Hail and the Fury
By Gordon Payne
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Alley, when the cold north Canadian wind collides with warm
air from the Gulf of Mexico, all hell breaks loose on the
In this fictional adventure
set in the heart of the Alley, PT Thurman – farmer and former
mayor, his wife Amy, and their sons Mathew and Jacob, find
themselves in the path of these relentless storms.
PT organizes the annual Fourth of July
celebration, and Governor Todd Archibald wants in on the
A steroid raged bodybuilder,
Joe Bealle, his stunning wife Emma, and two beautiful
daughters, Erika and Becca, move to Crescent, Oklahoma in
1991. A major problem arises, when PT takes one look at the
beautiful ladies and doesn’t do a background check. He lets
them move into his rent house next door, and the trouble
The outgoing and kindhearted
Becca doesn’t fit the mold of the rest of the misfit Bealle
family, and Jacob falls for her. Emma informs Amy and PT that
sixteen years earlier she had done a heinous thing. Joe Bealle
was not Becca’s father. For Jacob’s sake, they must discover
On the final day of the celebration, a vast
boiling storm approaches. PT tries to stop the celebration and
move the 20,000 revelers to safety, but politics decide
otherwise. Governor Todd Archibald has fallen behind in the
polls, and every vote counts.
massive tornado roars into town, and the crowd panics. Giant
hailstones rain on the fleeing crowd and people fall
unconscious in the street. At great personal risk, PT rescues
people from the softball sized hail and urges others to help.
Many die in the worst storm in Oklahoma history. PT, Amy, and
their sons survive, but Joe Bealle is found murdered. His wife
Emma’s body is found dead in the storm’s aftermath. Becca
makes it through unharmed, but her sister Erika disappears.
PT finds Governor Archibald buried under an old
gas station protecting the baby of his favorite aide, who has
died in the storm. Consumed with guilt, he moves to Crescent
where he and his wife start a new life.
PT and the former governor spend time together
helping to rebuild the town. Archibald uses his influence to
bring new industry to Crescent as he labors for redemption
with help from his new friend PT Thurman.
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Gordon has done a few interviews lately!
August 1, 2008
Click here for an interview with Cliff Roles on 1220 AM WSRQ
Noble Generation Volume II
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Writers’ League of Texas Celebrates Success of former
“ Gordon Payne”
Tulsa native Gordon Payne is one of 101 authors from all over
the state of Texas who pooled their efforts to create The
Noble Generation Volume II. Gordon, of Waylon Jennings’
Waylors and The Crickets, is the former musical partner of
Tulsa legend Don White. This book, a follow-up to the first
Noble Generation book published in 2002, grew out of Barnes
and Noble’s Noble Ambassadors program, a partnership with the
Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services that
reaches out to the state’s senior citizens.
The Noble Generation Volume II, an anthology, brings to life
personal experiences from a wide variety of events from the
20th century, including the Great Depression, WWII, the 50s,
and 60s. Prepare to laugh, cry, and reflect upon the lives of
these amazing people. The book vividly depicts the triumphs
and tragedies of those we call Grandmom and Grandpop.
Gordon’s selection, is entitled “The Peppermint Tree”. The
book released in November 2004 has already sold out its first
printing and is into its second.
The book was compiled and edited by Steve and Joan Neubauer of
WordWright.biz Inc. and all proceeds from the sale of The
Noble Generation Volume II benefit the Writers’ League of
Texas Senior Writer’s Award Program. Learn more about the
Writers’ League of Texas at
book is available at Barnes & Noble stores,
and orderable via bookstores. Use ISBN 1-932196-43-9 to order
Contact : Steve Neubauer
Writers’ League of Texas Board Member
"The Peppermint Tree"
By Gordon Payne
Excerpt from “The
Noble Generation II”
In August 1939, a moving truck backed up to the new brick
house across the street from me in Wolfe City, Texas. Ronnie
Palmer bounded from the cab with a bat and ball in his hands,
and by sunset, we were best friends. He stood at the same mark
as I on the measuring door, and we wore the same size ball
cap. What’s more, he loved the Yankees and he hated girls. He
Both of Ronnie’s grandmothers lived around Wolfe City and I
was jealous. One lived in the country, but one lived only a
couple of blocks north. My only grandmother lived five towns
away in Sherman, and during the Great Depression with the
worn-out Model T we had, we broke down every year we suffered
“My grandmother can be your grandmother too,” Ronnie said.
“She’s my bestest grown up friend. She won’t mind.” Ronnie and
I shared everything, even Grandmothers.
That Christmas, his in-town grandmother decorated her
Christmas tree with red, white, and green candy canes. My eyes
must have been as big as silver dollars the day I first saw
that tree. I had never in my life seen so many peppermints in
She lived in a two-story Colonial with the tree standing in
the corner of the foyer and stretching all the way to the
“It must be a hundred feet tall,” I whispered.
Ronnie and I were first graders that day as we snuck behind
her tree and gorged on those candies. Ronnie reached for one,
then I took a turn. Then we climbed on each other’s shoulders
so we could reach the higher ones. By the time we’d eaten our
stomachs full, our pockets were crammed with discarded
wrappers and a few canes for later. To this day, the image is
so seared to my memory, it only takes a thought of Christmas
to evoke the scent of peppermint.
We found out years later she heard us that day and knew we
were hiding there. She even told our mothers, but made them
promise not to scold us.
“Don’t be too hard on them. They’re just being boys,” she told
our mothers. Her name was Edith Blanton, but the kids in our
neighborhood called her by a special name. We called her Candy
Christmas Eve morning, Ronnie came running to my house. “Candy
Gramma is bussing up to Uncle Pete’s for the holidays, so we
get to take down the peppermint tree.”
“No fooling?” By then, she had been letting us take two or
three canes from the tree, as long as we didn’t spoil our
dinners. The amazing thing was, no matter how many we took
from the tree, there were more hung the next day. We swore the
tree had magic.
“No, I’m not fooling,” Ronnie said. “She wants it down before
she leaves, so we can have all the candy we want.”
“All of it?”
“Yep, and she said she didn’t even care if we spoiled our
dinners. But, we have to bring Darrell and we have to talk to
“Darrell Murtaugh?” Darrell had moved next door to me that
September, but Ronnie and I hated to play with him. He
couldn’t run, so he couldn’t play baseball. Darrell didn’t
weigh thirty pounds and wore these awful looking steel braces
on his legs that clanged when he walked. Plus, he wore horned
rimmed glasses, he read all the time, and had an annoying
habit of smiling at you.
“What’s he got to smile about?” Ronnie asked me one day.
“Everybody makes fun of him. He’s a cripple.”
I didn’t want to take Darrell to Candy Gramma’s that day. The
peppermint tree was our secret place. “Do we have to?” I
“Yeah, but it won’t be so bad,” Ronnie said. “I’ll meet you at
his house and we’ll all walk over together. That’s how best
friends do it.”
Read more in “The Noble Generation II”
Barnes and Noble Press by
Long Road to Texas
By Gordon Payne
Excerpt from “Angels on Earth Magazine” January-February, 2005
I’ve escaped death so many times it’s eerie. After a long and
successful music career, I’m convinced those escapes were
aided by divine intervention. I sang, played guitar, and wrote
songs for Waylon Jennings, Reba McEntire, The Crickets, and
others when small town Oklahoma boys usually didn’t get that
lucky. Besides, I just ain’t smart enough to have pulled these
things off by myself. Then in the winter of 2002, several
events began that removed any doubt I
had about guardian angels.
On February 15th my friend Waylon Jennings died. On the 20th,
Wayne Payne – my dad -- passed away from pneumonia. The
following week, on the 28th, we lost Jack Wolcott – my wife
Pat’s father -- to cancer. In just two weeks, Pat and I had
lost the greatest men we knew, and our two sons had lost both
grandfathers and a buddy. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to
do was tell my boys their grandfather died. Then a week later,
I had to do it again.
Some months later, we decided to leave Nashville and move back
to Texas. The plan was for me to go first, and for Pat to
follow when the house sold. I didn’t want to leave the life
we’d made there, and I sure didn’t want to leave my friends,
but Pat’s mother’s health had taken a bad turn and she needed
I rented a five-foot by eight-foot trailer and loaded my
antique oak desk, boxes and boxes of books, thirty years of
writings, five guitars and three amplifiers all packed in
heavy duty road cases. I didn’t notice the eight hundred pound
weight limit sign.
The next morning, August 11, 2003, I kissed Pat goodbye and
headed for Texas. I stopped twice to check the trailer. When I
got to I-65, I felt safe enough to hit cruise control and
popped in one of my favorite books on tape. Bird’s Eye View by
J. F. Freedman is an intriguing story and by the end of the
second paragraph, I was mesmerized.
Outside of Birmingham on I-20, a portly woman in a white Ford
S.U.V. pulled alongside frantically waving and honking her
horn. She forced me to the shoulder. I sprinted back to the
trailer, but found nothing wrong. I turned to ask what she had
seen, but the S.U.V. had vanished. I walked out on the road.
Strange, I thought. I looked as far down the road as I could,
but could not see the white Ford. Really strange.
After I checked the van again, I eased back on the highway and
hit the play button for Bird’s Eye View. The temperature was
104 degrees, and summer steamed off the asphalt. To be safe, I
slowed to fifty.
Several chapters later, I saw a cloud of white smoke coming
from the back of the trailer. I jumped both feet on
the brakes and pulled over.
When I opened the door and turned, there was no smoke. Not a
whiff. No flames billowed from the back. Nothing. I scoured
the van and trailer, but found no evidence of steam or fire,
and nothing was burning inside the trailer. The cloud of smoke
was the size of two eighteen-wheelers, then seconds later
there wasn’t a trace of it. Way too strange.
I walked around to the passenger side, looked down at the
trailer tire, and was staggered. All the tread was gone, and
only a wad of matted steel wire covered the tire.