Tag: no hill for a stepper

A Chipped Tooth of Honor

Gene is teaching me how to play checkers. He lets me be red and I learn about jumping and kinging. I think about Grady’s checkerboard and think that next time I might just ask him for a game. We could sit outside at his…

When the Bull Gets the Last Laugh

Maybe it was a low point for Dad but for me, it was anything but. We were living at the Dennis ranch, when Dad came home drunk and decided it was time to act like a real rodeo star. I was standing outside the…

The Worry Wrestler

Ike, my grandfather, ain’t mean like his son. Unless he’s breaking a horse or doing something else with purpose, he’s got a smile perched on his leathered face. He stays cool as a cucumber even when times are hard. I hardly ever see that worry bubble dancing over…

Discouraging but Deserving

I like looking at my teach, Mrs. Alexander, at her nice smile and her fancy dress. I keep picturing my mother getting to wear a dress like that someday. Right before it’s time to go home, Mrs. Alexander starts to teach us a new…

Dumbest Teacher

The first day of school, I’m sitting in the back hoping she won’t see me. But she does. “Cono,” she says, “Sit on up here in front, where I can keep’n eye on you-uh.” I hate it when she says “you-uh,” like it’s two…

When You’re Hit Between the Eyes

I grabbed my little sister’s button nose and held out my hand to show her my thumb tucked between my two fingers. “Cono, I’ve done told ya I was too big fer that!” Delma yelled and stomped her little feet in the dirt. Instead of kicking…

If I Tell You a Rooster Wears a Pistol …

To know him means you “got” his colloquialisms, his dry, sometimes sarcastic wit (I was a quick study). To know him means you understood what it was like to run away towards something good. And if it wasn’t “up to snuff,” you’d take advantage…

He Can Run But He Can’t Hide

Narrated by Cono Dennis: I listened to those summer bugs, the cicadas, the ones that sound like sandpaper being rubbed together. Aunt Nolie’s radio started to crackle. We knew we were getting close. Finally, we heard the announcer, Clem McCarthy, saying that the fight was about…

Proceed with Caution

“Always pay attention to your surroundings,” Dad always told my sister and I. Perhaps he said this because he grew up in West Texas during the Depression  – a place and time with caution at every turn of a dirt road. (Dad on right)…

Toothless in a Fur Coat

Hardly Saddler’s rolled up his wagon, pitched a tent and started up his Medicine Show. He told us about his elixirs and about how, if we bought them, they could treat most of our ailments. If he had an elixir for meanness, I would…