Weather Radios and Travel

I definitely like to travel and I wish I could do so more often.

Furthermore,

I probably think about Weather Radios more than most though probably not as much as some of these younger people on YouTube.

By the way, my hat definitely goes off to these youngsters. When I was their age, I was indeed experiementing with electronics but I was the only one my age who was doing so.

The furthest any of my peers went with electronics experimentation was installing CB radios in their trucks during the latter parts of high school. Unfortunately this fad was very short lived.

I still think that I should have been born ten years later, but then maybe life would have been so great for me that I would not have realized my desperate need for Christ!

Still it is very refreshing and encouraging to see young people interested in radio electronics!

Anyway back to the subject at hand:

So far the past few months I had been thinking about Weather Radios, and specifically their application with travel, be it a short commute on foot, an Inter City/Inter State trip or anything in between.

I initially wanted to interview some Generation X former latch key kids who walked to and from school and see if any of them carried pocket sized weather radios for their travels. I wanted to document their experiences with this and post it in a blog piece. Unfortunately no one was willing to participate and for now, this project is sadly on the back burner and will likely be scrapped which is a disappointment to me.

Since I now have access to a reliable computer again, I am able to transcribe my thoughts and share them with the world in detail.

This is a real blessing to me.

Since 2016, (not counting childhood and adolescence) I have gone on quite a few road trips, either with friends or with now ex in laws.

For the majority of these trips I had carried some form of a Weather Radio and since 2015, I have also augmented this Weather Radio use with an app known as Midland Weather Center, which is truly a God send! If any executives at Midland and/or Google are reading this piece, please consider making the Weather Center app once again available on Google Play. It is a pain in the rear end to have to search for the APK every time I buy a new Android device. And if it is no longer available on iTunes, please reinstate it there as well. I prefer Android over iOS and actually cannot see myself ever purchase an iOS device, but I digress.

Before my time there used to be a Traveler’s Forecast features on most Weather Radio stations. I’ve been listening to Weather Radio for a little over twenty years and don’t ever recall hearing it. In fact, I discovered it by listening to vintage recordings of Weather Radio broadcasts. So, I know I have been reaching up to those in high places, but if any bureacrats in the government are reading this piece, please consider bringing back the Traveler’s Forecast!

While I am at it, I also want to reach out to the manufacturers of automobile electronics:
Very seldomly do I see Weather Radios featured in automobiles and I think that is foolish. Radio Shack made one years ago and some mobile CB transceivers feature Weather Radio, but why can’t Weather Band come standard on cars? It would not be that hard, plus there is the potential to save lives!

Look at me, I am on my soap box though I serious doubt that my suggestions are considered.

It was late January of 2017 and a friend and myself were traveling back home from Plano, Texas. We were in Northwest Louisiana between Shreveport and Alexandria when we had learned through the assistance of my trusty Midland HH50B that there was a tornado nearby. Through use of my Midland Weather Center app, I was able to determine are more precise location of the tornado and all I will say is Thank God that He kept it away from Interstate 49. Days earlier, on our way to Plano, my friend and myself were traveling West on the Interstate 20 corridor between Shreveport and Dallas when my Dad called concerned that there were tornadoes near us. I explained to him that the sun was shining and the weather was very pleasant. Apparently the weather he was concerned about made it way later than expected. I even checked on my personal Weather Radio to see if there was any tornadic threat and there was none at that moment.

Since the repetitiveness and computerized voices on modern Weather Radio broadcasts irritate some drivers, I keep my listening in the car to a minimum. However, every time we step out the car for any kind of stop I take my weather radio from my pocket or backpack and search for the nearest broadcast to have a listen. This is one of my traveling rituals. Fun fact: Another travel ritual of mine is to shave the instant I arrive in my hotel or motel room. And yet another travel ritual if I have money at least is to purchase a flashlight or calculator from at least one truck stop or travel center. Well I would also like some coffee, I definitely enjoy truck stop coffee and since once again I am living near a truck stop, I frequent purchase cups of coffee from there. Well lately it is been hot chocolate too, because it is the dead of winter at the time I am writing this piece. For the past thirty out of thirty five years of my life I always appreciated eating doughnuts while traveling and this dates back to the Summer of 1992 when the housekeeper at a motel gave me a pack of miniature doughnuts to eat. Another food item I like to purchase while traveling is a foot long hot dog, especially one where I can customize the toppings and prepare it myself. My favorite type of hot dog, of course is Chicago Style.

All of these thoughts have been cycling through my head for the past few weeks and a female friend of mine suggested I should write all of this down. I wanted to anyway, as most of you would probably have alread guessed…

Because my apartment was ruined by a wicked woman namde Ida, my government eventually set me up with a camper-trailer for residence. I thank God every day for this trailer because it is very nice and well furnished. I do have a weather radio contantly on standby next to my bed. It is a Midland WR-120EZ, my first one was destroyed by Hurricane Ida but I have since purchased a replacement. And, praise God, the Weather Radio signal makes it into my trailer perfectly fine!

Of course I also have one in my EDC backpack and a 1997 Radio Shack Weather Cube on my dining table, my first one was also destroyed by Ida (and Nicholas) and this too is a replacement. As one of the two birthday presents to myself, I purchased an Eton FRX1, the L. L. Bean Edition. It tunes in the Weather Band fairly well.

I think the next time a Hurricane threatens my area I will leave no matter what. I rode out Hurricane Ida and I should probably write a dedicated piece on those awful experiences. Of course, evacuating naturally means traveling and as this piece suggests, traveling and Weather Radios go hand in hand. Because of that, I will pack a more weather radios than what I usually carry anyway.

I appreciate how some rest areas and welcome centers have a Weather Radio feed available at the push of a button. That is usually the first thing I look for at one of these facilities unless I need to urgently answer nature’s call.

To encourage others to use Weather Radios with their travels, I think pocket sized models (especially the Midland HH50B) should be sold at truck stops, tourist gift shops, RV parts dealers and maybe even motel lobbies! There are a few other models I could think of and actually, I wrote a piece describing what I think would be the perfect EDC Weather Radio.

The highway I am near is planned to become an Interstate at some point in the future but the stretch of it near me is already built to Interstate standards. I’ve noticed that the cooler truck stops are located mostly near Interstate highway corridors. When I say cool, I specifically mean that they have a wide selection of gadgets to sell and all kinds of good food and drink. There are three truck stops within a few miles of me and one is even in walking distance but they are no where near as some of these that are located near “real” established Interstate highways.

While I have admitted that digital broadcast televsion significantly outferforms its former analog counterpart, there was one advantage analog had and that was it could be successfully received while in motion. In those days, many storm chasers would have analog televisions in their vehicles to get weather information from their local television meterologists. This was before the advent of smartphones and while most of us use technology to evade this sort of of weather if at all possible, storm chasers use this technology to chase this foul weather. They definitely carry weather radios when they travel although, while I carry them for safety and preparedness, they carry them to locate severe storms that will likely spawn tornadoes.

I know a lot of these aforementioned youngster who collect and display their weather radios on YouTube also carry them when traveling. I wish I could get more besides myself, them and a few others to carry weather radios, but only a few pay attention to my suggestions no matter how wise they may be.

I plan to continue to use a weather radio whether (no pun intended) traveling or not.

My biggest desire considering weather radio at the moment is to bring back the traveler’s forecast among other things.

Real human voices would also be nice, but I won’t hold my breath.

Weather is constantly changing and when traveling, the local environment is also constantly changing.

That’s two or more constantly changing variables.

But easy, free and relevant weather information avaialable whilst on the go mitigates some of the potential trouble and danger, provided one actually carries a Weather Radio.

I think I am running out of things to say.

Well it is late, actually now early.

It’s good to be blogging again though and I hope to be cranking out even more material.

I hope that you, the reader, have found this piece informative, enlightening and maybe even entertaining.

Thank you for taking the time to read and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Articles I have Written”

Synopsis and Commentary to “A Disabled Electrician turned Writer”

This is my first blog post since Hurricane Ida.

I want to thank all of my readers for their patience.

First I want to explain the items in the featured image of this post. The well-used Mini Maglite flashlight and Klein Pocket knife were used by my main character, Johnny Joseph Elder when he was employed in the electrical trade. The Streamlight Junior LED flashlight and Leatherman Style PS are what he carries now after being given them as gifts for Christmas.

In the latter parts of 2016, I realized that my first offshoot of my “Grocer and Writer” stories, the love story between a lonely train conductor and aspiring writer was not gaining much traction, and therefore decided to pursue something new.

So it was in February of 2017 that I was inspired to write a new story series, “A Disabled Electrician turned Writer.” I had borrowed some of the themes from my, “Grocer and Writer” stories, but was determined to make it less offensive.

The inspirations for this piece, actually predate my “Grocer and Writer” stories. My then-wife, now ex-wife, and I visited an impoverished couple shortly after we tied the knot and we broke bread with them. Then in September of 2011, I was acquainted with some teenage girls, that were high school seniors who were associated with my now ex-in-laws as they were preparing for Tropical Storm Lee.

There are also people on my mom’s side of the family, whose locations and lifestyles provided me with some inspiration.

So, this piece will be a synopsis and commentary on, “A Disabled Electrician turned Writer.”

In essence, it is a love story between twenty-five/twenty-six-year-old Johnny Joseph Elder and eighteen/nineteen-year-old Annabelle Jenkins.

It is written in first person limited from the perspective of Johnny Joseph Elder.

I have decided to present it in chronological order instead of how it came to me.

Johnny Joseph Elder had a promising career ahead of him as an electrician and was dating a single mother who was twelve years his senior. After a night of wild but bizarre sexual encounters with her, Johnny was distracted on the job while connecting power to an outdoor condenser unit in the New Orleans area, was shocked by the 240 Volt current, thrown from the eight-foot-high platform, and landed back first onto the top bar of a hurricane fence. The impact damaged his lower back, leaving him in debilitating pain. His girlfriend dumped him when she realized he would be permanently disabled. He had just bought a fixer-upper house in the suburb west of New Orleans known as Metairie. His company compensated him well and he was able to seamlessly transition from Workmen’s Compensation to Social Security Disability. He was twenty-three at the time of his injury and had been continuously employed since the age of eighteen. Therefore, he was able to meet his existing financial needs and live somewhat comfortably. So, for the next two years, he spent his days writing on his computer, watching broadcast television, befriending his neighbors as well as the employees at his local grocer, Melinda’s Massive Superstore, and doing whatever work he could on his home, which was an older wood-frame house. The woman he was dating was toned, tanned, and muscular. He grew to deeply resent her and instead prayed that he would meet a young lady who was the complete opposite of her.

Annabelle Jenkins had a very happy early childhood. Her mom Debbie Lou Jenkins and dad Rupert Jenkins had a very happy marriage. Rupert was a Born Again Christian. Sadly, he was killed on the job in an accident, leaving Annabelle and Debbie to collect Social Security Survivor’s Benefits and Welfare. Debbie Lou had become angry and bitter. They moved from a decent ranch-style house in the suburbs (Kenner) into a fictional public housing complex in Metairie. Annabelle extensively romanticized the way things used to be. Debbie Lou subsequently got into a relationship with a single dad, Oliver Hudson, but they didn’t marry because of financial reasons. Oliver spends his days drinking, taking pain pills, and watching sports. While in the Second Grade, Annabelle was talking about age-inappropriate affections, remembering how her parents loved and cherished each other openly and, as a result, sent to the principal’s office. The principal molested her, doing incalculable amounts of mental and physical damage. She gained enough weight to be considered clinically obese and remained that way when she met Johnny Joseph Elder. She also had mood swings and would frequently butt heads with her stepdad, Oliver Hudson, and stepbrother Maurice Hudson. Annabelle was afraid of her mom’s reaction to the principal molesting her, thinking she would get blamed for it, so she kept it to herself. Because of her weight, she is frequently harassed in school. She is very lonely and longs for a young man who would accept her, for her, treat her with kindness, and shower her with affection. She resented men like Oliver and the principal, plus all the jocks who would torment her. She knew good men existed, because her dad was good to her, hence the reason why she set her standards so high.

Fast forward to May of Annabelle’s senior year of high school. She has a part-time job cleaning houses for cash, but Oliver frequently takes her money to buy pills. She is shopping with her mom at Melinda’s and asks her to buy her a phone card to keep her service on and a flash drive so she can write her term paper, which she needs to complete to graduate. Her mom tells her to buy it herself. Annabelle replies her Oliver stole her money to buy pills. They end up in an argument and Debbie Lou abandons Annabelle in the parking lot.

If that weren’t enough Tropical Storm Alidore, there to my knowledge never was a Tropical Cyclone by that name, which I did on purpose, is threatening the Louisiana Coast and specifically the New Orleans Metro. It is also forecast to become a strong Category 1 or weak Category 2 hurricane before making landfall. So, Mrs. Angela Fulton is at Melinda’s purchasing a Weather Radio and walking out with her purchase when she witnesses the whole event between Annabelle and her mom. Angela drives Annabelle to her house. She then calls Johnny Joseph Elder (her next-door neighbor) to come over and set up the new Weather Radio for her.

Johnny promptly crosses over and knocks on her door and Angela lets him in. He and Annabelle briefly exchange a smile, then he goes into Angela’s master bedroom and unboxes then programs the new Weather Radio for Angela. In the process of doing so, he asks her about the beautiful girl in her living room. Angela explains that the girl’s mom abandoned her in the parking lot at Melinda’s. Johnny comments the mother getting charged with child abandonment. Angela explains how the girl is eighteen. She then says how Johnny should go talk to her. Johnny says how he is twenty-five and wouldn’t have anything in common with her. Angela corrects him and says that age is just a number and that her husband was seven years older than her, how they deeply loved each other, and that she misses him to this day. Johnny says how marriages like that are pretty much non-existent. Johnny is very much attracted to Annabelle but is more afraid of rejection. Angela encourages him all the more to talk to Annabelle and agrees to help him out.

After the weather radio is programmed they both come out of the bedroom and Angela introduces Johnny and Annabelle to each other. She then tells Annabelle to explain her situation to Johnny and how she needs to buy a flash drive to type her term paper to graduate and a phone card. Johnny offers to buy one for her at Melinda’s because he has a revolving account there. He goes on to say how he was going there anyway to purchase a Weather Radio from there since a hurricane is coming. Angela interjects how she should accept his offer because he is a good man and couldn’t stop saying how pretty she is. Annabelle asks Johnny if he really does think she is pretty, to which he nods with a bold blush and a wide grin. She asks if he really would buy those things for him and he tells her he would unless she had a boyfriend. She comments that she is fat and that is why she doesn’t have a boyfriend, because no one wants her. Johnny replies how he thinks her weight compliments her appearance. Annabelle smiles and blushes then say how everyone at school harasses her because of her weight. Johnny says how they are cruel but once she graduates none of them will ever matter again. Annabelle says how she won’t graduate if she cannot turn in that paper. Johnny then suggests they go to the store and he will buy it. Annabelle agrees to walk with Johnny to Melinda’s. Angela tells them to have a good time.

As they are walking, Annabelle asks Johnny what he does for a living.

Johnny explains how he is on disability but was an electrician’s helper on his way to becoming an electrician.

He goes on to explain how he injured his back on the job and that being on disability allows him to pursue his main passion-writing.

Annabelle states that she also is a writer.

They begin to discuss wanting to read each others’ work.

Johnny says how he wouldn’t want to show some of the more steamy pieces to a lady like her.

Annabelle says she might like the steamy pieces even more, though.

Johnny asks her if she’s eighteen, to which she replies that she is, then asks Johnny his age to which he says, twenty-five and that he hopes he’s not too old for her because he likes her.

Annabelle says how age is just a number and that she thinks he is cute and sweet, plus he is taking care of her and that a lot of guys she knows are either immature or total jerks but he seems different.

Johnny exclaims that he feels like he is on Cloud Nine, to which Annabelle says she does as well.

They then share a hug as they enter Melinda’s.

Johnny selects a Weather Radio, a flash drive, and a prepaid phone card.

The cashier, Mrs. Sally Smith Williams, checks them out and tells Annabelle how Johnny is a keeper and to treat him right.

Annabelle exclaims how Johnny is indeed a keeper and cute as can be, to which she then smacks his buttocks.

Johnny and Annabelle then sit in the food court and exchange phone numbers, after Annabelle adds the funds to her GoPhone account.

Afterward, they leave Melinda’s Annabelle says how she now needs to type her term paper. Johnny offers her his computer, to which she gladly accepts. 

They walk to his house.

Upon entering, he shows her around, they awkwardly stare at his bed, then smile at each other, blushing. Annabelle says how she will get to work, to which Johnny logs her in. He offers her dinner; some oatmeal because it’s near payday for Johnny, and he is running low on food and cash. Annabelle agrees to stay.

They share a hug, then a kiss, to which Johnny apologizes, but Annabelle says it was sweet of him.

She then begins writing her paper.

Johnny sets up his new Weather Radio and places it on his kitchen gadgets rack. He then watches television and prepares dinner.

Annabelle finishes her paper, then they say grace and eat oatmeal. Afterward, they wash the dishes.

After the dishes are done, they agree to read their stories to each other but are interrupted by Johnny’s Weather Radio and Annabelle’s phone alerting them to a Hurricane Watch in effect.

Johnny offers to walk Annabelle to her mom’s apartment.

Annabelle states that she and Oliver will be on edge.

Johnny offers her his spare bedroom, to which Annabelle gladly accepts and instructs him to walk her to her bus stop in the morning.

They then begin to read to each other, especially the steamy parts, until Annabelle realizes she needs to bathe.

Johnny provides her with fresh towels and soap, and she goes to bathe.

Johnny watches television until she comes out, wrapped in a towel.

Annabelle then says how she will go to bed and asks Johnny to kiss her goodnight.

They exchange a kiss and Annabelle says she wants to do so much more, then goes into the spare bedroom and gets dressed.

Johnny also goes to bed in his bedroom, concluding the first piece.

The next morning, Johnny is woken up to Annabelle’s alarm on her phone.

He retrieves his flashlight which he usually EDCs and puts fresh batteries in it.

Annabelle becomes slightly annoyed because she is in a hurry.

They walk out the door to the bus stop and Annabelle apologizes for rushing him, stating that she is nervous as to what her mother and Oliver’s reaction will be when she walks in the door to get her backpack and a fresh change of clothes.

Johnny states how he wishes there was something he could do, to which Annabelle says to just be there for her.

Johnny assures her that he isn’t going anywhere, except to Melinda’s [Massive] Superstore.

They begin to share hugs and kisses under the glow of a streetlight until an uptight motorist sounds the horn.

Johnny then walks Annabelle up to her mom’s unit, then kisses her goodbye.

He then goes home, retrieves his personal shopping cart then walks to Melinda’s to buy some storm supplies and non-perishable groceries.

Sally checks him out again and says how her husband, Rodney Williams, is terminally ill and on Oxygen and states that she will be evacuating with him as soon as her shift is over.

Johnny offers to pray for them, to which she thanks them.

Johnny takes his loaded shopping cart and sits in the food court as he sips on a blend of coffee, chicory, and hot milk.

When the sun is finally up, Johnny walks home and secures his purchases.

As he is cutting across his front yard, Angela stands by the hurricane fence and asks about how it went with him and Annabelle.

Johnny picks up everything, then goes over to tell her about it.

He notices a local government truck is parked in front of her house and asks her about it.

She replies that her son, Roger Fulton, is there.

He comes out, introduces himself, and explains that he is a fleet mechanic for the fire departments.

Angela says how Johnny looks out for her and helps her out a lot.

She then asks Johnny how it went with him and Annabelle, to which Johnny says he is glad she set them up.

Roger shouts from outside that he is going to hook up the generator.

Johnny says how he has to board up his windows.

Angela says to have Roger help him, so his back doesn’t get further messed up and that he needs to be able to be a lover to Annabelle.

She goes on to say that Roger will especially help him if he can properly wire the generator.

Roger has the mechanical aspect of the generator figured out but is clueless as to the wiring.

Johnny explains how he was an electrician’s helper for five years and would have become a fine electrician had he not injured his back.

He then goes on to properly wire the generator albeit with terrible back pain as a result.

The generator is proven to work, then, Angela requests Roger to assist Johnny in boarding up his windows as well as hers, to which he agrees. After the tasks are complete, Roger heads to work and Johnny presents him with a high-quality ratchet and socket set that he no longer needs.

Johnny then prepares all of his appliances and electronics for the storm, then once finished he walks to the park and writes in a composition book. Annabelle is the source of his inspiration. He writes until she calls him and has him meet her at the bus stop. She says how she turned in her term paper and the deadline was extended because of the storm, but she is getting extra credit for turning it in early.

He meets her, then they exchange a kiss. She goes inside and packs her bags, then twelve minutes later she comes out.

Johnny attempts to carry her bags but collapses on the sidewalk.

Annabelle apologizes saying how she didn’t realize how badly damaged his back was and that she will carry the bags.

Johnny says how he is afraid she will leave him now that she knows.

Annabelle replies that even though his back is messed up, he has a good heart.

Johnny gets back up and Annabelle hugs and kisses him. Another uptight motorist sounds the car horn, to which Annabelle gives the “Metry Salute” (her middle finger.)

Hand in hand they walk to Johnny’s house.

Johnny shows Annabelle the storm supplies and groceries he purchased then hands Annabelle a personal-sized flashlight to keep in her purse.

She asks him to read to her, which he does until they are alerted via phone and Weather Radio of a Hurricane Warning now in effect.

Annabelle becomes nervous and tears fill her eyes.

Johnny tries his best to comfort her and promises to take care of her.

He then takes a sealed bag of frozen white beans from his freezer and warms them up.

As the beans are getting hot, they share kiss after kiss.

Then dinner is ready and Johnny pours pancake syrup on the white beans and they say grace and eat.

Afterward, they wash the dishes then go watch Breaking Dawns Parts 1 and 2 on DVD, then fall asleep in each others’ arms, thus concluding the second piece.

Annabelle and Johnny wake up to howling winds and driving rain as the feeder bands are passing through.

Johnny makes them an egg omelet for breakfast.

After they are finished eating, Annabelle begins to wash the dishes, until there is a flash of lightning.

Nervously, Johnny commands Annabelle to get away from the sink.

She questions him with irritation but he explains, that the lightning can hit her through the pipes and they will worry about the dishes later.

Johnny then listens to the radio and the reporters paint a grim picture.

He then apologizes for yelling at Annabelle, to which she rubs his chest hair and kisses him, accepting his apology, and then says that Oliver makes her do dishes no matter what the weather.

Annabelle then asks Johnny to change the radio to a music station because she wants to dance with him.

They find a music station and dance until they are sleepy from the physical activity and breakfast.

Annabelle cradles Johnny in her lap and they fall asleep.

Hours pass until they are woken up by even more howling winds and whipping rains and Annabelle needs to answer nature’s call.

As she attempts to turn on the bathroom light, she realizes there is no power. Johnny reminds her there is a flashlight in her purse.

Annabelle walks to the bathroom with her purse and shuts the door behind her.

In time Annabelle steps out, then Johnny goes to relieve himself as well.

After Johnny steps out, Annabelle rushes up to him stating that she is scared.

Johnny promises that he will try his best to comfort her, then suggests that they hunker down.

Annabelle says how usually she enjoys hurricanes because of all the junk food, then she says ‘look how fat I am.’

Johnny tells her that he thinks she is beautiful, body and soul.

Annabelle says there must be something wrong with him.

Johnny admits that he thinks he is a perv because he likes big beautiful women.

Annabelle grabs him and says that he is her perv.

They exchange kisses until her glasses fog up.

Annabelle then asks if they could cuddle in his bed.

He agrees.

After a moment of cuddling and increasing affections, Annabelle comments that she could so make love to Johnny.

Johnny replies that he would want her to.

She then asks if he was sure, then reveals what happened to her in the principal’s office.

Johnny then reveals what happened with his ex-girlfriend.

Annabelle then promises that if they do make love, she won’t throw him away as his ex did.

They then become intimate both climaxing as the eyewall passes over them.

The storm settles down, so they get dressed, step out and Johnny observes all the damage.

Angela also steps out of her house and greets them.

Johnny is nervous wondering if his house will stand the storm.

Angela says how her house stood all the previous storms and so did his and that the only damage is blown off siding and shingles and those are small potatoes. She goes on to say how he should take advantage of being alone with Annabelle.

Annabelle replies how they already have and it was wonderful.

Angela tells them to do it some more because there are a plethora of health benefits associated with coitus.

The storm starts picking up again and Angela tells them to go love each other.

Johnny and Annabelle agree and make love until they are too tired to move, falling asleep in each others’ arms until morning, thus concluding the third piece.

I must add that, while I would have written a story involving fornication in 2017, I definitely would not write something like that in 2022. I have since grown in The Lord and was heavily convicted for writing this and similar stories. I still think this series of stories communicate some ideas that I tremendously value, hence my reason for sharing.

There is an interlude that takes place, then it is the Fourth Wednesday of May and payday for Johnny Joseph Elder. 

During the interlude, Annabelle graduates and moves in full-time with Johnny.

Johnny gets dressed and collects his EDC items after checking his bank account and confirming that his SSDI check was deposited. He then listens to the forecast on his Weather Radio, which tells of high heat and high humidity with a significant chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon (which is typical for Louisiana in the late spring and summer.)

He knows that he needs to run his monthly errands and get home before the thunderstorms are due.

Annabelle is slowly waking up and he asks her if she wants to come run errands with her.

She agrees and gets dressed.

They leave the house on foot and walk to the transit terminal. Johnny renews his transit pass and also purchases one for Annabelle. 

They then board the bus and go to the bank.

After waiting in line for several minutes, they see a teller. Johnny pays his mortgage and takes the paperwork.

He and Annabelle then walk half of a mile to Melinda’s, to which Annabelle comments how she needs to lose weight.

Johnny replies for her not to lose too much weight because he thinks she is sexy just as she is. He then tells her that he would want her whether she was big as a house or tiny as a toothpick.

Annabelle blushes then they begin to exchange hugs and kisses publicly with hands in each other’s back pockets.

Several uptight motorists sound their horns at them as they make their way to Melinda’s on foot.

Finally, they arrive, out of breath.

They walk to the customer service desk where Johnny pays off his credit line in addition to his utilities.

After they are done, he and Annabelle go shopping, and he purchases Annabelle two romance novels and himself a multi-tool and a phone card.

They are once again checked out by Sally Smith Williams and she asks how did they fare for Alidore.

Johnny replies how there are just shingles and siding blown off, but the storm brought him and Annabelle closer together.

Annabelle then winks and she rubs her nose against Johnny.

Sally then said how she drove her husband two hundred miles inland and they stayed at a church.

Johnny said how he thanked God they excused her absence and that he wouldn’t shop at Melinda’s if he found out that they were cruel to the workers.

Sally replies not to worry and how they are like one big family.

Johnny pays for his items with his debit card and is approved.

He and Annabelle then go to the deli and order a fried chicken meal which they eat in the food court.

After they are finished eating, Johnny applies the phone card funds to his Go Phone account, then begins playing with his new multi-tool.

Annabelle giggles and comments that he is cute.

Johnny blushes slightly.

They refill their drinks and then walk back to their house.

They sit on the sofa and Annabelle reads from the books he bought her.

Johnny logs onto his computer and pays his wireless internet bill.

He then does a little research on his computer, until he gets a tap on the shoulder.

He looks away from the computer screen to see Annabelle standing in her undergarments.

Assertively she says, ‘you…me…the bed, right now Johnny Joseph Elder!’ As she kisses him with excitement.

Johnny replies, oh bae, your wish is my command!

She then pulls off his clothing and he removes her undergarments.

They become intimate as a thunderstorm unleashes its power.

After making love they eat a meal of boiled hot-dogs and canned chili, thus concluding the fourth piece.

There is then approximately a six-month interlude between this previous piece and Thanksgiving. It entails Johnny getting his house fixed, including a personal loan to cover what his insurance did not. Of course, he and Annabelle fall deeper in love during this time and their relationship grows more serious, as you, the reader, will see.

Johnny and Annabelle are slowly waking up on the morning of Thanksgiving.

The gas-powered floor furnace is on full blast despite it only being late November in Southeast, Louisiana.

Both step out of bed and Johnny throws his arms around Annabelle and rubs her buttocks.

She beams brightly and giggles then comments on how she almost wishes that they didn’t have to go to dinner so they could instead spend the day making love.

Johnny replies how he feels bliss when they make love, but they are at least getting a free meal.

Annabelle then says how it is free monetarily but they pay in other ways, to which Johnny says how they can just leave.

Johnny goes on to say that if they make her feel uncomfortable and distressed, how he will leave with her and he doesn’t care what they think.

Annabelle says how he is making her want to stay home even more.

Johnny said that if he didn’t have to cover that deductible, then he would have money for his own Thanksgiving meal.

Annabelle says that he is responsible and wise with his finances, unlike her mom or Oliver.

She then goes to relieve her bladder.

Johnny enters the bathroom after he hears the toilet flush, then they make love while showering together.

After they are clean, Johnny turns on the gas valve to his bathroom heater and strikes a match as they lovingly dry each other off.

Annabelle helps Johnny get dressed, then she dresses in front of him.

Johnny comments how Annabelle’s outfit drives him wild.

Annabelle replies how she loves him because he adores her including her weight. She goes on to say that she also loves him because he has a heart of gold, he takes care of her, and he’s level-headed and cute. She asks what made him fall in love with her.

Johnny states that it’s the fact that she still wanted him despite his disability and that she is still very sweet despite all those bad things happening to her and the fact that she takes care of him as well in her own way and he went on to say that since he first laid eyes on her he thought she was the most beautiful girl ever.

Annabelle then says how she guesses that they do have a lot to be thankful for no matter where they celebrate Thanksgiving.

Johnny announces that it is an hour until she is expected at her mother’s.

Annabelle suggests they go visit Angela.

They then cross over and she greets them but says how her son is coming over in about an hour to take her to his house for dinner.

She then asks Johnny to check and see why her Weather Radio isn’t charging.

He figures out that the fuse for her bedroom receptacles blew.

She comments how that must be why her portable space heater doesn’t work either.

He installs a new fuse and offers to run a dedicated line for her space heater tomorrow when the stores are open.

Angela says how she will pay him so they can go shopping for Black Friday.

She then goes to her kitchen and calls her son to see where he’s at.

After hanging up the phone, she says how Roger is only a few blocks away.

Minutes later, he arrives and Angela tells him how she needs him to take Johnny to the supply house so he can run an electric line for her heater.

He agrees and states that he’s glad Johnny watches out for his momma.

He then takes Angela to his house.

In the bleak biting cold, Johnny and Annabelle walk to her mom and stepdad’s apartment.

Oliver lets them in.

Debbie Lou states how they have takeout from KFC, and Annabelle angrily whispers to Johnny how they were too lazy to cook anything.

Debbie Lou asks Oliver when he wants to eat, to which he gruffly replies halftime.

Annabelle asks how long until then.

Oliver says how there are two minutes left on the clock but in real-time it could be five to seven minutes and that she will live and she’s not exactly starving.

Johnny whispers for Annabelle to ignore him and that she’s beautiful.

Annabelle places her face in Johnny’s chest then looks up at him and says thank you.

They begin to hold hands and exchange kisses. Johnny even kisses Annabelle’s stomach.

They both exchange those three little words, then go sit on the sofa and engage in even more affections, until Oliver bellows for them to cut it out.

Annabelle says how he’s not her dad, no not even close.

Oliver reminds them that it’s his apartment and it disgusts him to see them pawing at each other like randy cats.

Debbie Lou interjects and asks that they all eat.

Annabelle agrees and says that she is hungry.

Oliver remarks that she is always hungry.

Annabelle comments that he probably weighs as much as her.

Oliver then replies that he is a man and men can bet fat but fat women and fat girls, like her, are disgusting.

Johnny is now angry and tells Oliver that Annabelle is not disgusting by any means and that she is the most beautiful young lady he ever laid eyes upon, weight included.

Oliver calls Johnny a chubby chaser and that he stays with her because his back is messed up and no one else wants him.

Johnny said how he’s glad no one else wants him because that means there’s no temptation.

Annabelle tells Johnny that he’s so sweet and sexy as hell. She then calls Oliver a douche bag.

Oliver threatens to kick them out.

Debbie Lou asks Annabelle why is she disrespecting Oliver.

Annabelle replies that he called her fat.

Debbie Lou then says that she told Annabelle how she needed to lose weight for years.

Annabelle goes on to say the reason why she is obese. And that her grade school principal molested her in his office. She went on to say how she was talking about her daddy who recently died and about all the affection he showed both of them the teacher thought it was inappropriate so she was sent to the office where the principal molested her. She went on to say how she never told her because she was afraid of being whipped.

Oliver said that if he would have known, he would have flattened the principal like a bug.

Annabelle said how he harassed her about her weight more than anyone else.

Oliver apologized and said how she’s the closest to a daughter he ever had and even though they never got along, he wouldn’t have ever wanted her to be molested.

Debbie Lou stated that her appetite is ruined but they need to report this.

Annabelle said how the principal is now out of the country, having his way with countless other little girls.

Oliver wants to know how can he make amends.

Annabelle tells him to be more understanding in the future and not to say those horrible things he says about heavyset women and girls, to take care of her mom, and to stop taking those pills.

Oliver promised to seek treatment for his addiction and that he was a star football player in high school and college but an injury ended his career. The pain from his injury became unbearable and that is how he got hooked on pain pills.

Annabelle then asks if they can eat to which Debbie Lou serves the food.

Silently they eat dinner, thus concluding the piece.

The next day Johnny is up early and is making breakfast in bed for Annabelle.

He listens to his Weather Radio and learns about cloud cover all day with high in the upper forties and an eighty percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after dark.

He then serves Annabelle breakfast.

She is woken up by the dishes rattling, softly rubs her eyes, and puts her glasses on.

They eat together in bed.

Annabelle asks if they could cuddle until it’s time to go.

Johnny replies how he couldn’t think of a better way to spend the morning.

Annabelle wraps her arms and legs around Johnny and Johnny kisses her stomach, then says how she is the sexiest lady he’s ever seen.

The passion increases but is interrupted when Roger knocks at the door.

They exchange those three little words, then Johnny leaves.

Roger drives Johnny to the supply house and they order all the parts they need.

When the order is filled, they drive to Angela’s and Johnny installs the electric line for her portable heater.

The room is now very warm.

Angela sees the conduit and thinks Johnny laid a gas line.

Johnny shows Angela how it is an electric line but only for her heater.

He also lectures her not to put anything within three feet of that heater.

Angela then pays Johnny $200 and instructs him to go Christmas shopping.

Johnny places the bills in his wallet and walks home. Annabelle is dressed and ready to go shopping, thus concluding Black Friday Part 1.

Johnny and Annabelle then walk to the bus stop and take a bus to the shopping center.

Upon arrival, Johnny walks to the supply house and purchases a high-end screwdriver set for Roger. He and Annabelle then go to the adjacent Wal*Mart and that she will purchase the gifts for the females and he will purchase the gifts for the males, and they split up.

Johnny buys a Hyper Tough tool-set for Maurice, two sports almanacs one for his dad and one for Oliver, and a Bluetooth headset for his brother.

He and Annabelle later meet up in the food court and began their public displays of affection until reprimanded by a policewoman working on security detail.

Johnny tells her that he will purchase that at Melinda’s later in the evening after they pick up the other gifts.

They then take their purchases to the bus stop and ride back to their stop. As they are riding Annabelle shows Johnny the gifts she purchased, body wash and an Oldies CD for Angela, a Snuggie for Johnny’s sister, and “Law and Order” DVDs for Johnny’s mom and that is everything except a bottle of cherry wine for her mom. Johnny tells Annabelle that he will purchase the wine later in the evening at Melinda’s and offers Annabelle to go eat some turkey sausage gumbo sold in the deli. She gladly accepts, stating that she is hungry. The bus soon arrives at their stop, then takes them to their home stop. Johnny and Annabelle walk home and put away the gifts.

Promptly, they walk to Melinda’s and purchase the wine.

Sally cards Johnny, then checks him out, trying to keep a straight face.

They then walk to the deli and each purchase some gumbo and drinks, say grace then happily eat.

When finished their meal, they walk home. On the way, Annabelle asks if they should pick up where they left off this morning, to which Johnny replies, bae you wish is my command.

They then rush home and passionately become intimate, thus concluding Black Friday Part 2.

At some point, Johnny purchased train tickets for himself and Annabelle to take the train on Christmas Day to see his family.

There is then a three-to-four-week interlude, but then the next piece takes place on Christmas Eve Morning, with Johnny and Annabelle getting out of bed and lovingly exchanging affections, which ultimately leads to Johnny performing cunnilingus on Annabelle and then making love to her afterward.

Subsequently, they exchange gifts.

Johnny then gives Annabelle a promise ring, stating that he promises to be hers and hers only and that he wants no one else and that he hopes she feels the same way.

Annabelle says how the ring is beautiful and that indeed feels the same way, then gives Johnny a smartphone and explains that he is about to be twenty-six and therefore needs to upgrade from his rugged flip phone.

Johnny says how he is glad that he doesn’t have to be tied to his computer anymore for internet access and that he can combine his phone plan with a data plan and save money each month.

They exchange those three little words, then Johnny says how he wishes he bought Annabelle and an engagement ring instead but didn’t want to scare her. Annabelle says how it wouldn’t have scared her but would have been a dream come true.

Johnny offers to buy her an engagement ring once the deductible loan is paid off, to which Annabelle says for Johnny to give her his time, loyalty, and affections. To which he assures her that she has those forever.

After the lovemaking they are hungry and Johnny makes them some French Toast AKA Lost Bread.

They then get dressed together, then go bring Angela her gifts.

It is sunny and mild outside.

A moment later they arrive and Angela welcomes them in.

They hand her the Oldies CD and some body wash.

Angela gives Johnny as TSA compliant Leatherman Multi-Tool and Annabelle a $40 Target Gift Card.

She then gives them some Christmas punch which is spiked.

Johnny and Annabelle dance together to the music of the Oldies CD, then they all watch a Christmas movie together.

After the movie is over, Johnny and Annabelle walk to her mother’s apartment and they exchange gifts.

Johnny and Annabelle each get a $100 gift card to Melinda’s.

Maurice then watches gamers on YouTube, Oliver reads his sports almanac and Debbie Lou gradually gets drunk on the wine.

Johnny and Annabelle snuggle on the sofa until everyone goes to bed, then they walk home and fall asleep in each others’ arms, thus concluding the Christmas Eve piece.

Johnny and Annabelle wake up slowly in each other’s arms. It’s seven-thirty on Christmas Morning.

They exchange several kisses, then Annabelle relieves her bladder in the bathroom.

After she flushes and steps out, she tells Johnny that if she didn’t have to meet his family, she would want to spend the day making love to him.

Johnny states that he hopes her family accepts him and that he’s worried they will have the wrong assumptions because of their age difference.

Annabelle reassures him that she isn’t worried about that and she loves him for him and he just happens to be seven years her senior.

They mutually agree that they cannot picture themselves with anyone else.

Annabelle then pushes Johnny onto the bed and begins to sit on his face, when her phone rings.

It’s Maurice calling asking if she is ready to which she says she will be in ten minutes.

They then get dressed together with their bags already packed.

Johnny then turns off all the lights in addition to his floor furnace. Annabelle gets the gifts, then they deadbolt the door.

The weather is bleak, humid, and cold.

Maurice pulls up in his pickup truck.

They place the gifts in the truck bed.

Johnny opens the door for Annabelle and peeks under her dress, then climbs in.

Maurice drives them to the train station and asks Johnny what did he do before he went on disability.

Johnny explains that he was an electrician’s helper, but ruined his back on the job.

Annabelle then chimes in how Johnny would have made an awesome electrician, but he is very good at laying pipe.

Johnny corrects her and says that to an electrician it is known as conduit, not pipe.

Annabelle then says that whatever he calls it, it’s amazing.

Maurice comments TMI but admits he wishes he could find a relationship like that.

Then Johnny said that for Maurice to make himself more desirable Johnny could teach him how to be a handyman.

Then Maurice says he could teach Johnny how to fix computers.

Annabelle then says how they could both teach him how to write.

Maurice then says how they all need to get together soon as they arrive at the train station.

Johnny and Annabelle retrieve their gifts and bags, then wish Maurice a Merry Christmas. Annabelle then says how she will call him to pick them up when the train returns tomorrow evening.

Johnny and Annabelle wait until they hear their announcement that their train is ready, then board. After being seated, Johnny calls his mom and lets her know that he is on his way and that his girlfriend is with him.

The train begins to head west, thus concluding Christmas Day Part 1.

Annabelle falls asleep on Johnny until the train begins to cross the Huey Pierce Long Bridge.

Johnny wakes her up so she can enjoy the view.

I, myself, make an appearance in the story as I am also a passenger on that train and I am listening on a portable scanner radio.

I stare at Johnny and Annabelle for a moment then apologize to them, and explain how it’s always amazing when I see people in real life who resemble characters in the stories I write.

They say how they are writers as well.

Annabelle then asks what am I listening to.

I explain that it is a scanner and I am listening to the train crew’s communications but also marine communications on the Mississippi River.

Johnny tells me how he always wanted one, but could never afford it.

I tell him he can get one for cheap on eBay, assuming he just wants to listen to railroad and marine.

Johnny says how he lives near a railroad yard (KCS West Yard) and is a few blocks from The River.

I then say how I don’t like to turn my scanner on in front of ladies, because of the language some of those marine workers use over the radio.

Annabelle says how Johnny doesn’t curse in front of her either.

I then ask what they do for a living.

Johnny explains his disability and Annabelle says how she cleans houses for cash but how she wants to become a security guard at Melinda’s.

Johnny adds in how she could practice her defensive tactics on him and it would be a turn-on if she wrestled him down and sat on him.

Annabelle blushes and says how Johnny is such a perv but it is sexy as hell.

I tell them that they are a cute couple and they thank me.

I then ask where are they getting off and Johnny replies the very next one. I tell them how I am headed out west to meet up with other bloggers.

Annabelle asks if I can hear the workers at Melinda’s on my scanner, to which I tell her that I can.

She then tells Johnny that she could buy him a scanner for his birthday.

I tell her how I can only hear them when I am near the store.

Johnny replies that they’re only a block from Melinda’s.

I tell him then they could listen to all they want.

I then start reading on my phone.

Annabelle falls asleep on Johnny’s shoulder.

Johnny looks outside seeing ponds homes and forests.

Finally, an announcement is made that the next stop will be in ten minutes.

Johnny calls his mom and states his location to which she replies that they are on their way now.

I then tell Johnny and Annabelle that it was a privilege talking to them because they are so much like the characters I create and how I hope I can find love that is like the love expressed in the stories I write about.

Annabelle tells me not to give up and to keep writing and one day a young lady will come along and realize that she is the one for me.

Johnny gives me his email address and suggests that we exchange each other’s work.

I then program it into my phone and send him the link to my blog via email.

Annabelle says how she and Johnny will read it together.

The train comes to a stop with Johnny and Annabelle disembarking.

Johnny’s parents are waiting in their CUV.

Johnny and Annabelle load the bags and presents into the hatch, then Johnny opens the door for Annabelle and they ride to Johnny’s parents’ house, thus concluding Christmas Day 

Part 2.

Johnny’s mom asks Annabelle what are her intentions with her son.

Annabelle replies that she loves him a lot and he loves her.

Johnny’s mom asks whether or not she will leave him suddenly as the last one did.

Annabelle confidently states that Johnny has her for good.

Johnny’s dad asks how they met.

Annabelle said that Johnny’s neighbor set them up and she is so thankful that she did.

Johnny’s dad asks Annabelle if she works anywhere to which she replies that she cleans houses for cash but is trying to get hired on as a security guard at Melinda’s. He then asks if he thinks she could handle a dangerous customer. Annabelle says how she could sit on him or her until the cops arrive. Johnny then adds in how he will let her practice on him so she can get good at it. Johnny’s mother tells him to watch it. She goes on to say how she thought his back was ruined or was he just making it up.

Johnny and Annabelle silently exchange those three little words.

Johnny’s dad then asks her if she is going to school anywhere. She says she is done with school for good and that she graduated high school this past May. Johnny’s mother asks why she doesn’t further her education. Annabelle states how she is sick of being mistreated because of her weight but Johnny is the only man that ever made her feel beautiful and that is one of the reasons why she fell in love with him but it’s definitely not the only one.

Johnny adds in how Annabelle makes him happier than he ever dared hope or dream and just about everyone around him can see it and how his ex ghosted him once she found out he would be disabled but Annabelle is right there by his side and so much 

more beautiful inside and out.

Annabelle then says how she wants Johnny for his heart and his looks as well.

Johnny’s mom comments that Johnny is settling because Annabelle doesn’t mind him living off the government.

Johnny states how he was settling when he was with his ex and how Annabelle exceeds his standards and to him is wife material.

Johnny’s mother then turns around, looks at them, and sternly says how she wants them to be contributing members of society and not two lazy moochers who make babies they cannot feed.

Annabelle comments how she does indeed work and Johnny adds in how the income he gets is drawn from what he paid into the system when he worked.

Johnny’s dad says how they’re almost home and suggests letting it be peaceful.

Johnny’s mom says how they’ll discuss it later but she is very upset.

They then pull into the driveway.

Annabelle and Johnny step out of the vehicle and share a kiss.

They go inside and sit on the sofa.

Johnny apologizes to Annabelle about his mother.

Annabelle replies that her mother and his mother should go jogging together.

Johnny says how he hopes Annabelle still wants him.

Annabelle says more than ever that she felt so special when he told his mother how she exceeds his standards and is indeed wife material. And how when they get home she will practice her security guard tactics on him and see where it leads, then showers Johnny with kisses.

They then exchange those three words yet again.

Johnny’s siblings and their significant others arrive.

They all exchange gifts and Johnny introduces Annabelle to them.

They talk amongst themselves while the parents finish up the Christmas Dinner.

As Johnny’s dad is taking the ham out of the oven, he notices the heating element is on fire and panics.

Johnny cuts off the breaker to the oven, then takes a wet bath towel and puts out the fire.

He then uses the screwdriver element on his multi-tool and removes the damaged heating element.

Annabelle whispers to Johnny that he is so sexy when he fixes stuff.

Johnny suffers from multiple shooting pains in his back as he performs the task.

His mom offers him some Excedrin.

Johnny says he has to let the pain run its course and that he hopes she realizes that he isn’t making it up.

His mom says how she wishes he could make more money and not live off the government.

Annabelle interjects that money cannot buy happiness.

Johnny adds in how there are plenty of people with good-paying jobs, nice houses, and multiple vehicles yet they are still absolutely miserable.

His back pain then eases up and he finishes removing the broken element.

He then writes down the model and make of the oven and instructs his dad to take it to a supply house.

Johnny’s dad states how he will pay for Johnny and Annabelle’s train tickets back home since he will fix the oven.

Johnny’s parents each give their children and the partners a $100 check then they all watch television.

Hours, later, Johnny’s siblings and their partners leave.

Even more hours later, they all go to bed and Johnny’s mom instructs that he and Annabelle sleep in separate bedrooms.

Johnny says how the others are allowed to sleep in the same bed at her house, though.

His mom says that the others work and he doesn’t.

Johnny says he would if he could.

His mom says for him to get a job that doesn’t affect his back instead of living off the government.

Johnny says that he would then be at the mercy of employer-sponsored health insurance.

His mom says how that’s life and to get over it.

Johnny points out to his mother that she is angry that there are people who don’t achieve as much as she does yet they are still happier than her, including himself and Annabelle.

His mom rebuffs that those on disability have it way too easy and that she has to bust her butt so where’s her happiness.

Johnny further points out how perceived prosperity is not the key to happiness and that even the working poor have it worse than her, yet many of them are still happier than her. He then went on to say how when he was younger she told him that money makes a person comfortable not happy.

His mom states how she was more idealistic then but now deals in reality. She also says how if they want to make babies and with her tax dollars supporting them then she cannot stop them but she won’t let it happen in her house.

Annabelle soberly tells her that they wouldn’t have coitus in her house because she wouldn’t disrespect her like that but she would like Johnny to keep her warm because it is cold.

Johnny’s mom still refuses them.

Johnny and Annabelle attempt to share a good night kiss but his mom stops them.

They then go to separate bedrooms and text each other all night long, thus concluding Christmas Day Part 3.

There is another month and a half interlude and then the Pilot piece occurs.

That was the first piece I wrote and it takes place in February. I never covered the events of Johnny replacing the oven’s heating element, the train ride back home, or Johnny’s twenty-sixth birthday, all of which occur during this interlude.

Johnny introduces himself, his girlfriend, and his entire living situation to the reader.

The piece continues with Annabelle stepping out of the bathroom and saying, bae, let’s go make groceries, which is NOLASpeek for grocery shopping.

Johnny struggles to get his jacket and shoes on, then they walk out the door.

They walk the block to Melinda’s, then enter.

After walking the store for a bit, Johnny asks Annabelle what she would like for dinner.

She replies with homemade fried potatoes.

Johnny says, say no more, then selects a large bag of Russet potatoes, a gallon jug of Wesson cooking oil, and a canister to Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.

They then ask an associate on skates to show them where the Remoulade sauce is located, which is a clear reference to my “Grocer and Writer” stories.

Finally, they select a two-liter bottle of R. C. Cola and some Moon Pies for dessert.

Annabelle reminds Johnny that she is going to gain even more weight, to which Johnny says he thinks she is sexy as hell and feels ecstatic holding her at night.

They begin exchanging their public displays of affection, then check out.

Sally comments how they always make such a cute couple.

Johnny thanks her and then says how they usually get harassed for showing PDA.

Sally says how the world needs more love and less hate and how anyone who harasses them is either jealous, uptight, or both.

Johnny charges the items to his revolving account, then they walk out with the items in his personal folding shopping cart.

They go home and become intimate, until the hunger pangs set in.

Johnny then prepares dinner and they eat.

Afterward, they watch some old DVDs, until Annabelle suggests that they go write.

They create romantic fantasies together until they are too sleepy to keep their eyes open.

They go to bed and hold each other all night long in a peaceful slumber, thus concluding the Pilot piece.

There is then a three-month interlude, in which Johnny comes out of his backsliding, pays off his deductible loan, and purchases an engagement ring for Annabelle.

He is walking home with the ring on a late afternoon, in May, the first anniversary of them being a couple.

Annabelle greets him, then he walks her to the park, saying he has a surprise for her.

She puts on her shoes and then heads to the park with him.

Johnny tells her that he is blessed to have her in his life and he wants her to know that for sure.

Annabelle says how that’s so sweet.

Johnny then says he wants her by his side for the rest of his life, to which Annabelle agrees.

They enter the park and Johnny says now for your surprise.

He gets on one knee pulls out the ring and proposes to her.

Annabelle covers her mouth and her eyes fill with tears and she happily says yes.

Johnny places the ring on her finger and they share a passionate kiss.

Johnny points out that today makes one year that they are together.

Annabelle states that she hopes for many more.

Everyone in the park cheers and claps, another reference to my “Grocer and Writer” stories.

Johnny then tells Annabelle that he has been a Child of God since the age of seventeen but had backslidden for years but now he is running back to God and knows in order to please Him they must marry.

Annabelle says that she wants to be a Child of God as well and what must she do.

Johnny suggests they go home and he will gladly explain all of it, thus concluding the piece.

Johnny and Annabelle walk home and then go sit on the sofa.

Annabelle says how her daddy always claimed he was a child of God and therefore will go to Heaven when he dies and she wants to be a child of God too.

Johnny replies that he will do his best to explain it and he wants her to be a child of God, more than anything else.

Johnny gently states that we are all sinners and deserve to go to a sinner’s hell.

He continues by saying that God does not want that to happen though, because He loves us immensely, but still our sins must be paid for and the payment required is very high. It is so high it requires us to spend eternity in hell paying for it. Someone paid that price for us in full. God was also satisfied with the payment. That Someone is Jesus Christ. He went to the cross and suffered terribly to pay for the sins of mankind because He loves us that much.

Johnny finally tells Annabelle that she must first off acknowledge that she is a sinner deserving of hell. Then she must realize that Jesus Christ loves her and took her punishment, but she has to be willing to invite Him into her life and let Him rule her life and accept Him as The Lord of her life and the Savior of her soul. And believe that His payment is sufficient.

Annabelle asks how to do that.

Johnny then tells her to talk to Him sincerely but to please do it as soon as possible because this is the most important thing she will ever do. Just pray to Him, and in that prayer, invite Him as your personal Lord and Savior and ask Him to save your soul and rule your life. If you truly mean it and you truly believe what I am telling you, then you will become a child of God.

Annabelle closed her eyes and bowed her head reverently.

Tears began to flow from her eyes and a smile came to her face.

She then exclaims, ‘I believe it all! And yes I have asked Jesus Christ to save me and rule my life. I am feeling very guilty about living with you and having coitus with you even though we’re not married, but I have nowhere else to go.’

Johnny explained how That was the Holy Ghost convicting her of sin and how he has felt guilty about it too, just he loves her so much and never wanted to lose her, so that is why he slept with her.

Annabelle admits that If she would have known exactly how wrong having sex with him was, she wouldn’t have done it, but what is done is done and she is glad they’re getting married now because she strongly feels the need to. And that because he’s so sweet to her, he would have never lost her.”

Johnny explains how they need to find a church to start going to and they need to marry as soon as possible.

Annabelle asks Johnny if he would be offended if she slept in his extra bedroom until they are married.

Johnny says that if she feels that is what God is telling her, then listen to Him by all means.

Annabelle tells Johnny that she loves him so much and thanks to him for being so understanding.

Johnny tells Annabelle that he loves her too and he is immensely joyous that she is saved and that he’s been wanting her to be saved ever since he met her, but he, himself, had been in a horrendously backslidden state.

Excitedly, Annabelle says that she will see her daddy again when she dies and that she was angry at God for years for taking him away from her, but now she knows that God has him safe and sound and she thanks Him for that.

Johnny then prepares them some white beans, thus concluding the series…

I had finished work on the series at some point in 2020.

I know there are some loose ends and I apologize for that, but I did pour my heart into this story series. Furthermore, the loose ends are probably since my writing of it spanned a period of a failing marriage, a divorce, a new blossoming and promising romance, and then sadly a breakup.

I hope this has been an entertaining and informative synopsis and thank you for taking the time to read it.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

A Christian Couple Evacuating from a Hurricane

I had been thinking of writing something like this throughout the summer of 2021. There are factors from my life that inspired part of this, but it is mainly a work of fiction. I used the likeness of what I think a very nice future spouse would be like as inspiration for this story.

Without further ado, here is the story:

…Late Summer…

…Wednesday Morning…:

We are woken up by our weather radio and notified that our whole area is now under a Hurricane Warning.

I’ve been monitoring this situation for days and am not surprised at all.

The weather radio mentions our parish as being under a mandatory evacuation.

At once we kiss, use the bathroom, then get ready.

My wife and I have been married for almost nine months and we make each other incredibly happy.

In fact, we are so happy with each other, that we are not worried about how our trailer may be destroyed in this storm, just as long as we can still be together.

This is the second marriage for both of us and my prayer is that this is also the final marriage for both of us, because she fits my standards perfectly. She tells me how I am the answer to her prayers. Both of our previous marriages were quite faulty, but this is one of the reasons why we fit together so well.

I am thirty-five and she is twenty-nine, but we often pretend that she is nineteen and I am twenty-five!

At once, we pack.

I get my SwissGear EDC backpack and fill it with all that I usually carry plus all the gifts my wife gave me and any extra supplies that I may need.

She gets the SwissGear overnight bag that I gave her as a birthday gift and fills it with her valuables and other gifts I gave her.

We then get our SwissGear rolling suitcase and pack our clothes in it. I place my favorite tee shirts and pants in there, she places her favorite blouses and skirts in there. We both also place our undergarments and toiletries in there. I take several boxes of Little Debbie Doughnut Sticks, two jars of Community Instant Coffee and Chicory, and placed them in our oversized reusable shopping bag. I place our milk into several used water bottles along with my carton of Great Value Half ‘N’ Half and place them in my Igloo Playmate Cooler. I get my G. E. Superadio and she grabs our fireproof box containing all of our important papers and other valuables. We load up her white Dodge Caravan, pray over our property then head out.

She takes the wheel and I navigate.

I hold her hand the entire time.

We pray together and reassure each other how God is in control.

Two-hundred-seventy-five miles later inland, we pull into a truck stop for some fuel. She parks by a pump and I pay with my credit card, then fill up her van.

I then buy us each a bottle of Lipton Brisk Tea and a prepackaged turkey breast sandwich.

We park by an outside table, say grace then eat.

A tall gentleman notices us praying over our food, then asks us if we are evacuees.

We tell him how we indeed are.

He explains how his pastor is volunteering his church as a shelter and we should come there.

We agree then exchange contact information.

Then we eat our meal, and head to the church.

We park, then unload our clothes and food.

Immediately, we are welcome with open arms.

After being assigned our spot, we begin to fellowship with those in the church.

My wife assists the women with keeping watch over the children and I assist the men with cooking.

Despite, us being storm refugees, we are having a wonderful time.

We all eat a wonderful meal of spaghetti and meatballs, then we watch movies.

It’s now nightfall and several other evacuees wish to know what is going on back home, so I turn on my G. E. Superadio and can tune in to the AM stations back home. Several others are amazed by this as we all listen.

There are numerous reports of how conditions are starting to deteriorate and all lifelines are being cut off.

The pastor prays over us and we are comforted.

My wife and I then snuggle together, even though we are sleeping on a floor, we are so grateful to be together. She partially covers my body with hers and says, “You’re mine forever and no one else can have you, Mister!” I look up at her and shower her with kisses as I reply, “You’re the only one I want, so don’t ever worry, baby!” I pause then whisper, “But I think it’s very sexy when you act possessive of me!” She giggles and playfully smothers me with her breasts. I am powerfully turned on to her and she is equally turned on to me, but we realize not to cross the line with our affections since we’re not alone.

So she wraps us up in a blanket, then we fall asleep in each others’ arms, after exchanging many sweet kisses.

Thursday:
The next day, the pastor offers the church WiFi, so we’ll be able to conserve our mobile data.

I assist the elderly evacuees with connecting their iPhones and iPads through the church WiFi.

We learn how the storm is moving quickly through and that damage was minimal but all lifelines are still cut off. The storm’s remnant is forecast to go to the northeast of where are.

My wife continues to assist the ladies in watching the children and I continue to assist the men in cooking for everyone. Today I help them make Red Beans and Rice. I also show them how to make my version of ghetto punch.

We all eat together then watch movies, once again.

At night I tune in to our home stations and the reporters are saying how lifelines are being restored by we dodged a bullet for the most part.

Several people breathe a sigh of relief.

I call my pastor at home and check on him and his family. I then give him the contact information of the church where we are staying, in hopes that we can ally the two churches.

My wife and I then fall asleep together after having a war of kisses. We would be much more affectionate, but we are surrounded by many other people. How I long to fondle her thick love handles and caress her plump caboose, but I know I must be respectful of everyone around me! She giggles as she whispers to me, “Oh baby, how I wish I could pull your pants down!” We wrap our arms around each other and she sleeps partially on top of me as she says, whispering, “I don’t want you anywhere but underneath me and I cannot wait until we get home, Mister!”

Friday:
The next morning comes as we are slowly waking up. We are fed biscuits, fried eggs, and sausage patties that were donated from a local deli.

Gratefully, my wife and I say grace then eat.

I share my milk with the children since it will expire in a few days.

The church supplies me with ice for my Igloo Cooler.

The men at the church recruit me to cook with them once again saying how we need to make a very nice meal since the all-clear is about to be issued and many will go home without a hot meal for a while.

I describe to them my fried chicken recipe then they agree to make it.

Several of the men bring in fresh chicken, herbs and spices, and flour and oil.

I also tell them how some sweet peas and mashed potatoes would be good with that.

I prepare the chicken and the sweet peas, and another gentleman makes the mashed potatoes.

They also have me make my ghetto punch recipe once again.

We prepare a huge meal as my wife assists the ladies in watching the children.

Finally, we, serve the food, say grace then eat.

We then watch a movie until it is dark.

I tune in to our home station and learn how the all-clear will likely be issued sometime tomorrow and that, cell phones, natural gas, and tap water are restored, but cable and electricity will be up to a few days more.

The pastor prays a prayer of thanksgiving over all of us. Relieved, my wife and I exchange our affections until we fall asleep.

Saturday:
When morning comes, we are once again fed biscuits with fried eggs and sausage.

Happily, we eat.

I assist the men in cleaning everything up until the all-clear is issued.

We are instructed to go home and take care of ourselves and that if we are ever up here again, to come and visit them.

I give them my church’s contact information, then we lovingly bid farewell to each other.

The pastor prays over us for safe travels.

My wife and I load up her van, then we head back home.

Halfway through the trip, we fuel up and I buy us some more Lipton Brisk Tea and turkey breast sandwiches.

We arrive home in mid-afternoon, then survey our property.

There is no structural damage to our trailer, praise God!

My wife unloads her van and I clean up our yard.

Then I fix the skirting on our trailer.

I have a powerful craving for a hot cup of coffee and chicory along with some doughnut sticks.

Unbeknownst to me, my wife is preparing that very thing.

She comes outside and hands it to me.

I eat and drink, then ask, “What do I owe you, ma’am?”

“You know what I want, mister!” She replies as she teasingly lifts her skirt at me, revealing her white lace panties.

She then yanks me into our trailer, straight to the bedroom as we peel each others’ clothing off.

We pelt each other with kisses.

I then begin to kiss her neck, then her busty breasts, then her thick stomach then her nether regions between her creamy thighs as I unzip her skirt then remove her panties while she pulls down my pants and boxer briefs.

We make love with intense passion then cuddle in the sheets all night long.

Sunday:
The next morning, to which we are happily greeted with the electricity coming back on.

Fervently we praise God for taking care of us during that stressful time and also praise Him how He turned something meant for evil into something good. Subsequently, we get ready for church…

Yes. I think it is clear that this marriage from which the narrator is describing is a rock solid marriage. It could be close to the pinnacle of human love. However, there exists a tremendously Greater Love and it is available to all who surrender to it. The best part is that this love does not have all the stringent prerequisites of fleshly love.

Back to “A Christian Marriage”

A Review of the Texas Instruments TI-1795SV

Just to be clear, I do not own the featured image on this page. I downloaded it from Texas Instruments, converted it from a .png into a .jpg format, and am using it here.  Therefore, I give all credit whereupon credit is due!

It was a summer afternoon in July of 2009.

I was employed at a lumber yard and hardware store in Houma, LA.

I had gotten paid that day, so I drove to the Rite Aid on Saint Charles Street, which was a former drug store chain, to see what I could buy for myself.

Also, I was visiting that store, because my cousin, Douglas Foret, God rest his soul, was employed as a janitor there.

He worked many jobs over the course of his lifetime, and passed away on December 22, 2011, at the age of 80 going on 81.

He worked literally until a day before he died.

I always looked up to him and I enjoyed hearing his stories and making him laugh.

So, I took it very hard at his untimely passing.

And visiting him was my ulterior motive for going to Rite Aid.

He wasn’t there that day, but Rite Aid sold so much more than just prescription and over-the-counter drugs, so I browsed around.

Also, my then-fiancee`-now-ex-wife was recovering from a major shunt revision and I was worried about her. Yes during this point in my life, I did love her, I mean I wound up marrying her. So, I guess I needed some distraction in my life. Might I also add that she wasn’t as mean as she would become, although I was in for a rude awakening. It was that constant mistreatment that killed my love for her. I do admit that the bulk of her meanness is not her fault as she had another shunt malfunction shortly after we tied the knot. This caused brain damage and altered her personality for the worst. Also, believe it or not, couples becoming mean to each other after marriage is one of the curses that God placed on Adam and Eve, the husband becomes inconsiderate to the wife and the wife wants to control the husband. The Apostle Paul, while under the inspiration of The Holy Ghost instructed couples with the following and I will say it even though it is quite unpopular by modern standards. He commanded husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and for wives to submit to their husbands, and that is the mitigation to that curse upon married couples! God has shown me what my future and true spouse will be like and I refuse to settle for anyone else.

There I saw some Hostess Twinkies, a pint bottle of Borden Milk, and a Texas Instruments TI-1795SV Calculator.  The third item is what this piece will be a review thereof.

As mentioned before, for almost as long as I had been fascinated by flashlights, I have also been interested in calculators. I’m pretty sure the interest stems from my mom teaching high school math and therefore needing a calculator to accurately grade her tests and I was usually nearby watching. There was another calculator of which I carried early on at that job, and I also purchased at Rite Aid, a Texas Instruments TI-503SV. It stood the requirements for a lumber yard hand’s job and I was thoroughly impressed by its ruggedness.

The only other time I had seen a TI-1795SV, was in the aftermath of hurricanes because the cash registers in stores were down because of no power, so the cashiers would use this calculator to accurately determine the sales tax of all purchases.

So, I wanted to try it out and therefore purchased it along with the milk and Twinkies.

I promptly ate the Twinkies and drank the milk.

Then I went home and tried out the calculator.

I was pretty impressed by the rugged construction, large keys, and angled clear display.

I even carried it a few times, usually, in whatever EDC backpack I was using.

Over twelve years later, I still have it, though it needs a new battery. However, it still works if there is an adequate source of ambient light available. I keep it in a box of calculators which I have collected over the years.

Below are some of the Key features (with my commentary in parentheses)
Well-spaced keyboard with large, contoured keys for easy operation (well thought of, especially for those of us with bigger fingers.)
Change sign (+/-) key simplifies entry of negative numbers (I don’t see why a cashier would need this function.)
Square root key is useful for schoolwork (I don’t see why a cashier would need this function either.)
Solar and battery powered to work anywhere (This is a great idea, although replacement batteries are hard to find.)
Angled display for easy viewing (This is perfect for a cashier/business setting.)

Might I add there are functions on this model to store the tax rate and easily apply it to the total, which is probably the main selling point. I’m not sure why Texas Instruments did not mention that on their website.

There are also memory and percentage functions available on this model.

Finally, there is also a dedicated battery door to change the battery without having to take the calculator apart-I think this should be an industry requirement for all calculators, actually. My unit requires a single 1.5 Volt LR54 button cell battery. I wish that type of battery was more widely available. However, I pulled it out of my box and put it near the window and it powered on perfectly.

As I mentioned before, I think those who get the most use out of this particular model of Texas Instruments calculator are cashiers when the power to their stores is out for an extended period. These were extensively in use after Hurricane Katrina and subsequent hurricanes, especially at gas stations and convenience stores.

That means that Texas Instruments Calculators do have practical use outside the classroom, as I have pointed out a time or two before!

I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars but I do wish the colors were slightly different.

The part that is Silver should either be black or grey, but that is just my opinion.

All in all, this, therefore, concludes my review of the Texas Instruments TI-1975SV.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Synopsis of and Commentary to my “Grocer and Writer” Stories

If you, the reader, wonder what the meaning of the featured image of this post is, I will happily oblige explaining it:   There are two bottles of Louisiana Remoulade Sauce on a store shelf.  It is a reference to a line in this series where a gentleman asks my main character, “Excuse me, young man, where might I find the remoulade sauce?”  And not only that, it is also used to pay homage to the overwhelming hint that this series indeed takes place in Louisiana.

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 by day, writer by night 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 is filled with contempt and starts badmouthing Samantha referring to her as a nasty whore because she cannot stand to see a happy or chaste couple. Garth stands up to the cook, to which she threatens him with an edged weapon. All in all, Garth warns that he will 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.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

Excerpts from “Bohemian America”

Let me explain the meaning of the featured image in this post, so that you, the reader, will better understand and appreciate it:  It is a vintage Sony AM/FM radio that my main character, Carlisle Snowden also keeps on his windowsill and uses it to tune in Classical Music on NPR for inspiration whilst painting.

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:

EXCERPT ONE:

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!”

EXCERPT TWO:

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.

EXCERPT THREE:

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?”

“Sure!”

“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!”

EXCERPT FOUR:

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.”

“Yay!”

“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.”

“You’re right.”

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.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

A Review of the BellSouth 1010 FRS Transceiver

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!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Coby CX-17 AM/FM/Weather/TV Audio Receiver

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!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Hurricane Katrina Ruined Radio Broadcasting in New Orleans

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 that 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 Second Bush Administration (2001-2009), I remember commenting in my World History Class that America had become “a police state.” I was simply echoing what former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne, God rest his soul, stated on his talk radio show. The teacher barked back 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 Google the 14 Points of Fascism to see for yourself. Another time, this same teacher, who, for now, shall remain nameless, 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 the nationality of my surname is Metropolitan French and he frequently made fun of it. He made other inappropriate comments about certain disabilities. For the record, I was by no means an angel in his class, but I stand by my position that he said things that should not have been said by an educator.

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 were once very entertaining and informative but have since either gone dark or were converted to something 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 Saturday night at 10:00 PM Central Time. 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 they 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.

Back to “Articles”

A Review of the Grundig Yacht Boy 400

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!

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