Mike’s Page

My Own Stories and Personal Favorites

 

Mike and Liz Strong

Mike and Liz Strong

On Skype

 Here’s a place where I can list out my own tall tales and memories, along with those of some others that I have especially enjoyed.


Why do my stories get their own page?   Heh heh, because I’m the one runnin’ this thang!”

My Tall Tales and Memories

The Raised Country! Facebook Page is Busier Than Our Site

admin : July 30, 2012 8:05 PM : Announcement| Featured| Mike's Stories

Well, social networking is definitely where it’s at these days, but it seemed like the tail wagging the dog last week when our Facebook page got almost 8.3 million visitors but our actual web site just muddled along with only a moderate number of visits.

https://www.facebook.com/raisedcountry

Why fight it?  Folks, check out our Facebook page.  Apparently, a few million folks thought it was worth a look this past week!  ;o)

God bless.

Raised Country!

Update: We stopped updating the Raised Country website in July 2012.  We now have a loyal following on our Facebook page.  If you would like to pick up the baton and support Raised Country by posting family-friendly tall tales and stories, please contact us.

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Lifting the Bus

admin : February 5, 2011 6:33 AM : Heart Warmin' Tale (G)| Mike's Stories| Short Story| Stories for Children

(Stories for Children)

School bus on its side after wreck.

“Hold that steady, partner. Don’t want me to lop a finger off do ya? I need you to concentrate. Pay attention to what you’re doin’, son.”

Charlie knitted his brow and stared at the board as though he was scolding it with his glare. He leaned on it hard to anchor it down.

He wanted Uncle Bob to understand just how seriously he was taking his instructions. There was no one in the world that he admired as much as Uncle Bob, and he so wanted to please him.

The power saw screeched on with a twang and then a roar. Uncle Bob carefully guided the board through the blade to make a perfect cut along a faint line he had sketched across it earlier with his pencil. The saw clunked to an instant stop when Uncle Bob cut the power. It’s blade rang out a final, soulful tone that lingered in the air for several moments.

Charlie savored every sound and smell, and every minute that rolled by when he was with his Uncle Bob.
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All Night Wolf Hunts

admin : June 19, 2010 11:52 AM : Coarse Realities (PG)| Featured| Mature (PG)| Mike's Stories| Short Story
Wolf Image Actually Taken From Yellowstone, Not East Texas

Dogs baying throughout the night in the dark East Texas woods meant that some poor critter was running for its life. When a small red fox zigged and zagged through the thicket at top speed, its heart pounding, its small chest about to explode, the onslaught seemed a tad unbalanced, a bit unfair. At least, Samuel thought so. Sam consoled himself with the fact that the fox’s cleverness and agility would serve it well.

Though its prospects were bleak, it at least had a slim chance of outsmarting Papa Jim’s pack of hunting dogs. Raccoons were rarely as lucky, but this night’s hunt was for neither foxes nor raccoons. It was for wolves.
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Small Town Radio Station

admin : November 11, 2009 12:36 PM : Anecdote| Mike's Stories
Old bush radio

It must be hard on your morale when you think your radio program is reaching thousands of listeners over a several hundred mile area, and then to only get the same caller for every contest.

Just as Austin claims to be the *Live* Music “Capital of the World”, Carthage prides itself on being the “Natural Gas Capital of the World”. Appropriately, their radio station’s letters were (and still are) KGAS.

KGAS has always been a great station that served the area well, but one day, back in 1963, they became so frustrated by a little boy … er, uh, that is, me, that they finally had to beg me to let someone else call in to win some contests for a change.
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The Old Pear Tree

admin : October 29, 2009 12:34 PM : Featured| Heart Warmin' Tale (G)| Mike's Stories| Short Story| Stories for Children
Vector drawing of golden field and trees during sunset with birds flying in the sky.

Getting through a barbed wire fence was always easier for Robin than it was for Mike. Rob deftly lifted or squeezed the wires just right and quickly slipped through without a hitch.

Even though Mike and Robin were only 9 or 10 at the time, Mike’s navigation through a barbed wire fence resembled a 90 year old doing the limbo. In spite of the extra caution and time he took, Mike invariably got snagged on one of the barbs.

Robin lived on a farm, but Mike was a “city boy”. Didn’t matter that the “city” only had about 5,000 people in it, Mike lived “ in town,” which made him “city.” Things that seemed ordinary to Robin were often either great adventures or daunting trials for Mike.

As always, with a snicker or two, Rob patiently waited for Mike. He could have been cruel, given the disparity in their skills, and, of course, he had to give Mike a hard time now and then. But, overall, at least in his dealings with his buddy Mike, Rob had a sweet patience beyond his years.
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Water Moccasin Ye Ha!

admin : October 27, 2009 10:50 PM : Featured| Mike's Stories| Short Story| Stupid Stunts and Pranks

Water Moccasin (AKA Cotton Mouth)

Water Moccasin (AKA Cotton Mouth)

Growin’ up in Carthage, Texas (Northeast Texas in the piney woods) in the early 1960′s, a boy is eventually going to run into the infamous Cotton Mouth snake, also known as a Water Moccasin.

Back in the 1960′s, your dad could just call one of his many friends to ask if his boys could hunt on some of their land, which was normally hundreds of acres of sweet, pine wooded forests. The answer was invariably, “Sure, Jimmy!” In no time, kids would be off on another big adventure.
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First Encounter of the Skunk Kind

admin : October 27, 2009 3:57 PM : Anecdote| Coarse Realities (PG)| Mike's Stories| Tough Growing Up Lessons

Skunk Tail

No question, about it.  Robin, having grown up on a farm, and learning all the skills that came with it, was nothing short of an expert marksman.  This wasn’t just with firearms.  Robin could hit a can off a fence from all the way across the field throwin’ a rock free handed.

Mike and Rob were off on one of their regular squirrel hunts, each with their safeties on, and their shotguns slanting to the ground as they’d been taught.  Normally, they’d head out the back pasture behind Robin’s farm.  Today, however, they chose to meander up the dirt road that ran in front of Rob’s house.

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Other People’s Tales I’ve Especially Enjoyed

The Moving East Texas Watermelon Heist of 1945

admin : February 20, 2011 9:21 PM : Featured| Historic| Mike's Picks| Stupid Stunts and Pranks

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did – submitted by Jack Strong

Editor’s Note:  This is a tall tale that my Uncle Jack shared recently at his 81st birthday party, ostensibly in the form of a family confession; however, his sly grin betrayed a clear lack of any genuine contrition. ;). 
In 1945, his big brother, my dad, was involved in WWII. Jack, however, was still a restless 15 year old boy back home who managed to get into some fairly harmless mischief, as country boys that age are prone to do.
After these childhood shenanigans, Uncle Jack went on to serve as a distinguished state senator, and he was also quite successful in his law practice and many business ventures.

Probably the dumbest thing that we ever did had to do with watermelons. We liked watermelons, as most boys did, but we didn’t like hot watermelons – we liked cold watermelons.

Watercolor of Melon in Field

There was a particular farmer who lived about three miles out of Carthage, Texas.  He was just next to the road there, and had what we believed to be the best watermelon patch in all of Panola County.  We found a place in the fence that was easy to get across, and we would just go get two watermelons.  We got two, not because we would eat them both, but because the man at the ice house had a deal that if we would bring him two hot ones he’d give us one cold one.

One night we went out there, and we had a flashlight so we could try to locate the two best watermelons. We were very careful – seriously – to not damage any of the vines or any of his crop.  We might have been thieves, but we were considerate thieves.

One watermelon in this patch has been poisoned!

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SNAP

admin : March 1, 2010 8:46 AM : Death or Deep Personal Loss| Featured| Mike's Picks| Poverty| Short Story| Tough Growing Up Lessons

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

I never told Bayno when Mama was going to make fried chicken. If I didn’t say anything, then all the cracklings in the pan would be mine. When the chicken was brown and crisp, I would take the spatula and press it against the bottom of the skillet and scrape the cracklings out of the grease, and when they were cool enough, I’d pour them into my mouth.

That summer was different from other summers even though the garden was the same. All its blooming and growing meant a good harvest along with back breaking work. Sometimes I’d stand in the middle of a row with both hands pressed into my back, my hands making a V and I would bend backwards and listen to all the bones popping and feel the muscles stretch so much they hurt. But with the sun beating down, I’d set my jaw and finish the row no matter if I was weeding, hoeing, or picking.
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The Roys – Raised Musical! … Together

admin : February 10, 2010 10:35 PM : Celebrity| Celebrity Tale| Featured| Interview| Mike's Picks
Lee and Elaine Roy

RC: Lee and Elaine, what are some of the earliest memories you have of wanting to play music as kids?

LR (Lee Roy): For me, I was probably about five.

I remember my grandmother playing fiddle, and my grandfather doing the old time Acadian dances. Uncles and aunts would all play guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and sing.

I remember going to church, then going over to my grandmother’s for dinner afterward. It was a “gimme.” As sure as there was going to be food on the table there was going to be music that afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get there to hear them start playin’ the fiddle and start singin’.

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Country Music Hall of Famer, Charlie Louvin, Takes Us from 1927 to 2010

admin : December 26, 2009 1:08 PM : Celebrity| Celebrity Tale| Featured| Historic| Interview| Mike's Picks

Charlie Louvin

Photo by Anthony Pepitone

Ira and Charlie Louvin

Ira and Charlie Louvin, Approx. 1958


Childhood

RC) We’re looking forward to getting your reflections on your career in country music and any experiences you can share of growing up in the country.

Mr. Louvin:

Well, I’m sorta livin’ in the country now.   I’m out here on 48 acres.  We love it in the country.  I live 75 miles from Nashville.

I tell people constantly, don’t tell me “You live so far out.”  We live out here by choice.  I wouldn’t want to live in town where I couldn’t stand on the front porch to pee, if I wanted to.

RC) Can you tell me one of your earliest memories.

Mr. Louvin:

Ira was born in April, 1924, and I was born in July of 1927.

Musically, I started singing when I was 8 and Ira was 11.
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Alabama and the Fine Art of Yard Rollin’

admin : November 20, 2009 5:32 PM : Celebrity| Celebrity Tale| Mike's Picks| Short Story| Stupid Stunts and Pranks| Tough Growing Up Lessons

By Grant Langston

Grant Langston Cover

“The Country” means a hundred different things to a hundred different people. To me, it has always meant freedom.

There’s something about the lack of people and the open space that gives you an opportunity to stretch out and have an adventure. As a teenager that meant the ability to get into trouble without having someone on your back. Blow something up. Build a potato gun and shoot it at cars that whizzed by on Hwy 36. Build a tree house in the woods and use it as a base of operations for pine cone battles, runs to the bootlegger, or a place to stash our Playboy or OUI Magazines (which we pronounced as “O-U-I”, having no idea that it was French).

The country meant that in the summer you said goodbye to your mom at 7am and you got home when the streetlights came on. What you did in the intervening 13 hours was between you, your little brother, and whatever gang of boys you were running with that day.  You were 12-years-old.  You solved your own problems.  You made your own fun.
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Raised in Altamahaw-Ossipee, North Carolina

admin : November 19, 2009 12:06 PM : Celebrity| Celebrity Tale| Mike's Picks| Short Story

By Seth Walker

Seth Walker

I was raised in rural North Carolina in a town called Altamahaw-Ossipee. Yes – hard to pronounce and hard to find.

My parents and another couple, Jim and Susan Walton, met at a Quaker retreat and made a plan to live communally in a log house built with their own hands.

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