Support Your Police! Uncle Ben’s Tips for Dummy Thugs

There are many kinds of thugs in this world. You might remember The Beagle Boys who were cartoon thugs. They were always trying to steal Scrooge McDuck’s fortune. Now that is an understandable kind of thuggery because there is monetary gain in stealing (sometimes) but, today, there is a breed of thugs in this confusing world who have no idea why they are thugs. Because today’s thugs are so uncertain of their purpose in life, it is imperative we support our police forces just as much as possible to protect ourselves from the sheer stupidity of the youth of today who have decided to follow the thug’s life.

The Famous Beagle Boys

The Famous Beagle Boys

I feel compelled to ask you to speak to as many educators as possible in an effort to convince them we probably should stick to “Common Core” and any other whacko system our far left educators have come up with to educate our youth because their systems are not working.

It’s good the system isn’t working because the kids are getting dumber and dumber, but fret not, oh teachers of the stony heads. You are unwittingly keeping us safe from the very same dumb-downed kids you think you are educating.

Saggy Pants do not a scholar make.

Saggy Pants do not a scholar make.

What little brain he has is in the seat of those drawers.

What little brain he has is in the seat of those drawers.

You keep teaching what ever it is you think you have been teaching  because if these guys (mostly guys) get any smarter we will have done the policemen all across this great country a terrible disservice. I will do my best to help out by listing a few basic rules for dummy thugs so the police can catch a break on having to continually lock them up because of their idiocy. My helpful hints include about ten or twelve golden rules that should still keep us safe but maybe give the police a break from having to lock up every dumbass walking the street after midnight.

So here goes folks – Benjamin Swilley’s Tips For Dummy Thugs:

1 – Do not text and drive in ditches, on sidewalks or medians at the same time. You are not      invisible.

2 – Do not smoke dope, drink alcohol (especially if you are underage) and drive a car with      no insurance, with no tag lights, with no tag, with no tail lights, with headlights off and no      driver’s license or with a fake driver’s license. You are not invisible.

3 – Do not stand on other people’s cars if you have your pockets full of Xanax and no              prescription. You are not invisible.

4 – Do not strike a police officer and then turn and run straight into a tree. You are not              invisible…… but, to tell the truth, the tree probably did not see you coming.

5 – Do not urinate in a downtown Athens alley if you have warrant out for your arrest. You        are not invisible.

6 – Do not go to sleep on the commode in the Waffle House if you have an outstanding            warrant for your arrest. You were very visible when the manager had to unlock the door      so the police could haul your dumbass to jail.

7 – Do not call the police to come to your house because of a disturbance if you have a            warrant for your arrest sitting downtown just waiting on you.

8 – Don’t try to run from the police when you’re in a stolen car and you choose to go down      a dead end street. You are not invisible. In other words…..THEY SAWWWWW YOU!!!!

9 – Do not do push-ups in the Varsity parking lot while you are roaring drunk and you have      warrants out for your arrest. You are not invisible.

10 – Do not drink booze from a flask in downtown Athens if you are a 20 year old gal who          is too drunk to drop the flask back into your pocketbook before the policeman sees            you drop it on the ground. This time you were really, really visible.

11 – If you are homeless, do not raise hell with people who are giving you a place                        to stay and then they have to call the police and then the police find you have                      outstanding warrants for your arrest and then – do not tell them you have no place to          stay because they know that is not quite true because the police know a place where        you can spend the night. You have gone way beyond being visible.

12 – If you are exalted members of the bar do not think you and your fellow barrister are so        highly educated you can do no wrong so you decide to kick back in your downtown            Athens office and fire up a joint with a lady friend. The policemen walking the beat may        not have such finely polished and filigreed diplomas as you guys but these two had            excellent olfactory systems and they followed their trusty noses right to your office.            You were only temporarily invisible before the fine sniffers of the lawmen ferreted out          the wrongdoers.


This fine little book has become a rarity in the world of readers. Few have read it. I think Amazon will sell you one if there are any left. Just try for more misinformation.

This fine little book has become a rarity in the world of readers. Few have read it. I think Amazon will sell you one if there are any left. Just try for more misinformation.








Malcolm Mitchell – “The Magician’s Hat.”

11953168_410297495845025_6278741926024803135_nThis is how Malcolm Mitchell became my hero and it was not at a football game.

It is UGA football time and I don’t think nearly enough people have heard of Malcolm Mitchell’s impressive move from being one of college football’s premier wide receivers to being the author of a children’s book. It is a lateral move that generally has no parallel in the world of jocks.

UGA’s Mitchell has suffered past injuries that have kept him from being fully active on the football field. In a thought process that is far from average for young athletes today Mitchell apparently began to wonder what his mission in life would be if he could no longer play football. During his musings over his future he must have seriously realized how precious a college education was going to be for him if he couldn’t earn a living as a football player. It was at this same time he worried over the fact he was not exactly your average speed reader. In fact, he knew he was not such a hot reader at all.

You’ve really got to admire a young guy who sees his future as clearly as Malcolm Mitchell saw his. He made a trip down to the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore. While searching for material he thought he could read and understand, he saw a woman customer choosing several books. Mitchell made a wide receiver’s quick decision to catch this woman and to ask her advice about reading material for himself.

He approached this lady, asked her a few questions and before you could say Malcolm Mitchell is in a book club, Malcolm Mitchell was in a book club. He found he was the only guy in the club, the only black person in the club and he was the youngest person in the club.

After joining the club and he beginning to master the reading part of the reading and writing equation his next play was to go for the long ball. That’s right, he wrote his own book. His childrens’ book, “The Magician’s Hat” can be found on any respectable website that sells books. Get your copy now.

This is a short sweet message about how Malcolm Mitchell discovered all those other worlds in all those books but it is basically the same story we all lived. We knew not much at all until we began to seriously read. All we know and have learned we learned mostly from reading. Thankfully we were taught to read by caring people and, by the right flip of the coin, Malcolm Mitchell chose a book club made up of older white women who undoubtedly gave him many helpful hints on reading and writing.

And so, my fellow Americans, all we really need to do is to get back to the basics of education for our young people; the school kids who keep floundering as they approach each new level of education they hope to attain.

All we need to do is find that Magician’s Hat that Malcolm Mitchell found. There is a magic wand in that hat with a four letter word stamped on it…..READ.


I’ll bet you can tell this came from The Athens Banner-Herald newspaper.



International Vulture Awareness Day is Here!

I’m not sure if buzzards indulge in tongue in cheek humor or if The Athens Banner-Herald newspaper article that appeared in Friday’s paper is for real but I do know that it was a pretty weird article even for a college town the size of Athens. It was written by André Gallant and Gallant has interviewed Suki Janssen of the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Recycling Division. That is a mouth full even for a kettle of buzzards. That’s what you call a group of the big birds circling the landfill according to Suki Janssen. If they all pile up in the trees, they are then referred to as a venue.

Amazing what you can learn in the newspapers but first you have got to half-way believe what you read and I’m not really good at believing what writers of the news attempt to translate from the person(s) they are interviewing (what they thought they heard) to what is true because generally the writer really knows little to nothing about the subject. That’s why I just like to make up things as I go along.

I know absolutely nothing about buzzards and vultures other than if you hit one on the road the bird is likely to cause serious damage to your car not the least of which is throwing up vile carrion all over it that has a stench which can probably never be erased.

Anyhow today is International Vulture Awareness Day at the landfill in Athens and I purposely waited until this late moment to tell you all about it because I cannot imagine anybody I know wanting to ride out to the landfill to visit one of the vulture education stations that has been set up by The Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail and The Oconee River Audubon Society. They even have binoculars for close-ups.

The only thing I remotely considered of interest is learning buzzards do not go to work until 10:00 AM but why should they worry about going sooner? Their meals are ‘ready to eat’ and breakfast will wait until brunch.

So here’s what you’re missing: the enchanting odor of rotting trash that emits sulfur fumes strong enough to knock you down (and to attract a vulture); If that doesn’t floor you these bad boys can use projectile vomit to run you back home; the vomit is so strong the stomach acids will kill botulism and melt the buttons off most shirts; buzzards have bald heads so they can poke around in large carcasses without ruffling lovely cranial feathers; last but not least in case you were still considering a buzzard instead of a cat or a Yorkie as a pet, buzzards defecate on themselves to keep cool.

Now that you have been given the ‘Vulture Culture” from a distance, please don’t thank me. In fact if you never mention it again I will be happy.

This interesting, thought-provoking article was beneficial to me in clearing up a serious concern I have had since we moved to Athens. The article gave the address of the landfill and it apparently is not too far from our house. For months I have set out on the back deck and watched dozens of buzzards circling overhead (in large kettles). I often thought they were watching me and, on occasion, I would leap to my feet and do wild Watusi dance steps while screaming whirling dervish chants of deliverance just so they would know I was still too agile to be dinner. Now I learn they’ve been out there circling the landfill the entire time. I was safe but just like Fats Waller always said, “One never knows, do one?”

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Athens, Georgia – About Crazy and Cross-Eyed Crooks.

cross-eyed criminal 2cross-eyed criminal 4

cross-eyed criminal                                                                                      

I often see articles in the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper that I find potentially funny but my concern is: Will others find the police blotter reports as funny as I seem to find them and is it worthwhile to share my weird observations about some of the reports with others on

I think it might make the day go better for some people if they get a giggle, chuckle or guffaw out of these stories. I know it helps me every morning of my life if I can lighten up on the seriousness for a little while and laugh a little.

Anyhow here I go with my thoughts and comments on the latest Athens Banner-Herald police blotter reports that I found amusing:

This morning I read that a woman has been banned for two years from a local convenience store/service station because she had her seven year old son asking people who were gassing-up their cars for money. I would love to see the people the little pan-handler approached turn the tables on his ‘not-the-world’s greatest’ mom and line up outside her car window with outstretched empty hands begging and pleading for money. I think a little embarrassment goes a long way with pan-handlers.

Another shameless pan-handler written up in today’s paper was a 22 year old guy at an Alps Road supermarket asking the store’s customers if they could help him by purchasing baby diapers for his child. Once he hooked somebody, they would buy the diapers and give them to him. He would then return them to the store and get a cash refund for the diapers. Police ran him off (for two years) and found he had no baby….period. I like using the word ‘period’ since a US President of mine has used this word so effectively.

I think the guy with no baby should be made to work under close supervision for two years changing dirty baby diapers in a large nursery.

Sometimes the two year ban does not work on brain-dead pan-handlers. They keep returning to the same stores. They might not know they’ve even been there before.

Yesterday the Oconee County (Watkinsville) Sheriff’s Office had to cease the pursuit of dangerous criminals to negotiate an argument between a mother and her daughter over 87¢. That’s right, eighty-seven cents. The police should have the right to get a large switch from a peach tree and stripe the legs of the daughter for being so disrespectful to her mother and then they should have been able to legally whack mama on the butt with the heavier end of the stick for being such a dummy and calling the police. I’ll bet you she called 911 and some poor soul out there almost died from heart trouble while emergency responders tried to decide the importance of the distraught mother’s call.

My favorite is last. Yesterday it was reported a ‘cross-eyed’ peeping Tom was spying on a woman in the women’s rest room at Athens Technical College. This cross-eyed imbecile actually sat on a bench inside the library of the tech school until a woman came in and went straight to the restroom. A witness reported he bounced off a wall four times before he found the door. He followed her inside the restroom.

She told police that after she had gone into a stall she heard someone come in, enter the next stall and step on top of the commode seat.

Looking up she saw this guy staring at her from over the partition.

She screamed, ‘What are you doing?” and he fled. He obviously had a problem seeing  exactly from where oncoming objects were appearing because a car almost ran over him as he was running away.

The victim reported the guy was cross-eyed. Now I don’t doubt her story for one minute but I am curious to know how she knew he was actually looking at her. I can see her in court with his defense lawyer protesting that his client was merely checking the recessed lighting in the ceiling and then he will ask her to, ‘Show us how he looked when he spied on you.’ That’ll be a tough one to answer unless she is good at crossing her eyes.

For the cross-eyed peeping Tom, the police need to be able to take him out into thick woods and fire a few rounds in the air from their pistols as he races a zigzag course of his own making (that no one else can see) as he runs for his life. I can see him bouncing off pines and oaks that are never exactly where he thinks he sees them.

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G-Day at UGA – We Watch The Red Play the Black.


G Day 4

Notice this picture was taken from the shade. The end zone is in the sun.

Ben and Sister

My Sister. We refer to her as Sister. Her given name is Sandra Lee but we have been calling her Sister for about 75 years and it seems to be sticking.

Katie Mae had this fantastic idea a few weeks ago. She thought it would be a wonderful thing to invite my Sister and her family to our house for this past weekend and we could all dine splendidly because when you eat at Katie Mae’s place you always dine splendidly and after we had stuffed ourselves for a couple of meals we could go watch UGA’s G-Day game on Saturday. And that’s what we did. Also we were all excited about seeing Britt’s boy Thomas play some Georgia football. It all went well and, as I said before, splendidly.

Katie Mae can load you down with more food and hors d’ oeuvres and then more food than it’s socially acceptable to stuff in your fat self but then who was trying to be socially acceptable?

We got to the game. My nephew Watkins Cannon was pilot of one vehicle and my son Paul drove the other. We had about a dozen people in the two cars and the plan was for the drivers to drop us all off and go find a place to park and then return to the game to join us but as my luck usually has it, a nice lady guard at the back of the Tate Student Center let us drop off all the passengers and then said (very quietly), Tell your two drivers to make a turn around the guard shack and we will get you parking spots in the parking garage behind you. This saved Ben and Sister from having to worry about long waits and long walks. The game was fun and as Louise Whiting used to say on the Society Page of The Albany Herald, “Games were played and fun was had by all.”

G Day 2

A common scene at a Sanford Stadium football game. The backs of the spectators standing in front of you.

G Day - More Family

The Swilley, Cannon, Lauterback gang…..with Harrison Fowler.


More of the spectators. This time, thankfully, they’re in their seats.


Kelly, Thomas, Rebecca

Kelly Cannon, Thomas Swilley and Rebecca Holland gracing the bar.                                                                                            Kelly Cannon (in blue) is married to my Sister’s youngest son, Watkins. Rebecca Holland is Paul’s special friend.

Sandra Swilley Cannon (below) with her eldest son, Harrison Lee Fowler.Sister and Harrison

Watkins, Paul, Mary Dale

Watkins Cannon and Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach are my Sisters children. The rascal in the middle is young Paul who is claimed by Kay and me.

G Day 5

Thomas Swilley is our UGA player and he has a very good appetite as you might imagine. It is wonderful to watch him eat. I remember being able to consume food like that when I was a young man. John is his brother. Britt is Father to both and Kay and I count Paul as our own. Thomas is standing. At the bar from the left is Paul, Britt, John, and the oldest but best looking Swilley boy.

The Whole Family

The whole gang Friday night before Saturday’s game. The person in charge is that short woman out front and to the right who has on a striped shirt.


The crafty Cannon brothers. They don’t realize we are real old and we know all the looks of someone up to nefarious endeavors. Where is Batman when you really need him?

Kay and Paul

My own Katie Mae. She who organizes, cleans and cooks and spends too much time trying to make me behave with our handsome lad Paul; grill aficionado extraordinaire. And oh how the boy can cook on outdoor BBQ equipment.

And so we are alone once again but guess who gets to pig out for the last three days on the cheese grits and sausage and egg casserole every morning and guess who has been diving into the leftover ham like it was his last meal. Today I lunched on the chicken salad that’s so happily (for me) made with grapes and apples. Now I get to eat some of the world’s best vegetable soup made with leftover vegetables and a huge much appreciated hambone.

Soon it will all be gone. I ate the last of the Plantation Crunch and Pecan Graham Crispies ( also known as Bulldog Divinity) yesterday.

There are a few scraps of sliced sausage left. I have hidden them deep in the darkened recesses of our refrigerator. It started out as links of chicken sausage stuffed with spinach and Asiago cheese, warmed to perfection on the grill and sliced into bite sized morsels that several of us got in the floor and fought over. Unfortunately somebody licked the bottom of the mustard dip bowl but maybe I can beg Katie Mae to make me a thimbleful more so I can enjoy the few bites left over. She makes it with dijon mustard with chardonnay and mayonnaise and honey.

Nothing goes wasted. No food is lost when you live with Benjamin the human garbage disposal. I would invite neighbors over but I don’t want to.

Such is the extent of my greed. If I have shared the food once and broken bread over the same foodstuffs with others, then my rule is I must eat all the leftovers myself.

I would share with Paul but he won’t come over. He remembers me sharing food with him once before when I bit him on the hand because I thought his eating was getting out of hand. That means he was trying to eat my food out of my hand.

I believe I have found all the food that was stashed out of my sight except for the delicious sausage balls that were made by my talented niece Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach.

Katy Mae does not realize that I know she froze them. Unlike most goofy older guys, I actually know how to thaw food and devour it in mere minutes.

When she checks the freezer for those meatballs in a week or two they will not be there. The geezergrit gut has struck again. By then she will think she just imagined putting them in there. Her memory is not much better than mine and she is almost twelve years younger.

So the big day came and went but I can tell you there is nothing like fun shared with family. I was never more aware of that than when I had a four-way bypass back in 2001. The family support was amazing and I truly believe that support worked a quick recovery on me. I was back at work in less than a month.

Take care of your family. You’ll have a great time with them and you never know when you will need them and how much their support will mean to you. G Day 6

Rebecca Holland, Paul Swilley, Eva Lauterbach my grand niece and her mother Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach.
G Day 7

My grand niece Alexandra Lauterbach in the black top, Her brother Sam in the green tee shirt, and her uncle, Harrison Lee Fowler in the yellow shirt.

Tripping the Light Fantastic or…..Flipping Out On the Filipino Tinikling.

Filipino Dancing

These gals look pretty good doing the Filipino Tinikling. They are not as nimble as I proved to be when I got my ankle caught between those bamboo sticks.

Filipino tinikling02

I tried dancing outside the sticks because I thought they were trying to hurt me.

Athens, Georgia, the town where you would naturally  expect the assimilation of all things cultural and if you did, you would be right on. The Culture Clubs recently strutted their stuff in Downtown Athens during the International Street Festival.

I had to be there. I am an expert at the Filipino Tinikling. I’m sure you’ve seen film clips of folks in the Philippines doing the Tinikling.

It’s relatively simple. You get two brain dead bozos to hold two bamboo poles parallel to each other and as these clowns clap the sticks together you have to dance, quickly I might add, between and in and out of the sticks without getting tender ankle flesh entrapped between the poles thereby suffering an injury that can lead you to becoming non-ambulatory. That would result in a serious need for crutches or a wheelchair.

I tell you I had to go. I just knew the Tiniklingers would welcome me with open arms once they saw my skill and grace as I performed this daring dance of the Philippines.

There was just one thing I did not take into consideration. I had forgotten Americans are not welcomed with open arms (by just about anybody) in the world anymore and the Filipino men who were in control of the ankle bashers did not seem to appreciate the fact that a tall, dark, and fairly ugly Americano could do their dance so well.

I was really getting into it (this would have been in the first three seconds or so) when things began to fall apart. They started banging those sticks together so fast that even Fred Astaire would have grabbed his top hat and run like hell.

I was at their mercy. I made my slickest move but it didn’t work. They had my right foot in a vise. I wear a size twelve shoe but by the time those guys got through with me just my left foot was a size twelve.

My right foot was only two inches wide at the widest part and it was almost seventeen inches long. I rolled around on the floor a while and cried a little bit and then crawled over and leaned on a wall while angrily protesting they had changed the tempo on me and fouled me all up and ruined my favorite foot.

They answered my accusations with what seemed to me to be quite a bit of joy and one of them said. ‘Oh no, meester, the Filipino Tinikling is in three quarters rhythm and you were trying to dance in four-four time.’

I called Katie Mae to come get me but she told me I should have known better than to go down there and act like an old fool. She sent me a cab about an hour later.

My foot will never be the same. I think it is gradually reshaping itself but it’s kind of scary because the new shape resembles the long face of a nine year old mule my Daddy used to own.

Filipino tinikling01

I think these clowns have hit this poor girl on the right foot too. It looks like she is about to wear them out with her shoe when she finally gets it off her foot.

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The Athens Polar Bear Plungefest – Where Were You?

These young women would have you believe they are happy. I personally believe freezing off important and much needed body parts is not truly a pursuit of happiness.

Polar Bear Plunge 2

He is either screaming in pain because he is losing fingers, toes and other digits (like his nose) to the cold or he is praying to the good Lord for relief from his pain. Either way the boy is hurting.








Athens, Georgia holds a high place of honor among those communities that continually organize fund raisers for charity and so many needy causes. Hardly a day goes by that Athens people are not engaged in efforts to help those who are less fortunate than those of us who are the more lucky ones.

This past Saturday about 150 of these wonderful people went out to Lake Chapman at Sandy Creek Park and there, in all stages of dress and undress, they leaped into frigid waters and raised over $10,000.00 for charity.

I have always admired people who have so much energy and who express a wonderful depth of altruistic feeling for their fellow man.

I tried to get Katie Mae to go out there with me so I could show support for these wonderful volunteers but like me Katie Mae is a creature of comfort.

I explained the Plungefest folks offer you three varying degrees of participation when plunging, or maybe, not exactly plunging, into the freezing water.

You can take the big plunge by yourself by jumping all the way in.  You can plunge in with a group if you are a great “Misery loves company,” believer. I preferred the Benjamin P. and Katie Mae Swilley method of contributing. It is called the, “Chicken Dip.” You just dip a toe in and that’s it.

Katie Mae told me to forget it (chicken dip or not) and if I didn’t forget it she would help me forget it. She said she would rather spend the rest of her life in prison for killing me rather than go out there and slip even one tiny pinkie in that cold water.

So, you see, Polar Bear Plungers, I tried my best to join you and offer my support to you but since life is still beautiful and I enjoy breathing so much I did not argue with her. I went out on the back deck and tipped my hat to you brave, noble gals and guys.

Believe me, I made it a quick tip.

It was cold on that deck.

Polar Bear on ice floe

This is the real deal. You don’t see any brave souls out there with this bad boy because playing in freezing cold water may only be harmful to you for a while, playing with Polar Bears is non-habit forming and the results are permanently damaging to you….all over.

Polar Bear Plunge

This is the only picture that is of the group in Athens and I stole it from The Athens Banner-Herald. These are really good people although the activity in which they are participating in no way speaks to their general sanity.







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The Camp Kay Soap Making Class Failure report.


Now you have got to admit that is a pretty large hole in the bar of soap. The photographs are the same bar of soap. I had a frightful scare when I thought the soap had attacked me.

Soap 3

This is the same bar of soap. There is little question you could drive a Mack Truck through the hole in this soap.





In every great success story there is always a failure or two and Camp Kay is no exception. It has now been over six months since Camp Kay last convened. I want you to understand that I am using the word ‘convene’ rather loosely because we convene at our convenience. Each day we convene sometime between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

I’m bringing this up because I am beginning to suspect that our lax system of rules (generally speaking – the time we convene) may have contributed greatly to my present consternation over the poor quality of a good deal of the soap we made.

The soap I kept was made for me, myself, personally. It was made from twelve years accumulation of old soap I kept in a plastic Double Bubble, bubble gum pail. That’s another problem I seem to be having. My soap all smells like Double Bubble. I smell like Double Bubble, bubble gum and yesterday a four year old munchkin in Wal-Mart tried to bite a chunk out of my calf. I’m talking about a piece of my leg. Little American kids have really well developed teeth by the age of four.

All we did was melt the soap down and pour it into molds I made. For molds I used those plastic drawers you see in small hardware containers that have compartments where tinkerers and putterers keep their bolts, nuts, washers, loose screws and most of their addled brains.

My only problem was I had to make partitions in the drawers so I could have six ounce bars of soap instead of one pound bars which are more of a challenge to to take a bath with as you might guess. Did you ever drop a one pound bar of soap on your toes?

We poured the soap in the makeshift molds and I began to press the soap firmly into each compartment. I used a fairly small hors d’oeuvre knife to press the soap as hard as possible into the form.

After I did a couple I could tell Ken-Ken wanted my job so I let her do it because I was afraid she would fall asleep on her feet and topple over into a hot tub of soap. This was a big mistake on my part because Ken-Ken apparently fell asleep anyhow and she did not firmly press the soap into the molds. She left big air bubbles all in the soap, only you couldn’t tell it because the finished bars looked solid.

How do I know this? Well, yesterday I was using one of those bars of soap in the shower and my finger slipped into a big hole in the soap and then my finger came all the way through the soap and stabbed me in the eye. Note the photographs. I didn’t know what happened. I couldn’t see. I thought Norman Bates had jumped me in the shower and was trying to stab me in my eyes.

I started yelling and thrashing around and almost tore down the shower stall before Katie Mae came in the bathroom and told me to shut up. She never asks anymore if I have a problem. I’m afraid to confide too much in her because she’s tried to have me committed to a facility for the mentally unwell a couple of times already.

Later on I tried to explain why the soap attacked me and why I was yelling. I mentioned if Ken-Ken had pressed the melted soap more firmly into my wonderfully created molds I would not have such holy soap.

Katie Mae gives me a really disgusted look and said, “You are such an idiot. Ken-Ken did not help you finish that soap. You finished it by pushing the soap down with your fingers and do you want to know why you had air bubbles in the soap that YOU made?”

I don’t think I looked sheepish because I don’t know how to do that but I gamely stuck my head face-down under my arm and said, “Why?”

She said, ” Because you stopped using the hors d’oeuvre knife and you started using your bare fingers and your right hand has an exceptionally short finger on it ever since that bull dog bit it off back in 1976. That short finger left air pockets in all your soap.”

Well anyhow, I’m sorry if I accused you unjustly Ken-Ken but I still think if you had stayed awake longer you could have brought it to my attention that one finger is still much shorter than the others.

Red and Black Soap

Now this is more like it. This is the glycerine soap we made in red and black for UGA lovers. As you can see we thought using molds shaped like tiny purses and shoes (including flip flops) was clever.

Kensley and Caesar Dawgustus

This is Ken-Ken posing with Caesar Dawgustus in Athens. When Ken-Ken comes to Camp Kay in Athens she always gets to meet the best of the dogs.

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This is the cover of my book written about funny old people and for funny old people. If you click on the gal in the blue shawl you will be magically transported to where they will lead you down the merry path toward the purchase of this book for a mere pittance.



Granny Brooks Comes to Athens.

Arches 1

Granny Grace Brooks captures Athens and declares her victory over the great Bulldog Nation by posing beneath the famous Arches on Broad Street.

Cup Dawg 1

Granny Grace and the famous Java Bulldog. Notice the flower blossom centers are coffee cups.










This story is about a visit to our house by Katie Mae’s Mother, Grace Alligood Brooks who will be 92 on April 2. It is dedicated to my friends Anne Watson O’Conner and Carol Watson Miller in memory of their own dear Mother, Connie Smith Watson, who passed away just a year ago on April 10, 2013. She was 91. Their Mother and my Mother were good friends. My Mother, Rozelle Pitts Swilley, died October 16, 2006 at the age of 93. The common but golden thread woven through the lives of these three remarkable women has to be their longevity and the opportunity provided by that longevity to imbue in their children a great love of life, a keen ability for loving friends unconditionally and a heartfelt and closely held culture of caring. Needless to say the women mentioned here are all great heroes to me.

Great-Great Grandmother Granny Grace Brooks came to see us in Athens and I think we enjoyed being with her more than we ever have in the almost forty years Katie Mae and I have been married. Probably because, for once, we had her all to ourselves.

She will soon be 92 and it has only been six months since she and her middle daughter were able to gather up her granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great granddaughter for an all-girl five generation photograph. It was a beautiful picture and they all looked marvelous.

So Granny Brooks came to stay and at almost 92 she reminds me so much of my own sweet Mother. Each of them so often have had the same puzzled look during conversation because neither could hear and both too vain to allow the purchase of a hearing aid. They would not even talk about it (and certainly wouldn’t hear of it).

The same quizzical look is also there when you can see the lights in Granny Brooks eyes flicker with a flash of an old memory too quickly come and gone to be fully grasped and recognized for what it is or was.

Both Mama Ro (my Mother) and Granny Brooks repeated over and over the same comments about how lovely the trees are and how much prettier they will be when Spring returns. The same things were said about the birds and then the absence of the birds and then they would much enjoy the arrival of more birds as they twisted and turned and spiraled abstract paths around the house only to disappear again in an instant.

Katie Mae and I drove Granny around Athens to take her picture with some of the many big and brightly painted fiberglass replicas of Uga the Georgia Bulldog mascot. I dropped them off downtown so Katie Mae could get a picture of Granny under the famous UGA Arches.

Back at the house Granny Brooks most often sat near a back window and peered down some twelve or fifteen feet into the back yard where she could watch birds and squirrels making their living. Mama Ro would do the same from our rear window in the Statesboro house.

A feral cat is raising her children in the woods behind this house in Athens and Granny Brooks stares intently as the cat hunts the wooded area and then circles back on a regular basis to check on her young. Granny is intrigued by the cat’s actions and movements. I wonder if her fascination with the cat is because it cannot be acting any more protectively than Granny has acted for all her many years when it comes to tending her own brood.

Watching the mother cat can only make me think of the incredible sacrifice she and so many women like her made for us. We are the children of the greatest gals who ever lived. Women who were born and raised from the 1910’s through the 1930’s lived through the most despairing and hopeless times that ever existed for modern man.

Fresh off a depression that created a dearth of available necessities and foodstuffs, America was thrown headlong into a World War that created a crippling, rationing of food, supplies, gas and oil and any commodity you can name.

And that’s the same time many of us were born and raised. It’s unbelievable how well fed and clothed most of us were as we grew older. Our Mothers knew how to save seed from one year’s harvest in order to have seed to plant for the next year’s crops. Our mothers could cook huge meals from the scantiest stocked cupboards imaginable. They could sew with such dexterity that the finished product looked store bought.

Our Mothers made sure we were fed first and foremost and I sometimes feel a trifle guilty when I cannot remember ever missing a meal.

With those thoughts in mind, I questioned Granny Brooks about her own childhood and the hardships she lived through growing up on a hardscrabble farm in Mitchell County, Georgia in the late 1920’s and 30’s. It is an enduring story for people who care but, sadly, a story  that people tend to forget. It would do us all well to remember these women and what they had to live through and what they did for us.

Our son Paul took Katie Mae’s iPad and filmed Granny Grace telling some of her story. I suspect that film will become a family treasure.

This is a woefully inadequate tribute to these fine women. We should never pass up on an opportunity to remember how much we owe them and how much we love them. Thank you Grace Alligood Brooks, Connie Smith Watson and Rozelle Pitts Swilley for all the deprivation you endured so we would not be deprived.

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Left clicking on this book cover or any of the pictures will take you to who printed this book from my first blogs. The book is fun and inexpensive and can be purchased in paperback or for Kindle on the Amazon website


USA Dawg 2

Granny Grace with the Captain America Bulldog. He is the most patriotic bulldog in America.


A Christmas Cat Home Invasion.

Sego on the deck

Sago from the bedroom window








Katie Mae is a short person and short persons often, like small children, can spot things those of us who are taller seem to overlook. I was not surprised then, when she opened the blinds to one of our bedroom windows that overlook the deck behind our house. She then questioned the presence there of a dark shadow against the far wall beneath a small potted Sago Palm.

The deck can be seen in the picture on the left. I took that picture on the same rainy day because I wanted you to see what Katie Mae saw when she opened those blinds. The picture does not show a dark shadow under the palm.

I also saw the shadow and told her it might be a cat. I went into the living room and opened blinds there so I could have a better look at the dark spot.

I then went back to the bedroom and told her it was not only a big black cat but it had more than one head and one set of ears. Even though it looked like a big black blob underneath the plant I could see a silhouette of more heads and ears than most cats usually carry around with them.

I carefully eased out the back door to the deck and the mama cat took off across the deck. As she ran down the deck steps she was followed by an agglomeration of little kitten ears, heads, tails and legs. Most astonishing of all is how thickly furred they were and all four of them were black as deep smut.

She led them through the thick woods behind the house and I guessed that was the last we would see of them. I was wrong. Later that night, I could hear a loud cry from a kitten coming from the back deck. Katie Mae said the cry was coming from the front porch and, once again, that short person’s perspective proved to be right.

I went to the front door and peeked through the panel windows on each side of the door and they were all there to greet me. Momma cat gave me what I would call “a warning smile” and a low guttural growl as she chased her brood from the porch. Her unpleasant greeting made me slightly hesitant to open the door so I didn’t.

I’ve seen her around the neighborhood before and I considered her a feral cat. It’s kind of odd to see any stray animals in our neighborhood but she has been around for a while. She is not completely black. She has orange markings on her side that look like a map of Tasmania. From the looks of her smile I suspect she could be a Tasmanian devil and apparently she has not been a totally single parent. So these kittens are not that kind of Christmas gift. I’m pretty sure she had help making them. If he’s anything like her I don’t want to meet him.

They stayed on the porch late into the night until they got caught up in a tangle that was more than they could handle. Katy Mae has tiny sentinel Christmas trees right outside the front door. They are lighted trees. You get my drift. That means they are electrified. They are about three feet tall and they have electric lights running all throughout their limbs or at least they did before those kittens Sego on the deck 2Order From Amazon.comgot to tussling, scuffling, tumbling and fighting amongst themselves and up under those little Christmas Trees.

I heard the loudest caterwauling I have heard in years coming from our front porch. The kittens were all wrapped up in the electric lights and they had taken to scratching and clawing and biting the wires. I jumped to get a remote control to turn off the lights before all those cats really got to smoking.

I turned off the lights and yanked open the front door just in time to see Mama Cat, kittens, trees, lights and all pass under a street light about a hundred yards down from our house.

I could still see dying flickers of colored lights going down the street and the smell of burning cat hair on the porch was strong enough to make me cough.

I’m sure it was the coughing that made me temporarily turn to strong drink.

The entire episode has been a “Bermuda Triangle” moment for me. I have seen no cats, no Christmas Trees and no lights since night before last.

They have completely and totally disappeared. That can’t all be bad. It makes me believe Santa Claus still loves me.