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Ol Smoke

A story of a not so cheery Christmas

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This happened about 1975 or 1976 I think in California.


A woman got married about 1950 and had a son about 2 years later.  The next year she had another son.  About eights year went by and the

husband got killed in a work related accident.  Things around the house didn't fair well for the family of three but they eked by for about 20 years.

Neither son ever married or moved out of their mom's house.  They were close to 30 years old when this tragedy happened.


The mother was baking Christmas cookies one morning and the two sons were at the breakfast table eating and drinking coffee.  They were arguing

about something, which was always the case between these two boys.  They had argued and fought each other all their lives and were jealous of anything

the other had.  Well this morning, after the mother had mixed up the dough for the cookies, she was dividing up the raw cookie dough into two bowls.  The

two boys loved raw cookie dough.  Afterwards, she went to her room, until she heard the boys fighting.  They were yelling and screaming, and one of the

boys was laughing at the other.  She went into the kitchen to put a stop to it.  "What are you two fighting about now?", she yelled.  Randy the younger of the

two, said, "He won't stop trying to take my cookie dough!"   "Roger!, she said, "Eat your own and leave your brother's bowl alone"  The two sons sat down

and glared at each other.  Mom, went back to her room, when suddenly she heard a loud bang.  She came back out to see what had happened, and there

was Randy standing over the table with a pistol in his hand.  His brother Roger lay on the floor with a bullet through his heart.  Dead.


Afterwards, Randy was arrested and his trial had begun.  During the preliminary part of the trial, Randy changed his plea to guilty.  For the court record he

told the court why he killed his brother.  


"Because he wouldn't stop touching my bowl of cookie dough"  He received 20 years in Chico.


When he got out he roamed around the country for a while. HIs mother had died while he was in the penitentiary so he had no relatives to speak of. 

He finally made his way up to Oregon in 2002.  He was about 50 years old when I met him.  We met at Shari's one day, when I was having coffee with a friend of his. 

It turned out that he lived next door to my aunt and uncle in Bakersfield, California when all this happened. 

His dad was working at the same oil field rig, as my uncle, when he was killed.  They would ride to work together most days.


He killed himself last week, on the same day he had killed his brother.  He never had a moment that he didn't regret killing his brother.


I told his story at his funeral.  There were ten of us there.   I will miss him.

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I can really only imagine the psychological stress he must have been in, living with the guilt of killing his brother for so many years... there's nothing I can say other than that that feels appropriate.

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Ol' Smoke,


This story is indeed tragic on so many levels.  I'm not really sure whether you are repeating the story or actually were involved in it....regardless,, what i really took from this story is more about you.  Though we have never met, I have read many of your forum posts and find them to be engaging and heartfelt.  It is rare to find someone with a true love for their neighbor without judgement and I believe you to be one of those rare people with the empathy, compassion, and wisdom to look beyond circumstances and accept people for who they are and care about them.  This is most admirable and just wanted to thank you for it.

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