kick out of that.
Unfortunately, the power came back on seconds later.
But I did enjoy showing off.
Sadly there were no single plus-sized or supersized young ladies in that church for me to impress.
Weeks later, I traveled by passenger jet to Dayton, Ohio, for HamVention 2018.
I didn’t take that flashlight with me, in case those incompetent douchebags who work for the TSA would decide to confiscate it, even though there are no rules against carrying a tactical flashlight onboard an aircraft.
Instead, I carried a Streamlight ProTac EMS model and an incandescent Mini Maglite which I fitted with an amber lens.
I hate traveling by plane because of how one is forced to not have anything that could be even remotely used as a weapon.
I was so satisfied with my purchase that I EDCed it almost non-stop from May 2018 until January 2019.
That is when I downgraded to a Streamlight Jr.
And since then I have decided to carry a Fenix E20 version 2.0 starting in March of 2021.
The reason why I had downgraded was that I was looking for something that appeared less threatening and by that point my divorce was final and no one from my now ex-in-laws had made any trouble with me at all.
I still may carry this Streamlight ProTac 2AA should I feel that I may be in a threatening situation and I don’t want to carry my NiteCore i4000R, which right now is the best tactical flashlight, but costs double what a ProTac 2AA costs.
I maybe only used this flashlight once for a tactical purpose and that was to confront someone knocking on my neighbor’s door at a strange hour. I also used my Streamlight Jr multiple times for that purpose and subsequently was referred to as a “mall cop.”
Though it was just teenage boys knocking on the door, they got the message loud and clear when the 350 lumens of white light hit them in the face. They stepped back and shielded their eyes and when I realized that they were not a threat, I turned the flashlight off.
I think the perfect use for a tactical flashlight in the hands of a civilian is confronting someone knocking on the door at a strange hour. It could also be used in defense of someone committing a home invasion if all the lights are indeed turned off.
Tactical flashlights first off disorient the opponent, then they allow the opponent to be identified as either friend or foe.
It’s a much better tactic all around than “shoot now, ask questions later.”
And as much as I am against gun regulations, I think it should be mandatory for tactical flashlights to either be mounted on or at least used in conjunction with firearms so one doesn’t end up killing his or her loved ones by mistake when assuming the house is being invaded.
Here are some technical specifications of the Streamlight ProTac 2AA (with my commentary added in parentheses):
High for bright light: 250 lumens; 130m beam; runs 2 hours; 4,250 candela-(bright enough to disorient and identify an attacker or invader.)
Low for longer run time: 18 lumens; 40m beam; runs 43 hours; 400 candela-(provides decent light for most household and some occupational tasks.)
Strobe for signaling or disorienting: runs 4 hours-(bright and long enough to stave off an unarmed and even lightly attacker in a fight.)
Includes two “AA” alkaline batteries and nylon holster-(quite generous.)
IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes; 2 meter impact resistance tested-(this would be ideal for special forces carrying out an amphibious assault.)
Solid State power regulation provides maximum light output throughout battery life-(get’s the best and most efficient use out of most batteries.)
Rubber push-button tail switch-(ideal for any tactical flashlight, might I add that it is a forward clickie.)
Durable, anodized aluminum construction with impact-resistant tempered glass lens-(not only prevents easy breakage but also scuffing!)
Unbreakable pocket clip-(this one is so much better than the 2AAA model!)
Anti-roll head-(this would be useful if one needs to set the flashlight down.)
6.14” (15.6 cm); 3.4 oz (96 grams)-(short and light enough to carry without weighing the end-user down!)
RoHS compliant-(well this is very ethical and I wish all electronics were automatically held to that standard!)
This flashlight is available in two colors:
Coyote-(good for desert-based warfighting [where a lot of wars indeed occur].)
Black-(good for all law enforcement, special forces, home defense, or any tactical situation where stealth is an advantage.)
My one complaint is that this flashlight is made in the People’s Republic of China instead of the United States of America, but I am fully aware that those two nations are increasingly dependent on each other. In reality, they both engage in nefarious acts against their own people. I know the People’s Republic of China is unequivocally guilty of some serious human rights violations. However, the United States of America, while claiming to be a free country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, per capita. Furthermore, I urge you, the reader, to name one thing or activity in the United States that isn’t illegal, taxed, or otherwise needlessly regulated. And, for the record, The USA is still one of the best if not the best countries in the world to live in. The shortcomings of our government all around the world are just a sad symptom of a fallen world. Remember, Jesus Christ didn’t die to save governments or the planet, but rather the souls of mankind!
So I can overlook that it is Chinese made for now at least because I have to admit it is made very well. I have owned it for over three years and it still functions as well as the day I bought it!
Therefore, I give this product 5 out of 5 stars!
I suppose this concludes my review of the Streamlight ProTac 2AA.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.
May God richly bless you!
On June 30, 2021, it made seven years since I began writing my infamous “Grocer and Writer” stories. I have caught both flack and praise for writing them and yes I’ll admit that they are quite polarizing. In 2016 and 2017, I had written offshoots of them, trying to be less offensive, but I haven’t been able to elaborate on them as much as the original stories.
In this piece, I will try to document every source of inspiration that I drew from to create these stories.
It is a love story between a mildly Autistic young man who is a twenty-two/twenty-three-year-old Grocery clerk and his girlfriend, a supersized seventeen/eighteen-year-old honor student turned high school dropout. I know that in and of itself brought a lot of flack due to the high amount of controversy, but I was only trying to teach that everyone deserves to be loved.
These weren’t written in chronological order, by the way, they were written as the inspirations came to me.
WARNING: There are some sins that take place in these stories, but there is also repentance for these sins so if you, the reader, find this offensive at all, then don’t read it…
On June 30, 2014, I wrote my first piece of the series. I had previously worked as a grocer for a company I had hated, but this was 2010-2011 and there were no other jobs available, little did I know that working for this said company would cause me to draw so much inspiration. The piece takes place in January and starts with my male character whom I now will name Garth Cooper getting off of work from his God-awful grocer’s job. The name of the store where he works is known as “The Downtown Grocer” and its location is based on the New Orleans Central Business District. He fires up his old car, a 1989 Toyota, and heads to his girlfriend, an honor student turned dropout, whom I have now named Samantha Abbott, parents’ house in the suburbs which are based on Metairie/Old Metairie (a suburb directly west of New Orleans.) He brings her to his house, which was based on my Maternal Grandma’s house located in Metairie, but instead his neighborhood is inspired by Mid City, New Orleans.
In early July 2014, I wrote a piece on how they met. It is Thanksgiving and Garth Cooper is in the municipal park, writing stories in a composition book. He has the day off and uses it to focus on his passion, writing love stories. The park is based on New Orleans City Park, but also Central Park in Manhattan, New York City. The fictitious city in which they reside is inspired by a combination of New Orleans, New York, and Detroit and their respective suburbs. While Garth is writing in the park, Samantha takes a walk to the park to get away from her arguing parents. She first notices him and is attracted to him. She can get him to allow her to sit with him, even though you, the reader, will find out that she is seventeen and he is twenty-two. At first, he is reluctant but realizes no one else wanted him. They exchange phone numbers and he reads to her, making her want him all the more. They end up as a couple and sit together until the sun and Mercury go down. He drives her home, concluding the piece.
In either July or August of 2014, I wrote a piece consisting of a day at Garth’s God awful job, which is based on some personal life events I had previously experienced and Samantha’s miserable home life, which was done by observing others I had formerly known. It takes place on The Winter Solstice. As mentioned before Garth’s job at the Downtown Grocer, which is located in a neighborhood which is based on the Central Business District of New Orleans and Samantha’s parents’ house takes place in a neighborhood, based off of Old Metairie, which is a suburb to the immediate west of New Orleans. Garth is on a break along with the male janitor and the female cook. He is texting Samantha when the janitor sees the bliss in his eyes and wants to know if he is talking to his girlfriend. Garth says he is and talks about how he loves and reveres her. The cook then starts badmouthing Samantha and refers to her as a whole because she cannot stand to see a happy or chaste couple. Garth stands up to the cook and to which she threatens him with an edged weapon. All in all, Garth threatens to record her making the threats and turn the recordings over to the police to which she quiets down. Then the break is over, to which Garth begins stocking the shelves. A gentleman asks him to help him find the remoulade sauce and then helps him get some fresh fish from seafood. Garth takes care of his customer, who we later find out is none other than Samantha’s dad. The assistant store director chews Garth out for conversing with the gentleman, to which the gentleman backs him up. The assistant store director comes down harder on Garth and the gentleman overhears to which he cancels his revolving account and says how neither he nor his business partners will ever shop there again because of the way they treat their employees. Garth is forced to stock the boxed gelatin from now on. Meanwhile, Samantha is in her room listening to one of the music channels. Her pill-addicted mother is woken up by the music. She accuses Samantha of stealing her Xanax and threatens to beat her. Samantha calls her dad, to which he intervenes and tells his wife to look under the sofa for her stash. She then takes the Xanax and crashes. I wrote another piece following this where Garth gets off of work and goes pick up Samantha, then brings her to his home, which his neighborhood is based on Mid City, New Orleans. They tell each other about all that went on during the day over a simple dinner of oatmeal. Both contemplate only in their minds that they should live together as soon as Samantha turns eighteen. Then they discover their synchronous thoughts. The piece concludes with Garth looking at the clock on his dining room wall and realizing that he has work tomorrow. She tells him how she doesn’t want to go home and be around her mother. So he lovingly tucks Samantha into the bed in his extra bedroom, then goes to sleep in his bedroom, concluding the piece.
In August of 2014, I wrote a piece consisting of their first time being intimate with each other. It takes place on Christmas Eve, and Pachelbel’s Canon in D Minor had a lot of inspiration for it. Yes she is seventeen in he is twenty-two, and while they didn’t fully realize that she was legal they lovingly had sex anyway. Since the location of these stories is mostly based on Louisiana and the age of consent in Louisiana is indeed seventeen, no laws were broken. The piece begins with Garth getting off of work then going to pick up Samantha from her parents’ house. He then drives her to his house and they sit on the sofa. He offers her virgin egg nog, to which she says she shouldn’t drink because she is so fat. He reassures her that he would love her no matter what size she is. Garth then turns his television on, to where he learns of several murders that occurred over the past twenty-four hours and he also learns of the world preparing for global conflict. Samantha suggests that he turn the television off and that they focus on each other. She then confesses that she wants to be intimate with him. He doesn’t know that seventeen is legal, so he is hesitant. She convinces him that they are not guaranteed tomorrow and they should make tonight worth it. She says how she wants him so badly because he accepted her when everyone else she was interested in so cruelly rejected her. Eventually, he agrees and they go to bed together and deflower each other, falling even deeper in love.
Later in 2014, I wrote a piece of their first date together. It takes a place a week and a day after they met and became an item or a week and a day after Black Friday. Before this, they had been religiously texting each other and getting to know each other. He calls her and says how he’d like to take her on a date to a place that is based on The Riverwalk in New Orleans. She agrees, and as the phone call is finishing up they exchange those three little words! She gets dressed then texts him that she’s ready. He comes to pick her up and they go to his job to pick up and cash his check. They hold hands in the store until his boss the assistant store director orders them to stop holding hands. He cashes his check and pays the $5 cashing fee, then they go to the Riverwalk. They eat breakfast at a restaurant based off of Cafe` Du Monde, then they have lunch at a fish and chip shop, based off of the Louisiana seafood restaurant Spahr’s, which doesn’t have a presence in New Orleans. He then buys her a Casio Baby G watch at a gift shop. Afterward, they walk until the sun goes down and he takes her home. They plan to see each other again on his next day off.
Even later in 2014, I wrote a piece consisting of the night before Samantha’s eighteenth birthday and her moving in with Garth. It takes place in early February. It starts with him getting off of work and heading to the suburbs to pick Samantha up. It is a very cold evening. She is waiting for him on her parents’ driveway. His headlights illuminate her stature. He gets out of his car then opens the door for her and she gets in. He drives her to his house and they settle in. He asks her what would she like him to order her for her birthday dinner. She says something Asian. He begins to look through his telephone directory, to which she replies how she has an app to order it on her phone. She orders and soon the delivery man comes. Garth takes the food, pays him then escorts him back to his car. Afterward, they eat dinner in the dining room, to which Samantha says how the food made her sleepy. They go to bed, this time in the same bed, and cuddle, soon falling asleep in each others’ arms. They are awoken by the loud noises and subsequent explosions of a train derailment. Since this series takes place in New Orleans, but in the future almost, I had written it to where the Norfolk Southern Back Belt railroad line was rerouted from Old Metairie to Mid City, though this has yet to take place in real life, a little over four years later. The train derailment knocked out transmission power lines and caused a blackout. Samantha looks at her phone and sees how it is midnight and she is now legal to stay with him. A few minutes later, however, there is a knock at the door, and a policeman, I haven’t decided if it was a state trooper, a railroad special agent, or a city cop, orders them to evacuate.
At some point in 2015, I wrote a piece detailing their first phone conversation, on Black Friday the day after they first met. This is how they begin to get to know each other and they keep in touch on the phone for a week, mostly texting. Garth finds out that Samantha is a virgin but he doesn’t admit to her that he is as well. He also finds out that she is a high school dropout, but it doesn’t bother him. Samantha finds out how Garth wound up in the city and she is also impressed as to how Garth uses proper grammar even when texting and she decides to do so as well. Samantha tells Garth about her dad’s job and how he puts it before anything else. She also makes Garth promise that no matter how successful a writer he becomes to always sets aside time for her. He promises but states that he doesn’t know whether or not he will ever become a successful writer. Samantha tells him to be patient and have some faith. The piece concludes with Samantha’s mom waking up and being very belligerent.
In June of 2015, I wrote a piece taking place on the Sunday after their first date. Samantha texts Garth and asks him to come over. He is just waking up but gladly accepts. So he drives to her parents’ home and picks her up. He then drives her to his home for the first time. He warns her about his shady neighbors and states that his home isn’t the best. She states that it doesn’t matter to her. After they enter then he reads to her from his computer until he hears her stomach growling. He asks if she is hungry. She replies about how she is and that her mom went on an eating binge and ate all the food in their house. So he feeds her some pork n beans, the only food he has in his house. She wolfs them down. Afterward, they watch Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2 on broadcast television, while they snuggle on the sofa. After watching the movie, they eat rice pudding and drink a coffee, chicory, and milk blend then he takes her home.
At another point, sometime before July of 2015. I wrote the piece which takes place in the early morning hours of Samantha’s eighteenth birthday. They are complying with the policeman’s orders and leaving the city. Traffic is very dense as they discuss where should they go. Samantha says she doesn’t want to be with her mother. Garth says the only other option is to go to his parents’ house which is five hours away. She agrees. Traffic is still at a standstill. Finally, traffic begins to move. At some point, Garth calls his mother and explains the situation to her. He tells her that he also has his girlfriend with her. The route I planned to have them take is based on Interstate 10 from Mid City, New Orleans to around Gonzales, Louisiana with its junction with US 61/Airline Highway. They continue towards Baton Rouge on US 61 then west on US 190 until its junction with US 71, between Port Barre, Louisiana, and Krotz Springs, Louisiana where they head North. They stop at a diner for food and fuel in a town based off of Bunkie, Louisiana. Garth goes to pay for the gasoline, but Samantha insists that she will pay instead and that he can repay her “all night long.” She then hands her debit card to the cashier, to which she says how she thinks they are so cute. In July of 2015, I once met a cashier at the Race Trac in Paradis, Louisiana, who very much reminded me of the cashier in this story. As they explain the situation to the waitress, she gives them free food and a thermal mug with the company name on it. These two pieces were inspired by the Country song “Callin’ Baton Rouge.” Since Garth Brooks covered that song, I named my male character Garth, his surname Cooper comes from Dr. Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, since they are both on The Autism Spectrum, but still high functioning. By the way, Samantha also got her name from that said song and she is “such a strange combination of a woman and a child.” The last name Abbott comes from the Abbott family on “The Young and the Restless” since her dad is a business executive and reminds me of a combination of Jack Abbott and Victor Newman. I already had created a character with the last name Newman in another story I wrote, so that is why I used Abbott. I did watch Y&R a little before creating this series, but I didn’t watch Big Bang until years after creating it. You will see that Garth’s mother is also a lot like Sheldon’s mother, which was totally by accident. Anyway, after eating and talking with the waitress they get back on the road. The diner was partially based on “The Highway 71 Sandwich Shop” which was located in Bunkie, Louisiana, but I don’t think is any longer in business. They continue North, at some point deviating from what is based on US 71 and ending up on the Northeastern Louisiana Delta at Garth’s parents’ soybean farm. They are greeted by his mother.
At another point in the Summer of 2015, I wrote the piece which takes place on Christmas Day. It starts with Garth making a breakfast of French Toast for Samantha. She is sitting on the bed researching on her smartphone and finds out that she is legally at the age of consent, despite still being seventeen, in their state (which is based mostly on Louisiana where seventeen is indeed the age of consent), unbeknownst to Garth. He serves her breakfast and they awkwardly eat. She says how he should meet their parents since it is Christmas Day. There is freezing rain but they head out. During the car ride, Samantha says that she did some research and found out that she is legal. Garth is confused and asks what do you mean. She explains that seventeen is the legal age of consent in their state and that he didn’t break the law. She then confesses that she is afraid he won’t feel obligated to stay with her now that he knows this. Garth assures her that there isn’t anything in creation that could cause him to leave her. She asks him point-blank what if he got her pregnant. He then said how he would then marry her and that he already wants to, it’s just he cannot afford a ring on his low wages. Samantha brightly beams after hearing this. Her dad then calls wanting to know where she is. She explains who she is with that he is good to her and that he does indeed love her. She then says that they are headed to the house at the moment. Upon arrival they ring the doorbell and Samantha’s dad answers, saying how they’ve met before. Samantha is confused and wants to know how do they know each other. Her dad explains how he waited on him and The Downtown Grocer and took very good care of him, but was punished for talking instead of working. Garth says how he is on thin ice because of that incident. Samantha’s dad says how he can easily get him a better job but wants to make sure that he is committed to Samantha first and then asks how did they meet. Samantha interjects and tells the story and goes on to say that Garth is the only one who accepted her despite her weight. Her dad then says how she has an underactive thyroid gland and the weight is not her fault. He goes on to say how it tore him up seeing her rejected and lonely all the time. Garth despite being Autistic looks him in the eyes and says how he knows rejection too and that Samantha is the only one who wants him despite his quirks and awkwardness and that he would never dream of breaking her heart. Her dad then says how he is holding Garth to that statement and knows people who could tar and feather him. He then invites them in for Christmas Dinner, which is Asian takeout since he refuses to shop at The Downtown Grocer anymore. Samantha’s mom enters the room and asks Garth who the hell are you. Samantha replies that’s her boyfriend, and to not embarrass her. Her dad quickly says, let’s all eat, it’s Christmas and it should be peaceful. Thus the piece is concluded.
On November 7, 2015, I was sitting in the Paradis, Louisiana library and wrote the piece on when Samantha meets Garth’s parents while evacuating from the train derailment. After being greeted by his mother, she suggests that they must be tired from their trip and that Samantha can have his old bed and Garth can sleep on the sofa. Samantha becomes very distressed and Garth says how that is not necessary because they are both adults. Garth’s mother asks Samantha her age, to which she replies how she just made eighteen and she was in the process of moving in with him. This upsets Garth’s mother even more because they aren’t married. Garth’s dad wakes up and walks into the kitchen, wanting to know what is going on. Garth tells about the terrorist attack. His dad curses the terrorist groups. His mother commands him to explain the rest. Garth says how his mom is angry because he and Samantha want to sleep in the same bed. His dad tells her not to be so hard on him and they thought he wouldn’t ever find anyone because of his condition. Samantha gets very upset and wants to know what condition he has because she thinks it is something life-threatening. Garth’s dad says that he is mildly Autistic. Garth then looks at her and says how he was afraid to tell her because he thought she would leave him. Samantha replies reassuringly how she never would leave him because he loves her and reveres her. She then goes on to say that she is so fat anyway. Garth tells her that he likes her beautiful curves and that he feels bliss holding her at night. Garth’s mother then sharply commands him to watch it. Garth’s dad suggests that they all hit the sack. Garth’s mother walks to her liquor cabinet and takes a shot of whiskey, then another and tells them to do what they want. Garth’s dad shows them to the bedroom. Though I wasn’t watching Big Bang Theory at the time, I can say for sure that Garth’s mom is very similar to Sheldon’s mom.
In March of 2016, I wrote the ending piece [but not the final piece.] Garth has now become a famous writer, so he fixed up his house, bought a new truck, a new computer, and an engagement ring for Samantha. He then drives to her parents’ house to pick her up. He had asked her dad’s permission to marry her previously (in a piece which has yet to be written) to which he happily agreed. Garth then opens the passenger door for her and helps her in. He then drives her to the park. After they arrive, he suggests that they go sit on the bench where they sat when they first met. After sitting for just a moment, Garth gets down on one knee, pulls out the ring, and proposes to her. Her eyes swell with tears and she happily says yes. The cook from his former job is in the park with all of her illegitimate children. Garth stands on the bench and says how he just proposed to the girl of his dreams and she said yes. Everyone in the park claps and cheers. The cook then starts yelling to the crowd how Samantha is fat and Garth is retarded and that they will be on disability and all of the people will have to pay taxes to support them and any children they have. Garth then stands up to the cook and says he just secured a job as a romantic novelist, but that probably means nothing to her. He then says that either she leaves them alone or he will call the police. The cook pulls out a revolver and shoots Garth dead. She then aims for Samantha but several people wrestle the gun from her. Samantha sees Garth dying and her heart explodes. She then collapses on top of him and dies as well. The cook in these stories is based on several women whom I had the unfortunate experience of being acquainted with over the years. She is violently jealous of Samantha because she is only intimately known to one man, Garth, who exceedingly loves and reveres her at that, whereas the cook has children for several different men all of whom used her. The piece was also inspired by Meghan Trainor’s song “I’m Gonna Love You Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” That song was popular around that time. I caught a lot of flack for writing this, especially from my then-wife, now ex-wife. After writing this, I decided that the series was too offensive and the world wasn’t ready for it, so I decided to start writing another series, “A Train Conductor Meets a Disabled Writer”, which I haven’t had much success with.
In November of 2016, while sitting at the Raceland, Louisiana library, I wrote two more pieces covering the time Garth and Samantha spent in the country while they were evacuated from the train derailment. It starts with Garth and Samantha waking up in his old bed at his parents’ house and finding out that the heater isn’t working. Garth turns on his flashlight that he had packed (a vintage First Alert Ready-Lite that came with his house) to check the thermostat but then the bulb burns out. Samantha calls for him to come back to bed, which he does until they are both overtaken by the hunger pangs. So they walk to the kitchen where Garth’s mother is putting pancakes and bacon on the table. They eat, though there is great tension in the air. Garth says how the heater is broken. His mother corrects him and says how it is just out of oil. She then tells him to make himself useful and to go to the hardware store and get more oil. Garth says he plans to go there anyway to get a new bulb for his flashlight. Quickly they leave the house and go into town. They arrive at the hardware store just as it is opening up. Other customers are being waited on, so Garth and Samantha walk around the store. Garth meets the owner’s son and a former classmate of his while Samantha takes a call from her dad and goes into a corner. The owner’s son was once a football star but ended his career in college from an injury. He says how he now tries to be the best hardware salesman he could be. Garth explains how he is in town because the city he lives in was evacuated because of the train derailment and he needs bulbs for his flashlight and oil for his parents’ heater. The salesman looks in the computer and says there are five bulbs left. Garth says he will take all five of them, then says he’ll be paying cash for the bulbs but to charge to oil to his parents’ account. The salesman suggests he buy a Mini Maglite LED flashlight because the power might be back on to charge his flashlight. Garth says he doesn’t have enough cash for both the bulbs and the Mini Maglite. The salesman says to charge it to his parents’ account. Garth says they would be livid if he did. Samantha comes out of the corner from her phone call and says how she will gladly buy the flashlight for him like she bought gasoline for him at the truck stop. She goes on to say how he can pay her back all night long. Several people point and stare at them, then whisper amongst themselves. Garth charges the oil to his parents’ account, pays cash for the bulbs and Samantha buys him the Mini Maglite LED with her debit card. At the time of writing this, I had never been to Northeast Louisiana the first time I had gone there was in mid-April of 2018. The hardware store reminded me of one I had worked at, in Houma, Louisiana, just in a more rural setting. It also reminded me of one in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Earlier in April of 2018, I went to a rural hardware store in Napoleonville, Louisiana, and purchased a 2 AAA Mini Maglite LED just like the one featured in this piece. I was trying to recreate and live out these stories in my weird way, I guess. The piece concludes with Garth opening the car door for Samantha and then getting to the driver’s side. His mother calls him on the phone wanting to know why he and Samantha were acting lewd in the store, because of her saying he can pay her back all night long for the flashlight. She then commands them to hurry and come home because it is freezing there. This scene was based on a campaign speech I heard from Mike Huckabee where he stated that he lived in a small close-knit community and if he did anything “wrong” several people would have already called his parents to tell them, before he even got home. Also, I grew up in a small town and lived in another (Raceland, Louisiana and Mathews, Louisiana) where the people there are a bunch of nosy busybodies. The second piece of this begins with Garth driving Samantha back to his parents’ house and explaining to her that the people in the hardware store called his parents’ house about the comments she made about him paying her for the flashlight and that he is not angry with her and that he indeed will pay her back all night long, but she needs to be careful what she publically says and does in a small town. He comforts her by saying that she probably never went to a small town and didn’t realize that “everybody knows everybody” -a line from a certain Tracy Byrd song about living in the country and that small-town people are busybodies. They soon arrive at Garth’s parents’ house to which he hands his mother the tank of oil then they go to his bedroom. Garth installs a new bulb in his flashlight then opens up the packaging of the Mini Maglite LED and installs the batteries and turns it on. He is impressed by the brightness and reminds Samantha that he will indeed pay her back all night long with tips and interest compounded nightly. His mother is secretly listening to the conversation, then barges in and wants to know from Samantha how long have they “been screwing out of wedlock.” Garth tells her she doesn’t have to answer that. His mother says for them to find another place then. Samantha breaks down and says, how they first had sex on Christmas Eve. Garth’s mother gets angry with him and accuses him of charming Samantha. Samantha said how he didn’t charm her, that he does write beautiful stories but she wanted him before that and he was the only one who didn’t reject her, despite her size. Garth’s mother then insists that if they will live like a married couple then they will have the responsibilities of a married couple. She orders Garth to help his dad on the farm and Samantha to help her cook and clean. She even forbids them from sharing a kiss before going to work. Garth sulks, walks to the barn, and enters, turning on his new flashlight. His dad is impressed by the brightness. Garth says how Samantha bought it for him. His dad says she is a keeper and that he had been praying that he finds someone. Garth says how his mother isn’t happy about the relationship to which his dad says she just doesn’t like seeing him all grown up. Garth says how his mother wants him to work on the farm for as long as he stays there. His dad then asks him to help change the fluids in the tractor, then to organize the barn, as he used to when he was a child. He has said that it has gotten into disarray since he moved out. Garth’s dad is loosely based on Noah Calhoun’s dad from “The Notebook.” Garth spends the day organizing the barn until the sun goes down. Samantha helps Garth’s mom cook and clean then she also reads some of Garth’s older stories, falling even more in love with him. Finally, the day is done, Garth and his dad come in and are served green beans and seared chicken breasts. As they are eating dinner, Garth and Samantha get alerts on their phones that the evacuation order is lifted. Minutes later, the assistant store director calls Garth and tells him he has twenty-four hours to return to work or he will be terminated. Garth’s mother comments on them going home and screwing. Garth’s dad walks them to the car and suggests they get married.
In 2017, I had rewritten most of the series, but also began working on another replacement offshoot, known as “A Disabled Electrician turned Writer” which was supposed to have similar themes as these stories but without so much controversy. I had slightly more success than my previous offshoot but haven’t written any more of it since 2018. Also in 2017, I began writing “Two Foamers in Love”, yet another offshoot replacement, but haven’t gotten much of it done.
On September 4, 2018, I wrote a piece of the series which is/was a prequel to the whole series. From Garth’s perspective, he is stocking salad dressing at “The Downtown Grocer” and how he hates his job and wishes at twenty-two he would have done so much more with his life. He thinks about his loneliness and how if someone loved him for him, he would love her immensely in return and treat her with the utmost reverence. He then thinks about his writing and tries to remember all of the inspirations coming to him in waves. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and he will be off, to which he plans to go to the park and write. He works late into the night, sweeping the warehouse and taking out the trash after the store is fronted and blocked. He gets off at 11:02, goes home, and goes straight to bed not realizing that tomorrow he will meet the love of his life.
Meanwhile, from Samantha’s perspective, her mother just took several Xanaxes and then has crashed into a deep sleep. Samantha then goes into the kitchen and eats some canned fruit and drinks some milk. She says how she hates her life and how it isn’t like most seventeen-year-olds. She talks about her underactive thyroid gland and her weight problem and how she has liked many boys but they all reject her. She says how she wishes she could find a boy or even a young man who would love her for her and how she would treat him like a king. She says how she dropped out of school because she cannot get a ride to the private school she was attending because her mom is always loaded and because of her weight, she knows she would be tormented and harassed relentlessly if she began attending the public high school in her district. She contemplates suicide, by taking all of her mother’s Xanaxes at once. However, a voice in her head tells her not to give up. She goes into her room and watches “The Notebook” on demand. She watches until she can no longer keep her eyes open. Her mom then wakes up from a deep sleep and is belligerent. Samantha hears the voice again, saying just a little while longer. Her dad then comes in and argues with her mom all night long. Samantha goes to bed and dreams about those little encouraging voices, little does she know that tomorrow she will meet the love of her life…
In the Spring of 2020, I wrote my latest piece of my “Grocer and Writer” stories consisting of Garth waking up with Samantha to lightning and thunder, then sharing and hug and a kiss. Samantha then prepares breakfast whilst Garth gets ready for work. They then sit in the dining room of his house and eat breakfast, lovingly staring at each other. Garth realizes soon that he needs to be at work, so he collects the flashlight that Samantha previously bought for him and his phone then heads out the door. Samantha pleads with him to be careful, to which Garth asks her to pray for him. They then exchange those three words and one final kiss. Samantha then engages all of the locks on the door, then takes a nap. Garth drives to work and immediately clocks in. For hours, he stocks to boxed gelatin all by himself as the storm gets worse. The power is then knocked offline. Garth uses the flashlight that Samantha gave him to escort customers through the store. Samantha texts Garth about a storm cell near him and alternates between praying for him and keeping an eye on the RADAR. Garth stays in touch with Samantha discreetly by texting her from in the bathroom. Just before that, Samantha’s dad contacts her and tells her that his company is looking to get Garth published as a writer. She texts Garth and tells him that she has good news for him but wants to tell him. The cook (from the God Awful job scene) sees Garth’s flashlight and demands to use it to help repair the oven in the deli. Garth refuses based on how it is sentimental to him because Samantha bought it. An argument quickly ensues afterward the cook once again refers to Samantha as a whore. Garth threatens to sue for defamation. The assistant store director overhears and they both get written up. He also tells the cook to just charge a flashlight from the housewares section to the store’s account. Garth works diligently until break time, in which he texts her asking for the good news. She replies how she wants to tell him in person instead. They then describe their day and Garth tells Samantha how he got written up yet again, for basically refusing to allow that hateful cook to use his flashlight. Samantha tells him to hang on a little longer and that things are about to turn in his favor. He asks her if she is mad that he was written up and she replied that if she had her way, he would never work there again. Garth then tells her how he loves her with all his heart and she replies that she loves him the same. Garth then gets back to work and works until dinner time, then during the dinner break, he texts Samantha from the terrace whilst eating. Garth then works until 9:00 PM then after sweeping the warehouse, clocks out and goes home. He knocks on the door and Samantha lets him in as they lovingly kiss each other. Samantha tells Garth that the good news is how her people in her dad’s company want to make Garth a published writer and how there are still a few things to iron out but his days as a grocer are over. Garth tells Samantha how he is indebted to her and her day. Samatha then tells Garth to love her for the rest of his life and to make time for her to pay back the debt, to which he asks, how else will he have the inspiration to write what he writes? Samantha asks him what does he want to do now. Garth replies how he is tired but he wants to hold her all night long and then tomorrow they will do something together. Samantha agrees, then they walk to the bedroom with Garth setting his window unit to the coldest setting as they cuddle all night long. I think the series itself inspired most of this piece as I have borrowed elements from all previous pieces…
That’s all I have as of July 10, 2021. There are still some loose ends that need to be tied up and I am not sure of when I will get to doing so. I regret not making much of a statement to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the beginning of this series which was on June 30, 2021. All I can say is that I have been suffering some serious writer’s block. It has been quite an adventure writing these stories and I hope that anyone who reads them will realize that the main theme I have been trying to teach is that everyone deserves to love and be loved. I know there was quite a bit of controversy, and yes in some areas my heart wasn’t in the right place, but I would like to think I’ve since had my heart corrected. As I mentioned before, I have since written other stories which have been offshoots and improvements. I guess this, therefore, concludes my synopsis and commentary of my “Grocer and Writer” stories.
I began writing these at some point in 2015, through 2016, then I lost all interest in them.
The series revolves around a 16 year old boy (Grady Arden) who keeps to himself and a 19 year old terminally ill girl (Kylie LaCroix.) They quickly develop a romance, then enduring love. I would like to continue the series someday and both of them come to Christ, then have God supernaturally heal Kylie of her illness then have her and Grady eventually get married.
Please pray that I am able to accomplish such a thing.
All in all, here are some excerpts from the series of which I am willing to share:
Wednesday, November 18, 2015:
Sophomore Grady Arden was walking into the locker room at the end of his P.E. period. After finding a spot to get dressed, he quickly did so, then waited for the bell to ring. While waiting, Grady removed an iPod Touch from his backpack and began to watch videos on Youtube.
Suddenly Ishmael Brown, his classmate, grabbed the device from him.
“Give it back right now, you idiot! My dad gave me that as a gift,” Grady shouted with anger.
“What you going to do about it?” Ishmael tauntingly asked.
“How about tell the Officer Vilmont and have him beat you to a pulp.”
“If you try that, I’m going get my boys to take you out.”
“Whatever,” Grady said, then tried to take it back.
Ishmael held it over his head until Coach Kidde intervened “Do you want me to cut your ass from the team?” He asked Ishmael with anger.
“No Coach,” Ishmael replied.
“Then give it back to him. You will also do suicides for the first half of practice this afternoon.”
Ishmael sulked, handed it back to Grady and said: “This ain’t over, boy.”
“Oh, it definitely is over if you know what’s good for you. Now step!”
Ishmael walked away.
Grady shook Coach Kidde’s and said: “Thank you, Coach, I don’t know what I ever did to that jerk.”
Coach Kidde replied “It’s just the mentality some people have. If he ever does something to you again, let me or Officer Vilmont know.”
Soon after the bell rang…
A few minutes later at recess:
Ishmael said [to Grady] with anger “It’s your fault I have to do suicides at practice today. I’m going to make it worth it!”
Instantly, he punched Grady in the stomach causing him to double over on the cement. He then proceeded to stomp on him.
Suddenly, a girl who had just witnessed the event came running and screaming “Stop! Stop! Leave him alone!”
“Bitch, get out of here!” Ishmael said, dismissingly.
“I will most certainly not! In fact, I will make a bigger scene until the SRO comes and deals with you.” The girl replied, then continued, “We need help. Please, someone. There is a student being assaulted.”
Not long after Sergeant Ryan Vilmont came out and pulled Ishmael off of Grady. He then held the teen to the ground and arrested him.
The girl walked up to Grady and asked him, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I think I’ll be,” He replied.
There was a silence, but then Grady said, “Thank you for helping me.”
She sweetly hugged him and replied “Oh sure. No one deserves to be treated like that. I’m Kylie LaCroix, by the way.”
“I’m Grady Arden.”
Kylie giggled and said, “Pleased to meet you!”
The bell rang and Kylie said, “Why don’t you come eat with me during lunch. I’ll be by the entrance to the art building.”
“That would be awesome.”
“Great. I can’t wait to see you,” Kylie said with a wink. She hugged him once more and then they went to class.
Later into the day:
Grady began tapping a mechanical pencil against his desk. The teacher ordered him to stop. For a while, he stopped, but then unconsciously started tapping again. The teacher threatened to send him to the office if he did it one more time. Grady then picked up his writing instrument then looked at his G-Shock wristwatch. It was still half an hour until the period was over and the lunch recess began.
He lapsed into a trance daydreaming about Kylie. He also thought about the user created skits he enjoyed watching on YouTube. This made him wonder what Kylie would think of him when he told her that was what he spent all of his free time doing. He wondered if she would make fun of him like so many others did. He decided to give Kylie the benefit of the doubt and continued to daydream of her. He did so until the bell rang.
Grady walked to his locker and put his backpack away. He then retrieved his iPod along with his wallet and walked to the lunch line. Soon enough, Grady was served his food. It was a pork stew and rice with a garden salad, bread roll and marble cake for dessert. He also bought a pint carton of orange juice. Grady took his tray and walked to the art building.
Kylie was already sitting there, with her home-made lunch, smiling. He walked up to her and she hugged him.
“I’m glad you decided to meet me here for lunch,” She sweetly said.
“How could I not have?” Grady replied with a slight tremble in his voice.
Kylie giggled and winked at him.
Quickly they ate their meals together and afterward, they began conversing.
“What do you do for fun?”
“Well, I mostly watch videos on Youtube.” He replied with a bright blush.
She smiled and asked “What kind of videos?”
“Mostly skits that people perform. They’re something like short stories, just made into videos.”
“You really think so? Most people make fun of me for watching them. I wish I could somehow prove them all wrong and write the scripts to some of those videos. Imagine the money I could make off of it.”
“I won’t make fun of you at all. In fact, I’m sure you could create some wonderful skits.”
Grady smiled and then asked her, “What do you like to do for fun?”
“I could spend hours listening to powerful music or reading a good book. I’ve tried visual art, but I’m no good at it. God how I wish I could be.”
“Is that why you like to sit by the art building?”
“Yes. When I think that of all the creative energy that has transitioned through this building over the years, I just wish that I could tap into it and use it.”
“That’s very profound,” Grady said.
“Thanks,” Kylie replied..
Kylie talking about her parents during lunch:
“They want me to focus on the math and science courses, but I much prefer the literature and arts.”
“My parents don’t push me that hard, they simply make me go to school only because I am legally required to. But, if I dropped out, they’d expect me to go to work full time and that can’t happen for another two years when I turn eighteen.”
“So you’re sixteen?”
“I’m nineteen. I had to take time off for health reasons.”
“So you’re a senior?”
“I hope you don’t think I’m too young to hang out with you.”
“Not at all.”
“Good because I think you’re wonderful.”
Kylie smiled brightly and then she said “Hey. I know this is off the topic, but why don’t you show me some of those skits you like to watch?”
Grady replied, pulling out his iPod, “If the WiFi signal is strong enough right here, we can watch them.”
“That would be nice.”
“All right, say no more.”
Grady pulled up the Youtube app and they watched several videos. Soon they saw the link to a short romantic skit.”
Kylie pointed to it and said, “Let’s watch it.”
“I don’t know, those romantic ones depress me.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I don’t have anyone.”
Kylie looked at him directly and asked, “Do you want someone?”
Grady blushed and replied “Sure, I do believe that no one should be alone. If only I had someone I could love and love me in return.”
She then placed her hands on his and smiled at him and then asked, “Do you really mean that?”
“Yes, of course.”
Kylie placed her hands on his face and asked: “Grady, How do you feel about me?”
“My God, Kylie, you are sweet and smart and not to mention beautiful. But what do you see in me?”
She hugged him tightly and said “I see plenty and I want you! Do you want me?”
“Then ask me.”
“What do you want me to ask you?”
“If I can be your girlfriend, duh.”
“OK, Kylie LaCroix. Will you be my girlfriend?”
“Yes, of course, I will. Do you know why?”
“Because you’re sweet, you’re honest and you are as cute as a newborn Collie. That’s my answer as to what I see in you!”
She then threw her arms around him and their lips met.
After sharing their kiss they hugged tightly and Kylie asked, “So how now do you feel about watching one of those romantic skits?”
“Let’s watch ’em,” Grady replied.
Kylie then cradled Grady’s head in her lap while they held hands and watched. Unfortunately, the bell rang a seemingly short time after.
“I guess we better get to class,” Grady said.
“I suppose. Let’s meet up after school.”
“All right, that sounds awesome!”
“It’s a date!” Kylie said, kissed him and then they walked to their classes…
As Grady was walking through the halls, Kylie rushed up and hugged him.
She then asked, “What would you like to do this afternoon?”
“I’m up for anything,” Grady replied.
“Would you like to come over to my house?”
“What would your parents think?”
“They won’t be home until eight or nine tonight. What about yours?”
“Well my dad is out of state right now and my mom won’t be home until after seven o’clock tomorrow morning.”
“Then we could go to your house right?” Kylie asked with a wink and a bright smile.
“Sure, I guess,” Grady replied awkwardly.
“Awesome. I’ll just get on your bus instead of mine.”
“I wish I could drive you, but I never had the chance to get my license.”
“That’s alright. I cannot drive either, my doctors don’t want me to.”
“Well as soon as I can get my license, I’ll take you everywhere you want and need.”
“Kylie kissed Grady and said, “You’re so sweet!”
So hand in hand they sat and waited for Grady’s bus to arrive. When it came, they entered just as quickly as the doors opened. Quickly, they found a seat.
“The ride takes a while to get to my house,” Grady said.
“It’s fine. All that means is that we can hold each other until we arrive. Then we can do even more!” Kylie said rubbing his face.
Grady sat by the window so he could see when they were near his stop and Kylie leaned against him, resting her head on his chest. Nervously he kissed her forehead.
She smiled from ear to ear and told him, “I like when you kiss me.”
They faced each other and their lips met. Awkwardly there was a meeting and pressing of each others’ mouths.
“That was wonderful! I hope there is more to come!” Kylie said.
“There is much more, as long as you’re okay with it. If you ever want me to stop, just say so.” Grady replied.
“I’ll never want you to stop any affections towards me!” Kylie said kissing him once more.
The bus driver then shouted, “Um, Grady Arden and whoever that girl you brought on my bus is, cut it out right now or I’ll the cops on y’all.”
“Jeez, sorry Miss Dolores. We didn’t mean any harm,” Grady said.
Kylie pouted and whispered to Grady, asking, “Why did you apologize?”
“Because this is my only ride to and from school.”
“I guess you’re right. But, I cannot wait until we get to your house.”
Grady smiled and simply held her hand.
“Get in separate seats now!” The bus driver shouted.
“But why?” Kylie asked in distress.
“Don’t question me, little girl, just do as I say or I will call the cops and you will be charged with engaging in lewd conduct.”
Kylie sulked then moved to a different seat, catercorner to Grady’s. They stared at each other in distress.
The bus ride was going seemingly fast up until that point. Now it seemed to drag on since Grady and Kylie’s affections were cruelly and abruptly halted.
Finally, the bus stopped at Grady’s house and both he and Kylie got off.
The driver looked at Kylie and said: “Just remember your actions have consequences, you little brat.”
“Lay off of her Miss Dolores, she’s the only one in the whole school who is nice to me.”
“Shut your mouth, Grady. Furthermore, don’t bring her on my bus again, if you’re going to act like that with her.”
Grady and Kylie stepped off the bus…
Grady and Kylie alone for at least a brief moment:
“At least we’re alone now,” Grady said as he retrieved his house key from the lanyard around his neck and unlocked the front door. Little did they know they were being watched by Grady’s hateful neighbor, Lester Ewing…
Grady and Kylie entered the house together alone. There was, at first, an awkward silence, until their hormones began to get the better of them.
“Finally, we’re all alone!” Kylie said with excitement as she teasingly lifted up her uniform skirt in front of Grady.
“I’m all yours; Your wish is my command!” Grady answered as his voice shook a little.
Kylie giggled then began to undo Grady’s belt and unzip his uniform pants.
They lovingly began to remove each others’ clothing until Kylie paused said in distress, “I do have very deep feelings for you and I only hope and pray that they are mutual. And, yes, I do want to make love to you, Grady Arden, but I must first tell you something important.”
Grady paused from unfastening the buttons on Kylie’s oxford uniform shirt, held her hands and said, gently “We don’t have to sleep together, but I definitely would if you indeed wanted me to. If something is bothering you, then please tell me; what is it?
“It’s about my health and it is serious. I only hope and pray that you will still want me.”
“I doubt there is anything that can change how I feel about you, especially any health condition.”
“Well, here goes:” Kylie said with a slight reluctance.
Suddenly there was a banging on the back door.
Both hurriedly fixed up their clothes.
“Grady, open this door now. I know you’re alone in there with a girl and if you don’t answer, I’ll call the cops on both of you.”
“Damn it, busybody Lester Ewing is here.”
“Who’s that?” Kylie asked.
“My jerk of a neighbor.”
“If he calls the cops, they’ll find out our age difference and I’ll get in so much trouble,” Kylie said with great anxiety.
“What should I do?”
“Stall him I guess.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
Grady then walked to the door and said: “Don’t you have anything better to do Lester?”
“I do, but I don’t want my tax dollars supporting any children you produce.”
“But that is none of your business.”
“I’m making it my business and it will also be the cops’ business if you don’t send her home right now.”
“Please don’t call the cops; if you do I’ll never be able to see her again.”
“Not my problem, so I suggest you make her leave right now.”
“How do you expect me to do that? Neither of us drives a car.”
“Then you tell her to get on the phone and have someone pick her up.”
“This really isn’t fair.”
“I’ll tell you what isn’t fair, you getting her pregnant and having us taxpayers support the child.”
“Okay. I’ll go talk to her.”
“You better make it quick.”
Grady walked back to his room where Kylie was sitting on his bed. In distress, he asked her, “Is there anyone that could pick you up and take you home?”
Kylie sobbed, asking, “Why? I want to make love to you.”
“And I want to be intimate with you just as much, but busybody Lester will call the police if you don’t leave. I can’t risk you going to jail because then I’ll never see you again.”…
A few moments later:
Kylie then introduced Dylan to Grady.
Dylan said sternly, “I hope you’re not trying to use my baby cousin and then dump her because she already has plenty of pain in her life.”
Kylie interjected, “He isn’t trying to use me. Coming here was my idea. Anyway, I think he’s a virgin.”
Dylan looked at Grady in the eye and said: “I want to hear it from you.”
Grady replied “She’s right, I’m a virgin. And I truly mean her no harm. Yes, we were about to sleep together. But I want you to know I would have waited however long for her. I have deep feelings for her and I can only pray that she has the same feelings for me.”
Dylan looked at Grady and asked with great seriousness “Will you be committed to her and her only?”
Grady nodded and said “You have my word. I’ve known no other and want no other. I only want Kylie, period.”
“You seem to be telling the truth. I can tell when someone is lying and I’m almost sure you’re not.”
“I’m honest as a robin.”
“Then, I want you to know that there’s something you must know about her.”
“I’ll tell him. I was about to tell him anyway.” Kylie interjected.
She then held Grady’s hands, looked directly into his eyes and said with a heavy heart, “I am terminally ill. The doctors tell me that I have at best three or four years to live.”
Grady broke down and tears filled his eyes as he spoke “My God, Kylie, I’m so sorry and there are no words that can express it. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to anyone. You are beautiful both body and soul and I was truly hoping we could have been together forever.”
“Do you still want me now that you know this?”
“Of course I still want you, nothing will ever change that. I just now want to pray for the ability to always make you happy and comfortable.”
“Oh, I love you, Grady! Do you love me too?”
“Yes, Kylie, I love you! And I am greatly honored that you have chosen me to live out your last years with.”…
Grady and Kylie ride to the park:
As they were riding in the bed of Dylan’s truck, Grady asked Kylie “Could you tell me the time on your phone?”
“Sure.” Kylie looked at her phone and said: “It’s 4:14.”
“Great. That’s what my watch says too. It keeps time really well.”
“Why did you need to know that?”
“Because we need to know when 6 o’clock gets here so we can catch the bus and I don’t want to bother you to keep looking at your phone.”
“That’s thoughtful of you, Grady.”
“Yes, I can set my alarm for five fifty. That way we can have enough time to walk to the bus stop by the park.”
Grady began to set his alarm and Kylie watched him smiling.
She then said, “That’s a manly looking watch you have.”
“It’s a Casio G-Shock. My dad gave it to me. He also gave me my iPod Touch.”
“My parents only give me gifts for Christmas and my birthday.”
“Well, I guess my dad gives me gifts year round because he is always working and never gets to spend time with me. He usually only gets one day off during the week and he sleeps most of that day. He tells me that when he retires he’ll spend time with me.”
“Money isn’t everything.”
“You’re right. What’s money if you never have time for anything else?”
“Speaking of time, come hug me and give me a kiss. We’ve only got a little while together.”
Grady crawled across the truck bed and came to Kylie. She then playfully grabbed him and held him as they lay down on their sides. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes smiling but then Grady became distressed. Soon he was fighting back tears.
Kylie wiped his eyes with her shirt and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Grady replied “It just cuts me like a razor blade that we won’t have a long life together. God, I love you so much, Kylie.”
“I love you too. Just try not to think about it and instead let’s focus on making each other as happy as possible.”
“You’re very brave, Kylie.”
“I may seem brave but I’m actually scared to death.”
“I wish there was something I could do.”
“There is, just hold me closer.”…
I have slightly more of it written but I am not willing to share it as of yet, because I want to keep, you, the reader, in suspense. I hope that what I have shared so far is interesting enough.
I began writing this story in late February of 2020, just before Coronavirus became an issue for the USA.
I imagine it to take place in New York City and the suburbs thereof, but one of my main characters is from Southeast Louisiana.
The story is about a blossoming romance between a tortured visual artist named Carlisle Snowden and a violinist named Alexandra Barbu with a troubled past of her own.
I wish I could write more of this, but unfortunately I have been suffering severe writer’s block.
I do admit that some of this story needs to be redone because of the sinning that occurs in these stories, but I pray that God give me the grace to remove it.
I do have other pieces which are innocent enough to share, though…
So, below are some excerpts from the story:
Alexandra’s abusive uncle was waiting in the front to pick her up, when he witnessed pianist and most experienced member Davis Istre giving her a handful of cash, saying, “You earned it girl, with those mad violin skills! You bring our group to a whole new dimension, and you were awesome at our last gig, so go buy yourself something nice!”
She hugged him and thanked him, then saw her uncle.
“Let’s go!” He said impatiently, “I want us to get out of this part of the city before the sun goes down and all the riff-raff come out!”
Saxophonist Leroy James answered him, “Chill out man! And don’t be so full of hate!”
“Spoken like a true blue dope head,” Her uncle replied with disgust, “I’m surprised you don’t use your saxophone as a bong pipe.”
He then looked at Alexandra and said, “Now you come with me right now young lady!”
Alexandra rolled her eyes and then left with her uncle.
They walked out of the abandoned building and into his single cab older GMC truck.
“I know that those in your band smoke that dope. I better not find out that you smoke dope or I will kick you out of my house.”
“No, I don’t smoke dope. I’m already fat and if I smoke dope, I’ll likely get fatter and have wrinkles as well.”
“Well, the fact that you are fat means you will never make it in the music industry. So you should go back to school or get a real job like everyone else.”
Alexandra was now getting angry, but kept calm and concealed it, saying, “I don’t know, what about Meghan Trainor?”
“I never heard of her,” Her uncle replied.
“That figures, otherwise you wouldn’t have made that ignorant statement.”
“Watch that attitude young lady, you will never be too old for me to backhand you.”
“That’s where you are wrong. If you lay a single finger on me, I will press charges.”
“How dare you! You are riding in my vehicle and staying under my roof and you would press charges on me after all your aunt and I did for you.” There was a tense silence but then he continued, “You know what, give me your money, you owe me for food and rent!”
“I need that money to keep my phone turned on so I can keep in touch with my band,” Alexandra protested.
“Well, that’s too bad. Now give me your money or you can find somewhere else to stay.”
“You’re such a jerk!”
“No, you just need a dose of reality, big time! Now give me your money…”
“I’ll speak to my aunt first,” Alexandra said, pulling out her phone.
“If you call her you can get out right now.”
“Then put me down right here. I’ve had enough of you anyway.”
“Fine, have it your way. Now get out!”
Alexandra unbuckled her seat belt, opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
Her uncle then flung her violin in its case out the door then said, “And take that stupid instrument with you!”
An elderly black lady came outside and said, “Carlisle, I heard you shouting what happened, baby?”
Alexandra spoke up and told her, “It’s partially my fault, ma’am. My uncle was driving me to his house but we had an argument and he kicked me out of his truck. He then threw my violin out as well and it knocked this young man’s easel down and ruined his painting.”
“Well, I’m going to have to call the police then, people can’t just be abandoning minors on a city street.”
“But, I’m not a minor. I’m actually twenty-going-on-twenty-one,” Alexandra said, then continued, “But I do, however, have no place to go.”
The artist spoke, “Wow, I thought I had issues. I’m very blessed compared to you! My name is Carlisle Snowden by the way.”
“You are blessed, Carlisle and your blessings will continue as long as you be a blessing to others. Just remember to keep taking that medicine, keep letting your light of kindness shine to others around you and keep painting those beautiful pictures!” The elderly black lady said.
“It’s nice to meet both of you, I’m Alexandra Barbu.”
The elderly black lady answered her, “You can call me Mother Nellie. I look out for the whole neighborhood and I pray for everybody.” She paused and then said, “Something tells me there was a reason that both of you met.”
Carlisle’s face grew very serious as he looked at her and said, “Mother Nellie, if you’re suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, I believe Alexandra is a bit too young for me.”
“Child, age is just a number. Besides, I know how lonely you are and how you’ve been praying that the Lord send you someone special. She just might be the answer to your prayers! I know you’re one of the few white men in the neighborhood and she is also white. I’m very aware of the racial tension that exists, so I think you and her would be perfect together! While I think mixed babies are beautiful, I know they receive a lot of ill-treatment in this cruel, hateful world.”
“You don’t look that old anyway,” Alexandra said.
“I just made thirty-four,” Carlisle replied.
“Wow. I thought you would have been twenty-two or twenty-three, twenty-five, tops. I mean, you are very cute!”
“Well, thanks. I get that a lot. But, see, I’m probably too old for you.”
“What if I told you that I’m very mature for an twenty-going-on-twenty-one-year old and I do like older guys?!”
“I don’t know. You are very pretty and you seem sweet, but I have a lot of reverence for you and…”
“You’re making me blush! It’s a good thing though if you have reverence for me, that means you would treat me well.”
“Yes, that’s true, I suppose.”
“We also have a lot in common, I mean we’re both artists in our respects. I bet I could play my violin while you paint and inspire you to create some beautiful portraits or I could study your previous paintings and be inspired to play some beautiful music.”
“Come to think of that, as Mother Nellie said, I have been praying that the Lord send me a significant other, and I would want my relationship with her to have exactly those attributes. Maybe age is just a number after all.”
“Well, duh, silly!” Alexandra replied, then continued soberly, “But am I too fat for you, though?”
“As I said before, I think you’re very pretty, weight included! And more importantly, you have a beautiful heart and a brilliant mind!”
“You’re making me blush even more, but I feel so giddy!”
“I can see you blushing and I think it’s adorable! I’d like to kiss you where you are blushing, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds.”
“Aw, that is so sweet. By the way, you wouldn’t be overstepping your bounds. I’d want you to kiss me. In fact, come here and kiss me right now!”
Carlisle walked off the steps and onto the sidewalk.
Mother Nellie said, “I’ll leave you two alone.” She then went inside.
I would like to be in on their jam sessions and paint while they make music.”
“They would be flattered, I’m sure.”
“When is the next time you practice with them?”
“Not tomorrow but the next day.”
“Do you think I could come and paint?”
“Where does your band meet to practice?”
“There’s an abandoned building a few blocks away.”
“Wow! Just from what you describe your band seems very genuine. I bet they make the most awesome music. What is their name?”
“A Little Bit of Everything (And Not Too Much of Nothing.)”
“That is so original! I now cannot wait to hear you play with them!”
“I would like to see some of your paintings, if that’s all right.”
“Of course! I’d be honored to show you!”
Carlisle walked to his closet and pulled out several painted canvases.
“There’s this blogger who’s work I love to read,” He said, “I typically read the fiction page of his blog and then meditate on his stories, once my heart and mind are full of inspiration I try to bring those stories to life in my paintings.”
He began to show them to Alexandra one by one:
“This first one,” He said, “Is a portrait of a young couple sitting in an urban park. He is reading his stories to her and she is hanging on to his every word. Look, you can almost feel what they are feeling!”
“It’s kind of like us, but in a parallel universe,” Alexandra replied.
“Here’s another one, two teenage runaways hiding under an overpass on a cold night. It’s them against the world but look how much in love they are!”
“Yes! Yes! I can feel it! Show me some more!”
“Very well: Here is a teenage couple laying together in the fields on a dreary day. He is cradled in her lap, but look how he stares up at her with so much love!”
“I want to cradle you in my lap if that’s all right with you. There’s so much more I want to do with you as well!”
“I desire those things as well, Alexandra, but you do command a lot of reverence!”
“Then if you revere me so much, give in to my desires!”
Carlisle hugged Alexandra then they share a few kisses once again.
“I would like to cradle you in my lap, that is if you would want that as well.”
“Sounds wonderful to me. Let me pull out the mattress on my futon.”
“I have a Sony portable radio that’s probably older than you and I use it to listen to NPR. However, I’m probably the only resident of this building who listens to that network. There’s some fine music on at this hour if you want to listen.”
“Wow! I too would try to listen to NPR, but then my uncle broke my radio in a fit of anger when he caught me doing so. He took a sledge hammer and crushed it to pieces. Of course, he did that also to my computer, which I lost so many of my recordings.”
Carlisle said, “He sounds like a terrible person and how I saw him act today further backs that assumption I have about him,”
“You assume correctly though!” Alexandra answered.
“I don’t have it in me to act like that, unless I’m severely provoked,”
“Well I think someone would have to do something extremely wrong to provoke you.”
Alexandra smiled at Carlisle and he plugged his radio into the electrical socket, then extended out the FM antenna and turned it on, placing it on the window sill as he said to her, “Well, for the record, in my place, you may listen to NPR or anything else you wish to hear until your heart is content!”
Alexandra then sat on the mattress of the futon and Carlisle rested the back of his head in her lap and looked up at her face with admiration.
She played with his curly hair and spoke as they listened to classical music, “I’ve never met a man like you, but I must confess I am falling for you quickly!”
“The feeling is mutual! I’m so sorry I misjudged you about your age because you do seem so perfect for me!”
“It’s quite all right. All that tells me is what a decent guy you are!”
“Thank you. That means a whole lot coming from someone like you!”
“Well, I mean every word of it,” Alexandra said as she continued to play with Carlisle’s hair and rubbed his face with her soft hands.
They rested on the futon and listened to the radio until Carlisle heard Alexandra’s stomach growling. The noise became increasingly loud.
“Are you hungry?” He asked her.
“Yes. I haven’t eaten since Noon. All my band and I had were doughnuts and coffee.”
Carlisle looked at his SwissGear wristwatch. The hands pointed to 10:17.
“Good Lord, you need to eat, as do I,” He said, then continued, “I made a pot spaghetti around lunchtime, but I can heat it up.”
“That sounds good, I’m not picky. Of course, I’m not picky, look how fat I am!”
“With all reverence due, I think you’re very sexy!”
“Aw. Thank you! Just so you know, there’s a lot of sexy things I want to do with you!”
“As do I but let’s eat first. We both need some nourishment.”
Carlisle and Alexandra walked to the kitchen and he began to heat the pot of sauce and the pot of noodles on his stove.
In time the noodles were steaming and the sauce was bubbling.
He grabbed himself and Alexandra a plate and served both of them a generous portion of noodles and sauce.
He then took a two Liter bottle of Cherry Coke from his refrigerator and poured them each a tall glass as he said, “I don’t know if you prefer Wild Cherry Pepsi or Cherry Coke, but I buy whichever one is on sale.”
“Either one is fine like I said, I’m not picky.”
They then sat down at Carlisle’s coffee table and ate quickly.
That’s all I am willing to share at the moment. I hope I can clean these stories up and make them more appropriate, both for Christians and non Christians alike.
Just so we’re all operating on the same wavelength, I do not own the featured image on this page. I give credit to whomever credit is due.
Between the summer and fall of 2001, my interest in radio electronics was taking off astronomically.
It began in the spring of 2001 but in reality, I had always been interested in radio electronics.
I discovered Family Radio Service in either late September or early October of 2001.
Later in October of 2001, I purchased my first FRS transceiver, a BellSouth 1010 Ranger Communicator, made by U.S. Electronics. And that is what this piece will be a review thereof.
I purchased this radio during one weekend of October 2001. I believe it was a Saturday. Of course, I was planning to purchase it for several weeks. The night before I purchased it, I saw several people using them at the Chackbay Firemen’s Fair.
When I got home, I installed the batteries and then began to use the scan feature.
Even though I wasn’t in a very populated area, I heard quite a few people talking on different channels. Some of them would answer me back in a friendly way, others would get annoyed that I tried to join their conversation.
Most of what I heard were spouses talking and hunters in the woods. Now and then, I heard people traveling in caravans. Once or twice I came across other teenagers.
I would soon discover that the maintenance crew at my school also used FRS transceivers at the time and that is how I began to befriend them. They gave me my first job in the summer of 2005.
FRS had two things going for it twenty years ago:
First, while the advertised range was only two miles, you actually could get two solid miles of communication range. This is unlike nowadays when the advertised range is maybe 35-50 miles but in practice, you’re doing well if you can get a few blocks of communication range.
Second, there were fewer people with cell phones because cell phones cost more two own and operate, weren’t as user-friendly, and could only call, text, and maybe play a few basic games. There also were very few if any people with unlimited calling plans. So this made FRS a much more cost-effective communications plan, at least for short-range communications.
Now in 2021, I am in a slightly more densely populated area and can set an FRS transceiver to scan and won’t hear anything for hours or if I do, it’s a GMRS repeater on one of the shared channels. Most of FRS traffic is antenna tower climbers and land surveyors. Although on Christmas Day, I’ll hear some kids and teenagers playing on the FRS transceivers they got for Christmas.
The BellSouth 1010 had amazing audio quality and despite being very affordable was built pretty solidly, although the belt clip was flimsy. It could also transmit the signal a solid two miles and hear units two miles away. It featured all fourteen channels (which was the legal limit back then), a backlit LCD, a scan function, volume control that was loud enough even on the lowest setting, a light to indicate the unit was transmitting, and a call tone feature. It operated on 4 AAA batteries and the run time was pretty generous for its time. An optional charging adaptor and batteries could be purchased. There were no CTCSS or DCS tones, but the radio made up for it with range and audio quality.
During Thanksgiving Week of 2001, we were eating at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company when my parents’ car had an electrical problem. I used the radio to summon help and one person answered me and offered but the problem with the car was too complex, so eventually, they had to get it towed to a mechanic.
I had realized there were even more FRS users in larger metropolitan areas, much to my delight.
I carried this radio with me until August of 2002 when I upgraded to a BellSouth 2231 and I tried out several other FRS radios since. I have since bought duplicates for sentimental reasons.
It was FRS that got my feet wet with radio communications and would be one of the catalysts that caused me to get an Amateur Radio license. I now hold a General Class license and plan to start studying for my Extra Class.
I wish FRS transceivers were made this well in 2021. And it would be nice to add some of the modern features such as CTCSS, DCS, multiple call tones, waterproofing, weather radio, USB charging, to name a few.
If you’re wondering what FRS transceiver I am currently using, I now use a Motorola Talkabout T600.
For years though, I used a Motorola Talkabout T6250, which I initially purchased in October of 2003 and I wish Motorola would bring that model back!
I should write a review on both of those radios because I do like them as well. Stay tuned!
By the way, I give this radio 4.75 out of 5 stars! I took off a quarter-point because of the flimsy belt clip.
I suppose this concludes my review of the BellSouth 1010 Ranger Communicator.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, entertained, and enlightened.
May God richly bless you!
Just to let everyone know, I do not own the featured image on this page. Rather I downloaded it from eBay. I give credit to whomever credit is due!
It was Labor Day September 3, 2001. I was out shopping with my Mom because I had some extra cash on me from doing various odd jobs.
I was hoping to buy some CDs with that cash, but the employees of the music store refused to sell them to me because I wasn’t old enough and the lyrics were explicit.
In the previous summer, I had begun to cultivate my interests in all radio electronics. At that point, I was amazed by the fact that television signals could still be received over the air for free. I wanted to experiment with that. I had even asked my parents to put up a television antenna so I could experiment but they flat out refused. They were never supportive of my electronics interests at all, but they sure call me up whenever one of their electronics is on the blink. They had subscribed to cable since before I was born and they didn’t like the idea of watching over-the-air television. To this day, they still don’t. Must be a Boomer thing…
So, while my Mom was shopping at Southland Mall, I had wandered over to Big Lot’s which had recently been established there and was only a few feet away. In those days Big Lot’s had a much better selection of electronics than they do now.
I had seen a few interesting things in there but what caught my attention was a Coby CX-17. Not only could it receive standard AM and FM broadcasts but also the audio from TV channels 2-13 and Weather Radio broadcasts!
And that radio receiver is what this piece will be a review thereof.
Technically this was my first Weather Radio, although I never used it for that purpose nor do I remember it ever picking up the weather broadcasts.
I wanted it to be able to hear the television audio, so I could experiment with that.
When I got home, I remember standing near the dog kennel in my parents’ backyard and listening to FM. I don’t recall which station I was hearing but it was playing, “Push” by Matchbox 20. I did appreciate the audio quality when it was indeed able to lock onto a station.
In the following days, I tried to be able to hear the television signals with varying degrees of success. The stations that were easiest to hear were WWL-TV which was on Channel 4 and WDSU-TV which was on Channel 6. I could also hear WYES which was on Channel 12.
Unfortunately now, this radio is mostly obsolete because television audio signals are no longer analog FM as they were before June 12, 2009. The FM selection is nowhere near as good as the selection on even the cheapest dedicated FM receivers. This is because it shares the bandwidth selection with TV channels 2-6. So there’s not much space for FM and therefore very poor selectivity.
I think I was only able to receive the stronger stations on AM but I wasn’t much of an AM listener at the time.
For the Weather Band, I don’t ever recall hearing a weather broadcast on this radio, but maybe I never tuned it down to that position, since TV Channel 13 was at one end of the band and Weather was at the other end. Also, this isn’t the strongest of receivers and the two weather broadcast stations nearest me were about 40 and 50 miles away, respectively.
On Friday, September 7, 2001, there was a teacher conference and so I was with my siblings and younger cousins at our Grandparents’ house. I was experimenting with that radio. The day was quite stormy and we were in between thunderstorms. I commented on how my radio is picking up a lot of static, so I think another storm is coming. My Paw Paw commented that the static had happened because he “just expelled a gas.” For those that knew my Paw Paw, you would all understand, but for those who didn’t, he was constantly cracking dad jokes or toilet jokes. He probably made me laugh more than anyone else.
A day later my brother had a bantam football match in the Superdome and I stayed with my Grandparents again. I was trying to improve the reception with aluminum foil but only had marginal results. There was some tennis match being covered, I remember that.
So this wasn’t the best of radio receivers, not by a long shot.
However, it does have sentimental value one for it helping me further cultivate my interest in radio electronics. And this was the radio I had with me on September 11, 2001. I don’t think any American alive on that horrible day will ever forget where they were when those radical islamic terrorists carried out their egregious attacks.
I was in class, an Eighth Grader at Vandebilt Catholic High School.
I did have that radio in my pocket throughout the day.
I wasn’t carrying a flashlight at that point in my life out of fear of harassment for liking flashlights.
Carrying a knife or multi-tool to school would have meant automatic expulsion and criminal charges.
One girl pointed out that I had a radio in my pocket during lunch and she threatened to tattle on me. I have no idea how I talked her out of it.
Later that day, after school I stood on my parents’ driveway and tuned in WWL-TV’s audio signal. Dan Rather was covering the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
I carried that radio with me everywhere until October of 2001 when I began to get interested in FRS and bought a BellSouth 1010 Communicator. I should do a review on that radio as well.
My Cob CX-17 broke some time a little over a year later and I was disappointed because of the sentimental value it had.
Earlier today, I ordered another one on eBay, for old times sake. I plan to keep it in a safe place when it comes in.
If I had to give a rating of it, I would give it a 3 out of five stars. While it is very compact and does indeed look cool. And yes the audio is fairly decent. But the selectivity, especially on FM is poor and the receiver sensitivity especially on Weather Band is also poor. This radio would have been more appropriate for those who dwelled in a major city, not someone living on the broadcast fringe like myself.
All in all, I guess this concludes my review of the Coby CX-17.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe, somehow even entertained.
May God richly bless you!
I was always interested in radio.
Starting at the age of eight going on nine, I listened to the radio regularly. From that age until the age of fifteen or sixteen, I mostly listened to stations that played Top 40 music.
Starting at age 15, I began to become interested in talk radio, though I didn’t start to listen to it on the regular until the Summer of 2003 at the age of sixteen and a half.
Part of this was a desire to experiment with AM radio and the other part of this, was because I was starting to think politically.
By the Fall of 2003, I was listening to talk radio more than music radio. I was then sixteen going on seventeen.
Because of many policies of the Bush Administration (2001-2009), I remember commenting in my World History Class that America had become “a police state.” I was echoing what former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne, God rest his soul, said on his talk show. The teacher barked back saying that I “listen to too much talk radio.” He was right about me listening to too much talk radio, but, America during the Second Bush Administration had become very much like a Fascist police state. Do me a favor and read the 14 Points of Fascism and see for yourself. Another time, this same teacher personally went up to my desk and referred to the French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” because they refused to participate in the Iraq War. He durn well knew that nationality of my surname is French and he frequently made fun of it.
Okay, I may seem off topic but I’m going somewhere with this.
Between the time I started listening to talk radio in 2003 until late August of 2005, there was a lot of awesome talk radio content to choose from in the New Orleans market and even in adjoining markets.
A very wicked woman named Katrina ruined all of this and many other things. Some things have rebuilt themselves out of the ruins, but unfortunately, talk radio in New Orleans has not. Even most of the current content on WWL is pretty boring for someone like me.
In this piece, I will try to list the stations in the New Orleans market that was once very entertaining and informative but have since either gone dark or were converted to something more boring.
I think the best way to do this is to list by frequency. I will be going mostly by memory but I do have the assistance of good ole Wikipedia. Some stations are still in operation, but during that time I didn’t listen to them. Keep in mind that the period I am referencing for these stations is between June of 2003 and late August/early September 2005.
Here we go:
600 kHz WVOG-So I didn’t listen to this station until after I came to Christ in July of 2004. Afterward, I listened to it quite a bit until I began to backslide for the first time in March of 2005.
690 kHz WTIX/WIST (now WQNO)-I discovered this station in October of 2003 and it was carrying a show hosted by former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne. The station had a feed from a radio network that carried other interesting shows. I wish I could remember the name of that network. Harry Browne came on every night at 10:00 PM Central Time but before Harry Browne came on, there was a show about astronomy that I would tune in while waiting for Harry Browne to come on. I almost began to cultivate an interest in astronomy just from listening to that show. At the top of every hour, there was a news broadcast from CNN Radio and at the time CNN was more moderate, very much unlike today. In April or May of 2004, the station became more conservative, which I was opposed to conservative values mostly because I had not yet come to Christ and I was young. Furthermore, I was staunchly against blindly following those in authority just because they were indeed in authority. It seems that so many around me blindly supported George W. Bush, no matter what, and I was appalled. The station began playing news broadcasts on the hour from Fox News, which I eschewed. Another thing I eschewed was so much dedication to sports on that station. There were still some talk programs but only aired while I was in school. One program that stayed on until maybe Katrina was a local show hosted by Gerry McCann who was an electronics technician in the New Orleans area. Seriously why can’t there be more shows like these? By the time Katrina did her evil deeds, I didn’t listen to this station. 690 kHz used to put out 20,000 Watts but now puts out less than 10,000 during the day and even less power at night. I’m not complaining at all because the station now carries catholic community radio and also some feeds from ewtn. I cannot endorse anything catholic anymore and maintain a clear conscience.
750 kHz KKNO-I received this station a couple of times whilst trying to receive WSB out of Atlanta, which is on the same channel.
800 kHz WSHO-I didn’t listen to this station until after coming back to Christ in late 2008, so I cannot comment much on what it was like pre-Katrina. I know now that I enjoy Christian music and some of the Bible studies aired on this station.
870 kHz WWL-my Dad listened to this station a lot all while I was growing up, especially during sporting events and whenever preparing for a hurricane. I discovered “Newswatch Magazine” hosted by David J. Smith on this station in the Summer of 2003 but didn’t listen to his show on the regular until the Spring of 2004. That show was a contributing factor in me having a mental breakdown in June of 2004 but that mental breakdown was also a major factor in making me realize that I am a sinner and therefore my need for Christ. I finally came to Christ in July of 2004. I always thought there was way too much sports programming on WWL and of course, I think sports are boring. This station was very helpful though in relaying information during and in the aftermath of Katrina. While I was with my family in Bossier City, Louisiana, they were wondering if they could find out what was going on in New Orleans. So after sunset, I was able to tune in to WWL and they were all amazed.
940 kHz WYLD-I never really listened to this station for any lengthy amount of time.
990 kHz WGSO-I could only catch this station sometimes and only on higher-end radios such as a car radio. I remember it being a business format. I also remember it carried the audio feed to WWL-TV newscasts.
1010 kHz WCKW-I never really listened to this station during that time and it was many times difficult to catch anyway.
1060 kHz WLNO-I did listen to this station quite a bit after coming to Christ in July 2004. In fact, it was on this station at some point in the Fall of 2004 that I was listening to Irwin Baxter’s program about the end times and it was through his program that the roman catholic church was exposed. He stated that the roman catholic church is indeed the great harlot mentioned in the 17th Chapter of Revelation. I didn’t take this too well since I was going to a catholic school at the time and because of my young and inexperienced Christian faith, this was a factor in my backsliding.
1230 kHz WBOK-I don’t ever recall listening to this station during that time, nor do I think the radios I had were sensitive enough to receive it.
1280 kHz WODT-I never had any reason to listen to this station at the time because it was a sports station and as I’ve mentioned before I think sports are boring.
1350 kHz WSMB (now WWWL)-I listened to this station extensively starting in the Spring of 2004 until some time in 2005. Besides WTIX/WIST I think this station was most adversely affected by Katrina. I initially started by listening to Coast to Coast AM on this station. Then I had a mental breakdown in June of 2004. I started listening to the radio again in the Fall of 2004. I remember shows such as “Dig In” with Chef Duke (the theme song was cool and catchy), The Phil Hendrie Show, and others. I listened to this station the most in April and May of 2005, then later secured my first job and didn’t have as much time for radio.
1400 kHz WFPR-I don’t recall even knowing about this station until I was doing my research for this piece.
1540 kHz KGLA (now WFNO)-I don’t speak or understand Spanish, so I never listened to this station.
1560 kHz WSLA-I’ve only caught this a handful of times during this period and when I did, it was almost always sports, so I quickly lost interest.
I could also list the FM stations but they change formats much more frequently than their AM counterparts. In my mid to late teens, I was more interested in talk radio than music radio because while Pop and Punk/Indie music was pretty good back then, there weren’t too many stations in my area that would play it. Most of the stations in my area that were supposed to play Top 40 music (including Pop and Punk/Indie) instead were playing more Rap music. And Rap music got stupid some time around late 2003 or early 2004. Amazingly around this time, Country music was pretty good, but I would listen to that genre on a station closer to me. Unfortunately now, and since about 2013, Country music has become stupid. The only current Pop artist that I am even remotely familiar with is Billie Eilish and while she’s very genuine, she can be weird at times, but maybe I am no longer into what is considered trendy. I never really was. In the late 2000s and throughout the 2010s decade Punk/Indie music was awesome but I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not familiar with any of their current hits. Rap, these days, is sometimes stupid yet some of it is funny too. I am most familiar with Contemporary Christian Music these days and I do indeed like it, which is amazing because there was a time I didn’t like it, yes even after becoming a Christian and years afterward. The genre of music that I liked most in my mid to late teen years was New Age because it did indeed help me early on as a writer. I have recently stopped listening to it because I am a Christian and such music hinders my relationship with Christ.
Okay, enough about my music tastes, this piece is supposed to be about how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined after Katrina and has not recovered at all.
I wish there were some stations in the New Orleans market that carried talk shows about politics, history, science, technology, culture, the arts, literature, health, and other intelligent topics. And have them from diverse viewpoints, not just one. Sure there is WWNO which carries NPR for most of its broadcast cycle, but NPR is way too biased these days, unfortunately. I wish there were more stations to choose from. And I wish there weren’t so many sports stations, especially since there is hardly any other type of programming. New Orleans is a very culture-rich city and is the perfect home for visual artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers. The City is also a wonderful place for those in the medical and technology sectors. So I think the broadcasters owe good radio content to the people of New Orleans and those in the surrounding communities. I will admit that a lot of people do indeed love The New Orleans Saints and I certainly would want those people to have a medium for all topics concerning their team. We all know that there is a whole lot more to New Orleans than just sports. While I think sports are boring and pointless, I get that they make many people happy. Of course, these same people become irate if a bad call is made or their team does poorly, so I don’t see exactly how it makes them so happy. However, I’m all for the policy of to each his/her own. That’s the former Libertarian in me talking, I’ll admit that I still espouse many Libertarian ideals but since about 2019, I have been fiercely Moderate. And I’ve been all over the political spectrum throughout my life. I will also say that Christ not only helps form my current political views but He trumps all of my political views. With all that being said, I think that those like me ought to have a broadcast medium to cover our interests, I mean we once did in the days before Katrina, at least to some degree. Why can’t we have it again?
I know that I’m not that important but maybe there is a reader of this blog who will see this piece. And maybe he or she has plenty of influence and will use that influence to change the way radio broadcasting is done, not only in New Orleans but in all markets or at least the ones that are lacking.
It definitely would be nice to have the programming that was on par with that of WTIX-AM circa 2003.
I won’t hold my breath for it though.
I know that Internet Radio and streaming, in general, has probably taken a good bit of revenue from analog terrestrial radio, but I don’t see how programming on the latter in New Orleans has not yet recovered from Katrina when so many aspects of life in that City things have. I know there are others out there like myself, albeit somewhat few and far between. And it just seems we cannot band together.
For now, I have found other ways to enrich my mind and learn about what interests me. Unfortunately, it is rarely through local radio.
I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined by Hurricane Katrina.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.
May God richly bless you.
First off, let’s be transparent:
I do not own the featured image on this page and I am giving credit to whomever credit is due.
I had known about shortwave (HF) radio since 2001. My Paternal Grandmother was the first person to mention it to me.
I wouldn’t own a shortwave receiver until December 1, 2002, and then it was only a mediocre model.
In 2004 or so, I discovered the Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE. Since then I had coveted one for almost two decades. Earlier in June of 2021, I found a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 (the predecessor model which comes in a no-nonsense black instead of that goofy platinum color electronics of the early-to-mid-2000s had.) And that is the radio of which this piece will be a review thereof. I was able to acquire one for only $54.79 and that included the tax and the shipping was free!
What made this particular model stand out is that it was capable of receiving not just AM signals on the shortwave band, but also Single Side Band signals on there.
Though it wouldn’t become full-blown until 2015, my interest in listening to Maritime communications was beginning in 2003-2004. Though my knowledge then was limited, I knew I needed an HF receiver that was capable of demodulating Single Side Band transmissions to hear long-distance maritime communications.
I soon realized that the Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE was capable of receiving such, but I was an unemployed seventeen-year-old in 2004 with parents who were not interested in technology at all. So there was no way I could ever afford one. I’m not aware exactly how much a Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE had cost in 2004 but I think it was between $120-170 not including shipping.
The first time I saw a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 PE in real life was in January of 2009. I was briefly employed as an HVAC Technician and was assisting a job at a camp on Grand Isle, Louisiana. We were working on a central system for some rich folks. There I saw it on their dining room table, maybe they too wanted to hear Maritime Single Sideband transmissions. Sadly I didn’t have the time to try it out, as much as I wanted to.
I had since used a few other budget Single Sideband receivers but they all lacked the features I truly wanted.
Then in early June of 2021, I was on eBay looking for shortwave Single Sideband receivers and came across this one. Though I probably didn’t have the money, I bought it anyway because I knew I couldn’t pass it up. After all, I had wanted one for the past 17 years!
It was delivered to my residence on June 13, 2021, but I was out of town. I returned home on June 19, 2021, and my neighbor handed me the package. So that means at the time of this review I am in physical possession of this radio for a couple of days at the time of writing this. I figured out how to properly use it on June 20, 2021.
So this review will be my initial reactions:
Since 2004, I have had a copy of the manual in portable document format saved on various storage media. I will say that operating this device is difficult without reading the instructions first. But once understood, it’s fairly simple.
Two clocks can be programmed, of which I programmed my local time for Time 1 and UTC for Time 2. There is also an alarm feature that I don’t think I will use.
As for band coverage, it receives the following:
Long Wave 144-351 kHz
Medium Wave 520-1710 kHz (US)
Medium Wave 527-1606 kHz (International)
Short Wave 1600-30000 kHz
FM 87.5-108 MHz
I wish something could be done with the Long Wave Band here in The States like maybe some sort of civil defense broadcasting like was once available. I did pick up a handful of non-voice signals. What I didn’t like is that longwave coverage stopped at 351 kHz. I truly think it should have gone all the way to the medium wave band, so I could receive the NAVTEX broadcasts on 518 kHz if I so chose.
Medium Wave is fairly decent, better than most, although it doesn’t hold a candle to my GE Superadio, except that it displays the frequency with much more accuracy.
As for shortwave, I’ve pulled in some CB traffic, the US Time signal and, various amateur radio transmissions. I had heard some ham radio traffic that pertains to RV drivers on 7264 kHz but I couldn’t make it out. I later heard some amateur radio traffic on 3685 kHz almost clearly. It picks up the times signals nicely and I also heard some foreign and domestic broadcasts.
The one station I tried on FM came in flawlessly, which is a miracle because I live near an FM transmitter which causes interference on most of my radios.
There are only 40 memory presets available, which will have to do, for now. I wish there could have been more but this radio is over 25 years old.
I’m also curious to know in which country was this radio built? I don’t see it anywhere on the unit unless it would be behind the battery door and I didn’t look well enough.
I do like how it can accurately tune single-sideband signals, but I wish they could come in a little clearer because some of them are still unintelligible. I do appreciate the direct entry of any frequency and I will see exactly how accurate the clock is in the coming weeks.
Some say that the Yacht Boy series of Grundig radios were designed for use aboard yachts, maybe to receive long-distance transmissions. I’m sure it would work better on the open sea than in an apartment surrounded by electrical noise, right?
All in all, I give this radio a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, because I wish the speaker could be a little louder, I think it should run on 6 C or D cells instead of 6 AA cells (would not mind sacrificing some of the compactness) and there is a gap of coverage between 354 and 519 kHz. So, therefore, I deducted a tenth of a point for each of those aspects I didn’t like. Other than that, so far it is a very nice radio and I hope to get plenty of use out of it.
This, therefore, concludes my review of the Grundig Yacht Boy 400.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained. May God richly bless you!