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Baja Oklahoma

Dan Jenkins

Publication Year: 2010

Dan Jenkins' second best-known novel, Baja Oklahoma, features protagonist Juanita Hutchins, who can cuss and politically commentate with the best of Jenkins' male protagonists. Still convincingly female, though in no way dumb and girly, fortyish Juanita serves drinks to the colorful crew patronizing Herb's Cafe in South Fort Worth, worries herself sick over a hot-to-trot daughter proving too fond of drugs and the dealers who sell them, endures a hypochondriac mother whose whinings would justify murder, dates a fellow middle-ager whose connections with the oil industry are limited to dipstick duty at his filling station—and, by the way, she also hopes to become a singer-songwriter in the real country tradition of Bob Wills and Willie Nelson. That Juanita is way too old to remain a kid with a crazy dream doesn't matter much to her. In between handing out longneck beers to customer-acquaintances battling hot flashes and deciding when boyfriend Slick is finally going to get lucky, Juanita keeps jotting down lyrics reflective of hard-won wisdom and setting them to music composed on her beloved Martin guitar. Too many of her early songwriting results are one-dimensional or derivative, but finally she hits on something both original and heartfelt: a tribute to her beloved home state, warts and all.

Published by: TCU Press

Series: Texas Tradition Series


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pp. 1-3

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

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pp. 4-9

Table of Contents

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pp. 10-11

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pp. 3-4

In those early 1930's, Bob Wills had already begun to add a barrelhouse piano, drums, even horns, to his fiddle, guitars and banjos, and he was always fooling around with the popular music of the era, slowing down or doubling the...

Part One: Up to Here with All That Corn Whisky, Smoky Mountain, Bluegrass, Jesus Saves, Momma-Done-Good Bullshit

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pp. 5-15

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Chapter 1

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pp. 7-24

Juanita saw the day through the big casement window in the bar of Herb's Cafe. She was charmed as usual by the panorama of Herb's asphalt parking lot, a few of the compacts and pickups that rendezvoused there, a telephone pole...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 25-41

There was a vague melody in her head, but there always was. In her formative years as an unpublished songwriter, the melody would tum out to be so similar to a song Willie Nelson or Kris Kristofferson had written, Juanita would be...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 42-61

On the other hand, Juanita's apartment was well situated for her. It was near Herb's Cafe, downtown, TCU Stadium, a Junior League resale shop, a grocery store where the checkout line took less than thirty minutes, a dry cleaners that did...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 62-75

Opening the door, she saw a dark blue tailored suit and white blouse on a coal hanger. Her eyes moved slowly upward from the hand holding the hanger to a pair of granny glasses, hair shining like mopped linoleum, and a fabulous...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 76-94

Juanita couldn't resist sharing the news with someone. She whispered it to Slick Henderson at the bar in Herb's, making him promise not to spread it around. She didn't want the South Side B & PW or any of Herb's regulars pitching in...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 95-113

She would put the Willies and Waylons back in their sleeves, categorize her albums, alphabetize the bookshelves. She would weed out her closets, sometimes discovering an old three-piece Kimberly knit suit she could give to the...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 114-129

Nothing Janet ever did, however, was as hilarious as the stunt Bonnie pulled, which consequently made Bonnie, Slick's second wife, the wittier of the two women. In only twelve years of marriage. Bonnie fancifully transformed...

Part Two: They Hadn't Ought to Have Gone Ahead and Did It Like They Went On and Done it Because They Knowed They'd Did Them Kind of Things Before

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pp. 131-141

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Chapter 8

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pp. 133-151

She made side trips to the nursing center. Grace and the tapioca pudding were maintaining a status quo. There were phone calls to Aspen. The narcs were still a rumor and the tooth powder business was flourishing. Dove was talking twin...

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Chapter 9

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pp. 152-169

Juanita never mailed any material to Lonnie at Mad Dog Music, the publishing company to which Lonnie was under contract. She had heard too many tales from Lonnie about the number of secretaries on Music Row in Nashville who...

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Chapter 10

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pp. 170-184

Juanita, Slick and Tommy Earl teamed up to get Doris on her feet, transported through the side door and outside, across the North Slope of Alaska and into the rear of Juanita's car, a used Camaro she had bought from Tommy...

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Chapter 11

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pp. 185-197

Herb Macklin sauntered to the podium at the far end of the narrow dining room, a room with booths along each wall. There were tables down the center, and the wallpaper caricatured poodles. The podium had been borrowed from a chapel at...

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Chapter 12

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pp. 198-210

The thing concerning Candy and Dove most was the possibility of someone—a customer, even a friend—helping set them up. No one would want to do a terrible thing like that, but the narcs might put the heat on a heavy user, threatening...

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Chapter 13

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pp. 211-226

An amp pick-up. Juanita's guitar was not rigged for sound. But the problem was solved. There was a Stratocaster available. She could borrow it. The electric guitar belonged to a rhythm player in the band of Rev. Buddy Jack Grady. The...

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Chapter 14

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pp. 227-240

The envelopes were only slightly thicker and heavier than those oblong types which contained a greeting card guaranteed to amuse Doris Steadman, the card with a cartoon illustration of a penis and balls bearing the incredibly willy...

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Chapter 15

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pp. 241-254

She first locked and bolted her doors and closed every drape in the apartment. She then spread all of the little cellophane packets across her bed. This included the batch of thirty from "Joey McSurf" which came that morning along...

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Chapter 16

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pp. 255-268

Juanita was counting on TCU's star running back, B. E. (Belch 'Em Up) Bodiford, to break the record single-handedly. B. E. had accounted for 10 of the fumbles alone. He was publicized as the fastest ball-carrier in the Southwest...

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Chapter 17

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pp. 269-288

Candy was chicly attired in dingy jeans, roughout boots, a man's unpressed shirt, and a U.S. Davis Cup Team warmup jacket. She wore no makeup. Her stringy hair needed the immediate attention of a one-day laundry service...

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pp. 289-299

In early January, less than a month later, Juanita was invited to Nashville by the executives of the Mad Dog Music Co. She was accompanied on the trip by an Exxon dealer and a country disc jockey. They went along to look after her business affairs...

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pp. 300-303

Jenkins followed up Semi-Tough with Dead Solid Perfect, transferring all the bawdy fictional goodness from the gridiron to the golf links, and then teamed with lifelong best friend Bud Shrake to concoct the fabulous Limo, wherein they actually invented reality...

About the Author

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p. 311-311

E-ISBN-13: 9780875655109
E-ISBN-10: 0875655106
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875653990

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Texas Tradition Series

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