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.

The Principal of Fighting

Theo Vitali was a wild man.  Greek and Italian, his passions ran nearly as high as his blood pressure.  He was a screamer, a thrower, a man so driven that, while he was the high school football coach in my hometown, we lost only two games in 6 years.  In the noisy and crowded locker room one afternoon, somebody asked me what I put on my hair.  I shouted back, “Vitalis!”

Vitali, back in his office and evidently unaware of the question and hearing only the answer, took it to mean that I had offered him personal insult.  He attacked, slamming me into a row of lockers and holding me there by the throat with his fist drawn back, his face flushed with rage, as he screamed and frothed for a while.

Even in those days long past, a teacher couldn’t just run around willy-nilly punching out students, so I was reasonably sure he was not going to actually hit me.  I was a bit concerned, however, he might tear out my throat with his teeth.  Gradually, and with some effort, he gained control, dragged me to the office, left me in the waiting area, screamed and frothed at the principal for a bit, and finally stalked off down the hall muttering to himself and occasionally punching a locker.  In a few moments, the principal called me in.

My Soul

I must warn you that in the upcoming vocalization, I am going to use the term “God”.  I use that term in the broadest possible sense – the power of the universe, the Force, Wakantanka, Earth Mother, whatever.  I do not align with nor do I endorse any particular version of the concept.  If that offends you, I’m sorry you’re fearful.  My concept of God belongs to me.  I don’t want yours.  You can’t have mine.

Green Beret

I am a member of the Vietnam generation, a survivor of the draft, Johnson, Nixon, Bundy, and MacNamara’s band.   I didn’t go to Vietnam.   My service consisted of only one and a half days in the military – expelled from uniform because of a knee ailment common to growing young men – but I tried, enlisting when I was 18 because my grandfather served in World War One, my father in World War Two, and it was my turn.   A rather simplistic view, but it was a simpler time.   While I was spared any personal horror of that useless war, many of my friends were not, and one of them was John Giese.

When Worlds Collide

In spite of what you may have heard, I am not a genius, nor have I ever claimed to be (at least not since I was 17 and some young winner of the Nordic Combined was batting her eyelashes at me).  I am not a physicist.  I know nearly nothing of quantum mechanics, string theory, or Star Trek’s Heisenberg Compensator.  Some time ago, as I contemplated a premise for a novel that could possibly involve scientific fact and theory so far past my meager knowledge as to fade into the far distance, a friend suggested I look into the massive, multi-billion-dollar Large Hadron Collider that lurks below the surface of the earth across the border of Switzerland and France.  It has been built in the hopes of answering some really big questions.  I looked into it.  It frightens me.

Blanche

In the 1950s, the southern portions of Illinois were often much farther south than a map might indicate.  The pace of life in many of its parts was slower and more elemental than among the northern tribes, and a trip to that area could not only transport the traveler much farther south than he actually was, but also a bit back in time.  Every summer, my grandparents would make the 6 or 7 hour drive into that part of the state to visit a few scattered members of my grandfather’s clan.  The journey always included a stop just south of Vandalia, on the outskirts of a tiny town called Shobonier to spend a couple of days with my Aunt Blanche, or Ain’t Blainch, as it was pronounced locally.  A transplanted Kentucky hill woman, Blanch had that defining set of eye and configuration of nose and chin common to the breed.  Not all native Kentuckians have it, but I have never encountered anyone that did have it without Kentucky in their blood somewhere.  Blanch was a woman of the 1800s.  A visit to her place was, in many ways, a visit to that time.  Her house was without electricity, and had no plumbing of any kind.  I was not unused to that.  I recall when an actual indoor bathroom came into my life – and the convenience that accompanied it – but at Blanche’s place, in addition to the little house out behind the big house, even kitchen water was hand pumped from the outdoor cistern and carried inside in a bucket.

Wildlife

I live in the country off a less than satisfactory gravel road.  Those facts make it very foolish to open any windows on the north, south, or west side of the house during warm weather, unless I develop a cavalier attitude toward dust.  On an average summer day, an open living room window coupled with the passing of a truck often results in a literal cloud of Missouri soil wafting through the room.  I don’t care for that.  My bride, the coveted Laura, even though she recently spent four years in Afghanistan – a place where dust is a food group and sandstorms often replace summer breezes, likes it even less than I, sometimes producing expletives that would send a longshoreman running to the regular Wednesday night bible study at a local Baptist church as she flaps about the place doing battle with three micron bits of terra firma, but the dust is a small price to pay for the lack of sirens, thundering bass assaults from low-riders, traffic jams, and the fact that nowadays, when I do happen to hear gunshots, I don’t necessarily need to prepare to return fire.  I live in an area where the term “wildlife” does not involve Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, a kegger in the apartment next door, or a screaming encounter from the sidewalk outside my window.  I get my drama from a more uncivilized source.

Dudley

His name was Dudley Babbit, and he was a real piece of work.  In the 1960s and 70s, Dudley was at the top of his game.  One of the premiere trainers of gaited horses on the planet, famous and coveted in song and story in an elite business driven by large sums of money and even larger sums of egos, his job was more than to train horses worth fortunes, it was his responsibility to help his wealthy clients climb the ladder of success and stature within their select circles – and nobody did it better than Dudley.  In his mid 40s, Babbit was suave, self-assured, confident, and had a speech impediment.  I met him through a mutual acquaintance, and he and I were immediately friends.  I liked the front he maintained to make his business thrive and the fact that he suffered fools even less gladly that most of us that profess to not suffer fools gladly.

Old Joe

Hoofbeats in the Fog

It was damp, it was foggy, it was chilly, it was perfect.  My wife and I crunched our way across the gravel parking lot of the Jock’s kitchen heading for the racetrack.  It was barely dawn, and we’d just had breakfast with LaVette Drummond, a 40-year old Louisianan, who looked 60 and trained racehorses.  We were at a track just outside St. Louis.  Sitting in the dining area of the Jock’s kitchen had been a trip back to the 1940s.  The room was festooned with chrome plated, steel topped tables, metal chairs with cracked plastic seats, linoleum peeling from the floor, a black cat clock rolling his eyes and swinging his tail by the second, and amazingly low prices for bacon and eggs swimming in grease.

The area was peopled by trainers in snap-brimmed fedoras, yawning exercise kids in helmets, and jockeys in everything from riding clothes to multi-thousand dollar suits.  The tiny men collected their food from immense, sweaty, lumbering kitchen women more than twice their size, and bantered with one another ceaselessly back and forth across the room.

Parking Problem

Back in the days when I was a rookie cop in 1968, I encountered a parking problem.  The city cop shop had a very small parking lot, inadequate to handle the number of cops’ cars near shift change from the day shift to the three to 11 trick.  When it was deemed I was not a huge danger to myself or others, I was assigned to the three to 11 shift, and faced with the problem of having nowhere to park when I came to work, except at a metered space on the street.  It was not a big deal to do so and walk a block to HQ, but, there were only two-hour meters in the area and they were active until 6 p.m.  I would park at around 2:30, which meant I needed to feed the meter one more time each day.  Most of the guys on the shift avoided that situation by having a day shifter drop by their home and catch a ride to the station with another cop in a patrol car, but I lived outside the city and could not avail myself of such a service.  Consequently, from time to time, when my meter expired, I would be someplace, on city business, crushing bad guys to their knees or some such, and not be able to get back to the meter to feed it on time.  Because the meter maids, who also worked out of the same building as the cops, were always in abundance in close proximity to where I would park, they would pounce on an expired meter like robins on a worm.  I got tickets.  In those days, keeping the meter fed would cost around 20 cents.  A ticket for an expired meter was five bucks.  By my reasoning, since I was employed by the city, if the city sent me on some sort of city police errand that did not allow me to feed the city meter on time, it was not my fault should the meter expire, and the city should allow me to pay the city the standard city fee for city parking instead of leveling a city fine upon a city employee since it was their fault I could not return in time to feed the city meter.  I saw no fault in my reasoning.  The city did not agree.  Actually, it wasn’t the city that I had to deal with.  It was a newly hired civilian who changed his title from Personnel Manager to Human Resources Director that called me into his office one morning at 10.  He was not a nice man.  A bit pompous and full of himself and his position, he inquired as to why I had not paid my outstanding parking tickets.  I told him I would be happy to pay them at the standard parking meter rate, but that the fines were out of line.  I then explained to him my reasoning.  Several times during the explanation he snorted at me.  I thought I caught the scent of an alcoholic beverage.  When I finished, he actually laughed.

Maiden Voyage

“You are not gonna believe this,” he said.  He was Steve Umpke, head mechanic at the Honda shop.  It was the early 1970s and Honda led the pack of Japanese motorcycles infiltrating with huge success around the globe.  Norton, Triumph, Ariel, BSA, Royal Enfield and others would all soon be names of the past because of superior Japanese technology.  I was standing in the showroom of the shop after closing time, jawing with the owner and some of the staff when Umpke made his prophetic statement.  He led me to the rear of the store to show me the latest effort from Honda sitting on his workbench, fresh out of the crate.

Ill Fated

Mike Cramer was ill-fated.  He and I attended both grade and high school together and, over the years, I watched Mike deliver himself into disaster after disaster.  If there was doggie doody within a block and a half, Mike would find a way to step in it.  If there was a body of water handy, Mike would find a way to fall in it.  Several times over the years I was on hand when Mike, scrabbling across log jams and such to obtain the perfect place from which to fish, would slip and tumble into the sleepy Sangamon, sometimes quite artfully, once receiving an 8.5 from the East German judge.  He would sop his miserable way to the bank, trailing streams of muddy water, and paw hopelessly through his sodden wallet, muttering to himself that he had done it yet again.

Larry

Nice Kitty

I was tackled by a tiger once.  I must stress that it was voluntary for both me and the tiger.  I was recruited to be tiger tackled as part of a fund raising event to support some charity or other during other events at a county fair.  I was coerced by individuals older than my young self and shamed into the event by my various peers.  It was one of several stunts involving tigers, bears, cheetahs, and such; courtesy of a company that trained animals for use as actors in motion pictures.  The tiger, an immense, neutered, Siberian male had a head the size of a beach ball, and breath that could knock a buzzard off an outhouse.  I would love to tell you his name was Larry, because if I had a tiger I would name him Larry.  It would give me a chance to be something I rarely am – laconic.

The Lion Sleeps Today

Joggers and runners annoy me.  Before my lovely bride, Laura, ventured off for several years occupying Afghanistan, allowing me to become a gentleman of leisure and relocate to my scenic country estate, we lived in an apartment in the city.  While there, we acquired a canine – an Australian Cattle Dog, or Blue Heeler, to be exact.  Heelers are athletic dogs, and Digger – the dog in question – was no exception.  He required several walks a day for exercise.  On those walks, we often encountered The Jogger.