Hello, I'm Randall Beaird, writer of a few lyrics. My brother Jason (pictured above), put music/vocals to eight and Stephen Bloodsworth did the same for two. My latest, "I know you know," was done with Charla Felder and Bryan Harkness.
Hot Tamale was the first song Jason and I cut in the Spring of 2009. Then, at family reunions or the holidays we’d cut a couple more. With each song, after just twenty minutes, Jason would record the song on his phone. Later, we met up in Key Largo to go scuba diving. I never will forget Jason worrying about waking up our hotel neighbors with "Shade of blue." It amazes me how fast he comes up with the melodies!
Some educational cartoons I wrote
And here’s a few of my newspaper columns.
Cutting your losses by Randall Beaird
Nothing was more exciting than that first day of school. I couldn't wait to play bombardment at recess and see who was in my class. I remember one night before one of those days. Dad did a bed-check and saw my new red striped bowling shoes peeking from the blanket, then my matching plaid pants. Busted! I had to put on my pajamas.
It was Valentine's Day 1974. I was in fifth grade and secretly liking girls for the past two years. I decided it was time to show my true colors.
Up 'til then, my only display of affection was a simple wish. I loved teachers that had alphabetical order seating. That was my only chance to sit by a girl. The worm on shore at dawn was only as shy.
The white lunch sacks were peppered with hearts and hung on the window sill. Mine had an extra special notice across it in my largest, neatest print. "ONLY LOVERS PUT CARDS IN THIS BAG."
My rationale was simple. I liked girls. It was a perfect opportunity to find my first girlfriend. I sat through class flashing opossum grins at potential sweethearts. Daydreaming, I saw them wrestling each other to place cards in my sack.
Finally, it was party time, time to deliver cards and fall in love forever. I stood off to the side ready to bust; my grin was gargantuan. I can still see Mrs. Malloy looking at me, smiling and shaking her head.
Some things you have to learn the hard way. I was up for a hard fall, and she knew it.
The line of classmates inched along the sacks splashed with hearts though it slowed especially when it reached mine. After a quick reading, much to my surprise and dismay, they were passing without dropping a thing.
It was my first lesson on cutting your losses. My smile went from big and sure to sheepish as I discreetly made my way to the problem with a large red crayon. Except Mrs. Malloy, no one noticed. I stood inches from the bag, madly marking away. The bold declaration grew into a jagged red rectangle.
I staggered off to deliver my cards, only to tip-toe back later for another look. It was almost like my only eagle on the golf course. A 170 yard blind five wood faded onto a green I couldn't see. I couldn't find the ball, so I tiptoed to the hole. In five giant steps I was off the green as my sand wedge and putter sailed high. I jumped and yelled, "IT'S IN THE HOLE! IT'S IN THE HOLE!" Only this time, "They were in the bag!" but I wasn't about to holler. I already tried eager with a big toothy grin and red crayon. 1997
All I Wanted
My cousin Joe worked for the Highway Department. A few years back they were "shooting sealcoat" early one morning, a process of spraying oil on the road before dropping rock on it. The oil has an enamel base making it very sticky.
An older man parked his truck across from a marina and didn't hear Joe shouting to stay clear of the hot and sticky oil. He took two steps across the black molasses and was stuck, wobbling back and forth. By the time Joe and his crew reached the man he had stepped out of his shoes and was pasted to his knees trying to crawl to freedom.
He was screaming, "What kind of darn stuff is this anyway!" Joe said, "He was like a fly on flypaper.” The more they struggled to free him, the more stuck he became. It was soon clear something was going to have to give.
Joe heard something rip and thought it was the man's overalls coming apart at the knees. If only the old man was so lucky. Everyone soon saw the overalls coming apart at the straps and he was coming on out! Was he ever--the frantic situation turned to sheer desperation as the man screamed out, "I aint got any drawers on!"
Before they knew it the guy was standing beside the road with nothing on but a T-shirt. Joe and his crew were trying hard not to laugh, and definitely not to stare, but the smiles were thick chiclets across the board.
Shaken and frustrated, the man walked back to his truck hollering, "ALL I WANTED WAS A DADBURN NEWSPAPER!" Well, Joe bought him a paper and sent him home wearing only his T-shirt. Think of the story he told his wife showing up wearing that.
We’ve all had one of those all I wanted was a newspaper mornings. My worst was a rooster dancing on my head before breakfast. But, being pasted onto hot oil is hard to beat. 1999
Sixty feet deep
Over ten years ago one of my sisters talked me into moving to San Diego. For Texans, San Diego is scuba diving paradise. Certified in Nacogdoches while in College, I found a scuba club in the shoreline city. On Easter weekend I attended a bizarre "Easter rock hunt." Three hundred multi-colored two pound rocks were scattered in six to twenty feet of water. Only snorkelers were allowed outfitted with nylon mesh lobster bags to collect the rocks.
My first trip past the breaking waves had me tasting the Pacific--the excitement produced some untimely breaths. My mind drifted back to a Houston backyard and a kid charging around like a boiled egg addict. Now, the ocean was boiling. Dozens of bobbing wet-suits disappeared, madly searching for colored rocks. Thirteen stones later I was about ready to sink.
Teary eyed, I swam over countless others going back to shore. I knew one more duck dive to the sandy bottom, and I'd be kissing my salty caboodle good-bye.
Afterwards, I laid under a twisting pine, thankful my belching was about over and for not drowning. Each rock represented a raffle ticket for assorted scuba gear. I walked away with a dinky lime flavored mouthpiece.
My first real dive in the Pacific found seven of us sixty feet deep, circling a sunken steel tower. Quite a variety of fish hovered around the tangled beams. There are different joys in life; floating weightless over a gripping seascape is one.
My dive buddy led the way, slowly weaving through the rusty derrick. At one point, with my head turned, I floated too close and his frog kick slammed a fin into my face-mask. Freezing water instantly filled my mask. Sixty feet deep, it was a surprising and deadly situation.
Some divers panic and drown. I considered cashing things in with a dramatic series of convulsions, but my mind flashed back to practicing in the pool. I looked up, took a deep breath and inched my mask open. With nostrils flared like a scared sheriff's pony, a deliberate stream of air purged the wet death out the cracks. The thread of life grew to a cable; I was going to live. But, salty eyelids ripped any comfort apart as they begged for the back of my hand. As a good-will gesture, I rubbed the tempered glass. It was my major eyeball wake-up call, as I blinked my burning eyes back to sight.
While in San Diego, I worked in Micrographics with a second job on a San Diego Bay boat line. As a bow-tied waiter, I began working the dinner cruises. Wanting more than one night/week (over-staffed), I switched to the deckhand position. I jumped off the boat with a big "honkin" rope and became the back-up tour guide.
With minimal deckhand hours, I talked my boss into letting me fill the dishwasher opening. It was humble pie defined but six days of pay. The debonair diners danced the night away as I purged their dishes in a cloud of steam below.
After a month of washing down porcelain mountains there was an opening for assistant cook. I got the job! I couldn't wait to wear the cool chef's hat. I was now working for the grand master of edibles and orders. The head chef had his own TV show and barked out commands like a drill sergeant. My frantic dish washer shuffle turned into a proud gallop; I was running with the big dogs now. I eagerly slid cold steel through hills of vegetables, striving for the same impressive head chef stroke.
Toward the end of the dinner cruise the wait-staff would often dance with each other. All the cooks were guys and my hat embarrassed the waitresses, so I looked on content but hopeful. I'm not too shy but it was too much to ask of a dinner guest, considering my giant hat and I smelled like the main course. As the shoreline loomed into view, I almost pinned a shrimp on my lapel to troll for a hungry dance partner.
The band began "Lady in Red," the last song of the cruise, when this lovely woman approached. Shuffling across the hardwood floor, I felt on top of the world. Maybe it was her compliment on my hat, the conversation, or maybe her shiny red dress. Whatever it was, life was firing on all cylinders. I smelled like dinner but danced like dessert. 1998
Back to my roots
I visited a childhood friend during the summer of '94. Doug's family was living on a farm, a place where I spent much of my childhood. With their animals and solitude, my mind drifted back in time. The grass is always greener, and theirs was a thick, plush carpet of peace. Deep down inside something snapped; I had to get back to my roots.
I traded life in a Rockwall condo for life on a Caddo Mills farm. The hard life began with a real battle to place utilities and driveway on the blackland prairie.
I sold my townhouse, bought a used mobile home, and waited for a break in 94's fall monsoons. Finally, a slight respite from the rain, a small dry window came, just large enough to lodge the trailer in my neighbor's ditch. With the ditch posing as my winter home, white knuckled luck struck; my dying tractor coughed to life as the blood red sun dove behind the trees. The gasping tractor limped along, pulling my new life to a virgin homesite. My flashlight stabbed the dark as rain swollen clouds circled. Utilities rose out of a muddy trench; my new life began.
While moving my furniture out of storage, I did hand to hand combat with an evil rat family. They ate my couch cushion and left me little presents everywhere. I was charged up enough to make a barbecued rat kabob; running for their lives, they safely dodged all manner of projectiles and dinner plans.
Two nights later, the Royse City cyclone almost whipped my trailer to the next county. Hooked only to the tractor, while faking sleep on the floor with the moved-in rubble, my trailer shook and shimmied like the hula girl on patrol. I had no tie-downs and figured I was a dead man. A recurring thought, as I pulled the blanket over my head, was "Lord, what have I done?" I woke to discover dozens of trailers destroyed in the area. Mine's spastic bob and wobble dodged the wind's vicious grip, or I had a few points with the man upstairs.
Chickens barely edged out a dog for my first barnyard addition. Visions of crowing roosters, fried egg sandwiches, and a grasshopper patrol, bounced me into the feed store. I bought the only chicks left, four, and they began farm life in the extra bedroom.
It was time to add a watchdog. A secretary was giving one away where I worked. A black and tan mutt puppy, I thought Fred would blend right in; there was peace for two months. In a cloud of dust, the savage pecking order rode naked and bareback onto the farm.
One of my roosters, a small red bantie, turned into a cold blooded teenager. He learned to crow, to pick fights, and act like the toughest thing alive. Big Red began to bully Fred who was being as polite as a Sunday School teacher.
I encouraged Fred to be nice, to turn the other cheek, while I chased the psycho rooster away. Big Red jumped on Fred like a mad kick-boxer. Fred tried to run, to lie low, but Big Red's hobby was finding him. After a week of spurs slashing at his back, Fred had had enough. One day I found Fred and what was left of Big Red in the doghouse; a foot and some feathers, Big Red was dead.
I gave Fred a half-hearted lecture on not eating the chickens. The rooster must have been delicious, as Fred made an innocent hen his afternoon snack two days later. After one more casualty, I sent Fred packing. He taught a bully, tasted heaven, and had hell to pay. No more juicy chickens--I gave Fred away.
To replace Fred, I bought a Chihuahua. She was a tiny one, so I named her Tina--too small to eat chickens! My good friend Mark came over with his new bride, Tina. My new dog Tina was hard to explain. I think he thought I had a thing for his Tina. Wrinkled brows canceled any farewell hugging.
Normally, a Chihuahua is too wimpy for my taste. Two things: The fiasco with Fred, and by this time I also had three pigs. My pigs were always hungry; I knew Tina would be satisfied. I loved Tina, but to balance things out, I needed a motorcycle to grind out laps around the trailer. 1996
Old Houses by Randall Beaird
Most of us have lived in houses older than our parents. You know the bathroom floor is ripe for a redo when you have to warn visitors, while pointing at the wobbly commode, "You might want to be the butterfly and not the buffalo." They usually got the message as I crossed my fingers, tiptoed away and tried not to listen.
My search for shelter a few years ago landed a 1939 model at my feet. Vacant for two years, it was thirsty for more than just paint. Several of the floor joists were ripped with rot and hung like the tired arms of Atlas; they were bent but had one last push to hold up their world.
I bought two six ton jacks and slipped into the mode of a mole. After ten minutes, I adopted two methods of snaking my way back and forth under the sagging giant. The belly crawl was good, but I stumbled into the tortilla roll. I found I could make great time by rolling back and forth like a tortilla. Afterwards I was the living dust bag, but my forehead kissed less spider-ridden wood.
New joists were soon riding piggy-back on the old while strategically placed concrete blocks, with varying degrees of wooden hats, saw the low parts rise with each rickety click of the jack. Finally it was their turn to carry the load, as the jack inched down in retreat.
Meanwhile the old tin roof was begging for attention. Maybe thick and leak free, but the tin was wearing an ugly jacket of rust. After mopping one can of roof paint on, I opted for the efficiency of a four inch brush. But with the brush carpal tunnel started to strangle my right wrist. I busted my left one out of the pen with such fervor I was giving demonstrations the next day. But by now daylights saving time had left town. Looking up at a roof needing work had me feeling down--darkness slapped my plans hard.
However, there are lights and there are airplane lights. We need a law outlawing darkness before eight! Two five hundred watt work lights and myself were soon perched atop and painting.
Everything was fine until I went to fetch some more paint. Down the ladder….got fresh paint….up the ladder, I was excited--the tin was turning into a giant silver nickel!
Well, as I tiptoed back across the roof to continue, I forgot and walked over a painted portion in the shadows. Four feet across and about the time I said uh-oh, I slipped and was sliding down the roof like a startled toboggan rider. My options were limited, even more so because each hand held a gallon of paint. I thought this is a little funny but could be painful.
My first plan was to cradle the paint to my chest like a baby, protecting it from a fatal spill. But as I went airborne off the roof, holding two cans of paint, my self-preservation instinct kicked in-- the cans went sailing. I wish I could say I landed like a cat or hit the ground running. But the cans did the flips while I landed like I left the roof. Faked out of my skin by the absence of injury, my heart twisted, the thud was impressive, but the pain never came.
There were other injuries. I rushed over to one can of paint. Like a car wreck, the can was on its side bleeding profusely. When you buy high dollar paint with special fibers, there's a special attachment. I paddled it back into place thinking and thankful I was due a nice landing. (Broken legs and ribs once painted my name on hospital hill with football, horses and boats gathered on the brush, while little cotton stitches belted out a medley on the dangers of wood railings, barbed wire and sliding glass doors.)
I never rode a sled down a icy hill, but for several days, until I painted again, there was a rusty trail up high saluting my late night ride. 2000
Dog Days by Randall Beaird
I was sixteen and bringing our dog Duffy, a red chow, home from the vet. He was sitting beside me in the truck enjoying the view when I noticed a giant buzzard loom into view. It was snacking at the pavement's edge as we hurtled down the highway.
Then, with the timing of a wanted mole on parole, the mammoth bird took off. Actually graceful and almost majestic, the wings beat down like an albatross going home, but there was no flight plan. In an instant, the hustling bird smashed into our windshield.
Duffy jumped straight into the air and was quivering on the back seat floorboard; I was expecting a mangled bird in his place. The windshield was shattered a smoky white, and caved inward four inches, but held as the fractured carrion connoisseur cartwheeled over the cab to the highway below.
Duffy was rattled, but I was too busy trying to drive with my head out the window. To match the brutal wind, I was desperate for a pair of skydiving goggles.
Three years later, in that same truck, on that same highway, Duffy lay in a cardboard box beside me. We were returning from the vet again, only this time he had to be put to sleep. It was tough to hold and comfort Duffy for his last breath, a nearly blind skeleton of his former self. I could hardly see as I paid the bill at the counter.
On the road home I gave Duffy a recap of his wonderful 15 years; I chuckled as I reminded him of his record setting straight-up-in-the-air move when we passed the fractured buzzard spot.
Ten years later, after leaving the Dallas area, I needed a place to keep Sara, my Great Pyrenees, while looking for a place to buy. Sara was the guardian over my herd of chickens.
One evening a call came from my sister, "Randall, Sara is dead. I'm so sorry. We put the dogs up and went horseback riding. They got out; Sara was hit crossing the road and died instantly." I could hardly talk choking back the tears.
Jennifer didn't want me to see Sara. "Brian and I will bury her; she doesn't look good. You need to remember the real Sara." It took a few tries to be intelligible but I finally made clear, "I have to see her; I have to bury her."
They wanted to come point her out and help. I said I needed to be alone and got directions. I drove down a pitch black road looking for Sara, not fully accepting she was dead. I came to the curve in the road, some dark red pavement and a glimpse of beautiful white fur on the shoulder. I parked and ran over to find Sara stretched on her side in a pool of blood. No one could hear as I yelled out her name and stroked her cold lifeless frame.
I put Sara in the truck bed and found a pretty oak tree to shadow her grave. With headlights pointing the way I talked to Sara and dug it deep. I did a recap of her life and kept telling her what a good dog she was, and she was. 1997
All music copyrighted -- used only with permission.
I've also written a screenplay (comedy/love story.....looking for agent).