Locked and Loaded Lately? What About To Hang and Rattle?

Was thinking this morning about the learning [reference to a previous blog on learning curves] of being in Texas. No surprise that Texas is in the Bible Belt with Dallas being the buckle. But it’s also the case that Austin is painted blue in terms of politics and theology, which is not to be forgotten. Certainly not unwelcomed.

Aside from theology, some phrases are used in these thar parts that were new for me and at the time not engaging. The first happened years ago when I lived in Austin and did what I could through conference ministry with churches in Texas and Louisiana and a mission project in Mississippi. It was an east Texas church. Their pastor had been ill so a visit to him and them was absolutely important. Read, essential. Have never endorsed ministry as one who calls on the phone and offers a prayer but never shows up.

Before the worship service, in the choir room, as the prelude had begun a member of the choir offered a prayer. When he finished he clapped his hands [simply a gesture of completion not self-congratulation] pointed to the sanctuary and said, “All right, gang. Time to lock n’ load.”

LOCK N’ LOAD??? I did think, oh boy, are we going to war? Oh boy, are we looking for Bambi’s father this morning…or one of those javalinas, who would never win a beauty contest? I went along as if I “got it,” but no way. Later in safety with another pastor with whom I had a trusting relationship, I asked. She answered, “It’s our way to be prepared. It means you’ve done everything you can to be prepared for what lies ahead. And you take on what’s ahead.” Or something like that. Now I’ve never used the phrase, but when someone does now my forehead isn’t creased with wrinkles and my eyebrows remain in place. No squinting in puzzlement.

The second learning happened last month, which keeps a theme of learning each day. My cowboy friend, Slim, whose name reflects his identity. Slim’s a writer of the best in combining humor with truth. His weekly articles [which is better than weakly articles] reach thousands and thousands of folk through over 350 neighborhood newspapers. He lives in New Mexico, which in my mind is part of Texas [remember, in Texas “everything is larger”]. Slim ended his letter of understanding and counsel with this, “Salmon Slayer [my moniker from the cowboy], hang and rattle.”

HANG AND RATTLE? Knowing Slim and experiencing a terrific friendship I sensed what he was saying was to keep in all the circumstances, and don’t mute your life or your living. That’s what I think…but I imagine, since we swap reflections, he’ll correct and clarify in a bit. I will share with him the “rattle” part could be “snaky.” And that? Nope!

Before posting Slim set me straight…to hang and rattle, first has to do with spurs, that they are on right and “jingle” a bit…make that, rattle. He continued, at least in his lexicon, is “Have courage with a modicum of style.”

Well, don’t have spurs on my wading boots, but life, no matter the language, has to do with…

Ah, you can fill in the last paragraph, to offer your version of living in this day.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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