Whitlow Greetings May 8, 2012- New Orleans Jazz Fest, Austin TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair, the Squirrel Dream

Watch the Eagles sing Peaceful Easy Feeling

Click here to see New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012

Welcome friends to Whitlow Smoke School, the best little smoke school in Texas and the rest of the USA. It’s been a quiet week in Lake Whitlow-b-gone, my home town. It is springtime in North Louisiana. The flowers are blooming and the trees and all the grass has miraculously changed from dull brown to bright dark green. The air smells like honey suckle and fresh cut grass- Gee I hope it ain’t mustard gas. Maybe it is a bream fish bed.  It is so nice to sit out on the front porch around daylight, listen to the rooster crow, and watch the birdies, parakeets and my gold fish. We put the house back on the market so if you are interested in a little piece of heaven in this rare 10 acres of virgin North Louisiana timber, the giant white oaks, red oaks, and cypress trees give us a look. If you like the idea of waking up in the morning and finding a deer in the back yard, then this is the place.

Our son Aaron finished his freshmen year early, because he did not have to take the final exams because he had the perfect 4.0 average. This was enough to make us all proud to attend the honors celebration down at the assembly hall at West Ouachita Parish High School. I was so proud of him that I made a special trip to Ziegler’s music on 18 St. in Monroe to get him a nice violin or a fiddle so he could play Fiddler on the Roof. Only intelligent people can play the violin. That leaves me out, because it took me 20 years of night school to bring my 1.05 GPA up to a 2.0 to graduate from the school of hard knocks. The only thing I can play is the cigarette pack on an old comb. If I get Aaron to assist me, then I can turn on the remote for the big TV and maybe watch a Blue Ray Movie.

We all attended Jazz Fest in New Orleans. There was me, sweet Angie, my other brother Joe, Billy Bob Caldwell, and Aaron. Never again shall I go to these fiascos. We went to see the Eagles. The traffic for a country boy like me was a nightmare, but not as bad as Austin the week before. The police saw the handicap sticker on the mirror and directed us right inside of the fair grounds. We still had to walk about a country mile to the Eagle’s stage. The last 200 yards was a nightmare. There was pushing and shoving trying to get somewhere that you could at least see the band. It was hot humid and generally miserable. It was a lot worster than Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. When we arrived at the front of the stage there was no place to even stand. My smeller must have quit working because everyone else was smelling marijuana or something. My closet claustrophobia kicked in with both barrels so I started working our way pushing and shoving all the way back out to a position by the chocolate strawberry stand about 75 yards on the side of the stage. Once in a blue moon I could see the drummer’s blond hair. I was standing up dancing in front of the yard chair singing along to This Ain’t no peaceful easy feeling and a pretty young drunk blonde female lady with lots of sweaty covered cleavage nearly gave me a heart attack when she appeared next to me and patted my bald head and said that I was the most handsome man she had ever seen. She liked my socks. I said Ever Woman’s Crazy Bout a Sharp Dressed Man. Then she put her arm around me and gave me a kiss on the top of my shaved heard, and her husband asked if he could take our picture. I said go fer it, but she must be smoking something. Then, there was the blind girl with the white cane. That is one place that you would not find me if I was blind. I notice the very large crowd ranged from about 3 to 83 and I felt right at home, but I swear that I will never return to Jazz Fest. The next concert that I go to, will be inside of an air conditioned building with comfortable seats where you can relax and see the stage.

Earlier last week sweet Angie, Brother Dave the firefighter, Pete and Repeat, and I set up the world’s largest trade booth at the world’s largest TCEQ Austin Texas Environmental Trade Fair. They allowed us to park Big Bertha the Phantom 309 smoke machine in the back of the Convention Center near the refreshment and beer stand. Ten million people walked right up close. Most of them thought we were smoking a hog and I am sure we could have made a lot more money if we were. We passed out brochures, business cards, barbecue “Sauce Tools”, and great country smiles. Several people signed in on our information form and a few requested information on private schools, one wanted to train 6 plants. It was a good day so I took the boys and the girls on the Whitlow team out for a nighttime horse and buggy tour of beautiful Austin, followed by great fat juicy steaks cooked in butter at Ruth Chris. After such a busy week traveling, it is so nice just to sit and relax at home.

I saw our major competitors at the TCEQ Conference and spent some time with them. Jody is heading up ETA now and I talked to him for a spell. Last night I had a dream about him. I dreamed he was a talking squirrel and that he wanted me to cure an infection he had on his squirrel tail. I took out a spotlight and a magnifying glass and spotted the red infected area right at the tip of his tail. I poured some Jack Daniels on it and he screamed and ran away to climb a tree. What does this dream mean?

I heard news at the TCEQ fair about a new NSPS standard about reading opacity of gas flares. What have you heard about this and does it affect you. I can already see an increase in business coming up for Whitlow Smoke School Nation. Maybe my ship has arrived. The new standard requires reading and recording the opacity on Method 9 forms, during smoking upsets and recording all zeros for 6 minutes after the flare stops smoking. I remember one of my very first air DEQ inspections at a gas plant. We were riding in the plant manager’s truck. I commented on the smoking flare. He said that he could make it stop smoking. I said do it. Then he drove us about a mile from the plant and said brace yourself for the explosion. He explained that the flare burns off excess gasses. I still wonder why they can’t capture them and sell them. Then again I never claimed to be the smartest man in captivity.  

I work up this morning wanting to take a real vacation as soon as Aaron gets out of school. I want to plan a month long common man retirement vacation and travel in the common Chevy van to the Grand Canyon and any other national park between there and Alaska. Then I want to tour Alaska as Johnny Horton sang, “North to Alaska”. I will stop at the Chambers of Commerce in large cities along the way and leave brochures thus making it a tax deductible trip. Let me know if you are interested in setting up a smoke school somewhere along the route and we shall see what we can do. During their retirement years momma and daddy used to pack up their camper and their flea market trailer. They would travel the Blue Ridge and the Smokey mountains buying junk and antiques from yard sales and estate sales and selling them at flea markets.

I made some changes to www.smokeschool.net and you may check it out. You may like it. I turned down an offer from a customer and friend from Omaha. He enjoyed smoke school here at the house. He wanted to spend some time in the area with his metal detector to find gold and Civil War relics.  He said he designed professional looking web pages and emailed me a sample of how our web site would look. I have been working on my web page since 1998 a long time before I ever started thinking about Whitlow Smoke School Nation. This is like my diary and I write it not just for business, but for you to enjoy. Sometimes life is just too professional and too dogone stressful. We all deserve a break once in a blue moon. This is now our slow season, so let me know if you are interested in setting up any private schools for your plant or a group of plants. Well that is the news from Lake Whitlow Be-Gone. Be well. Do good work. Keep smiling and stay in touch.


If you enjoyed this fish tale, then you will love my novel about my childhood fishing tales.

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It ain't over until the fat cat sings