“Smokes & Boots”

I say they wanted those brand new cowboy boots I was wearing, Whaddaya Think?

A lovely little story from “Puss & Boots” to “Smokes & Boots;” only in NYC folks!

Life is full of challenges that along the way generates countless personal moments of self-refection, and some are inconsequential and others are revelations; but all of it part of a big test.  God isn’t planning out our days for us and setting us up with a certain person or circumstance.  If we travel with the Holy Spirit whatever does come up will be something we can deal with the way God wills us to in serving Him.

I had to shift gears in more ways than one in life and literally between gigs or even changing career paths to maintain my life, paying all the bills and saving for the future, I found that commercial driving filled in many gaps.  Throughout my life I’ve driven commercially over a million miles and thank God without being in an accident or worse. How I negotiated that 18 wheeler through all conditions, snow storms, highway grid lock, thinking ahead at all times as to the four wheelers all around and what stunts they might try to pull to get past or around the big truck made for a very dicey and stressful situation.  On top of all the driving I had to be in all kinds of environments, from Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan to various rail yards like Croxton in New Jersey to International Airports like Logan, Bradley, Newark, Manchester and JFK, or on the waterfront of several key fishing port locations up and down the North East Coast.  Any of these locations could be on the schedule at any time of day or night so when most people were sleeping I might be hooking up double trailers or a 53 foot one in a dark roughneck part of the city or during regular business hours when the streets are full of people and their cars they congest the streets with.  I met more kinds of people and in more varied environments than one can shake a stick at, and sure I saw humanity and sometimes fleeting human connections in our travels while in passing one another when stopped at one of these varied locales having short interactions in our travels; but there was nothing better than being back home in my place where I belong and where I’m loved and needed. Out of necessity I was all over the map but does God want me for some other reason to be bopping all over like that to find connections, I think not!  The man-made world is in a sense from the perspective of a single person a chaotic place; and so focus on one’s own particular life and close family or significant relations is enough to deal with and I see meeting strangers as that just meeting strangers.

I had plenty of opportunity to meet new people in these working circumstances and even my personal travels but to me looking back its all like passing ships in the night and inconsequential.  As I’ve stated many times to many people, I’ve found my greater insights and purpose to my life when alone and depending on nothing more than my own abilities and the paramount guidance of God Almighty’s Holy Spirit that watched over me and indeed protected me.  I’ve studied acting and did a bit here and there so I’m fully cognizant of the idea of taking risks.  Doing so on a stage or in front of a camera can be helpful in creating a visceral characterization but as far as taking real risks with my life, I prefer to pass on that.  Unnecessary risk can become habit forming and we know this by the numbers of adrenaline freaks or junkies in the world! I see our individual lives as so precious to God who gave them to us that we should not take unnecessary risks with them and flaunt them in such a way as to be caviler with them.  Am I guilty of doing so, damn straight, I confess I did some pretty stupid things with my life over the years when not thinking the way I am now.  One little mishap or miscalculation and I wouldn’t be writing this now, that’s how dangerous it was at the time!  I was on a fine line of doing something for whatever reason on the one hand and sheer stupidity or foolishness on the other.  I thank God again that I made it through all the things I did to be able to share now with others, “that you are always better off keeping things in order of priority and your purpose for living in the first place;” the important mission to not fail the test.  I tend to see Monks and Nuns as being closer to serving God more accurately daily by a humble and meeker style of living and serving with focused mission and more restraint and not freewheeling the way many people do actually live in this time and age of pleasing self!  I don’t see risk if not absolutely necessary or even fully appropriate as being anything positive at all. “Common sense and practicality rule!”

PS I know I point out harsh reality here and in quite a few things I say or write about, because I know firsthand just how much danger and evil lurks around any given corner, and not that one should be paranoid but in this world today foolishness abounds and I attempt to counter that mind-set.

“Thank you for sharing that. yeah, Thank you Jesus that you were kept safe on the roadx”

Oh good! I’m glad you liked my little short story (autobiographical vignette).  Yea, plenty more where that came from, I sure stretched my envelope of protected space or comfort zone in my driving travels in my car cross country through 46 states, staying for long periods in about a dozen.  Talk about NYC I thought you might like my connection to Fulton Fish Market, now there’s a place that I met some characters during ungodly hours of the night.  Nefarious from the first looksie!

There was this time I had a hell of an experience taking a train into NYC during the wee hours of the morning arriving in town wearing my cowboy boots as I jumped off at Penn Station and decided to walk street-side on to my destination via 7th avenue in the wee hours when a group of bad hombres almost got the drop on me, I felt like I was in some surreal scene of the French Connection giving them the slip on the subway with some good faking body language that said I might be the heat!  I got away from them by fractions, and sure was good I did; because I know they weren’t gonna discuss Jesus or different parts of the hood with me, no matter how well-spoken or genuine I was!  Yeah, I got AWAY!

I say they wanted those brand new cowboy boots I was wearing, Whaddaya Think?

Or maybe, they just really had to know what I was doing walking around the Big Apple at 3am alone wearing new cowboy boots!  Hey what can I say I do lots of things alone. Maybe they figured I was related to the Marlboro Man and they wanted free smokes!  Oh well, these are questions for inquiring minds that we’ll probably never know the answers to; or will we?

Yes, thank Jesus I’m alive and kicking still!

Lawrence Morra

“Free smokes 😂”

Don’t forget the Marlboro Man Boots, sorta like the hood version of “Puss and Boots;” “Smokes and Boots,” great deal when you can get it!!! OMG only in NYC!  Hahahahaha! See I can laugh about it because it went the right way for me, at least in that little way, hehehehe!  But oh the things that could have been, I mean good things!  I shoulda done stuck it out!  Not my neck mind you; but maybe my personality?  And, I don’t mean with those bad hombres; but the people with the opportunities!  I guess I was a boy with the wanderlust!  A Rambling Man!  I talk up a powerful storm let me tell ya!

Lawrence Morra


PS Ya know folks I should count myself blessed and lucky I did all that and made it out alive in one piece!  The thing that doesn’t sit well with me is that I got through the gauntlet many a time being no worse the wear in spite of it all but then later life; the nefarious bastards stabbed me in the back!  I think they were so damn jealous!

Alive and Kicking You SOB’S.  One of my Hero’s “Papillon,” Steve McQueen!  He was a Marlboro Man!  He made it off “Devils Island” the only one to do it!


Author: Lawrence Morra

Have worked in creative and news visual media as a photographer or cameraman and this POV has given me a better insight or view of the world. The Cameraman's POV. His Perspective on many things. All content on this site is copyrighted© by Lawrence Morra/Zero Lift-Off. All rights reserved. Email: lmor3@aol.com

8 thoughts on ““Smokes & Boots””

    1. Hi Mom! Oh wow you said a whole lot here and I’ll start with Steve McQueen who was one of my top all-time favorites who actually did come from a rough start as a teen and then went into the Marines and on to NYC to study and become a great Actor and Movie Star! I had a chance a couple of times in NYC and then in LA to get on the fast track to do something similar believe it or not, but when I would talk to my Dad years after about how things went and I had made decisions that took me away from that path he said, “don’t second guess yourself, you made the right decision and did what you thought was best!” Then he said something that blew my socks off and just did again with you giving it double duty! He said immediately after saying what I just mentioned here; “this is right where God wanted you to be,” as he tapped on the table where we were sitting together having a great father and son heart to heart talk! And he repeated as he tapped, “right here is where you belong.” I said to him yea it makes sense and I’m not so doubtful but I question things, and so Dad you’re really sure about this huh? And he looked me right in the eyes how he always did as my great Dad and with all his heart and soul saying, “I’m absolutely positive!” He was a great man and had great faith in God, so I don’t doubt him the least bit! I guess I’m just a very retrospective guy and over analyze things because the way I talk a lot I tend to think a lot, and over think too!
      So, you just spoke with the Holy Spirit of God because I feel it right now and I’m tearing up knowing my Dad was just talking to me too through God’s Holy Spirit and with you accompanying them! My Two Fathers! Now I’m crying!!! Thank You!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think of Steve McQueen in the Sand Pebbles many a time; just a powerful story and based much on reality, and how the big letdown or good guy getting done in when he was so close to making it as he said, “I was home free!” Like his real life ending in a way, sad! I can identify with characters that get the short end! “Steve McQueen has never been better as Jake Holman, a hard-nosed American sailor, with his own code of right and wrong. His character absolutely dominates the movie. This is the type of character he was born to play. ” IMDb So ironic to me how his real life having to go to a reform school or boys-town as a kid then joining the Marines to deal with his tough youth to grow up and out of it, and then the raw deal at the end to me just makes him a legend in my eyes! A lot like how Robert Mitchum had to deal with a tough teenage years and jumped into action! “The Marines gave me discipline I could live with. By the time I got out, I could deal with things on a more realistic level. All in all, despite my problems, I liked my time in the Marines,” McQueen said. http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/military-transition/famous-veteran-steve-mcqueen. I always thought he was so cool without trying or even wanting to be. The camera loved him too! So he got many blessings but like for any of us life is a “Dichotomy” of good with the bad! Raging Bull was to me De Niro’s best work and Martin Scorsese was superb as always! Paul Schrader who I once had a telephone conversation with while living in LA, did some awesome writing there in that film! I kinda dropped the ball there he said to get back to him about something I had for an idea for a film he would like to write the screenplay for a McQueen type character, maybe as a collaboration and no agents involved but he actually said OK! He was serious but I was a bit scattered with things at the time, long story but family difficulties! Oh well might have got that thing to happen with him and Scorsese. I bring up Schrader because while out on location working to learn with DP Duke Callahan I was given a featured extra role in the film and when I left that production and I arrived back again in LA that’s when this conversation came out of the blue with Schrader, which was amazing his last name was the name I was given in the scene I worked in, and I sure didn’t plan any of this! Met and had very interesting conversation also around the same time with Murray Golden before his passing who had directed Steve McQueen in some of the old TV series episodes of “Wanted Dead or Alive.”


  2. Oh I had another convo at American Zoetrope (also known as Zoetrope Studios from 1979 until 1990) was a privately run American film production company, centered in San Francisco, California and founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas; with August Coppola, a former literature professor who was the father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire; about a bigger story idea I was contemplating way back in the day and I really blew this one; think of the traction I was going to get with all these guys! My paisans were top of the heap here my man! He told me at the time, “go to your room and lock the door and work on the story with a few beers!” I think he saw how I had something going but needed to just stop talking and let it come out and put it down on paper then report back for duty! But, I went AWOL or Missing in Action I guess! That whole area at the time with the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet where my Dad’s former ship was mothballed a place for the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine to park ships that are taken out of service, but might one day be needed again and being not far from Treasure Island and other Iconic scenery had me “going” active imagination on steroids; and I was eager! Maybe I was a bit more of a “Last Detail” kind of dude at that point! See, they inspired and got guys to go into the Navy those old generation actors, writers and directors who were getting me with God’s guidance to think about the Navy in some literary terms there in that locale while in San Francisco! I had some reasons for it too but, again I missed the boat that time also; and that was a “huge ship!” MAN. What did I do, I feel like Jake Holman when he catches some lead! I too was almost home free! I’m the dead disco duck or something!
    I can hear him now Jack Nicholson saying, dude you need to get the wax out of your f-ing ears!


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