Tag Archive: story

I know, I know, you are thinking, “Jacque, you are covered in ants. Shouldn’t you be jumping around like a freak?” No, I shouldn’t. You know why? I am a man! No not really, I am only covered from head to toe in red ants.


Native red ants and not fire ants. You know WHY I am covered in red ants to include inside both my pant legs? I am happy. Why am I happy? That’s a great question. You see I know you are expecting some insightful, poetic, deep and meaningful answer. You want to hear all about how a life event has changed me or made me ponder life and it’s meaning once again.

Phooey! Screw life and its meanings. I just got to tromp in the woods. Simple. It’s been a freaking long week already. Once of those weeks that makes you really think about whether or not to come home FROM the woods. I really wanted to say to the team I was with, “Hey worky pants, I am going to just hang out here for a few days until mother nature stops pissing on me. I will catch you all later – ants and all!”

But instead, I left the cool damp woods next to the small river. I turned my back, once again on what I know is right. I walked out the scarred surveyor’s path and went on about my grown up business. Left behind was the healing sounds of the woods. The soft voice of the river calling to me like it always does.

I could have stayed you know. Could have laid there on the banks of that river and solved all of my life’s puzzles. I should have stayed in the poison ivy and vine-covered trail that would hide anything. It would have hidden my furrowed brow, my tired eyes, my unshed tears. It would have hidden my doubt and expectations of myself.

It would have been easier. The coward’s way. But instead I stood in the bright sunshine. It is apparent I have a hangover, it’s obvious something is amiss, but you know what?

Nothing worth having is easy!20161207_111258


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (near DeSoto County), there once was a beautiful land filled with streams and cow patties. A small team of nerds (Kristen, Josh, John & Jacque) were going to travel to this land to study the land and all its beauty. The merry team of nerds would collect fish, measure the streams, count things and generally frolic around making much of muddy wriggly things while smelly disgusting.

It came to pass that Nerd Kristen, Nerd Josh, & Nerd Jacque were working on a lovely tomato (without the e) farm one sparkling clear day. They frolicked in ditches filled with glorious wonder (and maybe some invasive species and mass levels of herbicides and fertilizers). They laughed and played all the live long day in the tomatoeee (didn’t quite know how to get you there) haven there in the county of DeSoto.

It so happens that there was a big strong property manager. He warned the Nerds to leave the premises early lest they be trapped FOREVER in a pit of doom (which really meant they would be stuck on the farm). The Nerds giggled for they knew a great secret. They had a magic gate key! They would be able to frolic and laugh and handle strange creatures until the sun sank on the glorious horizon.

So it was that the Nerds spent their day lounging on stream banks marvelling at the amazing creatures and their native realm. It was just before dusk when the Nerds lifted their little chins to the sky and decided to journey back to their Knight’s Inn to retire for the evening.

Lo, the gate was locked just as the strong property manager had warned. “No matter,” Nerd Kristen said,”we have a magic key!” But when she tried the key in the golden lock – it did not open. Try as she might, the lock was stuck and the key was useless. CURSES!!!

Nerd Josh is a resourceful apprentice and thought immediately of many fun ways that the team might open the lock. He thought of magic, of calling the elves (which were hours away), of breaking it with his will (and a few misused tools). He thought of crow bars, and cursing.

Meanwhile, Nerd Kristen continued to be sad and hungry. Nerd Jacque began to look about for fun things to do while they  came up with a plan. Nerd Josh thought to look for sources of entertainment and eventual food. The nearby ditches provided endless hours of fun for Nerd Josh and Nerd Jacque. They caught fireflies and frogs, lizards and bugs and laughed and played well into the night.

A lone magician (dressed like a security guard) came from far away to help open the gate. Lo – the lock would not budge….who had warded the lock as well and what might they be hiding? Maybe they knew how fun it was to frolic in the fields of tomatoes and ditches of frogs. They had tried to warn the team of Nerds.

It was well past ten when the team’s hero came. The strong property manager rode in on his horse (truck) and magically broke the spell on the lock (yeah – of course he had the right key). The team shouted with glee (but the property manager did not – he was kind of grumpy). The manager left and the Nerds began to load into their magic carriage….but Nerd Jacque had lost the secret Toyota key. The key of all keys! She must have lost it while chasing frogs. The Nerds began a wild hunt for the secret Toyota key.

Jacque giggled as she remembered exactly where the secret must be laying. She was admiring a small lizard and thinking how lovely it was to be locked on a tomato farm at ten at night when the secret key must have slipped from her pocket. She immediately strolled to the very spot she had been sitting. Wouldn’t you know – they secret Toyota key was there – gleaming in the moonlight.

Nerd Kristen had passed into a deep state of grumpiness. Starvation and despair had taken her over and she was like a demon gone wild. how could the team find sustenance for her? They had such a long journey back to their Knight’s Inn. Nerd Kristen’s spell broke long enough for her to call the magical desk clerk at Knight’s Inn. Kristen demanded  I mean asked nicely for them to order some pizzas.

The team arrived to warm pizza, cold beers, and a wonderful tale to tell….the moral of the story is – you should never trust a magic key without trying it first or bring some pizzas to feed the demons. 


So I guess at some point we totally forgot that they were just yard sticks. These things saved our lives. If you got into a bog (which we did) you just used your stick. If you needed to check out a creepy hole – used your stick. saw something weird – hit it with your stick. Cleared spider webs with your stick…etc! I mean, these things became an extension of us.

We kept them in the back of the work truck. Funny thing about work trucks. You WORK in them. We worked almost everyday. Funny thing about people in charge of our work trucks. They don’t WORK in the field. I actually got called out for leaves and twigs in the back of my work truck! REALLY!! Also, people insisted that we didn’t need the sticks in the back of the truck. What the hell did they know.

None of these are MINE!

Did they know that those sticks could have prevented near death experiences? Those sticks were part of our safety protocol. If someone waltzed away from the truck – I reminded them to get their stick. We began noticing them missing. We would get another stick. They got worn on the ends, made them easier on the hands when hiking. They became muddy. You could hardly read the numbers. They became loved! They became family. I even used red duct tape to soften the end of MINE because my wrists are old and tired.

Then, one day, the saddest thing happened. I can’t remember what I hit, but I hit something with my stick to make sure there wasn’t a booger monster in there. Safety first you know. My stick split…..oh my gosh. What was I gonna use now? I taped it up. Then I couldn’t measure. I had to do the only thing I knew to do – I had to start using a new stick. It was as if I was cheating on my spouse.

I couldn’t very well throw away my old stick. It still had uses. I hate throwing away useful things. What if I got stuck and needed just a little grip – it would be perfect. You are sitting there, shaking your head saying, “Jacque, you are nuts. It’s just a yard stick.” I am telling that you are a heartless and unfeeling dolt. That stick was my eyes, hands, legs, and it did more for me than any other tool I even owned. It had my name on it and the red tape. It was MINE.

I used the new stick. I never put my name on it. I never taped the end to make it softer. I used it. It never felt the same. It never went as many places as my stick. It never even really ever saved my life. I threw it in the back seat. I didn’t really remember it always.

One day, I grabbed MY stick when I got out of the truck – just out of habit. I walked into the woods with it and used it gently. It felt good, that old stick. It felt like mine. I never used the new stick again. I guess I feel safer with MINE. After all, it does have my name on it. I sit here writing, and I swear I am thinking that I hope no one threw it away.

I have been gone a month or so. A lot changes in that time. I hope MY stick is somewhere waiting for me to use it gently.

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