Deep in the heart of the greatest Country in the United States of America, lies a man who can only be referred to as Spike—mostly because that is his actual name. Born Spike Clint (yes, after the heroic Clint Eastwood) McManus, he has lived a life most of y’all only watch in movies. The majority of Boston College Students have never picked up a gun, chawed down on the juiciest of tobacco leaves, skinned a fish, or even castrated a bull—but for Spike, these things have been regular parts of his life since he was old enough to put his own boots on.
This column is going to discuss different events that are currently happening in the life of my good friend in the hopes of giving y’all the perspective on Texas you’ve been missing—of a Texan, by a different Texan. However, since no one knows the kid like I do, this week will be kinda like a shotgun wedding—unexpected, brief, and just enough words to begin to introduce a mainstay of the rest of your life (or at least as long as this blog stays up). So without further ado, I present the first time I stepped foot in Spike’s house:
I could feel the sweat dripping down my alligator boots (the best kind by the way if you’re fixin’ to buy a pair) as I stood on a porch in the middle of a classic Texan summer—105o with 78% humidity—wishin that I could just get inside and enjoy a nice glass of sweet tea. I knew Spike from school, he’d been new the previous year, and I hadn’t been to his house yet. The door opened and I immediately thought I’d done fucked the pooch. I was run over by six dogs of various shapes and sizes running from a ten year-old White German Shepherd to a newly born Chihuahua sized mutt with only one eye (fun fact: it had been ripped out by the German Shepherd a week earlier). Stepping further into the house began to cement (or so I thought) my fears as a wave of chaw (the only way to refer to tobacco in the South) hit me straight in the face. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d done the deed before, I knew how the cow ate the cabbage when it came to chaw, but this was an entirely different situation. Somehow even the dog’s slobber smelt like chaw, it was an experience in itself.
Of course, because I’m writing about him as a friend, this impression changed drastically in the short time since this encounter. Not even 20 seconds after I sat down on his couch, Spike’s mom appeared, wearing the sneakers and headband look I’ve come to know and love, and offered me what I needed most—a glass of Sweet Tea (thank god!). Eventually the dogs lost interest and only Bobby (named after the heroic Bob E. Lee of course), the German Shepherd, remained for my affections. We took his travel trailer out (for all y’all who don’t know, this is what you uneducated folk call “RVs”), went hunting, caught a deer or two, and never looked back. Skinning that deer was an entirely different experience that will undoubtedly be written about in a later column.
But for now, there’s your short and sweet impression of the Spike house, what I think of now whenever I’m Texas-sick—the chain-link fence encompassing the four trucks in the driveway, the sweet sweet smell of chaw I’ve come to love, dogs who want nothing but affection and boxing matches (yes Mike Tyson style boxing—they’re pretty good at fighting), and of course two-entire safes FILLED WITH GUNS whenever we want to exercise our 2nd Amendment Rights. As the one and only Tim Riggins would say: