Welcome to Ragbag Mind

I hope you enjoy these scraps and patches of my life

On Freedom’s Frontier

I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965, and after training, I spent eighteen months on an eerie little post in the much-trampled Palatinate area of West Germany, near the French border. I was an MP assigned to a company whose motto was “Serving Proudly on Freedom’s Frontier”. Its mission was to provide security

Golden Bullshit

GOLDEN BULLSHIT In the late 1960s, one of my best friends from prep school and college turned out to be living near me and my then-wife Louise, on New York’s Upper West Side. He had been an extremely talented painter with an interest in Biblical subjects, which he treated in a crypto-Cubist style entirely of

A Heretical Proposal

A HERETICAL PROPOSAL This piece first appeared in Black Lamb in 2006 Americans, as usual, are facing a religious crisis. Between 75% and 90% of us, depending on which unreliable poll you read, believe there’s a divinity which shapes our ends (thank you, WS). But our various systems for approaching that divinity seem to have

Growing Up Racist

GROWING UP RACIST I wrote this piece while Barack Obama was President. Now the White House is infested with Donald Trump. Faulkner was right. -May, 2018 I’m a good ol’ Rebel soldier And that’s just what I am. For this fair land of freedom I do not give a damn. I hate the Yankee nation

The Pig Who Ate Too Well

The Pig Who Ate Too Well That summer we were living on the rez-de-chaussée of an old building in Montparnasse. The building was four storeys high, with one apartment on each floor and a fifth in the basement, where the elderly landlady, Madame Chaumier, lived with her Vietnamese pot-bellied pig Rémy. The black pig was

The Real Fast Sooner Hound

The Real Fast Sooner Hound A traveling salesman was on his way to Tulsa when he saw a man standing by the highway with his thumb out. The man had a scruffy, raw-boned long-legged dog with him, but the salesman liked dogs, and there was plenty of room for the animal in the back seat


GUNS At a November benefit auction awhile ago in New Hampshire I paid $300 for a morning of shotgunning followed by what was billed as a gourmet lunch. The auction was in a good cause, and unfortunately there was an open bar. In my defense, the kayak we’d bid on went for more than we

The Land

The Land The dream companion, me, but more persuasive, whispered the cantrip on the first night I was afraid to sleep, after my sixtieth birthday when my final friends, all aging, all some way bereft, came down, a-down a-down-o mocking me, gently, but mocking all the same. “Come on,” he said, this voice from the