Deer Run Trail, By David R LewisNodaway Trail, by David R LewisOn the Calico Trail, by David R LewisOn the Payback Trail, by David R LewisOn the Ogallala Trail, by David R LewisOn the Killdeer Trail, by David R LewisOn the Cutthroat Trail, by David R LewisGlory Trail, by David R LewisEndless Journey Toward an Unknown Destination, by David R LewisIncidents Among the Savages, by David R LewisFear of the Father:  Call Me Crockett, by David R Lewis

You like Westerns? How about semi-autobiographical non-fiction self-discovery? Well, David's got eAudioBooks - check them out HERE!

About This Site

Several years ago in Kansas City, a popular weekend radio show called Radio for Grownups featured a regular segment by co-host and Master Storyteller David Lewis entitled “That’s How It Seems To Me”, generally a story he wrote and performed from growing up in the Heartland of America (more biographical information about David can be found at our “About” page) . The show has since gone off the air, but the interest over David’s tales has continued through today.

In response to the loyal fan base and continuing interest, we have published this blog/podcast of David’s stories. You’ll find posts of his anecdotes below. We plan to add further yarns to the collection regularly – on a weekly basis – for your enjoyment. Each post contains an excerpt from the narrative (the first paragraph or so) to give you an idea of what it is about, and an audio player so you can listen to the story in its entirety.

We hope you enjoy these tales and chronicles. Feel free to comment on them if you like.

David has produced a collection of four CDs over the years containing pieces not found on this blog/podcast which we call the “David Lewis Memories CD Collection”. For more information or to purchase any or all of his CDs, please visit this web site.

While the cost of providing these tales and maintaining this web site is not enormous, the time consumed in doing so is significant. This is why we have provided a Donate button and why there are advertisements on this site. We appreciate any contributions you would care to make if you have enjoyed the stories here.

David has a blog of his own as well – check it out here – and he has an eBook review site here.

Fire When Ready

Bud Miller was born to lead.  With 20 years service in the military, including the Korean War, when ex-Sergeant Miller retired and came home to our small town, he just couldn’t wait to get back in charge of something – and the Fire Department caught his eye.  Our little volunteer fire department was housed in a rundown brick garage just off the small uptown business district.  One ancient pumper truck constituted the entire fleet of firefighting vehicles and, three or four times a year, the town whistle would sound, phones in the volunteer’s homes would bellow a continuous steady ring, and 8 or 10 stalwarts would get to legally drive like maniacs to the fire house and launch the wheezing fire truck to go put out a garbage fire or a blazing tool shed.  Once a week the volunteer firefighters would hold an evening meeting at the firehouse to discuss business for a few hours.  The rumor mill claimed the meeting consisted mostly of beer, cards, and the occasional “stag film”, but nobody ever got out of hand.  So it was, so it had always been – until Bud Miller declared his candidacy for the exalted office of Fire Chief.

Mr. Wilson’s War

When I was young, every 4th of July, my grandfather would load us up and drive to the big fireworks display at the football stadium in a nearby city.  He said the airborn bombs “put him in the mind of” World War One.

When the United States entered the First World War, my granddad was 20 years old.  A bricklayer by trade, a professional boxer by design, and a semi-pro baseball player by choice, he – and many other young men – were pressed into service.  My grandpa left school when in just the 4th grade to work and assist his widowed mother.  He was not an educated man.  Oh, he knew his letters and ciphers, read the newspaper and such, but he was a man of simple needs.  So when the call came to war, he went without question.  He took his oath to protect and defend very seriously, and he did as he was told.

Set N’ Think

The young couple had two small children with them at the restaurant, and as I labored through my chicken fingers I watched the relationship of the family.  It was different than most I see these days.  There was no travel bag full of toys, no blizzard of techno-bliss, nor were the kids fussing or whining.  All four people at the table, two in their adulthood, two under 7 years, were talking and enjoying one another, physically and psychically touching each other, learning about each other, with relatively equal participation.

You Get What You Pay For

Selling Dawn

Snobbery seeps into every facet of human endeavor, I think, even riding horses. Keeping equines at stables where they are cared for and have their stalls mucked by people hired for that very purpose, is an expensive proposition. Nevertheless, when I was in my early twenties, I made the financial commitment necessary to place my sorrel colt at an excellent facility. The stable maintained about 50 horses, the vast majority of them stalled in an immense barn around a large indoor arena. A few, my colt among them, stayed in the small barn next to the outdoor arena. It was cheaper by about 25 percent, and it was where most of the Quarter horses, plugs, and crossbreds stayed. In the big barn were the “society horses”.

Me, Billy, and the Bull of the Woods

An Arresting Development

When I first met Billy O’Neal I was just 21 years old, a rookie cop with less than one month on the street, full of high hopes and lofty aspirations as yet untarnished by the darker realities of my job.  One fine June afternoon, I rode with another officer to the city garage to pick up a repaired squad car and return it to the cop shop.  The Lieutenant who dispatched me on that errand probably assumed that even a rookie such as I could carry out the task without incident.  Silly he.  The 10 block drive should have been simple.  Neither one of us counted on Billy O’Neal.

Kid

Those Less Fortunate

I never saw him wearing anything except a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and the ubiquitous boy’s footwear of the time – black and white Keds tennis shoes.  He was a year or so older than I, but pale and smaller, with a shock of floppy blond hair.  He lived with parents that I never met down the river road a bit closer to the muddy Sangamon than my house.  He didn’t go to school either – a wondrous achievement in my nine-year-old estimation, not having to deal with the boredom, peer pressure, and politics of grade three.

I first saw him as he came walking up the road past my house as I was in the yard struggling to realign the handlebars of my Huffy heavyweight, knocked out of shape by a minor crash into the ditch in front of Randy Clinton’s house as I attempted to avoid running over his mother’s yappy little dog.  He – the boy, not the dog – stood in the road and watched my labor for a moment.  I said, “Hi, Kid,” and he smiled and came closer.  I never even knew his name, but I did realize that he was different.  Kid was not like the rest of us.

You Just Don’t Understand Me

Some time ago, my wife and I watched a rerun of a movie starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.  “What Women Want” is a very enjoyable romantic comedy about a male chauvinist pig who can, all of a sudden, hear what women are thinking.  It also caused Laura and me to do some thinking about the battle of the genders.  So far there’s no clear winner, but women seem to be ahead on points – at least that’s what they’d like us to believe.

Celebration

As of this writing, it is May of 2010.  There was a celebration at my house this morning.  Last night was very stormy – heavy rain, excessive lightning, brutal winds – the temporary finale of several days of harsh weather that produced tornados in Oklahoma and Kansas, hail up to baseball size here and there, flashfloods all over tornado alley, and over five inches of rain at our place.  As of this a.m. it’s still raining a little, but not storming, and our number two cattle dog, Clancy, will sleep a lot of this day.  For some reason, she has a grudge against lightning and feels obligated to invite it to come down and fight like a man – or dog in her case.  She rages at storms, bouncing around, calling Thor names, ready to do battle with the tempest, validating the old adage that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.  The long night of struggle is over now and she is tired.  This morning, the wind has laid, the rain has softened, and all is clean and new, and the birds, free now from three days of brutal pounding, are celebrating.

Baby

The Taurus and the Bull

Leslie Hallcraft smiled at me as he reached over the top rail of a board fence and scratched the back of an immense Charolais bull.

“This is Baby,” he beamed.  “He’s just as sweet as he can be…yes, he is!”

Les was my landlord.  In the outback of the Ozarks, we had rented a two-bedroom rock house from Les and his wife, complete with a barn and paddock for some pigs, a spring-fed catfish pond, and access to 600 acres of trees to cut wood for the furnace.  Les was a nice man, a converted northerner who drove an International Harvester pickup truck and swatted wasps the way normal people swat mosquitoes, often sustaining two dozen stings a day in hot weather.  He was introducing me to his prize bull – a bull nearly as expensive and large as an aircraft carrier, a bull he loved more than his children, a bull he’d installed in the pasture surrounding the barn and paddock where I kept pigs – a bull that was now going to be between me and where I needed to go several times a day.

Levi’s Legacy

Passing the Torch

[Editor’s note:  This piece was not originally produced for this web site.  As such, the format (music, style, etc.) differs from the other posts here.]

Roger and Sharon Sigler have lived in a rural portion of the Kansas City area for nearly three decades, and, for many of those years, their across the road neighbors have been Gwen and Bob Wright.  Gwen and Bob keep dogs – Great Pyrenees to be exact.  Great Pyrenees are large, white animals, similar in construction to Newfoundlands, and many of them weigh as much as an NFL punt return specialist.   Their bark is a cross between a lion’s cough and a damaged steam whistle.  Their jowls are pendulous, and one running in your general direction is reminiscent of an approaching avalanche.  Subtlety is not a part of their make-up.  The Great Pyrenees is an obvious dog, bred to control and protect livestock and property, and recognizes his calling nearly from birth.  Like most dogs, a Great Pyrenees may sometimes not take himself too seriously, but he seldom has to be reminded of his duty.

Almost Heaven

In the mid through late 70s, I lived in almost Arkansas, Missouri – an area that is steeped in tradition, clannishness, and ticks.  Outsiders are viewed there with a significant amount of suspicion, and not a small amount of predation.  Unless you were born in almost Arkansas, of parents from almost Arkansas, you would never be completely accepted.  During my time there, a local woman died at age 92.  She, originally an outsider, had lived in the community for 90 years.  Her epitaph began, “a beloved stranger to our shores…”

I quickly learned that if I were to journey to the local feed store and ask for assistance, I would probably be ignored.  If, however, I would enquire if “one a you good ol’ boys back there could hep me fer a minute”, assistance would be forthcoming.  Minds do not change easily in that part of the country.  Feuds are common both among and within families.  One couple who lived there had been married for almost 60 years, but had not spoken to each other since the day their son was killed in a logging accident while in the company of his father over 40 years before.  The wife turned her back on the husband, and they spent those years living apart in the same house, neither willing to budge much less forgive or forget.  Such was the mindset of many of the people in that beautiful country.  Thank goodness there were exceptions.

Once Upon a Time

Planting the Seed

“Got a minute?” he asked.

I’d seen him around the area for the past few days.  He was busy, landscaping mostly – installing water features, planting trees.  He was a hard worker, and so old I couldn’t even guess at his age.  It didn’t seem to affect him.  He labored like a young man – full of energy, vital.  He stretched his back out and walked over.

“If you’re not busy, I got a job for you,” he continued, wincing a bit as he worked out some kinks.  “It won’t take very long.  I- I just need a little help to get some things started around here and I think you’d be perfect.”

His eyes seemed to look through me.  Lying to this guy would be damn near impossible.  I squirmed a little when he looked right at me but his face was so kind it took the sting out of his gaze, and his voice was warm and rich.  It felt sort of like a blanket, you know?  I glanced around.

Age

When Will It End?

I’m getting old.  I know that I’m getting old – that’s no big secret – but I was reminded of that ugly fact recently when I realized that I need a computer monitor slightly larger than a picture window.  The one I have just isn’t big enough anymore – or it could be that my bifocals are, once again, inadequate – another sign of aging.

Certain points in our lives mark milestones in our long descent into the abyss.  The passage of time leaves its mark on all of us and I am not as young as I once was – I’m not even as young as I once thought I was!