Tag: truth

The Holidays – Then and Now

While I was in prison, the holidays were sad days. I couldn’t help but feel alone and sad and think of my family and friends more than usual. I think it’s safe to say that was something almost all of us in prison dealt with, although some tried to act like they didn’t care. Maybe they didn’t, who knows. We did try to make the best of it. We were given a better meal than usual, with baked chicken and turkey. Baked chicken is one of the few things that prison cooking can’t screw up, since it’s relatively simple and doesn’t require much in the way of seasoning. We also would make our own spread, pooling all of our items from commissary on one of the tables in the common area. Might not sound like it, but a buffet of ramen noodles, tuna fish, peanut butter and crackers can be downright festive if that is all you’ve got. We tried to have some laughs and have a little holiday spirit but I will be honest, it was a stretch. At night, when it was time to go to sleep, my last thoughts of the day were spent imagining the smiling faces of my family and dreaming of a future I wasn’t sure could ever be mine. I never want to be that lonely again.

This year my Christmas was like the exact polar opposite of those darker days. I had my wife and my son, who is 1 month old now, beside me. We took a couple nice drives to look at Christmas lights around town, and we listened to Christmas music quite a bit. Money is tight but we got lucky. We got a Christmas tree from my grandfather which added a lot of Christmas spirit to our place. Then I got a little Christmas bonus at work so we went shopping for ourselves and got a few necessities like some new work clothes for me, and things for my wife and son, and we wrapped them up and put them under the tree. That might sound a little goofy but it was fun.

If you are spending the holidays away from your loved ones, if they are incarcerated or living the life of addiction somewhere, hold on to hope. Things change. People change. What I learned is life is good when you let it be.

Imagine me, a father and husband, celebrating the holidays with my family, surrounded with so much love and happiness. This is the dream I had and now it is true. I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to in 2014. Peace to y’all ~ Texas Magnum

Changes in my life, changes for this site

While I was locked up I spent a lot of time dreaming about being on a river in Central Texas, listening to music, playing my guitar or harmonica, singing, and just having a good ol’ time. I have done just that as often as possible this summer. I want to share a song I really enjoy, by Jason Boland, called Backslider Blues. Fantastic lyrics on this one.

Friends, I have really slacked off when it comes to writing blog posts. I had already known that once I got out, the site was going to need to change it’s direction, because reading about a guy on the outside just plain isn’t as interesting as reading about a guy in prison. And, the truth is, now that I am not locked up 24/7, it’s pretty hard to make myself sit down and write.

Sure, I can tell you about being on parole. Basically, it sucks. But it doesn’t suck as bad as being locked up. Some days I think differently, there are literally some days when the parole process is such a pain in the ass that I think I ought to just go serve out the rest of my time. But just a little rational thinking usually gets me off that train real quick.

The way parole works, as time goes on you see your parole officer less often. Right now I am still on 2 visits a month. One in her office and one at my home. It’s kind of funny, she seems to be scared of dogs, when she comes to my house she literally stays for all of 5 minutes, tops, and she is out of there. My dog isn’t mean, but there is a tip for someone who might have something to hide from their parole officer, get yourself a mean dog. Ha ha, just kidding.

My parole officer seems OK, I don’t feel like she is out to get me, but then again, I don’t feel like she is necessarily real enthused about me either. I am sure I am just another parolee to her. I think that probation and parole officers are underpaid and overworked, generally speaking. I imagine they go into the job thinking they will make a difference and get burned out pretty fast. And, unfortunately, I am sure they see a lot of us just go right through that revolving door, straight back to prison.

What about me, you might ask. How have I been doing? Well, I won’t say it hasn’t been challenging not to fall back into old ways. I have felt good about most of my choices, and overall I am doing good. I ended up getting a new job, it’s in the welding business. I have a girlfriend, which of course I am glad about. I have had some money problems, my vehicle needs a new engine, and my living situation has been sort of up and down. I am trying to just concentrate on keeping one foot in front of the other. Living simple, keeping it real. See? I told you, not near as interesting as reading about someone locked up, fighting to survive every day.

So, what to do about this site? I want to keep it up, it has some good traffic, and people have been so supportive. After some thought and research, I have made some decisions. I found a few guest editors to start posting news we come across about Texas Prisons, the inmates, conditions, jail, probation, parole… the whole correctional institution business. (Because it IS a business, of that there is no doubt.) Some of them are ex-cons, some are family, and some are just some cool folks with something to say.

I am also going to start offering some more resources for the many folks who have family members and loved ones currently incarcerated. Links to other useful sites and information, and links to books and other materials that can be helpful. I am thinking about trying to offer prison stationary items too, but I know that is a whole process to get approved by TDC to be a vendor. I still might try to do it though. So stay tuned, over the next couple of weeks you will see some changes on here. If you like what you see, let me know. And, if you have ideas for the site, it would be great to hear from you.

Thanks, y’all, for all of your support. I apologize for the big gaps in posting. But things are going to get better now. Stay tuned. And stay cool… your friend, Texas Magnum

It’s hard to help a friend from within prison

Today I was sitting here thinking about a friend of mine who lives in Tennessee. She is a lovely person, beautiful both inside and out, and I consider her one of my very best friends in the world. I have met her in person only once, for a few days, when I took a camping trip over to the Tennessee area and into the Smoky Mountains. I was 19 at the time, and by then we had known each other for about 3 years. We met playing an online game together! But meeting her was awesome, and she means a lot to me. I wish I could help her more with some stuff she has going on right now.

At this time in her life, she has been having some sad times and she is having troubles getting over her first serious boyfriend. I can see she is stuck, not able to move forward and not happy with how she feels right now. I try to talk to her and to help her, but sometimes I think she doesn’t take the things I say very sincerely, because I suspect she thinks I may say some things just so I can move that guy out of the way and position myself in closer with her. But the truth is, I really think she is a good person and she has been a true friend to me. She is one of the very few people that actually knew me from the outside world that has written to me. It means a lot.

So today I sit thinking about her, and her situation, and how I can help her, as a friend, to deal with it. And I have a question for the women out there. If you have a male friend that tries to console you about a relationship issue you might be having, do you automatically assume that he has ulterior motives and that he is trying to get in good with you? Or, is it possible for him to reach out to you, and for you to take it sincerely?

The truth is, I even have to ask myself the same question. Am I being honest or am I deep down, trying to get in good with my friend? I think my motives are sincere. I do care for her very much. And, I want what is best for her. No matter what the reasoning behind what I say to her, I do care about her and I want her to be alright, not depressed about some guy…

What I wish she would know is, as I have come to learn in here, it’s all about being in the moment, and we need to try to find our own happiness from inside. Oh, I know she will be alright. She is smart and has everything she needs to succeed in everything. Right now she is having her own journey just like I am. Come to think of it, probably her journey is a pretty normal one compared to mine. I wish her well!

I wish every one of you well too.
Peace y’all ~ Magnum

The things I miss on the outside

Today I woke up thinking about what to write. “How can I inspire people?” I thought. While I sat there thinking hard, I realized that not every blog post has to be insightful and not every thing needs to have special meaning. So maybe today I will just write about myself and some of what goes through my head these days.

I’ve never been one to worry about the reason I am on this planet, I usually tend to just let the world carry me like a leaf in the wind. The truth is that’s probably why I am in jail and headed to prison, or one of the contributing reasons.

I find myself wondering sometimes, if I would have planned my life a little better would things have come out any better at this point? I really don’t know and don’t expect to know and this is exactly why I don’t like to think about these things. A “possibility war” starts to break out in my head.

Things I do know for sure is that I miss the sun, and so many of the simple things I took for granted a few months ago. A slow drive down River Road on a nice day. The sound of the river while sitting on the bank on a moonlit night. The way my dog loves me and is always happy to see me, no matter what. Or the sun setting on the lake late in the day.

Saying that I think of a song Jason Boland sings. He says “No matter how big the storms… the sun is shining somewhere down in Texas.”

I feel that right now I am in a storm in Texas. A lot of us are, those of us inside and outside too. I gotta work hard to get to that sun, but if I manage that, then soon I’ll see “The rays of light … makin’ me wanna turn the key and put down the throttle and get lost down 35.”

Peace be with you all ~ Magnum