Aroma of an OPERATION


Man, with gun – over there – corner of New Rd. at Valley Mills, Waco

Six Shooter Junction – Didn’t get the interview, but that’s no surprise. Got blacklisted a long time ago.

Besides, it was Scandinavian Day at the corner of Valley Mills and New Road, out front of Pep Boys, where the open carry types parade infrequently with their assault rifles on Sunday afternoons.

First, Swedish Television Channel 4 had a crack at the flack, an Army-looking dude with the regulation Open Carry Texas polo shirt and an AR-15 on a two-point sling. The blonde with the microphone asked pretty good questions, but when they got to the part about automatic, the flack got all erudite and started with the lingo and all that jive.

The camera man listened for awhile, then he admonished him, at arm’s length, dude to dude, soldier to soldier. He said all that was unnecessary, just tell the girl whether the rifle – the firing piece – the weapon – is capable of full automatic fire.


They agreed to call it a semi-automatic, something the guy behind the camera said is pretty much understood worldwide, at least, by now – and the flack said he would try to be more brief.

Sound byte city.

Later, she wanted to know who I am and who I work for, so I said, “I don’t think it’s any of your business, sister.” She said it didn’t hurt her feelings. Mine either. I’m used to derision.

That’s when the Danish National Radio outfit pulled up in a posh Mercedes Benz 12 passenger van, what they call a crummy in the lettuce fields of the valley and the conifer forests of the northwest. The buttoned-down, tuetonic version of the church bus.

You could see it wasn’t their first rodeo. They were out to get the goods, and they don’t take prisoners. Election time in flip city, the O-man’s “swamp of crazy,” Texas. Yowza!

The dude who drives the deal on the Danish bus, he snapped his head around and gave it the old raised eyebrow. Obviously, he’s seen it all before. Militia. Civil disobedience. An air of impending violence. NATO. UN. Occupation. Yeah. He’s been there. World-weary bureaucrat of the government airwaves. Hello.

Can’t help it. That’s what they told me four decades ago. Try to get the way it felt to be there, the expressions on people’s faces, the way it smelled in there.

It’s an op, and this First Shirt who shipped home from Iraq after he ran an intelligence cluster classifying, correlating and enumerating detainees for several tours with an – ah, well, attitude.

First Sgt. C.J. Grisham started blogging – somewhere, some time. He pulled bodacious numbers. It ran into trouble. Isn’t done. Military doesn’t inflict their written observations on the civilian world. Unprofessional. All that.

He got shipped around. Transferred. But he kept doing it. He’s good at it. Sees it for what it is.

Then he came home to Temple, Texas, his hometown, after the Army transferred him to The Hood – that great place. That’s where he confronted the Mayor and City Council, the police, and then he got busted for carrying his AR-15 and his 1911 model down a country road near the home place, some pretty cotton land out by the airport. Had his high school age son with him. Got turned in by a Child Protective Services social worker on a drive-by do-good mission from hell. They found him guilty, never gave back his weapons. But he’s got his kids. Squeaky clean. Family values. 

Good for him. Hate to see them take a man’s kids. Hard on mama.

That was then. Now it’s one little hassle after the next. This one is about how local officials are bound and determined to defy the Legislature’s insistence that it’s okay for law-abiding citizens with a license to carry a handgun concealed are equally authorized to carry it in the open – even unto the halls of justice – just so long as they don’t go into the courtrooms.

The local judges and judges all across the Lone Star State, what do they say?

We’ll see you in court.”

What else would they say? Gimme a break. That’s the office, where they do business. Just like Ft. Worth, where the west, it begins? 

Said an innocent bystander carrying an M1 carbine, an officer’s rifle from the World War Two and Korean eras, “It’s an exercise to see who will get on the train and who will be a problem, who has control issues, and who has to go through the metal detectors.”

The First Shirt? He had a confrontation with a particularly pesky little dude who works the security booth at the McLennan County Courthouse, downtown – one way in and one way out. It was about carrying his pocket knife into the rodeo, where the children come to play.

Said the head cowboy hat, “A decision has been made.” That’s all he would say. But he said it so belligerently, even the Duke himself, Rooster Cogburn – John Freakin’ Wayne – would have been proud of him, his stolid stance, his resolute inflection. Just like that Texas toilet paper. Ain’t takin’ any off anybody. Pilgrim!

Said our friend, yours and mine, “They keep making it about Charlie Manson and Charles Whitman and all the other killers. But that’s not who I am. I’m a law-abiding citizen.”

Yeah, a law-abiding citizen who is getting ready for – well, we won’t go there. The deal is, anyone else running around with all that load on the shoulder would be in the far back ward of the bide-a-wee, no cigarettes, no TV, and-definitely-no poker-with-the-boys-Cuckoo’s Nest. The nut house for – well, you know – observation and, ah, well, adjustment of the old medication.

Here’s looking at you, kid. See you in court.

Okay, the First Shirt, he went to see the Constable Walt Strickland, boss man of the belligerent little cat who has this thing about pocket knives and then lets the lawyers walk right through, by-passing the metal detectors, many of them carrying their concealed handguns.

Said he, Constable Strickland, when quizzed about the boys with briefcases wearing suits, the ones who don’t even slow down at the express lane by-pass of the metal detectors, “I guess they actually work there.”

We’ll see you in court.

Where else?

What was said in this epic meeting? The First Shirt asked Strickland why he couldn’t carry his pocket knife into the rodeo, or the courthouse, and Strickland said: “We aren’t going to go there.”

That’s the First Shirt. I’d hate to meet the whiskey-drinking, cigar-chewing, golf-playing, skirt-chasing General who really drives the deal. No telling what kind of cute little interior curves he’s got in his head. Swedish head? Danish head? German head? NATO head? UN head? Whatever.

It’s going to get real up in here. We are definitely expecting rain.

So mote it be.


Retired First Sgt. C.J. Grisham, top kick who drives the deal…

One thought on “Aroma of an OPERATION”

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